GIS Tech News (#117)

21 Nov, 2012 By: Cadalyst Staff

GIS Helps Keep Participants Safe at London Olympics

National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency develops web mapping and analysis tools to enhance security during and after the event.

By Kathi Ghannam

This summer, the world turned its attention to London as it hosted the 2012 Summer Olympic Games, which was one of the largest and most complex security operations ever undertaken. Although the event was held in the United Kingdom, America's National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency (NGA) was right in the middle of the action. In collaboration with its domestic and international counterparts, NGA supplied products and services that helped British officials maintain a safe environment for attendees and athletes alike.

This effort began in early 2011, when NGA's Olympic Support Team called on the agency's research and development arm — the InnoVision Directorate — to develop and share technology to help protect the games. Collaborating with the technical lead for the Olympics' support mission in NGA's Analysis and Production Directorate (now the Directorate of Analysis), InnoVision delivered a set of simple yet versatile tools.

The first of these, Hermes, is a mobile and Web application package that enabled field agents to share their geographic positions and geotagged text and photos with other agents and their command post. This data enhanced security officials' ability to assess potential threats and respond to incidents as they arose.

"The Department of State liked Hermes because it allowed them to visualize where all their agents were," said InnoVision's lead Geospatial Intelligence Advancement Testbed (GIAT) developer for Hermes. "They really appreciated the increased degree of situational awareness that came with using Hermes."

Building on earlier prototypes, the GIAT developer team enhanced the user interface for both the mobile and Web applications, and added features to ensure basic functionality if an incident knocked mobile networks offline. Read more »
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Kathi Ghannam is a contractor for the Office of Corporate Communications, National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency.

Express Server v8 Simplifies Geospatial Data Distribution

Latest release from LizardTech features 30-day trial and support for Geospatial PDF.

By Cyrena Respini-Irwin

LizardTech has updated its Express Server software, which enables delivery and publication of geospatial data such as high-resolution imagery and LIDAR (light detection and ranging) data. The version 8 release features a new graphical user interface (GUI), called Express Server Manager, and support for Geospatial PDF files. The company is also offering a free 30-day trial of the product — a first for Express Server.

"Express Server is designed to make it easier to distribute and view large datasets over an Internet connection," said Jon Skiffington, LizardTech's director of product management. That applies to both high- and low-bandwidth networks; not everyone working with high-resolution imagery has the luxury of doing so in an office. Skiffington pointed to the field environments commonly encountered by the company's defense customers and oil-and-gas personnel, noting, "You may get a slow cell phone connection and that's it."

Simplified Interface

"Our customers tend to be very technical, but within their area of expertise ... administering a server is not their forte," Skiffington noted. With the new Express Server Manager GUI, users can manage their Express Server software from any Internet-enabled location without running command-line utilities or editing XML files. They can quickly set Express Server's properties, configure catalogs, and create catalog groups from within the GUI. Read more »
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Cyrena Respini-Irwin is Cadalyst's senior editor.

Mark Your Calendar: GIS Events

Autodesk University 2012
November 27–29, 2012
Las Vegas, Nevada
Autodesk University (AU), a conference and exhibition for Autodesk product users, will bring together design and technology professionals for networking, exhibits, innovation forums, and a new curriculum of more than 800 lectures, roundtable sessions, and hands-on labs. Read more

IEEE International Geoscience and Remote Sensing Symposium
July 21–26, 2013
Melbourne, Australia
With the theme "Building a Sustainable Earth through Remote Sensing," this year's event will emphasize the issues that most affect the Earth's environment. Read more

For a complete list of CAD meetings, conferences, training sessions, and more, check out our calendar of events on Are you hosting an event that you would like to include in our calendar? Submit details at least two weeks in advance to

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The CAD Communicator
User Profile: Paul Munford believes that CAD is a great communication tool — but before you can use that tool effectively, you must understand the needs of your customers. Read more

About the Author: Cadalyst Staff

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