This week, a smartphone app will be made available to the citizens in Longview, Texas, where pictures and video can help the city address issues such as potholes that need repairing. Starting yesterday, citizens could log on to their smartphones, take a photo or video of a pothole or other problem in the city, note location and send it to the city.
The underwater volcanic eruption off El Hierro Island continues four months after it began.
Collected on February 10, 2012, this natural color satellite image shows the site of the eruption, near the fishing village of La Restinga. The beautiful aquamarine water indicates high concentrations of volcanic material. Right above the vent a patch of brown water can resemble a turbulent hot tub when the eruption is strongest.
This image was acquired by the Advanced Land Imager (ALI) aboard the Earth Observing-1 (EO-1) satellite. The eruption is just off the southern coast of El Hierro, the youngest of the Canary Islands. El Hierro is about 460 kilometers (290 miles) west of the coast of Morocco and Western Sahara.
According to El Hierro Digital measurements of the sea floor by the Instituto Oceanográfico Español showed that the volcano’s summit is now only 120 meters (390 feet) beneath the ocean surface—10 meters (30 feet) higher than it was in mid January. The height of the erupting cone is about 210 meters (690 feet) from the former ocean bottom, with a total volume over 145 million cubic meters (512 million cubic feet) of new material.
NASA Earth Observatory image by Jesse Allen and Robert Simmon, using EO-1 ALI data. Caption by Robert Simmon.
New estimates published this week in the online edition of the journal of Nature reports that Alaska glaciers have been shedding about 46 billion tons of ice each year, making America’s Arctic state the world’s single biggest contributor to glacier-fed sea level rise outside of Greenland or Antarctica. Still, Alaska remains a wee player in the global ice frappe, producing only about 8.5 percent of the world’s annual glacier shrinkage of 526 billion tons, according to the study, led by a team at the University of Colorado at Boulder.
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA) Center for Climate Prediction holds a monthly drought briefing by teleconference to identify the latest drought areas in North America, according to Don Comis of the USDA Agricultural Research Service (ARS). ARS scientists, Martha Anderson and Bill Kustas, are hoping that in a year or so, data from their computer model/satellite package will give evapotranspiration (ET) maps a seat at that briefing.
In GeoEye’s gallery are numerous high resolution images of locations across the globe. The Eastern Algerian portion of the Sahara is an otherworldly place, a region of great diversity with endless stretches of sand dunes and rocky platforms that can reach more than 2,000 meters. The Tassili n’Ajjer “Plateau of the Rivers” National Park is a vast plateau in southeast Algeria at the borders of Libya, Niger, and Mali, covering 72,000 square kilometers. Satellite Image Courtesy of GeoEye
John Snow created a map of a cholera outbreak in the district of Soho, London in 1854, which helped to convince authorities that the disease was caused by water ( in particular, it originated from one pump in Broad Street). The CartoDB platform allows you to map data and develop location aware applications very easily. This example of John Snow’s Cholera Map of London presented with CartoDB demonstrates how CartoDB can quickly combine different data types, then display them on a map.
Mladen Stojic, vice president Geospatial, Intergraph, talked about their new Live Link product which integrates Intergraph GeoMedia objects into ERDAS IMAGINE. Intergraph is a wholly owned subsidiary of Hexagon acquired in 2011. What this product offers is what customers have been asking for – an integrated approach to desktop workflows, combining the desktop GIS capability of GeoMedia integrated with the raster remote sensing and image processing capabilities of ERDAS IMAGINE.
Social Media and Authoritative Citizen Data
Crowdsourced data, initially met with skepticism and concern by the geospatial community, is now going mainstream. GIS practitioners have long been the keepers of “authoritative” data, and are now beginning to take crowdsourced data very seriously. This is in large part due to the tremendous utility of crowdsourced data we’ve seen during responses to recent disasters. Crowdsourced data enriches GIS, and Esri is constantly looking at how our users can use, manage, interpret, and incorporate it into their work.
With the advent of cloud computing as a new platform, geospatial applications in the cloud are driving a powerful new modality for GIS. With it, there is an opportunity to reinvent the way the GIS application is built and consumed, as well as influence the discovery and availability of spatial data and geospatial analyses.
Cloud computing provides the potential for access to and publication of dynamic data. This includes the consumption of real-time information for analyses and modeling, which can then be leveraged in applications that serve multiple purposes and audiences. Esri is seeing this more with disaster response operations that are standing up mission-critical geospatial applications hosted in the cloud. With access to seemingly unlimited compute capacity using cloud infrastructures, analytical calculations can be performed in a fraction of the time as traditional processes, which may potentially offer more economic viability as a result of the economies of scale that the cloud affords.
This may seem only attractive to small- to medium-sized businesses, educational institutions, non-profits, and startups. But as cloud computing moves increasingly into mainstream operations for business, the potential for cloud-hosted content and cloud-delivered content is becoming a significant reality for organizations, regardless of size. For a geospatial technologist, cloud GIS can ideally mean that data is always available, always accessible. For the mobile worker, the cloud offers an expansive field to speed workflow productivity and collaboration. Shared data and applications in the cloud can be immediately accessed to discover, view, edit, save changes and invoke geoprocessing functions for on-demand results.
Esri recognizes the opportunities that cloud computing can afford the geospatial professional and technologist. As such, we intend to continue to invest significantly in research and development of cloud-based solutions and services across multiple vendors to satisfy the requests by the geospatial community, and to foster growth of GIS into industries and within communities that may have not been cultivated as yet.
It is important to underscore that our current attention to the cloud does not forego interest and investment in on-premises desktops, servers and mobile applications. Rather, the cloud is another enabling platform to help complement and augment an organization’s sales, marketing, and technology portfolio capabilities.
Business Intelligence and Analytics
Commercial/business applications of GIS have long lagged behind more traditional GIS applications such as planning, government, and environment. But we are starting to see GIS reach much deeper into the business arena due to the focus on integration of GIS with enterprise resource planning (ERP), business intelligence (BI), data warehousing, and enterprise content management (ECM) applications. The majority of these integrated applications let end users work either in their business application environment or the GIS environment, so they are not disruptive to existing enterprise workflows.
Esri’s approach in this arena has been to partner with companies who have deep expertise in their respective BI, ERP, and ECM environments. We also recently acquired SpotOn Systems, a company that brings interactive mapping to IBM Cognos business intelligence applications. By making it easier to unite Esri’s spatial analytics, data, and maps with IBM Cognos BI, we think that this acquisition provides business users of GIS with the analytic element that has long been missing.
Scholars are having trouble measuring the world’s largest cities – largely because the terms the cities are measured by differ from place to place. They have come up with a total of 30 largest cities in the world.
Richard Greene, associate professor of geography at Northern Illinois University in the United States, says even the most authoritative list, from the UN, “compares apples with pears”.