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 »
February 19th, 2014 by Susan Smith
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.
February 13th, 2014 by Susan Smith
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.
February 11th, 2014 by Susan Smith
In response to the Department of Interior’s Powering Our Future initiative, the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) has begun investigating how to assess the impacts of wind energy development on wildlife at a national scale.
This research differs from previous USGS energy assessments of wind energy. While in the past the USGS has looked at recoverable resources of such as gas, geothermal, oil or coal, the USGS is developing a method for determining the impacts of a type of energy production. Since wind energy is one of the fastest growing areas of renewable energy in the U.S., it is interesting that the USGS is looking at the creation of assessment methodologies that combine its past research in land change science, wildlife ecology and wind-wildlife research.
February 7th, 2014 by Susan Smith
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.
February 4th, 2014 by Susan Smith
George Demming, founding member of TerraGo Technology and CTO of TerraGo, talked in their recent webinar about the release of their Terrago v.6.0.4 geospatial collaboration software, including TerraGo Publisher, TerraGo Composer and TerraGo Toolbar.
January 31st, 2014 by Susan Smith
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.
January 30th, 2014 by Susan Smith
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.
January 28th, 2014 by Susan Smith
Airbus Defense and Space satellite imagery of Sochi, Russia, displays the Russian town that was probably unknown to most of the world before the Olympics. Depicted are its sports complexes and natural setting. The Pléiades satellite image shows buildings — housing, and indoor sports complexes in the Adler district of Sochi, wheras the video depicts the town of Sochi, as well as nearby Adler and the Krasnaya Polyiana mountain cluster.
Airbus Defence and Space’s geo-information products – such as 3D elevation models drawing on satellite imagery – are useful for feasibility studies, risk modelling, environmental impact and cost evaluation in large civil engineering projects. Equipped with 3D data, construction projects are better able to gauge how much earth needs to be cleared or how much land needs to be filled on a building site.
January 24th, 2014 by Susan Smith
In a discussion with Dale Lutz of Safe Software he talked about the latest version of FME, FME 2014.
“For every user we try hard to make the whole experience of using the product more effective and smooth, and that comes down to making use of streamed real estate,” said Lutz.
This has involved changing the interface out to new technology that is faster, with a nicer graphical look, and FME now works on the Mac as well as Linux.
“A lot of web developers work on Macs, and many want to work with spatial data, and in Europe especially there is a lot of interest in Linux, and they are happy to be able to use it directly. This isn’t a big commercial opportunity but many university people are Mac or Linux.”
January 22nd, 2014 by Susan Smith
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).