2007 December 13

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Professional Surveyor Magazine

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Editor's Introduction

This week I report on Digital Globe's ImageConnect service, which I tested, and highlight four books from ESRI Press. Plus, 15 press releases.

Matteo Luccio

Downloading DigitalGlobe Imagery with ImageConnect

For many purposes, it is not enough to view satellite and aerial imagery in Google Earth, Virtual Earth, or World Wind — you need to download it to your own GIS. The ImageConnect Web map service allows users to download high resolution images from DigitalGlobe's library directly into ArcGIS, MapInfo, and AutoCAD Map 3D. This week, Digital Globe promoted the service by offering a free trial, so I checked it out, using ArcGIS.

First I had to download and install a plug-in from Digital Globe (the free trial offer, which ended on Wednesday, provided a link to the download page, a client ID, and a license code). Then I opened ArcMap and an ImageConnect drop-down menu appeared. Next, I connected to ESRI's Geography Network and downloaded the ESRI_World layer. I was now ready to navigate to any spot on our planet and download imagery.

Portland, Oregon

ImageConnect sends coordinates from the map view in your mapping software to a GlobeXplorer DLL, which then formulates a URL and sends it over the Internet to the GlobeXplorer Image server. After validating your client ID, the server evaluates the coordinates, projects the image into the requested projection, and sends it back to you. The DLL then creates a world file based upon the image header information.

Read more…

Four Books from ESRI Press

As the year draws to a close, here are four books that ESRI Press published in 2007.

GIS for Homeland Security, by Mike Kataoka

Another in the ESRI Press series "Case studies in GIS," this very practical book presents 15 brief case studies that illustrate how GIS functions behind the scenes to help fight wildfires, deal with explosions, and monitor terrorism, crime, and the spread of disease. The six short chapters cover all the key phases of emergency management and response: gathering and analyzing intelligence, protecting critical infrastructure, responding to complex emergencies, preparing for disease outbreaks and bioterrorism, and securing complex events.

Building on the lessons of 9/11 and Hurricane Katrina — which, Kataoka writes, "have validated GIS as the technology of choice when seconds count and lives and property are at risk" — the book examines the gaps in coordination among bureaucracies with overlapping mandates and jurisdictions. It also points out such significant challenges as some agencies' reluctance to share data for fear of compromising their individual security. However, for the most part, GIS for Homeland Security focuses on the positive trends and the emerging "best practices" developed by government agencies and private entities tasked with emergency response. Much emphasis is on the ways in which planning and preparedness can prevent some catastrophes and mitigate the effects of other ones.

Read more…

Research and Theory in Advancing Spatial Data Infrastructure Concepts, edited by Harlan Onsrud

In this densely-packed, 293-page scholarly book, nearly 50 experts from around the world present the latest research in the development of spatial data infrastructures (SDIs), which serve as the framework for efficiently exchanging, using, and managing spatial data. SDIs include geographic data, metadata, technology, services, standards, and partnerships that must be in place for the system to work smoothly.

In addition to describing the importance and benefits of SDIs, the authors tackle the technical, legal, economic, and institutional challenges faced by those who build them. The articles collected in this tome were first presented at the 2006 conference of the Global Spatial Data Infrastructure Association, held in Santiago, Chile. The topics covered include data sharing partnerships among government jurisdictions, plans under way to create the Infrastructure for Spatial Information in Europe (INSPIRE), national clearinghouses for spatial data, and models for planning, financing, and implementing SDI initiatives. The authors analyze each of these initiatives in detail and evaluate the extent to which they contribute to national economic competitiveness and social well-being.

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Empowering Electric and Gas Utilities with GIS, by Bill Meehan

Delivering the electricity and gas that keep homes comfortable, factories running, and cities illuminated entails enormous responsibilities to customers, shareholders, employees, the government, and the environment. GIS is the ideal tool to help utility companies meet their mission and manage their widely distributed assets. Yet, many still do not benefit from such an enterprise view and some still see GIS strictly as a way of making maps. "They may be making incremental improvements in the operations but are missing greater opportunities," writes Bill Meehan, P.E., ESRI's director of worldwide utility industry solutions and former vice president of electric operations at NSTAR, Massachusetts' largest investor-owned electric and gas utility.

"Utilities are awakening to the dramatic impact a GIS can have on their overall operations," says Meehan, who provides three dozen examples of the multifarious ways in which utilities from Burbank, California, to Beirut, Lebanon, use geospatial technology.

Read more…

Understanding Place: GIS and Mapping across the Curriculum, by Diana Stuart Sinton and Jennifer J. Lund

"Each case study in this volume describes how an experienced instructor has used GIS in the service of his or her own teaching, within traditions of a classical undergraduate education," write Sinton and Lund, who edited the book and wrote a few of its chapters. "Authors describe how they integrated mapping software into their syllabi as they pursued the learning goals of their discipline and worked to create a realistic learning environment in which students practice inquiry in their field."

The book's 19 chapters span the natural sciences, social sciences, arts, and humanities. When students use GIS and mapping to augment their studies, the authors argue, "they see more, understand more, and engage more deeply with the subject matter." Empowered to pursue their own questions, they often investigate important local issues — thereby both learning and making valuable contributions to their communities.

Read more…

News Briefs

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


    1. Earthmine Signs Exclusive Agreement with NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory

    2. GeoDecisions to Provide GIS Services for Mercer County, Pennsylvania

    3. Microsoft Acquires One of Europe's Top Online Map Services

    4. Infoterra Wins Contract To Deliver Vegetation Survey Solution For EDF Energy Networks

    5. Leica Geosystems Geospatial Imaging Expands T-Kartor's Channel to Finland

    6. GPS-Photo Link Software Speeds Damage Assessment after California Fires

    7. WhiteStar and HPDI Integrate Oil & Gas Well Mapping Data with Nationwide Well Production Data

    8. GISTEC Becomes Authorized Reseller of Latitude Geographics' Geocortex Solutions in the Middle East

    9. Sagittarius Selects geoVue for Location Optimization for Del Taco, Captain D's


    1. ESRI's ArcPad 7.1 Mobile GIS Software Now Available

    2. Track Assets in Real Time with Tracking Server

    3. Leica Geosystems Readies to Premier the Latest Advanced Construction Solutions at the 2008 World of Concrete

    4. Munsys, Inc. Announces the Release of Munsys 10

    5. TerraServer Releases Site Upgrade Built on Open Source Technology


    1. ESRI (UK) to host ESRI Europe, Middle East and Africa User Conference 2008

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Matteo Luccio, Editor
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