Update: Esri Announces MOOC: Going Places with Spatial Analysis (Not an Intro!)

from www.directionsmag.com

An article in the latest ArcNews (Summer 2014, not online as I post) has further details:

  • The course will be run for the first time in September, with repeated offerings based on demand.
  • Esri will use the Udemy platform to deliver the course. Udemy allows individuals to offer an online course for free or fee. There are already a few GIS courses including one apparently from Esri.
  • The course is positioned as fulfilling a request of students of Penn States “Maps and the Geospatial Revolution” MOOC. They wanted an advanced course.
  • The course is expected to be the first in a series of MOOCs from Esri.

— original post June 23, 2014 —

Going Places with Spatial Analysis is a new online course, a MOOC, from Esri. There’s a video. Worth noting:

It’s not an intro course:

This Massive Open Online Course (MOOC) is for people who know something about data analysis and want to learn about the special capabilities of spatial data analysis. … Previous experience with GIS software is helpful, but not necessary for tech-savvy problem solvers.

Why should you take the course?

Spatial analysis focuses on location to gain a deeper understanding of data. Spatial analysis skills are in high demand by organizations around the world. You’ll get free access to the full analytical capabilities of ArcGIS Online, Esri’s cloud-based GIS platform.

No start date announced:


Sanborn Refreshes 3-D Digital Maps of Four Major U.S. Cities World’s Premier 3-D Building Database Now Includes Updated Coverage of Dallas, New York, Phoenix and San Francisco


Colorado Springs, Colo. (June 25, 2014)—The Sanborn Map Company announces a key upgrade to its world-class 3-D geospatial product line with updated coverage of the Dallas, New York, Phoenix and San Francisco metropolitan areas. Sanborn’s massive collection of highly accurate 3-D visualization digital data now covers the core downtown areas of nearly 70 major U.S. and international cities.

“Sanborn has the largest database of accurate 3-D cities available,” says Dave Lorenzini, 3-D industry expert. “The company’s commitment to update its coverage of these key metropolitan areas means more clients can access precision, off-the-shelf models and reap the affordable benefits of 3-D mapping today.”

Sanborn previously has completed large-scale production of 3-D datasets for major metropolitan areas such as Dubai, New Delhi and New York for proprietary customers. The company’s wide range of custom 3-D products offer a host of advantages for emergency response professionals, architects, engineers, real estate developers, urban planners, transportation managers, utility providers and more.

Sanborn creates its 3-D geospatial products by collecting high-resolution aerial imagery to construct highly accurate building footprints, 3-D building models, street centerlines and orthoimagery. The seamless, color-balanced imagery is available in 6-inch and 1-foot pixel resolution and, depending on the city, meets U.S. National Map Accuracy Standards.

In addition to its custom 3-D geospatial products, Sanborn offers CitySets, an off-the-shelf collection of 3-D data that leverages the company’s rich heritage by incorporating detailed building attributes derived from Sanborn Fire Insurance Maps® and field surveys.

View the entire CitySets product line comprising 3-D data for nearly 70 U.S. and international cities at http://www.sanborn.com/services/3dvisualization or e-mail a Sanborn sales professional at Email Contact.

Trimble Demonstrates Two New Concept Applications for Google’s Project Tango Program


SAN FRANCISCO, June 25, 2014 — (PRNewswire) — Trimble (NASDAQ: TRMB) showcased today two concept apps running on the latest tablet platform of Google’s Project Tango program, an initiative to give mobile devices a human-scale understanding of space and motion. The Trimble concept applications, SketchUp Scan and Trimble Through The Wall, demonstrate potential new ways construction professionals could use their Google tablets for greater efficiency and insight on the job in the future.

The concept apps were demonstrated at the Google I/O Developer Conference.

Using depth sensors on the Tango device, SketchUp Scan enables users to quickly capture a room, apartment or entire floor in 3D and automatically create an editable model. This model can be shared by email or on a variety of social networks, including Google+, Facebook and Twitter. The model also can be uploaded from the Tango device to the 3D Warehouse, Trimble’s platform for posting and sharing 3D models.

