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Monday, May 22, 2006

What if you made a great map of Chicago neighborhoods? Everyone loved it. It hangs in fire stations and police stations and is sold by Rand McNally. But, then what if you wanted to give it to school children in the city? You’d think that’d be easy, but alas cartographer Christopher Devane ran into Chicago Public Schools system bureaucracy and was eventually issued a and “cease and desist” letter to halt his efforts.

by Adena Schutzberg on 05/22 at 07:33 AM | Comments | Bookmark and Share

Others have offered data layers and tools to put GIS and CAD data onto Google Earth, but I think this is the first service of note specifically aimed at Google Earth. And, I’m not surprised. I mentioned this very topic last week in my keynote in Pennsylvania. I wondered how it would be done.

- Would third parties, like Aerials Express, offer for pay services?

- Would Google license such data making it “free” to user to distinguish its offerings from competitors?

- Would demand from end users or portal owners enhance the use of open standards (see a definition here) by data providers and portal providers?

The market will decide. In the meantime, I do expect to see more data providers offer such services. I think it’s interesting that Aerials Express, which has been in business a while offers the service now via Google and not earlier via other non-GIS portals or via things like ArcWeb services. I think this “universal platform” suggests potential profits beyond those of previous sites/clients/services. On the other hand, should standards really get enmeshed in this new world of geography (neogeography - ack!) Aerials Express (and everyone else!) can, with virtually no work, serve up data to any provider or end user on any platform.

See also: Stephan Geens on the topic.

by Adena Schutzberg on 05/22 at 06:57 AM | Comments | Bookmark and Share

A press release from the New Zealand Institute of Surveyors (NZIS) notes that the organization has passed a ruling allowing surveyors with appropriate credentials to call themselves Registered Professional Surveyor (RPSurv). (The website notes the new rules were passed last October. Odd the release is dated May 22.) The required credentials?

...a person must be a member of the NZIS and must have a four-year Bachelor of Surveying degree from the University of Otago (or an equivalent degree), unless already registered under the earlier Survey Act 1986. In addition, members must have a minimum five years professional experience working as a surveyor, show competence in measurement science and three other recognised areas of surveying, with advanced competence in two areas of surveying.

It’s a signficant change, says Professor John Hannah, NZIS President.

... we believe that adding the word Professional to a surveyor’s title heralds a significant change in the requirements we have of our members. By its very nature, the word professional demonstrates a depth of knowledge and experience, a commitment to continuing professional development and provides assurance to those using the services of a member surveyor that they will receive the highest level of professional accountability.

by Adena Schutzberg on 05/22 at 06:00 AM | Comments | Bookmark and Share

The San Bernardino Business Press (Knight Ridder) offers an article about the prospects of veterans in today’s job market. One highlight: jobs in GIS. The article offers these stats about ESRI’s hiring of vets:

[ESRI] has tapped hundreds of personnel from the military to help develop software, said Bill Harp, defense market manager.

In 2005, 10 percent of the company’s new hires were military veterans, said Cindi Peterson Tompkins, director of administrative services. Veterans with geographic information systems knowledge are appointed to various departments, including education and development, Tompkins said.

I suppose that’s good news for the Department of Labor, which predicts shortages of geospatial talent down the road.

GIS and related technologies are highlighted in an article from Computing on IT jobs in tranportation.

In road transport, the key demand is for people with skills in tracking and positioning technologies.

Such expertise is being used increasingly in both road passenger transport – to optimise bus scheduling and provide passengers with timely information at bus stops, for example – and in road haulage.

Butler Group’s Davis says the whole aspect of tracking and positioning has come to the fore.

‘There is a lot of requirement for skills around dealing with geographical information systems (GIS) and global positioning systems (GPS), and integrating them with overall customer relationship management systems,’ he says.

‘Companies such as FedEx track not just their parcels, but all their vehicles as well. The whole issue of radio frequency identification (RFID) tags is also becoming very hot.’

Accenture’s Cruz says people who understand tracking technologies, from very simple radio frequency tracking to very complex GPS systems, will be in great demand.

‘The potential downside of things going wrong can be so costly that many of the freight companies are willing to spend considerable amounts of money on systems that help assure cargo gets to its destination on time,’ he says.

I appreciate that different levels of understanding is highlighted. Not everyone need be a programmer!

In Philadephia, a consultant who worked to get a GPS contract for taxi tracking recently took a job with the company that ultimately won the bid. David Boonin consulted to the Philadelphia Parking Authority and selected Taxitronic of New York City to install a $3.5 million GPS system. Boonin took in $584,000 over three years. According the city, a public official would be barred from such a deal for a year, but as a consultant, there was no legal restriction. Some suggest there’s an ethical breach, however.

by Adena Schutzberg on 05/22 at 06:00 AM | Comments | Bookmark and Share

On May 5 Harvard (that esteemed college by the river in Cambridge, MA) launced its new Center for Geographical Analysis (CGA). According to an article from the Harvard University Gazette, all the posters at the opening shared something beyond a spatial outlook - they shared GIS technology. So, it’s no big surprise alum Jack Dangermond spoke at the event.

Geography was unceremoniously “tossed out” of Harvard 1948. I learned quite a lot about this as geography was reduced to a shadow of itself at the University of Chicago in 1986. I’m all for bringing back geography and if GIS is a tool to do so, all the better.

Another interesting note is the director of the center; he’s not a geographer! Peter Bol, the director, is a professor of East Asian languages.

-via an ESRI feed to a Gazette article

by Adena Schutzberg on 05/22 at 06:00 AM | Comments | Bookmark and Share
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