A new datum or geospatial reference system is being introduced in the United States to become the official datum in 2022. At GIS in the Rockies, Pam Fromhertz of the NOAA National Geodetic Survey gave an overview of the reasoning behind the new datum, technical details about the change and some practical implications.
Most people in the geospatial sector in the U.S. are aware of the datums NAD27 and NAD83 which have been the reference points for all surveys performed in the U.S. NAD83 was defined primarily using terrestrial surveying techniques. NAD83 has been updated several times since being introduced in 1983 but is based on an ellipsoid that is non-geocentric and is tilted slightly. The new datum or North American Terrestrial Reference Frame of 2022 (NATRF2022) is based on gravity which means that “sea level” is now represented by an equipotential gravity surface rather than the Earth’s ellipsoid. The new reference frames will rely primarily on Global Navigation Satellite Systems (GNSS) such as the Global Positioning System (GPS) as well as an updated and time-tracked geoid model. Importantly, the new datum means that Mexico, Canada, and the U.S. will share a common datum. The gravity-based vertical datum will be accurate at the 2 cm level for much of the U.S. Gravity data is currently being captured across the U.S. and its territories as part of the Grav-D project.
Practically, this means that elevations may change by up to a meter and horizontal location by up to 1.5 meters. The actual corrections to elevations and horizontal locations will depend on where you are in North America. The greatest changes are in the Pacific Northwest and the least in the southeastern U.S. At the hotel in Inverness, Colorado where the GIS in the Rockies conference took place this year, the corrections were 1.36 m horizontally and -0.67 m vertically. The NOAA National Geodetic Survey web site (geodesy.noaa.gov) has tools to perform conversions from NAD83 to the new 2022 datum.
Brandon Jarratt took GIS professionals behind the scenes of animated city creation at the Esri User Conference, being held this week in San Diego. Jarratt served as general technical director for Disney’s Zootopia, which won the 2016 Academy Award for Best Animated Feature Film. Jarrett took the stage during the plenary session to describe how the Zootopia team used Esri CityEngine software to create the complex city that serves as the backdrop for the movie.
Jarratt said Disney animated features need three elements: compelling stories, appealing characters, and believable worlds. That’s believable worlds, not realistic worlds.
In this case, the complex city of Zootopia had to be designed from the ground up as a complex city with various districts designed to accommodate the vast array of animal species. In the world of Zootopia, humans don’t exist. Transportation systems, houses, streets, and services need to accommodate animals as tall as giraffes and as small as a shrew. To meet these challenges, the designers turned to Esri CityEngine and its multi-scaling feature. The Zootopia world also needed to incorporate various habitats, or in this case, districts. At the centre a large complex city dominates.
CityEngine was used in the creation of the city in Big Hero 6 as well. In Big Hero 6, the base city geography used was San Francisco, upon which Japanese-style buildings were placed. In all, 80,000 buildings were incorporated into San Fransokyo.
(San Fransokyo in Big Hero 6. (Image: Disney))
Zootopia, on the other hand, was built from scratch – including the terrain. The team started with research of various landscapes to create a basemap.
(Zootopia concept map. (Photo: T. Cozzens))
At the city-building stage, CityEngine’s custom tool was used to lay down streets. Buildings were designed for each district. The building styles couldn’t be repeated too often, or the city would look unrealistic, Jarratt said. The designers used carefully calibrated mix rules to keep the cities lively.
(The desert area of Sahara Square is made of 61,000 parts, including buildings, wall segments and palm trees. (Image: Disney))
The ability in CityEngine to change the makeup of a city, adjusting the frequency of the various parts, made it easy for the illustration team to meet the art director’s requirements. When he wanted more skyscrapers or buildings of a certain design, the team was able to provide new concept images the same day.
