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Posts Tagged ‘ESRI’

NASA needs help from citizen science

Tuesday, August 26th, 2014

A recent CNN report announced thatNASA is asking for the help of citizens in viewing hundreds of thousands of images taken from space over the years, from the 1960s Mercury missions to the present images snapped from the International Space Station.

North Korea is barely lit when juxtaposed with neighboring South Korea and China.
North Korea is barely lit when juxtaposed with neighboring South Korea and China.

Via The Gateway to Astronaut Photography of Earth, NASA is making these images available for citizens to examine.

NASA says the hope is that the images “could help save energy, contribute to better human health and safety and improve our understanding of atmospheric chemistry. But scientists need your help to make that happen.”

The catalog contains more than 1.8 million photos, about 1.3 million of them from the space station and roughly 30% of them taken at night.

 Photos: International Space Station
NASA gets rare view of black hole
NASA tests supersonic parachute for Mars

Tyson on deep space exploration

The CNN report said that before 2003, night images from the space station could be blurry, even with high-speed film and manual tracking, because the station moves at about 17,500 mph. In that same year, astronaut Don Pettit used a drill and assorted parts he found on the station to cobble together a “barn-door tracker,” a lower-tech predecessor to the European Space Agency’s NightPod, which was installed at the space station nine years later.

According to the report, NightPod’s motorized tripod compensates for the space station’s speed, providing what NASA scientist William Stefanov says are the highest-resolution night images from orbit. Satellites collect data more regularly, but the photos tend to be lower resolution. “Now the pictures are clear, but their location may not be, which limits their usefulness,” the NASA news release says.

Citizen science has a better handle on location than the night images from the space station and satellite imagery. The Complutense University of Madrid is spearheading efforts to get citizen input and organize the photos.  They have broken down the  the images into three components requiring different levels of participation:

1. Dark skies. This is the easiest project, as it requires no scientific expertise. “Anyone can help” by sorting the images into the categories: cities, stars or other objects, said Alejandro Sanchez, doctoral student at Complutense.

“Without the help of citizens, it is almost impossible to use these images scientifically. Algorithms cannot distinguish between stars, cities and other objects, such as the moon. Humans are much more efficient for complex image analysis,” he said.


DigitalGlobe’s WorldView-3 launched from Vandenberg today

Wednesday, August 13th, 2014

Today DigitalGlobe of Longmont, Colorado, announced the successful launch of WorldView-3, the company’s sixth and highly advanced high-resolution, super-spectral commercial satellite. From Vandenberg Air Force Base in California, the satellite launched on a Lockheed Martin Atlas V rocket at 11:10 PDT.DigitalGlobeflight


From the President’s Cup to Interactive Recreation Map with ArcGIS Online

Monday, August 11th, 2014

In a technical session entitled “ArcGIS Online and Social Media,” two interesting speakers spoke about the use of ArcGIS Online and the use of social media to facilitate operations during an international golf tournament in a community and create an interactive map of a popular recreational region. Brandon Brown, GIS administrator, from City of Dublin, Ohio, spoke at the Esri User Conference 2014 on the topic, “Presidential GIS – ArcGIS Online’s Role in the 2013 President’s Cup.”


New indepth coverage for September: Satellite Imaging

Thursday, August 7th, 2014

During the week of September 15th, GISCafe Voice will run a special feature blog on the topic, “Satellite Imaging.”

Geospatial3 (more…)

Citizen data can change the world

Friday, August 1st, 2014

Tierney O’Dea Booker, spatial journalist in Support of Citizen Science, with USC Spatial Sciences Institute, gave a fascinating presentation at Esri UC 2014 in San Diego on how citizens can become involved in science, and contribute to data on sensitive projects. Her talk was entitled “Drones, Pigs, Maps and Oil.” Before coming to USC Spatial Sciences Institute, Booker was with NBC working with anchorman Tom Brokaw, and worked with Medic Mobile developing health technology for mobile phones.


“The most effective way to get involved in science is to do science,” said Booker. She got interested in data journalism while with Medic Mobile, and in spatial data through Ushahidi.


From the Exhibit Floor: Esri UC 2014

Tuesday, July 22nd, 2014

The Exhibit Floor reveals industry trends, as vendors respond to requests of their customers with timely products and services. The emphasis at Esri UC 2014 was on data and apps, reflecting the trends discussed in Monday’s Plenary session. Global data, the mining of crowdsourcing data, spatial analytics to business users, the launch of WorldView-3 that will open up worlds of data previously unable to be explored – are just a few of the exciting areas covered in the exhibits and special vendor presentations.

