The top 10 fictional organizations that need to use ArcGIS online

After the ESRI User’s Conference Plenary, I began to think about the many fictional organizations that would benefit from using ArcGIS online and other GIS technologies. So I began compiling a top 10 list by asking other attendees, ESRI employees, and organizations at booths on the conference center floor. Which fictional organization do you think is in the most dire need of using ArcGIS online or GIS in general.

Top Ten Organizations that need to use ArcGIS online

1. Eureka!/Warehouse 13

The overwhelmingly number 1 suggestion, which is also the first one I thought of, is the parent organization that runs the town of Eureka and Warehouse 13.  They are both awesome tv shows which showcase the power of science and technology, but they are desperately missing any form of GIS.  Most of the problems they face fall into two categories: 1) Scientists didn’t realize that projects they were working on individually, usually within proximity of each other, would interact in a way that would spell DOOM., 2) Scientists didn’t realize that projects they have been working on individually could have been integrated and collaborated together to prevent The End of the World, until the very last minutes of the show.  They could be a case study in why a large organization spread out over the world needs ArcGIS online.

2 – 4. The number 2 suggestions all fell into the realm of, all ethics aside…, because these organizations are not working towards the good of mankind, like all the organizations showcased in the ESRI plenary. Instead, they are organizations that could use ArcGIS online to make their nefarious organizations more effective.

2. District 9

3.  The Hunger Games/ Panem Districts

4. Lost/ Dharma Initiative

5-6. These organizations and some not listed (Like the IMF from Mission Impossible) are intelligence related agencies that have a habit of losing people or things that lead to big problems. Cloud mapping or on-line mapping would be very useful to them to keep track of all of their differenct cells, groups, and projects.

5. The Bourne Legacy/  Operation Outcome

6. Phineas & Ferb

7. & 8.  Daily Planet (Superman) /Daily Bugle (Spiderman).   For internationally recognized newspapers of record, the Daily Planet and the Daily Bugle operate like old gumshoe type newspapers instead of the technology driven newsrooms of today’s modern media – news is location driven. They need to use ArcGIS online just to collaborate on stories about Superman and Spiderman alone. Speaking of which, wouldn’t the Justice League operate more effectively using it as well?

9. The Day After Tomorrow. There is a special place in the heart of scientists for the disaster movie The Day After Tomorrow because on one hand it is an enjoyable movie, but on the other hand, they got so much of the science wrong. They could have used ArcGIS online and ArcPad several times throughout the movie, especially when they would hold up a handheld device, look at a sky map, and declare  – “I know where I’m going. The library is that way!”

10. Caddy Shack/ Bushwood Country Club . The top 10 fictional organization that needs ArcGIS Online is the Bushwood Country Club from Caddy Shack.  There wouldn’t have been so many extra holes on the golf course, if they had used cloud computing to report any unusual gopher activity.

Honorable mentions: I would like to mention another two organizations that people mentioned could benefit from ArcGIS online or other product.

11. The Big Bang Theory/Harold Walowitz. It has been pointed out that Harold Walowitz spends a lot of time developing technology for space. It makes sense that he would be working with remote sensing.

12. Diablo III.  Would there be a Diablo III video game if Cain was able to hold onto his knapsack that contained important information or if people could report finding Cain’s knapsack and uploading the location and his research. They could have analyzed it all via ArcGIS online and solved the game in half the time. Or maybe that is just my own frustration at being stuck on Level 11.

Do you have any suggestions for companies that could have benefited from using ArcGIS online or other GIS products?

 

A VerySpatial Evening – a prelude

Last night we had a few folks over to the VerySpatial (rental) condo for a get together. Frank and Barb did most of the cooking (BBQ Chicken, brats, burgers, veggies, corn, deviled eggs, etc…) with Sue as hostess and I was sue chef and dishwasher. We had folks from Esri, Esri Australia, the newly anointed Esri Melbourne R&D (aka Maptel) office, Chatham County Georgia, WVU, and others (apologies I forgot some). We are really happy with the turn out and had a blast meeting and talking with everyone. Again, we want to thank everyone for taking time out of a crazy UC week to celebrate our 7th anniversary with us!

For our Like4Trees campaign, we didn’t make the 250 likes we had hoped for, but we made a good go with 75. We will add in the number of folks who came last night to push up the amount of our donation to the Greenbelt Movement.

URISA looks to build management initiative

Apparently, while at the Esri UC, URISA has announced their new Geospatial Management Initiative (GMI). You may recall that we have heard about the Geospatial Management Competency Model (GMCM) that is being developed to join the GTCM to lay out the roles of geospatial professionals. URISA sees the GMI as a way to build a Geospatial Management Body of Knowledge in order to act as a straw-man document for the GMCM (much as the previous GIS&T Body of Knowledge acted for the GTCM).

We will be sure to head over to the URISA booth tomorrow and see if we can get more details from Wendy and the gang.

Head over to the URISA website to read the press release.

ESRI 2012 UC Livecast!

