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Calling All Geospatial Data Providers for Upcoming GISCafe Special Coverage

Friday, May 4th, 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, 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), and spatial computing and analysis, data provided by drones, and much more.

McMurdo Station Iceberg, Antarctica, NASA, taken from a small sat.

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Kinesis Tracks Over 2 Billion Vehicle Tracked Miles with Online Monitoring Solution

Friday, April 20th, 2018

Kinesis, the global vehicle tracking solution from Telematics at Radius Payment Solutions in Crewe, UK, recently recorded the milestone of over 2 billion vehicle tracked miles. Since launching in the UK three years ago, Kinesis has installed its state of the art tracking hardware in more than 50,000 vehicles across Europe, Southeast Asia and North America.

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Street-Level Images Come to ArcGIS Pro with Mapillary

Thursday, March 22nd, 2018

Recently, ArcGIS Pro specialists at the company Mapillary answered a few questions for GISCafe Voice:

How long has Mapillary been in existence? What is its primary focus?

Mapillary is a street-level imagery platform powered by collaboration and computer vision. The company was founded in 2013.

Mapillary combines images from any device into a visualization of the world to generate data for improving maps, developing cities, and progressing the automotive industry. Mapillary’s tools enable anyone to collect, share, and use street-level images. Computer vision technology reconstructs locations in 3D and recognizes objects from the images to generate map data at scale. Today, people and organizations all over the world have contributed over 250 million images toward Mapillary’s mission of helping people understand the world’s places through images and making this data available.

What does the new Mapillary for ArcGIS Pro beta contain – what are its primary features?

The Beta focuses on bringing Mapillary public imagery into ArcGIS Pro. In short, it lets customers:

  • view Mapillary imagery as visual reference,
  • view, edit, and create features in street-level imagery,
  • compare imagery to see how places change over time.

What was in the previous release and why did you make certain feature upgrades?

The latest version, available in Public Beta, contains the same general functionality as earlier releases. However, we’ve made considerable performance improvements.

Earlier releases of Mapillary for ArcGIS Pro faced a challenge when rendering the large number of features required to show our imagery coverage. Our previous method of serializing vector tiles into a feature layer came coupled with a decrease in performance. For the Public Beta, we’ve notably increased performance and reduced system overhead by serving vector tiles directly into ArcGIS Pro. This means a faster and more efficient experience using Mapillary Imagery from the add-in.

Is a specific type of camera used?

The imagery on Mapillary is contributed collaboratively by Mapillary users all over the world: individuals, companies, non-profits, and governments. The platform is device-agnostic so every contributor uses a camera setup that suits them best, from Mapillary mobile apps to action cameras to professional 360-degree cameras.

What kind of geotagging of photos is used?

The Mapillary mobile apps (including integrations with some common action and 360-degree cameras) save location information into the image EXIF during capture and is then uploaded to Mapillary directly via the app. In addition, any geotagged images can be uploaded with help of our web uploader or command line tools. It’s also possible to upload image files together with a .gpx file that’s used for geotagging during the upload process.
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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 2017 Year in Review

Tuesday, December 19th, 2017

2017 tested the resilience of geospatial technologies with many natural disasters.  In reviewing the year, we take a look at products, services and technologies that moved the industry forward and responded eloquently to geospatial need.

Disaster response, weather tracking, and predictive weather analysis drove a great deal of development and put to the test those technologies in place for just such eventualities.

Other areas of interest include new developments in sensors, location and Big Data, small sats, mobile mapping and 3D models for indoor mapping, autonomous driving, and building smart cities.

Under the Weather

In an interview with URISA’s 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 with natural disasters.

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.]

Tom Jeffrey, CEO of CoreLogic, a leading global property information, analytics and data-enabled solutions provider, talked about their analysis for the flooding and storm surge as a result of Hurricane Harvey.
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GISCafe Editorial Calendar 2018

Thursday, November 30th, 2017

GISCafe Editorial Calendar 2018*

 

 January:

01/23-01/25 Esri Geodesign Summit Redlands, CA

Editorial topics:

  • Top Geospatial Predictions for 2018
  • 3D Cities and Geospatial

February:

Editorial topics:

  • Small Sats Update
  • Current Events

March:

23/20-3/21 Esri Federal GIS Conference 2018, Washington D.C.

Editorial topics:

  • Esri Federal Conference Coverage
  • Current Events

Robert Cardillo, the director of the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency, speaks to the GEOINT 2017 symposium June 5. Credit: USGIF

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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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HP Z Workstations Pack a Punch with Future-Proof Features

Thursday, September 21st, 2017

Xavier Garcia, vice president and general manager, global head Workstations, HP Inc. and Josh Peterson, vice president product management, Workstations, HP Inc. recently presented a webinar on the new HP Desktop Z workstation family.

HP Z8 Workstation with dual HP Z27x Displays (2)

HP’s focus is on looking into the future trends and workflows for customers. Approach as far as design is performance, reliability and intentional design.

Staying true to its goal, HP has totally redesigned its desktop workstation line, with performance, reliability and what they call intentional design. “We are dedicated to getting the workflows of the future to deliver simulations as soon as possible,” says Garcia. The versatility of the products allow the customer to customize to their workflow needs.

Today’s family of workstations require features such as simulations, rendering, visual effects and video editing.

HP Z8, Z6 and Z4 Workstations

Simulations Engineers import data, prepare models, set parameters, and use core counts to process complex algorithms to improve product safety, quality and time-to-market.

Rendering After design and engineering is perfected, high resolution 3D models undergo processor and graphics-intensive rendering in applications from professional providers like Autodesk.

VFX artists use powerful applications like Autodesk Flame to create effects for audiences worldwide and that takes a serious power budget found only in workstations.

Video editing As video editing moves from 4K to 6k to 8k, each increment in pixel rate actually squares, creating massive data sets that require powerful graphics and large amounts of memory to playback in real time.
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Imagery Collection from Any Moving Vehicle with New NCTech 360-Degree Camera for Google Street View

Wednesday, May 24th, 2017

Neil Tocher, CTO at Edinburgh, Scotland-based NCTech, reality imaging systems developer, spoke with GISCafe Voice about NCTech’s recent demonstration of a new 360-degree camera designed to be mounted on any vehicle in order to capture and generate virtual street-level imagery.

NCTech Street View camera on vehicle

Google is set to trial the new camera for Street View capture in three countries (not currently announced).  Details of the new product were presented at the recent Google Street View Summit 2017 in Tokyo.
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