NOAA Takes Principal Membership in the Open Geospatial Consortium

The Open Geospatial Consortium, Inc. (OGC) ( announced that the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) ( has become a Principal Member of the OGC.

Principal Members evaluate and provide guidance on market direction and Consortium focus, and have authority over the development, release and adoption of OpenGIS® Specifications through their voting rights in the OGC Planning Committee (PC). Principal Members also have approval authority for OGC policies and procedures.

Mark Reichardt, President, OGC, said “NOAA’s move to Principal Membership in the OGC reflects the significant value the Agency places on the OGC international standards and programs as a means of improving information sharing and reducing costs. By becoming a Principal Member, NOAA increases its leadership role among the OGC’s government, industry, academic and research members, who are working worldwide to tackle interoperability challenges related to monitoring, forecasting and predicting of weather, climate, and ocean processes.”

Ken McDonald, Data Management Architect of NOAA’s Satellite and Information Service, Technical, Planning & Integration (TPI) Program Office, said, “the motivation to raise our level of membership was really driven by the widespread and growing interest in OGC specifications and activities found in numerous NOAA programs and projects from across the agency. As a Principal Member, we look forward to becoming more engaged with OGC’s many relevant and important initiatives.”

About NOAA

From daily weather forecasts, severe storm warnings and climate monitoring to fisheries management, coastal restoration and supporting marine commerce, NOAA’s products and services support economic vitality and affect more than one-third of America’s gross domestic product. NOAA’s dedicated scientists use cutting-edge research and high-tech instrumentation to provide citizens, planners, emergency managers and other decision makers with reliable information they need when they need it.

NOAA’s roots date back to 1807, when the Nation’s first scientific agency, the Survey of the Coast, was established. Since then, NOAA has evolved to meet the needs of a changing country. NOAA maintains a presence in every state and has emerged as an international leader on scientific and environmental matters.

About The OGC

The OGC® is an international consortium of more than 370 companies, government agencies, research organizations, and universities participating in a consensus process to develop publicly available geospatial standards. OpenGIS® Standards support interoperable solutions that “geo-enable” the Web, wireless and location-based services, and mainstream IT. OGC Standards empower technology developers to make geospatial information and services accessible and useful with any application that needs to be geospatially enabled. Visit the OGC website at

[Source: OGC press release]

ArcGIS 10 Transforms the Way People Use GIS

New Release Simplifies Your Work, Provides New Ways to Share Information, Supplies GIS in the Cloud, and Much More

ArcGIS 10, which is now available from Esri, is transforming the way people use geographic information system (GIS) technology. With this release, users will be more productive with their work and will be able to take advantage of GIS everywhere: via individual local desktops, across desktops and browsers leveraging central servers, and in the cloud.

“ArcGIS is a complete system that enables you to solve your most challenging issues,” said Damian Spangrud, ArcGIS product manager. “This release provides greater ease of use, more powerful analysis tools, additional Web GIS applications, and new mobile platforms. It also promotes collaboration via an online system for using, sharing, and organizing geographic content.”

Perform GIS Work Faster—ArcGIS 10 dramatically improves and simplifies the user experience, streamlines editing, and integrates productivity tools to support the workflows of GIS professionals. This release makes map creation and production much easier and provides best practice templates to help users get started quickly. Users can search by keywords or data types to find data and maps. They can also use the search function to quickly and easily find symbols to use in their maps and tools for analysis.

Powerful Spatial Analysis—ArcGIS has always been the premier software for spatial analysis, and with this release, Esri continues to advance geographic science with new tools. ArcGIS now includes Python scripting for automating common tasks and analyses. Using Python, the capabilities of ArcGIS can be combined with other scientific programming to create powerful solutions. Among the new analyses offered in ArcGIS is location-allocation, which helps users understand how their facilities’ placements in a given network impact their ability to serve their customers.

This release also makes it much easier to see data in 3D and introduces the notion of time in both visualization and analysis. Users can create, manage, and visualize time-aware data. They can also display and animate temporal datasets as well as publish and query temporal map services. The ability to see data over time opens opportunities for more in-depth analysis.

Improved Imagery Use and Management—ArcGIS 10 enables better use and management of imagery on the desktop and the server. This release lets users efficiently serve dynamic image mosaics to many applications and easily manage massive image collections with dynamic mosaicking and on-the-fly processing. Moreover, users will experience faster performance with accelerated image display and save time by using the new image analysis window for image interpretation and processing.

New Ways to Share—ArcGIS now offers tight integration with ArcGIS Online search and share capabilities, making it easy to create and distribute projects that may include data, layers, maps, tools, scenes, globes, diagrams, and add-ins. Additionally, it is easy to discover and organize geographic data throughout the enterprise via the new Search service in ArcGIS Server. ArcGIS 10 also allows the expansion of volunteered geographic information or user-generated content on the Web.

