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Thursday, January 24, 2013

This week, as it has done for the past four years, Esri is hosting the Geodesign Summit in Redlands, California. The event gathers the theorists and practitioners of geodesign which has its roots in many spatial disciplines. The goal is to further define as well as propose paths to success using the theories and expose them as best practices in urban planning, landscape architecture, civil engineering and even geotechnical challenges.

What is geodesign (see Wikipedia definition)? As a relatively new discipline, the conference organizers offer suggested definitions from those that are leading the call to employ geodesign throughout the disciplines mentioned above, for example:
Carl Steinitz, recognized "father of geodesign" says, "Geodesign changes geography by design." Bill Miller, Director of Esri's geodesign services says, "Geodesign is design in geographic space." Jack Dangermond, president of Esri says,  "Geodesign is a vision focusing geographic knowledge to actively and thoughtfully design." And Bran Ferren, the conference keynoter this year and co-founder of Applied Minds, a company that prototypes high tech products says, "Geodesign is a form of story telling that combines geography and databases that are geotemporally available in the world, and visualization so we can look at and understand the consequences of actions."
It's necessary to have these definitions because from the standpoint of a 35 year veteran of GIS I might be inclined to say that we've been doing geodesign all along but now have the data, software and hardware that are available at a fair cost. That is, it is now possible to think spatially more cheaply. 
Steinitz in a pre-conference lecture on "Making the Argument for Education in Geodesign" feels the time is now for reorganizing the teaching methods of those engaged in instructing architecture, landscape design, etc.  He said "increased social and environmental risk, ubiquitous technology and demands for democracy and participation will increasingly influence the education and practice of the design professions and geographically oriented sciences and the ways in which those activities are organized and carried out. I think what he is saying is that there is some inevitability that geospatial technology will influence more design disciplines that must incorporate an awareness of the bigger picture and not just the building or park on which they are asked to render a design.
Ferren, in his keynote said that "Geodesign allows you the ability to look into the future and show people the future changes … [it] lets you tell the story. He advocates for a long time horizon on which to think about the impact individuals have on any given design. "Having a 250 year plan enabled by geodesign would give people a different framework … Just have the discipline to sit down for a day it will change your whole thought process," he said. This was Ferren's way of complaining about the short attention span of people, such as politicians and corporate CEO's who are either too focused on re-election or quarterly profits, respectively.
Ferren wants geodesigners to think about a "Bill of Rights for the Planet" … a way to protect basic rights of earth-bound things but which is self-correcting over a long time horizon to adjust for demographic or technological changes. In conclusion, he offered a few guiding principals.  He describes geodesign as an organizing principle that has the tool kit to share ideas. He encouraged designers to take the time to build a long term plan and have the courage to take them on even when it might mean change and sacrifice. "People will make sacrifices so long as you tell the story about how it affects them," he said. "Lead by geodesign. [Use it as] a tool to educate our educators; our politicians and our media leadership."
by Joe Francica on 01/24 at 08:59 PM | Comments | Bookmark and Share

On Tuesday, the Department of Defense announced that for "administrative reasons," the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency (NGA) has reissued an infrastructure and IT-related contract with privately held IT services contractor NJVC, of Vienna, Va., with the current contract worth $391.5 million. NGA also exercised "option year 2011" on the contract.

NJVC was originally hired to design, install, and support "infrastructure" for National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency West, and for IT support at about 170 other NGA locations. NJVC is a subsidiary of Chenega, a Native Alaskan Corporation.

- Motley Fool

by Adena Schutzberg on 01/24 at 06:56 AM | Comments | Bookmark and Share
Blue Raster and partner, Sanametrix, are pleased to present the Demographic Profile Viewer. This is the newest addition to the National Center for Education Statistics’ (NCES) School District Demographics System (SDDS).

The tech? HTML5 using ArcGIS Server JavaScript API with ArcGIS Online basemaps and Geosearch functionality. Oh and Flash.

- Blue Raster Blog via GIS User

Phil Potter writes an opnion piece in the University of Hawaii at Manoa paper, Ka Leo, about the importance of digital mapping in the sciences. He provides examples of student research. He introduces the topic this way:

Science is spatial, and the majority of data we collect and analyze in the natural sciences has a “where” component. Viewing data from a spatial perspective unlocks secrets that can enhance our comprehension and understanding of processes at work.

- Ka Leo

TomTom offers specialized jobs for those finishing masters and PhD students. The next cohort starts Sept 2013 and the process of applying is just like a job. The positions are all in Amsterdam, best I can tell. I could no requirements about what degree areas are of interest, but I'd guess computer science and business. I can't say I'd ever heard of this program before.

- Graduates and Interns Section of TomTom website via GIS User

by Adena Schutzberg on 01/24 at 04:38 AM | Comments | Bookmark and Share

The Geographic Information System (GIS) will create a data base for exporters in food and agro processing products, which will enable Ghana to avoid the risk of having its exports to the European Union (EU) markets reduced. ... The GIS project involves the unique identification of products and raw materials from sources in originating countries and maintenance of accurate records on geographic location of firms, farms, factories, movements and utilisation of products at all stages of the value chain.

Sounds like a great idea; gathering the data sounds really difficult.

- CitiFM Online

The Indian State of Kerala launched it own SDI.

Dubbed as the Kerala Spatial Data Infrastructure Geoportal (KSDI Geoportal), the system allows users to share and access geo-referenced information related to political and administrative boundaries, state geography, demography, agro and socio economy, resources and infrastructure facilities with their attributes.

It's in beta and not publicly available.

6.  Who all can access the Geo Portal system? 
Various government departments, NGOs, academies, Industries and scientific organizations can access the Kerala Geo Portal by registering online. Users can access the relevant map features depends on their roles created by the Administrator. 

- FutureGov

The Department of Special Investigation (DSI) tool,, is designed to provide both state agencies and landowners with the same source of mapping data with transparency to avoid possible arguments over land ownership.

The tool for Thailand is built on Google Maps and open source (OpenLayers). The project was selected as an Innovation Idols Thailand award winner under the Innovation Thailand project, sponsored by Google and the Commerce Ministry's Intellectual Property Department. Six other projects were selected, too.

- BusinessWeek

by Adena Schutzberg on 01/24 at 04:30 AM | Comments | Bookmark and Share
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