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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 »

Fighting fires with GIS

 
July 2nd, 2013 by Susan Smith

Predicting where a dangerous wildfire is going to start can be very difficult, but geographic information systems (GIS) can quickly analyze geographic data about fire-contributing conditions to aid in effective wildfire planning and prevention.

“GIS is an ideal technology to predict the characteristics of a wildfire because it excels at analyzing multiple data layers,” says Gabe Schmidbauer, GIS professor at American Sentinel University. “The complex nature of wildfire dynamics requires the analysis of multiple disparate datasets such as housing, vegetation and weather for wildfire planning and prevention and can help predict when the current conditions are right for a wildfire,” says Schmidbauer.

That’s been the situation recently in Colorado as more than a dozen large fires burn in four national forests and eight other areas.

GIS Impacts Communities
Recently, a major online GIS mapping system was created to show the precise extent of the burning by GIS software vendor Esri to help residents, firefighters, emergency response workers, officials and others interested in the situation on the ground. It demonstrates how GIS experts can have a major impact on their communities.

“As GIS analysts model their prediction of wildfire behavior, they simulate changes in fire direction, intensity and geographical extent of a burned area over time to help predict where a potential fire will occur, as well as where a current fire will spread. This gives officials a leg up in fire prevention prediction analysis,” says Schmidbauer.

Esri’s map system scrolls in or out to cover the area the user wants to see. Pull back and you notice that not only are there the well-publicized problems in Colorado, but large fires in California, New Mexico, Arizona, Utah and Idaho. Esri wildland fire map

Social network hotspots are also included on the map. There are also other helpful annotations. For example, the map shows current wind patterns, color-coded to show strength. Wind is an important factor in how fires develop. The information can help predict how they might spread, which will affect firefighting efforts and the decisions made by officials and residents of the potentially affected areas.

Read the rest of Fighting fires with GIS

Indoor location applications in place by 2016

 
June 27th, 2013 by Susan Smith

According to a report by ABI Research entitled, “Indoor Location Smartphone Applications,” the ecosystem necessary to drive mass adoption of indoor location applications will be in place by 2016.

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Fighting fire with maps, weather data and fire behavior analysis

 
June 26th, 2013 by Susan Smith

The Jaroso Fire in the Pecos Wilderness of New Mexico burned 3,000 acres in the past 24 hours. This fire has been burning since June 10th. Although so far it has burned only just over 9,000 acres and so far there are no structures or power lines  in jeopardy yet, it is uncontained. It will remain uncontained until conditions change, because it is too dangerous to send ground crews in.

The Jaroso Fire at 11,000 feet elevation is burning in the rugged, steep, deep canyons of the Pecos Wilderness. It is burning in mixed-conifer, heavy dead and down, woody material with pockets of bug-killed trees, and has burnt through the 1300-acres of blowdown trees from a windstorm in 2007. The fire is seven miles from the nearest trailhead and there are no roads.

Almost all of the firefighting has taken place from the air but the few firefighters who have been rappelled in have had to be pulled out less than two hours later because of the altitude and the ruggedness of the terrain.

Read the rest of Fighting fire with maps, weather data and fire behavior analysis

Dengue modeling portal developed in Malaysia

 
June 21st, 2013 by Susan Smith

In an effort to stem the tide of dengue cases by monitoring he Ministry of Health in Malaysia launched a GIS-based web portal called  I-Dengue, which is designed to provide the public with the latest information on dengue hotspots and how to prevent contracting the disease. This will also help officials to respond to and monitor the disease, and hopefully will assist in its control.

Official reports cited the rising number of dengue cases from 10,352 with 19 deaths recorded from January to June, 2012 to 10,401 cases with 20 deaths in the same period, this year.

Read the rest of Dengue modeling portal developed in Malaysia

Intermap’s Orion Platform announced

 
June 20th, 2013 by Susan Smith

Intermap announced the launch of their Orion Platform Software-Driven Spatial Data Platform, at  the 12th Southeast Asian Survey Congress in Manila. The Orion Platform is designed to allow governmental entities to manage a country’s entire spatial data infrastructure program from one unified control point.

During 2013, Intermap has announced initial phase contracts involving Orion Platform installations in two countries, totaling approximately $16 million. Orion Platform has been in development for two years.

The cost and complexity of geospatial information and the infrastructure necessary to run it have been prohibitive for many countries. Orion Platform seeks to solve this problem to allowing customers to choose the products and services that they need based upon scope, budget and timeline. According to the press release, Intermap manages and delivers a multitude of fused geospatial datasets and their associated analytics in a simplified standard format.

Read the rest of Intermap’s Orion Platform announced

Google Maps Engine API for developers

 
June 14th, 2013 by Susan Smith

The Google Maps Engine API,<http://googleenterprise.blogspot.com/#uds-search-results> was released this week, allowing developers to bring the power of Maps Engine into their own applications for the first time.

Maps Engine lets organizations use Google’s reliable cloud infrastructure to layer their data on top of a Google Map and share their custom-made Google Maps with employees, customers or the public-at-large. The API provides direct access to Maps Engine for reading and editing spatial data hosted in the cloud and now organizations can use the API to develop on any platform and build applications like store locators, crowdsourced maps or crisis-response maps.

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Maps and mobile services are a winning combination

 
June 12th, 2013 by Susan Smith

Two articles in The New York Times point to the importance of maps and mobile services this week.

A screen shot of the Android version of Waze, a social mapping service used by millions of drivers around the world.

Read the rest of Maps and mobile services are a winning combination

Exelis Jagwire Mobile extends supported services to the iPhone and Android

 
June 11th, 2013 by Susan Smith

Jim Phillips, director of Geospatial Enterprise Intelligence Solutions at Exelis, answered some questions about the recent release of ITT Exelis’ Jagwire Mobile which extends the supported client devices to iPhone and Android handhelds.

Mobile version of Jagwire

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Need for GIS professionals grows in government sector

 
June 5th, 2013 by Susan Smith

GIS is the backbone for U.S. national security and a key driver of technology growth in the government.

A recent forecast estimates a compound annual growth rate of 11 percent from 2011 to 2015, it’s a trend that offers significant career opportunities for professionals with a GIS master’s degree.

GIS technology can quickly render one to several layers of digital geospatial data – such as the movement of people, location of potential targets, identification of key natural resources – into map-like products for a wide range of relevant geospatial analyses.

The government relies on GIS systems to access and process digital geospatial data that takes the form of people activities, location of potential targets, the location of natural resources. Geospatial technology can be synthesized into mapping products that can be used for geospatial analyses. One of its primary uses is for geointelligence.

Here are five ways the government is using GIS technology:

Read the rest of Need for GIS professionals grows in government sector

CoreLogic Storm Surge Report 2013 released

 
June 5th, 2013 by Susan Smith

CoreLogic senior hazard scientist, Dr. Thomas Jeffery, the primary author of this year’s CoreLogic Storm Surge Report, answered some questions about their research.


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