“Many 3D applications for smartphones and tablets attempt to capture the full scope of a room, but SketchUp Scan has the unique ability to create an editable 3D SketchUp model,” said Omar-Pierre Soubra, director of Collaboration at Trimble. “Having the ability to edit the 3D model of the space right after the image capture enables users to add features—from windows and doors, to furniture, office equipment or nearly anything else—using millions of 3D models available in the 3D Warehouse.”

Trimble Through The Wall leverages the tracking capabilities of Tango devices to reveal what is located inside walls and other structures. Using data from Computer-Aided Design (CAD) or 3D Building Information Modeling (BIM) software, such as Tekla Structures, Trimble Through The Wall can display and overlay pipes, electrical wires and heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) infrastructure on top of walls, at their correct location.

“Trimble’s leadership in technologies for building design, construction and renovation—as well as our portfolio of positioning, modeling and visualization software—made it only natural for us to develop a Tango concept application that tracks and displays what is behind a wall,” said Bryn Fosburgh, vice president responsible for Trimble’s Construction Technology Divisions. “Since Tango devices are designed to be aware of their environment and location, they provide an excellent complement to our strategy of making construction more efficient and transparent.”

SketchUp Scan and Trimble Through The Wall are concept applications running on the Project Tango Tablet development kits. These development kits are provided by Google only to professional developers, providing a “sandbox” in which developers can experiment with various concept applications. The final functionality of Trimble’s concept applications are still under design. Additional information is available at:  http://www.trimble.com/ProjectTango.

National Assessment of Ecosystem Carbon Sequestration and Greenhouse Gas Fluxes


Data Access

View and download the primary data that has been developed by the USGS team in a variety of formats using the LandCarbon Data Tool. Visualize data products, view and interact with maps, charts, and statistics that summarize the results of the USGS assessment.

A detailed description of the viewer and how to use it can be found in the USGS LandCarbon Viewer Tutorial (YouTube).


NOAA, Partners Predict an Average ’Dead Zone’ for Gulf of Mexico; Slightly Above­ Average Hypoxia in Chesapeake Bay


Scientists are expecting an average, but still large, hypoxic or “dead zone” in the Gulf of Mexico this year, and slightly above-average hypoxia in the Chesapeake Bay.

NOAA-supported modeling is forecasting this year’s Gulf of Mexico hypoxic zone to cover an area ranging from about 4,633 to 5,708 square miles (12,000 to 14,785 square kilometers) or about the size of the state of Connecticut.

While close to averages since the late 1990s, these hypoxic zones are many times larger than what research has shown them to be prior to the significant human influences that greatly expanded their sizes and effects.

The Gulf of Mexico prediction is based on models developed by NOAA-sponsored modeling teams and individual researchers at the University of Michigan, Louisiana State University, Louisiana Universities Marine Consortium, Virginia Institute of Marine Sciences/College of William and Mary, Texas A&M University, and the U.S. Geological Survey,  and relies on nutrient loading estimates from the USGS. The models also account for the influence of variable weather and oceanographic conditions, and predict that these can affect the dead zone area by as much as 38 percent.

A second NOAA-funded forecast, for the Chesapeake Bay, predicts a slightly larger than average dead zone in the nation’s largest estuary. The forecast predicts a mid-summer low-oxygen hypoxic zone of 1.97 cubic miles, an early-summer oxygen-free anoxic zone of 0.51 cubic miles, with the late-summer oxygen-free anoxic area predicted to be 0.32 cubic miles. Because of the shallow nature of large areas of the estuary the focus is on water volume or cubic miles, instead of square mileage as used in the Gulf.

The Chesapeake Bay prediction is based on models developed by NOAA-sponsored researchers at the University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science, University of Michigan, and again relies on nutrient loading estimates from USGS.

