Satellite Toolkit (STK) On-line Training (FREE–11 Dec)

Please contact me if you need an STK license–mjk

Good Day EAP Partners!

I would like to invite you and your students to an upcoming training session for STK Fundamentals. On 11 December, 2014, at noon, EST, we will host a three hour, interactive virtual training session. You can pop in and watch, follow along, and even ask our active engineers questions throughout the training. By the end, users should be prepared to take the first level of the STK Certification Exam! We had a great response after the first virtual training session, and this is a wonderful resource for beginners, and those who would like a refresher!

As this is Fundamentals, your EAP license bundle will more than cover the capabilities taught in this session. You may register below, and feel free to pass this along to any interested parties. For those who do not have the EAP license bundle, just the STKFree license, available online at is used in this training.

Please feel free to contact me with any questions. Hope to see you there, and have a wonderful Thanksgiving!!

Best,  Stephanie

Date: Thursday, December 11, 2014
Time: Noon ET
Cost: Free

Exploring the Issues of Drones and Privacy

A thoughtful editorial with some controversial and unique points–mjk


Written by Harold Schuch   Published: 24 November 2014  Click here to read more

Fears are often illogical, but their promotion can convert them to legal realities. Is there reason to fear drones? Can they snoop, maim and kill? Yes, to the extent that guns, cars and planes can. However, we have learned to live with those deadly devices. Are these devices useful? Did we stop buying guns and climbing into cars and planes? Could we live without them? Yes, but who wants to ban them completely? Even the most ardent opponent of guns will be glad to see that the police have guns at hand when there is danger, especially when irrational behavior is revealed. Therefore, we try to keep these devices out of the hands of the irrational.

Drones are useful. However, they have to be used carefully. My motto is “use technology responsibly”, and that applies to drones. The biggest problem is the perception of danger. We have learned that drones are used to kill. This is true in the Middle East. This is also “true” in several recent prime time TV shows that are staged in the US. Hunters in Colorado have used them to detect game, and other hunters have threatened to shoot them down.

These quick examples indicate that we have to undertake the same due diligence that we have learned with the “dangerous devices” listed above. This would take the form of something similar to: Drivers/gun licenses, traffic lights, brakes, brake lights, pedestrian crossings, fines for jaywalking, no driving on sidewalks, yellow safety vests for crosswalk guards, stop signs (on posts or hand-held), hard hats for workers, identification of vehicles/guns, identification of owners, driver training, no parking in front of fire hydrants, etc. For drones, all this will become reality in the long term. The end effect will be that illogical or excessive fears will be managed.

However, what about the short term? Such cultural changes as listed above will take time. UAV operators will do well in doing a few things that can reduce fears when drones are flown:

  • Identify a drone operation correctly, so that onlookers know what is being done. For example, surveying an accident scene as just that, and not making it look as a secret spying operation.
  • Make the operation look “official” (safety vests, hard hats, safety glasses, signs that ask people to stay back, yellow tape, clear UAV assembly/takeoff/landing/control areas, assign one person the role of spokesperson to answer any public questions, a sign that states the purpose of the survey, etc.). This sounds like a lot, but is cheap to implement.
  • Make sure that the public knows where the camera is pointing (downward, sideways to the left, etc.).
  • Try to operate as a professional team, and discourage sloppy operations that look like kids playing with kites.
  • Do not try to be secretive (no sneaking around), and be friendly and open to the public. Make them feel your pride in what you are doing.
  • Portray an image of safe operations, and ask the public to cooperate. Make sure that they understand basic UAV safety features, like homing, circling, and flight control patterns.
  • Ask the public, if it decides to stick around, to be aware of the UAV while it is aloft, and to listen to any warnings from the control crew.
  • Clearly identify who is in control of the UAV at any one time (the guy on the computer or the guy with the controller), and ask that that person should not be spoken to (Silence please: Active flight operation underway).

It is in our court to make a go of this technology, to help create the right impressions, and to build down the effects of illogical fears.

– See more at:

NOAA’s Latest Climate Analysis

Is there any room left for climate change doubters?

Click here for the NOAA Global Analysis website.

October 2014 Selected Climate Anomalies and Events Map
October 2014 Selected Climate
Anomalies and Events Map

Global Highlights

  • The combined average temperature over global land and ocean surfaces for October 2014 was the highest on record for October, at 0.74°C (1.33°F) above the 20th century average of 14.0°C (57.1°F).
  • The global land surface temperature was 1.05°C (1.89°F) above the 20th century average of 9.3°C (48.7°F)—the fifth highest for October on record.
  • For the ocean, the October global sea surface temperature was 0.62°C (1.12°F) above the 20thcentury average of 15.9°C (60.6°F) and the highest for October on record.
  • The combined global land and ocean average surface temperature for the January–October period (year-to-date) was 0.68°C (1.22°F) above the 20th century average of 14.1°C (57.4°F). The first ten months of 2014 were the warmest such period on record.


