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Newscycle Through the Eyes of Maps

Wednesday, October 4th, 2017

This week the news hit close to home: my son was working in the Manderley Bay Hotel when the shooter opened fire on Route 91 Harvest festival in Las Vegas outside. He was safe thank God, but terribly shaken by the event as visitors poured into the hotel with panicked stories and later, the hotel was in lockdown for several hours. The level of fear and panic generated by this event was hard to contain as most people didn’t know what was happening and heard only shots  coming from up high.

Rather than rehashing the news here, which everyone has read already via TV or popups on their phones, I’m going to blog through maps that show factual information on this and other recent disasters that have hit close to home, both manmade and natural. Maps put events in perspective, take one incident out of isolation and place it in context.

From The Guardian: The United States owns way, way more guns per capita than the rest of the world. And the best research on gun violence suggests that’s probably contributing to our homicide problem — as exemplified by Sunday night’s horrific shooting.

Here’s a map of firearm ownership around the world, using 2012 data compiled by The Guardian. The United States has nearly twice as many guns per 100 people as the next closest country, Yemen — 88.8 guns per 100 as opposed to 54.8 in Yemen:

We have also the aftermath of the devastation from three hurricanes making landfall in the U.S., Mexico and the Caribbean, including Puerto Rico, U.S. Virgin Islands, Barbuda and others, plus an earthquake in Mexico. Fortunately maps are abundant in the GIS world for tracking and analysis of the events, plus disaster recovery efforts.

In many parts of the world people do not have physical addresses, nor defined property boundaries. The importance of identifying location by addressing/location with just three words is brought to light in this video by what3words:

This Esri Interactive Map presents the enriched Shakemap of the M 7.1 Earthquake near  Puebla, Mexico to show the potential impact to population and households in the area.

Clicking on the shaded areas allows you to view the impact for that intensity:

Orange (very strong): 447k total population; 114k total households

Yellow (strong): 10.2m total population; 2.6m total households

Green (moderate): 8.7m total population; 4.8m total households

Blue (light): 43.1 total population; 10.8m total households

Esri Disaster Response – Hurricanes & Cyclones

While there are still many places that are not on the radar of technology after catastrophic events such as hurricanes, cyclones and earthquakes, map technology may be used to locate victims and learn where to provide desperately needed services. From company materials: Esri is supporting organizations that are responding to hurricane/cyclone disasters with software, data, imagery, project services, and technical support. If you are in need of software or support, complete the Request Assistance form on the webpage above. All requests should be justified in the message section of the form and are subject to approval.

Web mapping applications related to Hurricane Maria provided from the Esri Disaster Response Program and agencies involved in response to and monitoring of the hurricane. There is also an identical page for Hurricane Irma.

CrowdRescueHQ is an organization powered by volunteers, who gather data from social media to support rescue efforts and victims of natural disasters.  This CrowdSourceHQ Observations dashboard is updated every half-minute and displays latest observations reported in Puerto Rico related to Hurricane Maria.

Woolpert Hurricane Irma maps

Woolpert, working under two separate contracts that had very technically different requirements, collected and posted high-resolution, before-and-after imagery of areas in Florida affected by Hurricane Irma to assist with flooding and damage assessment.

From company materials: Miami-Dade County contracted with Woolpert for post-storm imagery as Hurricane Irma approached, while Woolpert’s work with the Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) is part of an existing five-year, statewide contract for emergency mapping services.

“Miami-Dade wanted imagery from after the event, documenting damage assessment, while FDOT wanted to see how high the water got at the peak of the flooding to gain current flood conditions,” Woolpert project manager Mike Zoltek said. “For FDOT, we captured 1,000 square miles of imagery along the St. Johns River in a single day as the water was cresting. The imagery was collected across four counties—St. Johns, Duval, Putnam and Clay—from Palatka to Jacksonville.”

The FDOT project is complete, while the Miami-Dade project continued as weather allowed throughout the week.

