Monday, 31 January 2011

TerraGo Technologies Achieves Record Growth, Expands Partnerships in 2010

Software Company Sees Global Market Expansion as Enterprises Increase Efforts to Empower Field/Mobile Personnel with Geospatial Intelligence

TerraGo Technologies, Inc., a leading provider of geospatial collaboration software solutions, achieved its strongest performance to date in 2010 - a year marked by double-digit growth in sales and revenue, customer and partnership expansion, new product innovation, and increased global recognition as the provider of choice for software that takes geospatial intelligence to the edge of the enterprise and back.
TerraGo grew its customer base to 250 federal government agencies, signed on its 900th TerraGo® GeoPDF® production customer, and surpassed its goal of 10,000 organizations using the TerraGo Toolbar™. TerraGo also achieved significant milestones with key strategic partners and new product enhancements, including the addition of 3D GeoPDF and "internationalized" language capabilities to its product portfolio. And, the company continued hiring leading industry talent, more than doubling its engineering staff.
"Overall 2010 was a year of significant growth and expansion for TerraGo," said Rick Cobb, president and CEO of TerraGo Technologies. "Plus we achieved break-even performance, and from an emerging technology company perspective, that's a milestone we're quite proud of. In addition, we forged some tremendous new partnerships around self-service GeoPDF map book creation and distribution, as well as dynamic field data collection and sharing."
In 2010, TerraGo and Hitachi formed a strategic partnership under which Hitachi became a development partner and master distributor of TerraGo software in Asia, as well as a strategic investor in the company. TerraGo also joined the new Esri Partner Network as a Gold Tier partner. This new level of partnership has allowed TerraGo to enhance sales, marketing, and development efforts shared by the two companies.
TerraGo has also been working closely with Adobe over the past several months to provide an upgrade path for Acrobat 9 Pro Extended customers who need to continue to author geospatial PDF files and perform advanced geospatial functions. Additionally, Adobe and TerraGo signed an agreement under which TerraGo is providing software engineering services in support of geospatial PDF consumption in Acrobat X and Reader X.
2010 was also a milestone year for TerraGo in that the company marked its fifth anniversary of its founding, as well as celebrated the one-year anniversary of being awarded a U.S. patent (#7,562,289) for methods and systems for encoding geographic coordinates and features in portable document format files.
"Over the past year we've witnessed a concerted effort to truly liberate enterprise-class geospatial data, with the geospatial market fully embracing the idea of empowering their mobile workers with more timely, relevant geospatial information," added Cobb. "If you can't put geospatial information to work, it never becomes real, actionable intelligence and organizations fail to fully realize the return on their geospatial investments."
For more information on TerraGo GeoPDF solutions, please contact sales(at)terragotech(dot)com or visit
About TerraGo Technologies

TerraGo Technologies delivers software applications that extend the access and application of maps and imagery for mobile field professionals who rely on geospatial information to do their jobs. Thousands of global organizations, including many defense and intelligence agencies, petroleum and utility companies, public safety departments, and environmental engineering teams, depend on TerraGo software. The TerraGo Publisher™ Suite allows organizations to consume and optimize data from any source and create GeoPDF maps and imagery. The TerraGo Collaboration™ suite offers desktop, Web-based and mobile software applications that automate geospatial collaboration and information gathering and sharing. When used in conjunction with TerraGo Composer™, customers are able to configure easy-to-use 2D and 3D maps, imagery, and digital GeoPDF MapBook products while embedding relevant business context, forms, and workflows. With a strong ecosystem of partners, including Adobe, BAE Systems, Esri, ERDAS, Hitachi, Intergraph, and Trimble, millions of professionals use geospatial data that has been enabled by TerraGo in order to be more productive, improve quality, and make better decisions.

Geospatial tech aids financial intelligence unit

Australia: Australian Transaction Reports and Analysis Centre (AUSTRAC) - Australian government financial intelligence unit, will pilot a real-time analysis technology in April. It aims to provide greater intelligence to other agencies. The trial, to encompass 35 of its online-capable agencies, will comprise implementation of new search and analysis tools for social networks, geospatial information with improved graphical analysis, data mining, monitoring and data matching capabilities.

The agency collects financial transaction reports from a range of business including financial, money services, gambling and bullion sectors. This includes reports such as large cash transactions, international funds transfer instructions and suspicious matter reports, in order to prevent money laundering and other criminal activities.

Most of these reports are received electronically.

Since the introduction of the Anti-Money Laundering and Counter-Terrorism Financing Act of 2006, it has been challenged by increased data volumes, report complexity, partner agency request and increasing partner agency expectations on turn-around times and quality, according to department documents.

