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Wednesday, July 16, 2014

The Geospatial Information &Technology  Association (GITA) is offering new services to members and wants former members to take another look at what it can do to support them as GIS professionals.

GITA has taken the bold step of opening up its archives of conference content to anyone and encourages members to contribute as well by joining local chapters, which are still very active according to president Talbot Brooks. Brooks contacted Directions to share some news.

A few years ago, GITA went through a trying period of disbanding the permanent staff and making the organization an entirely volunteer effort. The membership has since recovered to over 600 members with the intent of growing the base back to over 1000 according to Brooks.

The newly redesigned website allows paying members ($150/year)to search additional content in the archives but also provides some real value for those hoping to apply for their GISP. Members that may be looking to populate their portfolio can easily search the archives for attendance or presentations in which the member was involved and review the points attained from each type of event. The portfolio can be easily exported from the website and sent to the member in a format compatible for supporting their GISP application.

GITA is taking a conservative approach toward supporting conferences. It's Oil and Gas Pipeline Conference is still very popular but is now run by PennWell. The EnerGIS conference, focused on the energy sector, is being held this year new Pittsburgh  and is primarily managed by the GITA MidAtlantic Chapter.

It's encouraging to see GITA take a step toward reinvigorating the community of telecommunications, utility and energy professionals that have not had an association to call home.

by Joe Francica on 07/16 at 01:37 PM | Comments | Bookmark and Share

 shared the news on the Google Enterprise Blog

Today, we’re launching Google Maps for Business imagery, offering businesses the chance to purchase and use Google Earth imagery for the first time. This gives them access to high-resolution aerial imagery covering the continental U.S. And it will help customers like government agencies get the imagery they need without collecting their own aerial photography.

Access? Via Google Maps Engine via services:
  • Include it with your Google Maps v3 JavaScript API web application
  • View it on a desktop GIS system via WMS
  • Overlay it directly within Google Earth
  • View it on native mobile applications and mobile websites.

Limitations: US only; aerialonly; no satellite imagery. Fees vary by organization. Gory details.

by Adena Schutzberg on 07/16 at 11:59 AM | Comments | Bookmark and Share

Staunton Embraces ArcGIS Online

The City of Staunton [VA] announced today the launch of a new “Maps & Apps” website.  Maps & Apps replaces the traditional city “GIS” site previously available for use by the public.  Information can now be accessed from a collection of Maps & Apps.  New apps include: “Crime Information,” “Traffic Information” and “Election History,” in addition to “Real Estate Information.”

It's an ArcGIS Online gallery with a mishmash of things from the city, state and private providers; I can't tell which are maps and which are apps and am not sure if it matters. The inconsistency between them was jarring and some didn't even have maps! Several links went to generic ArcGIS Online maps like the "current weather" one at right. 

NZ's Open Data Working Wonders

Land Information Minister Michael Woodhouse today [7/8] released the 2014 Report on Agency Adoption of the Declaration on Open and Transparent Government.
There's lot of good news about datasets being available and 3rd parties using them. but the bottom line for government from the executive summary:
The efficiency gains that most (72%) departments are experiencing from re-using other agencies’ data are the highlight of this report, though more metrics are necessary to quantify the gains. 
Australia's National Map 

The beta of what's being called Australia's National Map is hosted by NICTA but will be hosted by Geoscience Australia. Among the partners: Department of Communications, NICTA and Geoscience Australia, while the datasets are sourced from Geoscience Australia, the Bureau of Meteorology, the Australian Bureau of Statistics and the government's open data repository.

The map project was unveiled last week ahead of the annual GovHackevent, July 11-13. Open source tech includes: Cesium, Leaflet, Geoserver, jquery, URI.js, proj4js, html2canvas, knockout, esri-leaflet.js, togeojson, and Tilelayer.Bing.js. It's a bit too "Google Earth-y" for me, but it's pretty slick.

Could Data Licensing be an Issue for Washington State's Legal Pot Business?

