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Olivia Harne
Olivia Harne
Olivia Harne is a GIS developer, writer, and student. Her work focuses on the aesthetics and accessibility of cartographic data. Website:

CityEngine Provides Updated Mobile VR Solutions

July 14th, 2017 by Olivia Harne

Esri’s CityEngine has incorporated a new layer of reality augmentation with the newest version of its ArcGIS 360 VR. This application is meant to capitalize off of the already present three dimensional feature creation of the CityEngine program, allowing users to picture static viewpoints in a first person view. The primary intent of this app – in accordance to ArcGIS’ blog post – is to allow analysts working hands-on with urban and transportation planning to compare features firsthand without necessitating visits to multiple locations, effectively reducing workflow times and costs that would otherwise be used for trips into the field.

The additional Gear VR controller is a primary point of note in this new version, giving greater control and better interactivity with CityEngine’s features. These virtual reality experiences are then cataloged on ArcGIS Online, a platform that works in contingency with Esri’s three dimensional mapping products.

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Mapbox Powers Snapchat’s New “Snap Map”

July 10th, 2017 by Olivia Harne

Snapchat’s implementation of the Snap Map has brought in another aspect of geographic social media sharing to mobile social media users. Snap Map allows the application’s users to explore local news, find new content and keep up with social media connections.

Mapbox – already a well known mapping provider for geospatial application catalysts like Foursquare and Uber – brings its skill set to this new Snapchat feature. The software’s concept of “global architecture” gives the feature the ability to adequately support trending topics and quick increases in worldwide traffic, allowing Snap Map to provide fast content regardless of geographic location.

Feature image provided by Mapbox – “The Kabaa in Mecca during Ramadan.”

Mapbox Studio had been utilized for the creation of Snap Map, allowing its developers to customize maps to display various vector data from contingent product Mapbox Street, with further brand tailoring done to accommodate Snapchat’s application aesthetics. An associated geocoding API enables the application’s users to both view snaps at their respective geographic locations when shared, as well as search for specific content keywords and be automatically zoomed into an area of Snap Map with those words applied.

This team up has provided much needed favorable new coverage for Snapchat and its previously struggling IPO. However, it’s yet to be seen if this functionality will prove to be a service to the products’ reputations, or if the concern for privacy will leverage out any potential benefit.

View Mapbox’s initial coverage of this feature here.

Esri Releases ArcGIS Enterprise version 10.5.1

July 7th, 2017 by Olivia Harne

Alongside receiving their own respective edits, ArcGIS Online’s story maps have received further possible modification when using ArcGIS Enterprise’s new 10.5.1 update.

Enterprise serves as a software for analytics and general mapping, and hopes to further AGOL in the process of creating systems of purely browser based mapping. The program’s newer details can be viewed on its Server and Portal help topics.

One of the primary points of Enterprise is the inclusion of the strongly promoted Cascade story map template. Cascade has been in the spotlight as the focus of an array of new story mapping options, some of which are viewable here.

The Enterprise portal now has an item from the My Stories application as well, notable in its ability to create organized systems to view and manage previously created and in progress projects. This inclusion has the potential to streamline workflow and optimize story maps for the greatest accessibility for users.

To view Esri’s initial announcement, click here.

Surveying & Mapping with UAVs

March 28th, 2016 by Jeremiah Karpowicz, Executive Editor for ProVideo Coalition

surveyingIt’s easy to see why surveying and mapping professionals have taken such a keen interest in unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) technology. Gathering info from the sky has been an approach that’s been utilized for a long time now, but the costs associated with traditional manned aircraft makes the endeavor extremely expensive. UAVs offer a cost effective alternative with far more flexibility in terms of being able to get into the air quickly and without as much logistical support.

What’s more, UAVs can improve data collection accuracy and efficiency, optimize a workflow while also enabling the production of cost effective turnkey DSM’s and orthos whenever they’re needed. Simply put, UAVs make it far easier to gather the info needed to create maps by reducing costs and simplifying the image-capturing process.

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Working it: How Autodesk InfraWorks is Revolutionizing Infrastructure Projects

August 24th, 2015 by Orly Bisquera

In a world that is constantly changing and rapidly growing, having a stable infrastructure is vital to the economy and everyday life.  It’s fair to say, we take our infrastructure for granted and only give it the attention that it needs when something goes wrong or is in need of repair, resulting in interruption of traffic flow, transportation of goods and utilities, and high costs.  The facts are clear that an aging infrastructure is inevitable. Roads, bridges and rail tracks age through usage over the years and damage due to natural disasters and accidents can speed up that aging process.

