UAV flown over Auschwitz

In honor of the 70th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz, this video is pretty compelling.

http://mic.com/articles/109222/the-bbc-flew-a-drone-over-auschwitz-and-the-result-is-haunting

2014 Continues Long-Term Global Warming

NASA:  Published on Jan 16, 2015

The year 2014 now ranks as the warmest on record since 1880, according to an analysis by NASA scientists.
NASA Global Warming
This video shows a time series of five-year global temperature averages, mapped from 1880 to 2014, as estimated by scientists at NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies (GISS) in New York.

http://youtu.be/WtPkFBbJLMg

While scientists expect temperatures to fluctuate from year to year, the average temperature of the planet as a whole has warmed by about 1.4 degrees Fahrenheit (0.8 degrees Celsius) since 1880. This trend is largely driven by increasing human emissions of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases into the atmosphere.

The GISS analysis incorporates temperature measurements from 6,300 weather stations around the world, ship- and buoy-based ocean temperature readings and data from Antarctic research stations. These measurements are plugged into an algorithm that then estimates average global temperature. The computer code for this process is freely available for download from the GISS web site.

http://www.nasa.gov/press/2015/januar…

This video is public domain and can be downloaded at:
http://svs.gsfc.nasa.gov/cgi-bin/deta…

US Population Trends

I love these maps that change through time!  This is a neat application showing how US population has changed in states since the late 1700’s.

http://www.ravi.io/us-population-trends-cartogram  

DriveDecisions for City Government Open Data

This sounds like a pretty cool application.

http://www.govtech.com/data/Open-Data-Visualization-Tool-Challenges-Traditional-GIS.html

Visualization of what sea level rise looks like

I saw this article and thought it would be pertinent to our new effort to look at resiliency.  GIS will play a big role in helping the public understand what those changes in sea level will look like.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/wonkblog/wp/2014/12/09/what-the-west-coast-would-look-like-under-260-feet-of-sea-level-rise/?wpisrc=nl-wnkpm&wpmm=1

NENA works with wireless carriers to enhance locating 911 calls

I came across this article this morning and thought it marks what could be a significant improvement to locating 911 calls indoors.

http://urgentcomm.com/nena/nena-officials-explain-key-details-wireless-911-location-accord-carriers?page=1

UAV Innovation Champion

This is a great article on GoPro, a company that may serve as the champion for UAV innovation and eventual regulation.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/innovations/wp/2014/12/05/if-gopro-gets-into-consumer-drones-the-industry-could-finally-have-the-innovation-champion-it-needs/?wpisrc=nl-inn&wpmm=1

Palo Alto Uses GIS Permitting App

This is a great example of a user-friendly app to help citizens answer their own questions regarding what things are happening where.

http://www.govtech.com/applications/Palo-Alto-Maps-Planning-Permits-and-Construction-Activity.html

NSGIC President Update

Dear NSGIC Member,

Shelby Johnson,  Arkansas GIO & NSGIC President

Shelby Johnson, Arkansas GIO & NSGIC President

It dawned on me today I have not communicated much with all our members since assuming the Presidential role. I wanted to take a minute to share a few thoughts. Some of these are my way of thinking about how NSGIC works and where we stand. I’ll try to be brief.

Elected Servants
NSGIC has a proven leadership system in place. The organization has a President-Elect, a President and Out-Going President. The result, is a nearly seamless transition from year to year, and the passage of institutional knowledge about the organization works extremely well. I’ve been blessed to serve alongside very capable leadership from Tim DeTroye, Out-Going, to Kenny Miller who is transitioned to Out-Going, and Chris Diller, as President-Elect. The chemistry we have is excellent, and each other plays off our strengths. We talk about NSGIC nearly every day.

Leaders
NSGIC is led by capable staff at headquarters including Kathy DeMarco, our Association Manager, Diane Schaffer, Director of Meetings, and our DC Liaison, Bill Burgess. On most days, they are operating in the background, and also in the foreground such as when Bill represents NSGIC at formal events.

Think-Tank
NSGIC has an outstanding Board of Directors. These servants are the financial steward and the think-tank of the organization. They do monthly Board meetings where they conduct business, and they are so committed that nearly every Monday, they participate in a Leadership briefing where initiatives become results.

Do-ers!
NSGIC’s Committee Chairs and Co-Chairs are the gears of the engine. They all have missions and are passionate about serving. They strike a balance between their career job and their volunteer job by leading monthly calls, drafting position papers and shepherding their members. They advise the Board and steer on things that need to get done.

Influence
The early years of NSGIC were formative, that’s obvious. But NSGIC’s last decade has been one of influence. On national geospatial activity, NSGIC has been at the table. In several cases NSGIC has led. I would go so far as to say, that State influence on national geospatial policy is at an all-time high.

