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Experts Say Open Data Needed for Emergency Response and ManagementOpen in a New Window

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 theEmergency 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 associated the 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)


OnTheMap for Emergency Management Version 4 ReleasedOpen in a New Window

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.


Summer Break - Back in Two WeeksOpen in a New Window

I'm off to wander the countryside on a summer break.  
Back in two weeks.

All the Best,


Test Your Patriotism - A 4th of July QuizOpen in a New Window

It's easy enough to say your patriotic, but do you have sufficient command of the facts to back up the boast? Find out below with 50 questions about the 4th of July and related events that have made this country great:    
(20 questions)
(The Virginian-Pilot, July 3, 2014)

(30 questions)
(, July 3, 2014)

Wishing You and Yours the Very Best on this Independence Day Weekend!


HAZUS Annual User Conference is Only One Month AwayOpen in a New Window

It's coming on like gangbusters and before you know it the 7th annual HAZUS Users Conference in Indianapolis, Indiana will be here. Deadline to register is July 26! Details below:


Sector Risk Snapshots Released by DHSOpen in a New Window

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) recently released a document meant to serve as an executive level briefing on the 16 sectors of infrastructure that have been designated as critical by the Department. The 52-page guide provides a brief overview of each sector, and then offers "Threats and Hazards of Concern" for that sector. Find it at the link below:

(DHS, May 2014)

Comment: Kudos to DHS - this is a well done document with one exception. Missing from consideration is the infrastructure that brings meaning to ALL other infrastructure. That would be the nation's geospatial infrastructure. Please see the National Spatial Data Infrastructure and GITA's GECCo program to understand the point.


    The Guardian on Predictive PolicingOpen in a New Window

    It's the newspaper that has been the most vocal proponent of Edward Snowden. Now, as part of its Resilient Cities series, The Guardian has started to examine some of the issues associated with the emerging technology of "predicative policing". More below: 

    (The Guardian, June 25, 2014)

    Comment: In defense of this approach to law enforcement, I believe story quote byUCLA professor P Jeffrey Brantingham is key: 
    “Minority Report is about predicting who will commit a crime before they commit it. This is about predicting where and when crime is most likely to occur, not who will commit it.”

    Graphic Credit: PredPol


    Yarnell Hill Fire - One Year Later, Changes Still NeededOpen in a New Window

    It's been one year since 19 wildland firefighters lost their lives fighting the Yarnell Hill Fireon June 30, 2013. Have we done everything we can as a nation to keep an incident like this from happening again? Pause for a moment and consider:

    (Al Studt, June 27, 2014)

    Photo Credit: USA Today


    The Challenges of Drones in U.S. AirspaceOpen in a New Window

    Ah, the weekend. It's summer and that means it's time to be outside enjoying the weather. But if you should find yourself trapped inside this weekend, offered below for your consideration are three articles from a series by the Washington Post which examine some of the issues that must be addressed as drones (UAVs/UASs) are brought into the most heavily used airspace in the world:  
    (The Washington Post, June 20, 2014)

    (The Washington Post, June 22, 2014)

    (The Washington Post, June 23, 2014)

    Wishing You a Fabulous Weekend Full of Sun and Fun!
    Graphic credit: Washington Post


    Warrantless Cellphone Data Searches Ruled Illegal by Supreme CourtOpen in a New Window

    A unanimous decision from the U.S. Supreme Court leaves little doubt someone has been doing something wrong. And that's exactly what happened on Wednesday, June 25, 2014 when the justices ruled 9-0 on the issue of police searching a suspect's cellphone data without a warrant. More below:
    (The Wall Street Journal, June 25, 2014)

    (Supreme Court of the United States, June 25, 2014)

    Comment: Although this case settles the issue of cellphone data searches without a warrant (to include location data), and a previous case found a warrant must be issued before GPS tracking can be used (United States v. Jones), apparently left unanswered is the issue of police using alternate means to track a cellphone's location (tower records,StingRay). Given findings in the two benchmark data cases settled to date, the handwriting is on the wall concerning this third issue and the law enforcement community would be wise to take notice before facing another ruling which overturns convictions.


