Feature – HP Adds to Large Format Plotting Portfolio With PageWide Technology and the T3500, T7200

GIS imaging has evolved greatly in a short time and continues to evolve at a rapid pace. File sizes are growing and images have become more intricate and rich in color. HP is keeping pace with these technological developments and the increased demand placed on the GIS/Geo professional to produce amazing output at a faster pace and lower cost.
Continue reading “Feature – HP Adds to Large Format Plotting Portfolio With PageWide Technology and the T3500, T7200”

Amerisurv Feature – The Early Vertical Datums of the U. S. Geological Survey

During the 1896 field season, the surveying crews of the U. S. Geological Survey (USGS) engaged in higher quality and more precise topographic mapping and spirit leveling than had been previously attempted. This change was largely prompted by an act issued by the Fifty-Fourth Congress on June 11, 1896. For USGS, the most significant result of the act was that permanent bench marks on an approximate sea-level based datum were to be placed in each area of the new surveys. These bench marks were to be marked on the ground with at least two monuments established per township, except in forested and mountainous areas where at least one per township was required. Although USGS had already performed topographic mapping in many regions of the country for 30-minute quad sheets, permanent bench marks had not been placed in those areas. 

The framers of the act knew it would be impossible for USGS to accurately record the monuments to their exact height above sea level. Attempting to do so would have required running thousands of miles of precise levels from points already known to be accurate. This would not have been financially feasible and it would have taken years to accomplish, greatly delaying the mapping program. 

Therefore, a plan was designed to permit the acceptance of one fixed monument within each region of a particular topographic mapping area to be used as a central datum only for that area. The elevation of each initial bench mark, regardless of its relationship to the true sea-level datum, was usually derived from an outside source such as a railroad company, a river commission, or a local city datum. The elevations of these starting bench marks were of uncertain precision, but the assumption was made that they were very close to sea-level datum. All subsequent bench marks placed from the initial bench mark were then directly related to that monument, but they could not be interchanged with bench marks established from other datums. It was anticipated that through the course of the work, connections would eventually be made with precise monuments established by an agency such as the U. S. Coast & Geodetic Survey (USC&GS). Thus, adjustments in elevation could later be made to the USGS monuments without having to delay the mapping program.

Initially, the plan did not implement a specific code or numbering system for the bench marks. Only the approximate elevation was hand-stamped on the monument to the nearest foot. This stamped number individually identified each bench mark within the datum except in cases where two or more bench marks within the same datum had the same elevation. This system quickly proved insufficient since datums originating from different sources began overlapping into common areas which would make it impossible for surveyors and engineers to determine from which datum each bench mark originated. 

In an improved system during the second year, each datum was assigned a specific code name which was stamped onto the bench mark in addition to the elevation. In theory, if a surveyor leveling between any two bench marks discovered that they did not close, the differing code names on the monuments was supposed to prompt the surveyor to contact USGS to inquire as to the problem. 

The exact number of early USGS vertical datums is unknown since a concise list has not been found, but published records indicate there were hundreds of different datums located across the United States. The coding for the datums was apparently left to the individual party chief of each crew without much communication between crews working in other parts of the country. The same code names, therefore, existed in different states which were based upon entirely different datums. For instance, the letter "A" was a code used for different datums originating near Anniston, AL; Alexandria, MO; Asheville, NC; Albany, NY; Athens, OH; and Astoria, OR. The letter "B" was a code used for different datums near Benicia, CA; Bannock County, ID; Bangor, ME; Brockport, NY; Blaine, WA; and Baraboo, WI. The "LA" code was used for datums originating at Lafayette, LA, and Los Angeles, CA. Some datums were designed by a date instead of a letter code. The "1906" datum in Colorado had a different origin than the "1906" datums established in Illinois, Kentucky and Oregon. Most codes, however, had some indication of the city name where the datum originated such as "CHYN" for Cheyenne, WY; "GAINV" for Gainesville, TX; "MSLA" for Missoula, MT; "NOGLS" for Nogales, AZ; "VAN HN" for Van Horn, TX; or "YNKTN" for Yankton, SD. 

There were variations to the codes within the same datum such as "D", "DENV", and "DENVER" in Colorado; "MIL" and "MILWAUKEE" in Wisconsin; "MLT" and "MALTA" in Montana; and "WP", "WILLETS", and "WILLETS POINT" in New York. These variations were likely the result of individual field crews abbreviating the codes within the same datum and not being consistent with the stamping. 

