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NGA evolves

Wednesday, February 19th, 2014

From Federal News Radio

The National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency has experienced more changes over the past decade than all the other 16 intelligence agencies in the U.S. government.

Geospatial information intelligence was essentially spawned in the technology boom that led to big data, mobility and cloud computing raised the stature and importance of the NGA to both the intelligence and Defense Department Communities.

This was brought out in a recent press release about the NGA’s commitment to GIS at the ESRI Federal GIS Conference in Washington.

“We are no longer doing business as usual. The work around us is changing rapidly, and NGA is changing with it,” said Letitia Long, director of NGA, Tuesday at the ESRI Federal GIS Conference in Washington. “We are transforming from a traditional provider of products, static maps, charts and analytic products into a dynamic content and services provider. As the provider of this dynamic geospatial intelligence, we deliver advanced analysis. We drive integrated intelligence. We are constantly evolving our critical geospatial content and at the same time offering expert services to all of our many customers.”

Part of that transformation is entering phase three of the evolution of geospatial information services (GIS). Phase one according to Long, was all about coordinatino, where users could bring together disconnected data and systems to solve a problem. At this stage the data was still siloed and segmented and there was not much going on with information sharing.

The intelligence community moved into phase two called “connection” during the late 1990s.

Long said this is where the community moved past coordination by connecting the different disciplines and fostering mutual support among them. She said the data still wasn’t integrated, but at least there was collaboration.

The intelligence community, led by NGA, now is in the early stages of phase three, called “integration.” Long said these efforts and capabilities depend on the Intelligence Community Information Technology Enterprise (ICITE) initiative.

Long said all of these phases are part of a historic shift that NGA and the intel community are going through. She said the intel community could move into phase four over the next five years.

Meanwhile, NGA is leading the way in phase three with four new capabilities launched in the last six months.

All four are dependent on one another and integrated through ICITE.

Long said NGA moved first to open IT standards starting in 2011. This included operating in the cloud and focusing on customer satisfaction and efficiencies.

The second capability is called Map of the World. This is to be the home for all geoint related content, data, knowledge, reporting and analysis. It will provide a seamless, integrated environment for analysts to integrate all their data about anything.

The NGA Map of the World includes classified geospatial content about maritime and air safety and imagery data. Its content also is tailored for DoD and intelligence senior decision makers which differentiates it from other Map type approaches. Intelligence analysts can access the Map of the World through the Globe, a Web portal that will become the entry point for all intelligence data.

 

Google Goes to Antarctica

Thursday, February 13th, 2014

For those Antarctic enthusiasts, Google has been exploring Antarctica with its special Street View backpack carrying a special Trekker camera. It persuaded researchers at the Polar Geospatial Center to carry the trekker, a 42 pound backpack with 15 lenses. Starting with easy to obtain images using , Google has now added a range of hard to reach places.

Imagery courtesy of Google Street View Imagery

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Lovell Johns and SpatialTEQ announce partnership

Friday, February 7th, 2014

 

Map publishers Lovell Johns and SpatialTEQ Inc. announced a partnership designed to provide United Kingdom businesses with access to easy-to-use and affordable business mapping software.  There is a need for accessible business mapping in the UK which SpatialTEQ’s business mapping software, MapBusinessOnline.com can address. The software has been modified to accommodate UK geographies in its latest version MBO 4.1 which was released in December 2013.

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Blue Marble release of Global Energy Mapper v15.1

Friday, January 31st, 2014

Blue Marble Geographics released Global Energy Mapper version 15.1, a so called minor release that features the “Create Flattened Site Pad Plan” dialog box option and improved processing of IHS Well (297/298) files.

According to the press release, “Global Energy Mapper is not just a viewer capable of displaying the most popular raster, elevation, and vector datasets. It converts, edits, prints, tracks GPS, and allows users to utilize GIS functionality on a wide variety of datasets. With Global Energy Mapper users have access to the Blue Marble GeoCalc coordinate transformation, SpatialOnDemand subscription and custom industry tools like the pad site placement tool, seismic survey tools and built-in point types and symbols for the oil & gas industry.”

Additional features of the new release include added support for MS SQL Spatial databases, enabling Global Energy Mapper to support all available spatial database types and 3D support for displaying a path profile across separate terrain surfaces that allows users to easily compare the surface of multiple loaded terrain layers along a single path.

The value of flood mapping

Thursday, January 30th, 2014

According to the Fraser Coast Chronicle, of Queensland, Australia, the Bundaberg Regional Council embraced mapping technology in order to save lives of flood victims during the Bundaberg tornados a year ago in January 2013. This is now the anniversary of the disaster, when six tornados struck in and around Bundaberg. The GIS technology employed provided rescue teams with critical and timely information for evacuations, rescues, food drops, and the ensuing clean-up.

In the article, GIS Delivery and Support team leader Steven Bowden said the technology was a crucial part of its operation to evacuate more than 6,000 people from the areas of North and East Bundaberg. “Council has been working with Esri Australia in leveraging GIS technology across different business areas for the past five years,” Mr Bowden said.

Floods hit the regions in 2010 and 2013, when the technology delivered up-to-date information while the floods were happening. GIS was used for all tactical and operational decision-making, situational awareness, strategic planning and rescue efforts as well as engaging the public.

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GIS platform implemented in Indian electrical utility

Wednesday, January 22nd, 2014

According to an article in the Times of India, the city of Noida has upgraded its services to electricity consumers.  The Noida discom (distribution company) is going to use a GIS platform that can determine the exact location and coordinates of callers complaining about outages from faults and snags. It will also indicate coordinates of the snag on the distribution network, which will help in being able to attend to faults more quickly.

Customer care centers of the discom have integrated the GIS platform. A training programme by Paschimanchal Vidyut Vitaran Nigam Limited (PVVNL) is currently underway at its disaster-response centre in Sector 58 to attune employees and executives to efficiently handle the platform.

PVVNL officials said that they are using the programme to train staff to effectively use the online billing system and collect payments. “A number of applications that have been developed will be implemented in the city under this programme. The purpose behind this initiative is to make good use of information technology and provide better service to consumers,” said AP Singh, executive engineer (IT-PVVNL).

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Bluesky awarded contract to map heat loss

Thursday, January 16th, 2014

As energy efficiency is of paramount importance these days, thermal survey maps can show hot spots and can identify where housing is not heated properly. This situation is called “fuel poverty” and is due to poor insulation or people simply wanting to conserve heat by not turning on the heat. The combination of thermal data with other datasets such as demographic data can help pinpoint buildings where this is the case.

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Conform for real time 3D visualization

Friday, January 10th, 2014

Andrew Tosh, founder of GameSim of Orlando, a 3D visualization and GIS applications used in the gaming and military simulation industries, talked about the plans to expand their product Conform into the GIS market. GameSim is looking at 30% growth (2013). Tosh started the company in 2008 and now they have 33 employess. They will do revenue at $3.7 million this year.

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Top Geospatial Predictions for 2014

Thursday, December 19th, 2013

The following are GISCafe Voice’s Geospatial Predictions for 2014. Some of them were on last year’s list, but continue on as important predictions for change in 2014. There was big change in 2014, in the delivery of products, demand for certain types of products such as for disaster recovery, tracking and restoration and mobile apps, as well as the coming of age of indoor location mapping. See if our predictions line up with what your predictions are for 2014!

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For Santa watchers everywhere….

Wednesday, December 18th, 2013

 

Esri’s interactive Santas Around the World allows you to explore 29 different cultural and geographical variations of Santa Claus and learn about holiday traditions across four continents.

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