The dead zone in the Gulf of Mexico affects nationally important commercial and recreational fisheries and threatens the region’s economy. The Chesapeake Bay dead zones, which have been highly variable in recent years, threaten a multi-year effort to restore the water and habitat quality to enhance its production of crabs, oysters, and other important fisheries.

Hypoxic (very low oxygen) and anoxic (no oxygen) zones are caused by excessive nutrient pollution, primarily from human activities such as agriculture and wastewater, which results in insufficient oxygen to support most marine life and habitats in near-bottom waters. Aspects of weather, including wind speed, wind direction, precipitation and temperature, also affect the size of dead zones.

“We are making progress at reducing the pollution in our nation’s waters that leads to ‘dead zones,’ but there is more work to be done,” said Kathryn D. Sullivan, Ph.D., under secretary of commerce for oceans and atmosphere and NOAA administrator. “These ecological forecasts are good examples of the critical environmental intelligence products and tools that NOAA provides to interagency management bodies such as the Chesapeake Bay Program and Gulf Hypoxia Task Force.  With this information, we can work collectively on ways to reduce pollution and protect our marine environments for future generations.”

Later this year, researchers will measure oxygen levels in both bodies of water. The confirmed size of the 2014 Gulf hypoxic zone will be released in late July or early August, following a mid-July monitoring survey led by the Louisiana Universities Marine Consortium. The final measurement in the Chesapeake will come in October following surveys by the Chesapeake Bay Program‘s partners from the Maryland Department of Natural Resources and the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality.

USGS nutrient-loading estimates for the Mississippi River and Chesapeake Bay are used in the hypoxia forecasts for the Gulf and Chesapeake Bay. The Chesapeake data are funded with a cooperative agreement between USGS and the Maryland Department of Natural Resources. USGS also operates more than 65 real-time nitrate sensors in these two watersheds to track how nutrient conditions are changing over time.

For the Gulf of Mexico USGS estimates that 101,000 metric tons of nitrate flowed down the Mississippi River into the northern gulf in May 2014, which is less than the 182,000 metric tons in last May when stream flows were above average. In the Chesapeake Bay USGS estimates that 44,000 metric tons of nitrogen entered the bay from the Susquehanna and Potomac rivers between January and May of 2014, which is higher than the 36,600 metric tons delivered to the Bay during the same period in 2013.

“The USGS continues to conduct long-term nutrient monitoring and modeling” said William Werkheiser, USGS associate director for water. “This effort is key to tracking how nutrient conditions are changing in response to floods and droughts and nutrient management actions.”

The research programs supporting this work are authorized under the Harmful Algal Bloom and Hypoxia Research and Control Act, known as HABHRCA, which was recently amended and reauthorized earlier this month through 2018.

UAV and GIS—An Emerging Dynamic Duo

from ArcUser Spring 2014

A conversation with Devon Humphrey of Waypoint Mapping

Devon Humphrey has worked on emerging technologies in GIS for the past three decades. When he became GIS manager for Lee County Appraisal District in Texas in 1991, he was one of the first to use GPS to georeference the county’s aerial photo archive, which greatly improved the county’s parcel management.

After working at Texas General Land Office on its oil spill prevention and response GIS, he joined Esri as a technical marketing representative while also teaching GIS for emergency response at Texas A&M University. Later, as a regional technical manager for Pictometry International Corp., he evangelized to ArcGIS users about the benefits of oblique aerial imagery technology.

During the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, Humphrey served as the geographic information officer (GIO) at the Louisiana Incident Command Post, designing and deploying GIS and imagery solutions at a time when real-time visual intelligence sources were scarce.

Soon after the incident, Humphrey refocused his GIS consulting business, Waypoint Mapping, to provide a common operating picture for critical infrastructure organizations within the energy and utility industries.

Convinced of the revolutionary potential of imagery capture by unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) as a data source for GIS users, Humphrey created a dedicated UAV division at Waypoint Mapping in 2012 called Flightline Geographics.

In this interview, Humphrey discusses the use of UAVs for GIS data capture with Esri writer Matthew DeMeritt.

