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Geographic Information Systems, Its Role And Purpose In Belize February 19, 2011

Posted by Bahadir Sahin in English, Haber (News).
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You may not know what GIS is, but the Geographic Information Systems are critical planning tools that is used in everything from archaeology, to urban planning to utility management.
This week, ESRI, the leading Global software company dedicated to GIS is in Belize this week with a vision, it says, aimed at developing GIS technology in Belize. ESRI, has teamed up with the Land Information Center and Trimble Navigation to host the First Annual Belize GIS User Conference and Exhibition, and by all accounts, interest was high amongst Belizean companies and government departments, as was evident by the huge turnout at the Best Western Belize Biltmore Plaza.

“Right, depending on the device that you have, you can get just the position of where that vehicle is but more importantly you can get information about say humidity of our cargo, the temperature of the cargo or whether someone actually tries to get in and all that is in real-time going through either your cell phone. Network or in remote areas though satellites.”
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GIS students gain experiences, preserve national history, serve community December 2, 2010

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How can people take a virtual tour through an oil town that no longer exists or plan an event around amenities and park trails?

“Through Geographic Information Systems [GIS], which is like ‘Google Earth’ on Steroids,” said Margaret Teevens, Natrona County Parks.

According to CC GIS instructor Jeff Sun, clients using student-generated data on a project to help solve a problem or make a decision mean students gain real world experience.

Groups from the last three advanced GIS classes have contributed to a RMOTC Teapot Dome historic map project which covers the greater Salt Creek area. RMOTC (Rocky Mountain Oilfield Testing Center) and Anadarko have helped the class find data about the historic communities centered on their oil fields dating back to the 1920s.

“There’s nothing left,” Eddie Hutton said of the houses, banks and general stores. Looking at an old picture of Lavoy, she noted the triangular corner restaurant resembled a miniature of New York City’s Flatiron building.
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Las Vegas organizes several events to celebrate mapping, GIS November 22, 2010

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The city of Las Vegas is celebrating the 12th annual global GIS Day on Wednesday with several events throughout the city.

GIS – which stands for geographic information systems – is a system that works with databases that are linked to locations. Cities such as Las Vegas use GIS technology to provide residents with more accurate and useful information about features on the earth, such as buildings, rivers and roads.

On Nov. 17, GIS experts from the city’s Public Works and Information Technologies departments will visit eighth-grade geography students at Hyde Middle School. Staff will make presentations about the role GIS plays in the city’s efforts with fire response, neighborhood health indicators, park inventory and pavement management.

City staffers from the Planning and Development department will visit the Desert Pines High School Academy of Information Technology on Wednesday to discuss how datasets can be use to generate helpful 3-D building models. (more…)

How Will GIS Companies Weather the Cloud Computing Storm May 2, 2010

Posted by Bahadir Sahin in English, Haber (News).
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The debate about cloud computing and software as a service (SaaS) is well and truly over. SaaS has just too many advantages to offer for anyone to credibly argue against it. The pay-as-you-go service model provides ease-of-use, scalability, reduced maintenance and support effort and lower total cost of ownership. More and more customers expect SaaS or cloud options when they evaluate newsoftware. But what does this mean in the world of Geographic information Systems (GIS)? We know the potential that GIS and online mapping and analysis offers, but can GIS software and the use of spatial data evolve to meet the needs of a world that consumes its software as a service in the cloud or do we need to rip it all up and start again?

SaaS is a complete game changer. It’s not only changing the way software is bought and deployed, but also the very notion of software itself. GIS and the mapping software companies need to stop thinking like software companies and start thinking and acting like service providers. However, there is little evidence in the announcements so far that the larger GIS software incumbents have made that mind-shift. Just ask Marc Benioff, founder of probably the best known and most successful cloud computing company, Salesforce.com. He claims his big rivals in the customer relationship management (CRM) space, Oracle and SAP, don’t have what it takes to make a go of it in the new cloudier climate. He could be wrong, but history would support his point of view. Innovation and major paradigm shifts – such as what is required to move from traditional on-premise solutions to offering software as a service – are not easy for large incumbents. This problem is obvious in the GIS sector, dominated by a few large incumbents. Ultimately it is going to take the newer, smaller and hungrier vendors to provide GIS customers with credible SaaS and cloud offerings
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Washington’s snow response GIS mapping system gets a workout February 12, 2010

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A mapping tool that shows which streets in Washington have been plowed, salted or both is being heavily used today, according to several blogs, Twitter posts and Facebook updates.

The Snow Response Reporting System lets users type in an address and see which surrounding streets have been plowed or salted within a specified date range. The information is presented via a Google Maps interface.

For example, so far today at Columbia Road and 18th Street in Northwest Washington have been plowed and salted, while side streets such as Kalorama Road have not been touched, according to the map.

Federal Chief Information Officer Vivek Kundra pushed for the development of geographic information systems such as the snow response system when he was the city’s chief technology officer, he told Federal Computer Week in past interviews.

In 2008, while he was still Washington’s CTO, the snow response system was one of 10 GIS projects Kundra identified for enhancements, according his testimony at a public oversight hearing about the city’s capital improvements budget.

The city uses GIS maps and databases to support several functions including emergency management and response, economic development and planning, crime analysis and law enforcement, transportation and public works management and disaster recovery according to the city’s Web site.
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Mapping the world, one street at a time August 14, 2009

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Between GPS devices on your car’s dashboard and digital maps of almost any locale in the world on your smartphone or laptop, it’s hard to get lost these days.

We may take these 21st-century services for granted. But someone still needs to do the actual legwork of mapping these places and making sure the information is accurate.