A five-year strategic vision was adopted for the re-engineering of AUSTRAC’s intelligence operations, including the implementation of new ICT architecture to maintain pace with the changing environments. It received USD 24 million in additional funding from last year's Federal Budget for the technology.

Sunday, 30 January 2011

India’s first-ever geospatial technology park

India’s first-ever geospatial technology park will be set up in the state of Gujarat with a view to promoting research in space technology and surveying skills. Gujarat chief minister Narendra Modi made the announcement at the World Geospatial Forum held in Hyderabad last week.Modi said that Gujarat, with its unique geography and natural resources, possessed immense potential for growth.

The Indian government will look to establish further parks around the country over the next few years.
The World Geospatial Forum was organised by the Science and Technology Department of the government in an effort to boost the sector. M Shashidhar Reddy, vice-chairman of the nation’s National Disaster Management Authority, said India is in need of a geospatial revolution that could transform the country in the same way an IT revolution has done over the past 10 years.

"With Hyderabad and Andhra Pradesh having contributed a great deal to IT revolution, we now need to think of a geospatial revolution. Geospatial is a technology that permeates into all fields and helps them to work more profitably," he said.

Friday, 28 January 2011

GIS/geospatial sales projected to grow 8.3 percent in 2011

Worldwide sales of GIS/geospatial software, services and data totaled $4.4 billion, and grew an impressive 10.3 percent in 2010, according to Cambridge, Mass.-based Daratech, a research firm that tracks GIS/geospatial market dynamics. For 2011, sales in the GIS/geospatial space should reach $5 billion with an annual growth rate of 8.3 percent, according to the firm.


"Demand for GIS/geospatial products is driven by an increasing global need for geographically correlated information," said Charles Foundyller, Daratech's CEO. "As more and more websites, such as Google Earth, and consumer navigation systems, such as TomTom, bring awareness of the power of linking business and consumer information with their geography, geo-enabled apps will become the norm."
GIS data is the fastest growing segment of the GIS/geospatial business. GIS data has grown at a compound annual rate of 15.5 percent for the last eight years - — about twice the rate of growth for GIS/geospatial software and services. "GIS data is to GIS/geospatial apps what software is to computers," said Foundyller. "Without it, GIS/geospatial apps have nothing to tell us." As more location-related data becomes available, the use and scope of geospatial analyses is likely to grow dramatically, according to Daratech estimates.

Public sector purchases

Sales to all government entities worldwide have grown at a 7.2 percent compound annual rate over the last 8 years, according to Daratech estimates. "We should see stepped-up government purchases of GIS/geospatial technologies in the next few years to handle all the additional images and data they are collecting," Foundyller says .
Local government spending on GIS/geospatial technology has traditionally outstripped spending at the state and regional levels, say Daratech analysts. The spending is driven by the need for cities and counties to manage property information and other municipal assets. State government spending has been more modest, Daratech notes, because there are fewer state and regional entities, and they tend to have fewer assets to track and monitor.

Geospatial in the cloud (Ubisense)

By Chris Helm and Brian Timoney

As mentioned previously, earlier in the week myself, Brian Timoney and Chris Helm did a set of presentations and demos on geospatial technology in the cloud, to the Boulder Denver Geospatial Technologists group. We were aiming to give a quick taste of a variety of interesting geo-things currently happening in the cloud, and we did it as six slots of about ten minutes each, and apart from my introductory opening slot these were all demos:
  • Peter: Why the cloud?
  • Brian: Google Fusion Tables
  • Chris: the OpenGeo stack on Amazon (PostGIS, GeoServer, OpenLayers, etc)
  • Peter: Ubisense myWorld and Arc2Earth
  • Chris: GeoCommons
  • Peter: OpenStreetMap

Geo in the cloud from Peter Batty on Vimeo.

We got a lot of good feedback on the session. Here's the video (for best quality click through to vimeo and watch in HD):

Geo in the cloud from Peter Batty on Vimeo.
Here are links to the demos we used, or related sites:

Thursday, 27 January 2011

Geo-Spatial Commercial Real Estate Marketing.

Luna Tech-3d is another cutting edge company looking at commercial real estate marketing in ways never thought of before. Take a look at the site and think about the way you or your clients are brought to the information,not the old school way of having the information brought to you.
Luna Tech clients gain an entirely new tool to save both time and money when marketing available properties. The 3D models and photo-realistic facades give a prospective buyer a rich experience before either the salesperson or customer have the need to travel to the property.
Important details such as actual existing floorplans, square footage, and other important statistics can be listed right alongside the model, in a familiar pop-up window format.

