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Friday, October 17, 2014

Daily Mail Infographic: CholeraDeadly Disease Interactive

The Daily Mail's interactive piece looks at the world’s deadlist outbreaks, as well as history’s most dangerous diseases.

Ebola Tracking Via Cell Phone

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is tracking the approximate locations of cell phone users in West Africa who dial emergency call centers in an effort to predict the onset and spread of Ebola outbreaks.

"The data is just the number of calls by cell tower but from that you can get a rough idea of the area that the calls are coming in from, and then derive census, neighborhood data from that," CDC spokeswoman Kristen Nordlund told Nextgov on Thursday.

There's also discussion of Esri's participation in the ebola response effort in the Mashable piece.

Is Geomedicine Reaching a Tipping Point?
While other industries have leveraged geospatial data, healthcare has yet to embrace the power of geospatial information systems (GIS) and analytics to improve outcomes, quality, access to care, and lower costs.
That's the word from participants at Duke's Geomedicine Summit held Oct 13-14. Participants argue the technology has reached a tipping point of interest, but major barriers remain. So, clearly there is room for expansion (Esri and Cerner were sponsors). Most interestingly, one challenge is simply capturing and geocoding current and past addresses of patients in their medical records. Said another way, there are still challenges put dots on a map!
There's more from the event on ebola, courtesy of Chris Woods, M.D., with the Duke Global Health Institute noted here.

Continue reading...

by Adena Schutzberg on 10/17 at 03:02 AM | Comments | Bookmark and Share

Thursday, October 16, 2014

State of the Art Campus Map

Claremont McKenna College (CMC) has launched a new interactive campus map. It's got 3D and is based on Google Maps. There's a story map-like tour, too. Suggestion: It might valuable to ask Claremont Graduate University GIS folks for some input on the next iteration.

Esri MOOC Certificate

Since students love certificates, one posted hers to Twitter. The Udemy/Esri certificate page text notes:

This certificate above verifies that xxx  successfully completed the course Going Places with Spatial Analysis on October 9, 2014 as taught by Linda BealeDavid DiBiase and Ephraim Ross on Udemy. The certificate indicates the entire course was completed as validated by the student.

You might notice it does not say Esri anywhere. @esrimooc responds:

"Why no 'Esri' tag on certificate?" There was supposed to be. Need to fix this at Udemy. One of the bugs in our pilot....

University of Denver FOSS4G Lab

OSGeo writes:

The global ICA-OSGeo-ISPRS labs are pleased to announce the launch of the University of Colorado Denver's FOSS4G Lab. Thanks to Dr. Rafael Moreno-Sanchez who has been leading this at University of Colorado, Denver, USA. It is also great to see the establishment of an international advisory board for the lab to review plans and activities and provide advice for the growth and future direction of the lab.

Continue reading...

by Adena Schutzberg on 10/16 at 03:14 AM | Comments | Bookmark and Share

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Waze Partners with State/Local Govs for Traffic Data

Waze announced its “Connected Citizens,” a new government partnership program that will see both parties exchange data in order to improve traffic conditions earlier this month. No money is changing hands, just data

Leesburg Interactive Application MapLeesburg Uses Existing License for Planning App

The Leesburg Interactive Application Map, located at, allows residents to see the locations of all active and recently approved land use applications within the town at a quick glance. 

Since the West Virginia town already had an Esri enterprise license, staff tweaked a story map template to build the app.

More Money for GIS specialist

Members of Northumberland County (PA) Salary Board agreed to reclassify the position of geographic information system (GIS) specialist at a starting salary of $54,750.

