GIS News


Dec 2015 | No Comment

Enhanced mapping system for 911 emergency dispatchers

Two computers sat side-by-side at a recent demonstration showing the mapping available to Kane County Emergency Communications (KaneComm) dispatchers before and after the county’s GIS department completed enhancements to better serve people calling 911 for help. Emergency dispatchers now see what the caller sees, Deputy Director Michelle Guthrie said.

The equipment is the same but the software now provides detailed maps along with aerial photos showing where a 911 call is made from a cell phone, Guthrie said. Emergency dispatchers no longer have to jump from screen to screen to find maps pinpointing locations, saving a lot of time, Guthrie said. The software also provides closer locations to cell towers for first responders to find anyone who needs help, she said.

OGC and ASPRS to collaborate on geospatial standards

The Open Geospatial Consortium (OGC) and the American Society for Photogrammetry and Remote Sensing (ASPRS) have agreed to work together more closely in the application and promotion of standards and best practices for the location and geospatial industries. “The advancement of standards and best practices in areas such as point clouds benefits from the partnership of key organizations,” said Mark Reichardt, OGC’s president and CEO. “We are deeply appreciative of the alliance recently established between ASPRS and OGC. This alliance encourages our respective members to join forces in collaborative activity that will result in benefits for the whole global community as photogrammetry and remote sensing grow in importance.”

“Both the OGC and the ASPRS have longestablished roles in the expanding field of location and geospatial technologies,” said Michael Hauck, ASPRS’s Executive Director.

The Swedish Hydrographic Office chooses CARIS

The Swedish Maritime Administration (SMA) has chosen CARIS Hydrographic Production Database (HPD) as the new system to meet the Hydrographic Office’s current and future requirements. With HPD the Hydrographic Office will have the latest and most efficient system for the management of spatial data and the efficient production of paper and electronic charts. Efficiently and securely migrating data and transitioning the work force to a new system while continuously ensuring safety at sea is vital for the Hydrographic Office, who represents Sweden as a member of the International Hydrographic Organization (IHO).

Gateway to maps for Europe takes centre stage at EC

National Mapping, Cadastral and Land Registry Authorities have demonstrated how their maps and land information can help the European Commission to achieve the EU’s priorities.

Recently concluded two-week Maps for Europe event in Brussels focused on the use of geospatial data to better understand information related to people and places. It was organised by EuroGeographics, the membership association for European National Mapping, Cadastral and Land Registry Authorities in collaboration with Eurostat, the statistical office of the European Union, under the patronage of European Commissioner Marianne Thyssen.

According to Director General of Eurostat, “The goal of the European Location Framework is to deliver authoritative, interoperable, crossborder data to benefit both the public and private sectors. It builds upon the success of the INSPIRE Directive and will clearly have a positive impact upon policymaking within the Commission.”

Marine airgun noise could cause turtle trauma

Scientists from the University of Exeter are warning of the risks that seismic surveys may pose to sea turtles. Widely used in marine oil and gas exploration, seismic surveys use airguns to produce sound waves that penetrate the sea floor to map oil and gas reserves.

The review, published in the journal Biological Conservation, found that compared to marine mammals and fish, turtles are largely ignored in terms of research attention and are often omitted from policy guidelines designed to mitigate the environmental risks of seismic surveys.

Possible ramifications for turtles include behavioural changes and exclusion from critical habitats as well as potential auditory damage, as turtle hearing ranges overlap with airgun frequencies. In addition, turtles are known to become entangled in gear towed behind the survey vessel, which can lead to drowning.

Lead author Sarah Nelms from the Centre for Ecology and Conservation at the University of Exeterís Penryn Campus in Cornwall said: ìBy talking to oil and gas companies, seismic operators and on-board Marine Mammal Observers, as well as academics and conservationists, we had a great opportunity to gather a broad spectrum of opinions, not just one side of the story. This allowed us to access information that was not available in the published literature.

The researchers also examined policy guidelines for the mitigation of risk to marine life in seismic surveys and assessed peer-reviewed literature on the topic.

Our study reveals the potential for seismic surveys to cause behavioural changes and physical harm to turtles and we are calling for more research to urgently fill the crucial knowledge gaps that were highlighted during our review, said Ms Nelms.

During a survey, specialised ships simultaneously fire multiple airguns while towing multiple hydrophone streamers, which can cover an area up to 700m wide and 12km long, to capture the returning sound waves. Researchers involved in the study received reports of turtles becoming entangled in the trailing tail buoys and developed a turtle guard which has been voluntarily installed by some operators. Further research could help make such preventative measures mandatory in the future.

Senior author Professor Brendan Godley, also from the University of Exeterís Centre for Ecology and Conservation, said: ìSeismic surveys are occurring in the waters of at least 50 countries in which marine turtles are present and they are becoming increasingly widespread. Given the conservation status of turtles, we feel that it is important and timely to assess the level of threat posed by this global activity and highlight knowledge gaps to direct future research efforts.

There is a great deal that could be done proactively to help improve the status quo. We are standing by to work with seismic companies and others in the oil and gas sector to this end.

The researchers hope that their findings will assist with the development of policies to minimise the impact of seismic surveys on marine turtle populations, for example ensuring that they are not carried out during sensitive times or in critical areas, such as during breeding seasons or in foraging grounds.

This work was supported by NERC and the Darwin Initiative.

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