  • The LunaGlobe can be tied directly into existing MLS database systems, or display listings from your custom database
  • Show listings geographically, helping your client understand that a listing nearby to their first choice might actually be a more logical choice for their business.
  • Show listings in context of surrounding businesses. Is your client thinking of opening a bakery? Populate the globe with a simple local search of bakeries, and help guide your client’s decision making process.
  • Work with us to market your premier properties in 3D for a very reasonable fee, and reduce wasted travel time by bringing your clients to the virtual location, and integrating a tour around the entire facility.
  • Display Google’s “Street View” of numerous locations, where available, without leaving your custom LunaGlobe. It’s BUILT IN!

Wednesday, 26 January 2011

Mapping the Next Move in Insurance!

Mapping the next move: as the challenges from the global financial crisis and climate change continue to be felt by the insurance industry, technology will play a greater role in helping companies improve their capabilities in exposure management

In today's competitive market within the insurance sector there is an increasing demand by companies for accurate data .to better understand and manage their risk exposures.

The data can also help companies enhance their claims management process, and ultimately, deliver better value to their customers.

Technologies--particularly around location intelligence, geographic mapping, and a host of new risk data--provided by various software organisations, are being extensively used by insurance companies.

The global financial crisis and the continuing commotion over climate change have meant insurance companies are looking more closely at technology solutions to better predict and respond to future challenges.

Challenges facing the industry

The twin challenges of the global financial crisis and climate change facing the insurance sector should not be underestimated.

While the general insurance industry in Australia has shown strong resilience in the face of the current economic conditions, experiences overseas have shown that insurance companies can be challenged--the near-bankruptcy of insurance giant, American International Group, is an example.

And the issue of climate change and its impact on insurance companies has been well documented.

Late last year the Insurance Council of Australia released figures which showed that weather related incidents accounted for 31.5 per cent of all general insurance claims in 2007, as compared to 12.3 per cent of all general insurance claims in 2000.

"Weather related claims costs are expected to become an increasing determinant determinant, a polynomial expression that is inherent in the entries of a square matrix. The size n of the square matrix, as determined from the number of entries in any row or column, is called the order of the determinant. of premium price levels," Insurance Council chief executive, Kerrie Kelly, said. "This expectation reflects current trend data that shows weather related claims, as a proportion of total claims, have been increasing."

To handle challenges like these, insurance companies have been deploying technology tools like location intelligence to make better decisions over predictability and gain insight into their decision-making processes.

Location intelligence combines a number of data sources including aerial maps, geographic information systems, historical data, consumer demographics, and customer records.

Respected news website, Insurance Networking News, suggests that companies overseas have used information gathered from location intelligence for:

* Predicting potentiallosses associated with natural disasters.

* Optimising their claims resource allocation resource allocation Managed care The constellation of activities and decisions which form the basis for prioritizing health care needs when disasters strike.

* Expanding market segmentation Market Segmentation
A marketing term referring to the aggregating of prospective buyers into groups (segments) that have common needs and will respond similarly to a marketing action. for improved market development and penetration.

* Developing more innovative product and service offerings; and

* Improving underwriting decisions with more advanced risk selection capabilities.

Location intelligence in use

During the recent bushfire tragedy in Victoria, location intelligence was used by insurance companies during the claims process in identifying properties damaged by the fires.

Overseas, mortgage insurer Genworth Financial is an international financial services organization that offers a portfolio of primarily consumer-focused products through its various companies, including annuities, combination products, investment services, life insurance, long term care insurance, medicare Canada has been one company reported to have used the technology with positive results.

In the past, Genworth assessed mortgage risk by neighbourhood. Now it uses 'heat maps' to visually represent risk down to the street level, across traditional neighbourhood boundaries.

Genworth also takes into account a property's proximity to schools, major roadways, residential parks and railways, all of which impact property value.

"Heat maps are a much more precise way to understand our market, and the associated risk with each property," Genworth Financial Canada chief executive, Peter Vukanovich, says of the technology.

"Maps, for that matter, are much easier to understand than reports."

In the UK, insurer Royal Sun Alliance (RSA) benefited from the use of geographic information systems in 2006 following a major explosion at an oil storage depot.

