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www.geospatialworld.net JULY 2012 VOL 02 ISSUE 12 ISSN 2277 - 3134
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ARTICLES National Mapping Agencies:
Between a rock and a hard location Robin McLaren
User generated data to the rescue Ryan Falor
Standards: Key to VGI success
Democratisation of geographic information Prof Arup Dasgupta CHAIRMAN
M P Narayanan
PUBLICATIONS TEAM Managing Editor Editor - Latin America (Honorary) Sr. Associate Editor (Honorary) Executive Editor Product Manager Assistant Editors
Prof. Arup Dasgupta Tania Maria Sausen Dr. Hrishikesh Samant Bhanu Rekha Shivani Lal Deepali Roy, Aditi Bhan, Vaibhav Arora, Anand Kashyap
DESIGN TEAM Sr. Creative Designer Graphic Designer
Deepak Kumar Manoj Kumar Singh
CIRCULATION TEAM Circulation Manager
Vijay Kumar Singh
Kuwait Environment Public Agency:
Libya Public Health System:
Queensland Reconstruction Authority:
Citizen power to the fore
A speedy recovery of health system
Rising from disaster
20 "Content is the next big opportunity" Harold Goddijn Founder & CEO, TomTom
D ISCLAIMER Geospatial World does not necessarily subscribe to the views expressed in the publication. All views expressed in this issue are those of the contributors. Geospatial World is not responsible for any loss to anyone due to the information provided.
OWNER, PUBLISHER & PRINTER Sanjay
"Humans have a permanent emotional relation with space" Georg Gartner
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President International Cartographic Association
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C ORRIGENDOM : In the article “The Cadastral Divide: A View from the Bridge” in the July edition of Geospatial World, the source for the figure on Pg 45 is Dr. Rohan Bennett.
Abbas Rajabifard President, GSDI Association
Greg Bentley CEO, Benltey Systems
Juergen Dold President, Hexagon Geosystems
Preetha Pulusani Chief Strategy Officer, Rolta Group
Aida Opoku Mensah Director - ICT Division UN Economic Commission for Africa
Prof Ian Dowman First Vice President ISPRS
Kamal K Singh Chairman and CEO Rolta Group
Shailesh Nayak Secretary Ministry of Earth Sciences Government of India
Bryn Fosburgh Vice President Trimble
Jack Dangermond President, Esri
Mark Reichardt President and CEO Open Geospatial Consortium, Inc.
Vanessa Lawrence CB Director General and CEO, Ordnance Survey, UK
Derek Clarke Chief Director-Survey and Mapping & National Geospatial Information Department of Rural Development & Land Reform, South Africa
Josef Strobl Director, Centre for Geoinformatics, University of Salzburg, Austria
Matthew M O'Connell President and CEO GeoEye
Geospatial World I July 2012
Citizen power to prevail n July 2004, Steve Coast, a student from the University College of London, decided that the maps available from the 'authoritative source' viz, the Ordnance Survey were too expensive, difficult to get, not editable and held geolocation information back. He established a website openstreetmap.org and explained his philosophy at the EuroFOO conference in August 2004. In short, the philosophy was to have common citizens collect data and share it over a website that would be freely accessible to other citizens. According to Tim Berners Lee, "OpenStreetMap is all about people doing their bit, creating an incredible resource for everybody else."
What Steve did was what every student loves to do - challenge the authority, especially one that is unreasonably restrictive. What happened next is something fantastic. The followers of OSM grew from a few thousand to hundreds of thousands and the maps grew from just the UK to cover nearly the whole world. Haiti relief efforts used OSM maps and many LBS providers turn to OSM for the latest updates. This is the basis of what is referred to as user generated content, UGC or volunteered geographic information (VGI). Steve joined Microsoft in 2010 as Principal Architect of Bing Mobile and this perhaps indicates that what started as an act of rebellion has turned into a recognised activity and is turning into a commercial reality. This display of the power of citizens to work together for a geographic cause is something that has upset the staid entities that fall under the rubric of national mapping organisations )NMOs). Strong attempts are being made to include VGI into authoritative information. NMOs are wrestling with accuracy and reliability versus the need for speed in data acquisition and delivery. Standards are evolving to address many of these issues but regulatory issues remain. Will the data remain free after it is assimilated into authoritative collections in the public and private domains? Will the data be free of unreasonable restrictions of access and use?
Prof. Arup Dasgupta Managing Editor email@example.com
We don't know yet but what we do know is that geospatial world is undergoing a revolution perhaps unintended - where citizens are finding new ways of doing old things as well as new applications using the technology that has become accessible to them. This revolution is shaking the foundation of geospatial data acquisition, applications and dissemination of information. Business opportunities abound for established firms as well as for new start-ups. Governments need to harness this power for good governance. The slow moving world of law has to learn to adjust and adapt to these new developments. Will citizen power prevail? I think it will because they have woken up to the fact that geographical information is the leitmotif of human existence and therefore they are the main stakeholders.
Geospatial World I July 2012
N IG E R IA
Maps to address disaster issue Surveyor-General has been asked to map geographical landscape of the country to address disaster issue, informed Arc. Muhammad Namadi Sambo, Vice President of Nigeria, during 47th Annual General Meeting of the Institution of Surveyors in Ilorin. During the Meeting, the President of the Institute, Yakubu Maikano, observed that the country needs a National Mapping Policy that would sustain the production of maps in the country. "The Federal Government must produce accurate maps throughout the length and breadth of the country".
Nasarawa develops state GIS Nasarawa State Ministry of Lands, Survey and Town Planning in Nigeria funded approximately USD 16.5 mil-
lion for the development of Nasarawa State Geographic Information System (NAGIS). It will be developed as per the World Bank standards. The NAGIS aims to phase out the obsolete data storage system and management. Sonny Agassi, commissioner in-charge of the ministry, said, "We want to upgrade land administration in the state by digitising land records. NAGIS will be a one-stop shop for all land use data in the state."
Ministry seeks funds for land management The Ministry of Environment and Natural Resources (Minirena) presented its latest budget allocations to the standing committee on budget and national patrimony of the Chamber of Deputies. The ministry demanded approximately USD 4 million for sustainable land management. Some of the priorities under sustainable land management include budget for processing seven million leasehold titles, training district officials in GIS, land
use planning and preparation of district land use plans and connecting districts to the country's land administration information system.
UNESCO maps groundwater The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) launched 'Groundwater Resources Investigation for Drought mitigation in Africa' project in Nairobi. The project is supported by the US Government and Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA). It aims to provide assured water supply in emergency situations in the Horn of Africa. The USD 2 million project will map groundwater resources in drought-prone areas of Kenya, Ethiopia and Somalia. It also aims to study hydrological make-up of the areas and build local capacities. The groundwater survey will use WATEX system developed by Radar Technologies International that will enable rapid precise groundwater assessment for large areas.
SOUTH AFR ICA
RICS expands footprint in Africa Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) created panels of internationally accredited dispute resolvers, who will play an important role in property related matters in the South African market. The move is in response to the Mandatory Court Mediation pilot, launched by the Department of Justice, which will make it mandatory for disputes to go through a mediation process before they can be set down for trial. "These are not only mediators, but also arbitrators and adjudicators - who also bring years of experience," said Craig Hudson, RICS Business Development - Africa.
Geospatial World I July 2012
serve 18 departments of the state government.
I N DIA
Sat data to help regularise Delhi settlements The Ministry of Urban Development, Government of India, allowed regularisation of unauthorised colonies in Delhi, in accordance with the satellite images of 2007 instead of 2002. The move aims to complete the regularisation of colonies before 2013 assembly polls. Earlier, several Resident Welfare Associations (RWAs) had submitted layout plans of their colonies based on the ground situation on February 8, 2007 while Delhi State Spatial Data Infrastructure (DSSDI) had set boundaries on satellite images of 2002. The difference in ground reality and satellite images delayed the fixing of boundaries.
Himachal Pradesh gets GIS portal The State of Himachal Pradesh state launched a GIS portal for Labour and Employment Department. It will be used in organising job fairs and campus interviews. The portal was officially inaugurated by Dr P C Kapoor, Principal Secretary of the state. The GIS system, hosted on Aryabhatta Geo-informatics & Space Application Centre (AGiSAC) website, has spatial information on administrative structure, infrastructure and employment exchanges. The GIS system has been developed in nine months and will
Geospatial World I July 2012
Rising sea level threatens coastal areas Multi-disciplinary teams, comprising of more than 220 scientists belonging to over 120 institutions, warned in a report that the most vulnerable stretches along the western Indian coast, affected by sea level rise, are Khambat and Kutch (Gujarat), Mumbai and parts of the Konkan coast and south Kerala. Using digital elevation model data (90m resolution), digital image processing and GIS software, they observed that the sea level will rise by 3.5 to 34.6 inches between 1990 and 2100. It also observed that deltas of the Ganga, Krishna, Godavari, Cauvery and Mahanadi rivers on the east coast may also be threatened along with irrigated land and adjoining settlements.
GIS to monitor rural job scheme Government officials in Tamil Nadu state employed a GIS to manage the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme (MGNREGS). The GIS incorporates satellite imagery provided by Anna University's Institute of Remote Sensing using Indian Remote Sensing (IRS) satellites. "Local panchayat presidents often say that desiltation in their areas has already been carried out and that there is no work for MNREGS beneficiaries," said a state official. "Using GIS mapping, we have shown the exact amount of silt and encroachment that has taken place over the years, which may not be visible at the ground level."
First sat for armed forces set for launch India is set to launch the firstever dedicated military satellite, Rohini. The 2,330-kg naval satellite is supposed to have a 1,000 nautical mile footprint over Indian Ocean and will ensure â€˜networkcentric operationsâ€™. It will enable the navy to network all its warships, submarines and aircraft with operational centres ashore.
In addition, the government appointed Rear Admiral Kishan K Pandey, a communications and electronic warfare specialist, as Assistant Chief of Naval Staff (communications, space and network-centric operations) in keeping with the navy's endeavour to transform from a "platformcentric navy'' to a "networkenabled navy''.
Geospatial a good career option: Bayanat Geospatial domain is a good career option and becoming a part of geospatial industry can help in achieving the development goals of Abu Dhabi under its Vision 2030 plan, said Khaled Al Melhi, CEO of
Bayanat. He was addressing a visiting students delegation from the Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences, Geography and Urban Planning Department, United Arab Emirates University (UAEU). Bayanat's officials shed light on the agency's highly successful internal emiratisation programme that has helped the company secure a leading industry position and post one of the highest emiratisation rates in Abu Dhabi.
CH I NA
Toyota, NavInfo to form Telemap China Toyota Motor Corp. and NavInfo Co., Ltd. (NavInfo) announced its plans to establish a joint-venture company for the distribution of map data to car navigation systems in China. The joint-venture company, Telemap China Co., Ltd., is scheduled to begin services in 2013 with starting capital of approximately USD 9.2 million. Equity participation will consist of 51 percent provided by NavInfo, 39 percent provided by TMC and 10 percent provided by Beijing Media Technical Solution Ltd.
Relic Bureau to get g-power Cultural Relic Bureau will build an offshore supervision platform to protect cultural relics around the Xisha Islands in the South China Sea, Chinese media reported. The platform will consist of a GIS, remote sensing satellite and video surveillance system to supervise the waters, according to Wang Yiping, director of the Bureau, Hainan province. The Xisha Islands consists of a cluster of about 40 islets, sandbanks and reefs.
