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 »
October 14th, 2010 by Susan Smith
OpenTreeMap is “an urban forestry tree inventory and management tool to support collaborative data collection and tree management by municipal government, non-profit organizations, students, and volunteers.”
Azavea (formerly Avencia) announced today that it was awarded a Phase I Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) grant totaling $90,000, by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA)
to develop a prototype of a new data management software (OpenTreeMap) that will assist communities with the inventory and maintenance of urban forests.
Azavea will work with the Pennsylvania Horticultural Society (PHS), the City of Philadelphia and the Delaware Valley Regional Planning Commission (DVRPC), and will use the Phase I SBIR funds to test the feasibility of the development of OpenTreeMap. The Phase I project will develop a prototype of Philadelphia to begin with. If this prototype is successful, Azavea will then be eligible for Phase II funding so that they can extend OpenTreeMap to anywhere in the world.
By designing the OpenTreeMap web application as a wiki-style data editing software, Azavea hopes it will enable a variety of users to participate collaboratively in the tree people of many ages and experience levels to participate collaboratively in the tree inventory process.Until now that hasn’t been possible, even though urban and suburban municipal government have really wanted to manage their street trees and public lands more efficiently.
October 13th, 2010 by Susan Smith
The United States GIS Data Repository (USGDR), a not-for-profit organization dedicated to “Making Public Data Public”, has partnered with TractBuilder to provide Central Appraisal Districts and certain other county-level GIS programs free licenses of the TractBuilder Tools for ArcGIS, a set of tools counties can use to map polygons and lines according to legal descriptions.
October 13th, 2010 by Susan Smith
Frisco’s GIS team was selected for the Esri President’s Award from more than 300,000 organizations worldwide for its efforts in developing Project SAFER, or Situational Awareness For Emergency Response. The program provides information – including live video – to firefighters, police officers and other first responders about Frisco schools and other public places during an emergency.
– Frisco Blog
Boston – Senate President Therese Murray, D-Plymouth, announced Monday that the town of Kingston will receive a $1,000 grant to help upgrade its geographic information system (GIS) technology. This program is used to help research, develop, and implement urban and regional planning and will improve efficiency in the designing and mapping of neighborhoods and towns.
– $1,000 GIS grant awarded to Kingston.Wicked Local Kingston
October 12th, 2010 by Susan Smith
Hexagon AB plans to sell bonds to refinance part of the loans used to fund the acquisition of Intergraph Corp.
According to the article below, “The company plans to raise $850 million from a share sale to help refinance some of the debt after it completes the purchase. Hexagon said on July 7 it agreed to buy Huntsville, Alabama-based Intergraph for $2.13 billion to add software that helps companies visualize complex data and design factories, ships and oil rigs.”
Hexagon Plans Bond Sale to Retire Intergraph Acquisition Loans Bloomberg Business Week, October 12, 2010
October 11th, 2010 by Susan Smith
This past week two geospatial stories have been featured in the Technology section of The New York Times. Although geospatial users may be accustomed to such announcements, it is noteworthy that they made the same major national newspaper within a week of each other:
1) Robotic drivers are being tested by Google’s Prius — drivers who don’t fall asleep at the wheel, get DUIs or speed or get traffic tickets.
How it works – LiDAR provides a continuously updated 3D map of the world at centimeter accuracy that extend for more than 230 feet around the car.
Four standard automotive radars with less resolution and greater range, three in front and one in the rear, are added to the LiDAR. A high resolution video camera is situated inside the car next to the rear-view mirror to detect street lights and moving obstacles like pedestrians and bicyclists. The Prius also has a GPS receiver and an inertial motion sensor.
Google Cars Drive Themselves, in Traffic, John Markoff, October 10, 2010, The New York Times (registration required)
2) Another interesting article featured in The New York Times in the past week highlighted indoor mapping and geolocation. We have been thinking of indoor geolocation with regard to military and Homeland Security applications, however, according to the article – “A number of start-up companies are charting the interiors of shopping malls, convention centers and airports to keep mobile phone users from getting lost as they walk from the food court to the restroom. Some of their maps might even be able to locate cans of sardines in a sprawling grocery store.”
Finding Your Way Through the Mall or the Airport, With a Cellphone Map, Verne G. Kopytoff, October 11, 2010, The New York Times, (registration required)
October 7th, 2010 by Susan Smith
An article in yesterday’s New York Times highlighted how geolocation services are being used by small businesses to find customers.
The article referred to examples from Foursquare – when people used the Foursquare application on their mobile phones within a few blocks of Pacific Catch restaurant that is running special offers, “a special offer popped up on their mobile phones: check in five times and earn a free shrimp ceviche or a Hawaiian poke. Another special rewarded customers who checked in on Foursquare with a free side of sweet potato fries.”
According to the article, these types of offers have helped snag new customers: more than 1,400 people have checked in at Pacific Catch more than 2,800 times.
In a conversation recently with FortiusOne’s Sean Gorman, we discussed their new mobile location analytics platform, Appcelerator, built on their GeoIQ platform. Appcelerator addresses the fact that mobile location developers’ customers want to see an ROI on their investment in couponing programs.
