The GIS Lens
David Heller
David Heller
David Heller is the founder and President and CEO of IBSystems, Inc , MCADCafe's parent company. Always curious and on the look out for 'cool tech' he enjoys thinking outside the box and sharing his discoveries with you.

HP ZBook15 Mobile Workstation Review – Is Beauty More Than Skin Deep?

 
December 2nd, 2013 by David Heller

HP recently introduced its ZBook series of mobile workstations. After attending the product launch in NYC, I was fortunate enough to get a top of the line HP ZBook 15 mobile workstation to evaluate and discover if this sleek new beauty’s performance promise was more than skin deep.

My evaluation unit was über equipped with the highest performing NVIDIA GPU, included a built-in HP DreamColor Display system and came with the following specifications as supplied:

O/S:  Windows 7 Professional 64-bit Service Pack 1
CPU:  Intel® Core™ i7-4800MQ with Intel HD Graphics 4600 (2.7 GHz, 6 MB cache, 4 cores)
GPU:  NVIDIA Quadro K2100M (Designed specifically for mobile 15.6″ Platforms and the high end of offered GPUs)
Storage: Hard Drive – 500 GB (Includes 32GB Flash Cache and is Expandable to 1.87TB)
System Memory:  16GB  RAM – (Expandable to 32GB with 64bit O/S and Quad Core processor)
Display:  Full HD 15.6″ diagonal LED-back lit UWVA eDP anti-glare (1920 x 1080) screen with integrated HP DreamColor Display system providing more than a billion color possibilities.
Ports and Connectivity:  2 USB 3.0; 1 USB 2.0; 1 USB 3.0 charging port; 1 Thunderbolt1; 1 DisplayPort; 1 stereo microphone-in/headphone-out combo; 1 RJ-45 Ethernet; wireless;1 docking connector; 1 secondary battery connector; 1 VGA port; 1 SD compatible memory card reader
Other: Webcam with Cyberlink YouCAM control software installed;  Optical Storage with  Blu-ray read, DVD/CD read/write; fingerprint reader; Kensington lock port
Weight with batteries:  Starting at 6.2 lb (2.82 kg)
Warranty: Protected by HP Services, including a limited 3 years parts, 3 years labor, and 3 years on site service (3/3/3) standard warranty.

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3 Ways GIS is Powering Civic Engagement Initiatives

 
September 20th, 2013 by Steve Ressler

The following post highlights GovLoop’s latest guide on GIS, The Mapping Revolution: Incorporating Geographic Information Systems in Government. The report features case studies and best practices from the Census Bureau, Geoplatform.gov and United States Department of Agriculture and insights from Esri President, Jack Dangermond. (Download PDF or view online below). This blog post is an excerpt from the section, 7 Ways GIS is Powering Civic Engagement Initiatives.

Mobile programs connect dynamic working environments and increase efficiency by providing real-time information to entire agencies. However, mobile is not just useful inside of an agency, but it is also beneficial for connecting government agencies with citizens.

Monica Pratt, Editor of ArcUser magazine, states that two types of civic engagement apps are emerging. Pratt states, “The first type complements existing government services and makes them more accessible. The second, more intriguing type, encourages people to work closely with government to do things no one had thought of doing before, like rounding up volunteers to clean beaches after a holiday weekend.”

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HP‘s Big Workstation Launch Wows ‘em In the Big Apple

 
September 12th, 2013 by David Heller

This year’s HP workstation product launch event was the biggest I’ve ever attended, and the most exciting in terms of the revolutionary new product offerings presented and the people I met and interviewed.

We gathered early on Wednesday morning in a large hall in the NYC Sheraton Hotel, right in the midst of bustling Times Square, and to get the ball rolling were treated to speeches by some heavy hitting HP workstation users.

The Appetizer

Mark Russell – Director, Producer, and Vfx Expert

First at bat was Mark Russell, and he hit it out of the park.  Mark is an independent Vfx creator and supervisor who headed up the special effect team during filming and now working post production on the upcoming Martin Scorsese film ‘The Wolf of Wall Street’ that’s destined to become a blockbuster when it hits the theaters later this year.