Bentley honours UTM team For the first time ever, a Malaysian team won the annual Bentley Student Design Competition. Bentley honoured Uznir Ujang, 29, and his wife Suhaibah Azri, 27, from the Universiti Teknologi Malaysia (UTM). The couple developed a 3D software model to enable utility, telecommunications and pipeline companies to accurately retrieve information like
Uznir and Suhaibah
pipeline depth, intersection and distances.
SI NGAP OR E
TomTom expands footprint in APAC TomTom released its latest map products for the Asia Pacific (APAC) region. Now, TomTom maps cover 51 countries and territories throughout APAC, with navigable coverage for 15 countries across 8 million kilometres of roads. The new products include voice maps in Thai and Bahasa Indonesian, debut of lane and signpost information, addition of nearly 1 million address points, street network coverage of over 100 cities in India and nearly 83,000 km Chinese road network map.
USD 7.61 mn boost for space programmes Pakistan government allocated PKR 717.078 million (approximately USD 7.61 million) for nine projects, overseen by Pakistan Space and Upper Atmosphere Research Commission (SUPARCO). The projects include development of a compact antenna test range, development of various laboratories and logistic support facilities for the National Satellite Development Program, Altitude and Orbital Control System Centre, development of a satellite assembly integration and test facility, remote sensing data transmission facility and satellite environmental validation and testing facility.
Geospatial World I July 2012
Xiang Yu, Peace Map Co., Ltd.
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32 years of soil moisture data out European Space Agency (ESA) released first remote-sensing soil moisture data record spanning the period 1978 to 2010. This activity has been initiated within the Water Cycle Multi-mission Observation Strategy project, led by ITC (The Netherlands), inside ESA's Support To Science Element programme. The data of 32 years allows for a robust calculation of the climatology, which in turn can be used to calculate anomalies. For example, drying areas are evident, such as in the central US in 2005, Brazil and East Africa in the summer of 2007, southern China in the winter of 2009-10 and in 2010 in Russia.
Envisat ignites debate on space debris Envisat, with its 8 ton weight and the size of a schoolbus, is destined to remain in a very populated orbit for
about 150 years. It is posing repeated conjunction and collision risks to other spacecrafts and triggered a series of legal and political issues, observed an article published in Space Safety Magazine. According to the article, "Although it is clearly stated that the 'Launching State' will be financially liable in case of damage, the primary definition of man-made debris as space objects under Article 1 of the Liability Convention should be the first step of a process that should lead to a widely ratified treaty on 'space debris liability,' much stronger than a code of conduct, and as binding as the Treaties that set the general framework of Space Law during the Cold War."
G E R MANY
LiDAR tech optimises wind turbine Using a nacelle-based LiDAR system and predictive control methods, researchers succeeded for the first time to lower the loads acting on the turbine. It was a joint effort of the researchers from the University of Stuttgart and National Renewable
Energy Laboratory (NREL), US. This novel predictive control technique enabled the turbine to react to the inflowing wind field before it actually reaches the turbine's rotor, thereby minimising the load-stress and increasing the energy production. Researchers claimed that the recording of wind field-data using LiDAR is important to the industry due to the increased costs of measuring masts and the demand for high temporal and spatial resolution wind field measurements.
TH E N ETH E R LAN DS
GeoFort opens for public The Nieuwe Hollandse Waterlinie, a former military line of defence, transformed into GeoFort. It is now
Business leaders rely on â€˜big dataâ€™ The Economist Intelligence Unit report 'The Deciding Factor: Big Data & Decision making', commissioned by Capgemini, revealed that nine out of ten business leaders believe 'big data' is now the fourth factor of production, as fundamental to business as land, labour and capital. 'Big data' improved businesses' performance, on an average, by 26 per cent and that the impact will grow to 41 percent over the next 3 years. The majority of companies (58 percent) claimed they would make a bigger investment in 'big data' over the next three years. According to Capgemini's press statement, 'big data' refers to the data, gathered by information-sensing mobile devices, sensory technologies (remote sensing), cameras, microphones, radio-frequency identification readers, and wireless sensor networks.
Geospatial World I July 2012
open for public. It is an educational attraction, which acquaints visitors with cartography and navigation. Willemijn Simon van Leeuwen and Bart van Leeuwen conceptualised the idea and in collaboration with the Netherlands' Forestry Commisison (Staatsbosbeheer) embodied it. Some of the key attractions of GeoFort include Intelligent Maze, Bat Research Garden and 3D Cafe.
Cabinet Office calls for data standardisation The UK Cabinet Office called for greater use of Unique Property Reference Numbers (UPRNs) across the public sector, to support the move towards individual electoral registration (IER), according to Ordnance
Survey. UPRNs are assigned to address records by local authorities at the planning stage and persist for the lifetime of each and every property across UK. This means that every property is uniquely recorded and can be unequivocally identified by any organisation that holds the UPRN in its own records. Ordnance Survey publishes the UPRNs in its AddressBase range of products, produced by GeoPlace LLP, in conjunction with the Local Government Association and Scottish Government's Improvement Service.
â€˜GNSS IC market to reach 1.8 bn by 2016â€™ A study from ABI Research demonstrated the continued expansion of the GNSS Integrated Circuit (IC) market that is forecast to reach 1.8 billion shipments globally by 2016, representing a market worth over USD 3.3 billion at the end of the period. The study observed that companies like u-blox, Fastrax and iPosi all developing specific GPS/GNSS solutions to meet the unique requirements of this market. ABI's senior analyst, telematics and navigation, Patrick Connolly said, "Ultimately,
GPS/GNSS manufacturers will need to combine an increasing number of technologies, supporting ubiquitous indoor and outdoor location. In 2012, CSR, Broadcom, and Qualcomm have all made announcements around increasing convergence of location technologies in the handset."
'Earthquakes without frontiers' gets funds Natural Environment Research Council and the Economic and Social Research Council funded GBP 3.5 million to a five-year project, 'Earthquakes without frontiers'. The project aims to understand the threats, posed by unanticipated earthquakes in continental interiors. It will be led by the University of Cambridge. Researchers will use state-of theart ground- and satellite-based technology to examine the link between earthquake faults and the landscape they have created. The project will target a relatively neglected area for earthquake research the ten million square kilometres of the Alpine-Himalayan belt stretching from Italy, Greece and Turkey, across the Middle East, Iran and central Asia, to China.
DE N MAR K
Conference outlines potential of GMES The 'GMES in Action' conference concluded with the 'Copenhagen Resolution'. The resolution on the future of GMES (Global Monitoring for Environment and Security programme) outlined its potential and requirements to move forward, such as an adequate governance model, data policy and longterm financial commitment. Referring to an independent study, the resolution observed that GMES will exhibit a return on investment of up to ten times. Paul Weissenberg, Deputy Director General of the European Commission, commented, "Each EUR 1 invested will generate EUR 4 in return."
Geospatial World I July 2012
'Spatial and gaming tech to shape future cities' An innovative synthesis of mapping technologies and video game engineering enabled urban planners to create the cities of the future, observed Esri Australia's 3D geospatial specialist Leonard Olyott. He was addressing Transport and Main Roads Spatial Science Symposium in Brisbane. Olyott said, "Computing advancements in the gaming industry
have driven our ability to take GIS technology into a 3D environment. The result is tools like Esri CityEngine, which when populated with geographical data can model the impact of natural and man-made phenomenon on urban infrastructure.”
GPS data improves weather forecast Researchers at the Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology and the Bureau of Meteorology claimed that GPS can make weather forecasting more accurate by providing a new type of temperature observation. Using GPS technology, the Aus-
Geospatial World I July 2012
tralian Bureau of Meteorology is delivering forecasts of the same accuracy 10 hours earlier. They explained that the way the atmosphere affects GPS signals gives them information on important temperature profiles. RMIT Professor John Le Marshall said, "This extra information, in the data-sparse Southern Hemisphere, is now making our forecasts more accurate. GPS can fill that gap. It was the missing link."
Sat data reveals piracy patterns A study by the New Zealand Defence Force (NZDF) revealed a strong correlation between successful pirate activity, wind speed and wave height. Using information from European Space Agency's (ESA) GlobWave project, the NZDF team observed that during summer in Indian Ocean,
N EW Z EALAN D
Govt embraces open data initiative New Zealand Government included 1700 datasets in a directory on the website data.govt.nz. It is a move to open up the data (including geospatial data) for the public. The government first committed to this initiative in a Cabinet Paper on 'open government' issued in August 2011. The open data exercise is coordinated by a steering committee; its terms of reference and all its minutes are available on the ict.govt.nz website. The steering group is chaired by Colin MacDonald who also holds positions of Chief Executive of Department of Internal Affairs (DIA) and thereby government’s Chief Information Officer (CIO).
Critchlow to market NAVTEQ data NAVTEQ, a Nokia subsidiary, selected Critchlow Associates, a provider of customised geospatial services in New Zealand, to market its geospa-
there was a significant drop in pirate activities. The team concluded that during summers, high waves made difficult to sail boats and hence there were less pirate activity. Owing to security problems in the region, no in situ measurements were available. It made GlobWave data uniquely placed to provide regular and accurate wind and wave height information. tial datasets. Some of these datasets are new to the New Zealand marketplace. For example, the company claimed that 'NAVTEQ Transport' is the country’s first heavy transport-specific geospatial dataset. It includes a range of data to support improved route planning and optimisation for the heavy transport sector. Another new product for this market is 'NAVTEQ Enhanced City Model'.
Google patents location-based alarm system B USI N ESS
NGA cuts EnhancedView payment The National Geospatial Intelligence Agency (NGA) informed GeoEye that it would not renew the USD 3.5 billion EnhancedView contract. However, the NGA proposed an option under which
GeoEye will get service revenue of USD 39.75 million for the three month ending November 2012, and a nine-month option providing for USD 119.3 million, contingent on funding. On the other hand, DigitalGlobe announced that the NGA is considering renewing its EnhancedView contract for the third year.
The United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) awarded 'United States Patent: 8195203' to Google. According to the USPTO filings in 2011, the patent is for a softwarebased alert system and is titled 'location-based mobile device alarm'. According to excerpts from the patent filing, "This document discusses systems and techniques that may be used to change the behaviour of an alarm clock on a mobile computing device depending on the geographical location of the device. Also, the categories of information displayed on an 'alarm' or 'clock' screen may change based on whether the user is determined to be at home or somewhere else."
Trimble acquires GEOTrac Trimble acquired GEOTrac Systems Inc. - a provider of wireless fleet management and worker safety solutions for the oil and gas industry. It will be reported as part of Trimble's Mobile Solutions segment. The addi-
tion of GEOTrac is expected to extend PeopleNet's (a Trimble company) transportation solutions to address the North American oil and gas industry. "The acquisition extends PeopleNet's focus on innovation, service and brings best-of-breed solutions to the North American transport/oil and gas industry," said Ron Konezny, general manager of Trimble's Transportation and Logistics (T&L) Division.
GITA embraces new business model The Geospatial Information & Technology Association (GITA) Board of Directors approved a plan that will allow the association to continue to provide services to the geospatial industry as a volunteer organisation. This is a move necessitated by several years of declining conference attendance and membership. Through a press statement, Bob Samborski, Executive Director of GITA, explained, "GITA will be less dependent on conferences and physical events and will offer individuals and organisations new and different ways to participate and gain benefit from participation
NGA reveals strategy for next four years The National Geospatial Intelligence Agency (NGA) announced its strategy for 2013-2017. The document 'NGA strategy 2013-2017' observed that NGA and GEOINT are key enablers of national security interests, actions and decisions around the globe. The Strategy aligns with the nation's strategic priorities, goals and objectives as outlined in the National Intelligence Strategy, the Defense Intelligence Strategy and the Secretary of Defense strategic guidance: Sustaining U.S. Global Leadership: Priorities for 21st Century Defense. The document also listed NGA's goal of providing online, on-demand access to its GEOINT and to broaden analytic expertise.
