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Archive for the ‘GPS’ Category

DATAMARK Debuts DATAMARK VEP SaaS for GIS Data

Thursday, June 21st, 2018

Sandi Stroud, associate vice president, Public Safety GIS DATAMARK, spoke with GISCafe Voice about DATAMARK, the public safety GIS division of Michael Baker International, and the recent launch of DATAMARK DATAMARK VEP (Validate-Edit-Provision), its new software-as-a-service GIS solution that validates, edits and provisions GIS data. To solve incomplete or poor-quality GIS data challenges, DATAMARK developed DATAMARK VEP to provide highest levels of public safety GIS data completeness and accuracy in the nation’s nearly 5,000 public safety answering points. The new solution is for both current 9-1-1 systems and the transition to next generation 9-1-1 (NG9-1-1) systems and is augmented with GIS technical services and an expanded DATAMARK team that includes public safety and GIS professionals. NG9-1-1 is an initiative to update the 9-1-1 service infrastructure in the U.S. and Canada to improve public emergency response in a mobile society.

“This year Michael Baker formalized the public safety GIS division, grown into our own line of purposeful business within the company. And our staff has grown. But under DATAMARK we really are a suite of solutions and services. We have really built our team over the last six months to not just address GIS professionals but a lot of folks who have spent their entire careers in public safety and 9-1-1. And part of the reason for that is that we understand there’s a bit of translation that has to happen, depending upon whether we are working with a public safety or GIS client. Our staff is really involved in NG9-1-1 standards and participation in groups. Several of my staff including myself have helped author NG9-1-1 workshops for URISA. We launched that about three years ago at the GIS Pro conference in Washington, taught the workshop about twelve times since, and in fact we’re teaching the workshop at the Esri conference this year, so it’ll be free to conference goers.

We’re very focused on being able to be the GIS experts for NG9-1-1. In addition, we do offer comprehensive technical services, and then we also have solutions that are SaaS solutions. The approach we’ve taken is how can we take a product that helps a GIS stakeholder or data provider support the next gen 9-1-1 requirements, which is maybe a heavier lift than the normal business process they currently support. In addition to the solutions, we’ve also developed a service deliverable that we call a DATAMARK VEP. It allows us to help a 9-1-1 jurisdiction take a step back and look at a solution and really assess what it is they need to address in order to address their public safety or 9-1-1 solution.

What is the difference between traditional 9-1-1 and NG9-1-1?

The current 9-1-1 system – the process of getting the 9-1-1 caller to the right 9-1-1 center. You’ve dialed the 9-1-1 center and are waiting to talk to the dispatcher who sends you help. There is the process of identifying which center based on where you’re at. There is tabular location data that is used to take the location and do a database lookup, it’s not a geocoding exercise. Based on an attribute in that file, it determines where to send your call. In the 9-1-1 center you have your CAD dispatch center, you have a call taking system, and vehicle routing system.  All these can use GIS, but we’ve found it’s very inconsistently applied. Some do not use GIS in those systems, they maintain a separate spatial file within those systems. There are a lot of silos that currently exist between how GIS is used in the 9-1-1 center and the tabular data that is currently being used to decide what center a call goes to.
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Special GISCafe Coverage: Geospatial Data Providers and Services

Thursday, May 24th, 2018

Data providers abound in the GIS and geospatial industry. Choices range from mapping, built and natural terrain modeling, survey, GIS/LIS technologies, geospatial web, and asset inventory, mapping, geodetic and engineering surveying, photogrammetry, satellite imagery and real-time satellite data, remote sensing, aerial and ground-based LiDAR surveys, geographic and land information systems (GIS/LIS), 3D scanning, and spatial computing and analysis and much more.

Hamburg Port Rathaus, European Space Imaging

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GISCafe Special Coverage: The World of State-of-the-Art Satellites, Reusable Spacecraft and More

Thursday, March 15th, 2018

Both large full size satellites as well as small satellites are now being used for various purposes around the globe. In addition, constellations of satellites are being developed for specific purposes, such as internet satellites. We also include here maritime surveillance that relies on Satellite Automatic Identification System (AIS) payload.

Hamburg Port Rathaus, European Space Imaging

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GISCafe Trends and Predictions for 2018

Thursday, January 4th, 2018

Happy New Year!

As mentioned in our year-end wrap-up, a great number of events that shaped technology in 2017 were natural disasters. Scientists and experts predict that we will see more of these natural events and will continue R&D efforts to prepare for them.

Smart city technology will become more important as geospatial professionals seek to find better ways to predict, analyze and prepare communities for the onslaught of weather events. Actual Smart Cities are being built in some parts of the world. And to make those smart cities and countries, in some cases, viable, we will grow greater confidence in artificial intelligence, vehicle technology, Cloud, Internet of Things (IoT), drones, high resolution satellites and small satellites, augmented, virtual and mixed realities and data and sensors.

These technologies have become or will become a part of the fabric of geospatial interaction as the demand for them increases.

The Global Mountain Explorer provides information from global scales down to specific mountains, such as Borah Peak, Idaho pictured above. (Public domain.)


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GISCafe Essential Gift Guide 2017

Thursday, December 14th, 2017

Gift Guides abound this time of year, but gifts are only as good as their on-the-job usefulness. What would make your job easier, provide more accuracy and save time and money?

From hardware to services to gadgetry, the GISCafe Technology Gift Guide includes items and services you may want to buy for yourself, plus a couple of gadgets loved ones may be able to buy for you, plus some you may just envision in your wildest dreams!