Yes, reports the Stranger:

Likewise, the state has purchased much of its mapping data from Esri, a private mapping company, and their contract restricted distribution of that data (the Attorney General’s Office also declared Esri-licensed data exempt from public disclosure). What this means is that cannabis business applicants can’t get access to the same data the liquor board is using to qualify their business locations. So, in effect, the only certain way to know if a location will be disqualified is apply and then be disqualified. This Catch-22 means qualified entrepreneurs will see their pot shop plans unexpectedly flushed down the toilet with no chance to re-apply.

by Adena Schutzberg on 07/16 at 03:33 AM | Comments | Bookmark and Share

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

These are some of the interesting stories and products I ran into during a single day at the Esri User Conference.

Mapping Elections on TV

Esri Australia worked with a TV station ABC7 for the 2013 election. With just a few weeks between making an “in kind” agreement, the tech staff whipped up a runtime based app and worked within the challenging TV station parameters (constantly changing plans, no Internet on the set among others, limited knowledge of producers and hosts). Check out a video of the app running on the air.


Here are the lessons learned. Solutions for TV:

  • need to be fit for purpose (in this case including a second screen for users and the whiz bang flash)
  • will complement, not replace, what in Australia they call “the tally room model”
  • may create stories that are used just once as they loose relevance at the broadcast continues
  • can tap geolocated tweets, but in this case only 10% were geolocated; ideally you’d want more

Launching an LBS Startup


PathGeo is a start up spun out of a National Science Foundation funded project to San Diego State University. The basic technology collects information from social media within a geography and then presents it as a solution to a problem. CityBuddy helps visitors find the “hot” events and even ranks them by popularity on social media. Geo-Win collects content about elections. The business model? CityBuddy does not yet have one. Geo-Win ideally would be sold as a service to campaigns to monitor content. I'm not sure PathGeo will fly with a stronger business model, but best of luck!


Exploiting WAMI (and yes the acronym was new to me, too!)


Wide Area Motion Imagery (WAMI) is video imagery that spans about the area of a city at 3-10 images per second. That’s a far larger area of coverage than most video but at a resolution (1 M) and time scale that’s valuable for public safety type issues. Pixia wrote the WAMI specification and provides the tools to manage that large flow of data that’s typically coming from sensors in planes, balloons, drones and the like. Had such data been available during last year’s Boston Marathon bombings, I’m told by a Pixia rep, once the bombs exploded, officials could have followed the video back in time, determined which “dots” put down the backpacks and tracked them back from whence they’d come. Perhaps the bombers would have been identified and found far faster than the week it took. Pixia is excited to be integrating its tools into ArcGIS.

by Adena Schutzberg on 07/15 at 03:44 PM | Comments | Bookmark and Share

Esri announced its new community connection environment, GeoNet, during the plenary on Monday. Here's what you need to know:

  • It's for everyone interested in discussing geospatial challenges and solutions, not just Esri users.
  • It's more than forums, although the Esri forums now live under its umbrella. 
  • It's aim is to keep the spirit of sharing found at the Esri User Conference going on all year long.
  • It was piloted with participants in the Esri Climate Resilience App Challenge 2014 and others interested in sustainability.
  • It's already in use by George Dailey of the education team in his work exploring sustainability on campus.
  • Members can join groups and follow individuals. And, content including maps, documents etc. can be shared. Posts can be shared out to Facebook, Twitter and other social networks.
  • Participation is already 20% higher than in the forums. Why? Community Manager Timothy Hales suggests its because the forums were typically focused just on technical questions and answers. GeoNet is for a far broader audience.

My Take:

GeoNet could become the place to bring together many of the disparate conversations about GIS that are scattered across the Web. The bottom line: it depend on how members choose to use it. I'll be keeping an eye on its growth, especially for partners and the education community.

by Adena Schutzberg on 07/15 at 10:59 AM | Comments | Bookmark and Share
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