Are you professionally involved in mapping the devastation inflicted by Hurricane Katrina or in helping in the rescue and recovery effort? If your are, please take a few minutes to write up a brief (50 to 200 words) description of your involvement and
I will use the submissions I receive in two ways: first, I will compile and analyze the data and write an article about the response of the geospatial community to this disaster, without citing specific companies or individuals; second, I will select the most interesting and innovative approaches, interview the key people involved, and write up these case studie for upcoming issues of
Please respond by COB on Friday, September 16.
URISA Guides to LiDAR and Mobile GIS
The Urban and Regional Information Systems Association
(URISA) has published to new guides in its Quick Study
series: LIDAR Guidebook: Concepts, Project Design, and Practical Applications
, and Going Mobile: Mobile Technologies and GIS
Light detection and ranging (LIDAR) is now widely accepted as source of data for generating extremely accurate terrain models used in GIS applications. URISA's LiDAR Guidebook provides an overview of this technology, including its history, explains how it can be used to meet different map accuracy standards, and outlines quality control measures used to verify this data set. It also is very clear about the ways in which conventional photogrammetry still plays a role in the development of terrain modeling. Finally, it describes potential applications and provides examples and case studies of how this data has been used by various agencies throughout the United States.
The LiDAR Guidebook
's authors are Brian R. Raber, CMS, VP of the GeoSpatial Solutions Group at Merrick & Company
, which has extensive expertise in LiDAR
, and James Cannistra, CP, VP for strategic accounts at Sanborn
, which has equally extensive expertise in photogrammetric mapping
. The two authors have a combined 42 years of experience in GIS, remote sensing, and mapping.
The publication is very practical and is accessible to readers with no prior knowledge of the technology. It covers all the steps involved in a typical LiDAR mapping campaign including data acquisition, classification, and processing; supplementing LiDAR data with breaklines; typical deliverable products and formats; and quality control. One chapter details two very different case studies: floodplain mapping in Puerto Rico and production of a topographic database for a Florida county. Merrick was a contractor for the latter project.
An appendix profiles LiDAR hardware manufacturers ( Leica Geosystems GIS & Mapping
, Optech Incorporated
, and TopoSys
), software developers ( Autodesk
, Intergraph Mapping & GIS Solutions
, Merrick & Company
, PCI Geomatics
, and Terrasolid Ltd.
), and service providers (Airborne 1 Corporation
, GRW Aerial Surveys, Inc.
, Kucera International, Inc.
, Merrick & Company
, and Surdex Corporation
is an equally practical guide. According to the author, it is aimed at "students, teachers, academics, managers and practitioners, and professionals in local government and environmental organizations" and provides readers with "background information about the availability of mobile hardware as well as mobile GIS software, and the potential for utilizing this rapidly evolving technology for geospatial data collection in the field." The author, David R. Green, is Director of the Centre for Marine and Coastal Zone Management and the Marine Resource Management Program at the University of Aberdeen, Scotland, United Kingdom.
The booklet starts out by comparing and contrasting laptop computers, personal digital assistants (PDAs), handheld computers and devices, and tablet PCs and lists the key specifications for a few of them. Of course, as the author acknowledges, "The rapid evolution of this technology often means that the specifications for PDAs ... are continually changing, and almost as soon as a device is purchased it is out-of-date, and more often than not has been superceded by a faster processor and improved specifications."
The next two chapters review currently available data storage for mobile devices and mobile GIS software. Subsequent chapters give a very cursory overview of GPS receivers, mobile communications, remote data access, photography and digital images, model airborne platforms, and data integration. A chapter on applications devotes a couple of paragraphs each to a dozen applications, including coastal zone management, utilities, and precision agriculture.
On the whole, the publication is a useful introduction to and overview of mobile GIS technologies. I cannot, however, let one minor annoyance go unnoted, because it is a pet peeve of mine: the author refers to "global positioning systems," in the plural, and even titles a chapter that way. As I never tire to repeat, there is only one Global Positioning System, though there are millions of GPS receivers
! (He also refers to "the Geographic Information System (GIS)," in the singular, as if there were only one, and writes that mobile computers "can be connected to the Internet and the intranet," as if there were only one intranet...)