A 3D point cloud depicting a coastal area. Similar to lidar, point clouds provide 3D information that can be combined with the air photos for analysis and visualization.

A 3D point cloud depicting a coastal area. Similar to lidar, point clouds provide 3D information that can be combined with the air photos for analysis and visualization.

You recently started Flightline Geographics as the aerial division of Waypoint Mapping. When did your interest in UAV mapping begin?

GIS users have always craved high-quality, near real-time imagery. Over the years, expectations for resolution and fast delivery have been significantly raised. Much of our work at Waypoint involves emergency management. Real-time visual intelligence is absolutely critical to complete the common operational picture. Short of having an on-call manned air fleet, UAVs offer the unique ability for users to capture their own data, on their own time frame.

Waypoint started experimenting with unmanned imagery in 2007. Since then, it’s exploded as battery and optical technologies have evolved, allowing for larger areas to be captured at higher resolutions.

Autonomous flight and advanced optics have been used in the military for years. Is that where the two technologies began to naturally converge?

Yes, the military has been working with a combination of the two technologies for a couple of decades now. But as far as everyday use cases, it has a lot to do with the technical components inside, such as the autopilot and the processing software that are used to create orthomosaics and 3D point clouds for GIS. Once these technologies matured and became more affordable, their combination with an airframe was almost trivial.

The combination was just beginning to lead to breakthroughs just before 9/11 [terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001] happened, and then the FAA [Federal Aviation Administration] understandably prohibited unchecked use of UAV in the interest of national security. That hampered UAV’s development and proliferation—at least here in the US. Other parts of the world excelled technologically and commercially at this time, as a result.

The benefits of UAV capture are higher-quality imagery and temporality. Can you expand on that and the other benefits you see in this technology?

Due to the unique flight characteristics of UAVs, the imagery is sharper and offers some unique advantages. Drones fly very low compared to manned aircraft—400 feet is a typical altitude. This means that the camera captures high ground resolution on the order of two to five centimeters. In addition, because there is a large amount of overlap in the imagery, digital photogrammetric processing results in 3D point clouds of similar resolution. Turnaround time is a few hours, instead of days, weeks, or months in the case of traditional delivery times. The user also controls the process rather than working with an outside vendor or being stuck using “day-old donuts,” generic imagery that doesn’t meet the temporal requirements.

UAV capturing vineyard imagery for analysis.

UAV capturing vineyard imagery for analysis.

What are some of the most recent developments with regard to FAA regulation?

The US Congress has seen the benefits of UAVs for professional use and has ordered the FAA to produce the “rules of the skies” for incorporation into the National Airspace. Naturally, the FAA is concerned with safety first, but it is really taking its time on this. Collision avoidance is a concern, as is impact with objects on the ground. But most of the UAVs that would be used for mapping are small, lightweight airframes that fly far below the normal air traffic.

As we see with Amazon recently divulging its plans to deliver merchandise via drones, the private sector will force the issue. I predict that if the FAA does not accelerate the rule-making process, the commercial and consumer market will simply fly without permission. It is already happening. While that is not the right answer, I do think this prospect will influence the pace of the process and, hopefully, speed things up.

What is the FAA doing now?

The FAA has selected a set of university-based test sites to work on issues of collision avoidance and other issues. One of them is at Texas A&M University. Research will go on for a year or more. In the meantime, more and more drones are being sold through places like Amazon.com, not necessarily for mapping, but for hobbyists. They are everywhere. If you go to Town Lake in Austin, Texas, on a nice weekend afternoon or evening, you will see dozens of them buzzing around. They are the modern-day equivalent of kites. Of course, there are privacy issues to consider, but the FAA does not deal with privacy—just safety.

At a recent UAV conference in California, an FAA official almost opened the skies unknowingly. He stated in response to a question, that “If a farmer wants to get a UAV and fly his crops, we don’t care.” While I don’t think that is the official position, it demonstrates the tide of influence the commercial market is generating. Frankly, I don’t think there is much they could do to stop it.