Interviewed about the company's use of geographic information systems during the event, Graham Heale, property portfolio director at RSA, made the following comments: "This was clearly a major incident in the UK insurance market. I knew that by Monday, 9am, I would be faced with the inevitable question 'how much is this going to cost?' "Purely as a result of our GIS (1) (Geographic Information System) An information system that deals with spatial information. Often called «mapping software,» it links attributes and characteristics of an area to its geographic location. capability, which enabled us to model using zones of damage from the epicentre epicentre
Point on the surface of the Earth that is directly above the source (or focus) of an earthquake. There the effects of the earthquake usually are most severe. See also seismology. of the loss, we were able to give a reliable estimate of our loss at 12 noon that day--within three hours of being asked the question at 9am on Monday morning.

"Following seven months of actual physical assessment of the damage and loss adjustment, the number that we gave is still within 7 per cent of the final cost."

Telma Cordeiro, financial services The examples and perspective in this article or section may not represent a worldwide view of the subject.

"Historically, it was smaller to medium sized organisations [adopting the technology]," she says.

"However, events of late, both economical and climatic, have pushed larger organisations to look for competitive strategies and the solutions and the outcomes they are looking to derive from location intelligence, through the application of risk management and mitigation, business continuity planning Business Continuity Planning (BCP) is an interdisciplinary peer mentoring methodology used to create and validate a practiced logistical plan for how an organization will recover and restore partially or completely interrupted critical function (s) within a predetermined , and gaining a greater insight into business modeling and predictability.

Tuesday, 25 January 2011

Can You (Really) Map on an iPad?

Geospatial Technologies in Education Asks

(you can using Nuqed)

I wanted to find out whether anyone has figured out how to use an iPad to map with. I tried out an iPad (with 3G) a couple of months ago and used the Google Earth app, Google Maps app and ESRI's GIS app. With plenty of nearby cell service, I could find myself pretty accurately. Great! But I could not for the life of me figure out how to save a location and, thus, create a KML.

I put the question to a list that I'm on plus I sent out a call on Twitter.  Because I think information like this should be freed from the lock-box of email threads and Twitter streams, I am compiling my findings here. I should also say that I am a known skeptic when it comes to the iPad. My research was out of self-interest as I am writing a paper on using tablet PCs in field-based classes and I wanted to talk about alternative mapping technologies. (The geologist in the photo is using a Toughbook, just to confuse you/get your attention.) The reviewers of our paper did not believe me and my collaborators when we said that iPads were not a viable mapping option.
What do you think?

Dear NY GIS-users list:
I am collecting information on whether anyone has tried to use an iPad for data collection. Whether you tried and failed or tried and found success, I am most interested in use of the iPad for mapping. Can it be used for collecting and saving points, lines and polygons? Or if you do Google: placemarks, paths, and polygons?  Using the iPad's 3G capability, one can get a fairly accurate location when using ESRI's mapping app or Google Maps or Earth, but can one actually map location and saving and share as a shapefile or KML?
Many thanks,
Meg Stewart
Geospatial Instructional Technologist
The android operating system has similar capabilities.
See also
Hi Meg,
I saw your question on the list serv and thought you might be interested in an app that we have developed, MobileRecon. Attached are two PDFs with additional info [Note: just look at the link]. There are actually new features in addition to what is in the brochures, so, if you're interested, let me know and I can detail those for you. While MobileRecon is built for iPhone, we have a version in the works for iPad that takes advantage of its larger surface area.
Best, Jay
This summers On the Cutting Edge GIS and Remote Sensing workshop had a number of us exploring this. On one field day we had a mix of iPads, Toughbooks and Tablets running ArcPad, ArcMap and other software. Still working out best methods for mapping directly on the iPad, but a consensus was that this had real promise. I'll be exploring more this spring. We looked at using ESRI Arc on iPad, GoogleEarth and GoogleMaps and MotionX GPS HD.
Key points were,
-need cellular service to access imagery/servers in the field
-GPS was quite good in most cases (we were working in "good" environments)
-screen visibility was good, and in many cases much better than tablets
-iPad will not hold up like Toughbook, but does not cost $5000 either
-ziplock bag worked well to "weatherproof" iPad
-stylus needed to draw accurately
I'm currently testing BlueSLR app & hardware that links iPad and digital camera to encode GPS data in the EXIF data of digital photos.
Be really interested in hearing what others have to say on this.
Via Twitter
@TheSteve0  @meg_stewart the browser would let you do it with something like openlayers - but not potlach2 since that is flash #GIS#ipad
Jan 24, 2011
geoparadigm said...
One concern for mapping with the Ipad in the field is display. In direct sun it is very hard to read, and it has an internal temp sensor which automatically shuts it down if it gets too hot.

Monday, 24 January 2011

Mapping software could speed up response time

Public-safety chiefs:

The Santa Fe New Mexican fire and police chiefs want to raid a reserve fund to buy mapping software they say would help get emergency vehicles to the scene faster.
If their proposal manages to win approval in this time of tight budgets, they say the days of police officers and ambulance crews flipping though map books while responding to calls could be history.