A sample scenario was created for the sake of a demo of a mythical corporation named Pizzaland with 14 pizza locations. This business in the San Francisco Bay Area recently started participating in a mobile couponing service. They want to be able to see where those mobile coupons are being serviced, where redeemed, what kind of ROI they’re getting for investing in building this app into a mobile service and then bringing in some additional information that is used in context.
The app shows activity before 7 a.m. – people looking for coupons before work (represented as dots on a map); for lunchtime, you can see a lot of activity in the suburbs outside the city and then sit starts to pick up inside the city as they start to go into the city for lunch. The screen shows dots where people look for lunch deals and stays pretty active, then around the dinner hour, dots start to spread back out to the suburbs as people go back home to get dinner, and some people stay in the city.
Geolocation Services: Find a Smartphone, Find a Customer by Kermit Patterson, October 6, 2010, The New York Times (registration required)
September 22nd, 2010 by Susan Smith
Thousands of GPS-stamped photos showing the locations of sensitive habitats and wildlife impacted by the oil spill in the Gulf have helped decision makers determine where to deploy clean-up crews. These ‘geotagged’ photos are served out via the web to multiple Emergency OperationsCenters (EOC) using photo-mapping software from GeoSpatial Experts LLC, as well as geographic information system (GIS) technology
. – BusinessWire
September 10th, 2010 by Susan Smith
Google SketchUp 8 was announced at Google’s user conference 3D Basecamp held in Boulder, Co. last week.
The released focuses on the following features:
Some very straightforward access from within the modeling interface for SketchUp to all of Google’s geospatial data. “For an architect, we can give you a very comprehensive site model for any project you’re working on almost anywhere in the world,” said product manager John Bacus. “Obviously some areas have better data coverage than others, but we’re able to give SketchUp modelers direct access to Google’s aerial photography collection. We also have launched a new data service that provides high resolution terrain directly into the SketchUp modeler for almost any location on earth.”
Modelers have access to any 3D building models for adjacent buildings to a site they might be working on. Most of these models are coming from other SketchUp users, said Bacus. “For the last four and a half years or so, the SketchUp team has been working on building systems for users to make models of 3D buildings and now we’re able to give those back to the SketchUp modeling community in the form of site models, context models.and we also can give users access to streetview data for use in site reference or directly as photographic texturing for their models.”
The Building Maker app which was launched previously, gives people an easy modeling interface for buildng low rez photographically textured 3D buildings in places where Google had collected aerial oblique imagery, a birdseye type of view of a city. “We’re able to drag polygons on top of photography and do a kind of lightweight photogrammetry to figure out the precise dimensions of any building,” said Bacus. “In SketchUp 8 we’ve made that into a kind of feature in the modeler so you can bring up a window inside the main SketchUp interface and make a quick massing model for an existing building. Google will automatically texture it for you and send it back directly into the active SketchUp model in its proper scale and goelocation. For those users who want to start in Building Maker for a model, we also have a way to convert Building Maker models into SketchUp models. We’ve added a couple of new tools that make it easy to take the primitive massing model from Building Maker and add detail to it, clean up some of the messy geometry and add higher quality textures etc. The data is all freely available.”
SketchUp 8 also has a whole new set of modeling tools for people with experience in other 3D modeling packages. They include a simple set of Boolean modeling tools, which allow users to do unions and subtractions, trims and splits. The geometry model makes it possible to now do objects that do volumes, so users can actually report the volume of collections of geometry in the SketchUp model. “If users are doing things like complex concrete form work, we can give them a pretty good first order estimation of the volume of concrete they’re going to need, so they can do a little more analysis on the model in that way,” said Bacus.
August 30th, 2010 by Susan Smith
Not everyone is embracing location based services, according to an article in Sunday’s New York Times.
Matt Galligan, CEO of SimpleGeo, a location technology company that sells technology to companies who build apps, said that sharing location becomes a simple cost-benefit analysis for most people. So for them there must be some kind of incentive to share specific information, like for shoppers receiving points or coupons.
Location services are catching on more quickly with young people, who have grown up posting personal information online, according to the article. “The magic age is people born after 1981,” said Mr. Altman of Loopt. “That’s the cut-off for us where we see a big change in privacy settings and user acceptance.”
According to Forrester Research, only 4 percent of Americans have tried location based services and 1 percent use them weekly. These statistics show that men comprise 80 percent of those users, with 70 percent between the ages of 19 and 35.
, Claire Cain Miller & Jenna Wortham
August 29, 2010, The New York Times (registration required)
August 25th, 2010 by Susan Smith
Street food is a well worn tradition in large cities, and apparently Portland, Ore. is known as “the street food capital of the world.” Bing launched the Bing Food Cart Finder map app, tailored to Portland foodies, helping them easily find what food they want to eat among the myriad choices that the city has to offer.
According to Waggoner Edstrom, the map experience includes details on more than 250 food carts in the Portland area, including editorial reviews, photos and menus.