(Zooptopia being built in Esri CityEngine. (Photo: T. Cozzens))
Esri’s CityEngine GIS technology is used by city planners to design our future smart cities. “It’s so similar to how city planners create real cities,” said Esri President Jack Dangermond. He then presented Jarratt with Esri’s first-ever Best Animated Feature Using GIS award.
[eLoc by MapmyIndia is the Aadhar of Addresses A Digital Address is necessary for a Digital India!]
MapmyIndia, India’s leader in premium-quality digital maps, GPS navigation, GPS tracking, location-based apps and GIS solutions, today announced the release of MapmyIndia eLoc, India’s first Nationwide Digital Address. This powerful innovation, packaged as a simple and easy-to-use digital address, will transform historical addresses and disrupt traditional mapping and navigation services, bringing immense convenience to individuals and significant benefits to businesses and governments across India.
(Image Source : http://www.mapmyindia.com/eloc/)
eLoc will help Indian travelers and commuters search, share and navigate to destinations’ exact doorstep far more easily and quickly. It will also reduce time, money, fuel wastage and expenses for businesses in the e-commerce, transportation, logistics and field operations domains. Finally, governance at all levels, across urban and rural levels, will be empowered with much more productivity and transparency when it comes to civic amenities delivery such as electricity, water, gas as well as property tax administration and tax evasion detection.
What is eLoc?
eLoc by MapmyIndia is simply put, the Aadhaar of addresses. eLoc of any place, be it a building/flat/office/business/city/village/locality/road and so on, is a short, 6 character code (for e.g. 8GDTYX, or MMI000), which is easy to remember, share, type and provide.Behind the convenience and simplicity of eLoclies the huge power of India’s most comprehensive, accurate and precise door-step level, 3D, digital map database and turn-by-turn navigation solution built by MapmyIndia. Hence, the power of eLoc is such that when a person, business or official searches for a place by entering its eLoc, they can see the precise map location of that place, get turn-by-turn directions to the exact entrance doorstep of that place, and also see information about that place besides its location, such as reviews, photos and other information provided by the place’s owner, businesses and governments. More information on what is an eLoc, how it works, and how one can access, use and share a place’s eloc is available at http://www.mapmyindia.com/eloc
MapmyIndia has privately invested over 200 crores over the last 20+ years in advanced mapping technologies and professional field surveys to create India’s most comprehensive digital address database, as a result of which over 2 crore and counting eLocs, across all 7000+ urban towns and 6+ lakh villages in rural India, are already readily available for individual, business and government users to use instantly, for free. This nulls the need for significant future investment by public and private entities in creation of a digital map and address database. For new places that come up, or those that change or shut, or those missing in MapmyIndia’s database, users can add them by visiting http://maps.mapmyindia.com on their browser or by using the MapmyIndia mobile app across Android, iOS and Windows platforms, and MapmyIndia will continue to professionally verify and validate those contributions.
Those interested in learning more about eLoc by MapmyIndia, checking the eLoc of places they care about like their home, office, or other destinations they need to visit, as well as those interested in partnering with MapmyIndia to bring the benefits of eLoc to everyone, should visit http://www.mapmyindia.com/eloc
The Union Minister for Science & Technology and Earth Sciences Dr. Harsh Vardhan released the Special Edition of “Atlas for Visually Impaired (India)” in English Braille today in New Delhi. This Braille Atlas has been prepared by National Atlas and Thematic Mapping Organisation (NATMO) under Department of Science & Technology.
(Image Source : Google)
The Minister expressed happiness at the production of these Atlases. He said these atlases will be distributed to various schools across the country for educating the students with visual challenges.
Dr. Harsh Vardhan said that all departments of Government will work to implement this. Efforts are being made to make these atlases more cost effective than the current price of Rs.600/- per atlas with 20 maps now. Silk screen printing used to prepare these atlases is unique to India, he added.
