GIS News: Horn of Africa Drought, Image of the Week, OpenDataPhilly

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The European Space Agency has released Horn of Africa drought imagery and its image of the week showing Patagonia.   The OGC is seeking input on two projects, and Esri and Azavea both announced the availability of data from OpenDataPhilly.  FIND Map, SuperGeo, Cadcorp, Timmons Group, eSpatial, and URISA round out the list of companies with geospatial announcements.  


The Open Geospatial Consortium (OGC) requests reference implementations of the OGC Sensor Planning Service (SPS) 2.0 for use in compliance
testing.  For more information about this opportunity, please visit or contact: Luis Bermudez, OGC Director of Interoperability Certification,

The Open Geospatial Consortium (OGC) seeks public comment on the candidate Earth Observation profile for the OGC Web Coverage Services (WCS) 2.0 standard. This profile will facilitate on-line data access to Earth observation data products.  The candidate Earth Observation profile for the OGC Web Coverage Services (WCS) 2.0 standard documents are available for review and comment at  Comments are due by 20 August 2011.


URISA and the National Emergency Number Association (NENA) are pleased to announce the feature speakers at the 2011 URISA/NENA Addressing Conference taking place next month in New Orleans (August 15-18, 2011 at the Marriott New Orleans). Michelle Thompson, PhD from the University of New Orleans will open the conference and Steven Johnson, representing OpenStreetMap US, will close the conference.


Horn of Africa drought seen from space:  Drought in Somalia, Kenya, Ethiopia and Djibouti is pushing tens of thousands of people from their homes as millions face food insecurity in a crisis visible from space. ESA’s SMOS satellite shows that the region’s soil is too dry to grow crops.

The animation, derived from SMOS satellite data, shows soil moisture in the Horn of Africa from April to mid-July 2011. The orange and yellow colouring depicts little to no moisture, while green and blue depict higher levels of soil moisture. Credits: CESBIO/ESA


Image of the week: Patagonia ups and downs.  This Envisat image, acquired on 3 June 2011, is dominated by southern Argentina, with the mountainous terrain of the Andes in Chile to the west. In the centre, two lakes in Argentina’s Chubut province are visible. Lake Musters’ depth of about 20 m gives it a dark hue, while Lake Colhué Huapi fills a shallow depression, about 2 m deep. The inlet cutting into the east coast of Argentina is the San Jorge Gulf, measuring about 228 km at its mouth. The bright white spot in the lower-left corner of the image is the Northern Patagonian Ice Field in southern Chile.

Credits: ESA


Through the OpenDataPhilly website, the City of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, now provides access to over 100 datasets, applications, and APIs containing authoritative regional information on a wide variety of topics. The site includes a series of map services built with ArcGIS technology from Esri that offer data and imagery related to census tracts, political wards, crime incidents, hydrology, evacuation routes, bicycle networks, and more.  Built by Philadelphia-based GIS software firm Azavea, OpenDataPhilly is based on the idea that providing free and easy access to information encourages more effective, transparent government and a more engaged and informed citizenry. ArcGIS technology from Esri supports the Gov 2.0 movement by enabling governments around the world to build mapping applications that empower the public and enhance policy making. To learn more about the role of GIS in open government, visit To access OpenDataPhilly, visit

The US Department of Agriculture (USDA) and Esri have partnered in the implementation of a fully cloud-based geospatial portal. USDA’s prototype portal, Enterprise Spatial Mapping Service (ESMS), is built with Portal for ArcGIS, managed by Esri, and hosted on the Amazon cloud within USDA’s secure environment.  USDA and other external government agencies go through the portal to access valued agricultural datasets and maps from a browser and perform spatial analytics. Esri Managed Services maintains and supports the GIS and infrastructure for USDA. Users have the same collaboration and sharing tools as those provided in the public cloud mapping environment ArcGIS Online, but the site retains the USDA customization and brand. Esri’s Portal for ArcGIS is a geospatial content management system that can be hosted on-premises or as an off-premises cloud environment to provide a private, multitenant, geospatial content management system. USDA will eventually integrate its eAuthentication access control system with the private cloud solution to make the platform more secure.


FIND Maps ( has announced the launch of ‘EnviroFIND’ – an online commercial environmental data viewing subscription service.  EnviroFIND was developed in collaboration with key environmental clients already using FIND Maps.  This has resulted in a service which meets industry requirements and can be delivered at a low cost – equivalent to just a few pounds per day.  A subscription to EnviroFIND allows an unlimited number of views of basic BGS/NERC data layers and Environment Agency data, including NAFRA and EA Flood Zones. More sophisticated BGS layers such as Ground Stability and Radon Affected areas data can also be viewed at reduced rates.  The service will allow a range of organisations to use environmental data more effectively. Desk Studies and bid preparations can be completed more efficiently as specific data can be targeted rather than having to sift through lengthy reports. Clients will be able to use our online interactive tools to create their own annotations and graphics prior to printing the data.  EnviroFIND costs between £25-35 per month depending upon the subscription period and number of licences purchased.  To sign up go to


eSpatial, leading provider of GIS (Geographical Information Systems) and pioneer in GIS delivered via Software-as-a-Service (SaaS), has released an upgrade to eSpatial OnDemand GIS™.  A free 14-day trial of eSpatial OnDemand GIS is available at:  The upgraded version of eSpatial OnDemand GIS includes the following enhancements:  The ability to embed dynamic maps from eSpatial OnDemand GIS into webpages, mass-assignment of records (like features) to users, the creation of thematics based on query results.


SuperGeo Technologies has announced that SuperPad 3, its full-function mobile GIS software, has been selected by Benta Wawasan Sdn. Bhd. in Malaysia.

SuperGeo’s Mobile Cadastral GIS 3.0 (Android version) is now officially released worldwide.   In order to provide a light, convenient, and swift system in surveying, Mobile Cadastral GIS 3.0, which is particularly designed for cadastral position and measurement, now integrates with GIS, GPS, and e-compass technologies to help field surveyors quickly recognize their current location and the correct cadastral information.

Mobile Cadastral GIS 3.0 for Android
Mobile Cadastral GIS 3.0 for Android


Cadcorp, the UK based developer and supplier of GIS and web mapping software, has appointed Dr. Martin McGarry as managing director.  Martin McGarry joined Cadcorp in 2002 as sales and marketing manager, prior to which he had spent five years as managing director at Informatix Software International Ltd. in Cambridge. With a PhD in civil engineering from the University of Leeds, he began his career in computing as a programmer with Applied Research of Cambridge where he worked on the GDS system. He continued his career with Amazon Computers, McDonnell Douglas, EDS, Hewlett Packard and the Convergent Group before joining Informatix in 1997.

Timmons Group

Timmons Group recently completed the Wisconsin Forest Inventory and Reporting System (WisFIRS) GIS for Public Land Management Application. WisFIRS is a Web-based application which allows foresters to enter, plan and report on core business functions related to forest reconnaissance data on more than 3.8 million acres of Wisconsin’s public forests.


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