|GIS News|| |
Expert blames poor infra for tsunami disaster
More infrastructures spending by Japan could have lessened the impact of this month’s deadly tsunami but the government has become too reliant on low-cost measures such as handing out warning maps, said Professor Fumihiko Imamura, Tohoku University’s Disaster Control Research Center.
According to Prof. Imamura, Japan should invoke Western-style urban planning to keep houses and hospitals further from the coast as it rebuilds from the crippling disaster. Japan’s cash-strapped government has moved away in recent years from costly projects such as increasing the height of sea walls to budget measures like producing maps that show which areas are at lower sea levels.
US army geospatial center supports Japan tsunami relief efforts
The US Army Geospatial Center (AGC) compiled earthquake, water, and geology maps as well as other data sets of Japan and made them available via its public and public key infrastructure (PKI) Web sites last week in support of U.S. quake and tsunami relief efforts. Engineering Route Studies, Geo-referenced PDF maps, a water consumption calculator, and additional resources are available to the Department of Defense (DoD), federal agencies, and other organizations that utilize Common Access Cards at https://cac.agc.army.mil/Countries/Japan.cfm. Public access to the site is available at http://www.agc.army.mil/Japan/index.html. The center also compiled data for personnel utilizing the Defense Advanced Global Positioning System Receiver (DAGR) – a self-contained, hand-held GPS receiver that provides highly accurate position, navigation and timing information to users under all weather conditions.
Indian geologists demand review of N-plants’ safety
In the wake of the devastation caused by the 9-magnitude quake in Japan, India’s leading geologists voiced concern over safety of the country’s nuclear plants, Deccan Herald reports. However, Manmohan Singh, Prime Minister, Government of India, stated that Indian nuclear plants are safe because they are away from geological faults.
K.S. Valdiya, a geologist at the Jawaharlal Nehru Centre for Advanced Scientific Research in Bangalore, is one of those who believe that complacence will be harmful. Valdiya said his latest work had confirmed that many “lineaments” that have been identified by remote sensing technology and field work along the western coasts of Kerala, Karnataka and Maharashtra “are actually geological faults” potentially capable of causing earthquakes. “Some of these faults are active, some inert and some are ‘locked,’ meaning there is no movement taking place,” Valdyia said. There are hundreds of faults with no movement, “but certainly stresses and strains are accumulating there and when the limit is exceeded there will be an earthquake,” he added.
“One cannot simply locate nuclear plants on the basis of today’s hazard zoning map that is based on past occurrences of earthquakes. Just because a fault has not been identified, it doesn’t mean the fault does not exist,” Valdiya stressed. Valdiya’s findings will soon be published in the journal of the Geological Society of India.
Researchers map soils’ ability to absorb radiation
The Morgantown school’s Geospatial Research Unit, West Virginia University (WVU), is examining the soils of Pacific Coast states to determine their ability to trap airborne radiation in the event that it drifts from Japan to the US. They also are determining locations of soils that can transfer trapped radioactivity into vegetation. The work is being done in collaboration with the National Soil Survey Center and WVU’s Division of Plant and Soil Sciences.
Roughly 35 million soil profile maps are part of the US Department of Agriculture Natural Resources Conservation Service database. That information can be used for things ranging from land use planning to environmental modeling.
Earth observation, but then on Mars
The ITC Faculty of the University of Twente is now involved with geo-information science and earth observation. But it seems that the techniques they are using are not only suitable for use here on planet Earth, but also beyond. Researcher Frank van Ruitenbeek and his colleagues have been using them to explore part of the surface of Mars. Van Ruitenbeek was involved in the European Space Agency’s Mars Planetary Mapping Pilot Project. The aim of the project was to find out whether it is possible to use terrestrial technology to map the surface of Mars and understand more about the planet’s geology. The research focuses specifically on Nili Fossae, a region on Mars with an area of about 700 kilometres by 300 kilometres which is located next to a large impact crater. Scientists have long been interested in this region because of its great mineral diversity and geologically interesting composition.
Taiwan’s spatial decision support system on cloud
Taiwan GIS Centre is developing its web-based spatial decision support system on the Government Cloud. It aims to enable central and local government, private industries, and the general public to access spatial information through various medium such as the internet and mobile phones. According to Chih-Hong Sun, Director of the Taiwan GIS Centre (TGIC); the Centre is developing an application portal that would use a Spatial Decision Support System (SDSS) to enable better reusing, sharing and managing of spatial information.
Sun added that methods for discovering relevant GI services over the Internet and sharing and reusing knowledge in developing solutions are critical to the success of a web-based SDSS. “For this purpose, we propose an ontology-enabled problem solving framework based on semantic interoperability and knowledge sharing to enable a web-based SDSS to bring together GI services from web service providers, knowledge and simulation models from domain experts, solutions developed by SDSS developers, and decision needs from decision makers” Sun continued.