In the Braille Atlas, maps are raised and embossed with simple lines and point symbols to facilitate its users to realize the location and area coverage easily distinguishable in terms of shapes and textures. The legend and reference is placed on the map in Braille script to navigate the map. About 20 maps on different themes of physical, socio-economic and cultural aspects such as river system, natural vegetation, Metropolitan cities, Roads and Railways, Food crops and cash crops have been incorporated in the atlas with write-ups on every map as ready reference. This Atlas has been bestowed with National award for S&T intervention in empowering the physically challenged by the Prime Minister on 3rd January, 2017 in Indian Science Congress held in Tirupati.
NATMO has recently walked ahead to prepare Braille atlases for visually impaired persons. NATMO’s long effort from metallic tactile maps to silk-screen printing technology to prepare a full volume of atlas is perhaps unique in the World. NATMO’s aim is to transmit scientific information in the form of maps and atlases in a cost-effective manner, as more than 50 lakh visually challenged citizens of our country are mainly from low-income group. Till date their knowledge is constrained within books and literatures. Enriched with this experience, they will be able to understand the Indian geographical contours and will be empowered with wealth of knowledge.
National Atlas and Thematic Mapping Organisation (NATMO) is the premier agency of applied Geo-Spatial technology and pioneer in Thematic Mapping and Atlas Cartography under Department of Science & Technology(Ministry of Science & Technology) engaged in preparing different thematic maps and atlases and other documents on national, state, district, block level and many other monograms. The contribution made by NATMO in developing the thematic maps/ data is being regularly used by the decision makers in the entire country at districts and sub-divisions levels for implementing the developmental schemes as well as by the researchers, students and common people.
Researchers have combined satellite imagery with AI to predict areas of poverty across the world. There’s little reliable data on local incomes in developing countries, which hampers efforts to tackle the problem. A team from Stanford University were able to train a computer system to identify impoverished areas from satellite and survey data in five African countries.
“The World Bank, which keeps the poverty data, has for a long time considered anyone who is poor to be someone who lives on below $1 a day,” Dr Burke, assistant professor of Earth system science at Stanford, told the BBC’s Science in Action programme.
“We traditionally collect poverty data through household surveys. We send survey enumerators around to houses and we ask lots of questions about income, consumption – what they’ve bought in the last year and we use that data to construct our poverty measures.”
However, surveys are costly, infrequent and sometimes impossible to carry out in particular regions of countries because of, for example, armed conflict.
So there is a need for other accurate measures of household consumption and income in the developing world. The idea of mapping poverty from satellite imagery is not completely new. Recent studies have shown that space-based data that capture night lights can be used to predict wealth in a given area. But night lights are not such a good indicator at the bottom end of the income distribution, where satellite images are dark across the board.
The latest study looked at daylight images that capture features such as paved roads and metal roofs – markers that can help distinguish different levels of economic wellbeing in developing countries. They then used a sophisticated computer model to categorise the various indicators in daytime satellite images of Nigeria, Tanzania, Uganda, Rwanda and Malawi.
“If you give a computer enough data it can figure out what to look for. We trained a computer model to find things in imagery that are predictive of poverty,” said Dr Burke.
“It finds things like roads, like urban areas, like farmland, it finds waterways – those are things we recognise. It also finds things we don’t recognise. It finds patterns in imagery that to you or I don’t really look like anything… but it’s something the computer has figured out is predictive of where poor people are.”
The researchers used imagery from countries for which survey data were available to validate the computer model’s findings. “These things [that the computer model found] are surprisingly predictive of economic livelihoods in these countries,” Dr Burke explained.
The researchers say their ambition is to scale up the technique to cover all of sub-Saharan Africa and, afterwards, the whole of the developing world.
Raleigh, North Carolina, is one of the fastest growing areas in the country. Between 2000 and 2014, the city’s population increased by 59 percent. Downtown Raleigh has experienced dramatic growth in new residents and businesses as well. The downtown’s retail base has increased by over 35 percent in the last four years, and events, festivals, museums, and attractions bring more than 3.5 million visitors to the downtown area each year.
