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New EAGLE Platform designed for solar energy suitability

Thursday, January 22nd, 2015

According to UK-based Bluesky, a prototype version of a website online platform has been launched that allows homeowners, solar installers and manufacturers, energy companies and government organizations to assess the suitability of individual properties for solar energy technology.

Bluesky_Eagle_Crop_edited-1 (more…)

IMAGINiT on “The challenge of managing big datasets”

Friday, January 9th, 2015

At Autodesk University 2014 held in Las Vegas in December, Joe Hedrick, Infrastructure Solutions Team Manager, IMAGINiT Technologies, spoke with GISCafe about how projects in general are becoming bigger, along with ever-increasing use of reality capture. IMAGINiT  is a provider of software, training, support and services to design and engineering companies and Autodesk Authorized Reseller and Autodesk Training Center.

The InfraWorks 360 Model Builder cloud service allows users to select a city-scale area from a map of the world in order to generate 3D city models in minutes.

The InfraWorks 360 Model Builder cloud service allows users to select a city-scale area from a map of the world in order to generate 3D city models in minutes.

“Bigger datasets, more partners and consultants are involved,” said Hedrick. “We continue to see a huge increase in people looking for ways to manage data. We’ve had several contracts with the army where they are managing everything from facility drawings to various documents and spreadsheets. In addition, private and commercial engineering and architectural firms are looking for ways to share data and projects.”

IMAGINiT will sometimes have to build tools inhouse, but mostly they use Autodesk Vault for integrations and data storage. “Commercial firms may want to tie into accounting, and we have integrations into some of the popular accounting packages out there,” said Hedrick. “We’re in the middle of a big one for the government. We are using our system and then programmatically writing to the data tables that they have in place.”

A cheaper solution to integration and managing data is Autodesk’s Fusion A360, said Hedrick. “I think it will change how we manage data. It’s going to integrate very nicely into the design platforms and apps.”

With data management, Hedrick said the biggest challenge is the size of the models. “How do you share a model that could be several gigabytes? With one of the army projects, we’re talking about 3 TB of data. How do we share that information? With pure sizes, there’s not a great way to share that amount of information. This becomes particularly difficult when you incorporate scanned data into it.” Hedrick said it used to be hard to find anyone to embrace the cloud but now the government is beginning to embrace it and the security is better. The cloud holds a lot of promise for managing large datasets and is being offered as a service in the InfraWorks 360 Model Builder cloud service.

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Happy New Year and 2015 GISCafe Voice Editorial Calendar!

Tuesday, January 6th, 2015

Happy New Year from GISCafe!

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Most important geospatial advancements of 2014? What do you think?

Thursday, December 18th, 2014

We’re almost at the end of the year and we’d like to hear from you, the readers, about what you think the most important geospatial advancements have been for 2014.

Esri CityEngine allows users to visualize both qualitative and quantitative impact of design scenarios, perfect for the integrative planning needs of those looking to develop vibrant, sustainable communities.

Esri CityEngine allows users to visualize both qualitative and quantitative impact of design scenarios, perfect for the integrative planning needs of those looking to develop vibrant, sustainable communities.

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GameSim announces CRADA with the NGA

Thursday, December 4th, 2014

The notion of gaming and geospatial coming together has been explored for some time. Gaming simulation and GIS software provider GameSim Inc. announced a Cooperative Research and Development Agreement (CRADA) with the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency. (NGA). This agreement will give credence to GameSim’s 3D environment with standards and data created and validated by the NGA.

In 2013, GameSim, ranked by Inc. Magazine as one of the 500 fastest growing companies in the U.S., introduced an innovative software product, Conform (gamesim.com/conform), which generates a 3D representation of an environment from GIS data (vectors, elevation, and imagery) in near real-time. The integrated scene can be viewed in both 2D and 3D, or exported, into other run-time formats.