We were treated to some video outtakes from this production that showcased the VFx work that Mark produced for this film that was primarily shot and produced on Long Island and in Manhattan, just a quick subway ride to Brooklyn where Mark lives.

When you watch the film you won’t know where reality ends and CG takes over, it’s done that well.  One series of fly-over shots  were taken of a mansion in the Hamptons with multiple takes from a 4-bladed radio controlled miniature helicopter equipped with a super high-definition camera that transmitted the video wirelessly to an HP workstation on the ground for processing and viewing in real time.  The mini-copter stays in the air for less than a minute before running out of juice and the ground crew had to plop in new batteries fast to get this small bird back in the air before the ‘magic’ light evaporated.  The perfect lighting conditions occur close to sunset and the perfect light window lasts only around thirty minutes, so the film crew had to be super organized to shot this series in the allotted time, and keeping everyone and everything organized was a major part of Mark’s job.  Oh, and they did make a rendered CG Model of the mansion that you can’t tell from the real thing for shots that the mini-copter just couldn’t cope with.

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Invitation for a video interview at Intergeo & GEOINT

 
July 24th, 2013 by Sanjay Gangal

GISCafe.Com is exhibiting at the Intergeo 2013 conference in Germany on October 8-9 and  at the GEOINT Symposium in Tampa, Florida on October 14-15. We are recording video interviews at our booth at each conference. Any conference attendee can book a time slot for an interview. Each interview is typically 3 – 7 minute long. We typically ask the following questions and a few follow up questions:

  • Tell us about yourself and your company?
  • What are you showing at your booth or what brings you to the conference?
  • Do you want to share any new announcements with the GISCafe audience?
  • How can GISCafe visitors find out more about your company?

The questions can be customized for each company or attendee.

We charge a nominal fee to cover our expenses. Contact Sanjay Gangal if you are interested in booking a 15-minute time slot for an interview. You can see past interviews here.

To add a little fun to the conference, we are asking the conference attendees to share a joke in front of the video camera. The best jokes will be edited together in a video montage. The jokes have to be clean and funny. You can see a Joke Reel from Esri User Conference here.

Here is one of the interviews we recorded last year which has received more than 2,000 views:

 

Indoor Location: the mobile revolution starts now

 
June 6th, 2013 by Sanjay Gangal

Article source: Christian Carle, CEO and founder of Pole Star

The future of mobile location-based services lies in its rapid adoption of indoor technologies

For more than 20 years, the use of global positioning system, or GPS, has been the gold standard for outdoor navigation. The satellite-based navigation system has become the indispensable tool for anyone to determine their location outside of a building, in a car, on motorways, in the street…

More recently, cell-phone manufacturers have added GPS capabilities to mobile devices which in turn, created new opportunities for existing location-based services (LBS) such as mapping and navigation. While the quick rise of smartphones, and the easy access to more context-aware information, has changed forever the way people live, travel and shop.

But as we rely even more on our smartphone for everyday life, the physical limitations of GPS, which doesn’t work in indoor environments or between tall buildings in dense urban areas, are becoming a real challenge for the next generation of LBS applications. Simply put, for GPS to work, it requires a clear view of the sky, where a receiver has an unobstructed line of sight to satellites, meaning that all the mobile location-based apps, like navigation for example, won’t work indoors, inside airports, malls, museums, subways, etc., which is where we actually need them the most, as we spend a majority of our time indoor. It also happens that 80% of smartphone usage is done inside buildings, making an even stronger case for bringing location technologies indoor.

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1Spatial Planning to Acquire Star-Apic

 
May 23rd, 2013 by Sanjay Gangal

Article source: 1Spatial

1Spatial plc (AIM:SPA), the Spatial Big Data Company, announces today that the Company has conditionally raised £18 million (before expenses) through the Placing of 300,000,000 new Ordinary Shares at the Placing Price of 6p per share with certain institutional investors, in accordance with the terms set out in the Circular to be published by the Company and posted to shareholders today (the “Circular”).

The net proceeds of the Placing will be used to finance the aggregate consideration for the Acquisition of Star-Apic, provide additional working capital for the Enlarged Group, open a sales and support centre in the Middle East and provide funds for product development, marketing and further potential acquisition opportunities.

