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Archive for the ‘citizen science’ Category

Data Links for Nepal Earthquake

Tuesday, April 28th, 2015

Over the weekend, a devastating 7.8 magnitude earthquake struck Nepal near the city of Kathmandu, followed by aftershocks that also resulted in many deaths and structural damage. Simultaneously, climbers on Mount Everest’s base camp were buried in an avalanche, precipitated by the quake.

The following are some sites that provide some geospatial insight into the events. I’m leaving the links whole in most cases so that they are easy for people to access and will add others as I learn about them. If anyone has any other links that should be added to this list, please contact me at susan.smith@ibsystems.com.

Dharahara Tower, Kathmandu April 2014 before the earthquake, courtesy DigitalGlobe

Dharahara Tower, Kathmandu April 2014 before the earthquake, courtesy DigitalGlobe

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GISCafe Special Feature Blog: Emergency Response and Recovery

Friday, March 20th, 2015

In recent years, Emergency Response and Recovery has been tasked with addressing the growing number of natural disasters and manmade disasters worldwide. When a disaster happens, the role of GIS and geospatial is front and center in the identification of location and the location of individuals impacted in the event, as well as the clarification of the physical damage to vital structures. It is also fundamental to the provision of medical care and utilities during a time when those things may be scarce or non-existent.

LWB_1258 - Copy

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Uber acquires deCarta

Wednesday, March 11th, 2015

Last week, Uber announced that it acquired deCarta, a small location based services (LBS) company. As Uber has made its name as the “ridesharing giant,” a company spokesman said that they hoped to improve Uber’s ETA times as well as carpooling service with the acquisition. It also will reduce the company’s reliance on Google and Apple.

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Announcement for Vendors: Special Coverage of “Emergency Response Solutions”!

Tuesday, February 24th, 2015

During the week of March 17th , GISCafe Voice will run a special feature blog on the topic, “Emergency Response and Management Solutions.

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Bentley acquires Acute3D to advance reality modeling

Thursday, February 19th, 2015

Bentley Systems announced that it has acquired the French company Acute3D, provider of Smart3DCapture software for reality modeling.

Acute3D Smart3DCapture has five different editions, two of which are what the company refers to as “prosumer” editions; consumer customers and professionals working on small non-georeferenced projects can use these two editions to simply generate 3D models from photos.

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Esri’s new ArcGIS Open Data Site Available for Open Data Sharing

Wednesday, February 11th, 2015

Esri announced the launch of a new site aimed to help citizens locate organizations sharing open data around the world and provide direct access to thousands of open government datasets. Citizens can search, download, filter, and visualize this data through their web browser or mobile device.

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Bentley’s “Year in Infrastructure 2014″ announces new geospatial releases

Tuesday, November 11th, 2014

In the “Utilities and Government” breakout session on Media Day at the Bentley “Year in Infrastructure 2014” event held in London last week, a number of Bentley executives spoke on various aspects of utilities and government, with new developments for 3D cities.

Bentley Year in Infrastructure 2014 Conference, London

Bentley Year in Infrastructure 2014 Conference, London

The event showcases work being done with Bentley Systems’ software, with presentations by all the Be Inspired Award finalists for the year, topped off by a gala Awards ceremony on Wednesday evening.

Cyndi Smith, senior director of Application Advantage at Bentley, introduced speakers. Aidan Mercer, senior industry marketing manager for Government spoke on “Advancements in Government and Life cycle Management of Infrastructure.” He also spoke about “Advanced BIM for cities,” which includes the various BIM levels used in 3D cities: Level 1: 3D visualization and design; Level 2: performance improvements; Level 3: extending into the operations at the complete asset level and this contributes to a smarter city. He mentioned a really excited finalist in the BE Awards this year, the City of Eindhoven, a city that uses MicroStation, Descartes, ProjectWise, and Navigator in its development of new city infrastructure.

Know What’s Underground

Rachel Rogers, Applications Advantage for Civil, Geospatial, Hydraulics and Hydrology, announced Bentley Subsurface Utility Design and Analysis in OpenRoads will be available in early 2015, and will be a game changer in terms of knowing what’s underground.

The product automatically creates a 3D model and brings together the information needed, provides 3D modeling of all underground utilities, that you can readily update into your GIS database. This gives you a true picture of what’s underground.

One of the highlights is that you have visualization clash detection which can drive construction costs down.

Utility Industry with Cyndi Smith

An industry trend seen recently: convergence. “With the convergence of information technology and operations technology, some projects I’m seeing are bringing in engineering technology,” said Smith.

