Category Archives: Industry Focus

GIS in Education: Beyond Instruction

Expanding GIS use throughout educational institutions

Typically when people reflect on the incorporation of GIS technology in education, the picture that comes to mind is framed by classroom instruction and research—for instance, a high school world geography class, a community college GIS certificate program, a university urban planning course, and basic scientific investigation that advances knowledge. These and other areas of academic and career instruction and research do, in fact, represent the lion’s share of the GIS activity occurring within educational institutions, and which is vital to fostering successive generations of geospatial leaders and problem solvers. However, these are not the only settings where GIS is providing an essential service within educational entities. Continue reading

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Big Data—A Banking Boom or Bust?

Location-based insight

Business data is growing at such a rate that many organizations can become overwhelmed by the big data problem. A recent McKinsey, IDC, and Department of Labor Statistics analysis [PDF] of data in business found that financial/securities organizations have 3.8 petabytes per firm—that’s more than 400 million gigabytes, or about 12.5 million iPads, per company! Banking comes in a distant second with 1.9 PB. This puts big data found in financial services companies into perspective since this is even greater than most communications and media companies’ average of 1.8 PB. Continue reading

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Can Government Improve Its Image?

Restoring trust in government

The growing distrust and poor image associated with government continue. As a result, I see citizens asking more and more questions of their government and wanting leaders to hear their voices. The citizens I hear are speaking loudly and growing in number. They want to know how their tax dollars are being allocated. They want to find out if corruption in a neighboring jurisdiction is also happening in their backyards. In the absence of effective government forums, disruptive apps are providing a place for these citizens to communicate with each other. Continue reading

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GeoDesign for Climate Change Adaptation

Designing a more sustainable future

The earth’s climate is changing, leading to serious problems for humanity in areas such as food security, health, and public safety.

As our environment changes around us, we need to adapt swiftly. But where do we start? Should we reinforce or rebuild existing structures? Or should we abandon existing settlements and relocate the population in some cases? And how can mass rebuilding/relocation efforts be best accomplished from human, environmental, and economic perspectives? Continue reading

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Facing the Challenge of Aging Infrastructure

The right tool for the job

In 2009, the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) gave America’s infrastructure a “D.” When most of America’s infrastructure was originally built, the country was in a growth mode and engineered every specific project to be optimal before moving on, not always understanding the mechanics of the complete system—how the various projects or components worked together and how they affected each other at a more regional scale. To add to this complacency, underground infrastructure also suffered from the adage “out of sight, out of mind.” Today, with our limited budgets and declining workforce, we are experiencing the results of this oversight. We understand that infrastructure decays due to in situ conditions and operational extremes, material degradation and manufacturing defects, and dynamic loads not taken into account in the original design. We now know that skipped maintenance schedules shorten the life expectancy of our assets. Entire systems are being brought down by their weakest links. Continue reading

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LightSquared: Man-Made Solar Flares?

High-accuracy GPS is at risk

Solar flares are naturally occurring explosions that occur on the sun’s surface from energy, suddenly released, that is stored in twisted magnetic fields. Solar flares produce a burst of radiation across the electromagnetic spectrum and disrupt some electromagnetic instruments on earth. The sun is currently at the peak of an 11-year cycle of solar flares. You may have noticed GPS interference while out on the job recently. Solar flares are the probable cause of this interference. Continue reading

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The Changing Face of Mapping Organizations

Riding the wave of new technologies and trends

The map, chart and data production (MAPS) industry is being revolutionized by changes in technology, societal trends, and the mapping community itself. This wave of change is not only reshaping the MAPS industry landscape, but providing new opportunities. Continue reading

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Improving the Claims Management Process

Integrating intelligent maps

As the single largest expense for P&C carriers, the claims management process is a focal point in driving improved customer satisfaction and increased underwriting profits. In fact, a recent study by Deloitte shows that a single percentage point improvement in claims costs could return significant savings for insurers. Continue reading

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Citizen Engagement: Applied Gov 2.0

Reinventing government

Ever since Tim O’Reilly captured our imagination with the term “Government 2.0,” the world has scrambled to understand its true meaning. Some dismissed the idea as a passing fad. But much like Al Gore’s “Reinventing Government” initiative, it moved us toward an ideal. Early Gov 2.0 efforts sought to define this concept and understand how it could alter the reinvention of government. Since Gov 2.0 is grounded in Web 2.0 technology, startups and traditional companies explored how they could fit into the grand scheme of things. The concept was given a boost when politicians as high ranking as President Obama challenged governments to enhance civic engagement. Could we turn even large cities like Singapore, Boston, or Seattle into communities whose citizens have a strong role in shaping the future? Continue reading

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Accessing Historical and Current Remotely Sensed Data

Managing data for internal and public use

It was the military and large corporations such as oil and mineral exploration companies that first saw the value in imagery. This launched a new industry bent on acquiring the most accurate, highest resolution imagery with newer satellites, aerial sensors, photogrammetric equipment and specialized software, to help interpret the images. Continue reading

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