How to Navigate Your Way Through a Flooded Street

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Here in the Chicagoland area, there is one thing that is for sure.  Nobody can predict the weather on a day to day basis.  For example, during the winter time, it can be bitter cold, with the wind chills plunging as low as -60 F.

earthOr, during the summer time, the heat can be unbearable, with indices going into 110 F.  Really, there is nothing in between.  If it is going to get cold, it will get very cold, or if it is going to rain, it will do so torrentially.

Either way, it can be quite dangerous and hazardous, especially when it comes to driving, specifically on the highways.  Chicago also has one of the worst drainage systems in the entire Midwest.  For example, when it rains, it can totally flood the streets for hours on end, as the sewer drains are working ever so slowly to finish draining.

To help alleviate this problem, not just here in Chicago but nationwide as well, NOAA just last week announced the launch of a brand new forecasting tool.

This will simulate how the flow of water moves in rivers and streams, after a huge rainfall. This in turn, will lead to more advances being made in flood water management, and alerting the public of any potential floods.

This simulation tool is actually a very powerful GIS application.  For example, the hardware upon which it runs is a Cray XC40 supercomputer, and collects data in real time from 8,000 US Geological Survey gauges to help simulate rainfall conditions for 2.7 million locations across the United States.

According to Louis UIccellini, the director of the National Weather Service:  “With a changing climate, we’re experiencing more prolonged droughts and a greater frequency of record-breaking floods across the country, underscoring the nation’s need for expanded water information . . . The National Water Model will improve resiliency to water extremes in American communities. And as our forecasts get better, so will our planning and protection of life and property when there’s either too much water, too little, or poor water quality.”  (SOURCE:  http://www.directionsmag.com/pressreleases/noaa-launches-americas-first-national-water-forecast-model/473859).

It should be noted that the actual birth of this project was when President Obama announced at World Water Day back in March for an initiative for better water forecasting techniques.

GeoTel is a telecommunications research and GIS mapping firm that researches and provides telecom datasets for more than 7000 cities in the United States and worldwide. GeoTel’s expertise includes specialists in economic geography, geospatial engineering, web GIS, and telecommunications GIS Data.

What You Need to Know About the Emerging Dominance of Charter Communications

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At the beginning of this year, we made a prediction with our crystal ball that from within the telecom industry, there would be a fair number of buyouts, takeovers, mergers, M and A activity, etc.

charterIn other words, we had formulated the hypothesis that only the giants (such as the likes of AT&T, Verizon, Comcast, etc.) would still be left standing, and that all of the other smaller to medium sized vendors would just fall by the way side.

However, this is far from the truth. As we have reported throughout the year, the giants have not eaten up all of the smaller vendors, and on the contrary, they are still scrambling to get more customers by wooing them with steep price discounts and new, hybrid types of solutions. Meanwhile, the smaller vendors are still growing.

Today, we bring you news of yet another buyout activity. Just last week it was announced that Charter has finally completed its acquisition of both Time Warner Cable and Bright House. With this under its belt, Charter now has a much greater reach when it comes to getting new customers.

For example, it has gained nearly an extra 160,000 miles of fiber optic cabling, as well as 75,000 new on-net buildings. It is predicted that by the end of the third quarter of this year, Charter will have reached 25.6 million new residential and small/medium sized business customers.

The financial picture for Charter also looks just as equally promising. For instance, its second quarter revenues were at $10 billion, which represents a 6.6% Year over Year (YoY) growth rate. Also, residential and customer revenue growth also escalated at rates of 5.6% and 13.4%, respectively.

According to Tom Rutledge, the CEO of Charter, about the acquisitions of Time Warner Cable and Bright House: “If you have a multi-site business, your ability to serve multi-sites with better footprint is improved, and so the commercial marketplace is also improved.” (SOURCE:  http://www.fiercetelecom.com/telecom/charter-s-twc-bright-house-acquisitions-increases-medium-sized-business-customer-visibility).

GeoTel Communications, LLC, provides fiber route maps that help businesses visualize telecom data and locate fiber for predictive analytics and location based intelligence. If interested in obtaining these datasets, call 800-277-2172.