Temperature anomalies and percentiles are shown on the gridded maps below. The anomaly map on the left is a product of a merged land surface temperature (Global Historical Climatology Network, GHCN) and sea surface temperature (ERSST.v3b) anomaly analysis developed by Smith et al. (2008). Temperature anomalies for land and ocean are analyzed separately and then merged to form the global analysis. For more information, please visit NCDC’s Global Surface Temperature Anomalies page. The maps on the right are percentile maps that complement the information provided by the anomaly maps. These provide additional information by placing the temperature anomaly observed for a specific place and time period into historical perspective, showing how the most current month, season, or year compares with the past.

The most current data may be accessed via the Global Surface Temperature Anomalies page.

This software entrepreneur wants executives to think like cartographers

From:    click here for full article

by:             NOVEMBER 21, 2014, 2:44 PM EST

Jack Dangermond, founder of the 45-year-old mapping software company Esri, thinks every businessperson needs more geospatial awareness.

In Jack Dangermond’s world, an interactive map is worth 100 charts.

He’s biased, of course. The privately-held geographic information systems (GIS) company that Dangermond founded 45 years ago with his wife—Esri, or Environmental Systems Research Institute if you want to be formal about it—happens to be the market leader in this particular software category. Its technology is used by more than 350,000 organizations worldwide, including more than two-thirds of the Fortune 500.

Growth in the commercial sector is exploding, more government agencies and research organizations publish reams of historical data about communities around the world, including images, geographic information, and pretty much any sort of database you can imagine. “Executives are waking up to realize that they can do a lot better, save money, make better decisions if they optimize and start thinking geographically and have a location strategy,” Dangermond said.

Another major driver has been the uptick in mobile technology. “The app revolution is allowing the concepts we conceived of 50 years ago to come alive in consumer-like apps and consumer-like devices,” he observed.

Esri’s recent growth outside its traditional government stronghold is being driven largely by itsArcGIS service, which houses millions of maps available to any company that wants to overlay them with its own proprietary information. One example is a solar development site selection resource created by National Land Realty—which helps the real estate broker qualify sites far more quickly than previously possible. “We are able to do a much higher level of due diligence,” NLR’s chief operating officer, Dean Sinatra, told Fortune earlier this year.

Fortune spoke with Dangermond about his company’s growth potential among businesses and why you should paid far more attention in geography class.

Fortune: What’s the competitive landscape?

Dangermond: The way I see the world is that there fantastic maps being created by Apple and Google and Bing and others that are in the simple mapping [category] embedded into consumer experiences, the search kind of experience, the location-based services kind of experience. Then there is the GIS world that is largely managing authoritative data sources, supporting geocentric workflows like fixing roads, making cities more livable through better planning, environmental management, forest management, drilling in the right location for oil, managing assets and utilities. Once you’ve distinguished those two different markets, then you can drill into competitive plays.

We aren’t into the consumer space because that space is largely dominated by search and advertising, and it has a consumer face to it. Our space has technology that faces the consumer, like a business-to-consumer map service or a citizen-facing application that a city government is using.

Why is ArcGIS such a big deal?

This is really about democratizing mapping and location analytics. This is best told by use cases. The city of Boston had about 120 GIS specialists, now they have several thousand web map users on our platform. … The city provides web mapping for all Excel users or for those that want to do self-service mapping. A large oil company in Europe used to have 400 of our GIS workflow users along with big database servers. Now they have more than 12,000 users using ArcGIS. Their executives are looking at what is going on in their own businesses. They are also able to drag and drop spreadsheets onto their map to see what the data tells them, live. Or they can use them for presentations.

From our perspective is best to support these markets with one platform: the best geocentric workflow stuff, plus the best web mapping. This stuff that can be embedded into other apps like SAP or SharePoint or Office or business intelligence platforms from SAP, Cognos, and IBM.

What do you believe are the most relevant applications for the Fortune 500?

Traditionally, GIS has been very strong in government. Local government, state government, national government. It has helped them improve things in four areas. It’s helped them communicate stories. It’s helped them make better decisions by doing spatial analytics. It’s been able to provide documentation of record, like parcel maps and inventory maps. And it’s been big in educational science. But in the last four years, our biggest growth in GIS applications has been the commercial sector, growing 30 percent year on year. Some of it is this new mapping platform.

Big companies are starting to look at a ‘locational’ strategy, and a mapping platform can help that quite a bit. Just simple maps across the whole enterprise and sharing maps between different groups. This is just exploding. They are looking at consumer maps like the Google Map, but then they look at their own data on their own platform and they just go crazy.

It takes a while for executives to understand that every company is a spatial company, fundamentally: where are our assets, where are our customers, where are our sales. But when they get it, they light up and say, ‘I want to get the geographic advantage.’

