Gretchen Peterson is a Data Scientist at Boundless. She is the author of two books that deal with craft of GIS map making — Cartographer’s Toolkit and GIS Cartography.
May 19th, 2014 by Gretchen Peterson
The State of the Map US 2014 conference, a two-day conference covering all things OpenStreetMap, was held last month in Washington, D.C. As a recent member of Boundless, it was nice to attend as part of the Boundless contingent.
Aside from the inspiration provided by the gorgeous weather and the cherry blossoms, there was also inspiration in abundance at the conference for cartographers. Every cartographer should become familiar with OpenStreetMap data if they aren’t already. It’s a bit of a bear to work with because it is in a different structure than we are normally used to (nodes and ways mean anything to you?) but you’ll see the benefits if you download a state-wide or city-wide extract from one of several sites (such as geofabrik or Metro Extracts) and start using it in your map-making medium of choice. The dataset provides a comprehensive collection of roads, buildings and building types, points of interest, and so on. And it’s free! There were many talks I didn’t get to see because there were two concurrent tracks, but the ones that I attended focused heavily on tools that for using OpenStreetMap data, including GeoGit, TileMill, Esri, QGIS, and PostGIS. However, there were still some cartographic takeaways. Read the rest of Thoughts from State of the Map US 2014
The Dell Precision M2800 Mobile Workstation is Available to Help Inspire Innovation for Design Professionals and Students
May 2nd, 2014 by Andy Rhodes
The evolution of digital content creation has unleashed the productivity of engineers, designers, creative professionals and students everywhere, but it has also set corresponding expectations incredibly high for that productivity as well, making it crucial for those individuals to use the proper tools to help their visions to come to life. Professional and aspiring engineers and designers cannot do their job these days without specialized applications for 3D modeling, digital content creation, and computer aided engineering and design such as Adobe Creative Cloud and AutoCAD. The problem is, for some, they’re being forced to run these applications on notebooks or desktops that don’t have enough power to generate the performance they need because they can’t afford a traditional workstation.
April 21st, 2014 by Gavin Schrock
“In any moment of decision, the best thing you can do is the right thing, the next best thing is the wrong thing, and the worst thing you can do is nothing” – Theodore Roosevelt
Yes, I know that there is no such word as “wronger”. But I also know that there is no such thing as an infallible survey, and most certainly that there is no such thing as an infallible GIS. Disclaimer: I am a licensed surveyor, but I have also been involved in geodetic framework development and data acquisition for GIS for three decades. I have also seen instances of a disturbing reversal in momentum that had been leading us towards realizing the dream of seamless enterprise geospatial data – push-back from both sides of the survey/engineering-GIS “fence”. Mostly this is due to mutual misunderstanding; and primarily the mistaken notion that there needs to be a “fence” in the first place. The real harm this “fence-ism” does is in wasting data-rich and accurate resources.
April 10th, 2014 by Matt Zimmerman
Weather events strike at the very heart of a utility’s business: the asset infrastructure. Pairing weather data and a geographic information system (GIS) solution provides utilities with a logical partnership.
Modern-day utilities rely on a GIS solution to manage and monitor asset infrastructure. A GIS provides a central repository for a utility’s asset and network data and makes that information visible in an intuitive, real-time map display. Utilities also have the ability to make immediate updates on the status and condition of assets in the control room, as well as in the field. With just a few keystrokes, asset information can be updated, and network and infrastructure changes can be modeled and designed. In short, GIS is a comprehensive, real-time, enterprise geospatial database of all network assets—a single version of the truth. Read the rest of Using GIS and Weather Forecasting to Strengthen Disaster Management
March 27th, 2014 by Matteo Luccio
Data! More data! Still more data! The exploding appetite for enriching GIS datasets with more and better data to support decision making is contributing to the rising demand for custom datasets. It is clear that richly attributed, custom datasets will soon become the “coin of the GIS realm.” In addition to the increasing availability of precision data, the demand for more, better, and faster GIS data conflation is also driven by the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency’s recent directive to suppliers to aggregate existing data to meet stringent NGA requirements.
New tools and different methods are now required to create the more comprehensively-attributed, custom datasets that are replacing the “good enough” datasets that sufficed in the past. Some early adopters in the GIS market already use a new technology: automated conflation, or “intelligent aggregation” of GIS data. They seem to think that it will give them a competitive advantage that will differentiate the winners from the losers. This article reviews the concept of conflation and two toolkits that can help any GIS professional be more efficient and accurate. Read the rest of Making New Maps from Old Ones – The fastest way to update and aggregate GIS vector data is here