Verizon Says Goodbye to Traditional Landline Services

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There is no doubt that Smartphone technology is rapidly evolving. Every day, it seems as if there is a new wireless device coming out or, for that matter, a mobile app coming out.

By last count, as of last year, there were 100 billion mobile apps that were created and downloaded primarily from the Apple Store and Google Play

With all of these new developments occurring, it was recently announced that Verizon has petitioned the FCC to have permission to shut down four of its legacy services, as follows:

telephone1)      Person to Person Calling

2)      Third Number Calling

3)      Collect Calling

4)      Inmate Collector Operator Services

These terms may not even ring a bell with people today, because they are so outdated. For example, with the third item–collect calling–usually the person accepting the call is charged for the long distance phone call rather than the person making the call. For the fourth item, these are phone services available to people incarcerated in prison. Verizon has been the primary carrier for these kinds of services.

The main reason cited for shutting down these four services is a simple lack of customer demand for them. This is because, these days, Voice Over Internet Protocol (VoIP) is the main technology which is being used to make such calls.

Essentially, VoIP allows you to make calls over the Internet. The best example of this is Skype. When you communicate with somebody over this particular medium, the actual voice is being broken down into individual data packets at the computer of origin. They then traverse across the Internet, and are subsequently reassembled at the computer of destination in order for the call to be made.

Finally, according to a Verizon spokesperson, “. . . customers today already overwhelmingly make voice calls or communicate using alternative services and products from Verizon or other providers that perform the same functions as these services.” (SOURCE: http://www.fiercetelecom.com/story/verizon-seeks-clearance-discontinue-collect-calling-other-legacy-voice-serv/2016-06-10).

GeoTel Communications, LLC, provides fiber route maps that help businesses visualize telecom data and locate fiber for predictive analytics and location based intelligence. If interested in obtaining these datasets, call 800-277-2172.

Announcing Domain 2.0 From AT&T

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In the world of Information Technology, two things are for certain. One, is that there will always be rapid advancements in technology on an almost daily basis. The Smartphone industry is one example of this where there is a new app being developed and marketed every day. It is almost too much to keep up with it all! Second, is the always developing techno-jargon that comes with it.

The latest term to enter the telecom industry is known as “Domain 2.0.” What exactly is it?

Essentially, it is a combination of two types of network topologies in order to leverage better products and services to both new and existing customers. They are:

  • cubesSoftware Defined Networks (SDN’s)
  • Network Function Virtualization (NFV)

This new techno-jargon, or actually sales methodology, was coined and developed by AT&T. It is a tool that has been designed to help deliver better software services to subscribers. However, as it was recently announced, AT&T is not alone in this venture as it has signed other telecom partners, as well. These include:

  • Brocade Communications Systems
  • Ciena
  • Cisco
  • Nokia
  • Amdocs
  • Ericsson
  • Metaswitch Networks

Even in the telecom industry, technology is rapidly changing. So, one of the goals of “Domain 2.0” is to keep these aforementioned vendors literally on their toes, in terms of innovation and addressing technical support issues. If not, the chances are very high that another telecom vendor will take over.

According to Krish Prabhu, the current CTO of AT&T, “From a functionality standpoint and usage standpoint an existing vendor has more information that a new vendor coming in . . . But if they decide to stick to their existing business they run the risk of losing the business to a new vendor because the new vendor would be motivated to get the software we’re looking for.” (SOURCE: http://www.fiercetelecom.com/story/att-domain-20-has-upset-vendors-business-models-says-prabhu/2016-06-03).

Given the size and leverage that AT&T and these other telecom vendors have, it is quite likely that “Domain 2.0” will be around for some time to come. The hope is, that we, the subscriber, will soon see better levels of customer service.

GeoTel Communications, LLC, is the leading provider of telecommunications infrastructure data in a geographic information system (GIS) and internet based spatial technologies for over 15 years. GeoTel takes telecom infrastructure data and makes it tangible. By layering this data in GIS software or by viewing it in one of our web based platforms, we make it possible to analyze detailed fiber optic maps and other telecom data sets throughout America. These integrated datasets are digitized onto the highest quality street data and aerial imagery available, providing companies and government entities with the leverage and insight necessary to make informed location based and fiscally sound decisions.

