Congrats to the Wildcats for beating Duke for the Preseason NIT championship. Next Devil do be destroyed is ASU tonight.
Sorry for the delay on this one. As I mentioned in my last post, I took a trip back to Tucson to visit family and friends. This morning I decided to sleep in and then I got caught up in the hustle of lunch.
I have two quick and easy articles today. Both focus on new GPS technologies. Well, one is new and the other has been out for a while, but I have not really talked about it yet.
I have talked about Lockheed's GPS III mission in the past. The GPS III system will eventually take the place of the current constellation. The testing process that has to be conducted is long and exhaustive. Part of the testing is to ensure that the new satellites will be backwards compatible with the current constellation. The cost of launching a completely new system and turning off the old system is out of the question. Also, there is no way to get all of the user receivers in a position to work with the new system. The added benefit is that there are more satellites out there to transmit data.
As the article suggests, the new GPS III system is backward compatible. This is good news and the first step in a long series to get the new technology out into space.
Real Time Kinematic GPS has been around for a long time. Network based ones use cellular towers as a base station to correct the data. The benefit is that you can set up in far less time and have many options to connect to. The down side is that you are tethered to areas with good cell coverage.
This article goes a little into detail about how NRTK works. It uses examples from Europe, but the technology is applicable to North America. The article also discusses how CORS height effects users. The results are interesting, but the discussion of how NRTK works and the links that they provide are a great place to start learning about NRTK.
I like NRTK and brought the technology into my company. Previously we used GNSS capable Trimbles and Total Stations to do all of their field mapping. What I like about NRTK is that there is very little set up and it is easily trainable. On jobs where we need survey grade mapping, but do not have the budget or expertise for a Total Station we can use a NRTK. Quick set up, reasonable precision in archaeology, and very little
Congrats to the Wildcats for coming through with the win after being down 19. It would be nice if they did not scare us poor fans like that and just dominated throughout the game.
Tomorrow is Thanksgiving for us in the U.S. I hope that everyone that is traveling gets there safely. I am spending the day with my wife here in Walla Walla and on Friday I am flying back home to Tucson to spend a week with family and friends. The nice thing about working from home is that I get to work from any place that I want. Any place I want that has internet access. It is nice to be able to go to get out of the house and still get some work done.
In Middle Ages, Societies Surprisingly Responsive To Natural Disasters
I talk a lot about natural disasters and I think that it is interesting to see it from the perspective of 'low' tech societies. This article takes a look at how societies in the middle ages responded to natural disasters. By looking at how personal items are left behind you can get a good look at what happens during a natural disaster. It is interesting to see a habitation that was burned and the personal belongings that were left behind. I have seen it first hand in digs. I really makes you wonder what was happening to these people.
Through architectural history you can see rebuilding efforts. Bracing in older masonry buildings is pretty common throughout the world. You can see build up of areas that have been cracked from earthquakes. You can see reoccurring habitation from flood events. Alternating layers of flood and cultural are easily seen in profile in many archaeological records.
It would be interesting to use GIS techniques to look at the built landscape and see how people have recovered from these natural disasters. Can you see urban renewal in earlier societies? Are there signs of agricultural practice after volcanoes?
Late update today. I am not completely sorry though because I had the pleasure of following the University of Arizona in their domination over the University of Oregon. I wish I had been there or even had the chance to see it on TV, but unfortunately I now live in an area where Washington, Washinton State, Oregon and Oregon State dominate the bars. My wife and I took a trip just south of the Washington border and we were in Ducks territory.
Vanishing Forests: New Map Details Global Deforestation
The work that went into this research is pretty phenomenal. I think that it is interesting when we hear those factoids like, "You know, there are more trees in America now then when the pilgrims arrived." And that may be true (note that America in this case refers to the United States and not the original and correct meaning of both North and South America). But when you hear this kind of fact you have to question what it really means. Yeah, there might be more trees in the U.S, but is it because we are importing so much lumber from other countries?
The research in this article would suggest that that would be the case. The researchers used over a decade of Landsat data to look at the world as a whole. They processed the data and were able to find the net gain and loss of many regions across the world. In order to do this though, they had to use cloud processing from Google. Cloud processing is a part of the future of cloud technology. It is a sort of thousand monkeys sitting at a thousand typewriters thing.
I think the overall message is that maybe we should consider consuming less.
1 Billion Smartphones with Location-Based Sensor Fusion Expected by 2016
I have not really talked about sensor fusion on this blog. It is very interesting and from the sounds of it we will have this technology pretty soon. Sensor fusion technology built into smart phones might be one of the biggest advances in location science in years. So many smartphones are going into production and use these days. In many developing countries smartphone people are skipping dumbphones and going straight to smart phones as their first device pick up. It makes a lot of sense in areas that do not have the infrastructure that developed nations do.
