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Wednesday, March 16, 2011

It's worth reading in full, but here are some interesting bits:

Beginning in 2007, the department took a larger bite, switching out several major Esri GIS products with open source alternatives. McHugh replaced Esri ArcSDE, ArcIMS and MapObjects with open source products GeoServer, OpenLayers and PostGIS. At the time of the switch, the agency was considering whether or not to add Esri’s ArcServer.

“ArcServer was going to be a big investment for us, and it didn’t really align with our standards. The existing platform, ArcIMS, wasn’t really meeting our needs,” Bibiana McHugh said. “After laying everything out, GeoServer immediately popped to the top. It was clear this was an option that could meet all of our needs, save a lot of money — and it aligned with all of our Internet software standards.”

TriMet does still rely on Esri for some functions, however. “We still use Esri as a desktop application for planning and analysis, although a lot of open source software alternatives are getting close to being able to compete with even the Esri desktop applications,” she said.

Bibiana McHugh cautioned that using open source software, especially for demanding functions like GIS, isn’t cost-free. Running open source often requires additional hardware installations and support from third-party providers. Many companies have cropped up to provide development and maintenance services for open source software. She chose the firm OpenPlans, which specialized in TriMet’s chosen applications and charged $20,000 per year.

“That was cheaper than what I was paying for Esri,” McHugh said. “Not only did I get everything I was getting with Esri — priority bug fixes, priority help and assistance — but I also got 100 hours of free time with the developers that I could use however I wanted.”

Using an open source application that’s supported by a third-party developer also gave TriMet more control over changes. “I can put in a feature request to Esri and cross my fingers that it’s in the next release,” Bibiana McHugh said. “But with open source, you have more control, especially if you have the money to support the development of the features you want.”

Esri chose not to comment for this article. 

- Gov Tech

by Adena Schutzberg on 03/16 at 03:31 AM | Comments | Bookmark and Share

Google has added a layer of data to Google Maps for electric vehicle charging stations. You can now locate over 600 stations nationally by typing "EV charging station near [city/location]". 

- Lat Long Blog

Using Google Fusion Tables, the interactive map from Box Office Quadrant pinpoints 9,736 locations from the movie sets of IMDB's Top 2,000 films of the past 100 years (1910-2010).

- LAist

The Google StreetView webpage got an overhaul. "Google has updated the website where it showcases its Street View service with highlights from the most interesting places in the world where Street View is available, the locations of Street View vehicles and more."

- Mashable

by Adena Schutzberg on 03/16 at 03:00 AM | Comments | Bookmark and Share

The Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) will undertake a mapping of mosquitoes in the state using Geospatial Information System (GIS), a senior official said.

Dr S K Kar, director of Regional Medical Research Centre (an ICMR institution), who will lead the study, told TOI on Sunday that the proposed GIS mapping of vectors is aimed at evolving a common strategy to fight all vector-borne diseases at one go.  

It's interesting to me they will map mosquitos vs other stand-ins like standing water, diagnosis of malaria, etc. I wonder how you map mosquitos. Do you trap them and then count them?

- Times of India

The Map Room reports on a forthcoming book by Tom Koch, due out in June: Disease Maps: Epidemics on the Ground. It's got a history of medical mapping up to AIDS and H1N1.

- The Map Room


The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Science to Achieve Results (USEPA-STAR) program has awarded a grant of nearly $500,000 to The Texas Center for Geographic Information Science in the Department of Geography at Texas State.

The grant will support a project entitled “Air Pollution-Exposure-Health Effects Indicators: Mining Massive Geographically Referenced Environmental Health Data to Identify Risk Factors for Birth Defects.”

The three-year project will develop air pollution exposure assessment methods, visual geospatial data mining tools, and epidemiological analysis procedures to define new air pollution-exposure-health effect indicators that cover three components of the hazards-exposure-health effects-intervention paradigm.

San Marcos Local News

by Adena Schutzberg on 03/16 at 03:00 AM | Comments | Bookmark and Share
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