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Archive for the ‘location based services’ Category

Vista LiDAR Sensor Unveiled for Autonomous Vehicles

Thursday, April 26th, 2018

Cepton Technologies, Inc., a provider of 3D LiDAR solutions for automotive, industrial and mapping applications, recently introduced its Vista LiDAR sensor at the annual NVIDIA GPU Technology Conference, making it immediately available for the autonomous vehicle market.

Vista on the car

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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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An Underground Map of the World

Thursday, April 12th, 2018

Mark Smith, CEO of Geospatial Corporation, spoke this week with GISCafe Voice about the challenges of mapping the underground, which includes mapping underwater. The company’s goal is to create an underground “map of the world,” by doing it “one pipeline at a time.” This is a sensible approach to a project that may seem a bit like trying to eat an elephant (start with the toes!). With the help of sensors and Geospatial’s cloud-based GIS platform, GeoUnderground, it looks like the goal is highly attainable.

  1. What are specific challenges to mapping underground utilities? 

The most obvious challenge is that the pipelines and conduits are underground or underwater and that makes the selection of the data acquisition methodology very important.  I like to say that the difference between locating and mapping is pretty straight forward. Locators attempt to “clear” an area for a specific reason, such as in preparation for a construction project. At Geospatial Corporation, we approach a project in a very “holistic” manner. We know there is no “silver bullet” that will allow us to accurately map every type of buried infrastructure within a facility, right of way or municipality.  We know that we need to use many types of data acquisition technologies to obtain a complete “picture” or “map” of the underground.  In addition, getting this vast amount of data properly into a GIS platform from the field, often with numerous techs collecting below and above ground over large areas is in itself a trick.  For this we have developed GeoUnderground, our proprietary cloud-based GIS platform built on Google Maps. GeoUnderground provides an economical, SaaS based, powerful yet very simple to use GIS Platform accessible from any phone. Our goal is to have every data acquisition tool seamlessly integrate into GeoUnderground.

  1. What solutions do you provide to achieve goals?  

At Geospatial we consider our data acquisition technologies to be simply “sensors on a platform”.  The platform could be designed to run inside of a pipeline or conduit and have various types of gyroscopic or electromagnetic sensors. These technologies are extremely accurate under most conditions and allow us to accurately map in x,y&z pipelines and conduits as small as 1.5 inches in diameter to 20 feet in diameter.  These technologies are often used on projects for telecom, (Such as AT&T, Comcast & Verizon).  This is also applicable for sewers, gas lines and numerous other types of infrastructure. We have developed a method of combining technologies to geo-reference the video collected inside a pipeline during periodic inspections. This allows the pipeline owner to locate any defects within the pipeline, providing an exact xy&z location of the defect.  This also allows the video data to be stored and viewed, edited and shared on GeoUnderground. We are constantly looking for new types of data acquisition and data management technologies to be added to GeoUnderground. To this end, we are creating strategic alliances with numerous sensor companies.

  1. Are you creating a map of the world’s underground infrastructure and if so, when do you think that will be completed and how will it be maintained? 

Yes, our slogan is that we are creating a map of the world’ underground, one pipeline at a time.  In reality we are aggregating data of behalf of our clients that is slowly, but surely creating a map of the underground.  As more and more of our clients realize the benefits of mapping and knowing the location of their critical assets, the mitigation of risk and the ROI obtainable from sophisticated analysis, they will accelerate the mapping of their underground and above ground assets. More and more infrastructure stakeholders are beginning to plan to map their entire facility.

  1. How do Blockchain technologies figure in?

It’s a massive undertaking to attempt to map the underground.  Just as we are constantly finding new sensor applications, we are also exploring new software applications utilizing Blockchain, machine learning and artificial intelligence.

  1. How do you renovate or replace utility structures that are underwater?

Geospatial doesn’t repair or replace pipelines, but we do have several ways to map pipelines underwater involving either our gyroscopic technologies and our electromagnetic technologies.  We have successfully mapped a telecom conduit under the East River in New York City, also the Harlem River in NYC, The Savanna River in Georgia, the Inner Coastal Waterway in Charleston, along with many other rivers and lakes across the USA.

  1. What do you think will be the result of mapping the outdated infrastructure, and how might it be maintained or retrofit using your data?  

A few years back, no one would have guessed that all of the above ground infrastructure would have been digitally mapped, from the air, from un-manned drones or from the streets.  The underground infrastructure is the last unmapped frontier. We can only begin to speculate the many uses and benefits derived from having an accurate 3D map of the underground. Smart City initiatives, increasing Federal and state requirements for gas & oil pipelines, an abundance of new sensors creating the Internet of Things and the ability to run risk analysis on critical pipelines all require management to know the exact position and depth of our critical infrastructure.

 

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 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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Share Open Datasets Using theMapCloud

Friday, January 26th, 2018

Recently, Scottish Geographic Information Systems (GIS) company thinkWhere announced the launch of a new cloud-based platform for GIS and geographic data, theMapCloud. theMapCloud allows maps, open data and business records to be accessed anytime, and anywhere, through a web-connected computer or mobile device. Using standard web browsers, users can view, retrieve and share maps, geographic data and other open datasets and, as well as providing a platform for GIS and other web applications, theMapCloud can be used for a host of data services and Software as a Service (SaaS) applications.

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Every Breath You Take: BBC Showcases Clean Air Initiatives with EarthSense Air Pollution Sensors

Thursday, January 18th, 2018

 In a recent BBC TV broadcast, EarthSense Systems,  in close collaboration with resident groups, television producers and personality Dr Xand van Tulleken, went to the Kings Heath suburb of Birmingham, UK in December 2017 to demonstrate the air pollution challenges faced by typical urban communities with busy shopping areas and congested major streets.

EarthSense Zephyr sensor

According to the press materials, as part of a day long campaign of action, residents were urged to leave their cars at home, instead using public transport or walking or cycling for the daily commute and school runs. Volunteers carried out people and traffic surveys and Dr Xand van Tulleken showed his support presenting for the BBC TV programme “Fighting for Air” which aired on January 10th. The experiment utilized special air pollution sensors, developed by EarthSense, which monitored changes in air pollution on the day compared to recordings elsewhere in Birmingham.

Air pollution causes 40,000 early deaths each year in the UK. It has been determined that 16 of UK cities have illegal level of toxic fumes. It is estimated in one study that air pollution costs the UK  £20 billion a year in medical costs and lost labor.

In a demonstration, Dr. Xand van Tuileken donned a military grade mask with filters designed for chemical warfare. He said that, “at the moment I am breathing the cleanest air possible.” The air contains high levels of harmful pollution, from industry, construction, but in there in Birmingham, mostly from vehicles.

“To test just how dangerous the air we breathe is, I am first having to “detox” . Free my body from pollution,” said van Tuileken.
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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 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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Canon: oce crystalPoint
Teledyne Optech
Teledyne:



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