Transportation Departments and local governing agencies usually team up to create Operating and Maintenance Plans (O&M Plans) to keep their infrastructure in optimal condition.  O&M Plans usually are a direct result of a well-devised project plan and development at the birth of a project, before it even breaks ground.  In today’s economy, every dollar counts and every decision needs to be a good one in order to obtain a better world of transporting people, goods and materials safely and efficiently.  Autodesk’s Infraworks is the tool that can and has been making project planning and development for infrastructure designs better and more efficient.

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How GIS Professionals Can Create a Flexible, Mobile Workflow

July 15th, 2015 by Bob Honn

The demand for Geographic Information Systems (GIS) services and tools continues to rise. This was reflected in a recent industry survey in which 73% of respondents noted experiencing a growth in demand for GIS services. Many of the respondents already include GIS in their survey workflow or offer it as a service, and when asked which GIS tools have the most potential, 42% reported Mobile GIS Applications, with cloud-based GIS Applications/Web Portals next at 27%.1
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The Value of GIS in Education

April 29th, 2015 by Kamy Anderson

In a recent blog on this site, Matt Sheehan suggested that many people who are new to GIS don’t truly understand the value of the technology. He suggested several ways to demonstrate the value of GIS technology in the workplace, such as showing people how it can help them perform tasks more quickly and easily.

Another area where more work is needed to demonstrate the value of GIS is in education, especially in K-12. Last year in the National Geographic blog, National Geographic’s Vice President for Education Daniel C. Edelson called GIS the “missing educational technology.” While various initiatives have focused on how to use more technology in the classroom, Edelson wrote that applications like GIS tools are often left out.

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Maptitude Mapping Software 2014 Review

September 10th, 2014 by Sanjay Gangal

Article source: Caliper Corporation

Maptitude Review

The Good

Large feature set; easy to use. Excellent support of Office apps; new tools create maps that display sales or service territories; best drive-time tool; updated demographic data includes Census estimates; competitively priced.

The Not So Good

A little expensive for an Office-style product (though inexpensive for a business mapping application); requires 4GB minimum disk space; lacks a ribbon interface.

The Verdict

This excellent map-based business data analyzer is a smart addition for any organization running Windows and Office who wants to do geographic analysis.

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Leveraging GIS Data for Mobile Marketing

August 5th, 2014 by Tim Garcia

Data companies are not a novelty in the marketing world. For instance, RL Polk, a leader in automotive data was founded in the late 1800’s, Acxiom emerged in the late 1960s, Experian flourished most notably in the 1990’s when it was purchased by GUS (Great Universal Stores) and later demerged. All provide valuable insights on audiences, specific consumer behaviors and tendencies. GIS companies, such as Esri, are also driving a stake in the ground as the mapping giant gathers a vast amount of info and redistributes to companies that can leverage the data. Each data provider brings their own insights and flavors to the table.   Complementing how those insights are packaged, delivered and reinforced provide the real value.

Location-based advertising technology companies have been known to team with consumer data providers to draw insights from demographic and lifestyle data. This data is then presented to marketers with the ability to reach specific consumers on their desktop and mobile devices.   The consumer currency can be pulled, sliced-and-diced from the provider’s proprietary database and suited to fit most ad technology, depending how granular the data can be packaged.

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Census Mapping Made Easy with OpenLayers 3

July 8th, 2014 by Andreas Hocevar

Three months ago, Paul Ramsey created a tutorial that builds an example census mapping application using OpenGeo Suite. Since then, we’ve released OpenGeo Suite 4.0, which includes early access to OpenLayers 3, and we’ve updated the tutorial to use OpenLayers 3 instead of GeoExt.

A Different Approach
GeoExt, a combination of ExtJS and OpenLayers 2, allows one to create web applications without writing any HTML and CSS, which was useful back when all browsers behaved differently. However, with HTML5 and CSS3 available in all modern browsers, a more modular stack adds flexibility.

With GeoExt, the easiest way to read in the list of available census variables (topics) was to pre-process them and load them as JSON. Rather than spending much time on user interface work, we’ve added Bootstrap to leverage the JQuery dependency and save some lines of JavaScript code. With JQuery, a few lines of code are enough to create drop-down options directly from the lines of the original metadata text file:

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