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Sierra Club v Orange County case has its Day in Court

Friday, May 10th, 2013
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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URISA 2012 – Closing Keynote by Jack Dangermond (Part 2 of 2)

Tuesday, March 12th, 2013

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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A GIS Laboratory, Indeed

Thursday, February 28th, 2013

Arizona State’s GIS master’s program thrusts students onto the leading edge of the field—and geospatial technologies

A good place to get a sense of where the geographic information system (GIS) field is headed is Lattie F. Coor Hall at Arizona State University in Tempe, Ariz. That’s the home of the 30-credit-hour Masters of Advanced Study in GIS (MAS-GIS) Program within ASU’s School of Geographical Sciences and Urban Planning. Here, students are exposed to not only the latest GIS concepts but also ever-evolving technologies.

ASU’s School of Geographical Sciences and Urban Planning offers additional options for GIS studies, including an undergraduate certificate and an undergraduate degree program that is in development. Like all master’s programs, though, the MAS-GIS is designed to convey the most advanced concepts in its field.

The program was developed from 2002–2003 and launched in 2004 by Dr. Robert C. Balling, Jr., who had overseen ASU’s Office of Climatology for 18 years. Balling—the associate program director—and several faculty associates—including Nik Smilovsky, MS, GISP, product specialist for Topcon Positioning Systems dealer RDO Integrated Controls in Phoenix—part of RDO Equipment Co.—teach a total of 10 courses in the program, which also includes an internship and capstone GIS project in the final semester. Typically, students start in the fall semester and complete their studies in 12 months.

Dr. Robert C. Balling, Jr., associate director of the Masters of Advanced Study in GIS (MAS-GIS) Program at Arizona State University, developed the curriculum for a program that has provided advanced training for more than 250 students since 2004.

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URISA 2012 – Opening Keynote by Michael F. Goodchild (Part 2 of 2)

Wednesday, February 13th, 2013

Last year, Urban and Regional Information Systems Association (URISA) held its GIS-Pro 2012 symposium, which featured a keynote address by geospatial visionary Michael F. Goodchild.

The first part of Goodchild’s keynote address focused on how far the geospatial sector has come since 1998.  Specifically, he highlighted how we now have faster broadband connections and graphic accelerators, as well as massive amounts of data.  All of these things are driving today’s geospatial solutions through we still have challenges ahead of us.

The second half of Goodchild’s keynote address highlighted the global social constructs behind mapping.  Each culture has a different interpretation of mapping and what locations are worthy of monitoring – whether it is a sports complex, a Korean deli or a riverbed in Western Australia.  Goodchild also discusses how we are creating global mapping standards, as well as localized crowdsourced capabilities.

He also discussed “place-based GIS,” which is focused on core locations and how most cities have adopted standard subways maps (i.e. New York City).  This standard is ideal because “humans can use it.”

Be sure to check out part two of Goodchild’s keynote address at GIS-Pro 2012.

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Trimble DSS 500: Flexible and Efficient Mapping Solution

Thursday, January 31st, 2013

In October 2012, Trimble announced that launch of its DSS 500, which is the company’s latest medium-format, directly georeferenced aerial imaging system.

Capable of producing full-resolution, ortho-rectified imagery in real time with In-FlightOrtho™ technology, the Trimble Digital Sensor System (DSS) is designed as a high-productivity, mapping-grade solution for color orthophoto and vertical mapping applications.

“The DSS 500 with In-FlightOrtho pushes the limits of efficiency like no other medium-format aerial mapping system,” said Joe Hutton, director of Airborne Products at Applanix, a Trimble Company, in the press release launching the new product.  “The DSS 500’s ability to produce full-resolution, orthorectified imagery as it is captured makes it an ideal solution for air-to-ground quality control and time-critical mapping. Watching the orthos produced in real time gives users extremely high levels of confidence in their data collection. And now with significantly smaller, lighter, lower power and less complex hardware—just three cables are required for most installations—aerial mapping has never been easier, faster or more efficient. It is the most advanced Digital Sensor System that we have ever produced.”

Be sure to check out this video all about the DSS 500.


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Improving Operational Planning Using Lidar Forest Inventories and GIS

Thursday, July 26th, 2012

Chad St. Amand, GIS Manager of  Tembec, Timmins, Forest Resource Management presents how using lidar can improve operational planning for forestry managers at the Esri Forestry GIS Conference in May, 2012. This was the most popular presentation at this conference.

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ArcGIS for Local Government, Defence, Transportation, and Water Utilities

Thursday, May 24th, 2012

The following 4 presentations were given at the 2012 Esri Developer Summit. They cover the 4 main industries:

  • Local Government
  • Defence
  • Transportation
  • Water utilities

In the first presentation, Christian Carlson and Scott Oppmann present ArcGIS for Local Government and its set of downloadable maps and apps.

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WorldMap by the Center for Geographic Analysis (CGA) at Harvard

Thursday, May 17th, 2012

Article source: Worldmap

The WorldMap platform is being developed by the Center for Geographic Analysis (CGA) at Harvard to lower barriers for scholars who wish to explore, visualize, edit, collaborate with, and publish geospatial information.  WorldMap is Open Source software.

The system attempts to fill a growing niche between powerful desktop-bound mapping applications, and lightweight web map solutions with limited capacity.

If you find WorldMap data or technology useful in your research we would love to hear from you.  Understanding how the system is being used and where it needs improvement is critical as we evolve the system together.

WorldMap provides researchers with the ability to:

  • Upload large datasets and overlay them up with thousands of other layers
  • Create and edit maps and link map features to rich media content
  • Share edit or view access with small or large groups
  • Export data to standard formats
  • Make use of powerful online cartographic tools
  • Georeference paper maps online (http://warp.worldmap.harvard.edu)
  • Publish one’s data to the world or to just a few collaborators

Overview of WorldMap – a talk given to ABCD Harvard Technology group by Ben Lewis in November, 2011.

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ENVI | Imagery Becomes Knowledge

Monday, May 7th, 2012

Article source: 

With a streamlined user interface, a modern high-speed display, new and advanced processing tools, and a flexible API for easy customization, ENVI 5 makes it easier for you to solve problems using geospatial imagery. And, since all ENVI tools are still conveniently accessible from the ArcGIS® toolbox, GIS users can easily add information to their GIS workflow for enhanced mapping applications.

Exelis Visual Information Solutions Announces ENVI 5

Thursday, May 3rd, 2012

Article source: Exelis Visual Information Solutions

Introducing the Next Generation of Image Analysis Software!

May 01, 2012 – Exelis Visual Information Solutions proudly announces the release of ENVI 5, the next generation of ENVI, the company’s industry-leading image analysis software which is used across industries by professionals who want to uncover hidden information in geospatial imagery in order to make better, more informed decisions.  ENVI 5 introduces imagery consumers to an innovative and streamlined user process for their image analysis workflow, making complex analysis tasks easier.  Designed to make image analysis accessible to users of virtually any experience level, ENVI 5 provides:

  • An intuitive, easy-to-navigate interface.
  • A highly-efficient display for large datasets.
  • New automated processes for several popular analysis tasks.
  • A flexible application programming interface for customizing the software to unique user needs.
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