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Wednesday, December 05, 2012

Wabash County, IL needs new aerial imagery. How do officials know?

Supervisor of Assessments Debbie Gittings said she is working on the 2012 assessments for taxes payable in 2013. She reported the county’s GIS service dates back to 2005 and “is obsolete.” She said using Google maps the office has seen some changes in farmland in the county, some ground cleared that is not showing on the existing GIS.

- Daily Republican Register

Centralia, MO officials are trying to determine the best solution for its GIS.

It boiled down to a choice between using free, open-source software and the city purchasing GIS equipment and having city employees map out the cities various utility lines as time permitted, or paying a company to professionally GIS map the city using their own equipment, trained full-time professionals and proprietary software.

City administrator Lynn Behrns recommended using a firm, with an initial start-up cost of $78,500. Citing the concerns of Ward I’s David Wilkins regarding open source software, Behrns said it would be best for the city to retain the Midland firm to perform the whole project. 

“Nobody is obligated to service or maintain open-source software once it’s out there,” Behrns said. “If there are glitches, nobody out there is obliged to repair the software.”

- Fireside Guard

The Arizona Geological Survey has announced that the National Geothermal Data System(NDGS) has reached a milestone with data from over one million wells now online and available for free to anyone ("> ). ...

The system can accommodate common GIS applications, including GoogleEarth, ArcGIS Online, ArcGIS Explorer, NREL Geothermal Prospector, Microsoft Layerscape, and the USGS’ National Map Viewer. Give it a try.

- Tuscon Citizen

by Adena Schutzberg on 12/05 at 06:42 AM | Comments | Bookmark and Share

The following is from an interview in All Things D with former Time, Life and National Geographic photographer Rick Smolan on his new book, The Human Face of Big Data.

Did you have a particular favorite anecdote or photograph?

I just came back from Australia, and they have this expression down there: Gobsmacked. I think a lot of the pictures in the book convey that feeling. There are some that are funny, some that are just thought-provoking. There’s the case of the Environmental Systems Research Institute (ESRI) that creates these incredibly detailed satellite maps for governments. They found there were villages in Nigeria, which has the highest rate of polio resurgence in the world. There are villages there that have never shown up on any map, no one in the government knew they were there. ESRI can recognize the shape of huts and pathways. The Gates Foundation has been trying to eradicate polio in places like Nigeria, and they have a very big effort there. They took they satellite maps and handed out 10,000 GPS-enabled cell phones to polio workers. They could see where they were in real time, and make sure they got to each of the houses. We spent a week travelling with the polio workers watching them do their work. I think the idea of using satellites to help cure polio is a pretty interesting concept.

- All Things D

Boston's NPR station WBUR has pooled hosptial quality data from a number of sources into a single interaction map/graphic tool called Hosptial Quality in MA.

We’re hoping to kick off a broad discussion about where to find the best care, starting with this snapshot of hospital quality in Massachusetts. The scores and ratings you see on the map and bar chart below are not new. This is all public data, collected by private, state or federal agents and posted online somewhere else. We’re pooling a range of quality measures here to offer you a glimpse of how much quality varies from one hospital to the next and to give you a place to ask your questions about what the health care system will and won’t tell you about quality and why.

The tool for presentation? Tableau.


Yes, real time health data via Google searches does play a role in effectively predicting flu cases.

Researchers at Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health and the National Center for Atmospheric Research have created a computer model that can potentially estimate the probability of flu outbreaks up to seven weeks in advance.

The model uses Google Flu Trends, which tracks the number of flu-related Internet searches in a map combined with and historical flu season data. The goal is to be able to warn people and doctors of the impending outbreak.

And, if you have not heard, the flu is getting an early start in the southern U.S. Better get that flu shot!


by Adena Schutzberg on 12/05 at 06:33 AM | Comments | Bookmark and Share

Cyborg anthropologist: We can all be superhuman - interview with CNN

For instance, you should always be able to get information based on when you need it. Location plays a big role in that. Right now, data is stuck on the web, not where you are. When you land at the airport, you often have to look through your email to get to the information you need in order to get to your destination. It should already be there on your phone.

The problem with the internet of things is that data is stuck online [LeWeb]- coverage of her talk at Le Web

Case works with Esri, a next generation location platform that uses its GIS (geographic information systems) mapping software to help people understand and visualize data to make decisions based on the best information. ...

Case says one of the biggest problems with the internet of things (the theme for this year’s LeWeb Paris) is that data is stuck on the internet. She emphasises that it is important to release all that data into reality.

By pulling all that data into reality, users are able to further personalise their lives which leads to a “quantified self” that allows them to map specific datasets.

by Adena Schutzberg on 12/05 at 06:08 AM | Comments | Bookmark and Share
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