Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Google making inroads with Enterprise GIS

It looks that Google is finally making some progress in Australia with selling its GIS enterprise solutions to government clients. The first, and for quite some time the only public sector user of Google technology was NT government but just in the last few months three other State governments succumbed to Google’s charms. In particular, Western Australian Land Information System (WALIS) is upgrading its GIS capabilities with Google Maps Engine platform and has already started serving some data in OGC compliant web service standards.

Earlier this month the NSW Land & Property Information (LPI) released NSW Globe, which allows displaying a range of State data in Google Earth, and in the last few days Queensland’s Department of Natural Resources and Mines released its version as Queensland Globe - with almost identical list of datasets.

It is good that more and more data is made accessible for preview in a public domain. Let’s hope that these initiatives are only a beginning and will lead to more investment into a proper infrastructure to serve the data to third party applications.

Displaying data on a map is so passé. It was a thrilling functionality a decade ago but these days, in order to make a real impact, the data has to be put in context of tasks that community and business undertake on regular basis. Which is anything from looking up bus timetable to researching optimal delivery routes, from searching properties for purchase to collecting business intelligence for marketing purposes, etc. 

Google has already recognised that tools it offers cannot deliver all those solutions so the company is focusing its efforts on enabling linking of data served from Google infrastructure to open source tools like QGIS - to enable users performing more specialised spatial tasks.

Government agencies should ideally follow a similar strategy. The best return on all that data in State and federal vaults will be if application developers are allowed unencumbered access to it. Whether it is Google or ESRI or other technology facilitating the access is not that critical as long as there is a long term commitment to maintain it.

Related Posts:
South Australia opens its data
East coast unanimously frees data
Free data a GFC casualty
Governments intensify free data efforts
Data overload makes SDI obsolete
What’s the benefit of gov data warehouses?

Monday, November 25, 2013

New approach to satellite imagery analysis

Geoscience Australia has just released a short 3 min. video presenting a concept of “data cube” for storing and analysing Earth observation imagery acquired by satellites. This proof of concept application has been built to work with Landsat data and was already used in an operational capacity on several data analysis projects. This is the future of analysis of big volumes of temporal, remotely sensed data.

The concept can be extended to work with any data that can be referenced to a grid structure (in fact, to any spatial data that comprise of a collection of points in space). This is not the first attempt to work with cubed spatial data but certainly the first that I know of that is capable of processing terabytes of spatial imagery into a variety of derived information for immediate, practical use.

Related Posts:
Point cloud 3D map technology
Photosynth - big promise or just a fancy photo viewer?

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

GIS community responds to another disaster

Another big disaster has just struck our region. Typhoon Haiyan / Yolanda was one of the most powerful recorded storms in history. Winds of up to 120km/h caused massive wave surges and caused widespread devastation, particularly in the Philippines. The enormity of this tragedy is slowly emerging from media reports.

As on previous occasions, GIS community responded with massive crowd sourcing effort to help in mapping the extent of damage as well as to assist in response activities. Google created dedicated Crisis Response Map. The Standby Task Force created SBTF Crisis Map and Rappler has released the Project Agos Disaster Information Map.

A useful list of aid groups and charities responding to this crisis has been published by The Guardian.

First spotted on Google Maps Mania.