Sunday, December 18, 2011

GIS News from around the country

Telecom News:

            The National Informatics Centre (NIC) will carry out the GIS mapping of the existing Optical Fibre Cable (OFC) network of the telecom operators such BSNL, Rail Tel, Power Grid, etc. The mapping of the existing OFC will enable to calculate the incremental length of the cable required for connecting all the 2.5 lakh panchayats with OFC. The cost of initial phase of the NOFN scheme is likely to be in the region of Rs 20,000 crore.

            The government of India has approved the creation of National Optical Fibre Network (NOFN) for providing broadband connectivity of all panchayats. The plan is to extend the existing optical fibre network initially upto panchayats by utilizing the Universal Services Obligation Fund (USOF) and creating an institutional mechanism for management and operation of the NOFN for ensuring non discriminatory access to all service providers.

Common Service Centers (CSCs):

            Information kiosks set up in the rural areas of Ranchi, Jharkhand, also known as common service centres (CSCs), will soon be equipped with geographical information system (GIS). This new project intends to facilitate quicker delivery of electronic services to the beneficiaries.

            The project is planned to be implemented by mid of the next year. The State IT Department has already begun negotiating terms and condition with the State-owned telecom company, Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited to provide high-speed broadband link to all the CSCs, some of them still under construction.

             A major issue that stares this project in its face is that many CSCs are not functioning properly. Only 2000 out of the installed 4562 CSCs are actually in working condition.

GIS Mapping for Property Documentation:

            The state urban development department of the Bihar government is now carrying out geographic information system (GIS) mapping in towns and cities of Bihar.  The move will enable urban local bodies to document the properties in a digitized data bank, leading of course to greater tax collection for the civic bodies. But the benefits to the citizens from this should also be obvious in the context of legal disputes. The main question here however is how the civic bodies are to be enabled to provide civic amenities through funds generated by themselves. So far, the towns covered by the move in the state include Gaya, Sasaram, Aurangabad, Dehri, Chhapra and Siwan.
 
            The GIS-based maps would allow the government to get a complete picture of the total number of holdings and property value across the towns, essential for urban planning. The GIS-based maps that are to be prepared will be on a 1:1000 scale, using QuickBird satellite imagery.
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Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Memories for the future

            Memories for the future – A project undertaken by Google in the hope that it will help the people of Japan rediscover their lost memories of their homes and towns.

            On March 11, 2011 a devastating earthquake and tsunami hit northeastern Japan, causing unimaginable damage. Google has created a site called “Mirai e no kioku”, which means “Memories for the Future” in Japanese. This site showcases the pre- and post-disaster imagery in Google Street View.

            Check out the link http://www.miraikioku.com/streetview/en/about to know more about the project and also see the drastic changes in the before- and after-tsunami street view images.
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Thursday, December 8, 2011

First Google Enterprise Geospatial Summit 2011 India


            December 7, 2011 - I attended the first ever Google Enterprise Geospatial Summit 2011 held in New Delhi, India. I was so excited to attend this seminar as I work on the Google Maps API.


            Reached the venue - The Sheraton, New Delhi along with a colleague of mine from my work place.


The Venue - Sheraton, New Delhi

            The registration for the event took a long time though we had registered online. Pretty lousy work by the organizers, but the seminar that followed was worth the effort.


           Enjoying Snacks and Coffee before the start of the exciting evening...




            The participants were pouring in and the stage was set for a wonderful Mapping evening. The speakers had a lot in store for us.


            Mr. Pankaj - The Google Geospatial Head Asia, started of the proceedings with describing the Google's geospatial services and showed couple of exciting videos. Mr. Pankaj spoke for around 15-20 mins and then the mike was transferred to Mr. Sean Maday who had come all the way from Google, US.


            Mr. Sean (who's designation, I have forgotten) started off with the Google Maps Enterprise API and shared with the audience several lovely applications which had put the Google Maps to great use. He then concluded off the session with the Google Fusion Tables. We then broke off for snacks and tea for about 15 minutes.


My registration badge


            Then began the post tea session wherein Mr. Sean spoke about Google Earth, Google Earth Pro, Google Earth Builder, Google Earth Portable and Google Earth Enterprise Client. He shed light on some of the different features of each of these products. The presentations were really good and Mr. Sean is a really good speaker. 


           Then began the QA session, where Mr. Sean and Mr. Pankaj answered several questions raised by the audience.


            They also took several questions offline and Sean was more than happy to answer the several queries that we raised about Google Maps and Google Earth. It was great interacting with him.




           The presentations were followed by drinks and a sumptuous dinner and totally yummy deserts...


             And finally after the dinner, we left the Sheraton to reach our home and start mapping...!
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Sunday, November 20, 2011

Quake Risk Assessment Application...

            A GIS application has been designed to help the Chennai Corporation and the departments concerned to take quick decisions when a major earthquake strikes the city. The application has been prepared based on data collected as part of the seismic vulnerability screening of over 50,000 buildings with more than three floors by the civic body in association with the Centre for Disaster Mitigation and Management, Anna University. However, buildings in the defence areas were not covered in the seismic vulnerability screening.

