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Friday, March 08, 2013

Representatives Zoe Lofgren (D-San Jose), Ted Poe (R-TX) and Suzan DelBene (D-WA) Wednesday (best I can tell) introduced H.R. 983, the Online Communications and Geolocation Protection Act. Per Lofgren's website, it "would strengthen the privacy of Internet users and wireless subscribers from overbroad government surveillance by requiring the government to get a warrant based on probable cause before intercepting or forcing the disclosure of electronics communications and geolocation data."

It includes these requirements:

  • Require the government to obtain a warrant to access to wire or electronic communications content;
  • Require the government to obtain a warrant to intercept or force service providers to disclose geolocation data;
  • Preserve exceptions for emergency situations, foreign intelligence surveillance, individual consent, public information, and emergency assistance;
  • Prohibit service providers from disclosing a user's geolocation information to the government in the absence of a warrant or exception;
  • Prohibit the use of unlawfully obtained geolocation information as evidence;
  • Provide for administrative discipline and a civil cause of action if geolocation information is unlawfully intercepted or disclosed.

A version was introduced last year, too.

- Congressowoman Zoe Lofgren via @mappsorg ("New bill aimed to limit #geolocation and #geospatial data")

by Adena Schutzberg on 03/08 at 06:16 AM | Comments | Bookmark and Share

Jonathan Feldman is the chief information officer for the city of Asheville, NC. He keeps computer networks and technology working for both staffers and citizens. And, he thinks of his team as a startup. He encourages testing and piloting to see what works.

For instance, GIS analysts in his department tried a small pilot project with city brush truck drivers. Just by checking the odometer and then running a route optimization program on the pickup addresses, they discovered how to cut down an average of 40 percent in mileage, saving gas and, of course, taxpayer dollars.
And he 
organized the city’s first Open Data Day, bringing together academics, techies, journalists, citizens and other advocates to think up new ways to make public records readily available online. “If it’s an open record, let’s make it open data.”
Corpus Christie Texas is getting new weather forcasting tools.
A planned upgrade to 159 Doppler radar stations across the nation to Dual-Polarization includes the system for the National Weather Service Corpus Christi, which is located at the Corpus Christi International Airport. This upgrade will essentially allow meteorologists the ability to more accurately provide details about rain, snow, ice, severe thunderstorms and tornadoes.
But GIS will have to wait.

The local station also is expecting a computer system upgrade in coming years that will focus on geographic information systems, or GIS.

The Sacremento Police switched crime mapping systems.
The former uses Google Maps, the latter uses BAIR Analytics and Esri technology. No info on why the change was made.
by Adena Schutzberg on 03/08 at 05:39 AM | Comments | Bookmark and Share

Design students at Cal State Long Beach are building a drone - but it's a team effort.

The Geospatial Research and Mapping project, or GRAM, is a venture of an industrial design senior studio class in collaboration with the geography and anthropology departments.

More than 30 students and staff are midway through designing a prototype of an unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) that, unlike other drone models available in the market, is cheap, easy to assemble and can be customized for whatever purpose the user desires, according to senior industrial design student Scott Lee.

- Daily 49er

Meric Gertler, a world-renowned expert on urban issues, will be the next President of the University of Toronto, Richard Nunn, Chair of the University’s Governing Council, announced today. 

- University of Toronto

Chadron State College [Nebraska] faculty members are seeking five grants totaling over $250,000. The largest application, for $150,000, is intended to enhance students’ experience using GPS and Geographic Information Systems. Employers expect job applicants to demonstrate a proficiency level with GPS/GIS that could be reached with a technologically strengthened rangeland and agricultural curriculum, according to Dr. Chuck Butterfield, professor and department chair of Applied Sciences.

The grant application is being made to the National Institute of Food and Agriculture.

- Rapid City Journal

by Adena Schutzberg on 03/08 at 05:00 AM | Comments | Bookmark and Share

If you read the goals of the National Science Foundation funded roadmap for geography education project, you'd have found there were four parts. Three reports are currently available on the National Geographic road map website (APB coverage, Feb 2013). The final part, prepared by the American Geographical Society, is titled the Geographic Knowledge and Values Survey and is now available from AGS (pdf). It is dated March 5. The road map website described the effort this way:

As an integral part of this project, the American Geographical Society conducted a nationwide Geographic Knowledge and Values Survey. Geographers throughout the country solicited respondents to collect baseline data for measuring national progress in geographic literacy over the coming years.

AGS developed an online survey that ran from Dec 2011 to March 2012. I recall seeing the link to the survey on Twitter during that time. I checked out the survey, but decided not to respond.

The summary of the 78 page report concludes that:

American predominantly:

  • Appreciate geography and its functions, whether they know it is geography or not.
  • Appreciate geography education.
  • Want more geography education for their children.
  • Wish they had received more geography education in their own schooling.
  • Expect geography to be taught at all educational levels from elementary school to elite
  • universities.
  • Expect geography instructors to have formal training in geography.
  • Recall and use lessons learned in their own geography courses.
  • Lack specific knowledge of geographic and cartographic methods and techniques.
  • Understand which physical and human topics may be of interest to geographers.
  • Believe geography and its skills are useful in many professions and government agencies.

I'm hopeful this report will join the other three at the National Geographic site. I'm not sure why it was released later than the others or why it's hosted by AGS. Of the four organizations that participated in the project (National Geographic, the Association of American Geographers [AAG], the American Geographical Society and the National Concil for Geographic Education [NCGE]) only NCGE provides a link to the reports on the National Geographic site. AGS provides a link only to its own report. So far as I can tell AAG has not noted the reports on its website or via its newsletters or social media.

The March 5 publication date of the AGS report might explain why National Geographic is waiting until the end of March to begin its commuincations efforts about the reports.

The public release of the Road Map reports is being scheduled for late March 2013. At that time, we will be initiating a communications and dissemination initiative designed to get the word out about the reports and their recommendations. In the meantime, the press release announcing the grant award is available here for background information about the project.

by Adena Schutzberg on 03/08 at 04:47 AM | Comments | Bookmark and Share
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