Law Enforcement Embracing the Use of GIS Technologies

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There is no doubt that we have covered a number of applications related to the world of GIS. Have you ever considered that it could also serve the law enforcement industry? Probably not. Law enforcement is one of those areas that doesn’t receive much attention when talking about maps or geospatial data sets.

esri-press-book-presents-latest-crime-mapping-and-analysis-methods-smBelieve it or not, there is a strong need for GIS based systems for law enforcement officials. In fact, just recently, it was announced that a leading vendor, known as Esri, has launched a new product specifically designed for the cop on the beat.

It is called the ArcGIS Open Data Initiative for Law Enforcement and can be used by any type or kind of policing agency.

At the present time, it is being deployed by the United States federal government in an effort to support the White House Police Data Initiative. According to John Beck, Director of Law Enforcement Solutions at Esri, “We want to make it easy for law enforcement agencies to participate in the White House Police Data Initiative . . . using the ArcGIS platform, you can use data your agency already owns and make it available to everyone at no cost and increase transparency in your community.” (SOURCE: http://www.directionsmag.com/pressreleases/esri-supports-white-house-police-data-initiative/462923).

This software based solution is designed specifically to give law enforcement agencies an edge when it comes to providing a location platform that uses maps and map-based information. The ultimate goal of this is to improve public trust, which has eroded greatly over the past few years.

Some of the features of this new software package include the following:

  • Creating open sourced data portals
  • Creating maps of crime scenes in great detail
  • Creating 3-D maps to help in visualizing shooting scenes
  • Creating maps of major crime scene investigations
  • Creating other visual aids that can be used to determine crime trends and patterns

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.

 

Verizon Set to Expand–Big Time–Into Fiber Optic in 2016

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How many of you still have the traditional landline phones? Probably not too many. Now let me ask, when was the last time you even gave a thought to connecting your Smartphone with a hard wire connection? Probably never.

fiberWith the world of wireless upon us, the buzzword is now mobility, and having access anywhere in the world at any time. In order to achieve this goal of 100% mobility, Verizon announced last week that it has now started to transition its existing customer base into a total wireless environment.

The first group of customers for which this is happening are those located in Falls Church, VA. According to recent FCC filings, Verizon will be replacing all of its copper distribution and loop facilities with fiber optic cabling.

Along with residential customers, some 230+ plus businesses will also benefit from this transition as well. In terms of future conversions, Verizon is anticipating that it will convert over 200,000 customers to fiber optic cabling by the end of this year.

According to the filings, “ . . . [customers] will continue to be able to buy services over the more reliable network as they do in other areas where we [Verizon] have retired copper and deployed fiber.” (SOURCE: http://www.fiercetelecom.com/story/verizon-transfers-group-falls-church-va-copper-customers-fiber/2015-11-24).

Despite the advantages of upgrading to the new fiber optic cabling, there has been some controversy surrounding it. Probably the biggest one has been with the Communications Workers of America (CWA).

They claim that Verizon has engaged in a practice known as de facto copper retirement. This is where “. . . a telecom would let its aging copper plant deteriorate to the point where it would become necessary to replace the copper with fiber.” (SOURCE: http://www.fiercetelecom.com/story/verizon-transfers-group-falls-church-va-copper-customers-fiber/2015-11-24).

The CWA has asked both state and federal authorities across twelve different states (which include Maryland and Pennsylvania) to further investigate this. As might be expected, Verizon is vehemently denying these allegations.

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 FREE.

Watch Out! Drones are Flying Above!

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The world of GIS has many fascinating tools and technologies associated with it. For instance, there are specialized tools for surveying various landmarks that map out not only the surface of the earth but the bottom of the oceans, as well. This creates very colorful and distinctive maps that provide the most minute detail to GPS systems which can guide individuals to safety in the event of a natural disaster and can even capture elements of the earth’s atmosphere.

dronesOne GIS company that has made the last option possible is known as Bluesky. This vendor offers very specialized mapping services which include the following:

  • Thermal Mapping
  • Tree Mapping
  • 3D Topographical Mapping
  • Ordinance Survey Mapping
  • Air Quality Mapping
  • Solar Panel Mapping
  • Aerial Surveying
  • UAV Surveying

In order to offer all of these services, Bluesky makes use of what are known as Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAV) otherwise known as drones, which were extensively reviewed in a previous blog posting. These are basically small airplanes that can be flown via remote control from on the ground.