GameSim was interested in furthering their process of fusing together a single 3D environment by supporting additional data products (e.g., LiDAR, OTW video, and thermal video), to create a more accurate and rich 3D environment, while still maintaining near real-time performance. GameSim had previous experience working with these formats. The agreement with NGA through CRADA will provide the company with proper standards and data validated by NGA. In addition, GameSim and NGA will research the creation of a low bandwidth, browser-based visualization of that fused environment, according to GameSim company materials.

“We are creating a product that can fuse a variety of formats that adheres to established standards,” said Andrew Tosh, GameSim founder and president. “By collaborating with NGA it helps assure that GameSim produces a product that can meet the demands of the intelligence community, in terms of accessing their content and producing valuable visualizations.”

 

Special Blog Coverage of 3D Cities Coming in November!

Monday, October 20th, 2014

During the week of November 17th, GISCafe Voice will run a special feature blog on the topic, “3D Cities: Envisioning Communities of the Future.”

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GIS global market in the BFSI sector expects significant growth

Friday, October 10th, 2014

In a Research and Markets study report, the analysts forecast the global GIS market in the Banking, Financial Services and Institutions (BFSI) sector to grow at a CAGR of 8.43 percent over the period from 2013 – 2018.

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As GIS is used for so many different industries these days, the opportunities for growth in the BFSI sector are not surprising. GIS is used across sectors such as Natural Resources, Utilities, Federal Government, Communication and Telecom, Military/Law Enforcement, and Others. GIS is used for various purposes such as disaster management, finding location details, viewing maps, marketing, designing facilities and others.

In terms of GIS product, the market can be segmented into three: Software, Data, and Services.

The report, the “Global GIS Market in the BFSI Sector 2014-2018,” has been prepared based on an in-depth market analysis with inputs from industry experts. The report covers the Americas, and the APAC and EMEA regions. It also covers the landscape of the Global GIS market in the BFSI sector and its growth prospects in the coming years. The report includes a discussion of the key vendors operating in this market. (From company materials)

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Google acquires Jetpac iPhone app

Tuesday, September 23rd, 2014

Not to be outdone by some of Google’s larger acquisitions, Jetpac, a contextual image company, has been acquired by the search engine giant. What Google wants from Jetpac is their iPhone app that helps users find destinations using shared smartphone photos. It is also a very powerful crowdsourcing tool.

JetpacCityGuides_iPhone (more…)

Reposting — New indepth coverage for September: Satellite Imaging

Tuesday, September 2nd, 2014

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

Geospatial3

If you wish to have your company included, please let me know, Susan Smith at susan.smith@ibsystems.com The Satellite Imaging Questionnaire will be sent to all companies who offer satellite imaging products and services, so that we may thoroughly cover all opportunities available. Or, you can print it yourself from this blog and email it to me.

At Esri UC, we heard about the launch of DigitalGlobe’s WorldView-3 from DigitalGlobe senior scientist, Product Development and Labs, Bill Baugh. This satellite will be especially helpful for mapping mineral mining.

WorldView-3 is superspectral and has 16 spectrums, and contains the overall structure of spectrum. “The bands coming in WorldView-3 will allow you to go after data you might not be able to go after normally,” said Baugh. “You’ll be able to see iron, rocks (short wave infrared) and steel infrastructure.”Additionally, with SWIR-6 you can see through the smoke from a fire, which would be valuable for crisis response, when you have to see what’s on the ground.

At the other end of the spectrum (excuse the pun), in 2009, a couple of Stanford grad students envisioned that they could “index the earth the way Google indexes the Internet.” This is how the radical satellite imaging company Skybox was born. And now Google has acquired the company. So I guess that’s where Google comes in: already there, in the way of indexing. And Skybox is already there in terms of providing the satellite. Last November the company launched its first mini-bar-sized satellite, SkySat-1 into orbit aboard a Russian Dnepr rocket. Plans are to launch eight more by the end of 2015. Skybox even has its own rocket.

I spoke to many of you at Esri UC, but I know there are many out there that I may have missed seeing. Please contact me at your earliest convenience to be included in the September coverage. Deadline for materials: September 1, 2014.

Satellite Imaging Questionnaire

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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