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Monday, July 21, 2014

In the late 1980's, the book, The Clustering of America by Michael Weiss had an immense impact on my career. It was a fascinating look at how people migrate to neighborhoods of similar background, interest and socio-economic status. Today it might seem obvious but in the late 80's mapping technology hadn't yet revealed the spatial aspects and relationships of lifestyle segmentation or psychographics. In the book, readers could look up their zip code and find the dominant lifestyle class in that area. Class labels such as Furs and Station Wagons or Guns and Pickups didn't just spur the imagination, it hit the nail on the head as to what you might expect if you ventured into that zip. Weiss followed that book with The Clustered World in 2000.

Today, nearly every advertising agency and market research firm uses some form of psychographics and are presented with better tools for visualizing spatial relationship. Last week, Esri unveiled its latest version of its lifestyle segmentation system, Tapestry. The company released a Story Map (image at right) that gives just a sampling of the lifestyle clusters now available. Many clusters have changed based upon the huge economic upheaval experienced in the US in the last six years or so. According to Esri:

Trends being seen in the United States today include reduced incomes, lower home values, and an increasingly diverse population. A steady shift in household types from traditional to nontraditional families and an aging population are also portrayed.

If you are really fascinated with who your neighbors really are and perhaps what it says about you, then try the interactive map to find your zip code and hence your unique cluster. If you are like me, you'll spend a significant amount of time trying to debunk how accurate the demographic data is only to find that they are embarrasingly spot on! As I said, Weiss' first book on psychographics, while based upon a competing segementation system originally, was influential in articles I published on the business applications of mapping and GIS. They were also quite accurate in its depiction of neighborhoods and zip code classifications. Today, though I wonder how frequently these clusters could change. We are a more mobile society in the wake of such a devastating economic downturn. Many people have migrated back to cities. But in the wake of social media, we are probably more segmented then the 60 odd clusters in most segmentation systems. We can be more defined by our online social habits and more precisely "clustered" by big data analytics.

Regardless, have fun playing with your cluster.

by Joe Francica on 07/21 at 10:00 PM | Comments | Bookmark and Share

Ordering satellite data always seemed difficult. You had to know that path and scene to order; determine how much cloud cover was present in the scene and make certain that the date was what you needed. In a leap forward, Airbus Defense and Space has integrated a new ordering process making this process extremely simple. The new interface allows users to quickly order scenes from the archive of SPOT 6 & 7 as well as the new Pleiades satellites data in addition to "tasking" the satellite. Tasking in this sense refers to the abilty to order the scene from the next pass of the satellite, essentially providing users with near real-time data acquisition. A unique and simplified interface from within ArcGIS Online was displayed at the Esri UC last week as well. The ordering interface provides the date of the scene and cost. For the ability to receive the next pass data, the cost is $7500.

The Airbus website, GeoStore, has a slightly more complex interface but still contains the basic information such as percentage of cloud cover, spatial resolution, date of acquisition etc. A series of video tutorials to explain the ordering process are available at the Airbus website. Airbus is also offering a series of new cloud services for managed hosting of geospatial data.

by Joe Francica on 07/21 at 06:59 AM | Comments | Bookmark and Share

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Certificate of Competence in GIS from Hawaii Institutions

Starting this August, UH Maui College, Hawai‘i Community College and Kaua‘i Community College will offer two accelerated, eight-week credit courses in Geographic Information Systems (GIS) leading to a Certificate of Competence in GIS

There is no sign this is connected the GTCM, so far as I can tell.

The two courses run August 27th – December 18th and are part of a FAST TRACK program partially funded by the Dept of Labor. The two courses:

  • Intro to GIS/GPS Foundational understanding of GIS/GPS, data management and ArcGIS software integration.
  • GIS in Ecosystem Management Apply GIS skills and ArcGIS software to create geodatabases, 2D and 3D map layers, tables and basic models.  Final projects address real-world problems.

The "Top Five Reasons for GIS" (cited, I guess, to convince student to enroll) are all from the Esri website. 

More Geo for All

The "Geo for All" Advisory Board is pleased to welcome the International Society for Photogrammetry and Remote Sensing (ISPRS)  joining our initiative. 

Webinar: overview of open source GIS within the education realm

Please join us for our monthly meeting on Tuesday, July 22 from 11 AM to 12 PM. This month URISA Texas in collaboration with FOSS4Geo Academy will present an overview of open source GIS within the education realm. The presentation topic is about the new QGIS cross-platform and open source desktop geographic information systems (GIS) curriculum.

Registration info is here.

Geodesigner to Head PSU Architecture/Landscape Architecture

Kelleann Foster, a Penn State landscape architecture faculty member since 1989, has been appointed director of the Stuckeman School of Architecture and Landscape Architecture, and associate dean of the College of Arts and Architecture at the University for a two-year term. Since fall 2013, she has served as interim director of the school, which also includes the college’s graphic design program.

Foster, a Penn State alumna with a bachelor of science degree in landscape architecture, is currently the lead faculty for the online geodesign graduate programs at the University. Within the Department of Landscape Architecture, she previously served as assistant department head (2001-08) and interim department head (2009-11).

National Technology Student Association Competition GeoTech Award

Madison [MS] Middle School students Anna Brock, Haaris Patel and Rimika Banerjee placed first at the National Technology Student Association Competition in Washington, D.C., earlier this month. The three students earned their school's first-year TSA Club a national title by taking the gold in the Geospatial Technology category.

The students taught themselves the unnamed software ("fairly complicated") and did a project on earthquakes. For the onsite project they offered a proposal for a state park in New York.

by Adena Schutzberg on 07/17 at 07:12 AM | Comments | Bookmark and Share

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
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