Geospatial World I July 2012
in the wider geospatial community. The go-forward plan includes a transition to a volunteer operation, with the GITA staff transitioning from full-time employment at the end of June."
NAVTEQ offers 2011 Canada Census data Nokia announced that its Location & Commerce business is the first to launch 2011 Canada Census data in its Census Boundaries product. The Census data will be offered as part of the Q1/2012 NAVTEQ Maps database release. When combined with demographic data, Census Boundaries becomes a tool for lifestyle and population analysis in the fresh and reliable context of the NAVTEQ map. This enables organisations to boost efficiencies, control costs and make informed decisions for a range of applications. For example, geo-marketers can use Census Boundaries to discover population trends and become informed about where a business' key customer segments are located.
Esri releases ArcGIS Online Esri released ArcGIS Online - a cloud-based mapping system. There are three roles in ArcGIS Online: administrators, publishers, and users. Administrators of the ArcGIS Online subscription have the ability to customise, publish and use content, and also monitor service consumption through a dashboard. Publishers do not have administrative privi-
Geospatial World I July 2012
leges but can publish content. Users can interact with and consume content but not publish it. Jack Dangermond, President, Esri, said, "ArcGIS Online works with all types of data and is built on a powerful enterprise mapping platform that lets users simply manage their geospatial content, such as data, maps, images, applications and other geographic information."
Radar, laser to identify valuable plant traits A Texas AgriLife Research applied radar and terrestrial laser-scanning tools to differentiate types of plants. It helped researchers in identifying traits that give the breeding line an advantage when it comes to drought resistance.
Satellites to study ocean wind NASA selected an ocean wind study proposal led by the University of Michigan. The proposal, Cyclone Global Navigation Satellite System (CYGNSS) will consist of constellation of eight micro-satellites, which will receive both direct and reflected signals from GPS satellites. The direct signals will pinpoint CYGNSS observatory positions, while the reflected signals will respond to ocean surface roughness, from which wind speed will be retrieved.
The ability to map roots at different depths allows detection of plants with deeper roots or roots that spread out further. "Our idea is if we can identify those plants in a population or be able to characterise the roots below ground, we could adapt our varieties to make them more drought-resistant or drought-tolerant," stated Sean Thompson, one of the researchers.
Hexagon 2012 showcases latest tech trend Hexagon is commited to empower its customers with actionable information to proactively address tomorrowâ€™s challenges today, stated Ola RollĂŠn, President and CEO of Hexagon. He was delivering keynote presentation, Hexagon: Moving Business-
es, Industries and the World Forward, during Hexagon 2012 Conference in Las Vegas. The Conference brought together the latest technologies and user communities from Leica Geosystems, Intergraph, Hexagon Metrology and Novatel, all in one location. The company claimed that the conference registered 70 percent more attendees than last year.
GeoBase gets elevation data GeoBase database included updated Canadian Digital Elevation Data (CDED). The database aims to increase the availability of base geospatial data to all Canadians. According to an official press statement, the source digital data for CDED is the hypsographic and hydro-
graphic elements of the National Topographic Data Base (NTDB) at scales of 1:50 000 and 1:250 000, or the Geospatial Data Base (GDB), or various scaled positional data acquired by the provinces and territories, or remotely sensed imagery. The CDED plays the same role as contours and relief shading on conventional paper maps. CDED serves as a
key primary data in a range of applications critical to achieving sustainable development.
B RAZ I L
Terra-i to track deforestation An international team of researchers from Colombia, the UK, USA and Switzerland developed Terra-i and launched during the Rio+20 Conference. They claimed that it is the first ever system to monitor deforestation across Latin America in near realtime using satellite data. Terra-i can monitor changes in land cover every 16 days and for every 250 metres on the ground. Preliminary results from the new system revealed that in parts of Colombia, deforestation increased by 340 percent since 2004; and over a million hectares of forest have been lost in the Gran Chaco, Paraguay.
IBGE releases maps of five states The Brazilian Institute of Geography and Statistics (IBGE) released five new physical maps for the states of
Ceará, Goiás, Paraíba, Piauí and Rio de Janeiro. Apart from these maps, one can also access maps of Acre, Amazonas, Amapá, Bahia, Maranhao, Minas Gerais, Mato Grosso, Mato Grosso do Sul, Pará, Paraná, Pernambuco, Rio Grande do Norte, Rio Grande do Sul, Rondonia, Roraima, Santa Catarina, São Paulo & Tocantins at IBGE website. With these maps, users can identify the highest peaks and nomenclature of the hills and mountains, allowing a more detailed knowledge of the territory.
Google launches cultural map Google unveiled a cultural map of Brazil's Surui indigenous people. It can be accessible through Google Earth. It is a digital tool that will help Amazonian tribe share their vast knowledge of the forest and fight illegal logging. It provides 3-D visualisation of Surui territory in the northwestern Brazilian state of Rondonia. Rebecca Moore, Google Earth Outreach leader said that by developing the map Google now had a methodology that can be used to help other indigenous peoples around the world, including in Canada & New Zealand.
VE N E Z U E LA
President approves fund for VRSS-1 sat The President of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela, Hugo Chávez, approved USD 4.6 million for the VRSS-1 (Venezuelan Remote Sensing Satellite). It is also known as 'Miranda Satellite'. It is the second Venezuelan satellite to be built and launched from China. The President explained that it is a low Earth orbit observation satellite, and will be placed 397 miles away from the Earth. The VRSS-1 is expected to be in orbit between September and October 2012.
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CONTENT IS THE NEXT BIG OPPORTUNITY" Can you share with us the genesis, the motive and the journey of TomTom? TomTom is originally a software company. We initially developed applications for mobile devices but in the late 1990s, we actively started developing digital maps for mobile devices. We were quite excited about it and so were our customers because of the possible applications. Our pioneering efforts culminated into a full-fledged car navigation application in the early years of the new century. That was a breakthrough for the industry, which was technology-driven until that point in time. Car navigation was not new and neither was navigation, but our efforts made it a consumer product, easy-to-use, affordable and accessible to a wide range of users. It changed the life of millions of car drivers, easing their stress in finding the way on the roads. We soon realised that in
order to provide good services, we had to focus on the content in our devices. We observed that information about particular routes was not very sophisticated, because of the lack of understanding of how road networks worked. We knew where the road was, where the crossings were, but we did not know how fast people were driving on that road or what was the fastest route to one's destination. From 2005-06 onwards, we aggressively developed that technology and it brought us very close to the content. We started involving our users in collecting information and started collecting speed profiles. We started developing live traffic information because we considered it to be an important ingredient. We also started developing feedback mechanisms for customers who
Harold Goddijn Founder & CEO, TomTom
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found inaccuracies in our data or of any changes in road network. Around that time, Alain De Taeye of TeleAtlas and I got together. That culminated in a group of companies which is very active in content production, content collection and publishing and technology development to use the content in a cost effective way to deliver good end-user experience and this enables us power different applications.
gation capability is increasing. w is TomTom capitalising on How this situation? When we entered the market with our products, car drivers had a choice - they either had an expensive in-built system in the car, or they had a PND. And we delivered the PND with a fantastic value-formoney. Today, there is an increase in the number of ways consumers can
our content to smartphone makers and developing our own mobile applications. This is a growth area and a big revenue stream for us.
It has been four years now that TomTom acquired Tele Atlas. How have the individual strengths been synergised so far? We made good progress though
We are seeing new avenues opening up for content and maps. On the other hand, PND market is on the decline. How is TomTom reorienting itself to this reality? We had a massive success in the PND market in a short time. But today, PND market is declining and this decline (10-20%) has been difficult. We started reorienting our business in 20062007 with a bigger focus on content and services and started focusing on automotive market, GIS market and enterprise market, where we saw big potential. While there is a decline in consumer business, there is growth in these areas. Today, PND revenue is only 35 percent of our total group revenue. However, we have not been able to compensate yet. One of our targets is to reach a point where new activities will deliver overall growth to the group. We can see that moment on the horizon.
While PND market is declining, the number of people using navi-
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use navigation, location-based services etc and the way they can consume those services is much broader than ever before. Mobile phones are increasingly being used for these services. More and more content is getting geo-referenced and displayed on a map. So, there is enormous growth in the usage of geographical information systems and data. And there is steep decline in the prices. We are capitalising on this smartphone revolution in a number of ways. We are licensing
there is still lot of scope for improvement in further integrating these businesses. We are looking for synergies and bundling our content with software that we developed in automotive and consumer space. We made big progress in the way we make maps and the way we can include our communities and consumer base to help us create content collectively. A good example is our traffic information product. Going forward, one of the exciting areas is making the use of geo-
Part of the transition from Tele Atlas to TomTom has been the desire to shorten the release cycle to get real time apps and to be able to process changes that one identifies in the field quickly
graphical information and database much easier for people to use. We will bundle that with technology, software and applications. This has already started happening and we made good progress in the enterprise market (where there is renewed interest and investment) and on the GIS side. We foresee our revenues in certain areas growing in double digits every year.
How do you foresee geospatial content getting more live, information collection more dynamic and its transmission into traffic information systems? That's an important point. Part of the transition from Tele Atlas to TomTom has been the desire to shorten the release cycle to get real time apps and to be able to process changes that one identifies in the field quickly and be able to publish them in near real-time to get closer to real time mapping. In a not too distant future, we will be able to productise that and go to the market with fresher and easier-to-maintain maps. The changes in data network can be published to our partners in near real time. These partners can be not only governments or enterprises, but also end users in cars or PND users.
Significant research is on to provide real-time geographic data. What is the role of sensors in thiis? Talking specifically about roads and traffic, I should say that lot of work is going on. This is based on two themes. Looking specifically at car, we will increasingly start looking at the car as a node in the network. Once a car is connected to the network, there are lots of possibilities. We can turn the car into a sensor. We can detect when it is raining, when it is starting to freeze, if there is a traffic jam and if the direction of traffic has changed. Going forward, we can see cameras in a traffic mission being built-in into a car. One can do some local processing and also give data back to the drivers. The second important development I foresee is that governments will start publishing their own information in an agreed format, which the industry can pick up and transfer to the customers. So, there is more one-to-one relationship between people looking after roads/road networks and the drivers. Information can be tailor-made for people who are driving on certain routes and at certain times and that would be a relevant and cost-effective way of distributing information, enhancing safety and reducing CO2 emissions. In the future, there is also opportunity for peer-to-peer communication, where we will see special versions of Wi-Fi protocols being developed for vehicle communication. Peer-to-peer communication can facilitate warnings for traffic congestion, but also exchange of information between the car and the road side equipment.
TomTom has been providing real time traffic data to governments and road transport authorities. How is the response? There is lot of excitement. For the first time, there is a big database. Since 2006, we have been filling that database with statistical information about driving. It is a massive source of information ready to be mined. We are not tapping it enough but we see lot of interest and people are developing applications on top of the database. But it is only valuable when one can really extract the information as needed and cater to diverse categories like engineering companies, governments and traffic consultancies which are working on making products that help in real time, in real life, to plan for traffic and make for good policies.
TomTom democratised navigation with its PNDs. Do you see such democratisation happening with trafficc information as well? This technology will be a standard equipment in a couple of years. There is lot of traffic information on the shelf that is valuable but it is active routing that is important. We are not selling traffic information; we are selling solutions to get users to their destinations in shortest possible time. By using all those sensors and correct routing, about ten percent of travel time in urban areas and up to 30 per cent of travel time in congested urban areas can be saved. So it is logical and cost-effective.