When Santa Fe regional dispatchers get a call for help, they use computerized maps to identify which responders are closest to the scene. Then, individual drivers of police cars, fire trucks or ambulances learn the exact address by radio.

If the responders aren't familiar with the location, they resort to paper maps.

Officials say using software that sends addresses directly to computers inside the public-safety vehicles would be more effective.

The chiefs propose to cover half the cost of the proposed software by getting the City Council to take $200,000 out of a pot of money reserved for capital expenditures in their departments. An approval would almost empty that fund, which is replenished through impact fees charged when property owners build homes or businesses.

Meanwhile, operators of the joint city/county Regional Emergency Communications Center are approaching Santa Fe County officials about making a similar contribution to cover the other half of the software's $400,000 cost. An operating agreement calls for city and county to share such expenses.

"We won't be able to do this until both the county and the city come to the table," said Ken Martinez, director of the center.

However, county officials aren't sure how they would find the cash. County Sheriff Robert Garcia said he thinks the software would help operations, but that it's not a top priority. "It's something I am willing to put in a budget request for (in) the next cycle as something we can look at." But, he added, "With the way budgets are now, I honestly don't see it." County Fire Chief Stan Holden said the system is "a justified need," but he also expressed doubt about the timing.

"I think all of us are struggling to maintain the services we are providing today," he said. "It will be very difficult for the governing bodies to come up with that money." Holden also said he has questions about whether the city's plan to use impact fees is legal under state law.

Even if local officials allocate money for the software, it would require some additional investments before the computer-mapping service would be immediately available in every public-safety vehicle.

City fire trucks, ambulances, command vehicles and many police units already have on-board computer systems that could be used with the mapping software. They would require a special GPS attachment.

The initial purchase of the Public Sector NaviLine system would come with 40 GPS units -- 10 allocated to each of the city and county public-safety departments.

During a Thursday meeting of the city's Public Safety Committee, City Fire Chief Barbara Salas held up a tattered Horton Family Maps book of the Santa Fe region. "Right now, we're flipping through the book to find the address we are looking for," she said.

She said the software could help quicken response times. "It would get us there faster, and that is what we want to do," she told the committee, which endorsed the spending proposal.

City Police Chief Aric Wheeler said the system would allow commanders to track each mobile unit during their shifts. He's excited about the prospect.

"This will show you where the street is and show you that you're the closest unit," he said, noting that sometimes officers hear an address over the dispatch radio and don't realize how close they are to the scene.

City officials, who have been working on ways to trim spending now and in the coming fiscal year, have eyed capital-reserve funds as one way to make up a gap of millions between expected revenues and spending. The city Finance Committee has called a special meeting next month to discuss police and fire budgets.

During the last two years, fees charged for police and fire services added about $60,000 annually to the Fire/EMS Impact Fee Fund.

County officials last week wrapped up their mid-year budget review for the current fiscal year and expect to start working in March on a budget for the fiscal year that begins July 1, said spokeswoman Kristine Mihelcic.

Relax, Do Nothing for Two Minutes

Its worth a try!

Most websites want to get you to take an action: click, watch, share, tweet, check in, they implore.
Alex Tew, CEO of Popjam, has created a site, Do Nothing For 2 Minutes, that challenges you to do absolutely nothing, for two whole minutes.
The new site shows a photograph of the ocean at sunset and plays the sound of waves crashing on a beach. "Just relax and listen to the waves," it instructs. "Don't touch your mouse or keyboard." If you don't follow the instructions and begin to fidget, type, scroll, or move your mouse, the two-minute timer resets itself and a red "FAIL" appears on the screen.
Tew told TechCrunch,

I had been thinking how we spend every waking minute of the day with access to an unlimited supply of information, to the point of information overload. i also read somewhere that there is evidence that our brains are being re-wired by the internet, because we get a little dopamine kick every time we check our e-mail or Twitter or Facebook and there's a new update. So we're all developing a bit of ADD. which is probably not great in terms of being productive.

Thursday, 20 January 2011

Citizen Mapping---Human Behavior, Geodata Collection and Sharing

As much as we like to think that geospatial technology is about technology, it's clearly about people, too. People write the software, design the analyses, and make the pretty maps. They are also key players in data collection and creation. Two recent events got me thinking about the role of human behavior in enhancing geodata collection and sharing.

