GIS Weekly Review March 7th, 2013

TerraGo

Last year, Urban and Regional Information Systems Association (URISA) held its GIS-Pro 2012 symposium, which featured a closing keynote by one of the most iconic leaders in the geospatial sector:  Esri founder Jack Dangermond.

Mr. Dangermond’s leadership and vision have stimulated the ongoing innovation of GIS technologies that have shaped our sector in profound ways.

In his URISA 2012 closing keynote address, Mr. Dangermond highlighted how the GIS sector is poised for massive growth with a more than a few million GIS professionals around the world.   Things will be changing dramatically over the next couple of years.

Driving this radical change is the core premise that GIS can create a better world by enhancing communication and collaboration.  New technologies are going to further extend GIS into the field, which will enable better and faster decision-making.   Organizations will be smarter with geospatial technologies serving as the underpinning for strategic growth.

Be sure to check out part one of Mr. Dangermond’s keynote address at URISA 2012.

Ecosystem Monitoring Around Wind Farm Development
March 6, 2013  by Mladen Stojic, President of Hexagon Geospatial

The environmental impacts of wind farm development are always a major consideration when countries are exploring these alternative energy sources.  Wind farms tend to be ideally suited for expansive regions and coastlines where wildlife is abundant. While a good alternative source of energy, they are not without their impacts to the animal populations in those areas.

The United Kingdom is currently the world leader in offshore wind power generation.  Many UK organizations are already using geospatial solutions and imagery analysis for ecosystem monitoring.  Understanding environmental impacts on any change is a vital step in moving forward with energy solutions. For one such project, a leading environmental consultancy in the UK is monitoring bird populations living in areas developed for wind power generation. This organization specializes in freshwater and marine ecology assessment.

Using a proprietary algorithm for identifying and enumerating birds from aerial photographs, the organization has already collected tens of thousands of images in a single project survey.   Thus far, they have amassed over 87 terabytes of aerial photography.

College students are the foundation for the next generation of geospatial leaders.  Fortunately, academic programs provided by colleges and universities like Washington College provide an opportunity for students to get real, hands-on GIS experience that will help them transition into fruitful careers in our sector.

While we often showcase videos from industry on this blog, we wanted to highlight a specific student video that compiles all of the great work done by Caitlyn Riehl, a senior in who serves as the Photoshop Team Leader at Washington College GIS.

One of the more interesting projects that Ms. Riehl worked on was restoring historic map of Chestertown, Maryland.  She spent many hours not only completing the restoring of the map to its original quality, but also coloring the map to give it a realistic touch.

Washington College is a small liberal arts college in a historic town that fosters a strong community and passion amongst its alumni.   In full disclosure, I am a 1993 graduate of Washington College.  Unfortunately, the college did not have a GIS program at the time, which further reinforces how much the geospatial sector has grown over the past 20 years.

Here is Ms. Riehl’s video.

Bill Emison, senior account manager for Geospatial Solutions at Merrick & Company, talked about their new QC module in Version 7.1 MARS (Advanced Remote Sensing Software).

Airborne LiDAR – urban area

Merrick Advanced Remote Sensing (MARS software suite is a comprehensive, production-grade Windows application designed to visualize, manage, process and analyze LiDAR point cloud data.

The Quality Control module is designed to provide an automated tool for verifying compliance of a LiDAR point cloud dataset to the LiDAR Base Specification Version 1.0 from the USGS (U.S. Geological Survey). The application sits on top of MARS as an extension.

“As a data vendor there have been many contracts where we’ve had to comply to those specs, and in an effort to do that effectively, we started to build tools two-three years ago,” said Emison. “We competely automated the entire specs. Our goal is to deliver data one time and not have to do rework, it was important to identify issues before the dataset went out the door.”

Next-Generation Interoperable and Scalable Spatial Data Infrastructure
March 4, 2013  by Mladen Stojic, President of Hexagon Geospatial

As many data providers leverage standards-based web services for managing and sharing geospatial information, these organizations often require next-generation spatial data infrastructure solutions for cataloging and delivering enterprise geospatial data over the web.

As part of the Intergraph Geospatial Portfolio 2013 launch, we recently unveiled Geospatial SDI 2013 to address this current marketplace need.

Adhering to OGC, INSPIRE and ISO standards for web services and metadata compliance, Geospatial SDI 2013 can extend those offered in GeoMedia WebMap and ERDAS APOLLO.  It also provides the full set of services required of SDI implementations, and offers tools for the managing, monitoring and reporting of service performance.

Disaster management demands rapid response, and careful coordination of workers in the field. Mobile technology has the potential to provide important tools to first responders to help mitigate the effects of disasters. Working with a county in the state of Michigan, we have been investigating the use is iOS and Android devices in combination with ArcGIS Online to help improve disaster management efforts.

