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Wednesday, April 16, 2014

U.S. Patent No. 8,700,060 granted yesterday is titled "Determining a location of a mobile device using a location database." It uses Wi-FI data to locate a device in any environment.

Here's the abstract:

Methods, program products, and systems for determining a location of a mobile device using a location database are described. The mobile device can host the location database, which can store locations associated with access points. The locations can be distributed in a group of cells of a geographic grid. When the mobile device moves and connects to an access point associated with a location that is outside the group of cells, the mobile device can request an update of the location database. The mobile device can calculate a current location of the mobile device using current access points that are within a communication range of the mobile device by performing a lookup in the location database using identifiers of the current access points. The mobile device can calculate the current location using the locations corresponding to the current access points in the location database.

via Apple Insider

by Adena Schutzberg on 04/16 at 05:22 AM | Comments | Bookmark and Share
Lieutenant General Michael T. Flynn, Director, Defense Intelligence Agency gave the final keynote Tuesday morning at GEOINT 2013*, during which he discussed “DIA’s Way Forward”—summed up:  Innovation, Investment, and Integration.  The way forward is about “bringing together” and he highlighted that this is particularly true for small business.  A wise innovation strategy includes:  start small, scale fast and fail cheap.  Following his keynote, LTG Flynn answer questions in a briefing.  Notable were his responses to the following:
“Given that you told us that DIA’s top secret customers number over 230,000, what’s your perspective on ICITE?” [ICITE--Intelligence Community Information Technology Enterprise-- is the Intelligence Community’s platform for sharing information across organizations and with varied stakeholders.]
“It’s changed a lot” said Flynn.  He continued that obstacles with acceptance of ICITE—no surprise—are of a cultural rather than technological nature.  “A decade of war has taught us that to win together we have to share, and beyond just sharing within the US intelligence community, we have to share with other countries.”
Integrating the cloud architecture has changed determinations of what an analyst needs to be successful.  A recent DIA analysis of over 900 apps showed that more than 700 were rarely used while in contrast a small number were used by thousands of analysts.  As a result, approximately 700 apps were retired resulting in multi-millions of dollars of savings, all accomplished over a period of 60 days.  “It’s forced a review of the contracting process.”  Flynn shared that he’s a business person by training, who learned and now leads an intelligence operation, but now it’s “time to apply business thinking.  A decade of living high on the hog—it’s changed.”
by Wes Stroh on 04/16 at 05:19 AM | Comments | Bookmark and Share

The Director of National Intelligence (DNI), James Clapper, addressed the GEOINT 2013* Symposium attendees and warned that the current budget cycle of the U.S. federal government will see no reprieve from current spending imperatives.  "We've been in a decreasing budget cycle and it will continue," said Clapper. "We told our national leaders that we were not going to do more with less; we're going to do less with less."

More pointedly, however, Clapper said that GEOINT is going to be increasingly critical to our national security because of the leaks by Edward Snowden. In addition, GEOINT has played a heavy roll in Syria and Ukraine analyses. Clapper said that  "customer #1 has gotten schooled up on what GEOINT can do for him," referring to President Obama.

Referring to Snowden, Clapper was decidedly annoyed at the current perception of him as a "hero" to students because of his supposed "whistle blower" intentions in releasing classified information. "Despite being a geezer, I get it," said Clapper. However, Clapper believes that compromising national security and ignoring the multitude of channels Snowden had available to him to report abuses places Snowden in the category of a traitor, not a patriot. "Snowden's release has gone way beyond professed concerns about privacy ; he released information on how we detect cyber threats and we lost critical foreign intelligence sources; we've seen threats change because of this; and now we are less secure than before."

However, Snowden's actions has had an impact on the intelligence community (IC) resulting in more transparency. Clapper said that the IC has declassified document in an effort to increase transparency but not without a cost. "Adversaries go to school on this transparency." But Clapper felt this was needed despite the cost and to make the attempt to "engage in conversations that free societies have and counter misconceptions that IC workforce is violating civil liberties." The very integrity of the IC was at stake said Clapper.

Photo courtesy of the USGIF

by Joe Francica on 04/16 at 04:37 AM | Comments | Bookmark and Share

Tracking Garbage Trucks to Clean up Cambodia

It's time to better manage Phnom Penh’s mounting piles of garbage

The pilot project, which will run for six months, will be limited to Daun Penh district [Phnom Penh, Cambodia]. Initially, it will monitor 14 aging garbage trucks using GPS and geographic information systems (GIS) mapping software to streamline collections and highlight problems encountered on routes.

Why the tracking? The company with a 50 year (!) contract to pick up garbage, Cintri, isn't doing so well.

Learn Queensland's Online GIS (for a Fee)

Queensland Globe is the Australian state's mapping and data online interactive tool. A three hour in-person course to learn how to use it is AU$250.

Mapping OKC Street Health

Oklahoma City assesses the condition of 8,151 lane-miles on a numerical scale called the Pavement Condition Index (PCI) about once every two years. Nearly 14,000 road segments in 620 square miles of Oklahoma City were last analyzed between March and April of 2013.

There's a very nice CartoDB map of the results.

Continue reading...

by Adena Schutzberg on 04/16 at 03:37 AM | Comments | Bookmark and Share

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Field & Stream called it a “…very cool tool and quite a bit of fun.” MinnPost described it as a “…high-tech illustration of Norman Maclean’s timeless view that, ‘Eventually, all things merge into one, and a river runs through it.” And Popular Science noted that, “There’s something especially satisfying about clicking a stream that…shoots its way across multiple states to empty into the ocean.”

These publications are all describing Streamer, the popular on-line mapping program from the U.S. Geological Survey. Streamer is a powerful, yet easy way to explore our major waterways. With a simple map click, anyone can trace rivers and streams from a starting point all the way downstream to where a stream drains. Even more impressive, they can click on a stream and trace all others that drain to that point. Streamer also produces a report that includes a map and information about the people and places encountered along the streams traced.

As good as Streamer was when it launched last summer, it just got better. Four major enhancements and dozens of small improvements have been made. These include:

  • A new map layer displays the locations of real-time streamflow stations across the country. Streamer updates this information hourly and symbolizes these stations to illustrate current streamflow conditions compared with each station’s observed mean streamflow on the same day of the year.
  • You can tell at a glance whether conditions are above, below, or at normal levels at each station.
  • Links are provided from Streamer directly to selected stations for additional information and data.
  • Another new map layer has been added that shows weather radar across all 50 States.
  • Useful improvements to Streamer’s detailed reports have been added.  One of these lists the names of waterbodies (lakes, reservoirs, etc.) along the path of your trace.
  • Congressional Districts encountered along your trace have been added.
  • A mouse click takes you from the Streamer report to additional information from the Census Bureau about socioeconomic conditions in each District.
  • Searching for locations on Streamer’s map by place name, zip code, geographic coordinates and more is greatly enhanced.

It’s fascinating to explore the connections among our major streams and rivers using this improved new edition of Streamer.  In its first eight months in service, Streamer users traced more than 2.9 billion river miles.

The USGS announced in February that it is ending production of the National Atlas on September 30, 2014 and that some of its products and services would transition to The National Map.  With this release, Streamer becomes the first of these National Atlas products and services that The National Map will offer.  For cartographers and geospatial information professionals, Streamer’s surface water data is available for download at no cost.

For more information:

Reprinted from the USGS Blog.

by Adena Schutzberg on 04/15 at 08:59 AM | Comments | Bookmark and Share
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