Tristram Cary, CEO and chairman of Getmapping complained that it has been frozen out of business opportunities because rival Ordnance Survey (OS) has an unfair advantage. Cary has had to cut jobs as the national mapping agency OS is given free rein to produce maps for central and local government from April.
That is when the Government intends to scrap existing competitive tenders and come to a deal with OS, which is a non-ministerial department, under the auspices of the Department for Communities and Local Government. Award-winning Getmapping – it was the first to create a complete colour aerial photograph of the UK – employs around 50 people.
Archaeologists uncover mystery of British Isles
Channel 4’s flagship programme Time Team, which has been uncovering the archaeological mysteries of the British Isles since 1994, now used 3D laser scanning technology to create high definition flythrough animations. A survey team from Digital Surveys captured hundreds of millions of millimetre accurate measurements to map the development of advanced fortifications around Mont Orgueil Castle in Jersey. Processed using Pointools software, the survey team was able to create a series of high impact 3D images complete with advanced lighting effects which featured in the final broadcast.
EPA’s map on water quality
Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) in the US has released a National Clean Water Act Trends Map on the Enforcement and Compliance History Online (ECHO) web site. The map is designed to help the public, compare water quality trends over the last two years. It expands the 2008 Annual Noncompliance Report Map, adding maps for the 2009 Annual Noncompliance Report as well as the 2008 and 2009 CWA NPDES Majors Reports.
The web-based, interactive map includes “state dashboards” that provide detailed information for each state, including information on facilities that are violating the Clean Water Act and the actions states are taking to enforce the law and protect people’s health.
South Australia to enhance LIS
The South Australian Government has entered into an eight-year agreement with Salmat, a call centre specialist, to deliver a land information management system within three years. Salmat’s Integrated Land Information System (ILIS) was originally developed by the Northern Territory Government Department of Lands and Planning. The product was recently contracted to Salmat for commercialise sale and use as a web based, Torrens Title Land Information System.
Public Service Award for NOAA’s coastal geospatial chief
Management Association for Private Photogrammetric Surveyors (MAPPS) presented Public Service Award to Nicholas “Miki” Schmidt, Coastal Geospatial Services Division Chief, of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Coastal Services Center, Charleston, US. Schmidt was recognized for forging public-private partnerships, and inter-agency and inter-governmental arrangements to carry out NOAA projects that promote economic development and environmental balance in America’s coastal communities.
Lands Department, Hong Kong, is constructing and maintaining a territory-wide 3D spatial database which would include buildings, roads and terrain with positional and height accuracy up to meter level, according to Paul Ng, Chief Land Surveyor of the Land Information Centre, Lands Department. “The project will be completed by the end of year and the 3D spatial data will be made available to the public on a cost recovery basis,” he said. Lands Department anticipates that the 3D spatial data will be of substantial use to land developers, town planners, architects and engineers in the private sector who are involved in project planning and implementation.
GIS power for Philippine police
A research team from the University of the Cordilleras (UC) is developing a crime mapping system using GIS for the Baguio City Police Office (BCPO). According to researchers, the system will help augment lack of police force as a crime map helps determine where crimes usually occur; hence police could deploy additional police in crime-prone areas.
The programme involves three phases. The first phase involves data collection where current data will be transformed into digital maps. This phase will take about six months to finish. The second phase is implementation of the programme through installation of a system of computer networks and training of personnel. This phase will take about two months to implement. The third phase involves research, using data obtained from digital maps such as common profile of crime offenders, areas where various crimes usually occur, setting-up of a database of the profile of juvenile delinquents and possible institutionalisation of rehabilitation options.
Map reveals child poverty in the UK
The Campaign to End Child Poverty has published the first installment of a two part report providing a child poverty map of the UK. The End Child Poverty website provides local child poverty data down to ward level in England. The official data used for the local analysis will be available for other parts of the UK later in the year, following which a further installment of the report will be published which will include the rest of the UK and updated data for England.
Philippines to roll out unified mapping project
Philippines is to undertake a unified mapping project. It aims to update the country’s topographic map series and would implement a more detailed 1:10,000 map series for an estimated 50 per cent of the country’s land mass. According to the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR), Instead of the typical approach wherein different government agencies do their own mapping and GIS initiatives, this effort will pool funds for the acquisition of aerial photography and satellite imagery.
The agency also stressed the importance of using spatial information in government agencies in the country as it would not only improve business processes but could also potentially reduce the loss of lives when used for disaster management and Geohazard mapping given the unique location of the Philippines as an archipelago.
