Surveying, Mapping and GIS

Exploring all aspects of mapping and geography, from field data collection, to mapping and analysis, to integration, applications development and enterprise architecture...

  • Geospatial Technology, End to End...

    Exploring all aspects of mapping and geography, from field data collection, to mapping and analysis, to integration, applications development, enterprise architecture and policy


Posted by Dave Smith On 8/30/2006 11:30:00 AM 2 comments

I am quite happy to report that our firm was on a winning team for the GSA VETS GWAC, which was established as a contract vehicle for federal agencies whereby Service Disabled Veteran Owned Small Businesses can compete on federal contracts.

Per GSA:

The Veterans Technology Services (VETS) Governmentwide Acquisition Contract (GWAC) is a proposed competitive multiple award, indefinite-delivery indefinite-quantity contract designed to provide worldwide information technology solutions to federal agencies while strengthening opportunities in federal contracting for service-disabled veteran-owned small businesses.
This is a great win for us, and hopefully it will open a few more doors toward pursuing additional opportunities in the federal geospatial world.

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Successes and Failures in Strong Angel III

Posted by Dave Smith On 8/27/2006 08:47:00 PM 0 comments

The New York Times reports on the results of Strong Angel III, which was an interagency exercise for emergency responders that just took place in San Diego. This training effort involved a mock virus outbreak, coupled with cyberterror attacks, which cut off phones, internet and power.

Initially, the ad-hoc wireless network that was established failed, due to overwhelmed circuits and overtaxed bandwidth however, through a systematic restarting of the network, segment by segment, the network was re-established.

One everything was finally up, data including imagery and mapping was able to be shared seamlessly, with participants using Google, Microsoft, ESRI, and Intergraph technologies. Apparently, one of the technologies utilized was Simple Sharing Extensions, which is standards-based, and built on RSS.

I am certain there will be many more take-homes from this exercise, which ultimately proved to be a success - I will certainly be one to check through their site: Strong Angel III.

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Galileo's woes...

Posted by Dave Smith On 8/21/2006 09:35:00 AM 0 comments

I hate to keep harping with my skepticism of Galileo's business model... The Space Review today echoes my own prior concerns about their business model, given the need to firewall behind encryption in order to succeed - and atop this, concerns about China pulling out as a Galileo partner and instead pursuing their own Compass project.

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Hype Cycle

Posted by Dave Smith On 8/20/2006 10:57:00 PM 1 comments

Where are things headed in technology? Harry Chen picked up on Gartner's updated Hype Cycle, which features their assessments and predictions for technology adoption. New to this year's chart are Ajax, folksonomies, and Wiki. Personally, I think standardizations, based on ISO, Marc, Dublin Core and other approaches beat the folksonomy, but it is interesting to see all of these technologies in a big picture, and to compare notes. I have some slightly differing opinions on some of these technologies. Further, it might be interesting to look at a similar diagram, as it pertains specifically to geospatial technologies, such as location-based services, temporal analysis, common operational picture, interoperability, wireless, web services, geoprocessing, BPEL and other areas...

In the diagrams, they show technologies passing through 5 major phases...

  1. Technology Trigger: The first phase of a Hype Cycle is the “technology trigger” or breakthrough, product launch or other event that generates significant press and interest.
  2. Inflated Expectations:In the next phase, a frenzy of publicity typically generates over-enthusiasm and unrealistic expectations. There may be some successful applications of a technology, but there are typically more failures.
  3. Trough of Disillusionment:Technologies enter the “trough of disillusionment” because they fail to meet expectations and quickly become unfashionable. Consequently, the press usually abandons the topic and the technology.
  4. Slope of Enlightenment: Although the press may have stopped covering the technology, some businesses continue through the “slope of enlightenment” and experiment to understand the benefits and practical application of the technology.
  5. Plateau of Productivity: A technology reaches the “plateau of productivity” as the benefits of it become widely demonstrated and accepted. The technology becomes increasingly stable and evolves in second and third generations. The final height of the plateau varies according to whether the technology is broadly applicable or benefits only a niche market.