Meet the people at Tele Atlas, the company that provides so-called “base maps” to such high-profile clients as Google, MapQuest and RIM, the maker of the BlackBerry. Tele Atlas also provides digital-mapping services for its corporate owner, the portable-navigation company TomTom.

You can’t say the company isn’t ambitious.

“Our ultimate goal would be to map the entire world,” says Pat McDevitt, vice president of engineering at Tele Atlas, which is based in the Netherlands and has its U.S. headquarters in Lebanon, New Hampshire.

Base maps are the raw data — highways, streets, stop lights and exit signs — that navigation companies use as a starting point before adding their own applications.
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Old Japanese maps on Google Earth unveil secrets May 3, 2009

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When Google Earth added historical maps of Japan to its online collection last year, the search giant didn’t expect a backlash. The finely detailed woodblock prints have been around for centuries, they were already posted on another Web site, and a historical map of Tokyo put up in 2006 hadn’t caused any problems.

But Google failed to judge how its offering would be received, as it has often done in Japan. The company is now facing inquiries from the Justice Ministry and angry accusations of prejudice because its maps detailed the locations of former low-caste communities.

The maps date back to the country’s feudal era, when shoguns ruled and a strict caste system was in place. At the bottom of the hierarchy were a class called the “burakumin,” ethnically identical to other Japanese but forced to live in isolation because they did jobs associated with death, such as working with leather, butchering animals and digging graves.

Castes have long since been abolished, and the old buraku villages have largely faded away or been swallowed by Japan’s sprawling metropolises. Today, rights groups say the descendants of burakumin make up about 3 million of the country’s 127 million people.

But they still face prejudice, based almost entirely on where they live or their ancestors lived. Moving is little help, because employers or parents of potential spouses can hire agencies to check for buraku ancestry through Japan’s elaborate family records, which can span back over a hundred years.

An employee at a large, well-known Japanese company, who works in personnel and has direct knowledge of its hiring practices, said the company actively screens out burakumin job seekers.
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Remote sensing and conservation April 12, 2009

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In October 2008 scientists with the Royal Botanical Garden at Kew discovered a host of previously unknown species in a remote highland forest in Mozambique. The find was no accident: three years earlier, conservationist Julian Bayliss identified the site—Mount Mabu—using Google Earth, a tool that’s rapidly becoming a critical part of conservation efforts around the world.

As the discovery in Mozambique suggests, remote sensing is being used for a bewildering array of applications, from monitoring sea ice to detecting deforestation to tracking wildlife. The number of uses grows as the technology matures and becomes more widely available. Google Earth may represent a critical point, bringing the power of remote sensing to the masses and allowing anyone with an Internet connection to attach data to a geographic representation of Earth.

Brief history of remote sensing for environmental applications

A lot of environmental monitoring is possible today only through remote sensing. Detecting changes in sea ice across the sub-freezing Arctic is one example, but remote sensing also allows monitoring of hostile and sometimes war-torn deserts, vast expanses of ocean, the dense Amazon rainforest, and isolated mountain ranges—monitoring which would be cost-prohibitive or impossible without eyes from above.
Sending people in by foot to survey these places is costly, time-consuming, and potentially dangerous,” Ruth DeFries, a GIS specialist at Columbia University, told mongabay.com. DeFries authored a comprehensive review last year on the use of remote sensing for terrestrial environmental monitoring. “Remote sensing is really the only way to do this work.” she said.
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New mapping Web site on CRgov.com February 18, 2009

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Wonder what election district you’re in, who your Town Council representative is or what your house looks like from a bird’s-eye view? The answers to these queries are just a click away now that Town of Castle Rock Geographic Information Systems has made its latest mapping technology available to the public.

IT Manager Kevin Capp and GIS Administrator Bobbie Peters unveiled the new Web site at the Feb. 17 Town Council meeting.

“Our GIS Division is pleased to launch a Web page that citizens can use to access information about the town, 24/7. We hope that residents find the site to be a useful tool where they can get answers to their questions and maybe learn a little about what GIS has to offer,” Peters said.

She told Council that residents could log on to CRgov.com any time of the day or night to access such information as:

The zoning (permissible uses) of a property (more…)

Cleanup at Shevlin January 18, 2009

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Storms left a mess of the popular park, and crews dont know when it will reopen. But the area has become a classroom for COCC”s forestry and other students as they help survey the damage.
When Paul Stell first visited Shevlin Park after the windstorm that swept through Central Oregon on New Year’s Day, the sight was both awe-inspiring and familiar.

Stell, the natural resources manager for the Bend Metro Park and Recreation District, said it looked like a giant game of pickup sticks — hundreds and hundreds of bent and broken trees, some piled three and four deep, some flattened across roads and picnic tables, and still others upright but leaning precariously against their neighbors. And the more Stell looked, the more he found.

Citing safety concerns, the park district closed the popular 650-acre park along Tumalo Creek on Jan. 2. The cleanup is still in its early stages, and officials don’t know when the park will reopen.

But for students in the forestry and geographic information systems programs at Central Oregon Community College, the damage at Shevlin Park is an opportunity.

Associate professor Ron Boldenow said the programs have long used the park as a classroom, with students using GPS devices to map Tumalo Creek, the trails or the picnic benches. Boldenow was planning on doing the same this year, but when classes resumed Jan. 4, the park was closed.

He contacted Stell to see if there was some way he could get his students into the park.

“I called Paul, and he said, ‘I don’t mind, if you’re careful,’” Boldenow recalled. “I asked, ‘Do you need any help?’ And he just said, ‘Oh, my.’” (more…)