Just last week, Bluesky announced that it has a formed a partnership with another GIS vendor known as Cyberhawk. They specialize primarily in using drone based technology to inspect industrial facilities in the oil and gas, renewables, rail, power, and utility industries.

Rachel Tidmarsh, Managing Director of Bluesky International, was asked about the primary reason for forging this new business relationship. She explained, “We are often asked if we can capture a specific location or industrial installation, either at short notice or on a specific date and time. By partnering with Cyberhawk, we can be confident that our customers will receive the high standards of customer service and product quality they have come to expect.” (SOURCE: http://www.directionsmag.com/pressreleases/bluesky-boosts-drone-survey-offering-with-cyberhawk-partnership/462473).

Not only that, but customers from both vendors will now be able to take advantage of the rapid data collection and processing times.

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.

The Demand for Broadband is Quickly Growing

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Much like filing U.S. taxes before the April 15th deadline, most shoppers will postpone their shopping until the very last minute.

broadbandAlthough this might seem to be a frantic way to shop, there are some advantages to this method: 1) Fewer crowds to deal with, and 2) In most cases, better bargains to be had.

There is another way to shop for your gifts–shop from the comfort of your own home. You may be asking, “How can I do this?” The most obvious answer is with your laptop and a solid Internet connection. Using these two things, you can visit the webite of your favorite store, click on the items you wish to purchase, make your payment, confirm the shipping address, and hit “Submit.” In some cases, they’ll even do the gift wrap (usually at a small additional cost). It’s that easy.

If you’re on the go, you can even shop online through your wireless device or Smartphone. As was previously mentioned, however, a key factor in doing this is having a solid Internet connection. We are dependent upon getting this from our telecom provider. In fact, according to a recent research report released recently, the demand for a solid Internet connection is growing stronger by the day.

This report is entitled the “Broadband Access & Services in the Home 2015,” which was published by the Leichtman Research Group. Some of the crucial findings reported are:

  • 81% of U.S. households possess a broadband connection at their residence, which represents a 26% year-over-year growth rate.
  • 69% of U.S. adults access the Internet (for things like online shopping) from their Smartphones, which represents a 44% year-over-year growth rate.
  • 78% of U.S. consumers have both a broadband connection at their residence and on their Smartphones.
  • 3.5% of U.S. households possess either an iPad or a tablet.
  • 68% of U.S. households also get Internet based TV with their broadband connection.

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 FREE.

The Under Looked Component of the Telecom Industry

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When people hear about, or even see, from various sources what the telecom industry is all about, the perceptions of fiber optic cable, bandwidth, network connectivity, televisions, smartphones, tablets, and other forms of wireless devices often come to mind.

datacenterIt is only natural to conjure all of these images; after all, it is the telecom vendors that provide a bulk our Internet and wireless connectivity (such as both Comcast and Verizon, respectively).

However, there is another very important component to the telecom industry that is often overlooked: the Data Center. It is these not often talked about entities that possess the gargantuan databases that contain terabytes of information and data.

These datasets can very often be used to execute what are known as “Data Mining Techniques,” from which a telecom vendor can glean very useful insights of the behavior patterns of their customers.

For example, an entity like Comcast can use these trends and then forecast how well any future product or service offerings would be perceived by existing customers. On the other hand, analyses can also be conducted in real time in order to gauge what a new market penetration will look like.

Given the importance of these data centers, new predictions have come out as to what new revenue streams might be for 2016.

Just recently, a survey, entitled the “IHS Infonetics Cloud and Data Center Security Strategies and Vendor Leadership: Global Service Provider Survey,” was conducted. The results were released last week. It was discovered that the implementation of both Virtualization and Software Defined Networking (SDN) services will be the wave of the future for data centers in 2016.

 According to Jeff Wilson, a senior research director involved in this pioneering study, “As virtualization and SDN deployment increases, it becomes easier and easier for service providers to provide protection for their virtualized infrastructure and deliver customized for-revenue security services to customers.” (SOURCE: http://www.fiercetelecom.com/story/data-center-providers-see-sdn-virtualization-enabling-new-security-service/2015-12-24).