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RDF and Tabulator

Posted by Dave Smith On 8/18/2006 09:36:00 PM 0 comments

Tim Berners-Lee and Dan Connolly are posting about RDF and the Semantic Web - one of the particularly neat tools they are looking at is called Tabulator, which is a semantic web browser. Among the ways that data can be viewed, is as tables, calendars, or maps. In this instance, it looks that they are using a Google Maps interface, and it will be interesting to see how this project continues to unfold.

I have only played around with RDF, only scratching its' surface, but it seems that a whole new richness is being exposed, through RDF.

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Photos from the ESRI UC

Posted by Dave Smith On 8/15/2006 12:54:00 PM 0 comments

I ended up not bringing my regular digital cam for the trip, but nonetheless, did snap a handful pix with my digital camera... I uploaded them to a flickr photoset:


The flickr photoset is viewable here... I have a few others from around San Diego, which I might post to flickr later.

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Posted by Dave Smith On 8/11/2006 06:31:00 PM 0 comments

Still unwinding from the ESRI User Conference - I had meant to post during the conference but there just wasn't enough time, from the daily activities and parties after.

Now, I still have a few hours to kill in San Diego before my flight, and am finally taking it easy. The Conference was a lot of fun - Though being in that mode of hundreds of intense 5-minute conversations over the course of the day can tend to put one in an odd state of mind - by the end of that day, you can scarcely remember who you talked to, or about what... And too much going on, at a frenetic pace. I had to step out of quite a few sessions to support a few ongoing things with our federal customers, so it was definitely a working vacation...

At any rate, a lot of old friends, colleagues and adversaries at USDA, EPA, other agencies, as well as CSC, Perot Systems, Lockheed, Jim Knudson, my MetaCarta buddies, Chris Cappelli from ESRI and others from PA and elsewhere, as well as many excellent and interesting new contacts made, and as always a lot of excellent intel and takeaways - I did get a brief chance to talk to keynote speaker, Senator Bob Kerrey, now of the New School such as Kim Ollivier, who is the father of the New Zealand national Transverse Mercator grid, and some who I've known for years but never actually met, like Mike Binge - he and I have been on the same side, preaching the Surveying and GIS message for years, and often diametric opposites, busting each others' chops on political issues...

The biggest thing for me - some of my main customers were there... And though there's plenty of excellent showcasing and eyepopping demos, sometimes one has to put the brakes on and use a cautious and critical eye. We are currently in the midst of going from just ArcIMS in our shop to Geospatial Portal Toolkit and ArcGIS Server for Web development, (yay, great new toys!), but there are still some questions and concerns that linger, with regard to placing too much dependency on some of the more granular out-of-the-box ESRI pieces that these ship with, for map viewers, for instance - with developer ADFs not yet completely standardized and harmonized, not all versions of map viewers standardized, and the very distinct possibility in some instances of an ESRI update rollout breaking our apps where we have plugged them into our customizations.

The good news is that the new architecture I have been developing decouples components anyways, so I will be more able to plug in some robust ESRI pieces rather than reinvent the wheel, and this strategy also reduces potential breakage and/or makes the breaks much simpler to fix, and the second half-full glass is that a more standardized and harmonized ADF is coming coming, and not necessarily terribly far off. I think the ESRI team has come quite a ways.

So... on to ArcGIS Server...

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ESRI User Conference...

Posted by Dave Smith On 8/05/2006 03:31:00 PM 0 comments

Tomorrow morning I'm boarding my flight to head out to San Diego for the 2006 ESRI User Conference - I am looking forward to getting away for a few days, and am looking forward to the conference. Quite a few friends and colleagues will be there once again... It will probably mostly be EPA-centric for me (you may find me helping out at their booth at several points), as a majority of my work is still focused on their projects. 85 people representing EPA, from program offices, to regions, to some of their contractors like CSC will be attending.

It's been a few years since I last went... I usually end up swamped with too many things on my plate, or with other competing events going on. So this time I end up hitting both FedUC and the regular UC in the same year. I am also expecting to see several of my other friends from MetaCarta and other companies and organizations there - and am also hoping to make some new friends and contacts.

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