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Thursday, February 20, 2014

Skybox Imaging, the developer of small, remote sensing satellites ("small sats") has signed an agreement with Orbital Sciences to carry six of Skybox's satellites into orbit aboard an Orbital Minotaur-C rocket scheduled for launch in late 2015 from Vandenberg AFB, according to SkyBox. Through the company's public relations firm, I received this additional information: 

Once in orbit, the launch will bring the number of Skybox’s satellites in space to nine. Skybox plans to have its full constellation of 24 satellites up within five years. For additional details on the agreement, check out the Skybox blog here. Go here for a gallery of recent imagery and here to view Skybox’s second video montage. 

Also, Skybox reports that its imagery of the protests in Kiev was featured in The New York Times this week.

by Joe Francica on 02/20 at 03:49 PM | Comments | Bookmark and Share

How Accurate are GIS-created Routes to School?

The length of routes and the food options along the way are important research topics for those exploring children's health with respect to obesity. How well do the estimated routes created by GIS match with the path students actually travel? Not too well, per a study in the International Journal of Health Geographics: 

GIS modelled routes between home and school were not truly representative of accurate GPS measured exposure to obesogenic environments, particularly for pedestrians. While route length may be fairly well described, especially for urban populations, those living close to school, and those travelling by foot, the additional expense of acquiring GPS data seems important when assessing exposure to route environments.

Recruiting Maps Backfire with Privacy Concerns at U Toronto

The University of Toronto Faculty of Law removed a series of static maps from the Web that showed current students’ approximate addresses. The goal was to show prospective students neighborhoods where they might live. The Faculty’s Admissions & Recruitment office posted the maps, screenshots of Google Map with pins, generated using a sample of current law students' post codes. That did not appease current students who felt the data was not anonymous enough and was used inappropriately.

Bahrain Taps Indian School for GIS Training

Bahrain's GIS Directorate in Central Informatics Organisation and Amity University, based in India, signed a memorandum of understanding. The deal seems to relate to of technical support and training courses. Amity University, of which I've never heard, has campuses in the U.S., UK and UAE. I could not find a program of study in GIS; it might be within another program.

Better Map Symbols from Illinois State

A professor and his team at  Illinois State University are working to improve map symbols used by humanitarian relief organizations during times of crisis. John Kostelnick, assistant professor in the Department of Geography-Geology and his team are working to improve map symbols used in crisis situations and relief work. First results from a survey of some 47 participants suggests there is confusion due to a lack of standard symbols.

New Learning Opportunities in GIS; Some are Free

A new Coursera hosted MOOC from the University of Minnesota is titled, "From GPS and Google Maps to Spatial Computing." There are no details on when it will be offered or who will teach it.

UMBC’s Geographic Information Systems Graduate Program’s Virtual Information Session will be held on Wednesday, April 1, 2014, from 12 to 1 p.m. EDT. The session will provide an overview of the GIS program’s innovative curriculum and practice-oriented instruction, designed for working professionals.

George Mason University's fully online Geospatial Intelligence Graduate Certificate launches Fall, 2014. It seems to be taught by five men in suits. I hope some women will be in the first cohort!

Udemy, one of the online self-paced learning platforms, hosts An Introduction To Working With Electronic Maps, a free course that introduces GIS by teaching QGIS. The course has 13 lectures and two quizzes. The instructor Thomas Fagernesm i based in Melbourne and describes himself as a Professional ICT Trainer: "I am a highly professional Trainer with a focus on setting clients up for success. I hold a Certificate IV in Training and Assessment, and have years of experience in my profession."

GIS for Studying World War I

There is a group on ArcGIS Online for "for educators using ArcGIS to study the First World War." I have to believe there are more than six educators interested in the topic.

by Adena Schutzberg on 02/20 at 05:07 AM | Comments | Bookmark and Share

Microsoft is participating in the Global Innovation Summit, an event in San Jose, CA this week that brings together NGOs, governments and subject matter experts to explore how we can help accelerate the untapped potential in underserved communities. And, that's where the company announced a plan to map Rio's favelas.

A Microsoft team in Brazil has begun a project to start building out this mapping infrastructure in the favelas. The team is seeking to build the necessary infrastructure to enable the many parties necessary for the communities to fully participate in the digital town square in ways that many of us in the developed online world take for granted.  The lessons they learn, and the insights derived from the Global Innovation Summit we hope will serve as a model to reduce the digital divide across the world.

Exactly what will happen to the data once it's collected is unclear.

- Bing Blog

by Adena Schutzberg on 02/20 at 05:06 AM | Comments | Bookmark and Share
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