BLK360

BLK360 3D Scanner

While this product was on last year’s Technology Wish List, I believe it is still a winner for 2017. Leica introduced its BLK360 3D scanner at Autodesk University 2016, which was met with great awe when attendees saw how small it is. It is 6.5 inches tall and four inches in diameter, weighing 2.2 lbs., and has one single button on its housing, giving the impression of a Star Trek device.

But the minimalist design has a purpose: the BLK360 3D scanner is designed to be controlled via iPad, thereby eliminating the need for hardware inside the scanner and relying on an external device.

The iPad functionality comes to Leica from Autodesk, with their ReCap 360 Pro Mobile edition that provides a controller for operating the BLK360. ReCap 360 registers scans wirelessly that have been captured by the BLK360 in real time. Autodesk cloud services make it possible for users to share or transfer data into Autodesk design software for generating 3D models, meshing, and other analysis tasks.

While the small size may suggest the BLK360 has limited range and capacity, oddly enough it is capable of capturing 360,000 points per second, making it a very high quality 3D scanner. The range of the BLK360 is 60 meters, accuracy 4 mm, with several scanning methods: infrared sensors for thermal imaging, laser and visible light imaging, are just a few. In just three minutes, the scanner can capture a 360 degree scan, and also is outfitted for HDR and LED flash support.

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Utilities and Government Go “Digital” at Bentley Year in Infrastructure 2017

Thursday, October 19th, 2017

The Bentley Year in Infrastructure conference held in Singapore October 8-12, kicked off with a Media Day on Monday, October 8th.  Among the forums that were offered was one on Utilities and Government, which showcased the company’s commitment to geospatial technologies that are inherent in all of their utility and government applications.

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URISA’s GISCorps’ Behind the Scenes Support for Hurricanes and Other Disasters

Thursday, September 7th, 2017

URISA’s GISCorps has a volunteer presence all over the world who contribute their GIS expertise through data, creating easy to consume visuals for those decision makers and public safety officials to be able to respond to various threats and allocate resources where needed. Using ArcGIS Online, volunteers in one part of the world can provide help remotely without needing to be onsite or using limited onsite resources.


In an interview with GISCorps founder Shoreh Elhami and URISA executive director Wendy Nelson, they offer a broader understanding of what GISCorps is about and how it can help.

Is ArcGIS Online able to generate a setting for help, i.e., website, app, or whatever resource might be needed, during a natural disaster event? And how soon might that be available to the public? 

ArcGIS Online (AGO) can be used to create a variety of story maps. Those story maps as well as any AGO based web apps can be embedded in any website and very quickly. A good example of that is the web app that our volunteers embedded in Fort Bend County’s website on road closures. Another example is a story map that was built by NAPSG shortly after the disaster, our volunteers also assisted with that project.

How has the GIS relief effort for Hurricane Harvey been handled by GISCorps so far and what are the plans going forward?

26 of our volunteers have been working on mapping road closures in Fort Bend County. The information originates from County’s website, emails, and also tweets. The Web app has been helpful to residents, first responders, and the county staff. The project was lead by two of our volunteers who worked with GISCorps Core Committee members on managing the project. The Center for Disease Control (CDC) also requested the assistance of a GIS programmer to pull data from the FEMA site on an ongoing basis. The GISCorps Recruitment team selected a volunteer within 30 hours and put the volunteer  in contact with CDC. We also asked our volunteers to contribute to NAPSG story map. We are currently on stand-by and ready to assist with other projects at this time, be it for Harvey or Irma.

Hurricane Harvey weather map

How do the projects for Hurricane Harvey and Katrina differ or are they the same? What are the priorities?

Quite different. For Katrina, we deployed 30 volunteers onsite, the option to assist remotely didn’t even exist. Volunteers packed up their bags, laptops, and other essentials and head over to the affected areas within a couple of days. For Harvey (and many other disasters of the past few years), we haven’t had to send anyone anywhere. Volunteers work from their home or offices and have been effective in different ways. For Katrina, the priority was to help with the rescue efforts at first (locate people under stress and report to the coast guard) and then, the recovery phase began where volunteers made 100’s of maps and conducted lots of analysis). For Harvey, crowd sourcing and information from social media have become major sources of information for developing interactive maps to first responders and other affected population.]
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PufferSphere Makes the World Go Round with Spherical Displays

Thursday, August 10th, 2017

Since 20o4, when Edinburgh-based Pufferfish co-founders Oliver Collier and Will Cavendish had an idea for an innovative digital display that will give a physical presence to digital content, Pufferfish has been gaining in popularity as a digital display medium of extraordinary versatility. PufferSphere is a compact, acrylic globe with on-sphere touch interactivity for the inflatable range. I saw the PufferSphere at the Esri UC in the Start-Up Gallery, and thought then what an innovative and engaging tool it would be for many geospatial uses. While other companies offer spherical display, Pufferfish has continued to increase its expertise in exclusive touch technology with professional signage range, and pushes the envelope for innovation in spherical displays and data visualization.  

Pufferfish PufferSphere

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Esri UC 2017 Plenary Report

Thursday, July 13th, 2017

We look forward to the Esri UC Plenary session each year, as it always profers an important vision, but also new insights, thoughts and surprising technologies.

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Structural Integrity Chooses TerraGo Magic to Build Field Data Collection App

Thursday, June 29th, 2017

Headquartered in San Jose, CA, Structural Integrity (SI) provides innovative engineering services and proven solutions for structural evaluation and repair. TerraGo announced recently that Structural Integrity has chosen TerraGo Magic to build a field data collection and collaboration app for field inspectors, engineers and others involved in their projects to improve efficiency of field reporting, inspection workflows and data management.

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