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Thursday, November 13, 2014

Map of GIS Record Attempt SchoolsWant to Host Your Startup on Campus?
Cayuga Community College announced Wednesday that it is approved to accept applications from businesses participating in Start-Up NY.

Available space in buildings on both of CCC's Auburn and Fulton campuses, in addition to college-owned parcels of land available to develop, could provide an eligible business with a location to begin tax-free operation.

Among the businesses invited to propose joining the New York State program: those in geospatial technologies.

More Discussion Options for GeoTech Center

The GeoTech Center has started an "e-mail group." My understanding is this is to be another tool for developing its Community of Practice. Now that I know what that is (from the MOOC I'm taking) I see how challenging it can be to create a valuable one.

Visualising Information for Advocacy

This free e-book sounds like a valuable resource for those teaching information visualization.

Visualising Information for Advocacy is a book about how advocates and activists use visual elements in their campaigns. In this 170-page book we explore how to influence issues using the right combination of information, design, technologies and networks. Through over 60 examples of visual information campaigns from around the world we show how they capture attention, present stories and take us on journeys through data.

Continue reading...

by Adena Schutzberg on 11/13 at 05:29 AM | Comments | Bookmark and Share

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

EVAAL software modelDecrease WI Runoff and Erosion

A new software tool [right] developed by the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources is being touted as an effective way to help reduce agricultural runoff and erosion. Developed to integrate satellite imaging and geographic information system or GIS technology, the erosion vulnerability assessment for agricultural lands tool--known as EVAAL--depicts areas susceptible to runoff based on topography, land cover and soils.

Sounds cool. But nowhere in the announcement or the software webpage does it note that ArcGIS and the Spatial Analyst Extension are required to run the Python script. That's found in the Fact Sheet:

EVAAL was developed using the Python scripting language within ESRI’s ArcGIS 10.x Desktop. The tool exists as an ArcToolbox, requiring ArcMap and the Spatial Analyst Extension. 

Mapping Shoveling Scofflaws in Minneapolis

The city of Minneapolis issued 741 fines for failure to shovel sidewalks last winter at a cost of more than $130,000 to Minneapolis property owners, according to city records.

And, MPR mapped them. I wonder if the mapping will help with compliance?

NSGIC Offers Advice to Consumer Financial Protection Bureau on Mortgage Tracking

Last month Shelby Johnson, NSGIC President and Arkansas State GIO, shared NSGIC's comments on proposed rule changes issued by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau related to determining how to track and analyze home mortgages with increased granularity. The CFPB is the one Senator Elizabeth Warren used to head and is where NSGIC and California and FCC alum Michael Byrne now hangs his hat. Here are NSGIC suggestions

  1. The Bureau should not use parcel identification numbers because there is no standard numbering system in the United States.
  2. The Bureau should use address points and sub-addresses with the caveat that approximately 30 counties in the U.S. have not converted to physical addresses and they cover approximately 12 million addresses.
  3. The Bureau could partner with states to ‘roll-up’ local government address data and make it publicly available.

Continue reading...

by Adena Schutzberg on 11/12 at 03:38 AM | Comments | Bookmark and Share

Friday, November 07, 2014

International Charter for Space and Major Disaster LogoUK Satellites Tapped to Fight Ebola

For the first time UK satellites are now being used to help respond to the disease after they were activated by the International Charter for Space and Major Disaster.

I appreciate this candor.

Matt Goodman, head of communications at the UK Space Agency, said: "We are not quite sure exactly how all this is going to work, but we're testing out as much as we can and providing data to teams who maybe are working off local maps that are decades old."

The National Center for Geospatial Medicine Tackles Autism

University of Michigan researchers will use a new $1.6 million federal grant to probe potential social and environmental links to autism, collecting location-specific information from tens of thousands of affected individuals and their families nationwide.

...It's the first effort to improve and expand a large national disease registry by adding self-reported patient information that is geographically linked to relevant social and environmental stressors, said Marie Lynn Miranda, SNRE dean and the project's principal investigator.

It's a three year study.

