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Friday, October 15th, 2010

Introducing “The Power of GIS” from the IAFC in conjunction with the U.S. Fire Administration. The video offers a quick 10-minute view of understanding GIS, geared for fire chiefs and other decision makers.

 

- IAFC Offers GIS Tutorial Video, Fire Chief

 

Options available for newsrooms who want to incorporate GIS into their workflows.

 

- Four desktop GIS software suites JournalismGIS

 

Navigation device shipments expected to almost triple in next five years

Friday, October 15th, 2010

According to a report issued by ABI Research, The number of navigation shipments – encompassing all current form factors including in-dash, portable, and mobile navigation devices — is expected to grow from more than 100 million in 2010 to 283 million in 2015.

ABI Research practice director Dominique Bonte comments: “The launches of free turn-by-turn off-board navigation by Google on Android handsets in the United States in 2009 and in some European countries in 2010, and on-board navigation globally by Nokia in January 2010, are driving the popularity of handset-based navigation and putting additional pressure on the price of on-board and off-board navigation solutions offered by other vendors.”

Azavea to use Phase I SBIR funds to develop OpenTreeMap

Thursday, October 14th, 2010

OpenTreeMap is “an urban forestry tree inventory and management tool to support collaborative data collection and tree management by municipal government, non-profit organizations, students, and volunteers.”

Azavea (formerly Avencia) announced today that it was awarded a Phase I Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) grant totaling $90,000, by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA)

to develop a prototype of a new data management software (OpenTreeMap) that will assist communities with the inventory and maintenance of urban forests.

Azavea will work with the Pennsylvania Horticultural Society (PHS), the City of Philadelphia and the Delaware Valley Regional Planning Commission (DVRPC), and will use the Phase I SBIR funds to test the feasibility of the development of OpenTreeMap. The Phase I project will develop a prototype of Philadelphia to begin with. If this prototype is successful, Azavea will then be eligible for Phase II funding so that they can extend OpenTreeMap to anywhere in the world.  

By designing the OpenTreeMap web application as a wiki-style data editing software, Azavea hopes it will enable a variety of users to participate collaboratively in the tree people of many ages and experience levels to participate collaboratively in the tree inventory process.Until now that hasn’t been possible, even though urban and suburban municipal government have really wanted to manage their street trees and public lands more efficiently.

 

 

Free GIS stuff

Wednesday, October 13th, 2010

The United States GIS Data Repository (USGDR), a not-for-profit organization dedicated to “Making Public Data Public”, has partnered with TractBuilder to provide Central Appraisal Districts and certain other county-level GIS programs free licenses of the TractBuilder Tools for ArcGIS, a set of tools counties can use to map polygons and lines according to legal descriptions.

-          Free GIS Software for County GIS Departments PRLog

Recent GIS awards

Wednesday, October 13th, 2010

Frisco’s GIS team was selected for the Esri President’s Award from more than 300,000 organizations worldwide for its efforts in developing Project SAFER, or Situational Awareness For Emergency Response. The program provides information – including live video – to firefighters, police officers and other first responders about Frisco schools and other public places during an emergency.

- Frisco Blog

Boston – Senate President Therese Murray, D-Plymouth, announced Monday that the town of Kingston will receive a $1,000 grant to help upgrade its geographic information system (GIS) technology. This program is used to help research, develop, and implement urban and regional planning and will improve efficiency in the designing and mapping of neighborhoods and towns.

- $1,000 GIS grant awarded to Kingston.Wicked Local Kingston

 

Funding the acquisition of Intergraph means selling bonds for Hexagon

Tuesday, October 12th, 2010

Hexagon AB plans to sell bonds to refinance part of the loans used to fund the acquisition of Intergraph Corp.

According to the article below, “The company plans to raise $850 million from a share sale to help refinance some of the debt after it completes the purchase. Hexagon said on July 7 it agreed to buy Huntsville, Alabama-based Intergraph for $2.13 billion to add software that helps companies visualize complex data and design factories, ships and oil rigs.”

Hexagon Plans Bond Sale to Retire Intergraph Acquisition Loans Bloomberg Business Week, October 12, 2010

Driving to and being in the mall may be new geo experiences

Monday, October 11th, 2010

This past week two geospatial stories have been featured in the Technology section of The New York Times. Although geospatial users may be accustomed to such announcements, it is noteworthy that they made the same major national newspaper within a week of each other:

 

1) Robotic drivers are being tested by Google’s Prius — drivers who don’t fall asleep at the wheel, get DUIs or speed or get traffic tickets.

 

How it works – LiDAR provides a continuously updated 3D map of the world at centimeter accuracy that extend for more than 230 feet around the car.

Four standard automotive radars with less resolution and greater range, three in front and one in the rear, are added to the LiDAR. A high resolution video camera is situated inside the car next to the rear-view mirror to detect street lights and moving obstacles like pedestrians and bicyclists. The Prius also has a GPS receiver and an inertial motion sensor.

