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Archive for 2012

Facebook Search trembles in the wings

Tuesday, September 11th, 2012

Mark Zuckerberg, CEO of Facebook, practically announced that Facebook would have a search engine during the TechCrunch Disrupt conference in San Francisco. He also said that the last two years the company had wasted time building cross-platform mobile apps based on HTML5 rather than snappier, smoother native apps. He believes that more people will be using mobile than desktop applications, and is moving forward with that huge priority. They now have a native iPhone app that is based on code contributions to apps. He said he basically lives on his mobile phone himself.

  Facebook Search All But Announced by Mark ZuckerbergWired Magazine

GPS routing accuracy questioned

Tuesday, September 4th, 2012

In a recent article “Emergency rescuers: Use GPS devices with caution,” the message was really about what happened to Craig Matthews, who turned off a major highway in northern New Mexico last spring, whose remains were found in July by his girlfriend and another friend. Why? Matthews had been traveling north on Interstate 25 when he talked to his girlfriend, Debra Hughes, who lived in Penrose, Colorado. When Matthews didn’t return home, Hughes called search and rescue. A state game warden found his truck lodged in a snowdrift four days later about 44 miles off a remote side road, U.S. 64. He was found approximately 4/10 of a mile from the vehicle.

Hughes thinks Matthews got confused after he stopped for coffee in the town of Raton which is on the Interstate, and got on 64 instead of the Interstate. She thinks he turned on his GPS to direct him toward home.


NOAA’s new “Seahorse” instrument studies sea scallops

Wednesday, August 29th, 2012

NOAA researchers have a new instrument unofficially named “Seahorse” that is used on the ocean floor to study sea scallops. Named Seahorse because it is spiny and curved, the instrument is a sophisticated, up-to-date version of a survey system developed at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI) and used on sea scallop resource surveys conducted by NOAA’s Northeast Fisheries Science Center (NEFSC).


Mobile apps for tracking Hurricane Isaac

Tuesday, August 28th, 2012

Hurricane Isaac has shifted its path from threatening Florida and the Republican National Convention and has moved far west, now following a path through the Gulf very similar to the one Hurricane Katrina traveled seven years ago.

It is predicted to be a weaker Category One storm when it makes landfall, with sustained winds of between 74 and 95 miles per hour, yet it’s still said to be a hurricane. The hurricane is prompting the governors of Alabama, Louisiana and Mississippi to declare emergencies (and in Alabama’s case, the governor to order mandatory coastal evacuations).


Climate change affects coastlines at greater rate than other places on the planet

Monday, August 27th, 2012

Global climate change on the Atlantic coast is in fast-forward mode  — swamping and eroding beaches, wetlands and farm fields, according to scientists. Shorelines from North Carolina to Boston are in a ‘hotspot’ for sea-level rise and will see water levels rise at double the rate of most places on the planet, according to the U.S. Geological Survey. What is the cause of this is a double geological activity.


Esri Hurricane Isaac map available

Monday, August 27th, 2012

Esri’s Hurricane tracking map offers continuously updated hurricane information that shows the projected paths, storm surge, weather warnings, and precipitation.

Esri Public Information Map Tracking Hurricane Isaac

Omaha mobile app for city government

Tuesday, August 21st, 2012

A mobile app developed for the city of Omaha, Neb. allows citizens to contribute videos and photos of potholes, fallen tree limbs, or things that pertain to zoning, and can identify or plug in location, etc.

TerraGo brings collaboration to non-GIS experts

Tuesday, August 14th, 2012

TerraGo Technologies, maintained by Carahsoft, recently previewed their latest release  Mobile for Android and announced the acquisition of Geosemble, which brings into the fold GeoXray.

Parent company Carahsoft is a government IT solutions provider providing software solutiosn for federal, state and local government agencies. Under the company umbrella are solutions from not only TerraGo, but Adobe and other geospatial intelligence solutions.

Jim Sheen, vice president of products and services for TerraGo , Jessica Sunday, technical account manager and Nathan Jones, vice president of engineering spoke about the recent news in a webinar.

TerraGo’s claim to fame is its unique GeoPDF format, which allows for geospatial information to be accessed and displayed in a PDF format. TerraGo covers collaboration and workflows for deploying GeoPDFs for maps and imagery.

For the enterprise, TerraGo provides a suite of applications that help both small and large enterprises and Fortune 100 companies to produce, access and share geospatial information with anyone, anywhere. These applications are for those who are not GIS experts and don’t have access to GIS software, as well as those who do.

Round trip workflows can be designed with TerraGo that travel from the enterprise to the outside edge of the enterprise. The upcoming TerraGo V6 serves as a platform for geospatial applications and for moving spatially aware information among different users and systems throughout the workflow.