Esriuc 2012 

First, no geobloggers tables so typing here is going to be a major, major pain. So please excuse the brevity, typos and other errors.  Second, the wifi is as wonkey as you’d expect when 15k geo nerds hit it at the same time.  They’ve dimmed the lights and we’re off with the customary intro video.  Jack takes the stage.   Giving us our welcome and telling us to say howdy do to the neighbors. As normal, I’m typing this instead :). So virtual howdy do to those reading now.

  I just jury rigged a ‘desktop’ so I can type.  It’s almost comical.  All I can say is thank god Barb wear’s scarfs.  

Jack is back chatting.  He’s talking a bit about what types of things we’re doing.  Its the normal jury list of things we do – transportation, environmental conservation, energy exploration, etc.  Fun fact, for the first time ever, the Michelen Maps are done by ArcMap.  The Mars lander is using ESRI products to help find its way around (“God I hope they got the projection right” – Jack).  He’s talking about GIS infrastructure.  

We’re seeing the 2012 SAG winners – congrats to them all.  Big round of applause!  A special award is going for the Trust for Public Lands.  They want to protect public lands so people have parks to enjoy.  I’m assuming their GIS staff basically keeps track of that land.  They’re shooting for everyone to be within a 10 minute walk of a park or other outdoor recreation space.  I’m sure that was a bit of hyperbole, but good luck to them!  Next the US EPA is getting a special award for their work.  The EPA employees are standing for applause.  That was kinda cool of him doing that.  Jack picked EPA because they’ve worked hard to integrate science into public policy using GIS as the platform.
Continue reading “ESRI 2012 UC Livecast!”

Landsat Program turns 40

Landsat, the moderate-resolution imagery satellite program that we all know and love, turns forty today. In 1972, Landsat 1 was launched with new technologies that along with its successors would lead the world, over the intervening years, to a better understanding of the environment, human impacts, and, perhaps most importantly today, human/environment interaction.

With access to the ever increasing spectral resolution through the MultiSpectral Sensor (MSS) and Thematic Mapper (TM) instrument packs we discovered, mapped, and used information about longterm, and short-term, change to reflect on everything from land use and land cover to soil moisture and water issues to viewing these multiband images and the landscape they represent as art. While the Landsat Program is not alone in these endeavors, it does deserve special recognition for its longevity, durability (Landsat 5, a workhorse even if it isn’t capturing TM data any longer), and initiative in leading many areas of the remote sensing/earth observation industry of today.

Perhaps most importantly, however, is its accessibility. From getting disks from EROS Data Center to recent initiatives that brought the referenced data online for download, the Landsat program has helped industry, researchers, teachers, and students all look at the world in a new way, often with a broader perspective.

Here’s to the Landsat Program’s first 40 years, and, with the much anticipated launch of the Landsat Data Continuity Mission (or simply Landsat 8) just around the corner in 2013, here is to many more years of moderate-resolution data to come.

Happy Birthday Landsat!

We Give Directions Differently Depending on Where We Live

Europeans and Americans just give directions differently. Who knew? Researchers conducted an experiment to see if people gave directions differently if they thought the person was driving verses looking at a map. Turns out that while that does have an impact, where you’re from has a larger impact on how you describe directions. Americans tend to give directions by saying street names and giving cardinal directions, e.g. “Go North on Main St”. Europeans tend to give directions by saying the number of streets to go and whether to go left or right, e.g. “Go up two streets, then take a left”. The article proposes a number of theories as to why this might be the case, but they don’t actually test any of them fully. Still, it’s a pretty interesting finding, I think. Also, it’s yet another point suggesting that I’m secretly European and didn’t know it 🙂

The Modern Yard Sale

Yard sale, garage sale, boot sale, trunk sale.. no matter what it is called, the idea of selling stuff someone doesn’t want out of their house isn’t something that is normally thought of as being geospatial. Yet, most yard sale pro’s think geospatially in terms of neighborhoods in order to get to the most yard sales in the short space of time they are open, usually from 8:00 a.m. – noon. It’s common to be asked at one yard sale, if anyone knows of any other yard sales on the same road. Jokingly, First for Women Magazine says that one of the “7 Signs that You’re Queen of the Yard Sale” is that ” 3. You’ve programmed the addresses of all the best houses into your GPS – and grouped them by neighborhood.”  This isn’t your grandma’s yard sale planner using the often vague directions from the newspaper classifieds.

The Yard Sale Treasure Map is a free online geospatial tool created in 2009 that combines Google Maps and Craigslist to identify yard sales within a certain area. There are several Smart phone garage sale apps including gsalr.com which combines a garage sale locator with turn by turn directions. Garage Sale Finder is another app that  makes it possible to download garage sale locations to your GPS. Some local community websites and newspapers, such as the Fredericksburg.com, Orlando Sentinel  and the Town of Falmouth are providing online yard sale maps along with their classifieds listings. There is obviously a big market for geospatial tools that make getting to yard sales easier. If only there was some participatory GIS going on that would tell you the status of a yard sale. One of the big banes of yard sailing for everyone is when it closes early and there is no way to know not to stop by.