What about privacy issues? Consumers can choose whether they want to participate in a programme or not. But we guarantee absolute privacy. If we collect data
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from a car, we don't know which car we collect the data from as the car remains anonymous. The data remains anonymous and aggregated. We don't store anything that can be linked back to the individual driver. Europe has strict regulations but they specify that if you treat that information properly, make it anonymous, aggregate it, you can do whatever you want with it. In the real world, privacy is not an issue. What we, others, press, politicians need to do, is to learn about privacy - when is it that we need to worry, and when it is okay. That debate is not very sophisticated yet because it is complex, emotional and not always fact-based because it is very difficult to understand what the facts are. You need to be half an engineer yourself to understand what the policies are. I think the privacy debate will evolve. Currently, we have a set of rules that are working fine and five years from now, we might have a different set of rules.
Google Maps and Bing Maps are providing access to lot of free content. How are you competing his kind of facility available with th for people? It is true that there is a lot of free content. But there is a cost associated with making it. And typically
In the real world, privacy is not an issue. What we, others, press, politicians earn need to do, is to le about privacy - when is it that we need to worry, and when it is okay
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TomTom has opened Traffic Information Centre in Berlin
that information comes with a certain business model. If you want to use Google Maps, you have to use certain applications. But we can deliver our content in different formats, ensuring complete privacy. There will be an important business for that type of information that is completely unrestricted in its use and flexibility is in-built.
What is your strategy for emerging economies like India, China, Brazil and South Africa? We see big opportunity for the content and services we deliver. Customers are already asking us to expand our investments in these countries. Taking India as example, it is still nascent in India but we believe there is great future for car navigation, navigation in general and location-based services. Some of them will be free, some of them will be paid. We want to be there not only as strategic partners to our international customers, but also as
strategic partners to our local customers in India. We want to bring all the technology, all the learning and understanding we developed in the international context. We are investing in our content and providing our partners with software to turn that content into great and exciting end-user propositions or business-to-business propositions. Our most important markets are North America and Europe. At a certain level, saturation is taking place in consumer space in these markets but there is substantial growth in automotive business. And we believe we can repeat that in China, India, Brazil, Indonesia and other countries. There is lot of investment in that space and growth in areas like telematics and general licensing. It is a very high margin business on a fixed cost which is a map. We will continue to do what we are doing and investing in those areas. Growth will come back.
VOLUNTEERED GEOGRAPHIC INFORMATION/CROWDSOURCING
Democratisation of geographic information While the importance of the expert group of surveyors and cartographers in the context of geospatial information cannot be devalued, amateurs are becoming increasingly active and the sharp boundary between the expert and amateur is getting blurred. Prof. Arup Dasgupta, Managing Editor, analyses the process of democratisation of geo-information
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Cover Stor y
he public at large are the biggest stakeholders in the field of geographical applications. The daily acts of transportation, location and recreation, to name a few, are all geographically referenced. In fact, it would not be wrong to say that geography provides the leitmotif to human existence. An individual is a resource for geographical information that is localised and personal, yet the average citizen hardly had any role to play in the geospatial world. This fact was realised by local level planners and the first attempt to draw on this wealth of local information and include it in the more formal technological world of GIS was termed “public participatory geographic information systems, or PPGIS. The attempt in PPGIS is to quantify local information and knowledge and in the process give ownership of the system to the stakeholders. With modern systems like GPS receivers, GPSenabled devices like phones and cameras and the interactive Web getting popular, a whole range of geographic data collection and dissemination activities emerged, characterised by the generic term “user generated content,” or UGC. Terms such as volunteered geographic information, neogeography and crowdsourcing are specific instances of UGC. These terms cover the act of the collection and dissemination of geographic information by individuals who may or may not be trained surveyors and geographers but who have sufficient knowledge to be able to observe, record and report a geographical feature or event. VGI is characterised by a formal set up where the public can contribute; a typical example being Google Map Maker where tools are provided to the volunteer to enter data which is further subject to review and moderation. Wikimapia is another example but here the review process itself is driven by volunteers. Neogeography, on the other hand, lacks a formal structure. It is more intuitive, personal and perhaps even idiosyncratic but it is an expression of an individual geographic view - like a mashup. A related term is crowdsourcing where each individual is considered as a sensor and thus is a source of geographic information. Crowdsourcing can be solicited or involuntary. A radio station which looks for traffic reports from citizens is an example of a solicited crowdsourcing. Studying the movement of mobile phone locations to determine traffic congestion is an example of involuntary crowd sourcing. The latter type
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With modern systems like GPS receivers, GPS-enabled devices like phones and cameras and the interactiive Web getting popular, a whole range of geographic data collection and dissemination activities emerged, characterised by the generic term “user generated content”
of crowd sourcing raises many issues of privacy if it is used to identify individuals and tracks them to determine their preferred locations and personal interests.
THE SOCIAL CONTEXT Public participation in geospatial activities is a part of the continuum of public participation in ICT. Web 2.0 has given rise to the emergence of Web-based communities which focus on social networking, social book marking, blogging and Wikis. VGI and neogeography arise from the desire of the average person to tag data to specific locations of their interest and share this data with others in the same way as they share on say, Facebook. Information has become pervasive and ubiquitous and geographical information is following this trend, resulting in a fundamental shift in geographic knowledge production and practice. Chris Thomas, Government Market Manager, Esri, reflects this when he states that "Esri saw the early beginnings through citizen and volunteer group involvement during disasters where disparate groups began to report road conditions, need for water, lack of electricity,
PROFILE OF VOLUNTEERS The Report of the EuroSDR Workshop on Crowd Sourcing for the Updating of National Databases held in 2009 identifies several types of volunteers. "Groupies" are small groups of map (or any geodata) lovers which produce trustable and very valuable data of great value. The "casual users" are hikers, bikers, mountaineers etc. This group partly overlaps with the groupies but are distinguished by a lesser effort and therefore less
campaigns (television, radio, internet forums, print media, etc.). These are mostly once-off mappers specially motivated by competitions, mapping parties, etc. The "open mappers" are small groups which spend a lot of time to contribute very valuable and large information to open source data sets or data systems (OpenStreetMap, MapShare, Google MapMaker, etc.). The "passive mappers" are owners of mobile phones
etc. The use of GIS through light weight applications on smart devices began to increase through focused citizen engagement activities. We witnessed groups and individuals using GIS to support a wide range of activities today, from reporting graffiti and pot holes, to relaying information on the location of endangered species, supporting real time collection of broadband connectivity for future infrastructure planning, supporting the inventorying of trees in an urban forest, and much more. The list of activities grows each and every day." While the importance of the expert group of surveyors and cartographers in the context of geospatial information is not to be devalued, at the same time amateurs are becoming increasingly active and the sharp boundary between the expert and amateur is getting blurred. The advantage that the amateurs have over the experts is that their information is up-to-date and localised but the disadvantage is that the information is not as accurate and reliable as the information from an expert. This process of democratisation, therefore, is not without its dangers. As in other social media, a lot of information can be misleading if not downright erroneous.
THE ISSUE OF AUTHENTICITY
valuable data production. The "experts" are active people and leading map experts in organisations like mountain rescue, fire brigades, civil protection, traffic guides, etc. The experts have to be identified by, and committed to, the mapping agencies with (financial) agreements. The "media mappers" are potentially large groups, activated sporadically by regional up to international media
which incorporate GPS positioning. The use of this information is restricted by law and/or acceptance of the individuals. The "mechanical turks": The Amazon Mechanical Turk is a crowd sourcing marketplace and service where human beings can contribute to posed tasks for a monetary payment. They can be used to gather needed data for mapping agencies, but the delivered data would need careful checking.
As can be seen from the profile of volunteers (Box 1) the reliability and authenticity of the VGI ranges from 'low' for data from casual users to 'high' for data from experts. The acceptance of datasets from such a variegated set of volunteers requires special effort. In general, quality of data has multiple dimensions such as absolute and relative geometric accuracy, currency, topological correctness, the accuracy of the metadata, the legal aspects and the validation stamp by an official agency. VGI may not meet all these parameters. The main issue is the fitness of data for the purpose intended. VGI data to be used in a disaster situation should be up-to-date and usable for navigation even if the accuracy is not of map quality. On the other hand, data which has a higher persistence
The advantage the amateurs have over the experts is that their information is up-to-date and localissed but the disadvantage is that the information is not as accurate and reliable as the information from an expert
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level like a road has to be accurate and certified by an authority. For example, MapmyIndia, an LBS portal, ensures authenticity by validating such crowdsourced information with their large in-house team of 400+ professional field surveyors and 150+ map specialist engineers. Hence, MapmyIndia data is crowd-augmented yet professionally created and verified, creating a continuous cycle of best, freshest and most accurate data available for India, says Rohan Verma, Director, MapmyIndia.
THE NMO VIEW Ng Siau Yong, Director, GeoSpatial Division, Singapore Land Authority feels that while the authoritative data has to necessarily come from the national mapping organisations (NMOs), current data is where volunteers can contribute. According to Yong, "There is a sea of potential for VGI. People are now equipped with technology and this empowers them to provide insight to things happening at various locations. The ability to report an incident speedily is very common these days as seen through Twitter and Facebook. OneMap has recently launched a set of crowdsourcing tools which will enable users to collect crowdsourced data through a plug-in which one can embed on their webpage. A set of crowdsourcing tools or APIs on OneMap can be used by developers to create their own crowdsourcing tools on their websites or create a mobile application to capture data on the move." nternational Cartographic Georg Gartner, President, In Association (ICA) and William Cartwright, Department of Land
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“While the authoritative data has to necessarily come from the national mapping organisations, curre ent data is where volunteers can contribute. People are now equipped with technology and this empowerrs them to provide insight to things happening at various locations”
Ng Siau Yong Director GeoSpatial Division Singapore Land Authority
Information,, RMIT University, Australia both feel that from the perspective of cartography, VGI is a very positive development. “Open Street Maps has made an impact on NMOs. The task that NMOs have done in the past as an authority will partly be covered by both commercial and volunteered communities. However, a cartographic product is a standardised product like a newspaper or a movie, but a VGI product is a customisation of that standardised product. Issues of accuracy and reliability of CGI data will decide on its acceptability,” they say. These views are reflected in the conclusion of the Report of the EuroSDR Workshop on Crowd Sourcing for the Updating of National Databases held in 2009. It states that "a strong collaboration of the mapping agencies and the research communities in the field of user generated content, which is identified as an important and valuable input in map or geodata updating procedures, content generation and interaction with the users. There is a lack on experiences, knowledge on interaction schemes, on techniques, on
‘CITIZENS AS SENSORS’ The not-so-friendly term of 'crowdsourcing' has been in use for quite some time now, as well as the rather anonymous-sounding 'volunteered geographic information.' With 'citizens as sensors,' it gets much more specific and personal, immediately raising concerns of privacy and perhaps bringing up a sense of responsibility as 'citizens.'
sensory role creates legitimacy, as does an explicit opt-in approach to any kind of identifiable tracing keeping in mind that with 'spatial joins,' identification is never far away. Whenever we act as citizens, though, e.g. with a desire for public participation, individual identification typically would be intended.
Without entering into the complexities of the privacy debate and discussing the concept of ownership in one's own data, it is clear that location adds an entirely new dimension to privacy. As much as presence in a public space might seem to be all but private, we now recognise from many practical examples that a person's location is an extremely powerful key allowing the linking of otherwise independent data sets. The 'spatial join' of personal records is much more critical than the simple tracking of an individual, raising legitimate concerns about where the 'people as sensors' evolution is going.
