Something on the Esri blogs this week giving us a clue as to what we can expect to see on the main stage at ESRIUC this July – ArcGIS Earth – Esri’s new effort to support the transition to an ESRI solution from the Google Earth Pro environment.
Something quite awesome from Google on the horizon, in particular, a great opportunity for educators and those involved in Geo at the higher education level – enter Geo for Higher Education Summit. Taking place July at the Googleplex in MountainView, CA, the Summit will bring together instructors and researchers in GIS and remote sensing technologies from higher education institutions. This workshop is designed for mapping and technology specialists, instructors, faculty, and advisers in higher education research and teaching, who are actively working on projects or teaching courses related to mapping. The event is free to attend for those lucky enough to be selected (Deadline is May 1) take note that travel related expenses etc… are not provided. See more – An exciting opportunity is coming up in July: the first annual Geo for Higher Ed Summit
An interesting new app from SAIC – GRGlobe. Science Applications International Corporation (SAIC) recently announced the release of the GRGlobe app, a new commercial software solution to create, edit, and visualize GIS data natively in a Google Earth environment. The app enables the visualization of spatial data by structuring it into organized layers and overlaying the feature data on a Google Earth globe. Intended uses and users of GRGlobe include: government, defense, emergency response, law enforcement, energy, environmental, utility, education, land management, forestry. According to SAIC key benefits of using GRGlobe include:
- Provides key functionality for adding and importing data from popular GIS and document formats, facilitating data interoperability.
- Allows users to easily query and search data.
- Enables data to be categorized logically in a table of contents using attributes and symbology, allowing users to efficiently query and visualize data.
- Delivers enhanced GIS capabilities by bringing the techniques and tools of structured GIS data and workflows to the Google Earth environment.
- Saves time and creates added efficiency
Impressive imagery from Google via Google earth tour guide. This from Google… “Our new 3D imagery of entire metropolitan areas brings a new frontier to your fingertips. Also, the new tour guide makes exploring the world even easier by suggesting landmarks or natural wonders that you might not know to search for.” See more at http://www.google.com/earth/explore/products/mobile.html
A quick look at the enhancements to 3D imagery from Google Earth and 3D earth imagery for entire cities included in the update for Google earth for mobile. This from the Google blog… Since 2006, we’ve had textured 3D buildings in Google Earth, and today we are excited to announce that we will begin adding 3D models to entire metropolitan areas to Google Earth on mobile devices. This is possible thanks to a combination of our new imagery rendering techniques and computer vision that let us automatically create 3D cityscapes, complete with buildings, terrain and even landscaping, from 45-degree aerial imagery. By the end of the year we aim to have 3D coverage for metropolitan areas with a combined population of 300 million people. See more on the official Google blog and be sure to catch details of the cool Street View Trekker, enabling data capture from amazing places like the Grand Canyon and more!
Here’s a tip off about an interesting solution for you Google Earth fanatics – DataAppeal. According to the developers, DataAppeal uses art and design to create alluring maps and images via a free, simple to use UI. The application has just received an update with some new functionality including: the option of layering multiple maps to quickly compare different data sets; a new color gradient feature to quickly see common data points, and more. DataAppeal offers an intuitive way to visualize data within Google Earth and is reported to be an optimal solution for use by government and business users. Maps can also be easily shared via facebook and Twitter and quickly inserted in blogs for repurposing.
See DataAppeal 3D visualization on the google earth platform dataappeal.com/
Looking for PLS data for your GIS? Here’s a couple of very useful resources you should consider. These include the Land Survey Information System (BLM) – available via download (SHP) or connection to a web service – and a cool utility from Earth Point enabling users to specify a location and map the data using Google Earth. Requested data are extracted and provided as a KMZ.
Recall the Public Land Survey System also called the Rectangular Survey System is the foundation for many survey-based land information systems. Downloading PLSS GIS shapefiles from http://www.geocommunicator.gov/GeoComm/lsis_home/home/index.html. To select and download data, select the Map Viewer and Download button. Once on the download site use the State Tab or County Tab (next to the words << Download) to select and download data for an entire state or county. To download just one or a few townships use the Township Selection Tool. Use the Quick Start Guide or Viewer Help on the download site for more information on getting started.
PLS data as seen in Google Earth (Source: Earth Point)
A discussion recently with Mano Marks of Google (gMaps developer evangelist) introduced me to very interesting and potentially innovative event scheduled to take place in Vancouver BC in September. This workshop is intended for Canadian nonprofit technology specialists and those that would like to use google maps and Google Earth solutions and service in their mapping projects and outreach efforts. September 26-28, 2011, 8:30am – 5:00pm Where: Morris J Wosk Centre for Public Dialogue at Simon Fraser University, Vancouver, British Columbia.
There’s no question that for many, working with the US Census Bureau’s TIGER data can be a bit of a head ache (See http://www.census.gov/geo/www/tiger/) – recall, TIGER/LineShapefiles are spatial extracts from the Census Bureau’s MAF/TIGER database, containing features such as roads, railroads, rivers, as well as legal and statistical geographic areas. To help you extract and use these data the WeoGeo team has some nifty solutions available to user of the WeoGeo Market (See for example this Arizona TIGER data). Via the WeoGeo blog, the team recently discussed how they have now added support for KML and GML data output. So how does this play in to the users of US Census data? Well, imagine this, using the WeoGeo market, registered users can now easily access TIGER SHP files sourced from the US Census Bureau and convert theses data to KML for further use and analysis.
See an example in this blog post as the scenario shows how simple it is to zoom to an area of interest, preview TIGER data layers (Census blocks, block groups, and tracts in this example) , download the data in KML, then open in Google earth with data attributes now accessible within the KML data.
Clipping TIGER data in the WeoGeo Market
A fun update from the Google Earth team this week as they provide details of advanced measuring in 3D. So, why measure in 3D? Here’s a sampling of whay you want to do this from Google Lat Long Blog … “3D Measurements can be used by engineers to plan wind farms, real estate firms to determine skyline views for new high rise buildings, construction companies to measure the materials needed for a retrofitting, architects to calculate the space between buildings, and more.”
How it Works – To measure buildings and distances between buildings, just turn on the 3D Buildings layer and click the Ruler Tool icon in the toolbar. If you’re running Google Earth Pro, you’ll notice two new tabs for measuring in 3D: 3D Path and 3D Polygon. Once you do this you can then accomplish the following:
- Measure the area of the face of a 3D building
- Measure the height or width of a 3D building
- Measure the distance between a building and a point on the ground or another building
Image Credit (Google)
Related news… also of interest is the recent release of Google Earth Engine. From Google Labs… Google Earth Engine brings together the world’s satellite imagery—trillions of scientific measurements dating back more than 25 years—and makes it available online with tools for scientists, independent researchers, and nations to mine this massive warehouse of data to detect changes, map trends and quantify differences to the earth’s surface. Using this new tool, we’ve already begun helping scientists develop applications for detecting deforestation and mapping land use trends, and have started working with individual countries to develop their own applications.