The project will be coordinated by the National Mapping and Resource Information Authority which is part of the DENR.
The Government of Canada granted funds, USD 30 million, over five years, to support geomatics industry. The amount is almost triple the original two-year allocation of USD 11 million for Natural Resources Canada’s GeoConnections programme. This announcement was made by Christian Paradis, Minister of Natural Resources Canada.
“In the long term, GeoConnections will ensure that Canadians benefit from this dynamic new web infrastructure designed for the 21st century,” said Minister Paradis. “The programme will ensure Canada maintains its international leadership in the digital economy as it applies to geomatics. Continued federal leadership will advance government priorities, support federal responsibilities, and foster economic development.”
India signs MoU for cooperation in mineral resources
The Ministry of Mines of India and the Ministry of Energy and Resources of the Province of Saskatchewan, Canada, signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to establish a cooperation programme in the field of geology and mineral resources. The other areas identified for cooperation include Geoinformatics, particularly spatial data generation, management and geoinformation, including mining tenement application, environmental technologies and services, including sustainable development of technologies and techniques.
State Bureau of Surveying and Mapping’s (SBSM) efforts to clean up China’s geographical information market have entered the “retrospective” phase, during which it will review online geographical information and mapping services, according to SBSM’s spokesperson.
The spokesperson said that the “retrospective” investigation would require offices around the country to clean up and prosecute any illegal or unauthorised activity involving foreign entities, the military or state secrets. The cleanup will focus on a thorough investigation of online map data and map services, including whether or not companies providing online map services have the required mapping and surveying and publication authorisation for online map services; whether or not the maps carried by the services are provided by providers with authorized map numbers; whether or not the maps provide inaccurate representations of national territory; and whether or not the maps contain state secrets that have been designated as off-limits to the public.
According to recent figures from the SBSM, it has prosecuted 1,058 cases of illegal mapping-related activity since January 2009, more than 30 of which were major cases involving foreign entities or military information, and has ordered administrative punishments in 168 cases. It has sought out and investigated 41,670 online map sites, of which it found 3,686 to contain political or other errors; of these, it ordered more than 1,000 to amend their information, and ordered more than 200 to shut down.
Azerbaijan, Georgia complete border demarcation
Azerbaijani and Georgian experts have completed work on the demarcation of the border, announced Garib Mammadov, Chairman, Azerbaijani State Land and Cartography Committee. “Currently, we expect the invitation of the Georgian side to discuss the work conducted at the expert level,” Mammadov said. Around 180 kilometres of the 480limoetrs-border between Azerbaijan and Georgia has not been clarified yet.
Regarding the Keshikchi dag complex, which is on the inconsistent side of the border with Georgia, Mammadov said borders cannot be identified on some historical monuments. “The duty maps of the former Soviet are taken to account in determining the boundaries,” he added. The Keshikchi dag complex, which Georgians call the David Gareji complex, Azerbaijani historians regard as the monument of Albanian culture.
SuperGeo announces Mobile Cadastral GIS 3.0
SuperGeo Technologies announced its latest product – Mobile Cadastral GIS 3.0, to assist in field survey and cadastral navigation measurement. According to the company press statement, since being first released in November 2010, Mobile Cadastral GIS has been utilised extensively. In view of a large quantity of positive feedback and valuable suggestions, SuperGeo team redesigned this system with many improvements, including interface design, map display, manipulation procedure, and query speed. Accordingly, the brand-new Mobile Cadastral GIS 3.0 appears.
PBBI to double its channel presence in India
Pitney Bowes Business Insight (PBBI) announced that it would double its channel presence in India. The company currently has 100 partners across levels here. It is looking at adding large system integrators, value added resellers, and partners across regions and verticals.
PBBI made this announcement at the Partner & System Integrators (SI) Event, held in New Delhi, India, where the executive management of the company presented about PBBI, plans in India, roadmap for its products to a group of partners, enterprise customers and select invitees.
SNPDRI selects Intergraph® SmartPlant® Foundation
State Nuclear Electric Power Planning Design and Research Institute (SNPDRI) based in Beijing, China, has chosen Intergraph® SmartPlant® Foundation and other SmartPlant Enterprise solutions to manage engineering data for its AP1000™ project.
As a subsidiary of State Nuclear Power Technology Corporation (SNPTC), SNPDRI sought a standard engineering database to easily share engineering data within the organization and with SNPTC. SNPDRI chose Intergraph’s SmartPlant Foundation because it is the world’s most proven, industry-standard engineering information management solution in the process, power and marine industries. SmartPlant Foundation is the “e-Engineering integration hub” for SmartPlant Enterprise and will enable SNPDRI to manage its data more efficiently and ensure that valid, consistent and high-quality engineering data is shared between applications and users when and where they need it. SmartPlant Foundation, along with other solutions from the SmartPlant Enterprise suite, will be implemented company-wide across all of SNPDRI’s worldwide projects.
