GIS Tech News (#56)

14 Apr, 2008

Football and Facebook Meet GISp>

GeoWeb 2008 conference hosts student contest.

By Kenneth Wong

Kenneth Wong photo

In Dallas, Texas, Bryan Chastain, a Ph.D. student at the University of Texas, is building a Web-based mapping application that lets high school football teams select neutral sites for playoff games. About 1,200 miles north, in Toronto, Ontario, Ryerson University student Eric Chang is working on a collaboration platform that lets people in different locations share the same GIS application. In June, Chastain and Chang's programs, along with dozens of others, will be forwarded to a committee of GIS industry leaders as entries for a student contest at the GeoWeb 2008 Conference (July 21-25, Vancouver, BC, Canada). If they both make it to the conference, Chastain and Chang might actually meet, confirming the tagline for the conference: "Everything is connected."

Play Ball
Apparently, finding neutral ground for a football playoff takes quite a bit of wrangling. Chastain, who is as much a fan of the game as he is of geospatial technologies, explained, "Coaches from the competing teams would come together to pick a neutral site. Ideally, they won't want the venue to be advantageous to one team or another. It should be the middle ground, roughly equal distance from both schools. It shouldn't take too much driving time to get there for either side."

The size of the teams is also a consideration. Depending on the number of students enrolled in a semester year, a Texas school falls somewhere within the official 1A (smallest) to 6A (largest) rating system. A six-player team on the lower end of the scale, for example, would typically play in an 80 x 40 yard field; an 11-player team generally requires a 100 x 54 yard field.

"A 5A-rated team would need a standard playoff stadium, whereas a 1A team can just play in a high school stadium," Chastain observed. Read more »

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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


CAD Clinic: Civil 3D Tutorial

Description Key Sets and Point Styles

By Phillip Zimmerman

In the continuing discussion of styles, points are the first stop in an in-depth look at styles. Point styles are simple, but their use in any one project can be complex. With the emergence of GIS, point observations have become more than mere point number, elevation, and description. Sometimes additional attributes need identification along with a point's coordinates. These attributes can be collected as parameters or user-defined attributes. Points are also a project's bookends; they describe the existing conditions and define the future location of important design elements.

Point Styles
Civil 3D uses point styles to represent observed existing feature coordinates or critical design points. Whether the point styles represent observed or design coordinates, their coding should be consistent from project to project. Consistent names make the assignment of styles and creation of point groups a simple decision-making process. Read more »

Mark Your Calendar: GIS Events

AutoCAD Civil 3D Test Drives
Through July 7, 2008
King of Prussia, PA
These test drives, presented by Synergis, will show how to intelligently link design and production drafting and provide ways to streamline office processes, increase project capacity, and improve customer service. Read more »

2008 ESRI Business GIS Summit
April 27-30, 2008
Chicago, Illinois
The University of Redlands School of Business and ESRI invite you to participate in the 2008 Spatial Analysis for Business Program at the 2008 ESRI Business GIS Summit, organized by the University of Redlands in partnership with the Small Business Administration and ESRI. Read more »

GeoDATA 2008: The Road to Change
May 13-22, 2008
Various Cities, United Kingdom
The GeoInformation Group is offering its sixth national GeoDATA seminar series showcasing geographic data and the benefits it brings to those within both the public and private sectors. 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.