December 12, 2013
From Sensors and Systems:
“Is my property being taxed fairly?”
“Are zoning variances being granted in a consistent manner?”
“Is my flood insurance rate justified?”
These are the types of questions concerned citizens may ask, both in their own interest, and in the interest of maintaining a responsive and equitable democracy. Our democratic system of government is supposed to conduct the public’s business fairly and consistently within the explicit directives of the citizens’ elected representatives. But how can citizens know if that is happening? And how can citizens know that their representatives are actually conducting “the people’s business” rather than their own? Transparency is required for maintaining our governments’ accountability to its citizens.
Transparency means giving citizens access to their governments’ records, to the same information that government agencies themselves use to make decisions and conduct operations. With it, interested persons can understand, verify, and possibly challenge a governmental action. Since most governmental actions impact specific locations, geographic information is critical to governmental accountability, and GIS technology and professionals are critical to analyzing that information.
- See more at: http://www.sensorsandsystems.com/article/features/32431-democracy-depends-upon-access-to-government-geodata.html#sthash.BL6JWJAy.ZjdkA9g7.dpuf
November 20, 2013
VCGI’s webinar line up for December:
Getting Started With Python
Learning to Map in an ”App” World: discover the power of mapping with your phone
Quantum GIS: Data Acquisition and Transformation (a repeat due to technical difficulties and lack of success recording)
October 3, 2013
Todd Sears, Bethel, VT (excerpted from the VT Council on Rural Development Web Site, see link below)
“…C+ is actively exploring ways by which information technology (IT) and web functionality can enable and enhance the role of the citizen during an emergency. This could involve how to best harness social networking sites such as Twitter, Facebook, Front Porch Forum and others like them to expand and add an extra layer of communication and trust to the information created and used about the disaster by the affected municipality. Where yesterday we were concerned with the conventional media outlets and actions, today we must embrace and take advantage of other more progressive options as well.
One of the more exciting applications C+ is experimenting with is called Ushahidi, a freeware, crowd-sourced geospatial information application which allows near real-time plotting of various forms of media onto a map from the field. Imagine a scenario where a stranded neighborhood member, after the worst of a disaster has passed, walks his or her area to take stock of the situation, comes across a neighbor with an injury, a fallen power line, a washed out road, or a collapsed bridge. With a smartphone loaded with a free app and a few button clicks, that person can take a picture (or a video, or write a text narrative) of the situation, and immediately have it plot out onto a web-based map in the municipal Emergency Operations Center or Incident Command Post. An icon appears on the map where the incident has occurred; the operator at the workstation clicks on it, and sees a photo of the phenomenon, with amplifying descriptive information. The implications for immediate response and future planning are staggering.”
More here: http://vtrural.org/programs/digital-economy/updates/citizens-plus-in-bethel
September 20, 2013
We have 4 webinars scheduled for late October and November. There are three slots open in December if anyone has a topic they would like to present! Dates and times are very flexible, I am just trying to schedule one per week (other than holiday weeks).
Please get in touch if you would like to present or have a suggestion (email@example.com)! In the meantime, check out what we have scheduled so far…
Getting Started with ArcGIS Online for Organizations – Mark Scott, ESRI
Introduction to Quantum GIS (QGIS), Leslie Pelch, VCGI
Quantum GIS: Data Acquisition and Transformation, Leslie Pelch, VCGI
Using GPS and Bringing the Data into GIS, Leslie Pelch, VCGI
September 3, 2013
Leslie Pelch, VCGI
The Vermont Open Data Summit on October 8 in Montpelier will bring together Vermonters interested in learning and talking about Open Data in the Green Mountain State. Learn more about Open Data and the Summit here (and register!): http://vcgi.vermont.gov/events/open_data_2013
August 30, 2013
Young Hacks Academy was an exciting day camp for 10-12 year-olds to explore programming basics and create interactive stories.
Young Hacks Agents developed collaborative problem-solving skills through daily missions in front of and away from a computer. By weeks end, graduates of Young Hacks Agent Training had sharpened their powers of creativity and communication, while making some new friends along the way.
As teams of three, students walked around Colchester High School in search of 6 Young Hacks Academy “geocache” containers. Inside each container was a riddle that related to the location of the next container on the list of waypoints. The kids had a blast using their tracking devices as a compass.
Here are some pictures of the kids using VCGI’s GPS units (available for free loan to towns, nonprofits, and schools/camps!):
August 30, 2013
Leslie Pelch, VCGI
VCGI asked constituents to provide feedback about their priorities for the future VCGI Data Warehouse through a 100 point exercise. They were each given 100 points to distribute among the various user requirements in order to indicate which were of greatest importance. The results of that survey can be viewed here: Data Warehouse Survey Results
The top ten user requirements based on average scores:
- As a User, I want “authoritative” datasets to be discoverable and clearly identified.
- As a User, I want access to aerial photos (eg: VT orthos) with no downloading required (ie: as a web service).
- As a User, I want a robust and easy-to-use search engine to help me find the geospatial data, web services, and web/mobile/desktop applications.
- As a User, I want access to historical aerial photos.
- As a User, I want a browser-based Data Warehouse solution that does not require a browser plug-in.
- As a User, I want to download aerial photos (eg: VT orthos) so I can use them on my computer.
- As a User, I want access to VT GIS data layers with no downloading required (ie: as a web service).
- As a User, I want to download VT GIS data layers in ESRI shapefile format.
- As a User, I want access to imagery organized by year (whether for download or web service).
- As a User, I want all data that I find to be available for download (not just a link to an external website).