Look at that, a virtually on time post. A forming habit? Probably not...
How has the move to cloud-hosted geospatial services changed the geospatial landscape?
Cloud based distribution of anything is pretty much the future. I am a big supporter of cloud technology. I think that the technology has finally advanced enough that small business can really take advantage of these technologies. As some industries move away from brick and mortar offices they will have to rely on cloud servers for daily operation. More than that though, is that cloud technology allows anybody with the right permissions the ability to work from anywhere that has an internet connection. As 'offline' updating becomes more common place these people might not even need to have a constant broadband connection. They would just need enough to make the automated transfer.
One of my biggest projects at work is setting up webapplications that are hosted in a cloud server. An extension of this project is to set up mobile and tablet devices for field recording. I like the idea that we can get anybody with a device set up with our data dictionary without the need for significant front end planning. Another major benefit is that they can work in any location offline and when they get back to their hotel they can simply set up the hotel WiFi on the device and let the auto update work overnight. This gives GIS and project managers immediate access to their
I have been wanting to write this post for some time. I saw an article that was well written and interesting a week ago. Unfortunately I cannot find it, but I went through and found a few others that I think are worth the read.
Drones create 3D model of Matterhorn mountain
I want to throw this in with the post today. It does not have anything to do with tourism, but look at the sweet video! LiDAR might provide big data, but let us be honest, we really just like the pretty pictures that they make.
Google Glass – the Next Big Thing in the travel industry?
New Kickstarter Projects Aims To Make Google Glass The Ultimate Tour Guide
I have some browser formatting issues on the first one of these, so I apologize if you do too. I think that potential for GIS in tourism is interesting. The amount of app programming that will have to go into it is staggering. It would be a great opportunity for people just getting into the industry.
It will also provide significant immersion in tourism. I can really see how museums would benefit from these. You could use a tablet that has audio translations for the entire museum and accompany it with additional text, high detail blow up photos, 3D scans, or any other additional media. These are just the tip of the possibilities.
And using the location services in tablets and phones you can record your tour and distribute it through social media. You can create 'tour' albums and share them with your friends and family. How much fun would it be to look at photos of your family in front of tourist trap photo opportunities and then recreate it.
You can totally be bumped into by a tourist who has their face in a tablet versus the museum guide. High tech tourist rage!
And given the ease and low cost of these systems even small and underfunded museums could utilize them.
Am I on time today? Maybe a few hours late, but still better than usual.
So just one article today.
What details become apparent when disasters hit close to home?
These days it really seems like US politicians have no forethought. The talking heads do not see how spending money on research and predictive modelling could really benefit people across the country. Then there is a disaster and people question where the research was, what could have been done differently to prevent the loss of human life. The thing though, is that the talking heads have no real desire to preserve life, just ratings.
The only silver lining to events like this is that you can learn from this. We felt this way in Arizona when the Yarnel Hotshots died. It is a tragic event, but what can we learn from this so that no one has to experience it again. Responding to emergency situations produces a lot of data. I think the biggest highlight of this article is the use of UAVs for remote sensing in the flood area, or more to the point, the banning of UAVs in the area. It makes sense that you do not want aircraft flying around post disaster, but to completely ban a remote sensing platform? I am not sure that was an appropriate decision.
Late as always. I think sometimes that I should change my post days, but I am sure that I will just be another day late.
Today I have two articles that feature GIS in the biosciences.
Broad Ideas and Gory Details: The State of Health GIS
I have spoken many times on public health and how GIS can affect it in a profound way. This article very briefly discusses the Esri Heath GIS Conference that took place last weekend in Massachusetts. One of the biggest things that I see in Health GIS is the ability to see long term trends across large geographic areas. There simply is not enough money to treat each individual for the symptoms that they are having. In this increasingly tech capably world we should concentrate on education and prevention of disease. Having GIS that is capable of showing areas where children are likely to develop into obese citizens would allow public health officials to focus on those areas and work with the community of developing exercise programs.
I also like the end of the article where it talks about 'have' versus 'need'. GIS is sufficiently developed at this point that anybody can interact with it. At my company I have been trying very hard over the last year or so to get web applications into the hands of my coworkers. It is not an attempt to remove work from my plate, but instead it is an attempt to get the people who 'need' into the column of 'have'.
Software Uses Cyborg Swarm To Map Unknown Environs
This is a little creepy. Actually it is a lot creepy. It is also really interesting. Using a swarm of insects that have sensors on them to collect data in a collapsed building, mine, or other emergency situation could mean the difference between life and death. We have seen systems like this in science fiction. I think that terrible movie 'Prometheus' had flying orbs that mapped out a cavern. Despite the hokey plots often associated with these stories the idea that small robots and insects can carry remote sensing platforms is definitely in the realm of reality now.
Today I have two articles on smart grids. I have written about them in the past, but these two articles provide a little more detail on the how and why than what I have previously linked.
Smart Grid 101 - The smart grid’s new systems
In this article the writer describes the different systems that are involved in Smart Grids. He does a very good job making everything clear and concise. Obviously the part that I care about is the GIS, but it is important to understand how the system as a whole works. The system that most consumers will probably be concerned with is OMS or outage management system. These systems effectively tell the utility that there is a current outage. This replaces the traditional method of reporting done by the consumer. These systems are advanced enough that they can detect potential outages. With this kind of technology the consumer gets the very quickest response time and during emergency situations relief groups can efficiently help.
