GIS Tech News (#33)

19 Mar, 2007 By: Kenneth Wong

The Urban Forest in Bits and Bytes

Autodesk Plants Inner-City Tree-Tracking Technology in San Francisco

The old oak tree across the street from your house, the knurly juniper outside your window and the tall cypresses along the great highway are all part of the urban forest, the natural foliages to offset the concrete jungle. Perhaps some of them are personal landmarks, the shades under which you used to play as a child. But they don't usually appear on a map. You might be able to zoom into your neighborhood, courtesy of Google Maps, and pinpoint the little fluffy circle in the satellite photo as the red maple in your driveway, but that's about it. If you live in San Francisco, however, you can now do a whole lot more, thanks to the San Francisco Urban Forest Map, built on Autodesk MapGuide.

The San Francisco Tree Map

On March 10, a sunny Saturday, San Francisco mayor Gavin Newsom commemorated Arbor Day by planting a tree at an intersection set aside to mark the occasion. Within minutes, the same tree appeared as a little purple dot in the city's Urban Forest Map, an interactive, online map. For the instantaneous update, the mayor would have to thank Charlie Crocker, a senior product manager at Autodesk Geospatial Solutions. He's the one who logged the mayor's horticultural effort at the site with a GPS unit and a laptop.

The San Francisco Urban Forest Map lets ordinary citizens explore the trees in their city by neighborhood, address and species, among others. Once they've identified a specific tree, or asset, they can use the Ctrl+Click function on the item to obtain more information: maintenance cycle, height, soil type and so on. They also have the option to add a tree that's not yet in the database, a feature that's calculated to encourage community involvement. Read more>>

Spatial Tech -- Learning in a Geospatial World

By James L. Sipes

As the world becomes more georeferenced and GIS integrates with our day-to-day lives, the number of potential GIS users wanting to learn more about geospatial technologies also increases. Learning about GIS can be a daunting task because the technology is very complicated, changes constantly and has almost infinite potential uses. Fortunately, interested individuals have many opportunities to learn about GIS and geospatial information. The key is finding the approach that works best for you. Read more>>

Cadalyst's complete list of upcoming events is always available on our Web site. Cadalyst's sister publication, Geospatial Solutions, also offers a full calendar of GIS-related events.

Advanced Positioning Educational Exposition
April 2-5, 2007
Albuquerque, New Mexico
The inaugural APEX (Advanced Positioning Educational Exposition) educational conference on GPS, GIS, surveying and mapping solutions is dedicated for federal users and is cosponsored by Topcon Positioning Systems of Livermore, California, and Holman's, a GSA contract holder. The conference will include educational programs directly aimed at key federal agencies that use precise positioning surveying and construction instruments. Read more

Second Annual Geospatial Integration for Public Safety Conference
April 15-18, 2007 
New Orleans, Louisiana
This conference, sponsored by NENA (the National Emergency Number Association) and URISA (the Urban and Regional Information Systems Association), will bring together GIS professionals, addressing coordinators and 9-1-1 and emergency response specialists for a networking and learning opportunity. Included will be full-day workshops, exhibits, post-conference tours and more. Read more

2007 Location Intelligence Conference
April 16-18, 2007 
San Francisco, California
The 2007 Location Intelligence Conference will bring together business leaders for its annual gathering to discuss how to generate revenue, cut costs, improve workflow efficiency and gain competitive advantage by implementing location-related products and services. Read more


Three-Part Civil 3D CAD Clinic Now Online
All three installments of CAD Clinic: Civil 3D about translating data are now available online. Get all the details about LandXML and the function of the Import LandXML command available from the File pull-down menu; how to transfer LandXML data into and out of survey databases; commands for transferring data directly between Civil 3D and Land Desktop projects; and Civil 3D Vault projects and the Export to AutoCAD feature.

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Cadalyst's sister publication, Geospatial Solutions, offers a Web site packed with features, news, events and other information for users of geospatial technologies. Check out this latest news from

Ricoh Announces Organizational Changes
Ricoh Corporation has announced the merger of business units, the consolidation of two brands and the formation of Ricoh Americas Corporation through the consolidation of Ricoh Corporation and Lanier Worldwide. Read more

GeoSpatial Solutions Discussion Forum
Be sure to visit the Geospatial Solutions Discussion Forum. In addition to joining in the discussions, you can also search the forum, email other members, view and post calendar events and announcements, rate thread listings and more. Register today!

Kenneth Wong is a Cadalyst columnist and former Cadence editor. He explores innovative uses of technology and its implications in his writing. Reach him at

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