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.

 

Avoid Travel Headaches this Holiday Season

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As the Holiday Season comes to a close, there is one last thing to worry about: How to make it back home safely, in one piece, while avoiding the long lines of congestion, no matter your mode of travel.

mapFor instance, if you are traveling by air, in order to be expedited smoothly, you have to arrive at the airport at least three hours ahead of time. Traveling by rail probably will not pose too much of a problem, as trains usually run on time, no matter the weather.

But, traveling by car could pose the worst problems. For instance, not only are you dealing with changes in the weather, but you are also at the mercy of any traffic congestion that may occur and, usually, without any previous warning.

True, you may look at Google and MapQuest to determine the best route to get from Point A to Point B, and see if there are any traffic disturbances en route. Or, you may resort to the GIS based application on your Smartphone to help you navigate.

But keep in mind, these services cannot update you of any traffic congestion as it happens in real time. In order to break this barrier, a GIS based entity known as GIScience Heidelberg has launched a new, web based application called the “OpenRouteService.”

With this particular application, traffic information and data is updated at least every five minutes onto a global map which any subscriber can access via their Smartphone.

For example, “Every segment containing a traffic information is colored and has clickable icons with more information. In case your route is affected by such traffic events then the individual traffic messages will be shown in your route instructions list.” (SOURCE: http://www.directionsmag.com/pressreleases/new-openrouteservice-now-with-live-traffic-data-improved-route-profiles-new/460317).

Other features of this revolutionary service include the following:

  • Ways to avoid tunnels along the highway.
  • Avoiding long stretches of highway construction and heavy vehicles.
  • It is available across a wide variety of platforms, such as Google Chrome, iOS Safari, and Mozilla Firefox.
  • This portal is available to subscribers based in Europe, Asia, Africa, Australia, and Oceania.

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.

 

Leveraging Optimal Source Code in Creating GIS Apps

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In the world of GIS, there are many technological components that drive the products and services offered by various vendors. It comes from both a hardware and a software perspective. For example, as we have reviewed in other postings, there are some companies offering hosted mapping and satellite services to their customers. This not only takes excellent wireless communications tools, but this type of offering also requires the use of high grade servers from Internet Service Providers in order to host these high quality maps.

open sourceThen, there are those GIS vendors whose product and service offerings are strictly software based. Examples of these include developing apps for mobile and wireless devices, creating software for unmanned vehicles, and creating apps for customers so they can create their own topographical mapping systems.

However, when it comes to the choice of software programming languages that can be used to create these apps, developers often have two choices.

These choices are:

  • Closed Source Software. This is where the actual, or native code is not available for modification, you use what is given. These types of software packages tend to be much more expensive and the technical support available for them is very limited (there is a cost with it).
  • Open Source Software. This is where the native code is actually made available for use and is modified to meet the requirements of the customer. These types of software packages tend to be much more popular because they are free, and the technical support is widely available.

In an effort to bring open source software into the GIS community, Harris Corporation has formed a partnership with another vendor known as Boundless. According to an article in Directions Magazine, their effort “. . . makes it easier and more cost-effective for customers to access, manage and share the huge amount of location-based data available from devices, sensors and satellites.” (SOURCE: http://www.directionsmag.com/pressreleases/harris-corporation-collaborates-with-boundless-for-open-source-geospat/461165).

An example of an open source software application developed from this partnership is a geospatial data warehouse called One Object One Time (1O1T). This is simply a database which quickly and efficiently stores and/or processes geospatial objects which are captured from videos, photographs, and even satellite imagery.

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.

The Telecom Forecasts for 2016

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As we approach the New Year of 2016, there is one thing we know for sure:  The race to the White House and the upcoming presidential elections will be show stopper, not just here in the United States, but in the rest of the world, as well.

doDGiven the heated competitiveness among all of the candidates, this one will be a nail biter for sure and, perhaps, even more so than the 2000 Presidential Election.  But, no matter who is elected to the office, the federal government will always be the biggest customer for the telecom industry.