GEOSPATIAL RESPONSES TO HURRICANE KATRINA
Canada's RADARSAT-1 satellite
Please note: I have culled the following news
items from press releases and have not independently verified
is being used to provide imagery and information in support of disaster response and recovery teams coping with the devastating aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. In particular, the imagery of the southern U.S. states is being used to map and assess flood-damaged areas. "RADARSAT-1 has been tasked to acquire imagery over the state of Louisiana and the Gulf Coast for the next few days," said John Hornsby, General Manager of MDA Geospatial Services International
(formerly RADARSAT International). "This will allow agencies to monitor the progression of the floodwaters and support on-the-ground relief and recovery efforts with the latest up-to-date information," he added.
One of the hallmarks of the RADARSAT-1 program is the near-real time delivery of data to users requiring time-sensitive information. Data is acquired, processed, and delivered to clients within one-to-four hours of downlink. RADARSAT-1 is currently acquiring data over India, Switzerland, Austria, and other parts of Europe in support of flood disaster relief efforts.
Equipped with a Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR) sensor, RADARSAT-1 can collect data regardless of inclement weather or light conditions. This provides an effective means of mapping areas experiencing severe weather such as those under cloud cover and experiencing heavy rainfall. In addition, radar is particularly adept at discriminating between smooth water and rough land surfaces, making it easy to detect and map flooded areas.
MDA Geospatial Services International provides Earth observation data, information products, and services from the majority of commercially available radar and optical satellites. These products and services are used globally for resource mapping, environmental monitoring, offshore oil and gas exploration, ice reconnaissance, maritime surveillance, and disaster management. MDA holds the exclusive distribution rights to Canada's RADARSAT-1 and RADARSAT-2 SAR satellites. MDA will operate the RADARSAT-2 satellite when launched.
is providing GIS software and services support to organizations responding to Hurricane Katrina. Similarly to ESRI�s efforts in responding to other emergencies including last year�s hurricane season, government agencies and private entities can contact ESRI for on-site technical support, temporary key codes, and other assistance. This support is available to any organization, regardless of its GIS platform. Agencies in need of GIS assistance should visit the Hurricane Help
section of ESRI� website. This Web site also contains useful information such as hurricane advisories and related information, hurricane maps and images, and maps for journalists. ESRI business partners or corporate alliances that would like to offer software, hardware, services, or imagery should contact Brenda Martinez
to coordinate these efforts.
As part of ESRI�s commitment to disaster preparation, response, and recovery, ESRI is actively supporting local, state, and federal agencies and private organizations responding to Hurricane Katrina, including the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and Emergency Operations Centers (EOCs) in Alabama, Louisiana, Mississippi, and other affected areas. ESRI has provided software, mapping and analysis services, technical expertise, field GIS, Web services, and more. Applications include assigning equipment, organizing and deploying personnel, evacuation planning, identifying emergency shelters, hurricane modeling and tracking, damage assessment, and infrastructure restoration.
CONTRACTS & COLLABORATIONS
, a provider of personalized navigation software and live navigation-based mobile services in Europe, Israel, and the Asia-Pacific, has entered the North American market with the establishment of its U.S. headquarters in Scottsdale, Arizona. The company sells its solutions exclusively through channels to OEMs and ODMs and it is one of the top three navigation solution providers in Europe. This year it expects to ship more than one million sets of its products, up 233 percent from the 300,000 units it delivered in 2004.
In North America, Destinator�s software for personal navigation currently is available through Mio Technology
and Orient Power
, complemented by map partnerships through Navteq
. The company is also working with its other partners, such as Acer
, d-Media Systems
, HISYS, Mobile Computing Corporation
(MCC), and Thinkware
, to extend their support to the North American market.