How GIS Is Being Used With Speedial #250

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In the world of communications today, gone are items, such as the traditional landline phone, the yellow pages, and receiving a phone bill in the mail which details all the calls you have made.250

Today, with Smartphone technology, everything is included on one monthly bill. In addition, to keep us on track, if we run over our data package we receive that annoying text message reminding us about the overage charges.

Gone, also, are the days where one has to actually dial a full telephone number in order to connect with somebody. With Smartphone technology, you can simply assign a much shorter dial code (such as #111 vs. 888-555-1212) in order to connect with somebody.

With the most recent advancements, you can even just speak the name of the person and your Smartphone will dial for you.

Believe it or not, the principles and concepts of GIS are now being used to offer special promotions and coupons based upon the geographical location you are at the current time. It was announced just last week that a vendor known as “LocationSmart” has teamed up with “#250, America’s Mobile Speed Dial.”

All you do is dial #250, and say a keyword to indicate what you’re looking for. Within seconds, you will receive special offers, such as hotel or restaurant discounts whenever or wherever you are driving. You will need to download an app for this, however. It is highly expected that this type of tool will be most popular with the road warriors. There are other special deals and discounts which can be received as well, such as those from the retail and even financial services industry segments.

However, at this time, this service is available only in Canada and the United States, but there are plans for expansion into Europe and Asia, as well. According to Mario Proietti, the CEO and founder of LocationSmart: “We are elated that LocationSmart could be a change agent in the evolution of mobile response advertising and we look forward to what the future may hold.” (SOURCE: http://www.directionsmag.com/pressreleases/250-americas-mobile-speed-dial-selects-locationsmart-for-geographic-ca/469660).

GeoTel is a telecommunications research and GIS mapping firm that researches and provides telecom datasets for more than 7000 cities in the United States and worldwide. GeoTel’s expertise includes specialists in economic geography, geospatial engineering, web GIS, and telecommunications GIS Data infrastructure.

 

 

How to Visit a College Campus With Just a Few Clicks of The Mouse

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About twenty years ago, as students were about to graduate high school, there was one item that had to be checked off beforehand, apart from planning the post ceremony parties, that is. Students had to visit the college campus of their choice.

 This often meant a lot of planning for both the students and their parents, as some of these colleges and universities could be literally thousands of miles away—even worldwide. This was often a very stressful time, as the parents wanted to be sure the money they were going to spend on their child’s education would be used in a fruitful manner. Fast forward to now, and you’ll find that both colleges and universities are offering a virtual tour of their premises to prospective students.

picThis is done using the latest in video technology, in addition to the concepts of GIS, as well.

 One such example of this is the Pearson Business College, located in the heart of London. The GIS Vendor involved is known as CartoConsult. They have literally designed a virtual, 3-D, moving map of the entire campus.

 So, rather than having to spend a fortune on visiting the campus, parents and students can visit the campus from their home, with a few clicks of the mouse.

 In fact, the same 3D images being used for the virtual tour are also being used for the hard copy, printed prospectus. All of these efforts have been coordinated by a third party known as Hunterlodge Advertising.

 According to Sabina Lee, an Account Manager with Hunterlodge, “Creating our standard university maps in 3D brought them to life and added an additional depth of interest. CartoConsult was very helpful throughout the process, from the initial conversation right through to a very speedy delivery and cost effective solution.” (SOURCE: http://www.directionsmag.com/pressreleases/cartoconsult-3d-visualisations-add-a-creative-edge-to-university-prospectus/470010).

 GeoTel is a telecommunications location based intelligence research and GIS mapping firm that researches and provides telecom datasets for more than 7000 cities in the United States and worldwide. GeoTel’s expertise includes specialists in economic geography, geospatial engineering, web GIS, and telecommunications GIS Data infrastructure.

Just Imagine, Weather Updates Every Hour!

