GIS News


Feb 2012 | No Comment


Taiwanese municipality gets cloud-based map

The GIS Research Centre at Feng Chia University in Taiwan developed Taiwan’s first municipal works cloud-based map platform. It will allow city government officials and policy makers to have a clear picture of the city’s major construction projects. The platform, which was commissioned by the Taichung City Government, will integrate the city’s digital map libraries including urban planning and cadastral map libraries, and will allow users to browse records concerning the city’s major construction projects and tenders.

The project made use of Google Earth Enterprise cloud technology and Google historical image browsing technology to allow users to access their own private “Earth” to search and browse city government map layers in 3D.

In future, city government employees will also be able to produce 3D models of major construction projects. According to an official statement, the information on the platform will gradually be made available to the general public to allow them to participate in and understand the city’s development objectives and progress.

National Address Gazetteer Database to replace NLPG

The National Address Gazetteer Database will add a new element to the capabilities in combining the National Land and Property Gazetteer (NLPG) with Ordnance Survey’s address layer, the national dataset with addresses and their precise locations. It is also expected to gradually replace the NLPG as a basis for local land and property gazetteers. It has been developed and managed by GeoPlace, a joint venture between the Local Government Association (LGA) and national mapping agency Ordnance Survey, GeoPlace went live in April 2011 and raised the possibility of authorities extracting even more value from their geographic information.
The NLPG along with the National Street Gazetteer (NSG) have been the prime tool for authorities in the UK and Wales, to extract more value from their geographic information. They have often been used to create new products for specific local services, some of which have been highlighted in the latest round of Exemplar Awards run by GeoPlace.

FBI needs mapping app to monitor social networking sites

The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) in the US raised eyebrows in the tech world with a public document that asks for advice on how to harvest information from social networking sites. According to the document, the bureau is looking for a mapping app — or a “geospatial alert and analysis mapping application” — that, among other things, helps it search “publicly available” sources like Facebook and Twitter for national security threats.

Some other items on the FBI’s functionality wish list include:

– Instant notifications of breaking events, incidents, and emerging threats that have been vetted and meet the defined search parameters.

– Ability to immediately access geospatial maps that plot US Domestic terrorist data; global terrorist data; US Embassy, consulate and military installations around the world; weather conditions and forecasts; and video feeds from traffic cameras. – Ability to instantly search and monitor key words and strings in all ‘publicly available’ tweets across the Twitter Site and any other ‘publicly available’ social networking sites/forums (i .e. Facebook, MySpace, etc.).

– Ability to immediately translate into English, tweets and any other open forum publicly available social media captured in a foreign language.

– Ability to geo-locate the open source social media ‘search’ by setting a radius by both miles and kilometres (i.e. 5 miles, 10 miles, 50 miles radius) that will allow the user to quickly narrow the search to a specific area/region/location.

– The ability to geospatially locate bad actors or groups and analyse their movements, vulnerabilities, limitations, and possible adverse actions.

– The ability to develop pattern-of-life matrices to support law enforcement planning and enforcement operations.

– Reference documents such as a dictionary of ‘tweet’ lingo.

The FBI also specified that it wants to use the app to “predict future actions taken by bad actors.” According to Sean Gourley, that involves creating profiles of known bad actors based on their social media presence. Gourley has worked with defence agencies in the past and now heads the intelligence firm Quid.

Malaria maps show global pattern of disease

In a study published in Malaria Journal, a multinational team of researchers from the Malaria Atlas Project (MAP), funded mainly by the Wellcome Trust, presented results of a two-year effort to assemble all available data worldwide on the risk of Plasmodium falciparum malaria, the most deadly form of the disease. Using computer modelling and data on climate and human populations, they revealed the complex landscape of malaria across the globe. The maps build on the first ever Atlas of Malaria-Eliminating Countries.

The maps have been made freely available, along with a wide range of other malaria resources, via the launch of a new online portal at The research was led by Dr Pete Gething from the Department of Zoology at the University of Oxford. He said, “These new maps and our online portal are really aimed at everyone involved in the battle against the disease: from the major international organisations and funders, to other scientists, to those actually doing the disease control work on the ground.” However, in order to allocate funding where it is most needed, accurate maps detailing where the disease is most intense and where the largest concentrations of people at risk are found.