Sensor fusion as a whole is a really cool application of technology. It is worth an internet search so if you would like more detail then you should definitely go that route and get the details. Effectively the idea behind it is that you have many sensors in an area sharing information. This allows one device to utilize data from all of the sensors. In the case of location information all of these smartphones would share GPS, Cell Network, and WiFi data to create a much more accurate and precise location. The best part is that it would work in doors. Emergency fire response has needed technology like this for years. Being able to see where responders are in a dangerous indoor setting could save lives.
In a less important industry like archaeology this still has application. Often there are several people on a crew. If each member has a sensor fusion capable device then the recording accuracy and precision could be significant. The cost of getting high precision devices in the hands of all crew members would go down and quality of product would go up.
My job is going to be interesting in a couple years.
The Wildcats play WSU today. I'm in WSU country. I was thinking of going up to the local bar, but I woke up way to late to get there and find a seat.
That is the excuse that I am going to use.
Typhoon Haiyan (Yolanda): The Mapping Response from the Tech Community
We have been hearing plenty about the typhoon in the news. Like all natural disasters it is tragic. It also sounds like more could have been done to prevent the amount of destruction and death in the community. We should not focus on placing the blame on anyone. Instead we should use it as a learning experience.
The article today talks about how volunteers used crowd sourced information and specialized groups to help monitor and analyze data to help emergency response groups. I have talked about crowd sourcing in the past and how geotagged social media entries can be used to create response priorities. As this article mentions, the amount of data coming in can be overwhelming, distracting, or incorrect. By using a system of keywords and permissions you can filter out all of the unnecessary data. Over time the system can learn and start providing useful information.
It will be interesting to see how this type of technology develops and becomes available for all natural disasters and even smaller private corporation projects.
Did you know that Geography Awareness Week is next week?
FAA Releases ‘Roadmap’ for Integrating Unmanned Aircraft Systems
It was only a matter of time before this came out. UAVs are probably never going away so instead ignoring everything we should probably get a hold of the largest concerns now.
One of the biggest issues that this 'roadmap' addresses is safety. Usage of UAVs is going to increase and I am looking forward to the new technology that will come out of that. What I do not want to see is under trained poorly constructed UAVs crashing into homes and public spaces. Having the FAA design a safety program that creates standards for manufacture and operation of the vehicles we can significantly decrease the number of potential disasters.
It would be nice if we had one industry that does not completely half-ass something that ends up killing po
Late in the day, but at least it is going up. Also it is homecoming for my alma mater so good luck Wildcats.
New Data Show More Than 2/3 Of Texas 9-1-1 Calls From Cell Phones Delivered Without Location Informaion
This is a create read. Normally the GeoCommunity articles are shorter, but this one has a lot of data. I think at this point most people know that all cell phones are now providing location data to 911 operators so that they can more efficiently get emergency services out to the callers. They have been doing this for years and it works on phones that do not have a provider. So if you are not interested in using a cell phone you can actually still call 911 and it will still provide data.
At least, that is how it should work. We see in this article that there many calls in Texas are being delivered without the federally required location information. I am really interested to see where the breakdown on this is. I think it is silly to suggest that operators 'rebid' the location information. I think it is equally silly that with the tremendous amount of money spent on telecommunications in the United States that this would still be an issue.
This is what happens when we start cutting budgets for things that people actually use just to save a few pennies. As with most things, adult education would fix this.
Scientists expect GOCE satellite to crash to Earth in just days
An extra article today. I think that it is pretty cool when satellites fall from orbit. It has a sort of bittersweet poetry to it. The GOCE satellite has completed its mission and ran out of fuel recently. It was studying Earths gravitational field so I think it is extra poetic that it would now be pulled in by that field.
How is it Thursday already? It has been a weird couple weeks and it has all been culminating in the last two days.
Anywho, I finally found a GIS group in my new home in Walla Walla Washington. It is the SE Washington and NE Oregon ESRI User Group. They have two meetings a year and I was lucky enough to find them before they had their fall meeting...which was today. There were several presentations regarding ArcGIS Online which was great. There was also a Map Gallery which had a lot of great maps. So now I have to get involved and rack up those GISP points.
I guess the delay in my post is good because I have a great map for you today.
Have some patience with this one if your connection is a little slower. The message behind it is powerful. The graphics are beautiful in their simplicity. The stories hit to the heart of all people and if they do not you are a monster.
You have to see this website. Go ahead, spend your Friday looking at it instead of doing anything else. I will call your boss and explain the whole thing.
I am going to make this one a short one. The article today is fun and straightforward. Also, it's raining and I have been cooped up in my house all week so it is definitely time to get outside.
This is pretty cool. I had already heard about this since the system is already in effect in Arizona. Effectively a police vehicle can be equipped with a launching system that allows a GPS transmitter to be launched into another vehicle. The idea is that a police official can tag a vehicle during pursuit and then break off that pursuit. High speed chases are too unpredictable so having a way to track down violent suspects after the fact can save lives all around.
There are concerns about privacy. The ability to tag any vehicle at any time and locate that persons house is a scary proposition. Even outside of corruption and illegal use, there is still a lot of room for negligence in use. On the other hand, like all new technologies, education is the key to pushing society forward .
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.