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If you think about it, it is truly amazing just how fast technology advances these days. Probably the best example of this is the Smartphone. Just a few years ago, many businesses and homes were still using landline phones with a special technology called ‘VoIP.’ But now, VoIP has pretty much become a thing of the past, having being dominated by the Smartphone technology.

Nowadays, with our iPhone, Android/Windows/Samsung devices, we can conduct both our business and personal affairs, literally whenever and wherever we want. These types of technological advances are also now occurring in the world of GIS, as well.

BoatFor example, just recently, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) announced a massive, new technological upgrade to its U.S. Global Forecast System (GFS).

The primary advantage of this is that the mapping grid has been increased from 13 kilometers to well over 27 kilometers, which, in turn, results in a higher resolution model output and more precise weather forecasts and warnings. Also, 4-Dimensional mapping can now be created, instead of using the traditional 3-Dimensional mapping.

Currently, the forecast models that have been formulated from older technology was four times a day, with any updates or changes coming out every sixteen days. But, with the newer technological upgrades, weather forecasting models can be created on the hour and, as a result, more details about an upcoming major weather event can be predicted.

There are many benefits to this, as much more accurate weather forecasts can be predicted for both the early morning and evening rush hour commutes, and even giving major international airports the ability to plan when to effectively deploy de-icing equipment and trucks

According to Louis Uccenilli, the current director at NOAA, “Current investments in more powerful supercomputers, advanced modeling capabilities, and better earth observing systems are creating more precision in the forecast process and strengthening America’s resiliency to extreme weather, water and climate events.” (SOURCE: http://www.directionsmag.com/pressreleases/noaas-premier-forecast-model-goes-four-dimensional/468456).

GeoTel is a telecommunications research and GIS mapping firm that researches and provides telecom datasets for more than 6,000 cities in the United States and worldwide. GeoTel’s expertise includes specialists in economic geography, geospatial engineering, web GIS, and telecommunications GIS Data infrastructure.

New Plans to Explore the Wonderland of the Arctic Ocean

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Back in 1969, when President John F. Kennedy challenged the United States to land a man on the moon, we did it. Now, we are trying to reach out for new challenges, with probably the most difficult one being eventually landing a human being on Mars. It is projected that a mission to Mars and back to Earth again will take at least one year.

mountainDespite the talk of this, and the excitement of even further extraterrestrial travel, one has to keep in mind, as well, that this planet still has to be further explored. For example, there are bottoms of oceans and seas and the marine life that resides there to explore, the further mapping of Mt. Everest, and yes, even exploring both the North and South Poles.

 In fact, it was just announced that the Open Geospatial Consortium (OGC), the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS), and the Natural Resources Canada (NRCan), along with other GIS vendors, put forth a Request for Quotation (RFQ) to further study the Arctic Ocean.

 The primary goal of this project is to further understand and respond to the impacts of climate change and human activity to the fragile Arctic ecosystem. However, engaging in such an intensive and highly specialized project will no doubt require the use of a lot of sophisticated equipment. This need will require the assistance of GIS vendors, who can provide the data management tools which will be used for later analyses.

 Another primary objective of this project is to also assess how distributed online environments can help further process and streamline the flow of geospatial data between scientists and other research entities. Remember, there are no Internet connections or Internet Service Providers in this part of the world; therefore, it is imperative to test if this technology will work in very low or even no bandwidth situations. Stay tuned for more details on this exciting, new project as it progresses.

 GeoTel is a telecommunications research and GIS mapping firm that researches and provides telecom datasets for more than 5,500 cities in the United States and worldwide. GeoTel’s expertise includes specialists in economic geography, geospatial engineering, web GIS, and telecommunications GIS Data infrastructure.

A 2,600 Mile Transatlantic Cable Coming to You!

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In the world of Information Technology, there are many vendors who dominate their particular niche. For example, Cisco dominates in network security, and Symantec in cybersecurity. Of course, there are also Facebook and Microsoft, who pretty much dominate everything when it comes to cloud-related services.

fb microsoftThere is no doubt these two behemoths have gone head-to-head with each other in the past, trying to get a chunk of each other’s market share. But now, it seems that these two rivals may be joining forces in order to help alleviate the high volume traffic and bottlenecks that we witness surfing the Web today.