Disaster Management Today Relies on Pen and Paper

Over the last few years there have been an increasing number of tornadoes and floods causing considerable damage in Michigan. An important requirement of many county GIS departments, often with help from the Red Cross, is to quickly record damage and report findings to State authorities to then provide funding and assistance. Field workers are sent out to affected areas with parcel maps. Notes are made parcel by parcel on level of damage, often home owners are interviewed. Once back in the office this data is collated and assembled in a spreadsheet and emailed to the State. This represents a labor intensive effort under considerable time pressure.

The Use of Mobile Apps for Disaster Management

Mobile technology in combination with the cloud, have the potential to dramatically improve the efficiency and reduce the effort required in managing disasters. We were asked to investigate the use of tablets as disaster management tools; a mobile ArcGIS Online app which uses both onboard GPS and camera, to collect and report levels of damage. The app needed to work in both connected and disconnected modes.

Disaster Management Mobile App Set Up

We’ve been building a mobile app framework which provides both online and offline functionality. We took this framework and adapted it for the disaster management requirements.

Figure 1: Base Map Layer Package Source in ArcMap 10.1

Our first step was to open ArcMap 10.1 and generate two base map sources:

1) A tile package or TPK for the offline basemap

Figure 2: Tile Package Generation in ArcMap 10.1 for Offline BaseMap

2) A tiled base layer based on a layer package (.lpk file) for an online base map.

Figure 3: ArcGIS Online Hosted Tiled Service Publishing from ArcMap 10.1 for Online BaseMap

Next we published an editable hosted feature service in ArcGIS Online. In our case we made some edits to the attributes of the shapefile and added two field (damage level, and comments) before publishing.

Figure 4: ArcGIS Online Hosted Feature Service Preparation & Publishing from ArcMap 10.1

In each case above the data needed to be in a Web Mercator projection which is the default for ArcGIS Online. Another point worth mention is that ArcGIS Online at present only supports 1000 features, so shapefiles with more than this number of features cannot be published as hosted feature services. We will revisit this topic in due course.

The hosted feature service needs setting up as we describe in the following blog post >a href=”http://www.webmapsolutions.com/hosted-feature-layers-arcgis-online”>http://www.webmapsolutions.com/hosted-feature-layers-arcgis-online

Now our interest is only editing certain attributes. Though we do wish to see all attributes in non-edit mode, when in edit mode it would be nice to only list these editable fields. In ArcGIS Online when we view the hosted feature service, we can open the ‘Configure Pop Ups’ option and set only those attributes we wish to edit as visible. Perfect. But alas not, this filter only applies in the web interface and not what is passed to the mobile app.

Figure 5: ArcGIS Online Hosted Feature Service Configure Pop Ups

After successfully publishing and configuring the services, we then combined the published tiled basemap and hosted feature service as a single web map.

Figure 6: ArcGIS Online Web Map

Offline ArcGIS Online Editing

So good, to summarise we have publshed three services to ArcGIS Online:

1) Hosted Tiled basemap
2) Hosted Feature layer
3) A Web map which combines the above two services.

Next it is time to think about offline. The tpk we generated earlier is in essence a zip file. We need to copy this to the mobile tablet. In the case of Android this is a drag and drop copy operation. For iOS it is done through iTunes. Next we set the configuration file. Given the general theme of this, as with all our mobile work, is to build a mobile app which:

1) Provides focused functionality – here connected/disconnected editing
2) Is configurable meaning the UI can be altered without need for a developer and recompiling.
3) Is flexible such that users can switch the web map loaded and ArcGIS Online account used.

The configuration file is a key element, providing maximum flexibility.

Figure 7: ArcGIS Online Mobile App Configuration File

This file, like the tpk, is copied to the device. And is read each time the application loads.

Connected Disconnected ArcGIS Online Editing Demo


Connected Disconnected ArcGIS Online Editing Thoughts

The 1000 feature limit in ArcGIS Online hosted feature service we mentioned earlier is both a problem and solution for this application. A problem since we often have source geodata containing many more than 1000 features. But we will never need more than 1000 features visible at any one time to edit, plus more than 1000 feature layer features will degrade the performance of the mobile application; zoom and pan will become increasingly more challenging. So what is our best compromise? In this case id we have more 1000 features and an ArcGIS server instance, we publish the full dataset to server, BUT only publish a subset of this data in ArcGIS Online. This subset would be the extent of the data published, so the area and features being edited that day or by that group of field workers.

Mobile ArcGIS Online Editing Conclusion

There are many potential applications of this technology in disaster management and assessment. Mobile apps such a the one described will prove important to local and state governments, the insurance industry and other key sectors and organisations. For more information about our work in this area contact us at info@webmapsolutions.com.

University of Denver GIS Program
Optech
Exelis VIS - Enviroment Management


You are registered as: [_EMAIL_].

CafeNews is a service for GIS professionals. GISCafe.com respects your online time and Internet privacy. Edit or Change my newsletter's profile details. Unsubscribe me from this newsletter.

Copyright © 2014, Internet Business Systems, Inc. — 595 Millich Dr., Suite 210 Campbell, CA 95008 — +1 (408) 850-9202 — All rights reserved.