Another facet of 'people as sensors' frequently gets caught up in this debate: whenever 'crowdsensing' is truly done to observe clustering, movements and collective actions of larger numbers of people, benefits might clearly outweigh the critical aspects. Lots of people indicate collective behaviour, lots of cars indicate traffic, lots of customers let us measure business - as long as we stay away from Id'ing individuals, the 'crowd' serves as the protective cover of privacy concerns. 'Crowd', all of a sudden, thus becomes a much more friendly term!
“People as sensors,” or “people being observed” might be the most important distinction to be made, but unfortunately this is often kept in a fuzzy state. Thus only 'full disclosure' of any
er, there is a limited awareness of the standards as volunteers are generally not involved in developing them. As a result, there is limited understanding of their context or utility and therefore very few volunteers "buy in" to the standards. It does not help that standards are difficult to read. Another difficulty is that data must have associated metadata. Most volunteers do not know about metadata and those who know, do not appreciate its value. In fact, data collected by experts often lacks adequate metadata, therefore it is no surprise that VGI has even less metadata. One way of imposing standards without loading the volunteer is to create a gateway through which the volunteered data has to be submitted. Such a gateway inserts the requisite standardisation. Examples of such gateways are Google Map Maker, Open Street Maps, Wikiloc, 360.org, Wikimapia and Eye on Earth. The Open Geospatial Consortium has addressed the issue of standardisation in VGI and suggests the mapping of its Sensor Web Enablement standards to VGI. VGI could be treated as a complement to remote sensing. Further, since VGI uses Web 2.0, features would be retrieved from the Web through a set of well-defined rules. This is similar to the gateway approach described earlier. Another OGC effort, Open GeoSMS is an open-coordinate short message service (SMS) standard to allow transmission of map information and communications among different platforms of digital maps. The goal is to share location information across operating systems and applications. This standard is user generated and is in the process of becoming a standard.
REGULATORY ISSUES Josef Strobl Director University of Salzburg, Austria
legal aspects, on production process integration aspects, etc. The dialogue between crowds and mapping agencies is in most cases not established or is at a very basic level. How to establish, support and motivate a community to achieve tailored user generated content is seen as one main field of investigation."
VGI is currently a 'free for all' movement. While such altruism is to be appreciated, it may fly in the face of legal statutes and restriction in the long run, particularly if and
“Organisations that encourage or solicit VGI should provide adequate training and materials on potential legal risks. The training and the materials should be tailored for the particular region”
Kevin Pomfret Executive Director Centre for Spatial Law & Policy
The main issue with VGI is the lack of standards. Howev-
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â€œVGI has a significant role to play in the industry, and must be harnessed effectively to create a strong positive impact. The industry must continuously invest in a strong underlying professional data gathering and verification backbone and infrastructureâ€?
Rohan Verma Director MapmyIndia
when it starts getting integrated into the authoritative system. Kevin Pomfret, Executive Director, Centre for Spacial Law and Policy, feels that it will be at this point when "lawyers are likely to begin raising the questions like who owns and is responsible for the quality of the data that is collected - the collector, the entity that aggregates the collected data or the 'owner' of the information that is collected. Should the volunteer be solely responsible for complying with all privacy or national security laws or should the organisation that encourages the collection or aggregates the information also be liable? Is it ethical to encourage volunteers to collect and share such information without providing them knowledge of legal risks? If VGI providers do not have adequate answers
and/or solutions to these questions, such that lawyers understand the risk and believe it is properly allocated given the business relationship, there could be significant push back on integrating VGI with other data solutions". Training and documentation are proposed by Kevin to overcome these issues. "Organisations that encourage or solicit VGI should provide adequate training and materials on potential legal risks. The training and the materials should be tailored for the particular region. For example, the legal issues associated with VGI collection in the United States are different than those in China. Organisations can include language in their documents (contracts, license agreements, terms and conditions) that outline such matters as ownership rights in the data, compliance with local laws, steps taken to insure data quality. While such steps may seem premature in the early stages of collection, they will prove very helpful later on as in many cases the strength of the VGI database will only be as strong as its foundation."
IMPACT ON INDUSTRY
VGI presents a very cost-effective solution for data in data-hungry industries like location-based services. For example, MapmyIndia augments its exhaustive geo-database of India with information that comes from hundreds of thousands individual and corporate users of MapmyIndia data and products. Individual users of MapmyIndia's web, mobile and in-car products can easily provide structured and unstructured feedback, such as: adding a new place, editing an existing place, reporting an error, suggesting better routes between places etc. Corporate users continuously provide feeds to MapmyIndia about new Map showing the signal strength levels of various places around the UK from data contributed by Twitter users. Created by Steven Gray outlets which have
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opened or those that have been shut, as well as changes in routes being used in their daily business operations dependent on MapmyIndia GIS. VGI has a significant role to play in the industry, and must be harnessed effectively to create a strong positive impact. There are examples of VGI which are fully unstructured or unverified which in the end create inaccuracies and problems for users. So, the industry must continuously invest in a strong underlying professional data gathering and verification backbone and infrastructure, observes Rohan. According to Chris of Esri, "We are witnessing a broadened definition of enterprise GIS. One that includes society, elected officials, knowledge workers, and government workers that may not have viewed themselves a professional that would benefit from GIS or data collected through GIS. Each week we see the emergence of applications we had not thought of coming in from NGOs, start-ups, academia, traditional business partners, and of course, our user community". Esri perceives a real opportunity in leveraging the VGI movement by adapting their products to embrace citizen-to-government applications. Esri's new solutions initiative ArcGIS for Local Government provides templates such crowdsourcing, citizen requests, emergency management data collection for VGI that can be combined with other templates for a full service experience. Companies such as City Sourced have emerged as data collectors of citizen requests. By linking to a Web GIS like ArcGIS Online and with a better understanding of the workflows, GIS could support such a data source with a product that could support the full operation. The data collected by the citizen could be pulled into the back office where GIS analysis could be performed, executives could view the information on their dashboards, and the information could be consumed into CRM and 311 applications.
IMPACT ON GOVERNANCE Perhaps the biggest impact that VGI has is on crisis management. It is a well known fact that during the Haiti earthquake
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“In government, VGI is creating a whole new dialogue between citizens and government. The adaptatiion of VGI is providing a voice of citizens who may not normally have ever engaged with their federal, state, or local governments”
Chris Thomas Government Market Manager, Esri
rescue and rehabilitation efforts, the most up-to-date data came not from the UN or the military but from Open Street Maps. Volunteer efforts like Ushahidi provided the platform for collecting VGI. In the Haiti earthquake, 25,186 SMS messages and numerous e-mails, Web, and social media communications resulted in 3,596 georeferenced reports that were displayed cartographically via the web and acted on by government and intergovernmental humanitarian actors. Gartner and Cartwright are of the view that "VGI data might be more useful in urban areas and might replace other activities at either commercial or at the national authority level. This holds a big effect for the future of cartography. The first step of cartography is to get geo data in order to make maps and cartographic products. The cartographic communication process is influenced by users’ needs." This implies that the volunteer can become a major influence in the urban planning and management process. Municipalities do depend on volunteer information for maintenance of their assets. The impact of urban planning could be judged in advance through a process of consultation with and data collection from volunteers. Chris Thomas opines that "in government, VGI is creating a whole new dialogue between citizens and government. The adaptation of VGI is providing a voice of citizens who may not normally have ever engaged with their federal, state or local
EMPOWERING CITIZENS IN URBAN PLANNING The city of Norrköping in Sweden is empowering its citizens to plan the future city centre. The city planning office of Norrköping has initiated a project to communicate plans for the new city centre as well as engage the citizens to contribute with ideas. The service in Norrköping is based on Agency9s CityPlanner, a Web-based service for collaboration and communication in urban development and infrastructure projects. Agency CityPlanner is provided as a cloud service and allows projects to: > View virtual model of existing terrain and 3D city
Create scenes of project models and vector data >
> Share project information in project teams > Publish externally as project information > Consult stakeholders in formal planning process > Engage external users to provide new ideas and suggestions.
In the service, the user easily navigates in an interactive 3D view of Norrköping and explores the city. Information points provide details in text, images and 3D models. The user can comment and read others' comments directly in the 3D environment. Unlike traditional physical models in closed exhibition halls, the Web services are available to citizens 24 hours a day. This is a new channel to attract the younger generations and people too busy to visit exhibition meetings and hearing meetings, to communicate projects and build positive support for proposed plans. The service was released by Norrköping Municipality in connection with a local real estate event on April 13-15.
governments. The data collected by these groups at times may have taken years to collect or may never have been collected at all. The citizen engagement component is bringing GIS to a much wider audience. Not just the people collecting the data in the field, but elected officials recognise the importance of leveraging the communities within their communities. These elected officials have always known what GIS was but now they can realise a whole new use that impacts them in more personal ways. New geospatial workflows are being created. Thus, new analytical processes and visualisation products are coming to the forefront."
VGI is here to stay. A connected community will find expression through many means. Social media is a manifestation of this power. Added to this is a geo-equipped community
"We are overwhelmed by the positive response from citizens and media. Within a few days of the release of the service, there were many qualified comments from citizens proving its value. The attractive near reality presentation of the city in 3D combined with the simplicity in accessing information brings clarity and makes it easy to create interest from citizens. We will continuously monitor the inputs as contribution in our development of the city," says Dag Johansson City Architect of Norrköping.
IN CONCLUSION VGI is here to stay. A connected community will find expression through many means. Social media is a manifestation of this power. Add to this a geo-equipped community and we have geo-social networks, a powerful lobby of volunteers and activists who can add to geographic information. OSM and Ushahidi are examples of how this power can be fruitfully harnessed. Governments and NMOs in particular are aware of the potential of this network. It will take some time before this potential can be harnessed as an authoritative data source. Chris Thomas sums this up succinctly when he says "The world is adapting and communicating quite differently. The road ahead is stimulated by the imagination of individuals that have picked up GIS for the first time and reintroduced new apps at every turn. I for one love to wake up each day to see new things on the horizon." Prof Arup Dasgupta Managing Editor, email@example.com
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"Humans have a permanent emotional relation with space" Georg Gartner President International Cartographic Association
As an old science and art, what are the challenges facing cartography today? I would call cartography a discipline that deals with the triangle of science, art and technology. It has benefitted from its long tradition and history but at the same time, cartography is also as modern as ever due to the increase in demand for geospatial information and the need to comunicate it effectively. Modern cartography is facing challenges like producing cartographic models in near real time. Another challenge before modern cartographers is putting maps on various kinds of devices like mobile phones. There is a need
to use the most efficient presentation model for a particular scenario. Today, there are a range of presentation models available, like 2D, 3D, animation etc. Maps are a very powerful tool of communication where a new trend of personalisation is also emerging.
This also ties in with ubiquitous mapping. Can you explain ubiquitous mapping in more detail? Ubiquitous mapping refers to anything that is derived from Web mapping or location-based services to get access to and have maps available anytime, anywhere. It is not a vision anymore. It is already a
possibility in mobile phones. But, there are more variables to cover, most notably the user. Every user has different needs and interests and the scenario they are in can be modelled. Adopting ubiquitous computing in our domain will significantly impact cartography in the future.
You have talked of cartography as communication. Can you discuss geomedia techniques? Geomedia techniques are the underpinning technologies used to fulfill the task of communicating spatial information. Any technique, be it map, a 3D model or location-
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based augmented reality, which is related to location or geo-datum, is a geomedia technique.
