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Posts Tagged ‘location’

Special Coverage: Online GIS Courses Change the Face of Geospatial Education

Thursday, August 28th, 2014

The face of GIS and Geospatial education has changed dramatically over the past few years, with online courses being offered in numerous subjects, ranging from GIS fundamentals to Spatial Analytics and Geodesign. What is more phenomenal is that these courses reach out to all corners of the earth, making a GIS/geospatial education a possibility for almost everyone on the planet.

Screenshot from a Washington College lecture

Screenshot from a Washington College lecture

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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.

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Police boxes still found in the UK mapped

Thursday, August 14th, 2014

One might not think too much about the historic police boxes that look like American telephone booths that used to dot the UK landscape. Now, only a handful of them are left. Here is a map of all the original ones currently known, as well as replicas of originals.

Screen Shot 2014-08-14 at 11.19.37 AM

I’m wondering if the renewed interest in this now defunct form of 911 is as a result of the popular “Dr. Who” PBS series, in which the infamous Doctor goes into his “Tardis” which is in fact, a replica of a 1929 police box.

That’s where the resemblance ends, however, as the Tardis is “much bigger inside than it is outside” with all forms of technology for fighting evil forces within its four walls.

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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

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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.”

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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…)

MapPoint for location intelligence discontinued

Thursday, August 7th, 2014

Microsoft’s flagship mapping product, MapPoint, will be discontinued, along with AutoRoute, Streets & Trips December 31, 2014. Online support will be available for the latter product through July 14, 2015. The MapPoint product offered offline routing and basic business analytics. There were problems with its delivery, it appears, as it was on a two-year upgrade cycle rather than the more frequent updates offered by competing software packages.

There has not been much press or an official announcement from Microsoft, only mentioned on the official Microsoft landing pages for MapPoint and Streets & Trips (via Neowin). Microsoft has decided to discontinue Microsoft AutoRoute, Microsoft Streets & Trips and Microsoft MapPoint.

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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.”

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First images from SPOT 7 satellite published

Monday, July 7th, 2014

The first images gleaned from the SPOT 7 satellite were published by Airbus Defence and Space. The satellite was launched on June 30th and the images were obtained just three days after launch. Within hours, satellite programming and image acquisition, telemetry reception and processing, were all made operational to deliver these first images. These images depict highly diverse landscapes, revealing SPOT 7 range of ability to capture natural resource and urban zone mapping and agri-environmental monitoring.

SPOT7_LaMecque_presse

The entire SPOT 6/7 constellation is now in place and an improvement over the capabilities and performance offered by SPOT 5, the SPOT satellite launched in 2002. Because of the much improved capability of SPOT 6/7, SPOT 5 will be decommissioned from  commercial service during the first quarter of 2015. This new constellation offers a higher resolution, greater programming reactivity and a much higher volume of images acquired daily (in monoscopic or stereoscopic mode).

Why SPOT 6 and SPOT 7 are so advanced is because they form a constellation of high-resolution Earth observation satellites phased at 180° in the same orbit. According to press materials, this means that each point on the globe can be revisited on a daily basis and wide areas covered in record time, all with an unparalleled level of precision. With both satellites in orbit, acquisition capacity will be boosted to six million square kilometres per day – an area ten times the size of France.

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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

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