Oman to digitally map schools

Her Excellency (HE) Dr Madiha Bint Ahmed Al Shibaniyah, Minister of Education, Oman, announced digital school map project (also known as the Digital Atlas) during an exhibition in Muscat. She stated that the project will use GIS technology and help experts analyse and process geographical data. The resulting information will subsequently help people involved in the education sector make appropriate decisions for its development.

GIA publishes global outlook on the GIS Industry

Global Industry Analysts, Inc., (GIA), a publisher of off-the-shelf market research, published a market research report titled, Geographic Information Systems (GIS): A Global Outlook. According to the report, global GIS market is estimated to reach USD 10.6 billion by 2015. The report explained that with rebounding of global economy from the recession, developed countries in North America and Europe are expected to increase expenditures into GIS technology in near future. Additionally, growing awareness of the technology in developing countries in Asia, Middle East and Latin America adds impetus to market growth.

Global GIS market is expected to witness significant growth driven by increasing adoption of the technology in industries such as oil and gas distribution, electric power and other government sectors. Presently, GIS is used in wide range of applications including gas and oil exploration, identification of utility lines, and mapping and planning among others.

Google accused of tampering OSM data

High-ranking members of the OpenStreetMap (OSM) project — an open source mapping project that competes with Google Maps —claimed that user accounts attached to a range of Google internet addresses in India have been maliciously tampering with its data.

Google said that two people behind the accounts were contractors using machines on Google’s network, but a spokesperson for the search giant added that these contractors were “acting on their own behalf.” The spokesperson also said that the contractors are “no longer working on Google projects.”

The accusation from OpenStreet Map follows a widely reported incident in which users behind a Google IP address in India were caught scraping data from a Kenyan online business directory called Mocality. Recently, Google apologized for the incident.

Autodesk, Pitney Bowes sign strategic alliance agreement

Autodesk, Inc. entered into a strategic alliance agreement with Pitney Bowes Software, Inc.. The new agreement will serve as a framework for both companies to provide resources, services and solutions to help infrastructure owners and architecture, engineering and construction (AEC) organisations make more informed decisions and drive greater efficiencies across the plan, design, build, manage lifecycle of infrastructure.

The relationship will enable the parties to provide infrastructure professionals in transportation, government, utilities and other key industries with the broadest range of coordinated solutions available today to help fully realise the value of project information–from planning and asset management to design and on through to operations and management. Under the terms of the strategic alliance agreement, Pitney Bowes Software and Autodesk will join forces to better address the needs of a global customer base. In addition, through coordinating the integration of existing applications, both companies will work together to deliver solutions which address some of the more immediate business issues within a number of identified vertical markets.

Indian officials inconsistent in using GPS tech

Under Integrated Action Plan (IAP) and MGNREGA (Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act) schemes, government officials in Palamu district, India, skipped using GPS devices to measure coordinates of sites, Times of India reported. According to one of the district administrative officials, there are instances where the sites selected are changed just when the work/construction starts. The case of Osaney bridge near Kechki which in torrential rain suffered a huge destruction is a classic example.” The team of engineers that reached at the site after this destruction is reported to have found fault with the site of the bridge which could not tolerate the water impact of the river Ouranga and got destroyed. “If the engineers and contractors had followed the rule, the bridge would have been there,” said another official.

However, IAS officer Amitabh Kaushal, who has worked as deputy commissioner of Palamu and is now posted in the same capacity in Ramgagh, said, “The GPS is very easy to handle. I have asked the engineer/BDO of the block to use it. These officers reach the site of scheme and co-ordinate longitude and latitude of the site/location. Once it is done, there is hardly any chance of getting anyone replacing it or changing it (site) as then it will be a different longitude and latitude.”

Asked about its utility, Kaushal, who is using the GPS mode in the district, said, “With longitude and latitude in hand, no unscrupulous element can dare change the site and thus lots of corrupt practices also die out with no changing of the site.”