Last fall, residents, and business owners raised concerns about litter and cleanliness in downtown. Although multiple groups—including the Downtown Raleigh Alliance’s (DRA) Clean Ambassadors and staff from the departments of Parks, Recreation and Cultural Resources and Solid Waste Services—contribute to keeping downtown clean, the demand was outweighing available services. So the City of Raleigh turned to its robust GIS—and used AppStudio for ArcGIS for the first time to figure out what to do.
A Tool to Gather Location-Based Litter Data
Raleigh’s Office of Sustainability and DRA worked with their service partners to form a task force and create a plan of action for tackling the city’s litter problem. An eight-member team from the Parks, Recreation and Cultural Resources and Solid Waste Services departments was looking for a tool to gather location-based information about the density and types of litter in downtown. The City of Raleigh’s sustainability manager, Megan Anderson, contacted Raleigh’s GIS team to get help.
Collecting Litter Data
The litter audit took place in October 2015. The eight city staff members doing the audit received less than 15 minutes of training on the user-friendly mobile app, called Litter Reporter, just before they went out for the first time. Following the Clean Ambassadors’ cleaning routes, the auditors walked downtown six times a day at specific intervals over a period of three days to collect litter data. When they spotted litter, they photographed it; geotagged the location; and used the app’s quick-select menu to categorise it as paper, cigarette butts, containers, bottles, cans, food, or cardboard, for example. (Image: The Litter Reporter app allows users to photograph litter, geotag its location, and select its type.)
Growing Cities as Smart Cities
The department continues to use Litter Reporter every quarter to monitor trends and figure out how to efficiently manage litter downtown. Supplemental audits follow the same methodology, routes, and times as the first audit to ensure that the city is monitoring accurate trends.
“In general, there is a lot of information and buzz around smart cities and how cities are utilizing technology,” said Anderson. “The litter application is an example of how quickly the tools can be deployed to help cities gather data and make informed, smart decisions about how they deliver service. The process is an excellent model for understanding challenges faced by growing cities.”
ArcGIS—and especially AppStudio for ArcGIS—allowed the GIS team to collaborate deftly with the task force, providing its members with the tools they needed to gather data quickly and create actionable reports. Staff at the City of Raleigh will continue to use data and reports from the litter audit app to work cross-departmentally with DRA to evaluate options for increased levels of service downtown.
Florida is home to more than 3.6 million women aged 15 to 44 years. With more than 300 Zika virus cases reported in Florida to date, the state has become a top focus in the public health battle to curb the spread of Zika infections in the United States. Gathering and mapping such data—using GIS software from Esri—is part of the US Department of Health & Human Services (HHS) Office of the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response (ASPR) effort to combat this growing health risk domestically and internationally.
The health impacts of the Zika virus are greatest on developing fetuses. Drawing on US Census data, Esri is showing experts at the ASPR and other agencies within HHS where best to target information and reach women of child-bearing age and their partners. To plan for the domestic assistance that states may need, ASPR also is using Esri software to monitor the spread of the Zika virus across the United States and in 34 other countries where infections have been found.
Using Esri software, ASPR created a publicly available interactive map that shows the number of cases in each state. The information is automatically updated each week.
The Zika virus is spread to people primarily through the bites of infected Aedes aegypti mosquitoes; however, the virus has also been found to be transmitted sexually. The virus can cause Guillain-Barré syndrome in adults and children and can cause a serious birth defect called microcephaly.
“Prevention is the first course of action in protecting public health, but people need information to make decisions about what preventive actions to take,” said Este Geraghty, chief medical officer and health solutions director, Esri. “Using GIS technology to locate the most vulnerable populations is a first step in educating people on the risks of the Zika virus and about actions that can protect health and curb the spread of disease.”
For more information on Esri and using GIS for vector-borne disease surveillance and control, visit go.esri.com/pr-zika.