The collections have included 6-inch and 1-foot ground sampling distance (GSD) orthoimagery. The smaller the GSD, the higher the image resolution. As part of this process, Woolpert captured aerial imagery, processed the data, paired it with comparable imagery collected prior to the hurricane, delivered it to clients and posted it on a before-and-after online slider for use by anyone affected by the disaster.

The resulting online maps, aggregated with data from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and Google, enable viewers to look up an address, navigate to an area of concern, and zoom in and out.

Woolpert, whose planes had just returned from mapping the devastation in Houston after Hurricane Harvey when contacted by Miami-Dade, credited the county for preparing for recovery efforts before the storm hit.

Two Koreas Story Map

Two Koreas

Tensions between the U.S. have escalated rapidly, with a lot of chest thumping and threats of nuclear war. The conflict is not new, and has roots reaching all the way back to World War II. It is a conflict over control of the Korean Peninsula, pitting the North against the South.

While the Korean War of the early 1950s never formally ended, its aftermath has created starkly divergent worlds for those living on either side of the north-south divide. This Esri Story Map takes a look at life in the two Koreas; how such a night-and-day difference came to be; and offers some analysis of where the crisis could go from here.

Share this map:

https://arcg.is/0yGri0

 

 

 

 

Pitney Bowes Location Meets Big Data = Location Analytics

Tuesday, September 26th, 2017

Pitney Bowes data and software solutions today announced a major expansion of their solutions, adding location to Big Data to perform location analytics, to give organizations a better understanding of their customers. The announcement is three-pronged: Big Data Module for the flagship solution Spectrum, Addressing and GeoEnrichment Data Portfolio and Conform Solution Suite.

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Special Coverage: The Global Reach of Online GIS Education

Thursday, September 14th, 2017

For several years, colleges, universities and some geospatial vendors have been offering online classes in various capacities. As companies offer fewer training courses within their facilities, and professionals have less time to travel to classes, we have seen the rise of these courses offered by universities and even software companies. What do these classes contribute to the whole educational fabric of GIS?

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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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Coming up: Special Coverage on Online GIS Courses!

Thursday, July 13th, 2017

The face of GIS and Geospatial education has changed dramatically over the past few years, with new online courses being offered in numerous subjects, ranging from GIS fundamentals to Spatial Analytics and UAVs. What is more phenomenal is that these courses reach out to all corners of the earth, making a GIS/geospatial education a possibility for almost everyone on the planet.

Our coverage will include a listing of all the top online GIS courses offered today, enrollment information and costs, as well as comments from instructors, employers and current or graduated students from some of the programs.
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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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GEOINT 2017: Common Goals and Public-Private Partnership

Wednesday, June 7th, 2017

At GEOINT 2017 held this year in San Antonio, TX, Robert Cardillo, director, National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency, spoke about the role of GEOINT and how it will drive the next generation of intelligence in his keynote address, “Riding the Wave.”

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

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GeoSLAM Announces ZEB-REVO “Walk and Scan” Mobile Mapping Device Upgrade for Indoor Mapping

Thursday, June 1st, 2017

Mark Reid, Vice President of Product Management at GeoSLAM Ltd talked about their recent announcement of the real-time upgrade option for the ZEB-REVO, their handheld mobile mapping system. Demonstrated for the first time at SPAR 3D 2017 in Houston, the optional upgrade includes a revised datalogger capable of undertaking SLAM registration in real-time. It has its own integrated Wi-Fi, with results that can be displayed live, as they are captured, on any web browser enabled device including tablets and smartphones.

Thornton Abbey Scan

GISCafe Voice: What are some indoor map applications for ZEB-REVO?

The ZEB-REVO handheld mobile mapping device employs a highly robust 3D Simultaneous Localisation And Mapping (SLAM) algorithm, which enables the rapid creation of a 3-dimensional model of any space.

Since it does not require a GPS signal, the ZEB-REVO is at its best in complex, enclosed, multi-level environments, without compromising on the accuracy of data collection.

User cam

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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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Leica BLK360 3D Scanner and Software Pack a Big Punch in a Little Body

Thursday, April 27th, 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.

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