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Thursday, April 26, 2012

Several Indian news sources area reporting on the launch of India's RISAT-1, an earth observing satellite to monitor weather and crops. Launched Thursday by the Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO), the satellite carries on board a synthetic aperature radar (SAR) sensor.

According to the Daily Bhaskar,

RISAT-1, culmination of nearly ten years of effort by ISRO, has the capability to take images of the earth during day and night as well as in cloudy conditions. Till now, India depended on images from a Canadian satellite as existing domestic remote sensing spacecraft cannot take pictures of earth during cloud cover.

According to Asian Scientist Magazine,

Though ISRO officials maintain that the primary role of the nearly Rs. 500-crore mission is to help in the field of agriculture and paddy monitoring during the kharif season and provide data during natural disasters, speculation is rife that it has a military role too. This theory is triggered by the fact that it is equipped with the first India-made synthetic aperture radar (SAR).

by Joe Francica on 04/26 at 09:44 AM | Comments | Bookmark and Share

While the April 26 webinar was hosted by Socrata, very few details were giving about its offerings. Instead, the session titled "Chicago's Smarter City Transformation" focused on what the city did with the platform. It built an open data portal. Join Brett Goldstein, Chicago’s Chief Data Officer, and Danielle DuMerer, Open Data Project Manager did most of the talking.

Goldstein noted how the platform was design to serve many including academics, the press and hisand other Mom's. There was one shoutout to GIS professionals: Goldstein noted that putting out shapefiles was not enough, so they also provide KML. DuMerer showed off data tables, maps of the data, views of the data, etc. Chicago held a contest to encourage app development and recieved 60 submissions. The open data portal stats include:

  • 328 datasets
  • 470,000+ embeds
  • 1000 + user views
  • 50+ apps

More important perhaps were the ways the open data project impacted they city:

  • No more FOIA (Freedom of Information Act requests)
  • Departmental accountability
  • Cost effectiveness
  • Smarter decisions
  • Civic engagement (included classes to introduce the data and platform)

The two big takeaways for me were:

1) Building such portals (or the SDI for that matter) is still about digging up and reformating data. An engineer wanted to buiild an app about street sweeping. After digging around the city the data was found - it was in a spreadsheet embedded in a PDF. So, it had to be extracted and turned into a data table and geographic layer. As new and shiny as open data programs are, we are still doing much of the same work extractino and conversaion work we did in the 1980s.

2) Return on investment is not being formally measured. Goldstein responded the ROI question by asking how you value gaining public trust or encouraging sotware developers to donate time to trackling civic issues. If Chicago is not insisting on some measure of ROI, I do hope Socrata is working with customers to develop some sort of response to this perennial question.

by Adena Schutzberg on 04/26 at 09:04 AM | Comments | Bookmark and Share

The new map is based on the Flex API and avaialble here. It uses a Bing basemap but I was unable to access it due to a huge splashscreen which I could not dismiss. This happens on my laptop now and again... (Safari, MacOS X if you are wondering...and no I don't want to change my resolution.)

- Aviation News

The Flex Viewer is also in use in Nashua, NH where it's showing off the new Broad Street Parkway Project. It's a software launch as the city is still tweaking details about what parcels still need to be acquired.

- Nahsua Patch

The San Bernardino Associated Governments is looking  at the environmental impacts of extending train service from the city into Redlands, including stops near Esri, the movie theatre and the University of Redlands. Trains may run by 2018.

- San Bernardino County Sun

And Esri has gotten approval for a new parking lot.

- Redlands Daily Facts

by Adena Schutzberg on 04/26 at 04:45 AM | Comments | Bookmark and Share

For the 13th consecutive year, Santa Monica [CA] has won awards from the Public Technology Institute (PTI) for using cutting edge technology to address local issues.

The beachside city won two first-place Technology Solutions Awards -- one for a mobile website that helps motiorists find available parking spaces, the other for an initiatve that informs residents about major construction projects around the beachside city.

Continue reading...

by Adena Schutzberg on 04/26 at 04:03 AM | Comments | Bookmark and Share is a new project from the Partnership for Youth Development, a local nonprofit that works with the full spectrum of after-school and summer programs in the metro area, helping them provide better experiences for local kids.

Eric Jensen is the group’s director of youth engagement, and he says started as an effort to connect young people and families with this growing, ever-changing realm of resources available to them. 

“We recruited over 70 young people from the city of New Orleans, trained them in community mapping skills and we hit the streets,” Jensen says.  

The result is an online site for youth, by youth. It includes all kinds of resources for youth and families. Next on the agenda: a mobile app.


Staff from the Scholars' Lab in the University of Virginia Library hoisted a tethered weather balloon hundreds of feet above Clark Hall last week to demonstrate do-it-yourself aerial photography techniques for students, faculty and staff.

The idea was to show how researchers can use inexpensive aerial photography techniques and geographic information systems technology, or GIS, to quickly gather aerial images and data and stitch it into a map. The workshop was one of three on the subject hosted by the Scholars' Lab last week as part of an ongoing series.

Balloon based data capture is the hot new thing in both aerial image collection and education.

- press release

Indiana University researchers overseeing the effort in Brown County will map and identify every tree in a 62-acre swath of the 550-acre Lilly-Dickey Woods for the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute. The institute is tracking changes in forests over time.

The effort is being led by a grad student. The trees will measured and remeasured every five years.

- Greenfield Reporter

by Adena Schutzberg on 04/26 at 03:33 AM | Comments | Bookmark and Share
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