GISCafe Voice
Susan Smith
Susan Smith
Susan Smith has worked as an editor and writer in the technology industry for over 16 years. As an editor she has been responsible for the launch of a number of technology trade publications, both in print and online. Currently, Susan is the Editor of GISCafe and AECCafe, as well as those sites’ … More »

Expanded Portfolio of Geospatial Solutions from Trimble

 
May 5th, 2015 by Susan Smith

In an interview with Todd Steiner, marketing director, Geospatial Imaging and Optical Solutions and Tim Lemmon, marketing director, Geospatial Software Solutions, GISCafe Voice discussed the recent announcement from Trimble announcing an expanded portfolio of geospatial solutions for surveyors, engineers and mapping professionals. Highlights include new total stations, a new GNSS receiver and new field and office software features. According to company materials, the solutions save time, reduce costs, streamline workflows and produce high-quality geospatial deliverables across a wide range of industries.

 

Trimble S9 Total Station

Trimble S9 Total Station

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Data Links for Nepal Earthquake

 
April 28th, 2015 by Susan Smith

Over the weekend, a devastating 7.8 magnitude earthquake struck Nepal near the city of Kathmandu, followed by aftershocks that also resulted in many deaths and structural damage. Simultaneously, climbers on Mount Everest’s base camp were buried in an avalanche, precipitated by the quake.

The following are some sites that provide some geospatial insight into the events. I’m leaving the links whole in most cases so that they are easy for people to access and will add others as I learn about them. If anyone has any other links that should be added to this list, please contact me at susan.smith@ibsystems.com.

Dharahara Tower, Kathmandu April 2014 before the earthquake, courtesy DigitalGlobe

Dharahara Tower, Kathmandu April 2014 before the earthquake, courtesy DigitalGlobe

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New APIs from Exelis for Weather Forecasters and Others

 
April 23rd, 2015 by Susan Smith

I’ve often thought that weather prediction was the only profession where the professionals could be wrong 90% of the time and still get paid a good salary. Perhaps the new application program interfaces from Exelis will change all that for the future of weather and meteorology.

Helios in Amarillo Read the rest of this entry »

New Interactive Map for the First Lady’s Let’s Move Health Initiative

 
April 16th, 2015 by Susan Smith

I was pleased to hear about this White House announcement that the First Lady will join students from across the country to plant the White House Kitchen Garden for the seventh year in a row. In 2009, Mrs. Obama planted a vegetable garden on the South Lawn to initiate a national conversation around the health and wellbeing of our nation—a conversation that evolved into her Let’s Move! initiative.

Screen Shot 2015-04-16 at 9.59.25 AM Read the rest of this entry »

Space-Time Insight Takes Situational Intelligence a Step Further

 
April 7th, 2015 by Susan Smith

Technology for electric utilities is not always particularly exciting, but Space-Time Insight raises the bar for the industry in terms of providing virtual reality to actually access and analyze situations arising in utility facilities.

Oculus Circuit Breaker

Oculus view of a Circuit Breaker

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CoreLogic Wildfire Risk Analysis Data Pinpoints High Risk Areas in the U.S.

 
April 2nd, 2015 by Susan Smith

CoreLogic recently released new wildfire data, the CoreLogic Wildfire Risk Analysis, that states that nearly 900,000 single-family homes across 13 states in the western U.S. are currently designated at “High” or “Very High,” risk for wildfire damage, representing a combined total reconstruction value estimated at more than $237 billion. Of the total homes identified, just over 192,000 homes fall into the “Very High Risk” category alone, with total reconstruction cost valued at more than $49.6 billion. Other categories include “Moderate” and “Low” risk. GISCafe spoke with Dr. Tom Jeffery of CoreLogic to find out the scoop on this important new information for homeowners, insurance companies and other stakeholders.

Dr. Tom Jeffery: In the past we used what’s called the assessed property value which is based on tax assessment. We’ve actually changed that so it matches what we do with storm surge which is reconstruction value of these homes. This is going to be the cost of labor and materials in each of the different locations to replace the structure that would be lost in the event that a wildfire destroyed the whole thing. California is right at the top of the list, in most cases, because of wildfire risk throughout the state, but Colorado and Texas are also states that are usually ranked very high. They continue to do so through this report. There is one overarching factor that pops out whenever we do these reports. When we see results for the first time, we see how many homes are at risk in the total U.S. and what those values are. They are exceptionally high in those areas.