This is best illustrated by last week’s announcement by the Department of Defense’s Defense (DoD) Information Systems Agency DISA) telecom competition.  In it, contracts of up to $4.3 billion will be awarded to both telecom and cable carriers.  In fact, the “biggest of the big” will also be participating, which includes the likes of AT&T, CenturyLink, Level 3, and Verizon Business.

The ultimate aim of awarding these contracts is to develop and implement solutions which will meet the transmission requirements for the DoD brand new enterprise-level infrastructure.

Interestingly enough, a major part of the work to be carried out under these contracts is outside of the United States.  The first contracts to be awarded will be valued at $500 million, and will escalate upwards, depending upon future requirements.

However, getting one of these lucrative contracts from the federal government will be a very difficult and time consuming task.  In fact, it is highly expected that it will be the big telecom giants (as described above) who will get the first nod.  Not only this, but they will also get first dibs for any international work to be done, as well.

Don’t discount the other telecom vendors, though.  One lesser known one that goes by the name of GTT could make some serious headway.  For example, not only do they operate just as a virtual network provider, but they are also reportedly primed for some future merger and acquisition activity which includes One Source Networks, and the managed service business of MegaPath.

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 FREE.

Low Cost Internet Access Coming to You

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With the holiday season upon us, there is no doubt that our gift giving budgets will be stretched to the maximum. Of course, we will try to get the greatest value possible for the dollars we spend.

low cost internetHowever, the idea of watching one’s budget does not only happen around the holidays, it is an area of life that we deal with on a daily basis. At times, it can be rewarding to know we are saving money, but at other times it can be downright frustrating when we owe more than expected.

This same philosophy holds true in the telecom industry. There is no doubt, at least here in the United States, that we expect great service, which includes Internet access at blazing speeds, as well as access to a wide variety of cable television formats. However, that can also be an expensive proposition. For instance, with Comcast, the basic fee for Internet services costs on average is $80.00 per month. When you add more services to your plan, the costs can easily swell to over $150.00 per month and, sometimes, over $200.00 a month!

The problem is that not everyone can afford these staggering prices. Thus, in an effort to make Internet access and cable television more affordable, three telecom giants have introduced a new plan to bring down the cost of Internet access to as low as $14.99 per month. These three vendors include the following:

  • Time Warner Cable
  • Bright House Networks
  • Charter Communications

However, there is a caveat to getting this price. In order to subscribe to this very cheap plan, an individual or a family must prove their income (or other assets) is low enough to actually qualify. In a way, it is really like signing up for a subsidized medical insurance plan, but without as much red tape.

According to Tom Rutledge, CEO of Charter Communications, “Recognizing the central role broadband plays in our daily lives and the economic challenges faced by many Americans today, we look forward to launching this offering that will provide more consumers a superior broadband service . . . low-income families deserve state-of-the-art fast broadband as much as other families – indeed, they need fast broadband to climb out of poverty . . . this program seems to be a step in the right direction for improved economic conditions for minority and low-income communities.” (SOURCE: http://www.fiercecable.com/story/charter-announces-details-low-cost-broadband-service-30-mbps-1499-month/2015-12-17).

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 FREE.

The Tools of GIS Manage Wastewater Flow

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As we close out this year with our series of GIS blogs, we have covered a lot of content.  Primarily, we examined and profiled numerous companies and vendors, along with many of the cutting edge products and solutions they offer to their clients.

These have ranged from helping the poor and the homeless to new strategies on how to drastically cut down your home heating costs. Today, we bring to you yet another late breaking service vendor that deals with wastewater management.

The name of this vendor is Cityworks. They offer GIS based asset management solutions, which are primarily designed for local and state governments.  Some of these solutions include the following:

  • Asset registry
  • Scalability
  • Workflow and workforce management
  • The creation of local government geospatial templates
  • Condition assessment
  • Geospatial data analytics
  • Expense management (which includes labor/material/equipment project budgeting and summary reporting)
  • Local code enforcement
  • A pavement management interface (which is a software tool)

The industries that are served are:

  • Parks and recreation
  • Electric, gas, and telecom
  • Facility management
  • Streets, traffic and transportation
  • Storm and wastewater management

Just this past week, Cityworks announced the results of a pilot project, which they implemented for their wastewater management service.  This test group involved fifteen clients, and some of the conclusions derived were:

  • Each municipality and locality has their own unique needs and requirements for managing the flow of wastewater.
  • New techniques have to be implemented to better manage the wastewater sampling data processes.
  • There has to be a better way to create local government work orders and inspections in order to determine the best way to assess and further study wastewater sampling data.

