President Benigno Aquino III of Philippines announced that the Government allocated PHP 1 billion for three-dimensional mapping of the entire country. According to Aquino III, it is designed to minimise damage during natural disasters. Aquino made this announcement during the inauguration of the new PHP 243-million Agno River Basin Flood Forecasting and Warning System.
The President said, “One of our proposals is the development of a comprehensive 3-D mapping of the whole Philippines. We will release P1 billion for this. With this mapping, our perspective of every corner of the country will widen, resulting in an improved capability to know which areas are vulnerable to floods.”
The President said this will also give the government more time to help Filipinos at risk from flooding. The Agno River Basin Flood Forecasting and Warning System is an early warning facility meant to provide timely, reliable and understandable flood warnings and bulletins in the provinces of Tarlac and Pangasinan. The system had received PHP 154-million grant from the Japanese government through the Japan International Cooperation Agency.
DENR produces geohazard maps of high-risk towns
The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) in Philippines produced 1:10,000 geo-hazard maps for distribution to high-risk local government units. Leo Jasareno, director of the Mines and Geosciences Bureau, said that the department is targeting to map 160 municipalities with the better detailed 1:10,000 scale maps.
Jasareno said that these maps are bigger, thus more detailed than the current 1:50,000 geo-hazard maps that were given to each municipality. According to Jasareno, the budget for the programme would be PHP 300 million for a period of five years.
However, he said the main problem they will be encountering in the mapping project would be the lack of geologists to undertake said project.
FGDC publishes Geospatial Platform Roadmap
The Federal Geographic Data Committee (FGDC) announced that Geospatial Platform Roadmap Version 4 has been completed and is posted at http://www.geoplatform.gov/Geospatial%20Platform%20Roadmap%20v4%20Final.pdf.
The FGDC are developing a Geospatial Platform to more effectively provide place-based products and services to all American. The geospatial platform will be a managed portfolio of common geospatial data, services and applications contributed and administered by authoritative sources and hosted on a shared infrastructure, for use by government agencies and partners to meet their mission needs and the broader needs of the Nation.
Dubai to migrate cadastre system to ArcGIS 10
Dubai Municipality signed an enterprise license agreement (ELA) with ESRI’s United Arab Emirates distributor, GISTEC. “The ELA provides us with the products and flexibility we need as we plan to migrate our existing cadastre and certification management systems to the ArcGIS 10 platform, making it easier to access and use data,” said AbdulHakim Abdul Kareem Malik, Director, Dubai Municipality GIS department. The agreement aims to make ArcGIS software available throughout the organisation to help meet the planning and operational demands of Dubai’s rapid growth.
The Thai government laid down plans to launch ThaiSDI, country’s National Spatial Data Infrastructure (NSDI) website by 2012. National Committee on Geo-Information has appointed Geo-Informatics and Space Technology Development Agency (GISTDA) to host the NSDI portal. Dr. Chaowalit Silapathong, Director of the Geo-Informatics office at the GISTDA, said, “Like many developed countries, Thailand has been convinced that the idea of e-Government should be made with a strategic direction. GIS has been accepted as one of the major components of e-Government in providing geospatial data and information for decision making. An important element to effectively integrate GIS with e-Government is to establish NSDI.”
GISTDA is currently developing the system by upgrading the existing GISTDA GIS clearinghouse demonstration programme established in 2009. The website will serve as the national gateway for spatial information and pave the way towards “Spatially Enabling” Thailand.
OGC approves Java interface for geospatial software
The Open Geospatial Consortium (OGC) members voted for the OGC GeoAPI 3.0 Interface Standard as an official OGC standard. The GeoAPI standard provides a set of Java language interfaces. It is based on the ISO 19100 series of geospatial abstract models for metadata and feature geometry as well as two OGC abstract specifications for metadata and coordinate reference systems. In addition to producing this set of Java language interfaces, the OGC GeoAPI 3.0 Standards Working Group has produced a test suite through which developers implementing the Java interfaces can test their implementations.
The OGC GeoAPI 3.0 Interface Standard documents, including jars (Java archives) and schemas are available at (http://www.opengeospatial.org/standards/geoapi).
NASA, USAID sign geospatial accord
NASA and the US Agency for International Development (USAID) signed a five-year memorandum of understanding (MOU). The agreement formalized ongoing agency collaborations that use Earth science data to address developmental challenges, and to assist in disaster mitigation and humanitarian responses. The agreement also encourages NASA and USAID to apply geospatial technologies to solve development challenges affecting the United States as well as developing countries.
NASA Administrator Charles Bolden and USAID Administrator Dr. Rajiv Shah signed MOU at NASA Headquarters. “Through our partnership with NASA, we can apply the latest, cutting-edge technology to deliver meaningful results for people in developing countries in areas like health, food security and water,” Shah said.