    Report Chides Wildland Firefighter Leadership on DeathsOpen in a New Window

    Out of concern not enough was being done to ensure the safety of wildland firefighters, on Monday, June 23, 2014, a group of retired experts from that community ("Safety Matters") made known their viewpoint by issuing a 17-page report detailing needed changes.  Passages below from the Executive Summary tell the story of what you'll find in the report: 
    “A year has passed since the deaths of 19 firefighters on the Yarnell Hill Fire in Arizona. Another fire season is now underway. The agencies managing wildland fire have not made any significant changes to existing procedures, nor have they announced any plans for procedural or policy updates for the future. This reflects the apparent perception that the existing system is working as well as can be expected. Safety Matters disagrees.”
    “Safety Matters has identified the following areas in need of immediate change, in order to provide for maximum firefighter safety. They include:
    • A benefit analysis of values at risk (homes, private property, public lands) vs. the risk to firefighter’s lives. 
    • Development of an independent investigative body for serious accidents and fatalities. 
    • Direct involvement of agency administrators and program managers, especially when fires escape initial attack and incident management teams are mobilizing or in transition. 
    • Establishing standardized emergency communications protocol. 
    • Establishing uniformity in mapping systems.“
    Read the full report at the link below:

    (Safety Matters, June 23, 2014)

    Comment: Wow! This is a well documented, thought provoking report written by individuals who obviously care about the safety of wildland firefighters. Community leadership must now make a choice when responding to this report: Defend the institutional status quo by doing nothing, or fix issues brought to light and thereby enhance wildland firefighter safety. Of particular note from the perspective of EPC Updates is the discussion on pages 16-17 about the need for a standard "language of location" in the wildland firefighting community - U.S. National Grid


    Open GIS Data and Information Sharing Being Considered in NebraskaOpen in a New Window

    Another voice is being heard on the issue of GIS open data and information sharing. This time it's a Nebraska State Senator, and he's leading the charge in the Cornhusker State Legislature. More below:

    (Government Technology, June 5, 2014)

    Comment: We love it! More men and women like Senator Dan Watermeir are needed in legislatures across the nation!


    App Teaches Children About Severe WeatherOpen in a New Window

    As a way to help children in the Tornado Alley section of the United States better understand severe weather, undergraduate students at The University of Oklahomarecently completed an iPad app called Storm Tracker. Based on the premise that one of the easiest ways to teach a topic is through game play, the app challenges players to route airplanes around storms to avoid trouble:

    (Emergency Management, June 11, 2014)

    Comment: Rain rain go away, come again another day - this app couldn't have shown up at a better time!


    Flying Friday: New Radar, Turbulent Airwaves, Cheap Flight, Pizza Air, and Flying HighOpen in a New Window

    Time has been flying by since the last time I departed on one of my dysfunctional postings brought on by the lack of oxygen. Hard to believe because there are so many recent developments that are hard to believe. Let's check out the latest departures:

    New Radar. In days gone by, law enforcement needed a collection of bulky equipment to clock low flying, high speed travelers. Not anymore:  

    (Business Insider India, May 21, 2014)

    Turbulent Airwaves. Equipment to jam radar systems has been around for years. Little surprise the New Radar will soon experience same:  

    (Wired, June 3, 2014)

    Cheap Flight. Can't find a cheap ticket to a fun place? Not to fear. Click the link below and 2 minutes later you'll know how to bring the fun back to flying, at a VERY affordable price:

    (The Wall Street Journal Videos, June 8, 2014)

    Pizza Air. By now I'm sure you've heard of the beer company that was planning to deliver its beverages by drone only to be shutdown by the FAA. Heartbreaking development given the ever resourceful folks in India have been working on airborne delivery of the other half of the tasty duo adored around the world:

    The Times of India, May 22, 2014)

    Flying High. Which country has the highest flyers? Graphic above and link below tell the story: 

    (Gizmodo, May 14, 2014)

    Here's Hoping Your Weekend is a Smooth Ride Without Any Bumps!

    Graphic credits:
    Turbulent Airwaves - Huffington Post 
    Flying High - WHO


    Municipalities are adopting analytics for their geospatial projectsOpen in a New Window

    Prince George, BC, Canada - A few months ago Maptiks announced their web map analytics for Esri’s ArcGIS Online. It made it possible for ArcGIS Online users to track visitor activities, helping to answer key questions like “how and where are users interacting with a web map” and “what demographic of users are visiting my web...

    Read More


    After Three Years as a Granite Equity Partners Portfolio Member, GeoComm Remains StrongOpen in a New Window

    St. Cloud, MN -St. Cloud, MN: This summer marked three years since GeoComm became a Granite Equity Partner Portfolio company. As a Granite Equity company, GeoComm is ensured the financial security needed to provide the most technologically advanced public safety GIS solutions to our customers. Granite Equity is dedicated to the long-term growth of...

    Read More


    Esri Brings Smart Mapping to IBM World of Watson 2016Open in a New Window

    Redlands, CA -Global smart-mapping leader Esri today unveiled its gold sponsorship of IBM World of Watson, to be held October 24 to 27 at Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas, Nevada. The IBM World of Watson conference will demonstrate a new era of cognitive computing and assisted intelligence through 1,500 sessions, more than 200 labs, and over 500 clients...