GISCafe Voice: What determines what states are ranked high?

TJ: Because you have large population centers in California, Texas and Colorado, and those urban areas that continue to grow, the pace of the growth is going to grow from year. All three of those states continue to have urban expansion and new homes constructed continue to push out into areas that have higher risk. There’s a lot of risk in those three states as well. A lot of people and a lot of risk is a combination that put those three to the top of the list.

GISCafe Voice: How do you assess the risk score?

TJ: The risk score itself is really based on several factors we combine, the first is the risk on the property, and that determines our categories of high, moderate high and very high, those determine the risk on the property. It’s based on what fuel is there, based on vegetation, if there’s change of terrain, if there’s a steep slop which enhances the risk, that determines the category. But for the score we actually want to look outside the property boundary to risk in close proximity to that property. So if you own a property maybe you have a nice manicured lawn, decorative trees, you don’t have any risk on the property. But just outside the boundary there could be a lot of chaparall in Southern California, for instance, a dense conifer or pine forest, in other areas. If that exists really close to your property that raises the risk value.

So we measure the distance from a property to what’s around it in terms of risk and then we add that to the category or risk on the property, and we add that to the score. The score is going to be 0-100 numeric-based and anything that’s 80 and above is extremely high risk. We have those broken out in the tables, so you can see even though if you look at the U.S. as a whole, there are going to be 192,000 properties that are listed as very high. And that’s looking at the risk on the property. As soon as we look at the score – and the score 81-100, we go from 192,000 all the way up to 1.1 million. So really those homes on the urban edge pushing out in to the wilder areas are the ones that the score is picking up and that’s why the scores are jumping from 192,000 to 1.1 million. It’s the homes that don’t have the risk within their borders and boundaries but have it just outside that are at most risk.

GISCafe Voice: What are insurance companies concerned with when they consult with you?

TJ: Most of those discussions with insurance company representatives revolve around mitigation, which is, how can homeowners reduce the risk on the property and which properties need that? More and more insurance companies have to write these policies and there are so many high risk policies they can’t ignore. What they’re trying to do more and more is identify the high risk properties, then identify ways they can talk to land and homeowners and clear brush around the homes, make sure it’s not a wood shake roof, all these things do to reduce the risk on higher risk. It helps homeowner in the long run because it’s less risk for their home, also helps insurance companies so they both benefit from things homeowners can do to reduce risk on property.

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Intergraph and Esri Collaborate to Enhance Geospatial for Public Safety

 
March 26th, 2015 by Susan Smith

In an interview with vice president of Public Safety Products, Intergraph SG&I Kalyn Sims, and Russ Johnson, director of Public Safety for Esri, discussed the latest collaboration between the two companies, to enhance geospatial capabilities for public safety and security agencies. Through the collaboration, the companies will work to more tightly align Intergraph’s Computer-Aided Dispatch system, I/CAD, and Esri’s ArcGIS Platform.

CAD dispatcher

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GISCafe Special Feature Blog: Emergency Response and Recovery

 
March 20th, 2015 by Susan Smith

In recent years, Emergency Response and Recovery has been tasked with addressing the growing number of natural disasters and manmade disasters worldwide. When a disaster happens, the role of GIS and geospatial is front and center in the identification of location and the location of individuals impacted in the event, as well as the clarification of the physical damage to vital structures. It is also fundamental to the provision of medical care and utilities during a time when those things may be scarce or non-existent.

LWB_1258 - Copy

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Uber acquires deCarta

 
March 11th, 2015 by Susan Smith

Last week, Uber announced that it acquired deCarta, a small location based services (LBS) company. As Uber has made its name as the “ridesharing giant,” a company spokesman said that they hoped to improve Uber’s ETA times as well as carpooling service with the acquisition. It also will reduce the company’s reliance on Google and Apple.

Screen Shot 2015-03-11 at 9.40.55 AM Read the rest of this entry »

What happens now: Google Enterprise products no longer supported by Google

 
March 5th, 2015 by Susan Smith

What has been an un-announcement in the geospatial industry is the fact that Google Maps Engine and Google Earth Enterprise are to be discontinued by Google. It’s possible that Google didn’t send out a press release about this because their customers, who are mainly consumers, may mistake the message to mean that Google Maps and Google Earth will be discontinued by Google, which is absolutely not the case.

The Esri/Google architecture in the post Google Earth Enterprise World

The Esri/Google architecture in the post Google Earth Enterprise World

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