It was announced last week that both Microsoft and Facebook have developed plans to build, install, and lay their own 2,600-mile-long submarine cable across the Atlantic Ocean.  The name of the project is “MAREA.”

The actual construction of this cable will start in August of this year, and will be completed in October of 2017. Once completed and laid, this will be the first cable to bridge the waters between the United States and Southern Europe. More specifically, the data centers, which are in Northern Virginia and Bilbao, Spain, will be connected directly with each other via this cabling.

From this, it is expected that other subnetwork stations will be established in other parts of Europe, the Middle East, and even Asia. Although there are other types and kinds of transatlantic cabling, this one will be far different for two primary reasons:

1)      It will be established along the southern route in the Atlantic Ocean, which will mean better connectivity and reliability for customers.

2)      It will be designed upon an open system architecture. This simply means that this cabling will be interoperable with networking equipment supplied by different vendors. This translates into lower costs, easier equipment upgrades, and faster bandwidth rates for the customer.

According to Christian Belady, a general manager at Microsoft, “By building the cable along this new southern route, we will also increase the resiliency of our global network, helping ensure even greater reliability for our customers.” (SOURCE: http://www.fiercetelecom.com/story/facebook-microsoft-build-160-tbps-4100-km-submarine-cable/2016-05-27).

GeoTel Communications, LLC is the leading provider of telecommunications infrastructure data in a geographic information system (GIS) and internet based spatial technologies for over 15 years. GeoTel takes telecom infrastructure data and makes it tangible. By layering this data in GIS software or by viewing it in one of our web based platforms, we make it possible to analyze detailed fiber optic maps and other telecom data sets throughout America. These integrated datasets are digitized onto the highest quality street data and aerial imagery available, providing companies and government entities with the leverage and insight necessary to make informed location based and fiscally sound decisions.

Comcast Attempting to Enter the “Smart” Market with Mixed Results

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In today’s technological world, there is a new term being used, that is finding its footing. The term is “smart.” This word can be used in conjunction with just about any item. This can range from anything a “smart home” to a “smart car” to the most commonly used, “smart phone.”

comcast smartWhat, exactly, does “smart” mean in this context? It simply means there are extra technological features added that would normally be available only on a computer or a laptop. For example, when the popularity of cell phones started, the main attraction of them was their portable nature. Now, their main attraction is all of the stuff you can do with their extra, built-in functionality such as emailing, texting, taking videos, podcasts, and using the millions upon millions of downloadable apps that are now available.

Now, it seems that the telecom industry is also trying to capture a piece of this “smart” technology market. It was recently announced that Comcast had just purchased another business entity known as iControl. This acquisition was done in the hopes of trying to lure new customers.

However, research indicates that customers really do not resonate with these “smart” technology services. For instance, according to a recent research study from Parks Associates, only 30% of U.S. customers actually know what they want out of “smart” technology. Also, 40% of U.S. households would rather purchase a “smart” technology service from a retail store (such as Office Depot or Home Depot) as opposed to purchasing from a telecom vendor, like Comcast.

Other results of this study indicate there could be some slowing down in the telecom industry as a whole:

  • Twenty-three percent of U.S. households prefer using an Internet Service Provider
  • Only 12% would prefer to get their “smart” technology services from another vendor, such as Verizon or Comcast

GeoTel Communications, LLC, is the leading provider of telecommunications infrastructure data in a geographic information system (GIS) and internet based spatial technologies for over 15 years. GeoTel takes telecom infrastructure data and makes it tangible. By layering this data in GIS software or by viewing it in one of our web based platforms, we make it possible to analyze detailed fiber optic maps and other telecom data sets throughout America. These integrated datasets are digitized onto the highest quality street data and aerial imagery available, providing companies and government entities with the leverage and insight necessary to make informed location based and fiscally sound decisions.

The Verizon Strike Comes to an End!

