Among the details of the proposed 2015 U.S. transportation bill is the potential for the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration to oversee and perhaps regulate navgiation applications on mobile devices. Is that a good idea? Who might benefit? And how might this impact the geospatial industry?
News broke this past week that Google will buy Skybox, the Earth observation satellite company that offers high definition video, for $500 million. In addition, the FAA approved a certificate of authorization for commercial flight for drones in Alaska, and DigitalGlobe received approval from the Department of Commerce to deliver .25 meter resolution imagery, a move necessary to compete against international providers of Earth observation satellite data.
In this podcast with Eric Cadora, the director of the Justice Mapping Center, we explore how understanding spatial phenomena of incarceration radically helped shift the conversation of policy makers and allowed them to not only see concentrations of those who entered prison but also how much it was costing local governments. Cadora characterized these areas from which a high volume of incarcerated individuals came as "million dollar blocks" because officials knew how much it cost per person. In this fascinating discussion listen to how maps helped citizens and policy makers view the criminal justice system.
Last week Esri announced its participation in the Obama administration's ConnectED Initiative, an effort to bring digital learning to K-12 students with the participation of the private sector. Esri stepped up to offer access for all public and private schools to ArcGIS Online. Esri says the grant could be worth as much as 1$B, perhaps the largest ConnectED commitment to date. We explore this grant's potential for the teachers and learners of the United States.
The President's Council of Advisors on Science and Technology (PCAST) offered a report on big data and privacy last week. The authors wove geospatial technologies including LiDAR, satellite imagery, drones, and digital city models into their exploration and recommendations. But the challenge remains regarding data, including geodata: how should the government reconcile the benefits of big data and the challenges of ensuring privacy?