Everyone wants safe skies. But the uses and demand for UAV-collected data for GIS is becoming overwhelming. The congress will continue to press for the FAA to get on with the rule making. If it involves taking an exam, obtaining a license, or registration of airframes, those are all possibilities. But let’s get on with it.

The Hawkeye UAV lands by parachute, a far safer method of making an emergency landing than a belly landing.

The Hawkeye UAV lands by parachute, a far safer method of making an emergency landing than a belly landing.

What industries are using the technology the most today?

The range is incredible. As with GIS, almost any use case can benefit from higher-resolution, self-service imagery and 3D point cloud data. As I mentioned, here in the US we are limited. In other parts of the world, the technology is booming. But we are doing work in the US with federal, state, and university partners. Those organizations can apply for FAA Certificates of Authorization to fly a given model of UAV in a very specific geographic location. We have done agricultural projects (vineyards) and wildfire research projects. We also requested UAV use on the Gulf oil disaster, recent wildfires, and flooding incidents, but to date, the FAA has not approved UAV use for these events. The typical response has been that, “This could be done with a manned aircraft, so no.”

Agriculture is poised to be the single largest beneficiary of the combination of UAV and GIS. Farmers are already purchasing their own UAVs and inspecting their fields.

What are some of the visualization benefits of UAV in a GIS?

[One is] Full Motion Video [FMV]! The military has developed a technology that lines up the video with a digital map through image stabilization and georeferencing. We have dozens of uses for it in ArcGIS—it’s completely integrated into the ArcGIS toolset.

Currently, we are using FMV to monitor test fires for wildfire research. Another recent project involves pipeline monitoring. The UAV flies along the pipeline and captures FMV, which, since it is georeferenced, can be used to heads-up digitize features of interest directly from the video frame. This can include encroachments, leaks, erosion, etc. It is much easier to watch a video in the comfort of your office and capture features of interest than to try to do the same thing in a plane or helicopter.

Describe the current UAV market and where you think it’s headed.

The current market is overseas. There is a limited market in the US within government and university research. Places like Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Mexico, South Africa, China, and other locations, have already adopted the tool, and it is following the adoption curve of GPS in the 1990s. In other words, explosive growth.

Again, we are lagging behind on this in the US. Within the next five years, every survey company and many GIS organizations will own and operate small UAVs for mapping. It is a no-brainer. And it’s fun, if done safely.

What’s on the horizon for Flightline Geographics?

We are continuing to work with clients that can use UAVs—government, universities, and overseas. We are also not totally dismissing the use of manned aircraft. UAVs have flight durations ranging from 30 minutes to several hours, so sometimes a manned aircraft is needed for larger projects, such as flying a 1,000-mile pipeline in a day.

We are also working to support the viticulture industry in Texas. Vineyards can use UAV technology to perform early detection of pests and view overall vegetative health. UAV remote-sensing analysis can highlight trouble spots before they can be seen with the naked eye. Vegetative density can also be seen in the 3D point clouds at high resolution.

We are working with Hawkeye UAV from New Zealand to conduct flight demonstrations and training, so that when the rules allow, GIS users can be ready to integrate UAVs into their geospatial toolkits. Some GIS organizations may not feel comfortable launching a UAV that costs somewhere between $10,000–$100,000 with an expensive camera into the sky for a data collection mission. In those cases, we offer capture services. Many users will choose this option. Imagine explaining to the boss that you crashed his $100,000 bird and camera . . . It’s something to consider.

For more information on UAV paired with GIS, visit flightlinegeographics.com or e-mail Devon Humphrey

Skybox: Google Maps goes real-time – but would you want a spy in the sky staring into your letter box?

James Vincent at www.independent.co.uk  12 June 2014, via www10.giscafe.com

When planning a road trip or buying a new house, it has become routine to scope out the area on Google Maps.