           The civic body has started taking measures towards providing the GIS application to other agencies such as Fire and Rescue Services, Police and Home Guards. The GIS application could be used to find out if any of the residential or commercial buildings with three of more storeys are safe when an earthquake strikes. The number of buildings that are likely to be damaged with a particular magnitude of earthquake in the city could be estimated.

           As soon as an earthquake with a certain magnitude is recorded in the city, the officials of the civic body would be able to trace the buildings that could have got damaged using the GIS application. The safe escape route of the injured residents of the damaged building to the nearest hospital would also be mapped with the help of the GIS application and the authorities at the ward level would take action at the quickest possible time. The application would also be used to make a decision on the establishment of relief centres by locating strong earthquake-resistant structures in each of the 155 wards of the Corporation.

           The civic body is likely to take a decision shortly on permitting the public too to make use of the GIS application for better disaster preparedness. This could help those purchasing an apartment in a multi-storeyed residential building make an informed decision.
 
            More and more such applications of Risk Assessment using GIS should be implement throughout the states in India, as India faces the risks from natural catastrophes like floods, earthquakes and tsunamis. These applications will definitely help the government and also the people of the country in making wise decisions while buying property, land, etc.
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Saturday, September 3, 2011

Geofencing

         Today's post is cross-posted from GIS Lounge.

         With all the location-based social media applications out there, it’s only logical that, in addition to being able to restrict access based on ones social groups (or circles), that geographic boundaries also be used as a restrictive parameter.  That capability is called a geofence, a virtual way to set the geographic boundaries that a user wants to fence off for privacy reasons or to trigger a specific action.

         Flickr recently made news with the introduction of its geofence privacy feature. Users can draw circles on a map to delineate the geographic area they want to create viewing restrictions for certain geotagged photos.  Once a geofenced area is delineated, specific users can be flagged with permissions to view those photos.  Up to ten geofenced areas can be drawn.  The Flickr blog has more details about the brainstorming that led to this new geofence feature and specifics about the feature itself (and if you want to get into more of the nitty gritty of Flickr’s geofencing, there is a followup post).  Once a geofence is set up, the privacy settings are retroactively applied to all geotagged photos within the restricted area.  The feature is a great way to mask a user’s home location or to prevent sensitive locations such as a child’s school from being revealed through inadvertent geotagging.


          Geofencing has other applications in addition to privacy purposes. Geofencing can also be applied to notify users when their geographic location meets certain criteria.  Geofencing commonly is used for notifications when a user enters or leaves a designated area, such as tracking a parolee via GPS who has to remain within a specific area.  An example of a commercial application would be a user searching for new homes.  When the user (along with his or her GPS enabled smartphone) is within a specified range of a house for sale that meets predefined criteria, the user would then be notified of the house location and its details on that same smartphone.

          Hope you like this article...Till nest time...Happy mapping!
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Sunday, August 28, 2011

School mapping

          For the first time in India, Manipur has introduced Geographic Information System (GIS) for mapping schools located in remote areas of the State.  The GIS was launched by the State with technical support from Delhi based Mission of Geo-Spatial Application which is an agency of the Central Government.

          Using the GIS, State Mission Authority of the Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan scheme has undertaken a mapping exercise of 4640 Primary and Upper Primary schools located in different parts of the State. In addition to mapping 4640 schools, the same exercise has identified 1093 different places where there is no school and in need of schools.

         Since the implementation of the Right to Education Act in India which lays down that schools should be located within a specific distance from human settlement areas, the need for using GIS for mapping schools located in far off places was felt all the more. The mapping of all the Government and aided Primary and Upper Primary schools was enabled after collecting the longitudes and latitudes of the schools through GPS.

         With the introduction of GIS, effective monitoring can now be done whether or not funds sanctioned for development of school infrastructure have been properly utilised which are otherwise physically inaccessible due to bad transport infrastructure or because of security reasons. This will definitely prove to be a great step towards creating a corruption free India.

Source: E-Pao
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Thursday, August 25, 2011

Speak to your Google map

            Amazed? Shocked? by the title? Well don't be. This is true. You can now talk to your Google map. Without even touching your keyboard, you can now talk into your Google Maps to look for places and get directions. If you are using the Google Chrome browser in the U.S. simply click the microphone icon and speak into your computer.


            Using voice search can make it easier to find hard-to-spell places (like Poughkeepsie or Liechtenstein) or simply get directions without typing (for example, say “Directions from Los Angeles to San Francisco”).

            Hope, you enjoy talking to your Google Maps!
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Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Get directions between different states in India

    Having seen a simple hard coded directions example yesterday, today we will have a look at another simple example but not an hard coded one. In today's  example we will see the directions between different states in India. We have two simple list boxes stating Origin and Destination as lists of the states in India. You can select a state from either of the lists and then you will get the directions between the two selected cities.

    If you see yesterday's code and today's code you will find a lot of similarities and so  it would be easy to follow. The code will look lengthy, but it is just because of the list boxes code. So don't worry about the code, just go for it.


    The output of the above code will look as seen in the results section above. Hope you find this code helpful in understanding the directions services even further. Tomorrow, we will look at another - a bit complex example. Till then, happy mapping.