TomTom Traffic

TomTom Traffic

This year marked the 22nd Esri conference for veteran company TomTom, which derived originally from the company GDT and later TeleAtlas. According to John Cassidy, vice president of sales and James Pardue, licensing, TomTom’s focus has evolved from the original interest in making Census data better back in the GDT days, to spatial navigation in the present day. Hardware, analytical, navigation and spatial are the primary areas of their business.

“Everyone wants global data,” said Cassidy. “TomTom is heavily invested in the crowdsourcing model.”

Cassidy said that in 2013, 6 billion pieces of information per day were processed by TomTom. In 2014, already 9 billion pieces of information per day have been processed. Their focus has become quality accuracy and quality control.

“Real world users are more valuable,” said Cassidy. “A lot information is gathered using smartphones.”


Esri UC 2014 Plenary Session

Wednesday, July 16th, 2014

Monday morning’s Plenary session at Esri User Conference 2014 kicked off with ESRI CEO and president Jack Dangermond’s familiar talk about the importance of GIS in our lives, this year entitled “GIS – Creating our Future.” 130 countries are represented at the conference, hailing from various industries including utilities and communications, water and wastewater, disaster and emergency response, government, as well human health.

Jack Dangermond, CEO & President of Esri

Jack Dangermond, CEO & President of Esri


The History of America’s Maps

Thursday, July 3rd, 2014

I’m looking forward to this one:  Esri has developed an application to better access and manipulate maps from the USGS Historical Topographic Map Collection.

Topography map of Chicago

Topography map of Chicago


GIS companies embrace integration with Building Information Modeling workflows and field layout

Friday, June 20th, 2014

Since last year,  traditional GIS positioning companies such as TopCon, are getting into the act of providing integration of Building Information Modeling workflows and field layout with their recent collaboration with Autodesk.  This collaboration involves an Autodesk BIM 360 app for iPad to make it easier to locate BIM coordinates precisely on a construction site. Designed for general contractors and MEP professionals, the app controls a robotic total station and the LN-100 3D positioning system from Topcon. As-built data can be fed back into the design model via BIM 360 for quality assurance. Topcon was traditionally considered a geospatial company but they have extended their reach into many other industry segments now, including the area of BIM.


Space-Time Insight announces new version of SI Suite 5.0

Wednesday, June 18th, 2014

Space-Time Insight, provider of next‐generation situational intelligence solutions, today introduced SI Suite 5.0, a major new version of its real-time visual analytics software.

For those who need help decifering large volumes of data, SI Suite 5.0 helps by combining a highly configurable and intuitive end-user interface with advanced analytics based on open standards. Esri is partnered with Space-Time Insight and thus ArcGIS is integrated into SI Suite 5.0, which makes it easier for Esri customers to analyze and comprehend big data. The software correlates and analyzes data from any number of enterprise (IT), operational (OT) and external (XT) sources across space, time and nodes in a network.

With SI Suite 5.0, Space-Time Insight can help organizations with decision making by intuitively correlating, analyzing and presenting data from disparate systems in compelling visual formats that are actionable.  The software allows users to interactively analyze data in real-time, reducing the dependence on data scientists which is time consuming.

According to the press release, SI Suite 5.0 includes new features that make data from disparate systems easily understandable, give business users personalized access to advanced analytics, and run on a range of platforms from tablets to operations center video walls.  Highlighted new capabilities include:

  • A personalized HTML 5-based user interface that uses rich visualizations, advanced filters and alerts to drive attention to assets and events, providing 360-degree operational insight into data from any number of systems in a single pane-of-glass.  Users control specifically what data they want to see and how they want to see it, boosting productivity and speeding decision-making.
  • Interactive analytics that uses the open standard R language, bringing analytics out of the “lab” and making it easily accessible to business users.  Users are empowered to interactively execute real-time statistical, predictive and what-if analysis of data, reducing the dependence on data scientists to perform analyses on their behalf.
  • Delivery through web browsers on desktop, tablets and video walls of data in a wide range of visualization formats including configurable charts and tables, and geospatial presentations enabled by Esri’s ArcGIS location platform.  The software easily integrates third-party applications such as SAP, OSIsoft PI and many others, eliminating the need for users to access multiple systems and manually correlate data themselves.



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