Better utilities performance catalyzed by:

  • Drivers and enablers
  • Smarter networks and technology
  • Regulations
  • Economic factors
  • Organizational evolution
  • Results better performing utilities infrastructure

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GIS global market in the BFSI sector expects significant growth

Friday, October 10th, 2014

In a Research and Markets study report, the analysts forecast the global GIS market in the Banking, Financial Services and Institutions (BFSI) sector to grow at a CAGR of 8.43 percent over the period from 2013 – 2018.

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As GIS is used for so many different industries these days, the opportunities for growth in the BFSI sector are not surprising. GIS is used across sectors such as Natural Resources, Utilities, Federal Government, Communication and Telecom, Military/Law Enforcement, and Others. GIS is used for various purposes such as disaster management, finding location details, viewing maps, marketing, designing facilities and others.

In terms of GIS product, the market can be segmented into three: Software, Data, and Services.

The report, the “Global GIS Market in the BFSI Sector 2014-2018,” has been prepared based on an in-depth market analysis with inputs from industry experts. The report covers the Americas, and the APAC and EMEA regions. It also covers the landscape of the Global GIS market in the BFSI sector and its growth prospects in the coming years. The report includes a discussion of the key vendors operating in this market. (From company materials)

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Uber may be taking on Google and Amazon

Tuesday, September 2nd, 2014
Five-year-old Uber, a company whose expertise is in getting you from one location to another, wants to add the service of how to deliver goods to people’s homes also.

Corner Store items can be delivered within the shaded areas.

 

Recently Uber announced Uber Corner Store, a pilot program which is a service that would enable Uber users in the Washington D.C. region to order grocery or pharmacy items such as toothpaste delivered from local stores, much like some mom-and-pop stores used to make home deliveries. The pilot is expected to only last for a few weeks, but signals what the long term vision of the company is. This would put Uber at more than a location company to a bonafide logistics company.

Uber CEO Travis Kalanick’s idea of the Corner Store could position the company in direct competition with the two superpowers Google and Amazon, who have been going after that same-day delivery market for a number of years.  The on-demand economy is growing and both companies have their version of instant gratification for that economy. The other part of that is to keep shoppers engaged in their one service so they don’t shop elsewhere. Google has added new retailers to its Shopping Express offering. Amazon expanded it’s Get It Today service to six new locations.

Uber  has not figured out a way to make this service earn money, and currently the service is free for customers. Uber has an advantage in that it has been in the forefront of educating users to treat their smartphones like “remote controls” so that they can get anything by using an app or just touching a button on their mobile device.

 

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NASA needs help from citizen science

Tuesday, August 26th, 2014

A recent CNN report announced thatNASA is asking for the help of citizens in viewing hundreds of thousands of images taken from space over the years, from the 1960s Mercury missions to the present images snapped from the International Space Station.

North Korea is barely lit when juxtaposed with neighboring South Korea and China.
North Korea is barely lit when juxtaposed with neighboring South Korea and China.

Via The Gateway to Astronaut Photography of Earth, NASA is making these images available for citizens to examine.

NASA says the hope is that the images “could help save energy, contribute to better human health and safety and improve our understanding of atmospheric chemistry. But scientists need your help to make that happen.”

The catalog contains more than 1.8 million photos, about 1.3 million of them from the space station and roughly 30% of them taken at night.

 Photos: International Space Station
NASA gets rare view of black hole
NASA tests supersonic parachute for Mars

Tyson on deep space exploration

The CNN report said that before 2003, night images from the space station could be blurry, even with high-speed film and manual tracking, because the station moves at about 17,500 mph. In that same year, astronaut Don Pettit used a drill and assorted parts he found on the station to cobble together a “barn-door tracker,” a lower-tech predecessor to the European Space Agency’s NightPod, which was installed at the space station nine years later.

According to the report, NightPod’s motorized tripod compensates for the space station’s speed, providing what NASA scientist William Stefanov says are the highest-resolution night images from orbit. Satellites collect data more regularly, but the photos tend to be lower resolution. “Now the pictures are clear, but their location may not be, which limits their usefulness,” the NASA news release says.

Citizen science has a better handle on location than the night images from the space station and satellite imagery. The Complutense University of Madrid is spearheading efforts to get citizen input and organize the photos.  They have broken down the  the images into three components requiring different levels of participation:

1. Dark skies. This is the easiest project, as it requires no scientific expertise. “Anyone can help” by sorting the images into the categories: cities, stars or other objects, said Alejandro Sanchez, doctoral student at Complutense.

“Without the help of citizens, it is almost impossible to use these images scientifically. Algorithms cannot distinguish between stars, cities and other objects, such as the moon. Humans are much more efficient for complex image analysis,” he said.

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