Cloud GIS—An exciting aspect of ArcGIS 10 is that users can leverage online maps and tools that are a built-in part of the ArcGIS experience, whether they are using ArcGIS Desktop, mobile devices (e.g., smartphones), browsers, or applications developed using the ArcGIS Web Mapping APIs. Users can also now find, share, organize, and use maps, apps, and other resources via the new site—a Web-based gateway into the ArcGIS system. Furthermore, users can discover, share, and present geographic information using ArcGIS Explorer Online, a new browser-based version of ArcGIS Explorer.

ArcGIS Server can now be used on the Amazon cloud. Running ArcGIS Server on Amazon allows organizations to take advantage of multiple cloud services and features.

GIS in the Field—ArcGIS Mobile now has a customizable, out-of-the-box application that allows users to extend mobile projects to in-vehicle and tablet-based PCs. Esri is extending this concept to Apple’s iOS platform. Customers will be able to access a mapping application directly from the Apple iTunes app store. ESRI is also providing a software development kit so organizations can build their own focused iPhone and iPad applications.

Availability—“By making ArcGIS 10 available as a download, ESRI hopes to dramatically reduce the packaging waste that is associated with typical software releases,” said Spangrud. “We are hoping that most of our customers will join us in this effort.” Those who need to receive the software on media can still request it and expect to receive it in the next few weeks.

In the United States, maintenance contacts will receive information by e-mail on how they can download ArcGIS 10 for their organization. They may also contact Esri Customer Service at 888-377-4575; outside the United States, customers should contact their local Esri office.

To learn more and see demo videos of ArcGIS 10, visit

[Source: ESRI press release]

Interactive In-vehicle Guidance through a Multihierarchical Representation of Urban Maps

International Journal of Intelligent Systems, Volume 25, Issue 7, Date: July 2010, Pages: 597-620

C. Galindo, J. Gonzalez, and J. A. Fernádez-Madrigal

“Small computers used for assisting drivers (mostly in finding routes) have been growing in popularity in the past years. These systems are inherently interactive, but up to now this interaction is tackled under rather simple approaches. For example, current routing computer assistants consider only the shortest or the quickest route to a destination, although in certain situations it could be interesting for the driver to take into consideration other factors, such as the criminal rate, land value, or the beauty of the areas to be traversed. On the other hand, the interactive processes between the driver and the routing assistant are still very limited: They only enable the user to discard (or suggest) particular locations through a fixed set of names, i.e. street’s names. This paper proposes a novel interactive mechanism for in-vehicle routing that uses topological information at different levels of detail and a multihierarchical representation of urban maps. These hierarchical representations permit the system not only to plan routes efficiently but also to report them at different levels in detail in a human-like set of symbols adapted to each user. This enhances the human-computer interaction during the routing process, increasing driver satisfaction. We illustrate our technique through a case of study in the city of Málaga (Spain).”

Global Biodiversity Information Facility and LifeWatch Sign Collaborative Agreement

The Global Biodiversity Information Facility (GBIF) and the LifeWatch infrastructure for biodiversity and ecosystem research recently joined forces by signing a Memorandum of Cooperation (MoC) that will enable the two organisations to collaborate on development and sharing of critical biodiversity informatics infrastructure and information.

LifeWatch, a consortium of institutions and organisations acting on behalf of a number of European States and scientific networks, is working towards establishing a distributed infrastructure that would support scientific research within the context of European strategies concerning biodiversity and eco-systems.

The main objective of the MoC is to put in place an institutional framework that will allow the two like-minded initiatives to work closely together on a number of common strategic issues. Such activities include the promotion of a free and open data sharing policy, fostering the use of common standards and protocols, effective communication and coordination, supporting GBIF infrastructure with LifeWatch capabilities, and the strengthening of services that would assist LifeWatch-users in publishing their data via the GBIF network.

“Through this agreement, both organizations – and the informatics community at large – are benefitting from 10 years of investment in GBIF by countries to date,” said Dr. Nick King, Executive Secretary of the GBIF. Wouter Los, project leader of the LifeWatch preparatory phase commented: “Based on our respective mandates which are very complementary, GBIF and LifeWatch now have a formal framework in place for cooperation and collaboration on infrastructural developments.”

LifeWatch is intended to occupy a strategic position within the European informatics science research infrastructure context. Building upon the existing GBIF data resources and supporting informatics infrastructure, LifeWatch will provide enhanced analytical and modeling services, as well as bring in additional data resources. As a result larger numbers of users in the region are expected to share their data through the GBIF network, which is already in use by many European countries. Through the complementarity of GBIF’s data e-infrastructure and web services and LifeWatch’s comprehensive range of analytical tools and services, the alliance has the potential to deliver a new breadth and depth of biodiversity research in Europe.

The MoC also seeks to leverage and synergise the two organisations’ country membership-based status and the respective distributed research infrastructures. The agreement came into force on the 14th of June 2010 and the full text may be downloaded on

[Source: GBIF press release]