TatukGIS Editor 3.0 with 3D Mapping
TatukGIS announces version 3.0 of its highly affordable desktop GIS Editor featuring seamless 3D viewing integration. 3D capabilities include presentation of DTM (digital terrain models), 3D vector rendering, automatic draping of image and 2D vector layers over DTM models, flood simulation, fly-over, lights control, powerful camera/observer control …
An already existing map project can be presented in 3D without any changes. If a DTM exists in an opened project, the map data is automatically draped over the model. Familiar styling capabilities are available in 3D mode as well.
The Delhi State Assembly approved Delhi Geo-spatial Data Infrastructure (Management, Control, Administration, Security and Safety) Bill, 2011. It seeks to use geospatial technology for planning and executing various development projects and utility services. With the passage of the Bill, Delhi has become the first State in India to enact such an important legislation. The Bill was passed unanimously.
Sheila Dikshit, Chief Minister of the State said that the Delhi State Spatial Data Infrastructure (DSSDI) Project was approved by the Cabinet to frame and implement policies for issues related to geo-spatial data. The office of GIS system would be located in Vikas Bhawan and 63 cameras would be installed at strategic positions across Delhi for transmitting relevant information to the monitoring centers. These would be super-imposed on the data residing in the GIS system and the changes would be identified and investigated. The data would also be of use in better disaster management.
The Bill was aimed at creating, updating, managing, disseminating and sharing for Delhi geo-spatial data, maps, system, application and portal to serve as a base for planning and executing various development projects. A common and integrated GIS is planned and 30 departments or local bodies have been brought under the ambit of the project, she added. The Bill makes the utilisation and application of the data infrastructure mandatory. It also envisages creation of a Regulatory Authority headed by the Chief Secretary.
Bihar prepares Town and Country Planning Bill
Centre for Environment Planning and Technology (CEPT)’s urban planner and urban management consultants are preparing Bihar’s first Town and Country Planning Bill. The legislation, once approved, will guide planned urban development in Bihar, an Indian State. The proposed legislation is part of the ‘Spur Programme for Urban Reforms in Bihar’, a joint project of the Centre, Bihar government and the UK government’s department of international development (DFID). It will lay down procedures for different types of development plans, building and planning norms, rules for land use plan and open space plan as well as for housing for the poor. As Bihar is the birthplace of Buddhism, it has important heritage structures. The proposed Act will also include norms for conservation of these structures.
Gram Sabha to determine land titles for tribals
In India, Gujarat State Government’s ‘failure’ to hand over forest land to tribals figured in the State Assembly. And, Mangubhai Patel, State Tribal Minister, announced that Gram Sabha (an administrative unit at village level) will determine land titles.
In November 2010, the GoI committee criticised the Gujarat State government’s innovation, saying it was “increasingly dependent on satellite imagery” for getting evidence to support land claims by tribals. The Bhaskaracharya Institute of Space Applications and Geoinformatics (BISAG), it said, was using “CartoSat (2.5 metres) imagery to plot cultivated lands for each village, overlaying 2005 and 2007 images to determine whether pre-2005 occupants were still cultivating land.”
Finding flaw with the method, the committee said, the imagery failed to “distinguish the individual plots of each claimant”, and “maps produced have been found to leave out large areas of villages, or the cultivated lands, because of interpretational errors by BISAG staff.” It added that there was lack of transparency, as the claimants were “often not given copies of the maps, nor explained methods to prepare them.”
Indian state to map water resources
Uttar Pradesh State Water and Sanitation Mission (SWSM) in India will document water resources across six zones of the state, using GIS and GPS technologies. The GIS and GPS mapping will take note of ponds (manmade and natural), wells and hand pumps. The mapping will be done by private organisations and the mission office has already invited proposals from expert agencies. The exercise is a part of the Government of India’s National Rural Drinking Water Programme (NRDWP) and will cover villages under six zones of UP under three commissionaires. These zones are Allahabad, Ghaziabad, Gorakhpur, Lucknow, Varanasi and Moradabad.
Indian cops ask hotels for 3D maps
Delhi Police in India has asked all five-star hotels to prepare three-dimensional maps of their premises. The New Delhi district has 12-five star hotels. Police said they already have maps of these establishments, but a “3D tour” would enable them to plan operations in case of any contingency. “This is part of our plan to upgrade security in hotels. We took these measures after the Mumbai attacks in 2008 when big hotels were targeted,” said V A Gupta, Additional Deputy Commissioner of Police, New Delhi.