ESRI and National Day of Civic Hacking

I must issue a mea culpa because when I first looked at the sponsors and participants in the National Day of Civic Hacking June 1 – 2, 2013  I saw no mention of GIS, geographers, or geospatial technologies, even though the data itself was very spatial. Today, ESRI announced that it is sponsoring National Day of Civic Hacking geospatial events in four US cities: Los Angeles; Denver; St. Louis, and Minneapolis in order to bring geospatial awareness to civic hacking by providing subscriptions to ArcGIS Online, Esri’s cloud-based mapping platform, for hacker teams to use in their projects.  They are also providing Esri developer tools for anyone who wants to participate in other locations at their  ArcGIS for Developers page. This is a great way for people who want to get involved in the U.S. or anywhere in the world to participate in two days of civic engagement.

If you know of any other geospatial organizations that are sponsoring or participating in the National Day of Civic Hacking, please post them below.

 

2013 IEEE GRSS Data Fusion Contest – registration open until May submission dates

The 2013 IEEE GRSS Data Fusion Contest scientific challenge has been held annually since 2006.  The Data Fusion Contest is organized by the Data Fusion Technical Committee of the IEEE Geoscience and Remote Sensing Society (GRSS) in order to educate and promote best practices in data fusion applications. It is comprised of two individual contests: 1) Best Paper Award and 2) Best Classification Award, users can participate in one or both contests. This year’s contest uses hyperspectral and LiDAR fusion datasets of the University of Houston campus and neighboring area.

The Best Classification Award results must be submitted between February 16, 2013 and May 1, 2013.  The Best Paper Award manuscripts need to be submitted by May 31, 2013

2013 IEEE GRSS Data Fusion Contest winners will receive one 16GB WiFi iPad (provided by DigitalGlobe, Inc.), their results submitted for peer review to an IEEE-GRSS Journal, and attendance at the Data Fusion Technical Committees and Chapters Luncheon of the 2013 IEEE International Geoscience and Remote Sensing Symposium in Melbourne, Australia, in July 2013.

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.

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!”

Like4Trees and A VerySpatial Evening

With only a week to go, I wanted to remind everyone that we are in the last week of our Like4Trees campaign. We will donate $1 per person who has liked the VerySpatial Facebook page by July 25th to the Greenbelt Movement (up to $250). Everyone who likes the Facebook page will also be in the running for one of two Keep Cups that you will be able to customize to your hearts content.

We also have a couple of spots left for folks to attend our A VerySpatial Evening, Wednesday 25 July at our condo a couple of blocks from the San Diego convention center. We will have food, beverages, and plenty of geoconversation. If you would like to reserve a spot, please contact us.

Finally, if you are going to be at the Esri EdUC or UC and would like to talk to us about your project, product or just to say ‘hi’ then give us a shout and we will setup a time to meet. Or, if you see us wandering around, just stop us and we will be happy to chat, unless we are running to another interview, of course.

Hope to see you in San Diego!

Insights Conference 2012

This year’s Insights Conference has come and gone this week. There seems to be little in the way of large announcements coming out of the event but I will point you to a few places you can catch on what happened down in the Big Easy.

  • The twitter hashtag was @InsightsCon
  • A list of the 2012 Meridian Award winners
  • Directions Mag has a summary of the changes in MapInfo 11.5 that you can look forward to.
  • And I have my fingers crossed that we might see some videos from the conference on the Pitney Bowes youtube channel.
  • Several Scales of the Universe

    You have probably seen this everywhere by now. Cary Huang and his brother Michael Huang have an updated Scales of the Universe 2 which puts the scales of a surprising many entities from countries to geographies to planets, people, and protoplasm into perspective. I also enjoyed the many variations of their scales, such as the original Scales of the Universe with the ability to swirl objects or make them fall. It is like being on a roller coaster of scale. On their website, htwins.net, they have other interactive simulations like a Tidepool. According to ABC News, Cary and his brother Michael are brothers who created this projects as a fun activity. It took them a year and a half to collect all of their data and put together the graphics. They were inspired by their biology class teacher to do citizen science.

    One of the reasons I enjoy going to the ESRI plenary is the chance to see the great ideas and projects that young geographers pursue after being inspired by people around them. Many organizations have mentoring programs such as ESRI’s GeoMentor Program and the Annual Association of Geographer’s (AAG) Ask a Geographer and other mentoring programs.  When I first used the Scales of the Universe 2, I expected the creators to be college students or adults. The fact that they are young adults, who were inspired to do it by an educator, and then have it go viral, in turn educating many, many other people around the world who otherwise wouldn’t be interested in geography, science, or technology makes it bigger than the interactive simulation itself. It highlights the impact of readily available technology, the importance of mentors, and the one of the roles of citizen scientists in science diplomacy. The Huangs and other young people act as ambassadors for the fields that their projects touch on to the larger world.

    I hope that they think about attending the many geography programs for young adults that are available and one day see them up on the ESRI plenary talking about their next big project.

    Google Maps press event video

    I am just beginning to watch the video from today’s press event at Mountain View, and while it apparently ends with a few announcements it begins with a great history of Google Earth/Maps going all the way back to SGI and Keyhole to the process of building (and filling) Google Maps. Take a look to see the history, uses, and future of Googles approach to geo.