I was going through my Caribbean GIS listserv alerts, and I noticed one about MesoStor, a project to make GIS data about Mesoamerica available online. MesoStor is part of SERVIR, “a regional visualization and monitoring system for Mesoamerica that integrates satellite and other geospatial data for improved scientific knowledge and decision making by managers, researchers, students, and the general public.” What is really cool about this project is all the partners who are working together to make it happen. The USGS and NASA have contributed data and expertise (in fact, the site is hosted by NASA), and other partners include NOAA, The Nature Conservancy, Conservacion Internacional, ESRI, the World Bank, and several universities.
A press release today announced that ESRI’s ArcPad will be used as part of the Field Data Collection Automation (FDCA) project for the upcoming 2010 census, and Harris Corporation has won the $600 million, 5-year contract to develop and implement an automated field data collection system. I know there have been a number of recent reports suggesting that the Census Bureau is way behind and may not ready for the upcoming tests of the automated field collection process, but Jesse and I had a chance to visit the Geography Division of the Census Bureau back in April and got to see one of the prototype field collection units (aka PDAs with customized software). I have to say I gained a whole new appreciation for what they have to go through to upgrade the process of census enumeration to a digital format. It is truly a phenomenal undertaking and, if they can pull it off, it will be one of the most amazing achievements in the mass collection of geographic data ever.
Press Release Via GISCafe
LizardTech has recently (?) released a solution (Spatial Express) to store JPEG2000 and MrSID images natively in Oracle Spatial. This brings to mind the existing and upcoming server based solutions for imagery such as EarthWhere and ESRI’s Image Server. Most of these options allow for direct access and for access through the WMS standard. For anyone who is storing imagery in SDE you know that it is useful, but I am hoping that these new solutions will provide the same step up for rasters that SDE and other spatial database have represented for vectors.
Keith at the North Jersey Transportation Planning Authority sent me an email (woohoo! I promise not to complain about it anymore!) about the National States Geographic Information Council’s “Imagery For The Nation (PDF)” initiative. The idea is to consolidate all the various ortho-imagery initiatives in the Federal government into one big batch. Then imagery can been taken for the whole US periodically that everyone can use. The eastern US is slated to get one foot data every three years while the rest of the US will get one meter resolution every year. That’s pretty cool stuff. NSGIC is running a survey (in the middle of the page to launch the survey) to see how geospatial professionals might use this data. The survey doesn’t take long and it will help get this initiative off the ground.
Thanks Keith! (Jersey Represent! Sorry, had to give a shout-out for my wife)
Glenn over at Anything Geospatial (nice new interface BTW) blogged about something in-house for us, so I figured we should mention it too…the West Virginia GIS Technical Center has made available 3m DEMs for WV that were derived as part of the State Address and Mapping project that has also provided us with high resolution statewide imagery as well. Keep in mind that if you crash the server by rushing out a downloading the entire dataset Frank will be quite cross with you 🙂
On Friday, the GeoData Alliance announced the publication of their 98-page report on Geospatial Digital Rights Management, prepared by them in conjunction with the Federal Geographic Data Committee (FGDC) and the Open Geospatial Consortium, Inc (OGC). The full report is available for download as a PDF from their website, and you can also download a PowerPoint summary.
Geographic names databases are pretty important for search spatial data textually. Normally geographic names are published on a country by country basis. Cartography is reporting about this new service Geonames.org that collects the published geographic names of countries around the world and displays them on a googlemap. The data looks to be fairly up to date for the US at the least.
Ogle Earth has an interesting little piece on a project called OBIS-SEAMAP. This project tracks marine mammal, seabird and sea turtle data around the world. The really intersting thing about the site is that they make the exact same data they use available to the general public for download. The more expert GIS users can download an ESRI Shapefile while the general public can download a KML file for use in Google Earth. As Ogle Earth points out, this is a great model for getting the public in general and younger students specifically interested in science and scientific ideas.
I know I would have thought it was the coolest thing in the world when I was in school to be able to track and analyize data in the exact same way as leading scientists in the field. Who am I kidding? I
still think it’s the coolest thing in the world! 🙂
The Gaurdian has started a campaign to get the UK to publically release spatial data collected with taxpayer money. For those of you unaware, in the UK you pay for publically funded data, which just hampers mapping efforts inside the UK. They’re calling on the British government to follow the US example. I’m sure this is a bit of a hot-button topic amoung GIS professionals in the UK. Here’s hoping our GIS breathern on the otherside of the big pond get a little spatial freedom in the near future!
The National Agricultural Statistics Service updated their site to include a whole host of new ways to get their data, including a fancy new mapping service. The latest data I could find on their map was 2002, but you can really get at what you want pretty easily, either map or table form. One note is that their maps are in SVG format, which is an extenstion put out by Adobe. It allows for some pretty cool dynamic quering of data but it does require a plugin. If you’re into US agricultural statistics, the site is definately worth a look. Here’s the direct link to the site.