2007 August 9

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Editor's Introduction

This week I report on my conversations with two dozen geospatial professionals about their hardware requirements and point out several New York Times articles about geospatial technology. Plus, 18 press releases.

Matteo Luccio

Hardware Requirements for GIS

What computer does a typical GIS analyst need? Conversations I had this week with two dozen geospatial professionals confirmed my impression that there are two short answers: "it depends" and "it's a non-issue." Because of the first answer, in what follows I will often use such words as "usually" or "mostly." The second answer is due to the fact that, in general, new software releases are not pushing the limits of hardware bought within the last couple of years.

Hardware requirements for GIS depend primarily on:

  • the tasks to be performed
  • the size of the files used
  • the total volume of GIS work to be performed
  • how often the most demanding tasks are performed
  • the percentage of time, if any, spent in the field.

Large GIS shops that handle a wide variety of tasks, up to processing very large raster aerial images, need a wide range of machines — from standard PCs to high-end dual processor workstations with half a terabyte of memory. I am focusing here on the needs of typical, individual analysts. For enterprise GIS, the requirements are much more complex, and key variables include the number of users and their average and peek needs, which determine the minimum network bandwidth. (An excellent source on this is Roger Tomlinson's Thinking About GIS: Geographic Information System Planning for Managers, Third Edition, recently published by ESRI Press.)

Read more…

Briefly Noted

I use coverage of geospatial technologies in the New York Times as a rough indicator of the extent to which they have reached a mass audience. In the last few weeks, I have come across several articles on mapping, GPS, and other geospatial technologies and issues.

July 5 — "Traffic Alerts Get Personal, With Made-to-Order Data," by Jacques Steinberg, describes various services, including Navteq's Traffic.com. "In the latest incarnation of traffic reporting," Steinberg writes, "information gleaned from strategically placed cameras, road-top sensors, electronic tollbooths and eyewitnesses is edited in Mission Control-style command rooms, and sent via personalized text or voice messages to subscribers' cellphones or BlackBerrys, often at no charge."

July 5 — "Lost? A Personal Locator Beacon Could Save Your Life: Calling for a Rescue At the Touch of a Button," by Dan Mitchell. "When activated," he writes, "the personal locator beacon emits a 406-MHz radio signal that is picked up by one of 12 satellites operated by the international Cospas-Sarsat search-and-rescue system. The signal carries a code that identifies its owner and, depending on the completeness of the required registration, the owner's emergency contact information and expected location. Older or less-expensive personal locator beacons use Doppler radar to determine the user's location. Newer, costlier models include Global Positioning System technology, which pinpoints the user's location faster and more accurately." The article reviews the history of the devices, what happens when they are activated, and some of the models available.

Read more…

News Briefs

Please note: I have neither edited nor verified the content of these press releases.


    1. Intermap Technologies and Auburn University Use GIS to Reduce Fuel Consumption

    2. South Yorkshire Police Fights Crime with Intelligent Maps

    3. Forest Fire Damage In Athens Quickly Assessed With Definiens

    4. City of Clive Selects GO! Sync Mobile GIS


    1. GeoSpatial Training Services, LLC Releases New "GeoChalkboard" Blog

    2. Pictometry to Launch Strategic Advantage Suite at APCO 2007

    3. Geodynamic Solutions Inc. Announces New Layer Wizard Extension for ArcGIS

    4. The Geoinformation Group Turns Up The Heat With Cities Revealed Thermal Mapping

    5. Geneq Introduces Next Generation Sub-meter GPS Mapping Receiver


    1. Intergraph 2008 To Take Place June 2 to 5 in Las Vegas

    2. Leica Geosystems Geospatial Imaging at MPUC 2007

    3. MultiVision USA to Exhibit Public Safety Uses of Oblique Imagery at APCO Conference in Baltimore

    4. Online Seminar Shows How ESRI's ArcGIS Military Analyst 9.2 Assists in Defense and Intelligence Work

  4. OTHER

    1. USGIF Launches Geospatial Intelligence Certificate Program

    2. Geospatial Technology Report Surveys Deadline Quickly Approaching

    3. Flight Landata's BuckEye System Recognized by U.S. Army among Top 10 Inventions of 2006

    4. MAPPS Approves Changes to By-Laws Expanding Scope of Membership

    5. Dewberry Announces New Phoenix Office

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Matteo Luccio, Editor
GIS Monitor

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