I get to make a cheesy statement here about how Garmin-Cervelo race team has found their way to the top in August with Garmin, but I think the picture on their home page explains it better. You can follow the official Garmin Team on Garmin Connect or sign up to support them via Facebook or Twitter. They have some really cool team apparel including some national champion bike jerseys. Jean-François Phillips has a blog called Tour de France or Bust where he is going to us a Garmin GPS to track the route of the 2011 Tour de France on a day-by-day basis starting August 27, 2011. He is doing it to raise money for the charity Help for Heroes. You can also visit the official Le Tour de France site to find out more about the route or its famous history.
Climate models have predicted this for years, but it’s never been observed… until now. Ars Technica discusses the issue in brief. For the non-physical geographers out there (of which I count myself), storm tracks are the mid-latitude storm patterns that bring most of the precipitation to the heavy population centers in the world. As the climate changes, these storm tracks should gravitate to the poles. Scientists have been using data from The International Satellite Cloud Climatology Project to attempt to track the movement of storm tracks. They note lots of issues with the data, but repeated sampling and analysis methods have shown a clear trend – the tracks are moving as predicted. On top of that, apparently we’ve lost 2-3% of our total cloud cover worldwide!
So what’s the takeaway from all of this? It seems to me that the issues with the data combined with the need to track this stuff in a more comprehensive and accessible way point to one major conclusion – we need more satellites to get more accurate and timelier data. It really doesn’t matter where you fall on the climate change issue. Better information can only lead to a more informed scientific community and public, which is always a good thing.
On Tuesday at the ESRI UC I spent the majority of my day wandering through the many tables and displays set up in the exposition hall. At first I was overwhelmed by the size of the exhibition hall and the number of exhibitors but as I walked through the displays I became impressed with the number of ingenious ways that society makes use of GIS.
ESRI had a fantastic set up this year with their showcase featuring workstations set up to help with specific skill sets or applications regarding ArcGIS. Each station was staffed with knowledgeable assistants to help with your questions or comments. I stopped by the Training and Certification to inquire about ESRI’s new technical certification program. If you haven’t checked it out lately you should as large changes from their past instructor certification program have taken place.
Finally, I got the urge to enter drawings that many of the vendors were offering. One such company was offering a large remote controlled helicopter and I couldn’t resist. That entry led to a conversation with Bill Emison of Merrick & Company. Bill informed me that Merrick & Company were demonstrating Lidar processing software and gave me the tour of their product Merrick Advanced Remote Sensing Software (MARS).
All I can say is wow! The software processes millions of points super fast! After my whiplash settled down, Bill showed me some of the software’s capabilities in generating different GIS friendly formats, generating TIN surfaces, classification tools, and filtering abilities. Merrick & Company provides a free viewer and a 30 day evaluation of the full viewer. Definitely worth checking out if you make heavy use of Lidar data especially since it exports to so many usable formats.
Esri UC 2011 Live Blog
We’re about to get underway at the 2011 ESRI UC. We’re getting the opening Rocky-esque montage of GIS in action. Jack takes the stage and here we go!
Jack starts with a big thank you and appreciation to us all and why we’re all here. Jack’s a big fan of the f2f interaction, clearly. He’s saying it’s the largest meeting they’ve ever had – around 15,000 people by the end of the week. There’s around 14,000 in here right now. Around 1/3 are here for the first time – great on them! I’m a little surprised given governmental budgets that many people are here. That’s a really good sign. We’re now having our request meet and greet of the people around you. Met a nice lady from ESRI just now. Jack started a new process called the Deep Dive process. Sounds like MBA speak, but I think he’s just saying he’s gone and fully explored a few select projects. Hope it’s a representative sample
Today’s sample – urban planning, well, really any planning; managing land (land information systems); environmental purposes; managing transportation; utilities and communications; building planning – basically he’s covering the normal big hits. Oh, a mention of visualizations, which is cool. Jack mentions geobusiness intelligence is an emerging field. Not sure how that’s much different from geodemographics exactly, but I guess it adds more modeling and analysis. Have to look into that later. Given the unfortunate events in Japan in the spring, he’s naturally talking about emergency management and response. I expect when they have people come up and talk about what they’ve done in the field, we’ll get at least one example from the Tsunami. Crowd sourcing and engaging citizens (yay!) is getting bigger and bigger. I still have issues with looking at this as primarily a top down endeavor, but I’m glad they’re talking about it more and more. Regional and national GIS infrastructures. Being in a state GIS data infrastructure, this area interests me, particularly the regional. I wonder how they get around all the politics of interaction?