A 6.519Mb PDF of this article as it appeared in the magazine—complete with images—is available by clicking HERE

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5 High-Tech Camping Tools For Your Next Trip

The days of going without showers, phone service and spending 20 minutes pitching your tent on weekend camping trips are over. Modern technology has taken some of the “roughing it” out of camping, but at the same time has made the experience more fun and efficient. Here are five items to consider before heading for the hills. Continue reading “5 High-Tech Camping Tools For Your Next Trip”

“National Climate Change Viewer” Enables Focus on Future Climate-Driven Changes for U.S. Watersheds

“National Climate Change Viewer” Enables Focus on Future Climate-Driven Changes for U.S. Watersheds at Local Levels Continue reading ““National Climate Change Viewer” Enables Focus on Future Climate-Driven Changes for U.S. Watersheds”

FACTSHEET: What is big data?

Every minute the world generates 1.7 million billion bytes of data, equivalent to 360,000 standard DVDs. More digitised data was created in the last two years than in the rest of human history. This trend and the mountains of data it produces is what we call "Big data". The big data sector is growing at a rate of 40% a year.

Handling big data requires increased technological capacity, new tools and new skills.

Even in traditional sectors like farming, the use of big data can have a huge impact. The tractor of the future will be enhanced with sensors that collect data from the machine, the soil and the crops it processes. The data will be analysed and combined with other data about weather and crop features.

What makes big data so important?

Take the example of the farmer. The results will help farmers make better choices on what crops to grow, and exactly when & where to sow them. The novel elements here are the use of data gathered by sensors, the integration of data from different sources, the use of real-time data-processing and the provision of visualisation tools for desk-top computers as well as hand-held devices for the farmer out in the field. All this can be combined with data about agricultural markets, altering logistics and the next season’s investments.

Big data could also predict the outbreak of an epidemic by analysing information on social media, such as Twitter. Analysing geographic patterns for people tweeting something vague such as: "In bed with fever” and “weird spots on my skin" may allow health authorities to identify epidemics much faster than t notifications by doctors and hospitals. Comparing data from social networks with official reports, including patterns of past epidemics, can refine our predictive capacity and response.

In summary big data is already affecting all areas of the economy. Studies indicate that data-driven decision making leads to 5-6% efficiency gains in the different sectors observed.

Intelligent processing of data is also essential for addressing societal challenges. Data could be used to enhance the sustainability of national health care systems and to tackle environmental problems by, for example, processing energy consumption patterns to improve energy efficiency or of pollution data in traffic management.

Why does the EU care about big data?

The core of the European Union is a single market that helps all our families, and businesses and national economies to prosper. Anything that affects each of our daily lives and our economy is automatically something the EU needs to think about.

Even though the European Union is the largest economy in the world, and makes up arund 20% of global GDP – today only 2 out of the top 20 companies changing lives and making money out of big data are European. We should improve that situation.

What is the EU doing about big data?

The most recent European Council Summit (October 2013) concluded that: "EU action should provide the right framework conditions for a single market for big data". We must ensure that relevant legislation supports entrepreneurship in this area. One example is the recent European legislation to open up government information and turn it into a source for innovation. We would expect Member States to transpose these rules rapidly and in an ambitious way into their national legislation.

Spreading this effort beyond “open data” will also necessarily mean achieving a critical mass of research and innovation on data in the Horizon 2020 programme, with 90 million euros available over the next two years..

Useful links

Big data in the Digital Agenda


Blogging, microblogging, media, social media or… Which for your business?

You may be wondering, which would be better for me or my business.. blogging, social bookmarking, a social media focus, or ?? A darned good question, particularly as all have a purpose, a time, a place, advantages and disadvantages. So, which one is best? There’s no simple answer here, however, keep in mind that any option you select will require time {lots of it} , patience, and a commitment.

Blogging – like this site, blogging is essentially a medium for informal conversation for writing and sharing interesting content about your business, industry, or niche. Ideally, a commitment to blogging means you want to be established as an “expert”  with your audience and also encourage conversation. Blogging is easy, there’s some really nice, simple, free tools available to you (think WordPress or blogger) and is a great opportunity to build a loyal following. the downside, prepare for a commitment and focus on regular posting of unique and interesting content.

Microblogging – think blogging but “micro”, yes, short, simple blog posts. Everyone is doing it and typically the preferred platform is Twitter. Yes, Twitter is essentially a micro-blogging platform. It offers an immediate way to communicate and interact with your audience. Microblogging is quick, simple, and effective, however, it requires time and a commitment. Being regular is important and offers opportunity to build brand loyalty and even drive traffic to your website or blog. On the downside, you’ll need to be commitment and focus on engagement. Many simply broadcast and forget about the dialog.