But what if the images you found weren’t blurry, dated snapshots – but live and crystal clear? Imagine cruising down the motorway, looking for traffic jams 50 miles ahead or scoping out your first born’s university digs, noting that the pub across the road attracts a big outdoors crowd after 10 (‘better pack the earplugs’).

This may sound like CIA-level surveillance, but it may one day be the future of  Google Maps –all thanks to the quiet acquisition of a start-up named Skybox Imaging earlier this month.

Founded in 2009, Skybox launched its first satellite into orbit in 2013. In December it beamed back to Earth the first commercial HD video shot from space. For an encore, Skybox’s engineers sent their fridge-sized satellite to float above Kiev, watching in real time as battle lines between police and protesters shifted back and forth.


An image showing Center Pivot Irrigation in Saudi Arabia captured by Skybox’s satellites. Image credit: Skybox ImagingTo give an idea of how impressive this is, it’s worth remembering that even in the early 70s the US military was using one-shot imaging satellites that took their pictures and then ejected the blurry, black and white film straight out of orbit to be caught by airplanes circling below like anxious firemen.

If these satellites were the equivalent of disposable cameras then SkyBox’s craft are like roving CCTV. They’re cheap, always-on space craft and by 2016 the company plans to operate a constellation of 24 – all capable of sending back video and stills of anywhere on Earth, to anywhere on Earth.

For the casual observer it might seem that this sort of capability is nothing new. Anyone who has played around on current versions of Google Earth will have flicked back the scroll wheel on their mouse, casually zooming out all the way to watch the Earth spinning through space, as real-time as we’d ever need or want for something so apparently unchanging. But distance erases detail and the trip back down to the surface of Google Earth takes users through a patchwork of old and new imagery, stitched together from a variety of sources.

And although these pictures may seem detailed enough to us, they’re actually constrained by limits set by the US government. At least, they were until this month. Just one week after Google announced they’d purchased SkyBox, the US Department of Commerce lifted restrictions on high resolution, allowing commercial satellites to trade in what’s been called “manholes and mailboxes” imagery.

“If you imagine a satellite sat above your office then the old resolution could probably make out your desk. The new imagery – where each pixel measures around 31cm – can now make out what’s on your desk,” explains Clive Evans, lead satellite imagery investigator with LGC Forensics.

“When you reach this sort of frequency you can begin to add in what we call ‘pattern of life’ analysis. This means looking at activity in terms of movement – not just identification.”

When – and indeed whether – Google will make such images available to the public on Google Maps is unclear. In the short term, the real value is going to be for corporations.

In a recent interview with The Wall Street Journal, Skybox co-founder Dan Berkenstock revealed that the company was currently watching the movements of trucks in and out of factories operated by Foxconn – a major Apple contractor – because any increase in activity is evidence that the Californian company is about to ship a new iPhone.

“We think we are going fundamentally to change humanity’s understanding of the economic landscape on a daily basis,” said Mr Berkenstock.

Skybox says “Use our algorithms or bring your own, use our data or combine our data with yours.” Image credit: Skybox Imaging

For once, this sort of claim (familiar in the world of tech boosterism) is more than hyperbole. With abundant satellite imagery, whole new realms of data analysis are opened up. Investors will be able to predict the price of food by studying a country’s farmland; they can gauge a gold mine’s productivity by sizing up its slag heaps. One story that’s common in the Skybox mythos is of an analyst at UBS who was able to predict Walmart’s quarterly earnings in 2010 by simply watching the store’s parking lots and calculating the volume of customers.

“There’s an emerging industry here – although Google’s business model is a mystery,” said Marc Dautlich, a lawyer specialising in technology and data protection. “They could sell the images themselves or sell value-added services.”

Google has so far said that Skybox’s satellites will be primarily used to keep its maps up-to-date, but that they’ll also be exploring how to deploy the technology alongside their other aerospace ventures, including Project Loon (using weather balloons to deliver internet connections in remote locations) and Titan Aerospace (which builds high-altitude, solar-powered drones that can stay aloft for years).