Destinator will unveil the next generation of its navigational software for mobile users at the DEMOfall 2005 conference
being held September 19-21 at the Hyatt in Huntington Beach, California.
Digital Aerial Solutions
(DAS) has purchased its second Leica
ADS40 Airborne Digital Sensor, which will enable the company to double its collection capacity and facilitate faster turnaround in providing digital data products to its customers. The initial sensor was flown in a pressurized Cessna
421C aircraft specifically modified to accommodate the Leica ADS40 system in a mid-cabin sensor port. The second sensor will be flown in a Socata
TBM 700 made by EADS. In order to accommodate the increased capacity generated by two ADS40 sensors, DAS has implemented Condor running on a High Performance Distributed Computing System (HPDCS) for image processing, to enhance its existing digital end-to-end solution.
Through the data collected by the Leica ADS40, DAS generates a range of standard imagery products, including precision color orthorectified seamless mosaics, Digital Terrain Models, and multispectral imagery. DAS serves a broad customer base that uses the data for a wide variety of applications, such as urban planning, forestry and natural resource management, civil engineering, law enforcement and forensics, agriculture and emergency response projects.
Tillamook People�s Utility District
(PUD), an electric utility serving 19,000 residential, commercial, and industrial customers in Tillamook County, Oregon, has selected Designer, Miner & Miner
�s integrated design solution, for designing and tracking distribution projects and maintaining GIS data. Using Designer and the Workflow Manager framework, Tillamook PUD will maintain a streamlined workflow to integrate GIS with its Work Order Management System. Tillamook PUD began data migration last month and forecasts full operation of Designer early next year. Miner & Miner will provide project management support, data modeling, data conversion specification, and configuration training as part of the technology transfer for Tillamook PUD.
has completed Final Acceptance Testing and rollout of its mobile workforce management system, InService, at Knoxville Utilities Board
(KUB). The new system enables KUB to more efficiently process service orders while optimizing its field resources for faster response to customer needs. In an earlier project phase, KUB deployed the InService outage management solution (OMS).
InService replaces the utility's legacy workforce management system, providing a commercial off the-shelf (COTS) desktop solution for automating processes for dispatching all types of work service, emergency and routine. The outage and mobile workforce management systems at KUB support approximately 150 mobile units and 25 dispatchers as well as two supervisors. InService is flexible and open, allowing KUB to use HTML and Java Scripting to create forms and associated business logic on a mobile platform. Additionally, map data from different sources can be easily ported into InService and will look the same to users regardless of the platform dispatch, mobile, or Web.
InService also integrates KUB's existing FRAMME facility data with intelligent street centerline data provided by the Knox County GIS. Additionally, facilities symbology is identical in both the FRAMME and InService systems allowing KUB's operations department to ensure safety when working on the electric and gas networks.
, a mapping firm, has selected Intergraph
's Z/I Imaging DMC digital mapping camera to streamline its aerial mapping operations, establishing a complete digital image environment. Leveraging the DMC's fully digital workflow, Surdex will more quickly and accurately provide small- to large-scale digital images to customers.
, a digital mapping and GIS software developer, has announced that the next version of its Cadcorp SIS Spatial Information System software suite, Version 6.2, will incorporate Web searching facilities from Google
. Developed using the Google Web APIs (application programming interfaces), the new functionality will enable Cadcorp SIS desktop users to access Google�s search facilities directly from within the Cadcorp SIS environment. This capability will enable users to use Google to quickly find services that implement Open Geospatial Consortium
(OGC) Web Service specifications.
Because Cadcorp SIS already has OGC Web Service client implementations built in, any services found by Google will be directly usable within the Cadcorp SIS environment. Cadcorp SIS users will therefore be able to quickly access and retrieve relevant OGC Web Services, thereby maximising interoperability and data sharing between and within organisations.