Story 1: My Data! Mine! Mine! Mine!
Each year my household hosts a holiday party where the main event is a tour of the neighborhood houses decked out with holidays lights. We aim to travel about six miles and see a variety of displays: large and small, overdone and tasteful, religious and secular. Guests cover the distance jogging and on bikes. The attendees light up their outfits and bikes, too, so the little parade is a bit of a spectacle!

Each year, I do the reconnaissance to locate the houses of interest. I've used different methods including simple paper maps and a group Google My Map where invitees were invited to mark notable displays. This year, I wanted to get a bit more efficient. I used my Android phone's recording app to capture the addresses of interest while I ran around the area. "Robinson Road, 5, 7, 12, 15...," is the sort of thing I'd record. The numbers were the addresses on Robinson Road. When I got home I'd transcribe my data into an Excel spreadsheet. Then I used Batchgeo to geocode the data and post them on a Google Map. It worked great. My co-host used those data (in KML format) to create the route in another piece of software.

Now, here's my observation about myself. I did the data collection and I didn't want to make the online map public. I could have, but instead, I made it private and shared it only with the routemaker. I thought about why I felt that way. Honestly, it boiled down to the fact that it was a lot of work. Oh, the technical part was quick and easy, but the five hours of running at night in the cold and capturing the data was a challenge. In the end, I decided that was not a good enough reason. The data I collected were valuable, if only for a few weeks. It'd be a great resource for anyone else who wanted to tour our city's lights. By the way, the city itself does host a trolley tour of displays (The Illuminations Tour) the night before our party. It sells out, at $10/seat, every year!

If nothing else, I got a sense of why some individuals in public entities might feel a possessive twinge about their data. The big difference: they are paid (or someone is) to collect the data! Those individuals, unlike me, do not "own them." And, maybe, just maybe, it's that subtle idea, the idea of community ownership of public geodata that we need to spread worldwide to help the open data efforts.

Story 2: Barriers in the Snow and Gaps in the Maps
Before New Year's, the Boston area received about 18 inches of snow. My city requires (pdf) owners of houses and businesses to shovel the sidewalk in front of their property within six hours after the storm ends. If the snow is still there after that time, there are fines. The city does a pretty good job reminding residents about the requirement and I know my neighbors try to help each other out if there are special challenges (like a new baby, someone on crutches or someone on vacation). Other neighbors clear the walks and steps of elderly folks.

As I walked to the gym a few hours after the storm ended, I was pleased to find the majority of houses and businesses had already done their part. The paths varied quite a bit: some areas were the full width of the sidewalk and others were clearly "single track" where only one person could fit. Still, the walks were, for the most part, shoveled.

This whole effort breaks down when one person does not do their job. In one case on my short walk there was an 18-inch high, 100-foot long barrier between one cleared area and the next. That forced pedestrians into the street and hopefully, though not necessarily, back onto the sidewalk further down.

Now consider citizen mapping. The same sort of barrier is possible: if one town, or one street, or one country decides not to do its part, there's a gap. And, as in the case of snow shoveling, if someone nice steps up and does the mapping work for you, the gap is removed.

Still, I believe having the local person do the work (mapping or shoveling) will yield the best results. When I'm shoveling my own sidewalk I know where the concrete edging on the front yard ends. I'm extra careful where there is no edging to avoid disturbing the grass, which is challenged enough without the snow. I'm also careful to shovel out a "hole" for the trash barrel to stand on trash day. Otherwise it's in the street or driveway and gets banged around. Like the grass, our barrels have enough challenges without the snow.

How, then, do we create environments where everyone shovels their walks? Clearly the city regulations and threats of fines work some percentage of the time, but not all the time. OpenStreetMap works in some areas, but not others. How do we create an environment that encourages higher participation (via carrot), even without a law and fines (via stick)?

The Way Ahead?
I don't have a magic way to get individuals and organization to share their geodata or do their part to fill in the maps. I do hope those in psychology, sociology and related fields of human behavior are working on such things. They could sure help geospatial practitioners out as we look to citizens and governments to collect data and share them.
Adena Schutzberg

Wednesday, 19 January 2011

Look at the Size of That! The National Geospatial Intelligence-Agency's New Building

The National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency's new campus at Fort Belvoir North Area, Springfield, Va., welcomed its first increment of NGA mission employees Jan. 18,2011.

Although still under construction, the facility ultimately will host more than 8,500 NGA employees, now based in various locations throughout the Washington, D.C., metropolitan area. Here are various aerial views of the facility taken Jan. 14, 2011. NGA is a Department of Defense combat support agency and a member of the national Intelligence Community. The agency’s mission is to provide geospatial intelligence, which is the exploitation of satellite or airborne images, fused with other intelligence and geospatial information like mapping, charting and geodesy, to help warfighters and national decision makers visualize what they need to know. NGA is the nation’s eyes.