Geospatial tech aiding anti-poverty motion
To meet the demographic challenges and to help the growing population with food security, European Space Agency (ESA) and the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) collaborated to identify detailed geospatial information needed to support projects in Madagascar. In the last 12 months, ESA has conducted three trials using state-of-the-art Earth observation services. These trials have provided invaluable information on rice acreage, inundation areas and land parcels, which assist IFAD to monitor better the impact of its projects.
CARIS launches Spatial Fusion Enterprise 5.4
CARIS launched Spatial Fusion Enterprise 5.4 with OGC Web Coverage Services for bathymetric data. According to the company’s press statement, it is a continuation of CARIS’ commitment to provide organisations with the latest technology for delivering their geospatial information on the Web. WCS is an OGC standard for downloading coverages of gridded and point cloud data. This will allow CARIS’ marine clients to share their bathymetric data through data downloads in 32-bit GeoTIFF, BAG and XYZ formats.
Map reveals distribution of purchasing power
This month’s map from GfK GeoMarketing provides an overview of 2011 GfK purchasing power in Germany, Austria and Switzerland. It forecasts a 2011 purchasing power of EUR 32,086 per Swiss inhabitant. The purchasing power for every Austrian on average amounts to EUR 20,200. These figures place Austria and Switzerland ahead of Germany: The average German has a 2011 purchasing power of EUR 19,684.
According to the Gfk’S press statement, purchasing power measured the available net income of the population, including government subsidies such as unemployment assistance, child benefit and pension contributions. The study by GfK GeoMarketing thus revealed the regional distribution of purchasing power within and between each individual country.
Israel reveals its geo intelligence
Israel’s observational satellites take up a large chunk of the multi-year Halamish plan that the Army is preparing, which is due to come before the cabinet for approval, Haaretz Daily reported. The plan outlines Israel’s current strategic standing in the Middle East amid the ongoing upheaval in the region and particularly the regime change in Egypt and the impact it will have on the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) and its buildup.
As an integrated part of the plan, satellites including the Ofek 5, 7 and 9 – the latest of which was launched in June – provide up-to-date images to the Intelligence Corps of the IDF. The images are used to help Israel keep an eye on sensitive “areas of interest” where planes, whether manned or unmanned, would not be able to go, said the lieutenant colonel who heads the air force’s satellite and space unit.
IAF officials are wary of going into too much depth when it comes to describing the abilities of Israeli satellites, but the lieutenant colonel described them as “creating photographic opportunities that enable us to get up-to-date information, to the point of providing a warning on leading operational needs.”
But the satellites have their limitations. Of Israel’s six satellites, only one – the high-resolution TecSar, which features radar imaging – is capable of transmitting images at night and in poor weather conditions, and the TecSar has a view of those “areas of interest” only once every 90 minutes. In addition, its elliptical orbit means that it goes dark for two weeks of every two months or so.
The air force would like to have enough satellites to keep the Middle East covered well enough that there would be no spot where Israel cannot see what’s going on once every 15 minutes.
Unlike the Ofek series satellites, TecSar – along with Eros A and Eros B, which are privately owned by a subsidiary of Israel Aircraft Industries – were launched abroad, from either Russia or India.
Geosan LLC has contracted with Vexcel Imaging GmbH, a Microsoft company, to purchase an UltraCamXp Wide Angle digital aerial photogrammetric camera system. With this purchase, Geosan becomes the first commercial provider of photogrammetric services in Mongolia to own a digital aerial camera. The mining sector in Mongolia has been a primary driver of economic growth over the past few years, and demand for all kinds of mapping is on the rise. Geosan provides aerial mapping services for infrastructure development, urban planning, cadastral and topographic mapping, environmental assessment, mining and environmental monitoring and disaster management. Customers include the Government of Mongolia, international environmental groups, and companies running mining and exploration operations in Mongolia.
France eyes GIS business in Vietnam
France is seeking for business prospect in GIS development in Vietnam. Recently, during a GIS workshop in Hanoi, Vietnam, French experts inquired into such prospect with their Vietnamese counterparts. They inquired particularly in the areas of housing, transport, agriculture, environmental management, risk prevention, crisis governance and topography. The application of geographic information is expected to help Vietnam in economic development, sustainable growth and prevention of environmental risks and natural disasters. According to Nguyen Manh Hien, Vietnamese Deputy Minister of Natural Resources and Environment, GIS has been applied in the country in agriculture-forestry planning, forest management, archives of geology, urban management, topographic and land survey.
Indonesia’s House of Representatives and all factions in the House Commission VII RI accepted Geospatial Information Bill. The draft was prepared in 1990s and now, it reached in final phase. Majority of the House of Representatives expressed their appreciation on the ratification of the bill as this will regulate the availability of geospatial information, not only in the Unitary Republic of Indonesia, but also within its Jurisdiction. “The application of the law on geospatial information will require the efforts of all parties, both the government and the parliament, to disseminate the substance of this Act to all stakeholders” stated a press statement by BAKOSURTANAL (national mapping agency of Indonesia).