The Placing Shares when issued will rank pari passu with the Existing Ordinary Shares and will, following Admission, rank in full for any dividends and distributions paid or made thereafter in respect of the Ordinary Shares.

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Sierra Club v Orange County case has its Day in Court

 
May 10th, 2013 by Sanjay Gangal
Article source: Bruce Joffe, GISP
Impressions of the Hearing before the California Supreme Court

On Tuesday, May 7, 2013, 14 months after all the written briefs were filed, and 20 months since the California Supreme Court agreed to hear this case, lawyers for both sides summarized their arguments and answered questions before the seven presiding Supreme Court Justices.  Attorney Sabrina Venskus represented the Sierra Club which is suing Orange County for access to its GIS-compatible digital parcel basemap database under terms of the California Public Records Act (CPRA) that include paying no more than the direct cost of duplication.  Attorney Mark Servino represented Orange County which has been requiring users of its “OC Landbase” to pay $475,000, plus sign a license that restricts sharing or redistribution of its database.
Although Orange County abruptly reduced its price late in December, 2011, the case stems from the Sierra Club’s public records act request for data made in March, 2009.  Orange County won SC’s lawsuit in Superior Court in April, 2010, affirming its right to exempt its GIS-compatible database from the CPRA.  Sierra Club appealed the decision, but Orange County again prevailed in the Court of Appeal in June, 2011.  The California Supreme Court hearing is the final appeal; its decision will be the final judicial determination of this issue.  At stake is whether the public has unfettered access to the GIS-compatible data that its government agencies use to conduct “the public’s business,” in the same geodatabase format that the agencies themselves use, or whether the government can license, restrict and charge high prices for such access.  As more and more governmental decisions and actions are based on GIS analysis, the issue is central to governmental transparency and accountability to us, the citizens of our democracy.

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Phoenix landscaping company conducts plant density study to optimize water consumption, tries mobile mapping to collect ‘Big Data’ quickly

 
May 7th, 2013 by Don Talend

By Don Talend

When the public thinks about landscaping, high tech doesn’t immediately come to mind. After all, this is work involving dirt, manual labor and plants. Mechanical engineering is represented in the form of a backhoe loader, for example, but that’s about as “technological” as the industry gets. Right?

Actually, anyone inside the industry would tell a different story. This is a field characterized by large inventories and a wide range of variables affecting product and service quality, starting with weather and soil. The convergence of these variables creates the need for a great deal of monitoring of growth. As a result, any landscaping company that seeks to be profitable over the long haul without relying on data for botanic maintenance decision-making probably should.

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Miami of Ohio engineering students build a lawn mowing, snowplowing robot, navigate it with GNSS in national competitions

 
May 7th, 2013 by Don Talend

By Don Talend

Anyone who has gone to college is probably familiar with the idea of a capstone course. A final hurdle to clear in receiving a degree, students take such a course to demonstrate their practical knowledge by pulling together all of the main concepts taught throughout the program of study.

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URISA 2012 – Closing Keynote by Jack Dangermond (Part 2 of 2)

 
March 12th, 2013 by Matthew Langan

Last week, we featured the URISA 2012 closing keynote by Esri founder Jack Dangermond, where he highlighted how the GIS sector is poised for massive growth, and how collaboration will be a main driver for adoption and innovation.

Mr. Dangermond also discussed how new technologies are going to further extend GIS into the field, which will enable better and faster decision-making.   As a result organizations will be smarter with geospatial technologies serving as the underpinning for strategic growth.

In the second half of his keynote address, Mr. Dangermond dives deeper into how new cloud-based platforms will change how we collaborate and share data, which will also truly become “real time.”  And the near ubiquity of mobile devices and applications will drive more people to become more spatially aware.  The days of cumbersome GIS systems, which could only be used by a handful of trained professionals, are going by the wayside.

A big driver of change in the geospatial sector is advanced data analytics, which will re-imagine the whole premise of GIS.  We will have the software tools and analytics that will allow for pervasive geographic information to be used and accessed at all times.

Be sure to check out part two of Mr. Dangermond’s keynote address at URISA 2012 below.
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