How does visualisation fit in? Visualisation is a method of communication to make use of the geomedia techniques. Other than visualisation, modern cartography includes non-visualisation techniques and methods as well. For example, a car navigation system is a cartographic task. If someone needs directions while driving on a highway, they would prefer acoustic information to a map. They would prefer may be a small graphical representation of an area. This is a cartographic task whereby spatial information is being communicated in innovative.
So, cartography is no longer only about the visual aspect? Modern cartography includes all kinds of communication channels. That is why it makes sense to have multimedia packages and acoustic channels to transmit spatial information. Human beings are very visually oriented and even if they have all kinds of acoustic possibilities and options, they would still like to have a map or a small screen device.
doubt, the easiest way would be to ask someone for directions. But in my view, this process will give what I call distorted mental awareness of space. A person might be able to find way from point A to B but might not be able to find the way back, or take a shortcut. Our research has shown that people are not able to act in space properly if they have a distorted awareness of the space. On the other hand, research shows that if the person is using a map, that feeds him and allows him to act in space. I call it spatial awareness. If people are aware of the space which they are in, they can make better use of that space. Semantic descriptions, enriched with landmark information, give us a more human-like navigation. At the same time, we are also trying to analyse things like why human beings tend to act/react differently in different places in terms of navi-
I will give you the example of wayfinding. If a person wants to find his way from place A to place B, there are various possibilities involved. If a person has to find a place, then no
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gation. It also relates to a person's emotional relation to space. We, as humans, have a permanent emotional relation with space. For example, a girl, at night time, would wish to take a certain route because of the comfort factor even if it is not the shortest. We are undertaking an approach known as EmoMap (emotional map), as a layer to OpenStreetMap. Here, our relations to space are being mapped.
The address system in Europe is very organised but in countries
Photo credit: Salzburg Research
In many Asian countries, people are more used to non-visual approach. If they want to go to a particcular place, they simply ask for directions...
If people are aware of the space they are in, they can make better use of that space. Semantic descrriptions, enriched with landmark information, give a more human-like navigation
Cybercartography is becoming more relevant now because the move from Web 2.0 to Web 3.0 is based on semantics. An emerging concept is Web 4.0 which would see the doing away of humanmachine interface
like India, addresses are not very well defined. People usually position themselves with their neiighbours. Can EmoMap play a role in such a situation? I agree that such situations need a structured system. Emotional mapping can have its advantages in such a system. For example, if one wants to give directions to an old relative, they can refer to landmarks that existed earlier but no longer exist. The relatives can identify with such landmarks. So if I am connected via social media to a particular group of people, I can use EmoMap in a way that I allow them to get my personalised spatial relations as well. Where the public in general is concerned, I can aggregate that information. Therefore, many people who have the same pattern lead to a particular recommendation. We call this collaborative filtering - search engines use the same technique.
How is cartography transforming with crowdsourcing and volunteered geographic information? Volunteered geographic information (VGI) is significantly influencing cartography. The biggest project influencing VGI is OpenStreetMap. VGI is becoming such a significant phenomenon that even national mapping organisations (NMOs) from all
over the world either already are, or will be influenced by it. The tasks that NMOs have undertaken in the past as an authority will partially be covered by both commercial and volunteered communities. However, VGI data poses many questions how reliable that data is and the area and context in which we might be able to use them. From the perspective of cartography, it is an interesting development. Currently we are witnessing parallel worlds. There are national authorities that do their work because the government wants them to, commercial companies want to make money by providing information to feed the industry and then there are the volunteers. In the future, I wish these worlds come together in the best sense.
Is ICA recognising such efforts by volunteers? Yes, very much. ICA is the world authority body for cartography and GI science, both of which are closely inter-woven. For instance, think of SDI, geospatial analysis or geovisualisation - all these are types of activities in cartography and GI science. ICA encompasses all these activities. In terms of reaching out to these new developments, we have very active Commissions. We have assigned some strategic MoUs with organisations like OSGeo with whom we are working very closely under the ICA flag. We have already set up an establishment each in Africa, Asia and Europe. Another one in North America is in the pipeline.
Can you shed some light on cybercartography? Professor Fraser Taylor, former
president of ICA, undertook a big project on Canadian sources which is called cybercartography. The architecture of that project was to bring human sciences, technical sciences and art - the three pillars of cartography I mentioned - together, to build new theories, new methods and new tools to get a better insight into modern cartography methodologies and technologies. The term cybercartography is becoming more relevant now because the move from Web 2.0 to Web 3.0 is based on semantics. This links to cybercartography. The emerging concept is Web 4.0 which would see the doing away of human-machine interface. We just talked about ubiquitous computing and ubiquitous cartography. The way I see it, the time is not far when we will not even need to carry the device around - there will be semidevices planted everywhere and maybe also implanted in humans.
MIT Media Labs has developed "sixth sense technology" based on the theory that most of our ation also involves communica communicating with hands. Do you see this kind of technology n cartogramaking a presence in phy? This kind of technology definately holds big potential in cartography. A mobile device that can be used as a projector would be perfect for cartography. However, a problem is that as a pointer, people might not feel comfortable as being visible in their environment. If someone wants to know about a particular building, they will have to point towards it, which makes them prominent in their environment. However, gener-
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Panoramic tourist map of resort Sunny Beach, Bulgaria. The map, based on a real 3D digital model of terrain, buildings and facilities, was a winning entry at the 25th International Cartography Conference.
ally speaking, I see lot of benefits from these new technologies, like projection, for cartography. Wearable computing too may be used as a tool to interact with the space we are in, either for way-finding or information about the awareness of that space. This is definitely the direction in which modern cartography is looking. While cartography is very much technology driven, there is always an element in the communication process which is not dependent on technology. It is important to make communication processes efficient, accurate, pleasing, comfortable and fitting into the situation. This element is missing in modern cartography products.
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One of the missions of ICA is the transfer of new cartographic and geographic technology and knowledge, especially among developing nations. What are ICAâ€™s initiatives in this direction? We are very keen and active on getting memberships from the developing nations. I have travelled to India, Tunisia and am travelling to other African countries to make them aware about the possibilities and options of getting linked to international organisations. We are also developing and running dedicated outreaching capacity building programmes. Under this, we are conducting 2-3 days' hands-on workshops on modern cartography and technologies like Web mapping.
We are also working with the open source community and have workshops dedicated to developing countries. Open source software will be able to provide free data. ICA will provide the information to developing countries regarding this data. As ICA's president, I have started taking some steps in this direction. So far, all our Commissions are entitled to act as they want, individually. We are now putting in place a working group that synchronises the activities of the Commissions to make the most of these activities. ICA encourages countries all over the world to contact us if they are interested in such initiatives, even if they are not members. We would like to reach out with our experts and the skills and knowledge which are with the ICA.
NATIONAL MAPPING AGENCIES
Between a rock and a hard location Pressurised to remain viable in delivering authoritative geospatial data in challenging economic times, many national mapping and cadastral agencies are developing strategies to incorporate crowdsourced data into their production processes
e are much more location aware now than we were a fewyears ago and locationbased services (LBS) are reshaping how we plan trips, meet friends and find good local restaurants (Steudler et al, 2012). Web 2.0 social media has turned locationbased and has moved social media from cyberspace to real place (Sui and Goodchild, 2011). Most location-based social media allow users to know and see on a map where their friends are physically located at a particular time, primarily based on global navigation satellite systems
(GNSS)-enabled mobile phones.
The location revolution The global market for LBS is projected to reach over USD 21 billion in annual revenue by 2015, registering around 1.24 billion subscribers (PRWeb, 2012). The market is being driven by the proliferation of GNSSenabled smart phones, growing popularity of mobile commerce and increasing usage of location based
social network services, locationbased shopping applications, location-enabled search and locationbased mobile advertising. Additionally, increasing demand for personal navigation and LBS that provide users with points of interest (POI) information augurs well for the future of this market and the associated geospatial data market. This location revolution in our personal lives is being mirrored in our professional lives. Geospatial information is increasingly being used to ensure that emergency services arrive at incidents in time, to support the formulation of policies to mitigate the impact of climate change, to ensure that services are
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better targeted to citizensâ€™ needs and sourcing approach is also known as to empower citizens and communi"citizen cyberscience", "volunteered ties to manage their localities more geographic information" and "neoeffectively. A recent McKinsey report geography" (McLaren, 2011). (McKinsey, 2011) The highest estimates that in profile mappingCitizen sensors in 2020, the worldbased crowdsourcsocial media are wide personal ing initiative is providing new sources geospatial data OpenStreetMap of real-time and market will generwhich in 2004 dynamic geospatial ate over USD 100 spearheaded the information that billion in revenues democratisation of can be used in timecritical or real-time for the service mapping. It is permonitoring and providers and genfectly adequate for decision making erate USD 700 bilmany applications lion of value to and is completely end users by 2020; free to reuse under data is the new currency. the Open Database Licence (ODbL) and has certainly influenced both Citizen involvement in public and private sector data suplocation revolution pliers. Traditionally, governments have had State governments in Victoria, their own formal channels for colAustralia and North-Rhine Westlecting public sector geospatial phalia, Germany use a 'private' information, normally through crowd and employ volunteers to national mapping and cadastral input to their mapping programmes agencies (NMCA). Originally, internal (Coleman et al., 2010). In the comresources were used, but over the mercial domain, firms such as past 30 years, the private sector has NAVTEQ and TomTom use Webincreasingly been involved in the colbased customer input to locate and lection and maintenance of data qualify mapping errors and/or feathrough outsourcing and partnership ture updates required in their road agreements. However, a dramatic network databases. shift in how geospatial data is Not all capture of crowdsourced is unfolding through the sourced information is direct involvement of citizens in active. They are crowdsourcing. Its roots lie in the increasingincreasing convergence of three phely carnomena: the widespread use of rying GNSS and image-based mapping technologies by professionals and expert amateurs; the emerging role of Web 2.0, which allows more user involvement and interaction and the growth of social networking tools, practices and culture. This crowd-
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devices that can sense and can be sensed. Ubiquitous sensing has entered the back pocket and handbag. In the case of mobile phones, a significant amount of information is captured passively (usually with the authority of the user). The phenomenal growth of social media, such as Facebook and Twitter and the more recent development of locationbased social networking have raised awareness of location issues across society - for example the Foursquare (www.foursquare.com) social checkin site. These citizen sensors in social media are providing new sources of real-time and dynamic geospatial information that can be used in time-critical or real-time monitoring and decision making. As well as geospatial information supporting outdoor navigation, the integration of inertial measurement units (IMUs) into future generations of mobile phones will provide geospatial data on the layout of buildings through passive crowdsourcing to provide more effective support of indoor navigation. Crowdsourced data is people centric and have strengths in local knowledge, higher currency, wider range of geospatial data, greater attribution and good
Combining crowdsourced data with authoritative data is perceived to devalue the NMCA authoritative products and potentially increase their exposure to litigation vernacular. However, crowdsourced data is not normally managed in a systematic manner with moderation and therefore tends to have inconsistent coverage with variable and unknown quality and authenticity. Despite these drawbacks, crowdsourced geospatial data is being used in an increasing number of professional and social applications where accurate, authoritative and assured (AAA) geospatial data is not required. It is delivering significant benefits to developing countries where up-to-date mapping is sparse.
The impact of crowdsourced geospatial data on NMCAs The increasing availability of free to reuse geospatial data from crowdsourcing, the powerful private technology companies and public sector open data initiatives are putting pressure on NMCAs to remain viable in delivering their authoritative geospatial data in challenging economic times. Many NMCAs are developing strategies to incorporate crowdsourced data into their production processes.