Continue reading...

by Adena Schutzberg on 10/15 at 03:46 AM | Comments | Bookmark and Share

Monday, October 13, 2014

On September 26, by executive order #16, Alabama Governor Robert Bentley established the state's Geographic Information Program Office and continued the Alabama Geographic Information Executive Council. The order establishes a new position of Geographic Information Officer (GIO) as well as a Deputy GIO. The GIO serves at the pleasure of the Governor, and the Alabama Criminal Justice Information Center (ACJIC) will serve as the fiscal agent. Duties include, according to the order:

The Office shall be the sole entity within the state for coordination of geographic information, geographic information systems (GIS), and other geospatial-related technologies by all state agencies and state-funded entities. The Office shall identify, plan, and implement the most efficient and effective way to utilize and integrate geographic information as a strategic management resource.  The Office shall identify duplicative geospatial acquisitions, initiatives and operations across State government and recommend efforts to minimize duplication of such activities and services.  The Office shall maintain a master index of all geographic information maintained throughout the State by any state or local governmental entity, or other state-funded entity.  The Office may include within its index any other data that may lawfully be shared with the public or government.

Currently, the Council is led by Phillip Henderson from the Alabama Department of Economic and Community Affairs (ADECA). The Council is comprised 16 state department heads. The executive order did not name a GIO at this time.

by Joe Francica on 10/13 at 09:33 AM | Comments | Bookmark and Share

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Spatial models have often been constrained by political boundaries (i.e. vectors) like Census Tracts or Zip Codes. Dana Tomlin's Map Algebra exploded the notion of boundaries by employing raster-based Map Algebra, and since, GIS systems have utilized heat maps, 3D volume models (voxels), quadtrees, and other modeling and visualization options to look beyond sometimes artificial bounding boxes. Now comes, aboutPLACE, a newly released API allowing developers to leverage the notion that a "place" can be characterized by many variables and should not be confined by political structure and may indeed be amorphous.

Let's dig a little deeper. URBAN4M, the company behind aboutPLACE, has its roots in urban analytics and studied the systems that comprise an urban setting. These systems could be transportation, utilities, hospital, retail, etc. The result, according to CEO Hillit Meidar-Alfi, provided the company a more fundamental understanding of how cities function.

PLACES, in the vernacular of aboutPLACE, are "created by the existence and abundance of the user's selected criteria." These criteria may include demographics but it may also be characterized by say, the number of hotel rooms in a particular location, or the number of pediatricians. So, in theory and practice, the size of the PLACE varies depending on the criteria. PLACE is not defined as a boundary. The area of the PLACE can be an amorphous shape and may vary in extent depending on the application and the data applied to define it.

URBAN4M has aggregated or licensed data from many sources, both public and proprietary. The result is a catalog of over 400 end points that developers can access through the API. Each endpoint is an API element, a data feature like a hotel or the number of hotel rooms, and is represented true to their services. Context can be built and changed according to the needs of the user or purpose.

At this time, the aboutPLACE API is being released for three MSA's: Austin, Boston, and Miami with more metros coming soon. According to URBAN4M:

The API requires two quick inputs that capture your geographic area of interest and the list of criteria (services, amenities, demographics, etc.) that matter most to you or your business. The aboutPLACE API offers independent and relatable key deliverables, including PLACE (interactive map), Pulse (evaluates and compare PLACES), Quality of Life Index (measures walkability, safety, schools and public transit) and Vibe (captures the area's personality).

A developer using the API must decide the target audience for the application under development. If they are creating a mobile tourist application whereby the end user requires the location of a hotel or restaurant near 4th and Main, for example, then the developer may tap into specific variables and return the name of a hotel. If however, the application is for economic development, then the API may tap into more variables associated with 4th and Main and return an area that satisfies specific criteria, such as the number of hotel rooms in that area. In short, the PLACE doesn't change but the context of the application may. Choosing different variables from the API can be an exploratory way of finding the best park in an area, for example. Or, from a completely different perspective, a user may create a query such as "here is where I am now; tell me if this is the best place for a park."

Meidar-Alfi says she wanted to create a platform to look at location differently and as such allow developers to employ spatial models she's developed through the API. In the end, she believes, developers may derive different results to common location-based problems.

by Joe Francica on 10/12 at 10:00 PM | Comments | Bookmark and Share
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