Note: The above code will not display any results if one of the two selected states is one of Arunachal Pradesh, Himachal Pradesh, Jammu & Kashmir, Mizomar, Uttar Pradesh, Andaman & Nicobar Islands or Lakshadeep Islands. The reason for this is not known to me. If anyone does know the reason please let us all know. Leave a comment!
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Tuesday, August 23, 2011

'Sun & Moon' now on Google Maps

          How we always wish to know the weather conditions at the picnic spot we have planned to visit during the weekends! This is now possible with the new Google Maps Weather Layer. Google has added a weather layer on Google Maps on August 18, 2011 that displays current temperatures and conditions across the globe.

         To add the weather layer, hover over to the widget in the upper right corner of Google Maps and select the weather layer from the list of options.



         When zoomed out, you will see a map with current weather conditions from weather.com for various locations, with icons to denote sun, clouds, rain and so on. You can also see the cloud coverage which can be switched on and off. The sun and moon icons also signify whether it is day or night in that part of the world.



         Clicking on the weather icon of a particular city will open up an info window with detailed data like current humidity and wind conditions, as well as the forecast for the next 4 days. Below is the upcoming forecast for the city of Pune.



You can view the weather layer here.
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Simple Directions

    After taking an unintended long break after the 100th post, I am back with more examples and several more GIS news. Today, we will take a look at a simple example showcasing the use of the Google’s Directions Services. Using the Google’s Direction service, we can calculate the distance between two points, show the path between these two points, calculate the average time taken to traverse this distance and we can also enforce several constraints on this path.

    The Google Directions API is a service that calculates the directions between locations using an HTTP request. You may pass either an address (string) or a latitude/longitude coordinate as the origin and destination. If you pass an address as a string, the Directions service geocodes the string and converts it to a latitude-longitude coordinate to calculate directions. The origin and destination are two mandatory parameters for a directions request, whereas several other optional parameters like mode of travel, waypoints, avoid tolls, avoid highways, etc. are also used. We will be having a look at each of these parameters in subsequent examples.

    Today, we will have a look at a simple piece of code which will show a path between two pre-defined locations Pune and Mumbai in India (hard-coded example) using the directions services. Let us have a look at the code directly. I have commented the code where ever necessary.



    The output of the above code will appear as seen in the result section above. Two labeled markers will appear at the origin and destination address with a purple polyline depicting the route between the two locations. In later examples, we will see several more complex examples using the Directions Service.

    If you have any queries/ doubts regarding today’s code, please leave a comment! Hope you find this example helpful!
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Thursday, July 21, 2011

100th Post...



            I’m so excited that I have finally reached this milestone. Well I am not completely certain that this is a big deal but anything that is '100' just seems big and grand. I have been blogging here for around 8 months now, and it gives me immense pleasure to say that now I have become an experienced blogger.:D


            I never thought when I started this blog in November, 2010 that I would have much to offer compared to the hundreds of other GIS bloggers out there. But today with more than 21,000 page views, more than 100 comments, more than 100 followers and several Like and +1s the response to this blog has been nothing short of amazing. Now the next target for me would be to cross 50,000 views.


            At the end, I would  like to thank all visitors and members for making this blog successful. I am so happy to have readers such as you. Thank you all who have been reading. If you are a regular reader, or if you just dropped in today, do comment and tell me what you liked about the blog!
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Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Spherical Cap

    In some of the earlier posts, I have shown some examples related to creating Polygons and Polylines on the Google Map using the Google Maps API v3. In addition to this generic polygon class, the Javascript Google Maps API also includes a specific class for Circle to simplify its construction. In today’s example, I am going to show you how to generate a circle or a spherical cap on the map.

    A Circle is similar to a Polygon in that you can define custom colors, weights, and opacities for the edge of the circle (the "stroke") and custom colors and opacities for the area within the enclosed region (the "fill"). Colors should be indicated in hexadecimal numeric HTML style.

    Unlike a Polygon, you do not define paths for a Circle; instead, a circle has two additional properties which define its shape: 
  • Center: Specifies the center of the circle using google.maps.LatLng 
  • Radius: Specifies the radius of the circle in meters. 
    Let us now have a look at the code which is pretty simple and easy to understand.


    When you will execute the above code, you will see a Terrain map centered at Pune with a circle of radius 100km also centered at Pune. The output will look as seen in the results section above.
    Hope you find this piece of code interesting. If you have any queries, requests or suggestions, feel free to leave a comment. Till then, happy mapping!
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Saturday, July 16, 2011

Map Loading...

    The blank web page seems so boring and dull when the map is still loading. You will come across such a situation quite often where you will be having a slow internet connection! We cannot do anything about the slow internet connection, but we can surely avoid the dull blank web-page by using a simple trick. We can place a "loading" image at the center of the web page so that the page doesn't look blank! An image like this:
            The following code will show you how this can be done and here it is!


    As you all can see the code is very very simple and the output will look as seen in the results section above. The image below shows the loading stage of the map.

 

    Do let me know what you think about the examples shared here! Do leave your comments here! Till the next example, happy mapping!
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