When Age Matters

Posted by Larry Malloy on Sep 13, 2016 7:00:00 AM

Most of the Earth’s terrain changes little over time. Therefore, getting the latest GIS data is nice, but you also pay a premium price for the benefit. With that said, there are times when updated elevation data is critical and that’s what this article is about. Here are some situations where updated elevation data is beneficial.


©2016 Growth Las Vegas 1984-2012. All Rights Reserved.

Urban Growth: Urban growth changes the land as new homes and commercial buildings are added and new roads are paved. A great example of this is the time-lapse images of Las Vegas from 1984-2012. As you can see from the video, land around Las Vegas metropolitan area went through dramatic changes over this 28 year period as the population went from 460,000 to well over 2 million people. To keep up with this rapid change, GIS data needs to be updated on a regular bases to represent the new changes.

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Topics: GIS, DEM, Geospatial Audit

DEM Applications in Infectious Disease Prevention & Control

Posted by Larry Malloy on Sep 8, 2016 7:00:00 AM

Infectious diseases are caused by organisms such as parasites, bacteria, viruses, and fungi. They remain an important public health problem, causing over 13 million deaths each year worldwide. Changes in society, technology and microorganisms are contributing to the emergence of new diseases. As demonstrated by the influenza virus, new outbreaks can travel entire contents within weeks. The control of infectious diseases in the future will require public health organizations to rapidly recognize and respond to these threats.

Computer aided models help the public and private sectors track and predict the spread of infectious outbreaks allowing the focus of valuable resources in the right areas. This includes personnel as well as medical vaccines and supplies. Geospatial data is one layer of information critical to many infectious disease models.Photo Source: http://www.cdc.gov/zika/intheus/maps-zika-us.html

As an example, the Zika virus has been in the news lately with the 2016 Summer Olympics being held in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. The virus was first isolated in 1947 from a caged rhesus macaque at the East African Virus Research Institute in Uganda, Africa. It was first isolated in a human in Nigeria in 1954. From that time until 2007, confirmed cases were rare. In 2007, however, a major epidemic occurred in Yap Island, Micronesia. A recent larger outbreak occurred April 2015, in Brazil. Local authorities link the outbreak to an influx of foreigners during the 2014 FIFA World Cup, coupled with the large population of Aedes Aegypt and Aedes Albopictus mosquitoes that inhabit the region. Since that time a large outbreak has occurred in much of South and Central America, and the Caribbean. Computer generated models help government healthcare organizations track and predict the spread of infectious diseases like the Zika virus. GIS data along with the mosquitoes known territory, travel and population movements aid these models.

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Topics: GIS, Digital Elevation Models, DEM

Do You Know What’s Going on in Your Agency?

Posted by Larry Malloy on Sep 6, 2016 7:00:00 AM

GIS professionals are often the last to know what’s going on in their agency. They are frequently given projects after strategic planning meetings are held. But as a GIS professional, you are in a great position to add value to your agency before projects are assigned. Here are some strategies for adding more value to your agency.

Strategic Planning: Request to be invited to all strategic planning sessions. It’s a great way to meet key agency leaders and understand their needs, direction of the agency, and upcoming projects. Add your input as appropriate and schedule additional time with key leaders to better understand their needs. Strategic planning sessions are a fantastic way to add value to the agency.

Make Lunch Productive: Lunches are great times to connect with others in the agency. Make a commitment to at least bi-monthly take someone new to lunch. Take the time to get to know them personally before rushing into business discussions.

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Topics: GIS, Geospatial Audit, geospatial solutions

New Federal Commercial UAV (Drone) Laws

Posted by Larry Malloy on Sep 1, 2016 7:00:00 AM

New federal commercial UAV law took effect in the United States, Monday, August 29. The new regulations are designed to minimize risk to aircraft, people and property on the ground, and will not affect recreation usage. Here are some of the changes:

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Topics: GIS, Geospatial Audit, drone, UAV

Critical GIS Skill # 8: Teamwork & Leadership

Posted by Larry Malloy on Aug 30, 2016 7:00:00 AM

A GIS degree is technical and often attracts like-minded people. Schools do a great job of teaching those aspects of GIS including giving practical experience in GIS software applications like ESRI’s ArcGIS. However there are a lot of skills critical to a career in GIS that are not taught during the degree program, and that is what this blog series is designed to address.

Critical GIS Skill #8: Teamwork & Leadership

Colleges attempt to teach leadership and teamwork by creating groups and assigning team projects. A common group scenario in college is where someone takes the initiative to “lead” the project. Assignments are allocated to the remaining team members, and then the fun begins. Inevitably, assignment timelines slip and issues arise. It’s up to the leader or the group as a whole to ensure everyone keeps up with their assignments. But what frequently happens is a few of the team members accomplish the majority of the work. This is not teamwork and this is not leadership. What lesson are we teaching? As a GIS professional, you will run into similar situations. Here are some strategies to build a winning team.

Team Members: As in college, you don’t always get to choose your team members, but when you do, choose wisely. Continually be on the lookout for the “right” people. Choose people that are competent in their area of expertise yet have strong communication and people skills. If you don’t have a choice, know that all players have a place where they add the most value. Take the time to get to know your team members including their strengths and weaknesses. Place them in positions where they add the most value to your team, then help them grow as a team member.

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Topics: GIS, Career, technologies

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