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Tuesday, April 08, 2014

GISCI announced an extension of the contest deadline to April 15. Why? "Because of interest and an increased difficulty in map preparation with this year's Contest..." per an announcement.

--- original post March 3, 2014 ----

GISCI is running its 3rd annual map contest. This year participants will produce a high quality map of a portion of the U.S. National Bridge Inventory (NBI). Among the skills required: parsing and geocoding ASCII files and producing a map viewable on the web. First, second, third place and honorable mentions will be awarded. Also noteworthy:

The winning poster will be taken to the ESRI User Conference and submitted to the ESRI map book, if it was generated with ESRI products. 

Submissions are due March 31 in PDF.

- details

by Adena Schutzberg on 04/08 at 05:10 AM | Comments | Bookmark and Share

Monday, April 07, 2014

Elmhurst College is using the Credly platform to confer badges to those completing modules of its Skill for the Digital Earth MOOC. The course has been open about a week and students have earned more than 400 badges. Some have just one or two badges while others have six or more. The Credly platform allows students to share their badges publicly, if they choose. I saw several geospatial community names I recognize among badge recipients. 

The badge at right is for:

Fundamental Computing Skills of Geography

Description This badge recognizes successful completion of the Fundamental Computing Skills Associated with Geography module in the MOOC (massive open online course) titled "Skills for the Digital Earth" offered by Elmhurst College. Recipients of this badge worked through a series of activities aimed at: - Successfully identify the skills of navigation online, including file management. - Recognizing geographic communication skills. - Recognizing skills associated with e-publishing, use of sprea...

The platform is free for students to use. Organizations that want to award badges can opt for a free or paid subscription

by Adena Schutzberg on 04/07 at 07:54 AM | Comments | Bookmark and Share

Back on March 10th I learned about, and wrote about, Esri's ArcGIS Open Data site

Today, about a month later, I returned to the site to check on its status.

Recall that initially visitors were to:

  • Collaborate
  • Discover New Data
  • Visualize and Analyze

Now visitors are invited to:

  • Share open data
  • Discover and explore
  • Access and download

The page is still under development. (Open data teams may also be "under development." Esri is looking for a a Product Manager – ArcGIS for Open Data.)  The documentation link in a top menu does not work. The support link goes to generic ArcGIS support. Of note, there's a new FAQ found at the bottom of the home page. Here are some interesting bits.

Esri offers its understanding of 'Open Data':

Open Data are both legally and technically open. This means that the data are free from license restriction for anyone to freely access, share and reuse. It also means that the data are available in common, standard and machine readable formats. ArcGIS Open Data makes it simple for organizations to make their data available under these open guidelines while also supporting web best practices.

The second sentence confuses me. Does it suggest the datasets do not have licenses? Or that the open data licenses that are attached to datasets have no restrictions or requirements? Or something else? You can see Esri's plans for licensing in its Open Data Initiative license in Ten Things You Need to Know About Esri’s Open Data Initiative. In it, the idea is that data providers can choose from a variety of open data license options. I'm also curious about the details of Esri's "open guidelines."

Further on comes a question about supported data types. The response:

Currently ArcGIS Open Data has a focused view on data services such as Feature Services and Map Services. We intend to grow support for additional formats and potential other open content.

That suggests to me that at lauch the site is geared toward services rather than downloadable data. That sounds a bit diff rent from the original version of the site I explored; it had 81,301 downloadable datasets.

by Adena Schutzberg on 04/07 at 03:17 AM | Comments | Bookmark and Share

Sunday, April 06, 2014

On April 5 and 6, Huntsville, Alabama hosted its first Map-a-thon. The idea began with discussions between Chad Emerson, the executive director of Downtown Huntsville, Inc. and Matt Fowler, CEO of Solid Earth, a real estate software solution company. The idea quickly grew and Chad and Matt called in other geospatial technology experts from town including Marvin Gordon from the City of Huntsville’s GIS department, Chris Johnson from A Visual Edge, professor Wubishet Tadesse from Alabama A&M University, professor Rob Griffin from University of Alabama, Huntsville, Barlow Blake from AEgis Technologies, a company familiar to many as having created 3d building models for the Olympics for NBC TV. I was also part of the group representing Directions Magazine and GEO Huntsville, the non-profit economic development initiative for geospatial technology.

The objective of the competition was to choose one block within the downtown area and create 3D building models using Trimble’s SketchUp drawing program. Hopefully some, if not all, would be potentially acceptable to be added to the city’s existing 3d building models and be considered to be loaded into Google Earth. Digital terrain models of downtown (appropriate to import into SketchUp) and approximate building heights were provided by the City of Huntsville to aid in creating 3D buildings on actual terrain. Teams from Alabama A&M, UA Huntsville and interns representing the NASA DEVELOP program were asked to pick one block. The competition lasted 36 hours. The teams first downloaded SketchUp and got to work photographing the building faces of their chosen block. Over the course of the day, the teams refined their models adding texture and photos to finish the building facades. Technical assistance was provided by several of us who monitored the teams but most were quite competent once they got started. I, Matt Fowler and Marvin Gordon served as judges. In the end, the team from Alabama A&M created a stunning rendition of the Huntsville Court House and took first prize of $200. Hopefully next year, we’ll draw more teams for our second annual event.

Watch the video below to see how the competition unfolded.

Continue reading...

by Joe Francica on 04/06 at 10:00 PM | Comments | Bookmark and Share

Friday, April 04, 2014

Hospital Navigation

Miami Children’s Hospital is on the cutting edge when it comes to mobility solutions, and is the first hospital in the world to offer a GPS navigation app to guide visitors through its campus.

Actually, the app which launched in June of last year, uses both GPS and Wi-Fi for navigation. it's part of a partnership with Cisco that enables a BYOD polity at the facility.

Health Datapalooza Hackathon Winners - All Geo

 Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) announced the winners of the Illinois Public Health Datapalooza App Challenge. Among the winners:

Geography Controls U.S. Response to PTSD

“I call it medical treatment by geography: You can live in the wrong ZIP code to get treatment from your government, even though you’re a veteran and you’ve been wounded,” [Navy veteran with PTSD who’s a co-founder of a Virginia nonprofit group called Patients Out of Time that promotes therapeutic uses of marijuana, Al] Byrne said.

What does he mean? "... the Veterans Affairs Department allows patients treated at its facilities to use medical marijuana so long as it’s legal in the states where they live."

Continue reading...

by Adena Schutzberg on 04/04 at 03:30 AM | Comments | Bookmark and Share
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