Google Cars Drive Themselves, in Traffic, John Markoff, October 10, 2010, The New York Times (registration required)

 

2) Another interesting article featured in The New York Times in the past week highlighted indoor mapping and geolocation. We have been thinking of indoor geolocation with regard to military and Homeland Security applications, however, according to the article  – “A number of start-up companies are charting the interiors of shopping malls, convention centers and airports to keep mobile phone users from getting lost as they walk from the food court to the restroom. Some of their maps might even be able to locate cans of sardines in a sprawling grocery store.”

 

Finding Your Way Through the Mall or the Airport, With a Cellphone Map, Verne G. Kopytoff, October 11, 2010, The New York Times, (registration required)

Geolocation services help small businesses find customers

Thursday, October 7th, 2010

An article in yesterday’s New York Times highlighted how geolocation services are being used by small businesses to find customers.

 

The article referred to examples from Foursquare – when people used the Foursquare application on their mobile phones within a few blocks of Pacific Catch restaurant that  is running special offers, “a special offer popped up on their mobile phones: check in five times and earn a free shrimp ceviche or a Hawaiian poke. Another special rewarded customers who checked in on Foursquare with a free side of sweet potato fries.”

 

According to the article, these types of offers have helped snag new customers: more than 1,400 people have checked in at Pacific Catch more than 2,800 times.

 

In a conversation recently with FortiusOne’s Sean Gorman, we discussed their new mobile location analytics platform, Appcelerator, built on their GeoIQ platform. Appcelerator addresses the fact that mobile location developers’ customers want to see an ROI on their investment in couponing programs. 

 

A sample scenario was created for the sake of a demo of a mythical corporation named Pizzaland with 14 pizza locations. This business in the San Francisco Bay Area recently started participating in a mobile couponing service. They want to be able to see where those mobile coupons are being serviced, where redeemed, what kind of ROI they’re getting for investing in building this app into a mobile service and then bringing in some additional information that is used in context.

 

The app shows activity before 7 a.m. – people looking for coupons before work (represented as dots on a map); for lunchtime, you can see a lot of activity in the suburbs outside the city and then sit starts to pick up inside the city as they start to go into the city for lunch. The screen shows dots where people look for lunch deals and stays pretty active, then around the dinner hour, dots start to spread back out to the suburbs as people go back home to get dinner, and some people stay in the city.

 

Geolocation Services: Find a Smartphone, Find a Customer by Kermit Patterson, October 6, 2010, The New York Times (registration required)

GPS-stamped photos aid in Gulf oil spill clean up

Wednesday, September 22nd, 2010

Thousands of GPS-stamped photos showing the locations of sensitive habitats and wildlife impacted by the oil spill in the Gulf have helped decision makers determine where to deploy clean-up crews. These ‘geotagged’ photos are served out via the web to multiple Emergency OperationsCenters (EOC) using photo-mapping software from GeoSpatial Experts LLC, as well as geographic information system (GIS) technology

.  – BusinessWire

 

 

 

SketchUp 8 includes access to all of Google’s geospatial data

Friday, September 10th, 2010

Google SketchUp 8 was announced at Google’s user conference 3D Basecamp held in Boulder, Co. last week.

 

The released focuses on the following features: 

 

Some very straightforward access from within the modeling interface for SketchUp to all of Google’s geospatial data. “For an architect, we can give you a very comprehensive site model for any project you’re working on almost anywhere in the world,” said product manager John Bacus. “Obviously some areas have better data coverage than others, but we’re able to give SketchUp modelers direct access to Google’s aerial photography collection. We also have launched a new data service that provides high resolution terrain directly into the SketchUp modeler for almost any location on earth.”

 

Modelers have access to any 3D building models for adjacent buildings to a site they might be working on. Most of these models are coming from other SketchUp users, said Bacus. “For the last four and a half years or so, the SketchUp team has been working on building systems for users to make models of 3D buildings and now we’re able to give those back to the SketchUp modeling community in the form of site models, context models.and we also can give users access to streetview data for use in site reference or directly as photographic texturing for their models.”

 

The Building Maker app which was launched previously, gives people an easy modeling interface for buildng low rez photographically textured 3D buildings in places where Google had collected aerial oblique imagery, a birdseye type of view of a city. “We’re able to drag polygons on top of photography and do a kind of lightweight photogrammetry to figure out the precise dimensions of any building,” said Bacus. “In SketchUp 8 we’ve made that into a kind of feature in the modeler so you can bring up a window inside the main SketchUp interface and make a quick massing model for an existing building. Google will automatically texture it for you and send it back directly into the active SketchUp model in its proper scale and goelocation. For those users who want to start in Building Maker for a model, we also have a way to convert Building Maker models into SketchUp models. We’ve added a couple of new tools that make it easy to take the primitive massing model from Building Maker and add detail to it, clean up some of the messy geometry and add higher quality textures etc. The data is all freely available.”

 

SketchUp 8 also has a whole new set of modeling tools for people with experience in other 3D modeling packages. They include a simple set of Boolean modeling tools, which allow users to do unions and subtractions, trims and splits. The geometry model makes it possible to  now do objects that do volumes, so users can actually report the volume of collections of geometry in the SketchUp model. “If users are doing things like complex concrete form work, we can give them a pretty good first order estimation of the volume of concrete they’re going to need, so they can do a little more analysis on the model in that way,” said Bacus.

 

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