These proposed strategies range from using open crowdsourced data to just derive change intelligence; through using crowdsourced data from more trusted targeted sources, e.g. professional map users such as mountain guides; to the NMCA acting as a moderator of semi-structured crowdsourced inputs similar to the Wikipedia approach. Most NMCAs are cautious about this change as combining crowdsourced data with authoritative data is perceived to devalue the NMCA authoritative products and potentially increase their exposure to litigation. The global technology companies have understood the power of location and just how effective the use of geospatial data is in generating significant revenues through location based-shopping applications, location-enabled search and locationbased mobile advertising. Where these companies cannot source existing geospatial data, they create their own sources with increasing levels of detail and quality. These data will be augmented by crowdsourcing, increasingly sourced through location-
based social media and passive crowdsourcing. This will place further pressure on the survival of NMCAs who will retreat to the diminishing market for authoritative geospatial data. Geospatial data used to be definitive and expensive and there were no alternatives. The fusion of sources of geospatial information from the public sector, commercial companies, the citizen as a 'prosumer' and the expanding sensors in the 'Internet of Things' is transforming the geospatial information landscape. Society now has access to an ever increasing rich set of geospatial information and associated location-based information services that are embedded and pervasive in our professional and personal lifestyles. Robin McLaren Director, Know Edge Ltd robin.mclaren@KnowEdge.com
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KUWAIT ENVIRONMENT PUBLIC AUTHORITY
Citizen power to the fore uthentic environmental information is fast becoming a necessity, just like any other strategic information necessary for human health and sustainable use of our environmental resources. Issues ranging from reduced availability of fresh water, contamination of natural systems, waste management, sustainable use of resources, population growth, air pollution and climate changes, conservation of biodiversity and land degradation to remediation of oil spills and land mines have all remained hot topics of discussion at public forums and media conferences in Kuwait.
To tackle the above mentioned challenges through the provision of sound geo-environmental data, the Kuwait Environment Public Authority (KEPA) took an initiative in 2010 by establishing the 'Environmental Monitoring Information System of Kuwait (eMISK)', as a unique repository of geo-environmental information relating to Kuwait that is shared
GIS layer showing soil types in Kuwait
commonly with people over the internet. eMISK is an ambitious project initiated and implemented by the Environmental Inspections, Monitoring and Emergencies Department (EIMED) at Kuwait EPA. It envisions an internationally recognised centre of excellence for analysis and dissemination of environmental knowledge, providing authoritative strategic and timely information for the government, companies, researchers and the Kuwaiti public for development and implementation of policies and decisions for a sustainable environment. It thus carries a mission to evaluate and highlight the values of the environment and put authoritative environmental knowledge at the centre of decisionmaking in Kuwait.
eMISK OBJECTIVES • Support KEPA in its duties and mandates for environmental monitoring • Support the development and adoption of policies and practices contributing to conservation and sustainable use of the environment
• Create credible knowledge on the state and value of the environment in Kuwait through assessment, analysis and reporting of environmental data • Promote and disseminate environmental knowledge to all levels of the Kuwaiti society through a web portal
Among the major contributions of eMISK to Kuwait has been the development of an official environmental portal of Kuwait, called "Beatona" (www.beatona.net). The word "Beatona" stands for "Our Environment" in Arabic language and represents EPA's commitment towards creating environmental awareness among the people of Kuwait. Contributions from various government entities and organisations form an integral part of the information offered through Beatona, due to which it boasts of being the 'one-stop-shop' for sharing authentic environmental information in Kuwait. Beatona was formally released for public access on 31 March 2012. Beatona today shares all possible environmental information over the
GIS layer showing protected areas in Kuwait
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The public can identify the location of the problem and upload the information and up to three photos
internet to facilitate easy access to the valid scientific information on Kuwait's environment. The portal is envisioned to play a leading role in raising awareness of the value of the environment among Kuwait residents. The information hosted on Beatona is made available through two main components, namely, the "Environmental Explorer" and the "Knowledge Base". The "Environmental Explorer" holds a wealth of first-hand environmental information in the form of geographic maps, GIS layers and time series data for various environmental parameters (including; air quality, water quality, quality of marine water and sediments and many other parameters). The Environment Explorer also has modules to inform public on the quality of Air and Water through modules called "Our Environment Status", where the user can see for himself/herself the quality of air and water through a time window of his/her choice. Beatona also has a comprehensive section on environmental knowledge base that is home to all kinds of articles, news and multimedia files including videos, photographs, magazines and maps related to Kuwait and its environment. The information under this section is
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organised in an easy to manoeuvre interface that bares all information, grouped into easy to follow domains. All information in this section is available for free download and use.
VGI AT BEATONA Volunteered Geographic Information (VGI) is an integral part of Beatona and offers an excellent tool based on the concept called "Fix Our Environment", which is designed to seek public inputs in the upkeep of environmental health and hygiene of the region. The application allows the public to directly access the website and locate issues of environmental concern using a web-based enterprise GIS system. It also allows the people to report a problem that needs attention. The information thus submitted is reviewed by the content administrator and classified and marked for attention and action by the appropriate department. Accordingly, the latest status is reflected on the Web portal for the information of the public. The operation of the tool is designed in simple steps where the user can also upload photographs captured with mobile phones. Once the problem is addressed or needs further clarification from the reporter, the concerned staff of the
respective department can directly approach the user through optionally provided phone numbers or email address. In the near future, Beatona is contemplating launching another VGI initiative with a focus on bringing volunteered amateur information on the sightings of birds and other wild species spotted within the land and marine territories of Kuwait. This particular initiative is planned to be designed for wild-life enthusiasts, bird watchers and amateur fishing and diving members of the society to report their occasional findings into the volunteered living resource registry of Kuwait. The information thus submitted will be broadly classified into kingdoms, phylum, orders etc. and sent for ratification by the appropriate subject matter specialists for approval. Once ratified, it will be reported with the authority of the person who reported the presence along with scientific and common name of the species for the knowledge of public. It is hoped that a freely downloadable mobile phone application would allow the users to upload geo-tagged photographs and descriptions, giving unprecedented boost to the inventory of wild animals and plants of Kuwait.
The public can report an environmental problem using "Fix Our Environment" module
PUBLIC HEALTH SYSTEM - LIBYA
A speedy recovery of health system n 12 December 2011, Robert Colombo Llimona, a GIS analyst for the Vulnerability and Risk Analysis and Mapping (VRAM) at the World Health Organisation (WHO) Mediterranean Center for Health Risk Reduction (WMC) in Tunisia, contacted the Standby Task Force, Open Street Map (OSM) and GISCorps to request support on a project related to the public health system in Libya. The Standby Task Force (SBTF) is a volunteer-based network that represents the first wave
in online community emergency response teams. The purpose of the project was to get a final Health Facility Registry GIS layer for Libya, which would include the location type and names of the health facilities (HF) across the country along with their status. This was to be the starting point for providing a crucial service to the local community since the public health infrastructure was starting to get back "online" as its capacity was starting to increase again, which would benefit the entire community and citizens. WHO was looking for datasets to try to compile a basic layer with which to start work. Once this basic layer (which included the HFs that were in place before the revolution and fighting) would be compiled, WHO could properly start its assessment of the actual public health situation in the
The Libyan Government, with support from the World Health Organisation, is rebuilding the health system in the country based on geographic information collected with strong er participation of voluntee committees
field and identify which HF's were still operational, which ones were not and in doing so collect the statistical data to create a strategy of fast recovery for the national health system. WHO already had two of its staff in Libya working on this specific project (collecting data, points, visiting places, etc.) but they needed to be more precise in their approach, which is why they wanted to make sure the volunteers could gather all the existing, valid and original datasets. The SBTF decided to immediately start a deployment and sent out a call for action to their 800 volunteers, while at the same time creating a Google spreadsheet to collect the data found online by the volunteers, merging it with the already existing data and possible other sources founded by the volunteers.
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The volunteers from OSM and SBTF coordinated all their efforts using a dedicated Skype chat and a common documentation page, while GIS Corps were responsible for cleaning the data and deleting duplicates. The deployment ran through the entire holiday period (DecemberJanuary) and the second phase of the project started when it was clear that no more information could be found online. HumanitarianOpenStreetMap Team (HOT)/OSM created a Web interface to allow anyone from Libya to add information missing on the health facilities founded by the volunteers or to add new facilities that were not already inserted. The platform was entirely written in Arabic and user friendly to allow anyone to use it. This project is an example of the fact that volunteered geographic information (VGI) today is not only the harnessing of tools to create, assemble and disseminate geographic data provided voluntarily by individuals (Goodchild, 2007), like GISCorps, OpenStreetMap and the Standby Task Force, but it also includes participatory approaches to geographic information systems. According to WHO, as a volunteer
In-progress Google worksheet showing newly added health facilities
According to the WHO, three volunteer technical communities have helped them gather more data in our weeks than one person, fo working 20 hours per day, could have done in three months
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community, three volunteer technical communities (VTCs) have helped them gather more data in four weeks than a single person, working 20 hours per day, could have done in three months. The online volunteers processed more than 600 facilities and precisely mapped more than 400 of those. According to WHO, all the collected and compiled information
will be used by the Libyan Government, with support from WHO, to help rebuild and set in place the health system in Libya in the near future. This data became part of the Ministry of Health's baseline information for their reconstruction efforts will be a key element for future emergencies, system analysis and maintenance.
Libya Health Facility Registry with detailed coordinates of health facilities
QUEENSLAND RECONSTRUCTION AUTHORITY, AUSTRALIA
Rising from disaster hen floods, Tropical Cyclone Yasi and severe storms wreaked havoc across the Australian state of Queensland during 2011, the disasters destroyed billions of dollars of property and infrastructure and took more than 30 lives. In the crises' wake, the Queensland Reconstruction Authority (QRA) was formed to guide the biggest rebuilding effort in the state's history.
infrastructure and assets - including schools, rail, homes, roads and bridges. The map, developed using Esri's ArcGIS technology, is also an invaluable tool aiding businesses and the community at large with situational awareness of infrastructure reconstruction progress. The QRA map features a community feedback tool that is facilitating a two-way information exchange between the government and community. QRA Director of Data and
To provide Australians with a comprehensive, up-to-date insight into how the reconstruction process was unfolding, QRA partnered with Esri Australia's Professional Services team to develop an interactive, online map. Updated An interactive flood check map daily with data collated from various sources on the Performance Mark Cushing said GIS ground - such as the Transport technology ensured that QueensDepartment with road condition land's reconstruction programme updates, councils and members of was open and transparent. "By prothe community - the site displays the viding access to the latest governcurrent status and condition of inframent rebuilding information in the structure and assets across Queensvisual and easy-to-understand forland. mat via an interactive map, the webWith a click of a mouse, viewers site also provided the community and can select affected communities and local government with opportunity to view disaster imagery of impacted provide feedback on the impact of
the flood on specific communities," says Cushing. The GIS technology behind the QRA map has also had an influence beyond the reconstruction effort, providing the impetus for collaboration between State Government departments and local councils. Cushing informed, "Each of these stakeholders has specialised data which is highly useful for other levels of government. For example, the Department of Environment and Resource Management developed accurate maps and spatial layers of actual flooding events and flood plains which are assisting local authorities and relevant recovery agencies in better planning for future natural disaster events.â€? When floods again ravaged Queensland in 2012, this time in the State's Western Downs district, the map was quickly updated to include information about inundated towns such as Mitchell, Roma and St George. But the value of the map extends beyond its ongoing role of documenting natural disasters and informing the community during times of crisis.
