Mapping News: ArcGIS 10.1, QGIS 1.8, Waze 3.2, Google Maps Coordinates

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In the last few weeks of June 2012, ArcGIS 1.01 and QGIS 1.8 were released, Google slashed its Google Maps API prices and released a tracking application for mobile workers. Waze released an update that provide users with access to cheap gas locations and discounted gas coupons.  The US Census Bureau has also released an updated version of TIGERweb, its online data viewer.  

ArcGIS 10.1 Released

In time for the annual Esri User Conference, ArcGIS 10.1 has been released.  Esri promises that this new release makes the software easier to use for even non-GIS professionals: “The new release puts mapping and geospatial analytics into the hands of more people than ever—even those with no geographic information system (GIS) expertise.” The desktop ArcGIS 10.1 release contains new spatial tools such as spatial autocorrelation and new tools to help manage and work with large raster datasets.  ArcGIS for Server now runs natively on 64-bit Windows and Linux.  A complete list of changes and new functionality is available in Esri’s “What’s New in ArcGIS 10.1” PDF.

QGIS 1.8 Released

Named “Lisboa”, open source GIS Quantum GIS has released version 1.8.  New features include QGIS browser which lets users explore and preview GIS data and drag and drop files straight into the QGIS canvas.  The DB Manager has now been integrated as part of the QGIS core.  Layers can now be imported into spatial databases by dragging them from the QGIS browser into the DB manager.  More detail about other improvements and added features can be gleaned from the QGIS releases page.  As always, download packages can be accessed from the QGIS download page.

Google Maps API Prices Dropped

The Google Geo Developers blog announced on Friday, June 22, 2012 lower pricing and simplified limits on its Google Maps API.  The pricing was significantly slashed from $4 per 1,000 map loads to 50¢ per 1,000 maps loads, a reduction to just 12.5% of the original pricing scheme.  Google also removed the distinction pricing between style maps and default map styles, which means all Maps API usage is billed at the same price.

We’re beginning to monitor Maps API usage starting today, and, based on current usage, fees will only apply to the top 0.35% of sites regularly exceeding the published limits of 25,000 map loads every day for 90 consecutive days. We aren’t automating the application of these limits, so if your site consistently uses more than the free maps allowance we’ll contact you to discuss your options. Please rest assured that your map will not stop working due to a sudden surge in popularity.

Google Maps Coordinates

Google Maps has released an app that keeps track of workers out in the field.  Called Goole Maps Coordinates, is “designed to improve communication between businesses and their employees in the field”.

From the Google Lat Long blog about Google Maps Coordinates:

Employees in the field download the mobile app to their phone and then can:
    • Share real-time location. Google Maps Coordinate is built on Google’s mapping and geolocation infrastructure so the app will send an accurate location, even if you’re indoors (Google Maps Coordinate integrates with Google Indoor Maps).
    • Record data.  Mobile teams often need to collect information while out in the field. Google Maps Coordinate allows the admin to customize the fields that the mobile team needs to capture and collect – from measurements to client contact details – directly in the app.
Meanwhile, a designated dispatcher back in the office can:
    • Create teams. Add team members to a Google Maps Coordinate team and see their locations in the Google Maps Coordinate web and mobile app.  For example, our electric utility company might create a special team for home electricians and another for line repairers.
    • Manage jobs. Easily create jobs, precisely locate the job, assign the job to the nearest team member and notify them instantly.  The next time there is a downed powerline, the operator at the utility company will have no problem identifying the closest team member and assigning them to investigate the issue.
    • View past jobs and locations. Get the hard data needed to make strong business decisions. With Google Maps Coordinate, businesses can easily visualize the locations of all their jobs and teams, including current and past jobs.  Businesses can assess where they should be assigning or hiring more workers and how to optimally place their teams.

Waze 3.2 Released

The popular crowdsourced traffic app Waze has a new release.  Version 3.2 brings crowdsourced gas prices so users can find the cheapest gas around.  An additional bonus are discount gas coupons for U.S. Wazers:

How do you take advantage of Wazer-only gas deals? Look out for the gas stations on the map and in the search list that show a small $ icon – this means that discounted gas is available for Wazers at this location. Simply tap on the station and hit the ‘get coupon’ button. Then show the coupon to the clerk at the station.

According to the release, almost 2,00 gas stations are offering between a discount of between 5 and 10 cents per gallon.

New Version of TIGERWeb

The US Census Bureau has released a new version of TIGERweb.  What is TIGERweb:

TIGERweb allows users to view and query census geographic areas and features such as roads, railroads, rivers, lakes and other larger bodies of water. It currently displays boundaries, names and codes for 2010 Census legal and statistical geographic areas, such as counties, cities, towns and townships, census tracts and urban areas. In addition, TIGERweb contains population and housing unit counts from the 2010 Census for each of the geographic areas.

Bing Imagery Updates

Bing Maps has unleased 165 terabytes of new imagery, stating its the largest release of new imagery to date for the web mapping application.

The latest Aerial release includes new Satellite imagery as well as Global Ortho photography. Both releases total165 terabytes of new data live on Bing Maps. Prior to this, our existing Aerial footprint was 129 terabytes total.

This release features imagery over North America, South America, Africa, Australia, Europe and Asia. The total area covered in this data release is nearly 38 million square kilometers.

Areas of new Bing imagery.
Areas of new Bing imagery.

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