Sunday, February 19, 2012

Virginia Base Mapping Program 2011 & 2009 orthos

The Virginia Geographic Information Network - VGIN - has just released its updated ortho imagery web services (ArcGIS Server) to contain the images from the VBMP 2011 spring flight.  For the first time, these web services are accessible to GIS users without restriction or cost.  At the October 2011 VGIN Advisory Board meeting, the Board endorsed this action to further the data's utilization and to make the data more pervasive (Note:  digital copies of the 2011 orthos still require purchasing).  The web service can be accessed by pointing ArcGIS desktop to this URL.

With the delivery of the VBMP 2011 orthos, VGIN is releasing into the "public domain" the orthos from the 2009 VBMP orthophotography acquisition. For the 2009 VBMP orthos, localities now can use their own data distribution policies (instead of VGIN's).  These orthos can also be requested through VGIN (fees may apply for media and processing time).

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Congress Asks NOAA to Consider Charging for Data

Note:  This is a repost from the Lea Shanley's Geodata Policy blog

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administratio...
David Malakoff, Science Magazine, December 2011 (Vol. 334, no. 6051, p. 1337)

For decades, scientists at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) have been carving satellite data into customized chunks that help other federal agencies solve some unusual problems—at no cost to the users. But faced with soaring NOAA satellite costs and a bleak budget outlook, lawmakers last month ordered the agency to explore ways of charging other federal agencies—and perhaps even some large consortiums of academic scientists that partner with government agencies—for its “specialized data products.” It’s time, they argue, for beneficiaries to help NOAA sustain a cash-strapped satellite program. A storm is brewing over the suggestion.
For full text of the article, visit Congress Asks NOAA to Consider Charging for Data.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

GIS and Emergency Response - The Human Side

Jason Braunstein, GIS Manager for the Virginia Department of Forestry, recently wrote about the human side of being involved in emergency response as a GIS professional. In his case it was the recent wildfires in Texas. Read his personal account in Forestry's newsletter. It can be hard work and long hours, but Jason eloquently explains why it is worth it.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

What's In A Map?

Officials at the Washington DC Metro system are updating their Metro Map for the first time in 36 years.  The map has become a well known symbol and reference - love it or hate it - for anyone traveling on the Metro subway system in the DC area.  The Washington Post has an article about what one can expect from the new map and also how they are seeking input to possible changes.

Cartographers will recognize some of the same decision points that go into making any map, such as what colors and symbology to utilize.  In many ways the Metro map is the face of the city and choosing colors that send a "welcome" message to visitors is important to Lance Wyman, the graphic designer who is redesigning his original map from 1976.  You can view the draft map and take an online survey to offer your perspective on the color and symbol choices.

And I am happy to report that there still is a North Arrow and a legend on the map!

Friday, July 1, 2011

Online Broadband Availability Map

The Governor's Office has published a press release about the new Virginia interactive Broadband Availability map, which can be accessed through Wired Virginia.  The mapping effort is a collaboration led by Deputy Secretary of Technology Karen Jackson and includes VITA's Virginia Geographic Information Network, Virginia Tech's Center for Geospatial Information Technology, and the Center for Innovative Technology.

The broadband map data represents the most current and comprehensive statewide view of broadband availability in Virginia.  Data is updated twice a year, spring and fall, to the National Telecommunications Information Agency..  The online map will also be updated after each federal submittal is completed.  The mapping application has some cool GIS features in it as well, including the ability to toggle between the VBMP statewide ortho and the ESRI base map, and ArcGIS Server web services for all data, and the geocoding web service for address look up.  If you haven't seen it yet give it a spin!

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

ESRI Makes Landsat GLS Archive Available as Image Services

ESRI has gone live with its Landsat Imagery services based upon the USGS/NASA Global Land survey (GLS) .

ESRI is publishing the 1975, 1990, 2000 and 2005 GLS datasets as image services that can be accessed in ArcGIS Dekstop, ArcGIS Online and in REST-based web applications. It has also made these services available in web viewers.

The datasets themselves can be viewed in various band combinations. ESRI has also provided a set of change products (GLSChange) than can be accessed just like the Landsat GLS imagery. The GLS and GLSChange services together provide an impressive data resource.

It is worth noting that the GLS datasets do not contain all available Landsat imagery but are global collections of selected high-quality scenes, more or less centered around the nominal year.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Best Practices for Local Government Geospatial Programs from NGAC

The National Geospatial Advisory Committee (NGAC) has issued a two-page best practices paper that lists four steps to building a successful local government GIS program:
  1. Establish a geospatial program (including recommendations on planning and governance)
  2. Develop and maintain data as an asset
  3. Take an enterprise approach
  4. Share with the public
This might serve as a good resource to assess your local government program and to justify its role or advocate its expansion.