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Tuesday, July 13, 2010

The NGAC meeting set for the ESRI UC will be at 8:30 am in room 28 D. These are open meetings, so if you are interested in what NGAC is doing and in a discussion of, please attend. And, if you do and can share what occurred please let me know as we’d love to publish a synopsis. Alas, I’ll already be on the east coast.

by Adena Schutzberg on 07/13 at 11:13 PM | Comments | Bookmark and Share

Microsoft is hosting a contest called the "King of Bing Maps" challenge. You’ll use the Bing Maps SDK to create a rich experience and showcase your unique location technology ideas. Microsoft’s Bing Map gallery already has quite a list of unique apps and they are looking for more. Submit your entries by July 25. Will you be the next "King of Bing Maps?" I’ll be the judge of that…actually myself, Greg Sterling of SearchEngineLand and Josh Lowensohn of CNET WebCrawler are the panel of judges. Good luck.

by Joe Francica on 07/13 at 11:12 PM | Comments | Bookmark and Share

Several people noted to me that the exhibit hall was not crowded. By that they meant there was a lot of open space. I have to agree - there was a lot of “booth art” - giant physical features built out of tinker toy that were perhaps aimed at filling space. I also learned from one vendor that ESRI provided the booth graphics for the small booths in the sustainability area. So, I read that as: exhibitors are down this year. And, exhibitors have changed places. Who are the two (only two) platinum sponsors? Trimble and Javad, both essentially, surveying hardware companies.

Continue reading...

by Adena Schutzberg on 07/13 at 10:19 PM | Comments | Bookmark and Share

A late entry to the Tuesday lunch time sessions was one I saw tweeted last week related to GIS use and the Gulf Oil Spill. Offered as a chance to ask questions, share information and network, the unstructured session prompted some interesting, if unanswerable questions:

What datasets have gotten more value since the spill?
What can we learn from this spill about what to basemap to deal with future spills?

My real goal in attending was to ask my big question (the one we posed in this podcast): What are agencies doing with the crowdsourced data from the various mobile and Web apps out there?

I got an answer from a NOAA staffer (and I think another NOAA staffer), which I paraphrase:

Basically, each Incident Command Post (ICP) does its own thing. Some are selecting one app, training volunteers to use it and then tapping into that “authoritative data” to send resources. The rest has “anecdotal” value but could of course be “noise.” Each post has a Social Media Coordinator who is ideally keeping an eye on the social sphere, if not monitoring it formally. The Florida Gator Program was noted as an example of group using social media.

No one else in the room could speak to how crowdsourced information was being used.

by Adena Schutzberg on 07/13 at 05:08 PM | Comments | Bookmark and Share

You never know quite where any conversation with Dale Lutz and Don Murray of Safe Software will go. My conversation with them at the ESRI User Conference started with a tour of the company’s new booth, complete with a new tag related to Spatial Data Mastery. It was time, they noted, to move away from Spatial ETL, which meant a lot to IT people, but less to some potential users. Along with that tag comes a series of questions to which the answer is Ask FME! The one Dale like’s best: BIMmed about some disRaster?

The pair noted our discussion of the Community Maps project ESRI is hosting that integrates data from user organizations into basemaps. How do you get your data into those sorts of “templates” for integration? FME. In fact, FME was used to massage data from all the counties in Indiana for its IndianaMap.

Safe is perhaps the only company already shipping a product that works with ArcGIS 10. Why? It was a big job. Don explained taht while it ArcGIS 10 may not look at that different to the end-user on the outside, the inside is very different, requiring one of the bigger engineering efforts that Safe has undertaken in the last few years. But, they note proudly, it works! One the new features about which they are most proud is working well with ESRI’s new 3D visualization and analysis tools. It’s possible they note to take 2D data, building heights and some sample textures and whip up a decent 3D model in just a few minutes - on a laptop! If you have pictures of the sides of buildings (one town did) you can get the model to look quite realistic. On the other hand, since the “side pictures” of the particular Canadian were taken from a distance, there are a few that plaster images of the car parked alongside the house on its wall! FME’s 3D “on demand” is in play on a UK site called But is there a need for and demand for the 3D models? Definitely, notes Dale. Local government officials are coming to expect those models to exist, as perhaps their constituents are as well. The demo in the plenary that measured how many windows on a new building would be in shadow for how many hours a day can seal the deal for use of these models.

Another interesting use for FME is as a manager for XML. Why would you need to manage XML files, they are easy, right? Well, simple ones are but when they are nested to represent non-relational data files, they get complex. Who is using that sort of representation? INSPIRE, the SDI effort in Europe. Basically, each country is required to take its GIS data, in whatever form and output it to this complex XML data model. After working with a team from Sweden to add the needed transformers, the pair feels they are in a good position to help any of the countries who need to map their data to the INSPIRE data model do so. (press release on prototype)

What’s coming in the next version? Support for LiDAR data as an input, storage of media files (images, PDFs, video, etc.) in the geodatabase, writing to Google Docs, and “ArcObjects-independent support for the file geodatabase” [corrected 7/13, originally said personal geodatabase] once ESRI releases its API. Dale thinks that once ESRI delivers that API shapefiles can begin their retirement. As for Don and Dale, no signs of them retiring any time soon!

by Adena Schutzberg on 07/13 at 04:14 PM | Comments | Bookmark and Share
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