GISCafe Weekly Review June 21st, 2012

New GIS system to help locate storm victims
June 21, 2012  by Susan Smith

Knowing where a person storm shelter is located is critical to being able to locate victims trapped in them after a tornado like the one that tore through Franklin County, Alabama on April 27th, 2011. A new GIS mapping system will help locate victims trapped in personal storm shelters.


For many cities with sprawling outdoor parks, the ability to track the condition of all park-related assets can be a tremendous challenge.  However, the City of Edmonton, Canada, met this challenge head on with a recent pilot program that uses Intergraph and Leica Geosystems combined products.

With more than 460 parks, as well as the largest expanse of urban parkland in North America with its North Saskatchewan River Valley parks, the City of Edmonton’s Park Branch required a robust solution that was flexible, easy to use and could leverage its existing park asset data.

For the pilot program, the Park Branch is utilizing the Leica CS25 ultra rugged tablet and the GG02+ GNSS Smart Antenna in conjunction with Intergraph’s GeoMedia®, a powerful GIS management and analysis product.  As we saw at Hexagon 2012, Intergraph and Leica Geosystems contribute to Hexagon’s comprehensive portfolio, addressing all aspects of the geospatial life cycle – from capture to delivery.

Most of us understand the hydrologic cycle in terms of the visible paths that water can take: rainstorms, rivers, waterfalls, swamps, etc.  Hydrology takes a different path through a larger volume of water that flows through the air through evaporation and transpiration.  This is very different from hydrology as we think of it traveling through visible paths such as waterfalls, streams, rivers, rainstorms, and swamps,etc. Evaporation and transpiration claim 61% of all terrestrial precipitation, and together are referred to as evapotranpsiration.  Esri’s Mapping Center has produced a web map showing the world’s average annual evapotranspiration to understand how this process works.

The Conway, Ark., company Acxiom Corporation that not many have heard of has more than 23,000 computer servers that are collecting, collating and analyzing consumer data.

Acxiom is at the forefront of the multi-billion dollar industry of database marketing. According to the article in The New York Times, its servers process more than 50 trillion data “transactions” a year. Company executives have said its database contains information about 500 million active consumers worldwide, with about 1,500 data points per person. That includes a majority of adults in the United States. Such large-scale data mining and analytics — based on information available in public records, consumer surveys and the like — are perfectly legal.

Hexagon 2012 announces Hexagon Online Marketplace
June 15, 2012  by Susan Smith

At Hexagon 2012 held in Las Vegas this past week,  the opening of the Hexagon Online Marketplace, Hexagon’s Internet-based store, was announced. To many industry watchers, this is unprecedented. According to the press release, “the Hexagon Online Marketplace signifies the first ever Hexagon-level, direct-to-customer venture, and provides customers with a simplified method of purchasing select Hexagon products and services.” Those of us who have watched Intergraph, recently acquired by Hexagon, for many years, would not have thought this type of direct-to-customer marketing venture possible.

It is a sign of the times, however, where an online store allows customers of various professional backgrounds to explore high end offerings that have traditionally been the province of government and big commercial contracts.

On Monday Apple  introduced a new version of its mobile operating system for iPhones and iPads that will bring a host of new features, including maps that let users soar over a three-dimensional rendering of a city, according to an article in The New York Times.

As was mentioned in this blog of a pre-announcement of Google Earth for mobile “(Pre-announcement of Google Earth for mobile made at Google event”) last week, the new map software replaces Google data with Apple’s own mapping system. This is a big step for a company that has considered Google a close partner up until now. Since Apple introduced the iPhone, it has relied on Google data to drive the mapping software. When Google released its Android platform, however, relationships between the two companies began to disintegrate.  Not surprisingly as Android is the top mobile operating system in the world, putting Apple and Google head to head in several different markets.

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