Save The American Community Survey

American Community Survey

Save the American Community Survey (ACS). Contact your U.S. Senator to prevent the ACS’ end after the House of Representatives voted to eliminate it.

Eliminating the ACS doesn’t make sense. Communities depend on it. And so do businesses.

[image via American Planning Association New Jersey Chapter]

Makai Voyager Uses LIDAR To Improve Visualization And Site Analysis

Mikar Voyager - GIS Visualization

Formerly an ocean engineering and naval architecture companyn Makai Ocean Engineering currently provides ocean engineering services, including submarine cable installation and planning software.

As such, Makai recently released Makai Voyager; an advanced 3D/4D visualization platform that uses time-varying and complex geospatial data such as terrain imagery, elevation, LIDAR, volumetric and flow data to better visualize and analyze large environmental simulations. The above image is one example of what using Makai Voyager can accomplish.

Makai Voyager is much more advanced than the typical Geographic Information System (GIS) by ESRI. By being able to utilize existing advanced 3D geospatial data, analysts and planners can better display and interpret proposed changes to the built and natural environments for stakeholders, elected officials, and residents.

Makai Voyager Solutions

While representing the next stages of site analysis, my biggest reservation about Makai Voyager and similar software is that it still seems out of reach from most small budget communities, educational institutions, and nonprofit organizations. For instance, Makai does not even offer a pricing guide on its website, and instead it directs interested parties toward its contact page. The only reason some of these organizations even have ArcGIS capabilities is because ESRI offers generous grants (even if to prevent these organizations from going toward open source solutions like GRASS GIS, Quantum GIS, or SAGA GIS). Otherwise, big firms are the only organizations that can afford it.

Makai provides free DEMO software for Makai Voyager 1.0 [see system requirements for either MAC, Windows (32-bit and 64-bit versions), and Linux (32-bit and 64-bit versions)]. Feel free to try out this impressive software.

Below is a real-time fly through video of downtown Ottawa, Canada sampled with nearly 1 billion 3D points.

[image via McLera | Makai Ocean Engineering]

BART Released Security Camera Video Of Civic Center Platform Shooting


BART just released security camera footage from the Civic Center platform where BART police shot and killed a man on 3 July 2011.

Surprisingly, BART uploaded the video on its YouTube Channel. I think the transit agency has finally become serious to being more open. Releasing the video is a first step, which should have happened a lot sooner. SF Appeal offers a very detailed account of the incident. See for yourself below.

[photo via Personal Finance Advice]