Monday, 17 January 2011

Neuroscientist says spatial strategies can reduce risk of dementia

Véronique Bohbot, PhD., neuroscientist at the Douglas Mental Health University Institute and associate professor at McGill University, leads studies on navigational strategies. She presented her findings at the recent meeting of the Society for Neuroscience in San Diego, which could bring light into how we can make better use of our hippocampus in order to reduce the risk of dementia.

Why it is better to use a spatial strategy - Summary of findings

In her lab, Bohbot and her team used virtual navigation to conduct a series of studies. It was shown that, in healthy older adults:

1) Participants using spatial strategies had reduced risk of dementia as assessed with the MoCA© (The Montreal Cognitive Assessment is a cognitive screening test designed to assist Health Professionals for detection of mild cognitive impairment)

2) Spatial strategies significantly correlated with grey matter in the hippocampus.

3) Only the people who used spatial strategies showed significant fMRI activity in the hippocampus during a virtual navigation task that allowed for both spatial and response strategies.

Two strategies used by our brain

When we find our way in the world, we rely on one of two strategies. One is spatial strategy, in which we build cognitive maps using relationships between landmarks to help us determine where we are but also help us plan where we want to go (for instance, you will memorize the spatial relationship between the market, home and school such that you can take shortcuts when going to novel destinations). The other one is a stimulus-response strategy, which is kind of an auto-pilot mode (after some repetition, you make a series of right and left turns out of habit like going to work every day using the same route. Sometimes you get there out of habit without knowing what you saw on the way). When you use a GPS, you don't necessarily use your spatial memory.

Significant results

"These results are in agreement with the literature showing that the first symptoms of Alzheimer's disease involve problems with spatial orientation as well as the literature that shows that decreased volume in the hippocampus is a risk factor for conversion from mild cognitive impairment to Alzheimer's disease." adds Bohbot.


Friday, 14 January 2011

Australia Floods Images and Videos

The Guardian interactive site can be found here:

A selection of videos showing the awesome power of water:

Wednesday, 12 January 2011

Geospatial Spooks to Undergo Review!

The Defence Imagery and Geospatial Organisation (DIGO) will have its role examined as part of a review of all intelligence agencies commissioned by Julia Gillard.

DIGO was established under a Cabinet Directive on 8 November 2000 by amalgamating the Australian Imagery Organisation and Directorate of Strategic Military Geographic Information, and the Defence Topographic Agency.

Its role is to provide geospatial intelligence, from imagery and other sources, in support of Australia's defence and national interests- it serves both the military and intelligence communities.

The review will also analyse the work of the Australian Security Intelligence Organisation, the Australian Secret Intelligence Service, the Defence Intelligence Organisation, the Defence Signals Directorate and the Office of National Assessments.

"The review will ensure Australia continues to have a well-coordinated, appropriately resourced and adaptable intelligence system that supports our national interests," Gillard said.

It will be take place over the next six months and will be headed by the former secretary of the Attorney-General's Department, Robert Cornall, and Rufus Black, an ethicist from Melbourne university/

The review is the result of a recommendation in the 2004 Flood review of the intelligence agencies, which found they should be independently examined every five to seven years.

Tuesday, 11 January 2011

Australia Floods--NASA Image Shows La Niña-Caused Woes Down Under

ScienceDaily (Jan. 10, 2011) — The current La Niña in the Pacific Ocean, one of the strongest in the past 50 years, continues to exert a powerful influence on weather around the world, affecting rainfall and temperatures in varying ways in different locations.

The Advanced Spaceborne Thermal Emission and Reflection Radiometer (ASTER) instrument on NASA's Terra spacecraft captured this image of extensive flooding in Rockhampton, Queensland, Australia, on Jan. 7, 2011. (Credit: NASA/GSFC/METI/ERSDAC/JAROS, and U.S./Japan ASTER Science Team)

For Australia, La Niña typically means above-average rains, and the current La Niña is no exception. Heavy rains that began in late December led to the continent's worst flooding in nearly a half century, at its peak inundating an area the size of Germany and France combined. The Associated Press reports about 1,200 homes in 40 communities are underwater and about 11,000 others are damaged, resulting in thousands of evacuations and 10 deaths to date.

