Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Two For Tuesday: SDG&E Gets Drone OK and Mapping a Landslide

When I was a youngster, I loved to watch a TV show called "Whirlybirds". The story line was the world saved on a weekly basis by two daring men and their bladed flying machines. A thought that pretty well matches up with this Two For Tuesday. Below, two stories about how men and their bladed flying machines are poised to save the world:

(Forbes, July 12, 2014)

(Directions Magazine, July 7, 2014)

Comment: Ironic, don't you think - the more things change, the more they remain the same. 

Graphic credit: stumptownblogger.com

Monday, July 28, 2014

DoD to Use Open Source Mapping for Humanitarian Crisis Response Missions

In response to its increasing involvement in humanitarian crisis response missions around the world, the U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) has been looking for a way to better integrate its information gathering capabilities with those of a nation in need. According to recent reports coming out of DoD and others, an open source web-based mapping program which allows multiple sources to simultaneously contribute their awareness data is the answer to the problem. Link below tells the story of GeoSHAPE:

(DoD News Release, July 24, 2014)

Comment: Great concept!  In fact it reminds me a lot of one of my favorite pieces of software: GeoMOOSE. For more see:

(EPC Updates, June 27, 2013)

Friday, July 25, 2014

Top Five Friday (I'm Late): May 2014

Well, the normal first Friday of the month post took the backseat to the Fourth of July and my two week summer hiatus. But, there's no time like the present to catch up - after all, you can't be late until you show up. So, here they are - very late - the posts which turned out to be the top five of the month, two months back. That would be for May 2014. In descending order:

Here's Hoping You Aren't Late to a Hopping Good Time This Weekend!

Graphic credit: Disney

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Scanning a City for Gas Leaks

A joint effort between the nonprofit Environmental Defense Fund (EDF) and Google seeks to turn off needless leaks of a significant greenhouse gas - methane. At the same time, America's infrastructure and public safety efforts will see benefit. Links below tell the story of a recent pilot project that placed air quality sensors on Google Street View cars. 

(Newsweek, July 16, 2014)

(EDF Webpage) 

Comment: VERY cool!  However, I do find the results from Beantown suspect. Did this project check the city's pipes, or the population's pipes? That's a joke, you're supposed to laugh... 

Graphic Credit: EDF

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Study Points to Satellite Flood Predictive Capabilities

In much the same way satellites have become key to forecasting the weather and issuing various storm warnings, recent research suggests satellites could be used to predict flooding. With interior flooding in the United States causing nearly $4 billion in damages annually, the finding is no small matter. Details about NASA's  Gravity Recovery and Climate Experiment (GRACE) twin satellites and the recently published study can be found in the links below:

(Nature Geoscience, July 6, 2014)

Comment: Great stuff - but there's a problem. The Nature Geoscience paper requires a fee to read. I take strong exception with any study which uses data from government satellites, and is of benefit to the taxpayers who paid for those satellites, being published in a way that requires a fee to read.

Graphic credit: NASA

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Experts Say Open Data Needed for Emergency Response and Management

From the Esri User Conference in San Diego, CA last week, Joe Francica of Directions Magazine reported hearing the same theme repeated by three experts in the know. In a nutshell, the United States needs an open geospatial data policy in support of the Emergency Services Sector.  The article and two of the presentations can be found below:

(Directions Magazine, July 14, 2014)

(Dr. Kathryn D. Sullivan, NOAA Administrator) 

(Dr. Robert Griffin, Director, DHS First Responders Division)

Comment: Great to see folks at the top of the food chain are finally tuning into this issue. We've been camped out on it since at least 2008 when the Republican National Convention came to town. Followed up by the Twin Cities GECCo in late 2011 and the associated After Action Report/Improvement Plan in 2012. In fall 2013, the MetroGIS Policy Board sent letters to all county Administrators and Board Chairs in the seven core counties of the Twin Cities metro encouraging them to eliminate geospatial data fees and licenses. One of the beneficiaries is certain to be the Emergency Services Sector. For more see:

(EPC Updates, December 23, 2013)

Monday, July 21, 2014

OnTheMap for Emergency Management Version 4 Released

The U.S. Census Bureau's (USCB) OnTheMap for Emergency Management product continues to improve since we last reported on it in July 2012. Recently, the Council for Community and Economic Research hosted a webinar to report on the latest developments. Find below links to play back the webinar, view presentation slides, or use the application:
Comment: Again, kudos to the U.S. Census Bureau for their effort in this area - some of the very first questions asked after any disaster: "How many people are in the disaster area and what's the economic impact?". Accurate answers to both of these questions can now be provided much quicker thanks to this effort by the USCB.