“Field users don’t have to be GIS experts, so that users represent a wide range of different skill sets,” said  Sheen. “We make solutions as simple to use and economical as possible. They can be used online and in a disconnected offline way.”

This is very important when communications are unavailable and in military communications.

“TerraGo Publisher plugs into your existing GIS  to deploy the geospatial assets as GeoPDF maps and imagery,” said Sheen. “So it allows you to take the complexity built into your maps and imagery in the GIS system, simplify it and make it interactive and portable, so it can be used downstream collaboratively.”

PDF maps and imagery can be further extended using  TerraGo  Composer, to build and configure different types of geospatial apps, for example, GeoPDF mapbooks or digital atlases, that can be deployed to the field with either the TerraGo Toolbar or TerraGo Mobile. Toolbar and Mobile enable end users to interact with the maps and imagery, gather  on-the-ground intelligence and collaborate with other users. Once that’s done, in some cases, the end result for the customer is to get data out to the field where the remote workers can collaborate with one another. The field data that has been updated can be entered into the enterprise GIS.

The new version 6 to be available in a couple of months, will contain TerraGo Publisher for ArcGIS, Composer for Acrobat and TerraGo Toolbar.

New enhancements in annotation and geomarking have been added to Toolbar and Composer so end users can use Adobe Reader with Toolbar to add, edit, annotate and add geomarks on any PDF produced directly in the TerraGo system. As you create GeoPDFs they become immediately available.

Geoforms are data entry forms that can be attached and georeferenced to geomarks and annotations. Those forms can be distributed to field workers for field data collection and real time sharing and that data can also be reconsolidated into the enterprise GIS.

Also in the news, TerraGo announced the acquisition of Geosemble Technologies located in Manhattan Beach, Calif.,  founded in 2004. This company is a spin-off from the University of Southern California, where new technology is being developed.  Geosemble’s flagship product is called GeoXray. GeoXray mines and processes content from various sources including new social media and blogs, and can analyze that data by place, time and topic. It is able to  find this information and present it in a way that it is easily consumable. It can reduce the amount of time analysts have to spend sifting through data.

Users can discover relevant spatial content through GeoXray and find other content to compose dynamic intelligence apps and reports to collaborate both online and offline.

TerraGo Mobile App for Android, available in coming months, will take the best of Android and the TerraGo Toolbar, with which it shares some functionality.  Any user can use geospatial in connected or offline enviornments. TerraGo Mobile for Android can help with situational awareness, simplifies collaboration and data exchange in the field through geoforms, allowing users to take photos and geotag them.  Users can share both structured and unstructured data with this app.

In summary, TerraGo has been well positioned to move into the mobile and non-GIS expert market, making GIS and geospatial accessible to a broader number of users by extending the reach of GeoPDF. It will be interesting to see where the company goes with the new offerings. With its simple but elegant link to Adobe PDF, coupled with the recent acquisition of Geosemble for data mining,  the possibilities look endless.

MapSAR website gives Search and Rescue GIS tools and more

Wednesday, August 8th, 2012

Today’s launch of a new web portal called MapSAR from Esri supplies “search and rescue (SAR) personnel with GIS tools, educational materials, and a virtual community for learning and sharing.”

The website is designed to help Search and Rescue operations find lost people. GIS and SAR professionals from Sierra Madre Search and Rescue Team, Esri, Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Park, Yosemite National Park, Grand Canyon National Park, and Mountaineer Rescue Group worked together to develop the MapSAR application. MapSar gives all SAR personnel the tools and knowledge needed to effectively use GIS in their operations, no matter what their technical background. Mapping and planning functions will be able to be carried out within the incident command structure (ICS). GIS skills will be used to track search teams and assets for greater efficiency and safety.

According to press materials, the MapSAR site includes the following:

  • MapSAR Tool: This free tool runs with Esri ArcGIS 10 software and enables maps to be generated, stored, and printed quickly so that search teams can deploy faster to look for missing people.
  • SAR E-books: Two newly published e-books give personnel a rich array of information. Using GIS for Wildland Search and Rescue is a core instruction manual for developing a working knowledge of all things GIS for every team member. MapSAR User’s Manual is for more advanced GIS users and provides an introduction to and a detailed tutorial for MapSAR.
  • Search and Rescue Forum: This peer-to-peer network provides a place to discuss technical challenges.


London Olympic medals mapped by Esri story map

Monday, August 6th, 2012

According to an Esri story map, which maps the distribution of London Olympics medals worldwide, the most medals have been won by China, U.S., UK and Russia. Check it out:

Story Map of the London Olympic Medals

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