According to Cityworks account manager Skyler Ryser, “The meeting was designed to be a forum for clients to explore how to configure Cityworks to meet their water sampling needs . . . it was an open discussion that touched on everyone’s ideas and experiences, producing some very worthwhile results. Feedback was great, listening to people express the benefits and interest in more meetings like this in the future.”  (SOURCE:  http://www.directionsmag.com/pressreleases/cityworks-users-collaborate-to-manage-water-infrastructure/460249).

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.

The Cloud is Now Making its Way to GIS

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There is one truth to life today, and that is our lives will always be filled with information and data.  It can have an impact on people on both a personal and professional level.  For instance, with the advent of social media, we can now get access to many forms of content and share it with others.

gis cloudIn terms of the latter, businesses and organizations these days, through the use of big data tools, can now capture data about their customers in real time.

However, now the problem is, with all of this information and data now coming in, where can it be all stored?  Well, the answer is the in the Cloud.  Essentially, an individual or a business can open up an account with an Internet Service Provider (ISP) and, with the use of a secure protocol, transfer all of those huge files in just a matter of a few seconds.  There is no need to purchase extra hard drives or extra servers.

In fact, even the world of GIS is facing an explosion in the growth of information and data.  To make it easier for scientists and other professionals to access all of this, a GIS Vendor known as “Esri” and NASA have just launched two new software services to help with this:

  • The Meta Raster Format (MRF)
  • The Limited Error Raster Compression (LERC)

MRF is a Cloud-based application that has been designed specifically for the Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL). The LERC is also a Cloud-based application that has been created to store images that are large in terms of file size, as well as other geospatial applications.

By offering these two Cloud services, numerous advantages will be offered, which include the following:

  • Much lower information and storage costs (as opposed to on premises storage).
  • Faster access to imagery.
  • A deeper and further understanding as to how to analyze the geophysical changes which are occurring to the Earth.

According to Kevin Murphy, NASA Earth Science Data Systems Program Executive, “Our collaboration with Esri and the release of Esri’s patent on LERC ensures that more people can enjoy efficient, accurate transmission of imagery and data over the web.”  (SOURCE:  http://www.directionsmag.com/pressreleases/esri-and-nasa-collaborate-to-advance-cloud-access-to-imagery/460037).

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.

Cox Communications Set to Exceed $2 Billion in Revenue

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As we approach the very end of 2015, a number of key business headlines are still making news. One of the first topics at hand is whether the federal reserve will increase interest rates this month. Opinion about this is divided amongst financial experts, but the feeling is that there could be a rate hike.

cox commAlso, businesses are still reporting Q4 financials, as their fiscal year comes to a close. One such example of this is Cox Communications. As they reported last week, this telecom giant will have attained revenues in excess of $2 billion. In fact, if everything still remains in place, it is also highly anticipated that 2016 will shape up to be and even better year.

Interestingly enough, at least 50% of this revenue has been derived by primarily serving the small to medium sized business market. According to Hyman Sukiennik, Vice President of Sales and Operations at Cox Business, “We have mastered a set of products and services that work well for that space.” (SOURCE: http://www.fiercetelecom.com/story/cox-business-closes-2b-business-services-revenue/2015-12-11).

One of the key areas of further growth and expansion for Cox appears to be what is known as the “small cell arena.” In fact, just last month, Cox developed a new product that gives wireless operators the ability to greatly expand both coverage and capacity.

The primary objective of this new product offering is to help these network operators to decrease network overload in high volume locations. The primary benefit of this is that both new and existing customers will be able to get a much better internet browsing and data service experience.

At the present time, there are three solutions available for the small cell solution. They are as follows:

1.       A strand mount

2.       A pole mount

3.       A ground cabinet

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 FREE.

 

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