Drone Flights Face FAA Hit

From:   click here for entire article

Jack Nicas and And Pasztor

Looming Rule Proposal Would Restrict Commercial Uses, Require Pilot License

Highly anticipated federal rules on commercial drones are expected to require operators to have a license and limit flights to daylight hours, below 400 feet and within sight of the person at the controls, according to people familiar with the rule-making process.

Census Bureau Celebrates 25th Anniversary of Technology That Propelled GIS, Digital and Online Mapping into the 21st Century


U.S. Census Bureau  20 Nov 2014

What about DIME?–mjk     click here for the entire article

The convenience of getting directions today on smartphones and tablets can trace its roots to the digital geographic database created 25 years ago by the U.S. Census Bureau.

The Topologically Integrated Geographic Encoding and Referencing (TIGER) database — the first nationwide digital map of roads, boundaries and water — was initially created for the 1990 Census to modernize the once-a-decade head count. However, its impact has extended well beyond its initial purpose by offering common map data in electronic form that powers today’s geographic information system industry.

“TIGER is just one example of how innovation in the government has spurred innovation and positive economic results in the private sector,” U.S. Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker said. “TIGER helped grow an entire industry — the GIS industry — and created many good jobs by providing popular mapping products integral to the everyday lives of Americans.”

In addition to celebrating this 25-year milestone, the Census Bureau is also announcing that the U.S. Geological Survey will use TIGER as the primary roads layer on The National Map Viewer and US Topo map product starting in 2015. The TIGER roads layer, which consists of all roads in the U.S., joins the TIGER governmental unit boundaries layer as an authoritative source of current, accurate and high-quality geospatial data for The National Map, which delivers topographic information for the nation. The National Map has many uses, ranging from recreation to scientific analysis to emergency response.

“The Census Bureau’s history is one of innovation,” Census Bureau Director John H. Thompson said. “From the Hollerith tabulating machine to the use of UNIVAC I, one of the first computers, and the development of TIGER, these achievements have provided significant technological advancement and improved our ability to deliver timely, reliable statistics. TIGER provides the nation with a valuable set of geographic information for use by all, including businesses and all levels of government.”

As a national digital map database, TIGER contains all geographic features — such as roads, railroads, rivers, and legal and statistical geographic boundaries — needed to support the Census Bureau’s data collection and dissemination programs. The TIGER/Line Shapefiles are updated annually and available for free download via


TIGER Creation

The development and completion of the first nationwide digital map of the United States and Puerto Rico took nearly 10 years.

Prior to TIGER, geographers created paper maps for enumerators to use in census operations. Census Bureau geographers and cartographers manually added census boundaries to existing maps gathered from a variety of sources. Copies of these maps were then made available to enumerators.

These paper maps varied in quality and scale and were quickly outdated, particularly when boundaries changed. Thus, TIGER was created to provide a single source of geographic data.

“TIGER came into existence with no backup plan or room for failure,” said Tim Trainor, who worked on the project 25 years ago as a cartographer and is now chief of the Census Bureau’s Geography Division. “We knew there was a need to produce high-quality maps from a consistent source, and that drove the development of TIGER.”

To create TIGER, the Census Bureau collaborated with the U.S. Geological Survey. USGS created a special topographic map series for roads and rivers using new scanning technology that automatically digitized roads and rivers into separate files. The Census Bureau and USGS geographers manually digitized printed maps by recording individual roads, boundaries, rivers, railroads, etc., onto the computer. Once each road and water file was created for a given area, the files were merged to create one integrated map.


TIGER and the Census Bureau Today

Today, every state and local government has the capability to create its own geographic information system with small-area census geographic data using publicly available extracts of the TIGER database.

Over the past 25 years, the Census Bureau has continued to innovate and evolve with changing technology. In addition to creating TIGER, the Census Bureau was one of the first government agencies to create a public website and has since created interactive maps and Web-mapping services available both online and on mobile devices. These innovations make Census Bureau statistics easier to access than ever before.

The new partnership with the USGS and the Census Bureau will return more consistent and high-quality geographic data back to local communities. Using TIGER as the public domain geospatial data source alleviates the data dissemination constraints and costs of using commercial data.

“The USGS is pleased to use the TIGER database as a base layer of The National Map and US Topo quadrangles,” said Julia Fields, deputy director of the USGS National Geospatial Program. “TIGER provides The National Map with an accurate, public domain database that meets the needs of our user community. Our partnership represents good government by coordinating resources, eliminating procurement costs and developing improved data that are freely available to American citizens and businesses.”

The Census Bureau offers several file types and an online mapping application of TIGER. Products include:


TIGER Tomorrow

The Census Bureau improves TIGER each year, and planning for the 2020 Census is bringing new enhancements. By engaging with both the private and public sector to enhance geographic programs, supporting research to improve geospatial products and contributing to GIS conferences, the Census Bureau continues to embrace changing technologies and techniques and strives to make greater amounts of its data available to all.

– See more at: