The value of GIS in big data and AI to empower civic decision makers


I FIRST ENCOUNTERED GIS WHILE studying geocollaborative decision-making for crisis management over a decade ago. Back then, GIS seemed like an obscure field and its software was used by only a select few who could install it and navigate the different menus and sub-menus to produce actionable results. A lot has changed since then. When I re-entered graduate school a few years back to study cities using data at NYU’s Center for Urban Science and Progress, I re-discovered GIS. Except this time, almost everything was on the web and the cloud. Platforms such as CartoDB, Tableau and RESTful methods have exponentially [...]

The value of GIS in big data and AI to empower civic decision makers2019-02-07T18:38:50+00:00

The challenge of the Internet of Things


ACCORDING TO THE BLURB, the Westminster eForum provides ‘the premier environment for policymakers in Parliament, Whitehall and regulatory agencies to engage with stakeholders in timely discussion on public policy relating to technology’. To this end, the forum offers numerous seminars on a wide range of topics ( On March 15th the subject was the Internet of Things. As it turned out the only parliamentarians present were an MP – Matt Warman and the Earl of Erroll from the House of Lords, who also happened to be chairs of the two sessions. There were a number of representatives from government departments, including [...]

The challenge of the Internet of Things2019-02-07T18:21:34+00:00

GIS, Automation and your Future


FINISHED SCHOOL AT AGE 22 with two degrees and few skills. As one senior consultant put it when I was an intern at a consulting firm, I knew “how to read, write and think.” And, that was a good thing because it meant I could read hundreds of pages, pick out the key details, and compile them into a 20 slide presentation for a corporate client. Of significant importance to that same senior consultant, I could do that far less expensively than he could. I did just that and everyone, including the client, was happy. At that same job I made [...]

GIS, Automation and your Future2019-02-07T18:18:05+00:00

The Bravest People in GIS


I KNOW MANY BRAVE PEOPLE involved in GIS. Some start their own companies. Some work on wildfire GIS maps and applications and then go and fight actual wildfires. Some try to teach challenging software over the Internet to anyone who is interested. I want to celebrate another brave group of people in our industry: the ones who develop standards. Idealistic or just plain unlucky? As I write this column, the Federal Geographic Data Committee (FGDC), the US government committee that promotes the coordinated development, use, sharing and dissemination of geospatial data for the country, is seeking comments about retiring one of [...]

The Bravest People in GIS2019-02-07T18:14:52+00:00

The Power of PostgreSQL and PostGIS – Interview with Paul Ramsey


In this article, we speak to Paul Ramsey about how both PostgreSQL and PostGIS can provide a solid foundation for any small to large organisational GIS architecture. Paul, a Solutions Engineer at Carto, has been working with geospatial software for over 15 years: consulting to government and industry; building a geospatial software company; and programming on open source software. He co-founded the PostGIS spatial database project in 2001 and is currently an active developer and member of the project steering committee. In 2008, Paul received the Sol Katz Award for achievement in open source geospatial software, and he speaks and teaches [...]

The Power of PostgreSQL and PostGIS – Interview with Paul Ramsey2019-02-07T18:03:38+00:00

Applying Geospatial Technologies to Real Estate Decision Making in Nigeria


Countries such as Nigeria are beginning to embrace the potential of geospatial technology and information in order to develop their economies. This is particularly so in fields such as land administration and real estate development where relevant stakeholders are taking advantage of increasingly affordable software and ever-growing volumes of crowdsources and open data. Unlike developed countries, which were limited by the slow roll-out of heavy telecommunications infrastructure, these industries are being fast-tracked by more easily-deployable Wi-Fi networks to both urban and remote regions. Bolaji Afolabi explains how this is happening. In the real estate service industry, it is not a question [...]

Applying Geospatial Technologies to Real Estate Decision Making in Nigeria2019-02-07T17:56:10+00:00

Cleaning up the Streets Using Geographical Data


Last November KaarbonTech won the 2014 Association of Geographic Information (AGI) award for Best Use of Geospatial for Business Benefit with their Gulley SMART highways asset management software package. Their managing director, Mark Entwistle, explains how proactive drain cleaning can improve highways departments’ performance while saving time and money. Managing drainage and water flow into roadside gullies may seem one of the more traditional and perhaps low tech roles carried out by local government. In fact, the reverse is true: twenty-first century highways asset management is high tech, digital and mobile. The award recognised the results achieved by a project KaarbonTech [...]

Cleaning up the Streets Using Geographical Data2019-02-07T17:51:15+00:00

Once upon a somewhere: the challenges of putting books on the map by Alex Mackie


FOR HIS GIS MASTERS DISSERTATION at the University of Edinburgh, Alex Mackie chose to mix two subjects close to his heart: books and maps. There is undoubtedly commercial value to mapping books but this has been largely ignored by the industry. If books are properly georeferenced then location-aware e-readers and tablets can use their user’s location to recommend locally relevant books or provide the option to search for books relating to intended holiday destinations or places of interest. This extends the principle that physical bookstores already recognize a demand for locally relevant books, with Waterstones and other retailers stocking shop windows [...]

Once upon a somewhere: the challenges of putting books on the map by Alex Mackie2019-02-07T17:45:26+00:00

GIS or Geospatial – does it matter and why now?


THREADS ON THE RELATIONSHIP between GIS and the wider world of ICT are common on social media. While posts like “is GIS splitting?” appear contrived to stir debate, others seem genuinely confused over the distinction between the concept of a geographic information system and geospatial technology in general. Such distinctions can be dismissed as semantic, but the focus on ‘GIS’ can reflect an implicit assumption that spatial is somehow apart from general ICT. Should we be concerned by posts like “where should a GIS unit belong in an organisation” or “is it important to keep GIS out of the IT department”? [...]

GIS or Geospatial – does it matter and why now?2019-02-07T17:39:35+00:00

Is it Time for Slow Learning in GIS?


Everything is speeding up but I’m going to suggest slowing down. My guess it that the phrase ‘slow learning’ is new to many readers. Slow learning is a vision for less formulaic, less time-driven learning. It’s self-directed (students select the topics to learn), long-lasting (more like lifelong learning than finishing a course, grade or degree), authentic (based on real world activities), and supports, and is supported by, a learning community. Slow learning joins other slow movements such as slow food, which aims “to prevent the disappearance of local food cultures and traditions, to counteract the rise of fast life…” and slow [...]

Is it Time for Slow Learning in GIS?2019-02-07T17:28:06+00:00

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