Curious or Hungry
Here’s an interesting tidbit. NSGIC has nearly 2,300 followers on Twitter which is a very large number compared to our dues paid membership of nearly 400. It makes me think those folks are curious about what we do; or even better, they are hungry for leadership, and understand that NSGIC leads. I may be over inflating our worth but I think it’s the latter.

Connect & Participate
I’d be failing my duty if I did not remind you to participate in our 2015 Mid-Year conference. The call for Abstracts is open and participation is valuable. We are returning to Annapolis, Maryland. The agenda is taking shape and true to our colors there will be focus on national geospatial policy. The details are here: http://www.nsgic.org/2015-midyear-meeting

Thank You
I’m thankful for the opportunity to serve as your President. If you find ways I can serve you better or improve the organization I would sure like to hear from you. Rest-assured the sleeves are rolled up. Things are happening and I will try to do a better job of staying in touch members.

The Field of GIS

To kick of Geography Awareness Week, here’s an article that highlights some of the discussions related to how our field is changing.  I think the challenge of state coordinators is to make our data and our tools applicable to all those interested in our ‘expanding’ field.

http://www.webmapsolutions.com/splitting-expanding-maturing-polarizing-gis-is-changing

Ambulance UAV's

The original article calls them drones, but we know better.  This is an intriguing concept, but we all know there’s lots of work to do to be able to dispatch anyone (or anything) to where someone in distress is calling from their cell phone.

http://www.govtech.com/public-safety/Ambulance-Drones-May-Save-Lives.html

Correct link for Anthrpocene Story Maps

Thanks to Shane White for picking up my error in the previous post.  For those of you on the RSS feed, please note this is the correct link: http://story.maps.arcgis.com/apps/MapJournal/?appid=d14f53dcaf7b4542a8c9110eeabccf1c

Anthropocene Story Maps

The story maps ESRI put together for this topic are pretty neat:

http://story.maps.arcgis.com/apps/MapJournal/?appid=d14f53dcaf7b4542a8c9110eeabccf1c

 

NSGIC Comments on Home Mortgage Disclosure Act

On October 29th, Shelby Johnson, NSGIC President and Arkansas State GIO, forwarded comments on proposed rule changes issued by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (Home Mortgage Disclosure Act, Docket No. CFPB-2014-0019, RIN 3170-AA10). The Bureau is trying to determine how to track and analyze home mortgages with greater granularity than in the past. NSGIC’s suggestions include:

  1. The Bureau should not use parcel identification numbers because there is no standard numbering system in the United States.
  2. The Bureau should use address points and sub-addresses with the caveat that approximately 30 counties in the U.S. have not converted to physical addresses and they cover approximately 12 million addresses.
  3. The Bureau could partner with states to ‘roll-up’ local government address data and make it publicly available.

NSGIC noted that local governments are the address authorities and at least 21 states are already partnering with their local governments to produce high-quality address point data.  As they are posted, you will be able to view all of the comments on this proposed rule change at: http://www.consumerfinance.gov/notice-and-comment/

Google searches in Europe

Is it OK to let people dig up old dirt? At issue is the balance between privacy and freedom of information.  In the US, we say “sure” even when the dirt is no longer relevant. It’s different in Europe. Thanks to a recent lawsuit, Google allows people to opt out when the information is “inadequate, irrelevant, or no longer relevant.”

The October 4 issue of The Economist describes the situation in an article, The Right to be forgotten: Drawing the line. In 1998 Mario Costeja González, a lawyer, was forced to sell his home to pay some debts. Notice was posted in a Spanish newspaper, La Vanguardia. Google linked to it, causing González no end of professional problems. He sued to be forgotten and won.

America (and Google) has a history of openness and freedom of speech. Everything is fair game. Europe has a different history, that includes fascism and communism. Public information has been used to hurt innocent people.  Europe is more willing to suppress information that doesn’t serve a public good.

The balance is not always easy, but Google has risen to the challenge and is allowing people to petition to have links removed. Each appeal is reviewed and most are refused, but many have been granted.  Requests by doctors to remove patient reviews have been denied.  A teenage drunk-driving accident report was removed because it happened years ago, but an old report about professional misconduct was retained.

The process is evolving. Google has established a high level advisory council to help develop the process. Their report is due early next year. At the same time, government privacy regulators are working on shared guidelines for appeals.

The GIS community should watch closely. Our GISCI Code of Ethics commits us to serving society on the one hand and respecting individuals on the other. Society needs information, but individual privacy needs to be respected too. People should have enough autonomy to opt out, but not always. Where is the balance? The Google case will help us understand the balance and make more informed decisions.

There are other reasons to watch closely.  Rules adopted in Europe may prove useful in other parts of the world, including the US.