After the ratification in the first phase, the Geospatial Information Bill will be submitted to the Parliament Plenary Meeting where it will obtain the final approval before the Parliament.
US to shut down public data platforms
Many of the US Government’s open government initiatives are set to be turned off by May 31, 2011, according to FederalNewsRadio.com report. Quoting an anonymous source, the report revealed that the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) is planning to shut down seven websites in next two months because of a lack of funding. Funding will begin to run out on April 20 for public sites IT Dashboard, Data.gov and paymentaccuracy.gov.
According to the report, OMB is also planning to shut down internal government sites, including Performance.gov, FedSpace and many of the efforts related the FEDRamp cloud computing cybersecurity effort. In addition, USASpending.gov and Apps.gov/now, will be shut down after July 30, 2011.
“We need at least another USD 4 million just to keep USASpending.gov operating this year,” the anonymous source said. The White House requested USD 35 million for the e-government fund in 2011. The House allocated only USD 2 million in its bill, H.R. 1. The Senate, meanwhile, would provide USD 20 million for the e-government fund.
Shin Kurushima Dockyard Company Limited standardizes on Intergraph® SmartMarine® 3D
Shin Kurushima Dockyard Company Limited (SKDY has standardized on Intergraph® SmartMarine® 3D as its 3D design and modeling solution of choice for its ship projects. Japan-based SKDY sought to implement leading-edge technology to increase its leading productivity numbers, as well as to drive improved quality and performance. The company found SmartMarine 3D to be the perfect match for its requirements, being truly a next-generation solution with rule-based technology, enabling SKDY to include and enhance its own sophisticated automation rules to continuously drive productivity numbers. With SmartMarine 3D, SKDY continues to enhance its competitiveness in the global shipbuilding industry. SKDY has now standardized on SmartMarine 3D for its ship design department, using it as the shipyard’s enterprise solution of choice for all of its projects.
Indian states sign MOU to set up geospatial centre
Two Indian states, Gujarat and Himachal Pradesh signed memorandum of understanding (MOU) to set up Aryabhatta Geo-Informatics and Space Application Centre (AGiSAC) in Himachal Pradesh. AGiSAC will be set up in collaboration with Bhaskaracharya Institute for Space Application and Geo Informatics (BISAG), Gandhinagar. According to Ravi S. Saxena, Additional Chief Secretary, Department of Science and Technology, Government of Gujarat, the duration of MOU will be three years unless extended by mutual consent. Ravi on behalf of Gujarat State Government and Sarojini Ganju Thakur, Additional Chief Secretary, Department of Environment, Science and Technology, Himachal Pradesh signed MOU in the presence of Prof. Prem Kumar Dhumal, Chief Minister of Himachal Pradesh.
Prof. Dhumal said that this MOU has opened a new vista of technical collaboration between Gujarat and Himachal Pradesh. The State will immensely gain benefits from technical expertise of BISAG which specialises in providing space application and geo-informatics services and covers all major sectors of remote sensing applications in decentralised planning along with awareness, capacity building and dissemination of information through SATCOM Network.
National College to start diploma in retail management, remote sensing
National Post Graduate College will introduce post-graduate diploma in geographical information system (GIS) and remote sensing, and retail management from the 2011-12 academic session. “The course of these kinds are not being run by higher education institutions in general, as they lack infrastructure. UGC has been kind enough to accept our proposal and sanction the required infrastructure. The two job-oriented courses will give students a lot of employment opportunities,” said college principal, SP Singh.
Weeks after the Delhi Assembly cleared the Geospatial Data Infrastructure Bill-2011, work on its implementation has come across a roadblock. The IT department, which has to install 63 IP-based cameras, is yet to find vantage points where they can be installed without being targeted by miscreants.
The Delhi government has formed a inter-department committee, along with the Municipal Corporation of Delhi, New Delhi Municipal Council and Delhi Police, for carrying out the work. The Bill envisages the creation of a central GIS office so the system can be shared by 30 departments and local bodies, besides a portal meant for sharing the data. The cameras, an essential part of the plan, are meant to provide real-time data, which can be utilized for any purpose — from managing disasters to checking unauthorized construction activities.
J&K Govt keen to exploit geospatial tech
Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Omar Abdullah said, “Geospatial applications and remote sensing are useful tools to give new dimension to the plan formulation and monitoring of works across the State.” He directed concerning officials to identify areas where the State could utilize this service to give necessary fillip to the government endeavours for equitable development of all regions and sub-regions in the State. Taking brief on the usefulness and utility of geospatial applications at a presentation meeting in Jammu, the Chief Minister said that the services of Mission Geospatial Applications (MGA) could help the State to collect necessary data for various public service delivery sectors and strengthen the monitoring mechanism of checking and analysing development schemes. MGA is an agency under Science and Technology Ministry, Government of India.