On Jan. 7, 2011, the Advanced Spaceborne Thermal Emission and Reflection Radiometer (ASTER) instrument on NASA's Terra spacecraft captured this image of the inundated city of Rockhampton, Queensland, Australia. With a population of 75,000, Rockhampton is the largest city affected by the current flooding. Torrential rains in northeastern Australia caused the Fitzroy River to overflow its banks and flood much of the city and surrounding agricultural lands. Both the airport and major highways are underwater, isolating the city.

In this natural color rendition, muddy water is brown, and shallow, clearer water is gray. Vegetation is depicted in various shades of green, and buildings and streets are white. The image is located at 23.3 degrees south latitude, 150.5 degrees east longitude, and covers an area of 22 by 28.1 kilometers (13.6 by 17.4 miles).

Monday, 10 January 2011

Web Migration is the Top Concern for Geospatial Experts

On March 30 - 31 2011, in Chicago, Geospatial Data industry leaders will meet at the Enterprise Strategies for Location Intelligence conference to discuss the ongoing power struggle between traditional players, and new, web-based solutions.

A recent survey conducted by TheWhereBusiness showed that web migration is the key concern for geospatial executives right now. And as a result, it is a central theme of this inaugural location intelligence event.

Traditionally, desktop software companies like ESRI had a monopoly on geospatial software...but this is rapidly changing. With GIS already being branded 'dead wood' by many in the industry, it is time to deliberate the critical nuances between desktop software, web applications and platforms to find out what makes one better than the other.

We are currently witnessing several companies such as Urban Mapping & FortiusOne challenge the status quo by launching their own web-based geospatial solution. But the question still remains...How will this power struggle play out? And what is the future of analyzing geospatial data?

At Enterprise Strategies for Location Intelligence over 30 top level speakers have been gathered to tackle this very issue. Through a series of lively panel discussions and in-depth case-studies they'll be identifying the pros and cons of these two systems, and asking if traditional players will be able to maintain their monopoly and secure their place in the battle for dominance.

As well as traditional players like ESRI, the conference also features top names from industry giants, like Google, Oracle and IBM. They'll be joined by GIS Cloud, aWhere, and SimpleGeo as they debate this fundamental shift in power and other disruptive forces faced by the geospatial industry.

Web migration might be the most important issue right now, but at Enterprise Strategies for Location Intelligence, over 150 senior executives will be examining all of the trends which are set to revolutionize the geospatial industry. From open-sourced data to mobile and sensor based data, they'll be revealing how to monetize location and provide a relevant service to end-users.

One of the main beneficiaries of this technology has been the telecommunications sector. Through applying and integrating location intelligence into their enterprise strategies, Comcast added $12million in new revenue through the identification of serviceable customers. And on the other side of the pond, British Telecom realized a cost saving of $41 million over 5 years by utilizing geospatial data analysis.

But it's not just Telecommunication companies who are saving millions- retail, banks, insurance companies and the public sector are seeing the benefits too, and at Enterprise Strategies for Location Intelligence attendees will benefit from hearing from the Chicago Department of Transport and Richmond Police Department.

Naomi Hands, Vice President of North America for TheWhereBusiness commented, "I'm really thrilled that we have managed to gather so many senior geospatial and business intelligence executives in Chicago. The timing could not be better, with the shift in power becoming a contentious issue for both the large and small companies in the space, no doubt some interesting and thought provoking discussions will occur."

Organized by TheWhereBusiness, a leading provider of LBS and Navigation events, Enterprise Strategies for Location intelligence 2011 will enable location intelligence solution providers, business intelligence companies, software providers and map providers to decide how best to make a stand in the power struggle ahead.

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Tuesday, 4 January 2011

Apple Getting Ready to Enter Mobile Navigation Space

Recently Google threw down a huge hand in the bid to be the dominate mobile navigation company.  Heck I can’t even remember who else has mobile navigation devices besides them anymore (though that might be the eggnog talking).  It looks like Apple is going to give it a go for their iOS devices.
Apple seeks job candidates with “valuable knowledge” related to the development of navigation software, as well as “deep knowledge of Computational Geometry or Graph Theory.” Candidates are required to have at least 3 years’ experience of developing “high quality, robust software systems.”
In typical Apple fashion, they describe the work this way:
“We want to do this in a seamless, highly interactive and enjoyable way,” that job listing read. “We’ve only just started.”
Apple navigation seems like a natural progression for their hosted web services.  I doubt Apple will ever do their own search as there really isn’t any way to improve on Google (Bing is trying, but really who wants to Bing anything?).  Navigation though is a space that I’m sure Apple thinks they can do some really amazing stuff.  Navigation devices are clunky and difficult to use.  A little of the Apple design magic might lift all boats (and by all boats I mean only Apple and Google).

Well this isn't likely, but still....