At the ESRI Education User Conference Plenary this morning a few things struck me as significant for GIS use in the classroom. Bern Szukalski reviewed some of the ArcGIS.com revisions that occurred last Wednesday and these are what I thought could enhance the use of GIS in the classroom:
Intelligent Mapping – Essentially pop ups that display data in graphical formats about the feature selected ( fun stuff like pie, bar and line charts).
Time enabled mapping – The ability to connect to time aware services and bring them into the ArcGIS.com mapping environment and have a time slider available.
And what I feel is the most significant advance, “Drag & Drop Mapping” where a text or Excel file can be dragged directly into the mapping environment to add features and their associated data. Remember creating an Excel sheet with Latitude and Longitude fields, displaying events, and then exporting that event as a layer? Not anymore, just drag that excel file over the map and drop it!
While the emphasis of the plenary was to enable GIS education, the undertone was that of increasing the capabilities of web mapping and the continued integration of cloud services. The Pennsylvania State University also announced today for the first time publicly that it will be offering an open course tentatively titled “GEOG 8xx – Cloud/Server GIS“. Enrollment for this course will be open on November 7th 2011.
Jim Skurzynski is an expert of spatial technology, computing in the cloud and on-line real estate and government technology. Skurzynski is a founder of Digital Map Products, a leading provider of web-enabled spatial solutions that bring the power of spatial technology to mainstream business, government and consumer applications. He helped start up Digital Map Products with the vision of helping take spatial technology “to the masses,” making the powerful tools available to small and medium-sized businesses as well as major corporations. He has spent the majority of his career designing and managing the deployment of technology solutions in a variety of public and private sector environments. Over the past twenty years, he has held executive management positions in spatial technology companies in the USA, Canada, and Mexico.
As you know, this blog is all about how spatial technology is going mainstream and becoming a key tool for businesses of all types. One of the most exciting trends in GIS and other spatial applications right now is the impact of cloud computing. With the cloud providing a simple and on-demand network of GIS services and software-as-a-service applications, companies that want to implement spatial technology can often get started without costly outlays of time or money.
I predict we’ll see fast-paced changes in the near term including a lower cost infrastructure for creating spatial applications, more sophisticated real estate, business and government uses, and a rapidly-expanding pool of people who “think” spatially. Some of the reasons I think the cloud is supercharging spatial technology adoption include:
The Globe and Mail has an interesting article today on a site called HealthMap, created by epidemiologists at the Children’s Hospital Boston which uses participatory GIS and other information mined from the Internet to quickly identify potential patterns of disease outbreaks. According to the HealthMap website partners and supporters include Google, NIH, CDC, Canadian Institute of Health Research, Wildlife Conservation Society, International Society for Disease Surveillance and International Society for Travel Medicine which make it quite a large undertaking. Their advanced search options are very robust including being able to turn on and off layers for news feeds for sources such as ProMed, types of diseases, locations, and dates.
With the roll out of Cryosat’s first sea-ice map the BBC has posted (reposted?) an interview between Jonathan Amos, Science writer with BBC (does a lot of the space topics) and Dr Katherine Giles about how Cryosat works…which most of you already know, but it is a great description for a broad audience. Take a listen:
We have talked about the GeoTech Center’s National Geospatial Skills Competition a couple of times on the podcast during the first two rounds, including an interview with Amy Bullard outlining the competition. Round one was an online test, and those who scored at a certain level were able to move on to Round two. Those in Round two created a video highlighting a software based project. The fourteen videos submitted to Round two have been judged and six finalists are heading to Round 3 to present their project at the Esri EdUC in San Diego. Those finalists are:
If one of the finalists can not make it to the presentation the next highest rank runner up will be invited.
The presentations are currently scheduled for Sunday, 10 July at 3:15 in Marina – Salon F according to the EdUC schedule.
Good luck to each of the finalists and well done to all of those who have competed in the first 2 rounds!
Finding new pyramids in Egypt! Apparently a team out of NASA used IR cameras to find underground rooms of 17 new pyramids. It also found 1,000 tombs and 3,000 new settlements. Archeology through remote sensing. What’s cooler than THAT? Indiana Jones would be jealous