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Tuesday, August 09, 2011

Here's the news via the reporters who were invited (Directions Media was not invited; we are ok with that):

  • The FCC can't commit to a reivew of the LightSquared matter by the expected September timeframe.
  • The FCC notes it never set a timeframe for the review to be completed. LightSquared cited the mid-September date as when it expected approval.
  • FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski stated he wanted GPS and LightSquared to co-exist and asserted the review would be "fact-based" and "engineering-based." 
  • FCC officials assured GPS users the interference issues would be mitigated before approval of any plan.
  • LightSquared's CEO Philip Falcone stated the company will continue to work with the FCC and GPS companies.

- The Hill Blog

by Adena Schutzberg on 08/09 at 12:51 PM | Comments | Bookmark and Share

In a webinar for the press today Autodesk showed off two new products: Autodesk Infrastructure Modeler 2012 (AIM) and AutoCAD Utility Design 2012. I'm going to focus on the former since it's more broadly relevant to GIS users than the more industry specific Utility Design offering. Per the press release:

Autodesk Infrastructure Modeler 2012 is a conceptual design software solution for infrastructure that helps industry professionals quickly develop convincing project proposals for faster stakeholder buy-in and more confident decision making. Autodesk Infrastructure Modeler helps users to create models that represent the natural and built environment; evaluate multiple conceptual designs for projects all in one model; and communicate visually rich proposals to stakeholders.
If that's a bit much, let's try this: it's a tool for professionals to whip up visuzliations based on real models and show them to clients and the public. The presentation started off with "what if you could model a whole city in an hour" which of course was ludicrous unless you already had the various datasets and models. And, that's really the point of this tool. It can "pull in" all the data, models etc. and visualize them, examine, evaluate and tweek them with client or public input. That said, a pro seems to need to "drive" the software and sketching, but the visuals are quiet interpretable by citizens. The magic of data access is provided by Autodesk's feature data object technology (FDO) and the products data storage is via SQLite. Despite the insistence on all the data types that could be used, the only ones listed were from Autodesk. There are FDOs to access to other formats (there's a list in this FAQ (pdf)), but not to my knowledge, geodatabses...yet.
The other side of the coin, that is the sketched, tweeked and updated designs made in AIM can be output back the appropriate design or analysis tool: AutoCAD Map, Civil 3D, Revit, NavisWorks and other Autodesk platforms. I guess that's also done via FDO. That confirms the role of this tool for sketching and visualization; those other products continue to do the "heavy lifting."
Whie Autodesk's presenters did not use the term "geodesign," that is what kept going through my mind during the demo. Many of the ideas (like features that have "time knowledge" and appear or disappear based on their demolition date) have popped up in geodesign discussions I've attended. The selling point seems to be that single tool can redefine how evaluation is currently done. One quote noted the time frame to develop a plan shrunk from two weeks to two hours.
"AutoCAD Utility Design software is a model-based design solution for electric utility distribution networks that combines design and documentation with standards-driven workflows and analysis." To me the demo looked like all the other "ruled based" design apps I've seen over the years. It comes with I think they said 300 rules, but they are customizeable. I'm sure that's something utility designers appreciate.
Both products are available now (pricing was not discussed and is not immediately available on the Web) and are part of the Autodesk Building Information Modeling (BIM) for Infrastructure portfolio. They complement the Autodesk Infrastructure Design Suite 2012. I'm not sure anymore what those portfolios and suites are, but the names of these products and the suites and portfolios suggest Autodesk's focus on traditional GIS continues to weaken. Or, said another way, GIS is "in there" via AutoCAD Map and that's sufficient.
by Adena Schutzberg on 08/09 at 09:41 AM | Comments | Bookmark and Share

NextGov dug into the nearly 3000 comments to the FCC (not sure if they mapped them) and summarized them. The highlights:

- ag users of GPS were well represented arguing against allowing LightSquared to proceed

- rural populations responded "pro" including "half the population of Maine

- NextGov

LightSquared said Monday that regulators should ignore the advice from the the board of the National Executive Committee for Space- Based Positioning, Navigation & Timing. The interference issues were too great to allow the compny to move forward and the committee suggests that LightSquare move to different area of spectrum. The committee does not set policy, but the FCC will surely review its and other input as it makes its final decision on the matter. 

- Kansas City Star

The FCC has called an invite only press conference on LightSquared for today after its scheduled meeting. There's no speculation about the topic. Reply comments to the those collected are not due until Aug 15. I'll keep any eye out for any announcements.

- TelevisionBroadcast

by Adena Schutzberg on 08/09 at 08:44 AM | Comments | Bookmark and Share

The Guardian has a dataset and a map produced via Fusion Tables (do you think a name that suggests mapping would be better for the general public?).

- The Guardian

Here's the Telegraph's.

- Telegraph

And a tweet map based on the #LondonRiots hashtag built on the well-known UKsnow code.

- London Riots

I do not see one yet from Esri (current events maps).

The Atlantic has a map of boroughs that hosted riots (is that the right verb? I think not.) and those with more than the average number of surveillance cameras.

- The Atlantic

by Adena Schutzberg on 08/09 at 07:45 AM | Comments | Bookmark and Share

Seven Chandler employees were recently recognized as "Employees of the Year" and received framed certificates and $200 gift cards for their exceptional work. The city has 1,501 full-time employees. ...

Michael Rose, GIS database analyst: Developed user-friendly interactive maps on the municipal website for public use and additional map features for internal websites

- AZ Central

Cascade Environmental Resource Group, an environmental consulting company based in Function Junction, is helping to complete the Trans-Canada Trail, a long-term project that, at 22,500 kilometres, is pegged as the world's longest network of trails.

The goal of the trail is for it to cross the county - but the GIS had not gotten enough attention and there were dangling trails and gaps. So, after some gap analysis and exploration of satellite imagery, there's a plan to complete the trail by 2017.

- Pique Newsmagazine

Oakville, outside Toronto, Ontario, Canada is working to fight off the emeral ash borer, which if left to its own devices will destroy the city's 180,000 ash trees. The tools in use include remotes sensing, GIS and pesticide, which has already been administered to trees on public property.

A series of interactive maps on the town’s website make it easy to find the 80 per cent of salvageable trees growing on private property.

The town mapped its ash trees through hyperspectral analysis — a process that involved flying over Oakville with a specialized camera capable of detecting ash trees. The maps make it easy for residents to see whether they live in an area with ash trees. Trees are tagged with a GIS system so residents can see whether their favourite ash tree is being treated, as well as the height and diameter of the tree.

It’s not a cheap investment, said McNeil. The hyperspectral mapping cost around $175,000. A report to Oakville Town Council estimates the cost to save the ash trees will be about $2.8 million a year for the next six years, with ongoing expenses to last for 10 to 15 years.

- The Star

by Adena Schutzberg on 08/09 at 03:36 AM | Comments | Bookmark and Share
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