There’s no doubt that Google will continue with these benevolent, public-friendly ventures, but the proven ability of Skybox’s satellites to measure anything from the fullness of oil containers in Saudi Arabia to the volume of air traffic in Beijing airport dovetails far too neatly with the company’s mission-statement: “Organise the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful.”

From the first time Google indexed the nascent world wide web in 1998 to the launch of Google Earth in 2005, the search giant has understood that in order to find information you need a good map. With the purchase of Skybox, Google is set to have the best maps the world has ever seen.

Apocalyptic Google Map image of Lac-Megantic ‘disgusting

www.torontosun.com  23 June 2014

Google satellite image view of Lac Megantic, Que. (Google)
Google satellite image view of Lac Megantic, Que. (Google)

MONTREAL — Residents of Lac-Megantic are upset after discovering that a Google satellite map of the town shows the aftermath of last summer’s deadly train derailment and explosion.

“It’s disgusting and it makes no sense,” said Emilie Bedard, a co-ordinator at Lac-Megantic’s tourism bureau.

Typing in “Lac-Megantic” into Google Maps shows an apocalyptic image with the centre of town resembling a black hole, rail cars burned to a crisp and strewn like matchsticks, and Lac-Megantic’s downtown buildings completely destroyed.

“The scene only looked like this for the two weeks following the accident,” said Ghislain Bolduc, the provincial MNA for the Megantic riding.

Bolduc told QMI Agency that the photo reeks of “sensationalism.”

“Is there a way to get to get Google to change it?” wondered Audrey Roussin, an agent in the Lac-Megantic tourism office.

“Yes, we had a horrible tragedy occur here, but we’re trying to build something positive.”

QMI Agency repeatedly tried to contact Google over the last several days, but have not had a response.


National Geographic Channel Embarks on a Nationwide Search for the Next Generation of Explorers with Expedition Granted

In www10.giscafe.com

Winner Will Be Chosen by the Public and Receive $50,000 to Fund Their Dream Expedition; Contest Now Open at ExpeditionGranted.com

WASHINGTON, June 23, 2014 — (PRNewswire) — Move over, Indiana Jones. It’s a new day in exploration. National Geographic Channel (NGC) today announced Expedition Granted, a socially fueled competition to find the next generation of explorers and to grant one person’s dream expedition for $50,000. The nationwide competition was developed in partnership with National Geographic Society, 21st Century FOX and sponsors the Jeep brand and Dos Equis.

Expedition Granted aims to democratize the very notion of exploration and show that in the 21st century, explorers can come from all backgrounds and disciplines ranging from art and music to food, science and technology. The only requirement is that one has unbridled curiosity and is willing — with a little financial help — to take the steps to make their dream project happen.

“We want to help redefine the concept of exploration — anyone with a big idea and passion to make it come to life can be an explorer,” said NGC CEOCourteney Monroe. “This opportunity is for all of those pushing boundaries and forging new paths — a musician who is changing how music is composed using only a smartphone, an engineer developing robotics to aid people with impaired mobility, or a chef who is pushing the boundaries of food preparation — there is no limit to what we want to see.”

Brain Games host Jason Silva (@JasonSilva), National Geographic Channel’s voice of redefining exploration and curiosity through his hit series, will be introducing the contest to fans and working with National Geographic and their team to determine the finalists.

To enter, contestants must submit a video up to two minutes in length and a Tweetable elevator pitch at ExpeditionGranted.com outlining what their passion project is and why they deserve to have it granted. Submissions will be accepted until August 31, 2014 (entrants must be 21 years or older). Once an entry is submitted, it will be displayed on the main site where fans can show support for the project they’d most like to see granted by liking and sharing on social media.

When the submission period closes, National Geographic Channel, together with its partners and advisors, will choose up to 10 finalists to be voted on by the public. Finalists will be selected based on their project’s originality, ability to make an impact on the local and/or global community and viability. A winner will be announced later this fall and, in addition to the $50,000 prize, will be highlighted on-air on NGC.