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In today’s economy, in large industries and companies, whenever there is an unhappy group of workers, their tendency is to launch a strike in order to achieve what is wanted. Now, a strike may help the cause of the employees in question, but it can have debilitating effects not only on the image of a company, but also on the economy as a whole.

verizon strike endA prime example of such a strike was the one launched by the workers of Verizon that started 45 days ago. Their main objective was to approve and ratify new, four year contracts by both the Communications Workers of America (CWA) and the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW). The new provisions and the tenets of the contracts were just recently approved.

However, getting the required number of votes was not an easy task and, in fact, it was a very difficult one. It took two weeks of mass meetings to get the full support needed for ratification. Here are a couple of highlights of the new contracts:

  • Verizon has agreed that no other jobs would be outsourced overseas (especially to China and India)
  • The number of support calls placed by customers of Verizon would be routed towards call centers based here in the United States

As a result, it is highly expected that 1,300 new domestic call center jobs will be created, with 850 of them being in the Mid-Atlantic region and 450 in the Northeast region. It was agreed, also, that there would be a 3% wage increase in the first year the new contracts take effect, followed by 2.5% increases every year, thereafter. Also, health benefits and pensions would be maintained.

According to Dennis Trainor, a vice president at CWA, “The ratification of these hard-won contracts cements an incredible victory for the nearly 40,000 courageous workers who put everything on the line to protect the good jobs for their families and for all American families . . . when working people come together as a union, we can make a difference in improving wages and providing stability for families.” (SOURCE: http://www.fiercetelecom.com/story/verizon-strike-officially-ends-wireline-contracts-approved-both-cwa-ibew-un/2016-06-17).

GeoTel Communications, LLC, is the leading provider of telecommunications infrastructure data in a geographic information system (GIS) and internet based spatial technologies for over 15 years. GeoTel takes telecom infrastructure data and makes it tangible. By layering this data in GIS software or by viewing it in one of our web based platforms, we make it possible to analyze detailed fiber optic maps and other telecom data sets throughout America. These integrated datasets are digitized onto the highest quality street data and aerial imagery available, providing companies and government entities with the leverage and insight necessary to make informed location based and fiscally sound decisions.

Announcing The Tracking of Arctic Wildlife in the Chukchi Sea

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In the world of GIS technology, there is a new trend coming starting. That is, the days of business entities offering services surrounding GIS, exclusively, are starting to wane. There is a growth of businesses and organizations that are starting to offer GIS products and services which are outside the realm of their traditional core competencies.

arcticOne example of this is a company known as Dewberry. Traditionally, they are a professional services firm, with a myriad of consulting based offerings. These include such items as telecommunications, transportation, and even security/risk management and vulnerability.

Just recently, Dewberry has begun to offer GIS related services, which include the following:

  • Climate change
  • Geospatial data analysis
  • Surveying
  • Land planning & development
  • Environmental services

Given this diversified portfolio, it was announced that Dewberry has just been awarded a GIS based contract to help conservation professionals react to the environmental impacts of both oil and gas activities and climate change. More specifically, the work under this contract will take place in North Slope, Alaska.

This newly awarded contract is actually a subset of another project called the Chukchi and East Siberian Surveys (ChESS) project. This is a huge effort to positively identity polar bears and other Artic based wildlife. The efforts here will be massive, as aircraft and satellites outfitted with high resolution cameras will be primarily utilized.

The information and data collected will help other conservation business entities to closely examine the environmental impacts of oil and gas activities and climate change. Also, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Fisheries’ Alaska Fisheries Science Center will be making use of these datasets, as well, in order to track the movements of the ringed and bearded seals in the Chukchi Sea.

This particular study will span a three-month time horizon. The information and data to be gathered will also be very useful in helping geologists to identify untapped oil and gas reserves.

GeoTel is a telecommunications research and GIS mapping firm that researches and provides telecom datasets for more than 6,000 cities in the United States and worldwide. GeoTel’s expertise includes specialists in economic geography, geospatial engineering, web GIS, and telecommunications GIS Data infrastructure.

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