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196_260_geospatialworld.indd 19 d 1
User generated data to the rescue
With maps and geospatial data playing a critical role in crisis preparedness and response, here's a look at how Google Crisis Response team is working with response organisations to help find ways to make emergency information more accessible and actionable
vidence suggests that during a crisis, people are increasingly turning to the Web, mobile phones and social media to find emergency-related information such as when to evacuate, where to find shelters, how to locate emergency care, or how to find news about loved ones. Emergency service personnel are also using cloudbased technologies and mobile device platforms to assess impact, coordinate response efforts across agencies and provide useful information to the public. Maps and geospa-
tial data are often at the heart of these technology trends and play a critical role in crisis preparedness and response.
Evolution of Google Crisis Response After the devastating Haiti earthquake in January 2010, the Google Crisis Response team was formed to work with response organisations and help find ways to make emergency information more accessible and actionable - both for affected individuals and response profession-
als. In the immediate aftermath of the earthquake, the team worked with existing satellite imagery partners at GeoEye and DigitalGlobe to rapidly collect and publish satellite data. NGOs and response groups on the ground were able to use this imagery and related vector data to create offline maps, combine data sets and run analysis. Because the Google Crisis Response team was able to release the data in open formats with freely available APIs and leverage its existing consumer tools, all organisations
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Satellite imagery depicts survivor camps in the aftermath of the Haiti earthquake. Image courtesy GeoEye
Satellite imagery depicts survivor camps in the aftermath of the Haiti earthquake. Image courtesy GeoEye
who wanted to consume this information could do so easily on their own. Trying to coordinate data sharing directly with each group on the ground in such a situation would have proved unsustainable and onerous for everyone involved. Government agencies, NGOs, commercial organisations and concerned citizens are all important players in the collection and provision of information during crises. Having tools available that are easy to use and readily available is an important component to fostering open data and coordination. In support of its partnersâ€™ efforts, the Google Crisis Response team worked with Google Map Maker, which provides for an easy way to update base-layer data and quickly make it available to others via the public Google Maps interface and API. For poorly mapped or remote locations where long-term response efforts are happening, NGOs and volunteers can use Google Map Maker to improve Google's map of the infrastructure and resources in order to improve coordination and planning for everyone.
of people. In the 2010 earthquake that struck Christchurch, New Zealand, Custom Maps were also used by various community members and organisations to provide information about the locations of shelter, food, water and other critical community needs. Residents were able to use, share and enhance this map of critical resources in the aftermath of the event. The result was a mixture of crowdsourced and official data which allowed users to better understand the resources that were available and where volunteer efforts should be focused. A more recent example is the aftermath of Hurricane Irene, which affected areas in the Caribbean and
The Google Crisis Response team released the data in open formats with freely available APIs, enabling all organisations who wanted to consume this information to do so easily on their own
US East Coast, in the summer of 2011. Due to heavy rains that accompanied Irene, the state of Vermont experienced its worst flooding in decades, as well as hundreds of millions of dollars in estimated damages. Since so much of the state's infrastructure was affected by the
Customised maps Users can also create customised maps and share them on Google infrastructure using Google Custom Maps. People have used this tool to mark emergency medical stations, to note areas of disease outbreak or to identify infrastructure damage. During Israel's Haifa forest fire in 2010, local media used Custom Maps to provide the public with a rapidly evolving evacuation map that could be simultaneously updated and shared with hundreds of thousands
Geospatial World I July 2012
Custom Maps in the aftermath of earthquake in Christchurch, New Zealand, provided the community with critical recovery information.
power of data visualisation in disaster preparedness and recovery, there is still a need to encourage the continued adoption of open data formats and better data licensing so that information is more accessible. The Google team believes that governments and organisations should encourage the use of Webfriendly open standards, especially KML, WMS and WFS, whenever possible so that people can quickly share and visualise data in disaster situations. Google Crisis Response teamâ€™s disaster response work has highlighted the role of geospatial data in crisis preparedness and response over the past few years but its real potential is only beginning to be uncovered. The first and most critical step that we can take toward a better system is to work toward simple, standard and open internet-based technologies to better help emergency responders and populations affected by devastating natural disasters collaborate. This approach will allow an army of developers and volunteers to contribute, create and find solutions for the needs that are unique to each event.
While relief organisations and governments have long understood the
Ryan Falor Product Manager, Google Crisis Response
State of Vermont crisis map highlights the impact of severe flooding.
flooding - including road closures, collapsed bridges and electrical outages - the need for timely access to a broad range of geospatial datasets was paramount. Working with the Vermont Agency of Transportation and other various agencies respond-
While relief organisations and governments have long understood the power of data visualisation in disaster management, there is still a need to encourage the continued adoption of open data formats and better data licensing so that information is more accessible
ing to the event, Google team was able to immediately publish a crisis map that combined many key geospatial datasets, including United States Geological Survey stream gages, Red Cross shelters, bridge closures and road access. Being able to mash up these crisis-related datasets into a single comprehensive map capable of taking the load of potentially millions of views a day meant that government and media websites were able to re-publish a comprehensive view of the event that was viewable by non-technical users across a range of browsers and devices.
Geospatial World I July 2012
Geospatial encoding and service interface standards, especially open standards, are essential elements in the success of VGI policies, initiatives and business schemes
dvances in positioning technologies, Web mapping, cellular communications, smart phones, sensor Webs, webcams and wiki-based collaboration have opened up opportunities for almost anyone, or anything, to become an active or passive producer of geospatial or location data. Commercially, Google Map Maker now
provides citizens in more than 40 countries the ability to populate and update Google Maps road centreline and attribute data. Firms like Navteq (Nokia) and Tele Atlas (TomTom) use customer input to locate and qualify mapping errors and/or feature updates in their road network databases. Location-based marketing services such as Facebook Places
and FourSquare depend on user input. Geolocated, internet-connected sensors become increasingly small, cheap, energy-efficient and easy to integrate into physical devices and digital systems. It is important to keep in mind that we are just beginning to see the emergence of new kinds of location information flow from and between
Geospatial World I July 2012
advancing digital technologies. The activities of businesses, citizens, consumers, researchers, non-governmental organisations and governments will evolve as we use these technologies to support productive activities and also as we struggle to counter the technologies' assaults on privacy, security, institutional continuity and the reliability of information.
Information moves by means of standards Applications involving VGI and location information crowdsourcing ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Crowdsourcing) depend on transfers of location data and also transfers of location information service queries and responses. For such transfers to take place, the data needs to be encoded in ways that digital systems can interpret it and the services need to provide known interfaces so that clients and servers can communicate queries and responses. Geospatial encoding and service interface standards, especially open standards, are thus essential elements in the success of VGI policies, initiatives and business schemes.
OGC standards The OGC, working with many other information and communication technology (ICT) standards organisations, has produced and continues to produce standards that are relevant to VGI and crowdsourcing.The 37 existing OGC standards include, for example: OGC KML: Google submitted KML (formerly Keyhole Markup Language) to the Open Geospatial Consortium (OGC) to be evolved within the OGC
Geospatial World I July 2012
consensus process. KML makes it easy for users to "mashup" data records with map servers like Google Maps that display KML files. OGC Open GeoSMS: The OGC Open GeoSMS standard provides developers with an extended short message service (SMS) encoding and interface to communicate location content between different LBS (locationbased service) devices or applications. Developers of Open GeoSMS provide a free, open source software development kit and the standard is used in various disaster management volunteer communications applications related to Sahana and Ushahidi.
the reuse of the same data in different application fields. Researchers at Heidelberg University have shown how such models can be built and maintained with the help of VGI and crowdsourcing.
VGI-related OGC activities Below are a few of the current areas of activity in the OGC, focused on OGC standards relevant to VGI and crowdsourcing:
Geosynchronisation: Geospatial content providers must increasingly collaborate with outside entities to collect new data and/or update their existing data holdings. A geosynchronisation service, deployed by a data provider, sits between data colGML profile of GEORSS: As RSS lectors and the features a data provider offers. It allows data collec("real simple syndication") and Atom tors to submit new data or make become more prevalent as a way to modifications to existing features publish and share information, it without directly affecting the features becomes increasingly important that in the provider's data store(s) until location be described in an interopvalidation has been applied, thus erable manner so that applications ensuring that the data published by can request, aggregate, share and the provider is of high quality. The map geographically tagged feeds. OGC Geosynchronisation Service GeoRSS was designed as a lightStandards Working Group (SWG) is weight, community driven way to developing a candiextend existing date OGC Geosynfeeds with geochronization Intergraphic information. Applications involving VGI depend on face standard vertransfers of location OGC City Geography sion 1.0.0. data.For such transfers Markup Language he to take place, th GML) Encoding Decision fusion (CityG data needs to be Standard: CityGML Object fusion: Deciencoded in ways that digital systems can provides a common sion fusion, in the interpret it definition of the context of the OGC's basic entities, work, provides anaattributes, and relalysts an environtions of 3D city models. This is ment of interoperable services for important with respect to the situation assessment, impact cost-effective sustainable mainteassessment and decision support, nance of 3D city models, allowing based on information from multiple
geocaching, mapping, navigation systems and many others.
How open standards are developed
Figure 2: Many disaster relief programmes use VGI
sensors, databases and people, perhaps via social networks. Though the focus of a recent OGC decision fusion study was on military intelligence, decision fusion is equally relevant to business intelligence, urban planning and many other domains. WFS-G (Gazetteer): Geonames databases, called gazetteers, are an information resource for representing places, groups of people and cultures. The OGC WFS-G best practice paper describes the Gazetteer Service Application Profile of the OGC Web Feature Service Interface Standard. RESTful Service Policy Standard Working Group and OGC GeoSer0 candidate standard: vices REST 1.0 REST stands for "Representational State Transfer", a set of principles and constraints for Web computing that optimise desirable qualities including ease of development, robustness and scalability.
Geospatial Digital Rights Management (GeoRM) and provenance: GeoRM and provenance interface and encoding standards will be critical in addressing issues of security, public access, intellectual property and emergency use of geospatial information. These issues will be important in some VGI applications. The OGC Geospatial Digital Rights Management Reference Model provides the basis for two international standards relating to GeoRM: ISO 19149, Geographic Information - Rights expression language for geographic information and ISO 19153, Geographic Information - Geospatial Digital Rights Management Reference Model. nterest Data Encoding Points of In Specification (POIs): OGC has worked with the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) to develop an open standard for describing points of interest data. POIs have many uses, including augmented reality browsers, locationbased social networking games,
In the past, it has usually been the case that technology providers alone have determined the path of technology's advance, based on their perceptions of market demand. Modern consensus standards organisations like the OGC have evolved to give both technology users and providers a way to cooperatively develop standards infrastructure that guides and supports the advance of technology in ways that are mutually rewarding for the organisations' members. Those who have a stake in the development of standards related to VGI and crowdsourced location data can benefit in participating in the OGC standards activities described above. Standards organisations like the OGC must remain agile in responding to market changes and trends and they need to stand ready to embrace standards developed elsewhere that have come into wide use or that promise to open up new markets. The OGC has a formal process to help move open but proprietary standards into the OGC's global voluntary consensus standards maintenance process. Google, for example, brought their KML specification into the OGC and Wikitude has brought their Augmented Reality Markup Language specification into the OGC. This approach gives everyone an opportunity to weigh in on the standard and no one individual or entity can unduly influence the standard. Mark Reichardt President & CEO, Open Geospatial Consortium
Geospatial World I July 2012
Data courtesy City of Quebec
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