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Susan Smith
Susan Smith
Susan Smith has worked as an editor and writer in the technology industry for over 16 years. As an editor she has been responsible for the launch of a number of technology trade publications, both in print and online. Currently, Susan is the Editor of GISCafe and AECCafe, as well as those sites’ … More »

GIS News of the Week: From Services to Data to Sensor Support

March 9th, 2018 by Susan Smith

This week’s GIS news includes a wide variety of announcements, from IBM’s PAIRS Geoscope to redistricting data from Caliper, of the 2018 edition of Congressional Districts.

There is a great need for services that facilitate working with large amounts of geospatial data from disparate sources. IBM addresses that need with their announcement of PAIRS Geoscope, a new experimental cloud-based service that makes it easier for developers to work with large amounts of geospatial data from across a wide variety of sources. The service handles ingesting, integrating and managing the data and allows developers to focus on their queries.

What sets PAIRS Geoscope apart from other competing big data analytics services is it’s ability to ingest and index data. It can take in anything from geotagged IoT data from sensors to weather data, census data, aerial imagery and even tweets or news data from the Google-backed GDELT Project.

The IBM team recently published a paper that goes into more detail about how this integration engine works. Developers may find the most important feature is that PAIRS converts all the data into common formats and units and automatically aligns all the spatial data.

Data Integration Engine

IBM says that it built this service on a “highly-scalable, cloud-based repository especially crafted for the complexities of geospatial-temporal information.” And while there is a REST API that developers can use to access the service, there also is a web-based interface that makes it easy to select different layers, manipulate them and combine them to generate new queries.

PAIRS Geoscope is accessible on the project’s home page where you can try it out. The public data sets in the service’s repository are free and the service will walk you through the process, making it easy to use.

ApacheCon, the official conference series of The Apache Software Foundation (ASF), announced the Geospatial Track, organized by the Open Geospatial Consortium (OGC), will be supporting ApacheCon as a Community Partner. The track will be held at ApacheCon North America, 24-27 September 2018 in Montreal; the Call for Presentations is open through 30 March 2018.

ApacheCon content is solely created by Apache project user and developer communities which makes it unique.

ApacheCon showcases the latest breakthroughs from Apache projects and upcoming innovations in the Apache Incubator, as well as Open Source development and leading community-driven projects “The Apache Way”. Building upon the success of the 2016 Geospatial Track, ApacheCon North America 2018 will once again provide participants the opportunity to learn about leveraging Apache projects for the development, implementation, and processing of geospatial information.

Apache projects used in geospatial computation include Accumulo, Flink, Hadoop, Ignite, Jena, Kafka, Lucene/Solr, MapReduce, Marmotta, Mesos, SDAP (Science Data Analytics Platform), SIS (Spatial Information System), Spark, and more.

“Two years ago, the first dedicated Geospatial Track held at ApacheCon led to two workshops that helped shape OGC’s Big Geospatial Data white paper,” said George Percivall, CTO and Chief Engineer at OGC. “Collaborating with the Apache community gives us the opportunity to connect with the people behind some of the most widely used projects in Open Source. We welcome proposals for presentations, and invite organizations to sponsor the Track.”

Take a look at what is going on with  QGIS3 Open Source.

Caliper announced the 2018 edition of Congressional Districts data is now available for the entire USA. These are the most accurate boundaries available to date, reflecting Caliper’s expertise with their redistricting software package. According to company materials, the Congressional Districts data contains a nationwide area database with boundaries of the 115th (January 2017-January 2019) Congressional Districts. It also includes demographic data from the 2010 Census and updated data from the 2016 American Community Survey (ACS) 5-year estimates.

The Congressional Districts data is packed with essential information for corporate legislative affairs departments, lobbyists, political consultants, political parties, and anyone else involved in political affairs. You will be able to answer questions such as “In which districts are my addresses located?” or “In which districts should I expend the most effort?”

The price is US$495 and it is available online at the Caliper Store. If you have any questions, please call Maptitude Sales at 617-527-4700, or send an e-mail

Zach Norman, solutions engineer at Harris Corporation, presented a Webinar available on the Harris Corporation ENVI website, offering information about ENVI Modeler, ENVI integration with ArcGIS Pro, new data and sensor support, and more.

ENVI 5.5 boasts some major new features and functionality that make it easier and faster to extract information from imagery. One of these features is the ENVI Modeler, a tool that helps you perform batch processing and effortlessly create custom image processing workflows without writing a single line of code. With the ENVI Modeler, you can also run processing in the cloud with the click of a button.

ENVI 5.5 also brings software integration for ENVI and ArcGIS Pro. Esri users can work in either environment to take advantage of the advanced remote sensing capabilities in ENVI. With the new Esri integration, you can also send workflows from the ENVI Modeler directly to ArcMap or ArcPro toolboxes.

The new sensor support in ENVI Modeler has three new sensor editions: KompSat 3A thermal imagery collection 5.5 meters; support for PeruSat-1, that supports 2 meter multispectral imagery, WorldView-4, the last sensor from DigitalGlobe, that was developed by Harris, and provides remote sensing, with pan sharpening multi-spectral imaging, allowing you to see the surface of the earth in detail like it hasn’t been possible before.

The entire basis of the ENVI Modeler relies on the ENVI task framework pieces of processing. The power of ENVI tasks has been traditionally in the hands of IDL programmers.

Now there is Automatic Change Detection included and, you can end up with a tool for different apps by changing the input for processing.

ENVI Modeler allows you to generate IDL code directly from a model or create ENVI tasks with a click of a button. It gives you a way to generate examples you can use down the road.

The ENVI Modeler makes it easy to program rather than writing IDL code. You can also add new extensions to ENVI toolbox.

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Categories: ArcGIS, Caliper, climate change, cloud, cloud network analytics, crowd source, data, developers, DigitalGlobe, disaster relief, emergency response, Esri, field GIS, geospatial, GIS, government, lidar, location intelligence, mapping, Maptitude, mobile, Open Source, OpenGeo, remote sensing, satellite based tracking, satellite imagery, sensors, situational intelligence, small sats, spatial data

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