Users of Cadcorp SIS will be able to search for OGC Web Map Service (WMS), Web Feature Service (WFS) and Web Coverage Service (WCS) servers, with an option to restrict the search using additional keywords. Advanced options will also be available to search for references to OGC Web Services within HTML or other files, such as PDF documents. In addition, users can provide their own Google Web API key to get their own dedicated requests per day. Cadcorp SIS V6.2, including the Google search capabilities, is scheduled for customer shipment at the beginning of the fourth quarter, 2005.
produced by Carmenta
, a software company based in Gothenburg, Sweden can now be used on mobile terminals. SpatialAce LE, a toolkit for building networked GIS applications, enables development of interactive location-based services that run on handheld computers, PDAs, and cell phones. The product can use a combination of local GIS data and map layers that are accessed via a remote server and supports Java and .NET Compact Framework. Integrated with other products in the SpatialAce family, it provides a foundation for wireless GIS. SpatialAce LE uses the same data model and configuration files as SpatialAce for PC/Windows, but has been optimized for use on simpler hardware platforms. It also provides integration with a SpatialAce Web Map Server, to synchronize location-based information with the server in real time.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture's National Research Initiative Competitive Grants Program
is sponsoring a workshop on the state of the science in agricultural air quality
. It will be held next year, June 5-8, at the Bolger Conference Center, in Potomac, Maryland (near Washington, D.C.). Prof. Ralph Cicerone, President, National Academy of Sciences, will be the keynote speaker.
The National Science Foundation
, The Fertilizer Institute
, the North Carolina Division of Air Quality
, the Kenan Institute
, and Environmental Defense
are providing additional support for the workshop. It will bring together a diverse array of scientists, policymakers, and nitrogen producers and users to assess the state of science regarding agricultural air quality; enhance our knowledge of research, policy, and socio-economics; foster multidisciplinary communication, exchange of ideas, and partnerships; and recommend changes and improvements in measurement technologies and monitoring methodologies, modeling, and best management and production practices to mitigate air pollutant emissions from agricultural sources.
According to the workshop�s organizers, "Increasingly we see evidence from around the world that agricultural activities have direct impacts on the ambient concentrations of nitrogen, sulfur, and carbon compounds and particulate matter. These impacts are often overlooked and seldom compared to emissions from industrial activities. The workshop will attempt to estimate the regional and global emissions from agricultural sources. � GIS analysis of agriculture in general, and agricultural air quality in particular is becoming of increasing importance. � Recent studies provide convincing evidence that changes in agricultural crop production and increases in animal activities are altering the emissions of trace gases to the atmosphere. Maximizing the benefits and reducing the detrimental effects of agricultural production requires us to transcend scientific disciplines and political boundaries. This task challenges the creativity of natural and social scientists, economists, engineers, business leaders, and policy makers. The [workshop] will provide a venue for multidisciplinary teams of experts to share their knowledge, present new research, and work together to develop new avenues for science and technology transfer, education, and outreach. We believe this workshop will play a significant role in helping shape the future of the agricultural practices and agricultural air quality analysis framework for the United States."
The ESRI Homeland Security GIS Summit
will take place at the Adam's Mark Hotel in Denver, Colorado, September 12-14. This year's lineup of keynote speakers will include U.S. Senator Joseph R. Biden Jr., former U.S. Secretary of Transportation Rodney E. Slater, and John W. Loonsk, M.D., acting director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
's newly created National Center for Public Health Informatics.www.cdc.gov/page.do
EDUCATION & TRAINING
ESRI Virtual Campus
has a new, free, live training seminar, Geoprocessing Using ModelBuilder, focused on how to use ModelBuilder to make geoprocessing tasks more streamlined and efficient. The seminar is designed for ArcGIS Desktop users who have a basic understanding of the ArcGIS 9 geoprocessing framework. There will be three presentations on September 22, at 9:00 a.m., 11:00 a.m., and 3:00 p.m. Pacific time.