Social media focus via a community like facebook – this is a tough one. Facebook isn’t for everyone. Ideally the purpose if to build a community around your brand. The focus is engagement but the downside is that if you expect to generate business via fb forget about it. You need to be engaged and active… think of it as networking… focus on building relationship and not on selling.


social media sharing (Source: goodfellowcreative.com)

Social Bookmarking – you might ask yourself, huh?? This has been around for some time now and still lives on – think reddit and StumbleUpon and. Essentially this is for sharing links and pointers and it can be very effective! The upside is that this is a quick way to churn traffic and is also a useful way to bookmark really cool stuff. The downside is the focus on self promotion and competition with a massive community – to succeed you need to be creative and dedicated. Don’t dismiss this as an option!

Multi-media – This is essentially a social focus on media like videos and photos – HUGE! The platforms here are youtube, Flickr, Instagram, slideshare and Pinterest. Multi-media sharing is very engaging and interactive and these posts are more likely to be shared than anything else that you’ll ever post online. The big plus is the ability to generate a call to action and you can share a ton of information in a small clip or image. the downside, you’ll need some talent, some good tools for media creation, and loads of time and budget.  IF you can only focus on one area discussed here this is it!

There’s no correct answer here and no one quick solution. Regardless of which option you select for your brand or business, keep in mind that blogging and social media for your business will take time and a commitment. Most important, be regular and have fun!

 Suggest resources:


FEMA National Preparedness – 31 core capabilities

The National Preparedness Goal identified 31 core capabilities—these are the distinct critical elements needed to achieve the goal.

These capabilities are referenced in many national preparedness efforts, including the National Planning Frameworks. The Goal grouped the capabilities into five mission areas, based on where they most logically fit. Some fall into only one mission area, while some others apply to several mission areas.

Download the capabilities crosswalk to see how the legacy Target Capabilities List compares with the new core capabilities.

Core Capabilities List

Source: http://www.fema.gov/core-capabilities


Spotlight on FieldTech: New Geospatial Products

Marc Cheves, Managing Editor of Amerisurv has shared a quick spotlight feature looking at some new technologies of interest to the GeoTech professional 

Esri CityEngine Brings Modeling
CityEngine 2013 3D urban design software enables modeling technology to be used in popular 3D software such as Autodesk Maya, 3ds Max, and SketchUp. Importing OpenStreetMap streets into a project can jump-start a smart 3D city model. It also provides the ability to create rule packages to help you promote and share your work. Once content has been exported to a web scene, it can be uploaded directly to ArcGIS Online or to your own server.
More info: http://bit.ly/1ejXeJT

Sokkia DX Series
Sokkia has added robotics to its DX-105AC. The Tracking Kit comes on a USB stick and can be installed on any standard DX unit. A 360-degree prism and MESA data controller with MAGNET™ v2.0 makes for a perfect entry-level robotic package, and features long-range Bluetooth® communications, class-leading tracking performance and an easy-guide light system for prism reacquisition. Additionally, the series includes Direct Aiming™ auto-collimation technology, TSshield™ advanced security and maintenance technology and MAGNET™ integrated software.
More info: http://bit.ly/1aSmV3m

3D Laser Mapping Zebedee
3D Laser Mapping will distribute the world’s first, truly mobile, hand held, rapid laser mapping system. Developed by CSIRO, Australia’s national science agency, the Zebedee indoor mapper allows for fast data capture, without complex set up or the requirement for lengthy data processing. The Zebedee system includes a lightweight laser scanner mounted on a simple spring mechanism. As the operator moves through an environment the scanner loosely oscillates about the spring producing a rotation that converts 2D measurements into 3D fields of view.
More info: http://bit.ly/1cbkTPY

InVest in the Best
Designed by a surveyor for surveyors, the newest utility Class 2 Survey/Engineer Safety Vest design, "The Party Chief", surpasses ANSI requirements and features utility functionality that in turn enhanced safety for the worker. The design is more contoured and shaped to fit the body that avoids getting hung up on passing objects. Full mirrored pocket design with the same utility pockets, inside book and trough pockets, covered elastic pen holders, and knuckle side fleece lined hand pockets for the cold days, on both sides of the vest.
More info: http://bit.ly/1mRwJmx

A 1.221Mb PDF of this article as it appeared in the magazine—complete with images—is available by clicking HERE 

Esri City Engine

Source: Amerisurv

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