GIS map brings Delhi Police and residents closer

Delhi Police in India launched an interactive e-initiative on its website. Dubbed the ‘Know Your Police Station’ programme, the web platform aims to help residents find out the jurisdiction of a particular police station on a GIS map. In addition, those visiting the Delhi Police’s official homepage at will also be able to access a particular Station House Officer’s (SHO) profile containing his picture and contact details including his mobile phone number.

Pakistan to tighten measures for mapping

The Ministry of Defence (MoD), Pakistan, suggested to the government to frame a law that could stop unlawful activities of mapping firms, given that several countries, including Australia, China, India, Turkey, USA and UK, have enacted supportive laws, Business Recorder reported. The Survey of Pakistan (SoP), a national mapping organisation, is responsible for meeting the surveying and mapping requirements of the armed forces as well as civil organisations/ departments. With the objective of regulating and implementing surveying and mapping standards in the country, to obviate potential security risk to sensitive information, to prevent damage to affixed survey makers, to avoid duplication of effort in mapping and to transform SoP into a national mapping agency, a draft land surveying and mapping bill has been prepared by the SoP.

The salient features of the draft include: (i) to transform SoP into national mapping agency; (ii) to make it compulsory for all firms involved in surveying and mapping activities to get themselves registered with SoP; (iii) to make it obligatory to all firms involved in surveying and mapping activities to adopt surveying and mapping standards framed by the national mapping agency ie SoP; (iv) to stop unqualified firms to take part in surveying and mapping activities that can pose a security risk to the State; (v) to protect established and affixed survey makers at various locations throughout the country from damage by assigning their responsibility to local district management; (vii) to avoid duplication of efforts in the field of mapping, especially in the public sector, thereby economising on public exchequer; and (viii) to assess the mapping requirements of public and private sector on a yearly basis, thereby lending technical support to federal and provincial development plan and activities.

GoI approves three national land record centres

The Government of India has approved creation of three National Land Records Modernization Programme (NLRMP) centres at Salboni in West Bengal, Union territory of Puducherry and at Berhampur. The government also sanctioned about Rs 196 lakh for each of the centres during the financial year 2011-12.
The NLRMP centres shall be made operational within a period of one year from the date of sanction. It has been conceptualised as a major system and reform initiative that is concerned not merely with computerisation, updating and maintenance of land records and validation of titles, but also as a programme that will add value and provide a comprehensive database for planning developmental, regulatory and disaster management activities by providing location-specific information, while providing citizen services based on land records data.

DENR Philippines set to conduct cadastral survey

The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR), Philippines, in Region 7 is set to conduct a cadastral survey covering a total of 73,661 hectares at a cost estimated to reach PHP 163.09 million. The survey will be conducted in selected municipalities in Central Visayas,” said DENR 7 Regional Executive Director Maximo Dichoso. Earlier, President Benigno S. Aquino III gave the DENR marching orders to hasten and complete the undertaking of a cadastral survey in the country to various government projects such as land titling, land use planning and the taxation and internal revenue allotment (IRA) program covering municipalities nationwide.

Vietnam to modernize land administration

The World Bank and the Embassy of New Zealand collaborated with Vietnam’s Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment to develop a complete and modern land management system. The collaboration aims to increase access to land information services by all stakeholders. The Land Administration Project (LAP), which is estimated to cost at around USD 47.2 million, has three components and will be implemented in selected provinces in Vietnam. The first component is the modernization of the land registration system. This component will support the development of an accurate, current and complete information system to support land registration through: completing and updating all cadastral mapping showing all land parcels, updating of all land records, further developing and implementing the computerized land record system, and selected policy studies in support of the land administration system. The second component is the improvement of land registration service delivery.


ISAC to develop land administration model for tribes

A research team from Integrated Spatial Analytics Consultants (ISAC), an Indian multi disciplinary and multiline consultancy firm, will develop a Land Administration Domain Model (LADM) for Forest Rights of Indigenous Tribes in Brazil. The team includes João Paulo Hespanha and Tarun Ghawana from the ISAC. In addition, Brazilian land administration specialist Dr. Silvane Paixão, joined the team.
The LADM aims to integrate the core elements to define land administration issues with flexibility to include spatial and temporal dimensions specific to a particular case study. It will allow capturing a range of specific, national or thematic concepts on land administration and expressing them in a common framework at the domain level, which can be further compared internationally and can equally contribute to achieve actual implementation through the use of current model driven technologies.