Utilities Dumbstruck By Big Data From Smarter Grid
On the flip side of the other article we can read about how all of the data collected by smart grids are overwhelming utility companies. The article primarily covers a panel presentation. I do not view the abundance of data as a bad thing. What this really means is that this is the perfect time to get into jobs in the geospatial industry. Applications will need to be coded, analysts will need to be on hand at major utilities, and data managers will be in high demand.
Big data is only going to get bigger and the need to process it is a big opportunity.
(EDITING NOTE: I'm not sure what happened on this post. I thought I published yesterday, but it doesn't seem to be the case. It's up now though.)
Going to take a break from government shutdown talk for this one. Hopefully things have calmed down and I also get back to my regular post schedule.
Two articles today
ISU professor, students studying invasive gypsy moth
This is a cool study. Some people might think that it's not worth it. Why study a moth? But I think that straightforward studies like this are one of the cores of science. They will test new methods and learn a little about movement patterns of species. Understanding the history of invasive species they might be able to determine how they are invading in the first place and what people can do to correct the situation without seriously impacting the non-invasive environment.
What they do not discuss in the article is exactly what remote sensing they are going to use. They can use any of the traditional spectrum, but I would be curious if they are using any of the new wind studies that are going on right now.
The Problem With Defining 'Downtown'
This article is interesting on several levels. I think the use of certain words to define our spatial context is interesting. I especially like the difference in the use of the word 'block'. Depending on where you live you might use the word differently. When I was living in Tucson people would use the block, but would mean light. So go up one block really meant go up one light. The lights could be as much as a mile away.
Defining downtown is similar. If you live in a major metropolis you might feel that downtown only applies to the downtown of the major city and not the downtown of the city you are actually in. This might even apply to regions that are not really in the metropolis. For example, I was in Bakersfield, California for a wedding and I was speaking to family who lived in the Los Angeles area. I was telling them how my wife and I went downtown for a few drinks. They automatically assumed that we meant downtown LA, a place hours away, versus the local downtown.
How we perceive our world is powerful. It often outweighs how the reality. Understanding how we perceive it and how other perceive it is an important part of working in a community.
Well moving to a significant toll on my time. I did not have any movers helping so getting all of my furniture and motorcycles out of the truck took a long time and really wiped me out after a 1300 mile drive. Sunday just flew past me and now I see myself at a new post for Wednesday.
Before I get to an article today I thought I would go back to the government shutdown. Since my last post I realized that there was an even larger more immediate concern for GIS professionals in positions like mine. When our field techs go out on a project to record data we send them with GNSS datalogger units. These units use regular GPS signal and are augmented by base station correction. You have probably seen these base stations at some point since they are located all over the place. Different agencies administer different systems. State departments of transporation often have their own. Railroad often have them lining their rails. Larger mine districts might have one at the main office. When you add them all together you receive pretty significant coverage. With the federal shutdown many of the servers that maintain the correction data have been temporarily shutdown. This alone is not a terrible problem since most states maintain their own free systems. Where it becomes a problem is when states receive federal aid to modernize their systems. So now some state systems are down and people are not receiving the correction data that they need.
Any company that is halfway paying attention is going to word their precision/accuracy statements in such a way that they keep themselves out of hot water. I think that it is important to at least try to keep professional standards. Shoot for the best so that you can. Provide the best data to your client. So it is very frustrating that I cannot provide that professional standard for the clients of my company.
In other news this is happening.
GISCI Releases Exam Development Process Summary
I have mentioned in the past that I am in the processes of meeting the requirements for the GISCI GISP certification. I am thrilled about the progress of the exam. I think that this is another step toward legitimizing the GIS profession. What will be interested to see in the future if there are any legal concerns with the certification process. Will GISPs be the only people that can determine the accuracy of GIS data? Will GISPs be the only people allowed to make certain
No post today. I moved to Walla Walla Washington this week. I drove from Tucson and arrived this evening. But stay tuned tomorrow because I will be making a post tomorrow.
Everyone else is talking about it so I might as well too. I am getting so much chatter through my email about what has shut down and how to get the data needed. The GIS community has problems, but we definitely excel at sharing data sources.
I do not have a specific article today. Instead I want to touch on a few of the major emails that I have received. It is interesting how we all, and I mean basically all citizens of any country, forget/ignore where our tax dollars go. We never think about how certain free and public programs even exist. This government shutdown has really impacted the services that many citizens use. Some of these services include medical help for veterans and job funding for university students. Other services are used by private industry to complete their jobs. This is where I am affected by the government shutdown.
The company that I work for provides consulting services to a variety of industries. There are many times I have to download data that is collected and distributed by the federal government. We simply do not have the budget to pay for the data and so the free versions keep our company up and running. This is true with many GIS professionals including those in county or municipal governments. How can these municipal workers provide information for their community without the greatest sources of data?
Just to give an idea of how this government shutdown is affecting private sector jobs here is a list of agencies that I use:
OPUS (provides Landsat data)
BLM (technically state driven, but receives federal funds or other assistance)
US Parks and Monuments
State Cartography Offices (again technically state driven, but receives federal funds or other assistance)
And keep in mind that I touch a very small part of the federal government. There are so many agencies that provide data for free to local private sector organizations. This shutdown is stifling the already delicate economic recovery.
I am a GIS professional in Walla Walla, WA. I use this blog to force myself to really read through all of the GIS news that I get in my inbox. It also helps me practice writing.