    Read More


    Bluesky Aerial Mapping Technology Helps Prevent Trees Falling onto Power, Road and Rail NetworksOpen in a New Window

    Coalville, Leicestershire, UK -Aerial mapping from Bluesky is helping to reduce the risk of trees falling on power lines, key roads and railways. Part of an NERC (Natural Environment Research Council) funded project, 3D data produced by Bluesky is being used by scientists at the University of Lancaster to refine a tree failure risk...

    Read More


    New CloudCities Release unites BIM and GISOpen in a New Window

    San Francisco, CA - October 19, 2016 -- SmarterBetterCities today announced its new CloudCities release with web-based 3D data mashup and advanced editing capabilities. The new CloudCities is now available at ​​.    CloudCities is an online platform for visualizing, editing, and publishing interactive 3D city models. It...

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    NRG Systems to Provide Advanced Lidar Solutions to Increase Wind Hazard Detection Capabilities at North American AirportsOpen in a New Window

    Hinesburg, VT - NRG Systems, a global leader in the distribution and service of atmospheric remote sensing solutions, has announced today the U.S. launch of advanced, Lidar-based remote sensing solutions, introducingpowerful new ways to resolve some of the most critical weather hazard challenges facing the aviation industry. Thanks to their ability...

    Read More


    OGC approves Standard for use in the Modeling and Simulation WorldOpen in a New Window

    Wayland, MA - 19 October 2016. The Open Geospatial Consortium (OGC®) membership has approved CDB as an OGC standard. The OGC CDB standard is based on and derived from an industry developed and maintained specification for the modeling and simulation community. The CDB standard defines a conceptual model, as well as rules for implementing the model,...

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    LandWorks Upgrades Web AutoMapper Online Mapping Service…Now Includes USLandGridOpen in a New Window

    Houston, Texas -LandWorks Inc., a developer of innovative land management solutions, has improved its Web AutoMapper online service that translates land legal descriptions into GIS-ready map polygons. The updated Web AutoMapper features a new interface that is easier to use, including a job detail webpage that lets you review and edit your...

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    Arithmetica Appoints point3D as North American Reseller of SphereVision 360 Imaging SoftwareOpen in a New Window

    Shepperton Studios, London -Following the well-received launch of SphereVision Project Builder, Arithmetica has appointed point3D as a North American representative. SphereVision Project Builder features a more refined and streamlined workflow, enabling users to easily bridge the gap between 360 degree content and site or location...

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    Military Drones Market worth $6.8 Billion by 2022Open in a New Window

    Worldwide military drone markets are poised to achieve significant growth with the use of cameras on stable flying armament platforms positioned as the best technology for knocking out terrorist enclaves. No one thinks this is the best way to fight the terrorists, but it is what is being used in the current environment. Military drones are flying cameras and...

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    Drones Market worth $36.9 Billion by 2022Open in a New Window

    Drones are miracles: flying cameras and flying weapons. Drones are being used for lifting cameras above the ground so every person who wants it can use a camera to rise above the earth to look down from above. Each person can choose thousands of vantage points, extending visualization beyond dreams. Drones are set to make every industry more productive with...

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    GIS Cloud Introduces Australian Based ServersOpen in a New Window

    Zagreb, Republic of Croatia - Due to a great collaboration with its Australian and New Zealand partner Spatial Vision, GIS Cloud is now offering to Australian and New Zealand based customers the option of storing their GIS Cloud data on Amazon Web Servers in Australia.   Regulations in Australia and New Zealand, such as The Australian...

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    Drone Transponders Market worth $2.5 Billion by 2022Open in a New Window

    The 2016 study has 268 pages, 92 tables and figures. Worldwide drone transponder markets are poised to achieve significant growth with the need to achieve protected airways. The simplest way to protect against mid-air collisions is to require the use of ADS-B transponders on all aircraft. Transponders can turn an uncooperative environment into a cooperative...

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    Drone Robots Market worth $2.7 Billion by 2022Open in a New Window

    Worldwide drone robot markets are poised to achieve significant growth with the use of cameras on stable flying platforms that are used to help implement aerial entertainment and advertising. Entertainment light shows, advertising drone robots use LED technology to do innovative skywriting. Aerial visualization lets advertising firms achieve new ways of...

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    Consumer Camera Drones Market worth $21.5 Billion by 2022Open in a New Window

    Worldwide consumer drone markets are poised to achieve significant growth with the use of cameras on stable flying platforms that are used to help implement video and picture taking from the air. Activity visualization from the air lets users share images and videos that are interesting and help build relationships. Camera drones use automated process to make...

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