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Monday, January 13th, 2014

Technology Intersection: Technological Crises Shed Light on World Systems

  Recent world events that started as technological glitches or dysfunctions have become major objects of debate in politics, geopolitics and the economy. It is useful to consider geotechnology as a tool which enables key players’ strategic decisions based on geospatial knowledge. However, in the unpredictable game of world situations, geotechnology appears as an independent

Monday, December 23rd, 2013

The Rise of the [Geospatial] Machines Part 3: New Opportunities in the Coming Unmanned Aerial System (UAS) Age

Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) are advanced robots that will empower many citizens and professionals. In a report published by the McKinsey Global Institute, it is estimated that a potential economic impact of $14 – $33 trillion a year by 2025 from the 12 technologies discussed. One of those technologies is advanced robotics: robots with enhanced

Monday, December 16th, 2013

Geospatial Education Continues to Balance Principles, Tools and Job Skills

From the very early days of geographic information systems and allied tools and technology, there have been ongoing questions on the best ways to train practitioners. Geospatial skill development relies on both tools and science, and needs a strong foundation of concepts as well as an understanding of the software and hardware that are used

Tuesday, December 3rd, 2013

Democracy Depends Upon Access to Government Geodata

“Is my property being taxed fairly?”  “Are zoning variances being granted in a consistent manner?”  “Is my flood insurance rate justified?”   These are the types of questions concerned citizens may ask, both in their own interest, and in the interest of maintaining a responsive and equitable democracy. Our democratic system of government is supposed

Tuesday, November 26th, 2013

Can Satellites in the Sky Help Prevent Atrocities on Earth?

Currently, about a dozen government and commercial Earth-imaging satellites circle the Earth daily. They take thousands of pictures that governments, private companies, and non-governmental organizations (NGOs) use for purposes as varied as monitoring wheat production, looking for point sources of pollution, and displaying images on Google Earth.

Tuesday, November 19th, 2013

Public Issue Participation Can Prevail

  Throughout two contentious California lawsuits to uphold Public Records Act (PRA) access to county GIS parcel basemaps, many GIS professionals got involved with this issue.  They informed themselves, they spoke out, they monitored online discussion groups and contributed opinions.  Some GIS professionals used their expertise to analyze the content and structure of contested basemaps;

Tuesday, November 12th, 2013

Geospatial Data Integration Challenges and Considerations

In recent years there has been acceleration in the collection and publishing of digital data about people, places, and phenomena of all kinds. Much of this big data explosion is due to the advancing diffusion of public data offered by government agencies at all levels. This increased availability of data presents great opportunities for answering

Tuesday, November 5th, 2013

Sensor Sensibility: Project Planning and Deployment Considerations

  The wireless sensor network is fundamentally a distributed network of constrained devices. There are a host of considerations that must be taken into account when planning and implementing a wireless sensor network – considerations that are often overlooked in the lavish space in which traditional IT operates with nearly extravagant disk space, CPU and

Tuesday, October 29th, 2013

Technology Intersection: In the News—Controlling the Explanation of Geographical Context

The objective of this column is to observe world events surfacing on the daily news, focusing the attention on geotechnology and on the way it affects the functioning of world systems. The area of analysis is the intersection between technology, news, business and the digital world, where geospatial issues are more current and better measurable

Tuesday, October 22nd, 2013

Bringing Small Mapping Collection Operators into the Digital Age

To borrow a phrase from Mark Twain, reports of the demise of aerial film in our industry are greatly exaggerated. The transition to digital imaging technologies in the geospatial industry may seem ubiquitous, but the numbers tell a very different story. Film is very much alive, and numerous base mapping collection firms have not yet

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