France will chair and host the 21st Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (COP21/CMP11), from 30 November to 11 December 2015. The conference is crucial because the expected outcome is a new international agreement on climate change, applicable to all, to keep global warming below 2°C, a level that would ensure safety of the planet’s fragile resources. If that level is not achieved, it could have devastating consequences on world populations and survival.
One of the challenges of the Paris agreement, where heads of state will all gather, will be to establish a periodic – ideally five-year – review mechanism to raise the ambition of each Party and progressively improve the collective effort toward keeping global warming below 2°C.
Each country represented will obviously have reasons to participate but also issues, largely economic and political, that may create a climate of resistance to the review mechanism. (more…)
Michael Healander, founder of Geometri, spoke with GISCafe Voice about the evolution of that company, and the recent announcement from Geographic Information Services, Inc. (GISi) an Esri Platinum Partner, that its Board of Directors has formally approved the spin-off of its operating unit, GISi Indoors, as an independent company. The new business is named Geometri, LLC., Geometri is the name of their flagship indoor GIS software-as-a-service product.
Healander said he and Lee Lichlyter, CEO of Geometri and former CEO of GISi, are looking for strategic partners in the industry so they can grow faster. Geometri is still part of the GISi family but is now more of a holding company.
GISi was one of ten Esri platinum partners and now Geometri is part of the Esri startup program.
“The reason we got into indoor mapping,” said Healander, “Is we focused on the fact that when you go indoors you lose your navigation on your phone. And there’s a lot of opportunity as people spend money indoors. It’s hard to navigate, and we took on that problem. We built a platform and called it Geometri. We have taken complex pieces of technology to create indoor GPS, whether indoor maps, indoor routing or indoor search. We’ve taking the outdoor routing algorithms that we used in our main company and now we make them for indoor.”
TopoView provides one of the USGS’s most important and useful products, the topographic map, in a way that is easy to use, accessible and provides wonderful historical map data.
In 1879, the USGS began to map the Nation’s topography. Just like in a lot of modern mapping, this topographical mapping was done at different levels of detail, as needed to support various land use, exploration and other purposes. The collection of maps deepened and expanded as the years passed, with the USGS producing new map versions of each area. The most current maps are available from The National Map. For those users who need historical reference maps, TopoView shows the many and varied older maps of each area. TopoView also takes into account the fact that the names of some natural and cultural features have changed over time, and the ‘old’ names can be found on these historical topographic maps.
According to USGS materials, this interface was created by the National Geologic Map Database project (NGMDB), in support of topographic mapping program managed by the National Geospatial Program (NGP). Geologic mapping and topographic mapping at the USGS have a long tradition together (see 1888 report). The NGMDB project is proud to assist the NGP in bringing these maps to the Web.
TopoView is packed with new features as well as downloadable file formats such as jpeg, GeoTIFF, and KMZ. The maps shown through topoView are from the USGS’s Historical Topographic Map Collection (HTMC). The goal of this scanning, which started in 2011, is to provide a digital repository of USGS 1:250,000 scale and larger (more detailed) maps printed between 1884 (the inception of the topographic mapping program), and 2006. Currently, there are more than 178,000 maps in the HTMC. The NGP is accurately cataloging and creating metadata to accompany high-resolution, georeferenced digital files of each of these printed maps. At present, these maps are offered as GeoPDFs, through The National Map and the USGS Store. However, additional formats are now being offered for evaluation and use through topoView to include:
Randy Denny, vice president of Sales for Xplore Technologies, talked recently at the Esri User Conference held in San Diego about the company’s big news: acquiring Motion Computing in April of 2015. Motion added to Xplore a broader portfolio of solutions in the “rugged category” of tablets.
“The business of weather is a storm of data driven change,” said Dr. Joel Myers, founder, president and chairman of AccuWeather in his keynote address entitled “Transformational Change Driven by Big Data” at the Esri User Conference 2015 held in San Diego. Myers added that, “We are reinventing ourselves over and over, to become the world’s most trusted source of weather information.”
Weather information has definitely morphed over recent years, with maps that can be customized to the user’s requirements. With weather that has become increasingly unpredictable in the world, the challenge to provide up to the minute accurate coverage of weather patterns has also increased.
Tile data from AccuWeather allows users to see an accurate representation of the weather and “manage their business processes via the weather,” said Myers.
This certainly does seem to be the case for big weather events. Myers said that the key criteria for weather are the following: what was it and what will it be, how severe and how will it be presented, when will it happen? Where?
Weather today is the original Big Data, according to Myers, and has helped drive increases in data power.
In the 1940s, thousands of pieces of data were collected and plotted onto maps called weather maps. They were analyzed by meteorologists to create forecasts, including how terrain, water and land boundaries impacted the movement of weather patterns. Weather forecasters were among the first to use big data collected in real time. In 1960 the first accurate weather prediction was made 24 hours ahead of the weather event.
A look at what is being demonstrated on the Exhibit Floor is a great way to see what is trending in the geospatial industry. Location, navigation, GIS positioning, sensors, geospatial intelligence, UAS, 3D, emergency response are just a few of the areas covered in the vast offerings seen throughout the week.
Decision making in GIS would not be possible without knowledge of location and with it, a sense of place and culture. The stories of the afternoon plenary session at Esri UC 2015 showcased real life examples of this reality, from fighting the Ebola epidemic to fighting crime in Baltimore.
With the theme, “Applying geography everywhere,” Jack Dangermond, president of Esri, definitely covered all the pertinent topics of the day. The Esri User Conference held annually in San Diego, kicked off Monday with approximately 16,000 in attendance, which could be amply felt in the halls and the morning plenary session.