Geoprocessing is an essential aspect of any GIS that gives users the ability to analyze and process geographic data. Geoprocessing tools can be accessed in ArcGIS Desktop via dialog boxes, the command line, multipart scripts, or visual workflow models. ModelBuilder provides a graphical modeling framework for designing and implementing geoprocessing models that can include system tools, scripts, models, and data. In this seminar, users learn how ModelBuilder can be used to create advanced procedures and workflows.
The presenter will discuss creating, editing, and running models; how to make models more dynamic by exposing model parameters and working with environment settings; and validating, repairing, and documenting models to share with others. To learn more about the ArcGIS geoprocessing framework before this seminar, take the free, one-hour training seminar What�s New in ArcGIS 9 on the Virtual Campus.
has joined the staff of American Digital Cartography, Inc.
(ADCi) as a New Business Architect. In his new position, he will be focusing on the development and enhancement of ADCi and ADC WorldMap products. He will also be responsible for analyzing market and new product potential as well as creating business cases for new technology. Roehl holds a Masters of Science degree in Engineering Management from the Milwaukee School of Engineering and a Bachelor of Science degree from UW-Madison in Mechanical Engineering. Most recently, he worked as a Customer Quality Manager with Endries International
, a digital mapping and GIS software developer, has appointed two new regional sales and business managers. Chris Holcroft
has been appointed sales and business manager for the Asia Pacific region, covering the Asian continent, Australia and New Zealand, while Adam Fox
has been promoted to sales and business manager for the Americas, covering North, Central and South America. Both Holcroft and Fox will report to Martin McGarry, sales and marketing director, Cadcorp.
Chris Holcroft graduated from the London School of Economics and has worked in digital mapping and GIS throughout his professional career. His experience includes five years in Japan in pre- and post-sales support roles with Cadcorp�s distributor, Informatix
, followed by three years in pre-sales and sales in the UK with Autodesk
and six years in a marketing role with Cadcorp. Most recently he was a senior product manager with Ordnance Survey
Adam Fox is a Canadian GIS professional with more than nine years of GIS experience in a variety of roles, including consultancy, sales and project management. With a post-graduate diploma, a B.A. and an M.Sc. in GIS, Fox has worked for some of the largest GIS organisations in Canada, including J.D. Barnes Ltd.
, the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources
and ESRI Canada
. In 2002 he moved to the UK and joined Cadcorp at its headquarters in Stevenage as a GIS technical specialist. He was later promoted to a pre-sales team leader and then moved to Cadcorp�s USA office in Boston as a GIS technical specialist.
Merrick & Company
, a provider of LiDAR, digital ortho-imaging, photogrammetry, and GIS mapping services, is celebrating the 50th anniversary of its founding. Sears Merrick and Ed Lecuyer established the company in Denver, Colorado, in 1955, as an employee-owned company focused primarily on civil engineering and surveying.
According to Ralph W. Christie, Jr., PE, Merrick�s Chairman, President, and CEO, "Mr. Merrick was a professional land surveyor, pilot, and professional photographer. He used these skills to develop a suite of mapping and surveying services for utility companies and government agencies since the company's inception."
Merrick's precision landbase mapping services evolved into today's GeoSpatial Solutions business unit. The company has approximately 400 employees and offices in Aurora and Colorado Springs, Colorado; Los Alamos and Albuquerque, New Mexico; and Atlanta, Georgia.
The Geospatial Information & Technology Association
(GITA) has published a white paper, "Free or Fee: The Governmental Data Ownership Debate,"
that examines the issue of governments charging for data that has been collected with public funds. The paper features a summary of policies for government data sales in Australia, Brazil, Canada, India, Japan, the United Kingdom, and the United States. Noting that most GIS professionals agree that free map data has helped society at large, the paper also points out that the availability of free data has made possible the existence of a number of value-added firms in the private sector. However, another viewpoint in the paper argues that any product derived from free data should become part of the public domain as well.
Several persons quoted in the paper said that the availability of free data has also helped speed the process of developing data standards, which encourages the wider sharing and use of that data.
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