Indian state to digitize land records using WorldView data

The entire revenue record of Haryana state in India would be digitized and updated using 0.5 metre resolution WorldView satellite data for the seamless preparation of a database of land records, an Indian daily reported. The updated maps would be geo-referenced using the benchmark Ground Control Points being identified and fixed in the state using advanced technology of Differential Global Positioning System (DGPS). According to the report, the geo-referenced WorldView satellite data would be overlaid on the digitised cadastral maps used to correct inaccuracies in the data. This overlaying would also create the latest database about the land use, forestry, geomorphology, soil and land degradation. According to revenue and disaster management minister Mahender Partap Singh, all the records available at the district headquarters would be digitised in a GIS environment and the same would be updated by the respective village patwaries using the Sajra maps and other land records available with them.

Indian state unveils GIS-based tool for industrial land info

D V Sadananda Gowda, Chief Minister of Karnataka state in India launched ‘Kaigarika Bhoomi’, a GIS-based web tool to manage industrial areas in the state. One can access it by logging on to the official website of Karnataka Industrial Area Development Board (KIADB) – ‘Kaigarika Bhoomi’ enables people, especially investors, access information about existing industrial areas – like status of occupancy, availability of plots, etc. Besides, the extent of land available for investors can also be obtained through the system. The system has been developed by Rolta India Ltd. Principal Secretary to Industries and Commerce department K Jyotiramalingam said Kaigarika Bhoomi is a tool for collection, analysing, retrieving and managing the data, pertaining to land assets of all 136 industrial areas of, covering 40,000 acres of land of the KIADB. The primary objective of the programme is to bring in transparency in the day-to-day functioning of the KIADB and to ensure orderly development of the industrial areas. It also helps attract more domestic and foreign investment, he added.

NSDI India likely to get Rs 750 crore under 12th plan

For strengthening the National Spatial Data Infrastructure (NSDI), an outlay of INR 750 crore has been planned during the 12th Five Year Plan (2012-17), according to Surveyor General of India, Swarna Subba Rao. He informed that the Department of Science and Technology (DST) has taken up several initiatives to build the capacities for spatial data creation. The country needs nearly five lakh people who need to be spatially literate in the next five years to make use of these data sets coming through networking infrastructure created. Rao was speaking at the 11th annual meet of National Spatial Data Infrastructure conference in Bangalore, India.
Rao said “Since we are moving to the next level of spatial data creation, state level data centres are crucial and a portion of the plan outlay will be set aside for creating such centres. Karnataka is a leader in these technologies having established the first SDI and State Geo-portal in the country, besides having geospatial data centres in all the districts. I am sure, other states will emulate this.”

“By setting up SDIs, states and union territories can derive full advantage of the web and should create SDI to enable Survey of India move spatial data into Web information and web services from network of distributed Geo-portals,” he added.

Creating SDIs will be immensely useful in local planning initiatives across the state. “This is the most opportune time for the State governments to bring in their data sets in a standard form through the Web and other communication technologies such as cell phones and mobile devices,” explained Rao.

The SOI currently provides 1:50,000 scale topographical map. It plans to provide the entire data on the web through India Geo-portal by June 30, 2012.

According to Rao, the SOI will soon provide Web Map Services (WMS) of data derived from 1:10,000 scale topographic maps of the entire country using hybrid methodology in the largest surveying and mapping operation in the world.

“The enhanced scale will provide a good opportunity to various state governments for renovating their cadastral maps and improving their accuracy. This is a big task but we are confident of completing it in three years. We have started a pilot project in Andhra Pradesh and it would be expanded across the country progressively,” he said.

Task Force

The Karnataka Government is planning to set up a task force for outlining a policy on geo-spatial governance to bring in transparency and accountability. M.N. Vidyashankar, Principal Secretary, IT, BT and Science and Technology, said the policy seeks to use geo-spatial data for planning and executing various development projects and utility services.

The Government had appointed two senior-most scientists and ex-employees of ISRO as the members of the task force on g-governance, he said.

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