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Friday, June 23, 2006

This quote from underwater archaeologist Clive Cussler describes how he hopes to find the Bonhomme Richard, the battleship that sank under John Paul Jones.

Coupling a drift model technology with what’s called geographical information systems, the charts, wreck lists, snags and hangs, and being able to put everything together into one computer program enables you to better recognize patterns.

Stories like this highlight that “just putting dots on a map” is not the be all and end all of geographic analysis. And, I have to say there’s been a bit of a run on stories on GIS in archeology of late in one the Web and in the blogosphere.

by Adena Schutzberg on 06/23 at 07:19 AM | Comments | Bookmark and Share

Thursday, June 22, 2006

The Christian Science Monitor offers an article highlighting the use of before and after satellite imagery to document, and in the future, ideally to prevent, human rights abuses.

A foundation grant and technical help from the American Association for the Advancement of Science in Washington could speed its use. The effort has been under way since this past December, when the MacArthur Foundation handed the AAAS a $110,000 check to help human rights groups use commercial satellite images to document abuses.

The article notes work in Chad, Zimbabwe, India and Burma. This is not whiz bang fly around for fun work; this is saving lives type of work. I was pleased to see the projects are “using archived images that a pair of companies are making available for free.” How else might the geospatial community help? Is this something GIS Corps or other philanthropic groups could address?

by Adena Schutzberg on 06/22 at 01:17 PM | Comments | Bookmark and Share

GCN offers up a detailed account of the state of DHS, FEMA and online mapping. Quoted are reps from NSGIC, URISA and other organizations. NSDI is even mentioned. Still, details are few and the overall vision is not clear to me.

Though some experts say the two terms [disaster response and hazard mitigation] have become almost synonymous, geospatial technology is generally regarded as going beyond the now-familiar marriage of electronic maps and data of geographic information systems by adding more sophisticated analysis.

by Adena Schutzberg on 06/22 at 09:36 AM | Comments | Bookmark and Share

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

The debate in Huntsville Texas over whether to get a new flyover for $190,000 is perhaps indicative of the challenges facing aerial imagery and GIS companies. Consider this statement from the mayor:

We have three surveying crews that work 40 hours a week, and we have access to other options. We have other options, so why not explore those other options.

I’m all for exploring other options, including one suggesting the area may have already been flown in recent years. I’m also pleased the paper published comments from both sides. These will help all of us in the industry better understand how to position our offerings. The motion to fund the contract did pass 5-4.

by Adena Schutzberg on 06/21 at 06:44 AM | Comments | Bookmark and Share

The local TV station touts MapWindow, free GIS software written by Idaho State grad students. The description of MapWindow is forward-looking: “The software is called MapWindow GIS, it is part of the world wide Geographic Information System.” I love the idea that one day we’ll have a single world wide system of systems (GSDI).

Map Windows G-I-S started as an alternative for people who were interested in this technology, but who didn’t want to pay for expensive software.

The software had its 10,000 download in April and is described by a student as offering “the ability to do scientific analysis on a map.” The desktop software/control and other tools are open source and supported, by among others, NOAA.

by Adena Schutzberg on 06/21 at 05:45 AM | Comments | Bookmark and Share
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