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  Brought to you by Professional Surveyor Magazine                                                                  September 20, 2011—No. 49

State of the Map 2011: Denver CO
More than 250 self-professed "map geeks" from 34 countries convened in Denver, Colorado for the yearly OpenStreetMap (OSM) conference. The OSM project is based on the idea of creating and offering free, crowd-sourced geographic data (think Wikipedia for maps). It was founded at Oxford University in 2007 and has grown to more than 461,697 users worldwide.
   Most of the mapping data found on the internet (Bing, Google, etc.) is not actually free and its use is restricted. Offering mapping data as open source removes both financial and use restrictions and allows the data to be applied more creatively. What's more, the OSM project has the advantage of being more current than other online sources and offers geodata that other sources do not. As an example of OSM's "living map" functionality
, a Google map and an OSM map of downtown Denver were shown side by side. OSM showed that a portion of the Denver RTD Light Rail was under construction. No such information was found on Google's map. The presenter noted, to much laughter, that Google Maps were good for "historical analysis." Jokes aside, one can easily understand the utility of OSM.
    
OSM Nears Critical Mass with Commercial Acceptance
A more critical measure of OSM's importance is its acceptance by mainstream geodata users, even in some cases providers of life-critical information for search and rescue and law enforcement. In December 2010, MapQuest became the first, large, online mapping service to begin using the OSM project to augment their data. Esri was on hand to introduce their new, no-cost add-on for ArcGIS 10 that allows ArcGIS users to contribute data, using the editing capabilities of ArcGIS Desktop, to OpenStreetMap.
Microsoft's Bing is a supporter of the OSM project and is beginning some initiatives with it.    
    In addition, OSM geodata has been incorporated in some unusual applications, including law enforcement. Tom Churchill of Churchill Navigation in Boulder, Colorado was on hand to show how OSM data is helping to provide augmented reality (AR) applications to assist law enforcement in their patrol, surveillance, and  search and rescue duties. He explained the usefulness of OSM data: "it contains data that is not available elsewhere." As an example, he projected an aerial view of the mountains around Boulder. There, overlaid in AR fashion, were the paths and names of the hiking trails crossing the mountainside—a tremendous aid in aerial search and rescue missions.

    Watch for our October 4th issue where we'll continue the open source theme with our coverage of the FOSS4G conference.
Until next time,

 
 
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News

Protect GPS Rally: Join the Public Demonstration in Support of High Precision GPS
Show your concern about the LightSquared issue! A public demonstration is being planned September 22 at 8:30am on the sidewalk in front of the Jackson Federal Building in Seattle, WA. Read all the details here and use this link to create your own press release about the event. Other rallies are popping up around the country, so keep a look out in your state.
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Trimble releases Trimble Field Inspector version 2.1.
The new version is compatible with a variety of Trimble handheld computers and is designed for automating utility infrastructure and smart grid asset maintenance and inspection. Comprised of the Trimble Field Inspector software for handhelds and Trimble Field Inspector Desktop software, the solution is scalable and easy to deploy. From smart meter deployments to critical asset maintenance inspections, Trimble Field Inspector is ideal for a wide variety of field applications in electric, gas, water, and wastewater utilities.

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Previews of Coming Attractions
Here are my plans for upcoming Pangaea articles: next month will be Free Open Source Software For Geospatial. FOSS4G is a conference I just attended in Denver, CO. Heavy hitters like Autodesk, ESRI, Mapquest, Oracle Spatial and many more were on hand. Continuing the open source theme, I'd like to talk about Open Source Tools for Your Survey Firm. For those who find themselves surveying far from home: Tools for Remote Surveying. Once the FAA gives its blessings, expect a boom in UAV surveying. Hobbyists are already building UAVs; could they be adapted for aerial surveying? Could you Build Your Own Surveying UAV?
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Upcoming Events

ION GNSS 2011
9/19 - 9/23 

Portland, OR

GeoCue Training Event
9/19 - 9/23
Nashville, TN


Digital Documentation Conference
9/21-9/22
Glasgow, Scotland


Intergeo
9/27 - 9/29
Nuremburg, Germany 


CONNECT 2011

10/3 - 10/6
Dubuque, IA


Geomatics 2011
10/12 - 10/13
Montréal (Québec) Canada


GIS for Oil & Gas
10/24 - 10/27
Houston, TX  


View more events at
PSM's online calendar.


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