Contestants will be inspired and encouraged along the way by a council of notable experts across a wide range of specialties: art, food, social sciences, technology, filmmaking, journalism, engineering, the environment and more. The advisors include:

  • Casey Neistat, online filmmaker; writer, director, editor and star of the series “The Neistat Brothers” on HBO; winner of the John CassavetesAward at the 2012 Independent Spirit Awards for producing the film “Daddy Long Legs.” @CaseyNeistat
  • Wylie Dufresne, celebrated chef; winner of “Best Chef New York” 2013; proponent of modernist cuisine to incorporate science and new techniques in the preparation and presentation of food. @wyliedufresne
  • Bertrand Piccard, psychiatrist, aeronaut and lecturer; chairman of the Winds of Hope charitable foundation; United Nations goodwill ambassador; made the first ever nonstop around-the-world balloon flight. @bertrandpiccard
  • Ainissa G. Ramirez, Ph.D., author and science evangelist; passionate about getting the general public excited about science. @ainissaramirez
  • Kenzo Digital, director and artist; dedicated to synthesizing new narrative forms by unifying traditional storytelling with groundbreaking technology; best known for his work with Beyonce. @kenzodigital
  • Thomas Dolby, musician and producer; best known for “She Blinded Me with Science” and “Hyperactive!”; his keyboard and studio production work garnered numerous awards and five Grammy nominations. @ThomasDolby
  • Thayer Walker, journalist and explorer; partner in Summit, an organization addressing global issues; led efforts to establish a marine protected area in the Bahamas. @thayerwalker
  • Marina Gorbis, futurist and social scientist; executive director to the Institute for the Future; explores how technology and globalism are fundamentally transforming our social structures. @iftf
  • Raghava KK, multidisciplinary artist and entrepreneur; National Geographic Emerging Explorer and multiple-time TED speaker; named by CNN as one of the 10 most remarkable people in 2010. @raghavakk
  • Gregg Treinish, avid outdoorsman; founder of Adventurers and Scientists for Conservation; National Geographic Emerging Explorer; named National Geographic Adventurer of the Year in 2008. @AdventurScience

For more information, visit ExpeditionGranted.com and follow us on social media at #expeditiongranted.

About National Geographic Channel
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from www.futuregov.asia; Kelly Ng, 20 June 2014

A water agency in the Australian state of Tasmania has used automatic meter reading (AMR) technology to improve water management and meter reading. Esri’s GIS solution was used to manage the state-wide installation.

GIS has played an important role in the current phase of the project which involved upgrading a total of 13,000 meters which do not meet minimum standards across three municipalities, said Luke Paine, Spatial Information System Administrator at TasWater.

“Field technicians armed with hand-held devices visited each home individually to collect information and photographs to determine where the meters were situated and if there were any particular accessibility issues,” Paine said.

“By using GIS technology we were able to immediately upload and validate that information within our central databases, as well as distribute work orders and monitor the performance of external contractors.”

“Staff can quickly view the interactive map to visualise which individual properties had been upgraded and provide up-to-the-minute reports on the entire project’s progress to internal and community stakeholders. Previously, this would have required a chain of phone calls to isolate where the process was at, so there have been significant improvements from a customer service perspective,” Paine said.

The user-friendly map-based interface was critical to providing a system which personnel across TasWater could use with little or no training. “Our call centre staff use the mapping system daily when responding to customer queries and requests about meter installation,” he added.

GIS technology has been critical to every stage of the project – from pre-installation, data collection, to the generation of a variety of reports for both internal and external stakeholders. It provided TasWater with the means of distributing that information out to the entire organisation, so employees can instantly visualise at what stage the process is and what work remains to be done, he added.

The roll-out is part of a state initiative to save up to 8,700 million litres of water each year – equivalent to the annual average water consumption of approximately 43,500 homes in the State.

TasWater provides drinking water, sewerage and trade waste services for around 200,000 homes and businesses across the Australian state of Tasmania.