CDC Needs New Visualization Tool

The Centers for Disease Control put out a request for information for  "a single electronic platform that integrates, manages, analyzes, visualizes, reports on and shares key surveillance, epidemiologic, laboratory, and environmental findings during public health investigations and responses." Sounds like GIS huh? Word is the current ebola outbreak prompted the request.

by Adena Schutzberg on 11/07 at 03:23 AM | Comments | Bookmark and Share

Thursday, November 06, 2014

I adjudicated Bentley Systems' Year in Infrastructure user awards this year. Annually, Bentley asks users to submit projects for consideration for awards in eighteen categories. As one of several juror we evaluate nearly 70 individual submissions in three of the 18 categories: Government, Waste Water Modeling and Utilities and Communication Networks. We narrow the selection to 3 in each but one huge factor stands out: the GIS Champion on the project is the linchpin to success.

Convoluted Cables

Take Time Warner Cable. It's a huge company that controls a significant amount of the cable TV access to customers in the U.S. The objective of their project was to have a single, centralized, asset repository GIS. Problem was, they had no idea where their assets where located. Prior to the project there were 32 separate design sites most hosting entirely different operating environments … and this, as project manager Lucius Brooker (pictured at right) found out, was the easy part of the problem. Brooker faced enormous corporate head winds that included continuously constrained budgets and a CEO that kept wondering why they were undertaking such a huge endeavor and then threatening to fire him. It was only by his shear tenacity that the project continued to its successful conclusion.

TWC has now standardized on Bentley's communications products on virtualized servers in only six regional centers. IT operations, office space, power management and personnel expenses have all be greatly reduced leading to a total first year ROI of 40% with a three year ROI of 121%. Tax-related asset management questions are now more accurately reported. In addition, with the pending merger with Comcast, due diligence for integrating assets is more quickly assessed.

Go Irish

The Ordnance Survey Ireland (OSi) has been using GIS for cartographic tasks since the late 70's but ten years ago began to evaluate their long-term needs for spatial information management. Today, the OSi is in the final stage of a six-year project to create a new spatial data infrastructure that will eventually conform to OGC specifications and support the European Union's INSPIRE directive. Senior Operations Manager Andy McGill describes the new model, now called Prime2, as a service-oriented architecture (SOA) that will support both field and office operations.

The OSi began by converting their data using a 1Spatial solution with Bentley Map as the geospatial information system. The project entail converting 80 million cartographic objects to 50 million "real-world" 3D objects now stored in Oracle Spatial. Each object, including roads, buildings, land parcels and utility infrastructure, are uniquely identified by a Geographic Unique Identification codes  or GUID. The project has realized a savings of E 600,000 to operations and staffing. The spatial data warehouse will also support the new postal code system being adopted by the country.

In both cases, the champions of TWC and OSi provided persistence, vision and leadership, qualities recognized time and again in GIS as the keys to successful project management. Both, however, also realize the job ahead of them will continue to require those same characteristics.

Disclosure: Bentley Systems supported travel to the event.

Photo courtesy of Bentley Systems.

by Joe Francica on 11/06 at 10:00 PM | Comments | Bookmark and Share

OSM GeoWeek GraphicTeaching the Why, Not Just the What, of Geography

Phil Gersmehl of the Michigan Geographic Alliance argues against geotech for "seeing" places and for a higher level understanding of geography for policy makers, educators and students.

Either way, the public image of geography classes—to legislators, administrators, and other "outsiders" reading these briefs—is of a subject that consists of mastering the skill of using technology to find a picture of any place in the world. I could teach that skill in a few days, and one result would be a citizenry less able to use the tools of geographic inquiry to help them understand topics such as migration; communicable diseases (Think Ebola); resource use; international trade; the role of ocean currents in redistributing solar energy; and a host of other physical, biological, economic, and political processes.

Use OSM to Celebrate GeoWeek

OSM and other partners are offering events and projects for GeoWeek.

Map Your Recipe

Richard Byrne of Free Technology for Teachers shares:

Last fall I shared a neat mapping tool called Map Your RecipeMap Your Recipe allows you to enter a recipe to find out where the vegetables in that recipe were first domesticated. This week the developer of Map Your Recipe informed that the site has been updated to include etymology and current crop producers. 

Could be useful for this year's GeoWeek with the theme "Food." Found via Tama Nunnelley on NCGE FB page.

Geography and STEM

AAG president  tackles Geography and STEM in her president's column. She surveyed chairs of geography departments to learn where how they feel they fit into STEM. Bottom line: those who are taking advantage of geography having a STEM designation (most often via physical geography and GIS) are finding opportunities for funding and departmental growth.

by Adena Schutzberg on 11/06 at 03:36 AM | Comments | Bookmark and Share
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