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Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Dan Kasun, the senior director of Developer and Platform Evangelism for Microsoft's U.S. Public Sector described the trends that are changing computing. I thought it was a succinct way of describing the disruption taking place today that encompasses, cloud, mobile and social media. Kasun shared his three pillars this way:

  • Near limitless resources
    • Cloud computing is creating economies of scale with up to 80% reduction in IT costs; e.g. Microsoft's Chicago data center is a 700,000 square foot facility that is managed by 35 people.
    • He sees that cloud computing's new business model is an agent that will spur economic growth.
  • Ubiquitous computing
    • Broadband networking has created inexpensive and low infrastructure costs.
    • In a populated society, sensors are everywhere (and eventually many of these sensors will be connected to the network)
    • Gartner is predicting that by year end 2012, physical sensors will create 20% of non-video internet traffic" (i.e. temperature,  air flow, humidity, navigation, sound,  pressure, vibration … all tied to a location)
  • Natural "human" interfaces
    • Socialization is everywhere and communications have been molded to allow consistent interaction.

Kasun used an example that Microsoft has created call Eye On Earth, a mapping application of European sensor locations that display the status of air and water conditions. But the platform also allows users to rate the status of any place using social media to update the status of the environment with certain rating factors (dirty, clean,  etc.). Kasun believes that this platform is a good example of mixing cloud technology with social media and human interaction.

by Joe Francica on 05/24 at 05:33 PM | Comments | Bookmark and Share

Indoor navigation comprises the collection of 2D mapping data, building information models (BIM)  and 3D visualization. Presentations delivered at COM.Geo this week nicely framed these issues.

Carl Smyth, director at MobileGIS Ltd, characterized the situation by stating that small scale spaces are inherently 3D, but for true navigation applications, human cognition is challenged. Applications must consider that the obfuscation of objects is prevalent.

Perfect knowledge models break down because there might be too much detail; too many sources; no consistency; and details are incomplete. In contrast with large spaces, most small space features are "areal" and not "linear." So, how does the paradigm change for indoor navigation? Smyth suggested these principals:

  • Pay attention to human cognition.
  • Incorporate mobile device sensors.
  • Offload "hard" conversion, mining, rendering, image processing, or line of sight remotely to a cloud service.
  • Agree to work with partial and contradictory information from multiple sources.
  • Build on a self-sustaining web of consumed and created resources.

Not surprisingly, the company that has invested so much in vehicle navigation, NAVTEQ, is looking closely at facilitating navigation to objects as well, or what Paul Bouzide of NAVTEQ calls "highly-context-focused 'around me' use cases." Citing the not always obvious issue that geospatial features and properties are dynamic. He mentioned that in the case of building models, walls and fixtures change, color schemes and décor change and signage can be altered both purposely and otherwise. Any change can matter crucially to the contextual behavior of the application and to maintaining believability and realism. Most changed features or properties exist in relation to others and can depend on prior changes for consistency. NAVETQ also considers adjuncts to road navigation such as parking spaces, road edge, or sidewalks as a component of small space navigation

Geoff Zeiss, Autodesk's director of the Utility Industry Program, discussed how BIM has significant cost savings not just in pre-construction visualization but also during the entire constricution process so that project managers can keep the project on schedule. But Zeiss pointed out that the biggest use is in operating and maintenance management after construction where, as mentioned above, objects properties change and keeping track of these changes is critical to good building maintenance. Zeiss truly feels that BiM may represent an inflection point in engineering design.

Dr. Eyal Ofek, a principal researcher at Microsoft on the Bing Maps team demonstrated how the problem of "data freshness" and currency can be mitigated by using crowd-sourced information like photos. Microsoft Photosynth has been used to illustrate changes to both indoor and outdoor environments.

Michael Loushine, a senior scientist with Telcordia Applied Research presented information about how to "Move E911 Indoors" thereby extending the scenarios we use for emergency response to indoor situations. He said that standards are being used to Improve situational awareness in e911 prototypes such as those from the OpenMobile Alliance (OMA), 3GPP, Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF) Presence Information Description Format Location Object extension (or PIDF-LO) and the OMA Secure User Plane (SUPL) to perform network-based position determination and context. However key to any implementation would be also based on OGC specifications and the use of CityGML would be important.

Summarizing this session that was organized by the OGC was George Percival suggesting that from here, much collaborative development needs to occur to expand the Geoweb to an "Internet of Things." While the session focused more on the platform development rather than the positioning device environment (i.e. RFID tags or other RF sensors), sensor web enablement (SWE) was a central theme to the entire discussion.

See also OGC's resources.

by Joe Francica on 05/24 at 04:27 PM | Comments | Bookmark and Share

Per David DiBiase (@daviddibiase, Board Member) on Twitter:

Yesterday: "The GIS Certification Institute's Board voted today to endorse the Department of Labor's Geospatial Technology Competency Model."

Today: "GISCI Board votes to move ahead with plans to strengthen portfolio-based GISP certification by adding a competency-based exam."
by Adena Schutzberg on 05/24 at 06:30 AM | Comments | Bookmark and Share

Put Your Neighbors To Work With Zaarly, A Local Market for Odd Jobs

- Mashable

[San Diego] Councilman Carl DeMaio will release his long-awaited free smartphone application Thursday, a mobile system that allows residents to report problems with potholes, broken sidewalks, abandoned vehicles, broken lights, illegal dumping and graffiti.

The $9K app is from Citysourced and the councilman is paying for it from his budget.

- SIgnOnSanDiego

Tesco's "satnav" for grocery shoppers is up and running in one store outside in North London. It's Android only. I wonder how the comparison with "satnav" will encourage/discourage use and confuse those still learning how LBS works indoors?

- Tesco blog

Foursquare CEO Dennis Crowley announced at TechCrunch Disrupt 2011 that Cloud Touch, the INQ phone known for its Facebook integration, will use Foursquare to power its location services.


by Adena Schutzberg on 05/24 at 05:53 AM | Comments | Bookmark and Share

The blueprints of the Northwood-Kensett Senior High School [corrected to IA, per comment] are not good enough for emergency response. So, bring in the tech!

The Trimble Mobile Mapping Solution (TIMMS) is a cart with internal GPSLIDAR or lazar radar that scans the room or hallway it's in and provides something similar to Google Streets.

I'm not sure what lazar or Google Streets is, but you get the idea...

- KAALtv

Ready for some time travel? A Tampa Bay Online article features an interactive map with the bathymetry of the bay, a useful tool for fishermen. The old USGS site does the job but is and looks like it's from 2005! The source of the discussion (Bay Soundings) does not even cite that website, but a host of others.

- Tampa Bay Online

This sounds like overkill to me. But complaints about sanitation issues are down.

Every morning, for example, GHMC [Greater Hyderabad Municipal Corporation] field staff has to photograph each of the 3,800 garbage bins in the city. The photograph is then geo-tagged with the help of GPS in the mobile phones. The coordinates of the location—latitude and longitude data along with date and time—are then stamped on the image, which is compressed and transmitted to a central server in two seconds. Almost instantaneously, the images are available on the website

Anyone accessing the portal can view all the bins at a glance on a geographical information system (GIS)-based interface and can check their status (cleaned, not cleaned or unattended), the accompanying image for proof.

- Livemint

by Adena Schutzberg on 05/24 at 03:09 AM | Comments | Bookmark and Share
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