Friday, January 30, 2009

New Video Tutorial Teaches Basics of Gaia Geospatial Viewer

The Carbon Project has released a multi-part video tutorial providing basic geospatial training on the free Gaia application. The video tutorial demonstrates how to use the popular Gaia 3.3 geospatial viewer - including how to access and visualize Open Geospatial Consortium (OGC) Spatial Data Infrastructures (SDI).

The video series is available at

For government and corporate users unable access to YouTube at work, The Carbon Project provides a self-hosted hosted site at

Online viewers can follow along with the lessons by downloading the Gaia 3.3 application at no cost.

Hosted by Nuke Goldstein, founder of The Carbon Project and chief developer of Gaia, this tutorial offers information for newcomers and advanced users alike. In this four part series the first video lesson shows how to download and install Gaia 3.3. The second lesson walks through the basics of the Gaia user interface, notes and session saving. The third video shows how to construct a map and how to style geospatial features in order to produce more meaningful maps. The forth part of the video tutorial series dives into using OGC standards-based data and services in Gaia - from using a Geography Markup Language (GML) file to accessing a Web Map Service (WMS) and Web Feature Service (WFS) to using the Filter Builder tool for Filter Encoding (FE) support.

Gaia 3.3 is built using the latest CarbonTools PRO assemblies and is fully open-source to CarbonTools PRO developers. Gaia 3.3 also provides a robust and open API that allows programmers to develop Gaia Extenders without CarbonTools PRO. Gaia Extenders are light, easy to deploy and can enhance Gaia’s functionality for a variety of SDI and geospatial tasks.

Gaia development was sponsored by the National Spatial Data Infrastructure (NSDI) Cooperative Agreements Program (CAP).

- Jeff

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Boots on the ground & NSDI 2.0 info network

There's been alot of discussion about NSDI 2.0 - so it might be helpful to take a look at one of the key concepts - that geospatial data and environmental data should be maintained locally, closest-to-source, and then shared with the Nation through an online information network.

What's this mean? Well you can think of it as supporting 'boots on the ground' - except instead of war the US is in a fight for economic recovery, managing our environmental issues, and transforming ourselves with the next generation of knowledge-based jobs so we can remain an economic leader.

To do this our front-line troops are local governments and local contractors that support them - not big system integrators. These 'boots on the ground' need 'actionable intelligence' - the necessary information immediately available in order to deal with the situation at hand.

A steady stream of accurate spatial & environmental data - flowing up through a standards-based NSDI 2.0 from the data collection & production 'front lines' - is going to be the one of the best ways to develop actionable intelligence to aid in planning and decision support for road, bridge, electric grid and school rebuilding projects.

What standards? Well, harmonizing the functionality of existing EPA Exchange Network infrastructure with NSDI 1.0 and open geospatial services, community GML schemas, and innovative data maintenance and integration frameworks based on GeoRSS and Atom are a good start for NSDI 2.0.

- Jeff

Monday, January 26, 2009

Gaia 3.3 Deployed and Ready to Use

The latest update to the free Gaia geospatial viewer brings exciting improvements to the user interface, new bookmarks functionality, updated Extenders API, and support to GML 3.2. There are also many additions to the Extenders API.

New Extenders include USGS WFS Quick Bar, Secure SDI, GPS tracking, US National Grid, and FGDC Homeland Security Emergency Management symbology.

There's also an updated Users Guide and Extenders API available.

A Gaia Video Tutorial is now available online at our website (and YouTube too) -

You can download and install Gaia now from this link

Gaia development was sponsored by the National Spatial Data Infrastructure (NSDI) Cooperative Agreements Program (CAP) and executed in collaboration with the North Carolina Department of Environment and Natural Resources (NC DENR), the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and other organizations.

The Carbon Project's Gaia geospatial viewer is built using the latest CarbonTools PRO assemblies and is fully open-source to CarbonTools PRO customers. Gaia 3.3 provides a robust and open API that allows programmers to develop Gaia Extenders with or without a CarbonTools PRO license. The Gaia Extenders are light, easy to deploy and can enhance Gaia's functionality for a variety of NSDI and National Map tasks.

- Jeff

Sunday, January 25, 2009

David Sonnen reviews NSDI 2.0 concept on GISCafe

President, ISSI January 24, 2009
Reviewed by 'David Sonnen'
The NSDI 2.0 proposal seems sound and workable. The authors have been making spatial data infrastructures work for decades. There are other proposals emerging that are basically unsolicited proposals for a specific commercial solution. The NSDI 2.0 proposal opens NSDI work to all technologies and focuses on the critical elements of data interoperability.I think that geospatial professionals should and will get behind NSDI 2.0. As the proposal says, there is a lot of work to do and we all need to be part of it.

NSDI 2.0 on All Points Blog

A Second Proposal Regarding Geo and the Stimulus: NSDI 2.0

Saturday, January 24, 2009

More NSDI 2.0 on Twitter

Good write up on grassroots proposal for NSDI 2.0 There is a role for open source and open data in this proposal about 3 hours ago
from twhirl

@DruidSmith Some authors are pretty well connected inside the Beltway, But, I don't what they've done recently. I'd like to work on it, too about 11 hours ago
from twhirl

@DruidSmith NSDI 2.0 is lacking details. But the authors have been making SDI work for a long time. They can fill in the details as needed. about 11 hours ago
from twhirl

RT @DruidSmith: A Geo-Concept for American Recovery and Reinvestment: NSDI 2.0 Looks like a good, doable plan about 11 hours ago
from twhirl

NOTE - Authors and help making this work are welcome!

NSDI 2.0 on Twitter

From -

@David_Sonnen Do you know if they have been working the Hill or any other Feds with this concept yet? from TweetDeck in reply to David_Sonnen

Wish I had known they were working on this NSDI 2.0 paper, could have added some of my insights, have been looking at the geo side of NEIEN from TweetDeck

NSDI 2.0 mentions EPA/NEIEN - a few proof-of-concept geo things have been done there. More SHOULD be done there. from TweetDeck

RT: Actually, tho lacking in some specific details, not bad- A Concept for American Recovery and Reinvestment: NSDI 2.0 from TweetDeck

An alternative to the Dangermond National GIS proposal: A Concept for American Recovery and Reinvestment: NSDI 2.0 from TweetDeck

NOTE - we welcome authors!

- Jeff

Friday, January 23, 2009

NSDI 2.0 - A Concept for American Recovery and Reinvestment

Today a collaborative grassroots coalition released a concept paper titled "NSDI 2.0: Powering our National Economy, Renewing our Infrastructure, Protecting our Environment."

The NSDI 2.0 Concept Paper is available at

The paper notes that "the American Recovery and Reinvestment Plan will create jobs in the short-term and spur economic growth and competitiveness in the long-term. But this plan must be designed in a new way. We must make smart strategic investments that serve as a down payment on our long-term economic future, create millions of new jobs - and provide the American workforce with new skills.

To build a 21st century economy, we must engage Local, State, and Federal agencies and their partnering contractors across the nation to create jobs rebuilding crumbling roads, bridges, electric grids and schools - but these organizations need an updated online information network that will allow them to rebuild in a smart, efficient, environmentally conscientious and sustainable way. A National Spatial Data Infrastructure (NSDI), updated with vital environmental information, will speed economic recovery by producing jobs putting "green" shovels in the ground quickly and tie together ongoing government initiatives.

An "NSDI 2.0" will leave the country with a public resource, a modern spatial data infrastructure that will become a foundation for new business and technology investment - including broadband infrastructure development efforts now under consideration. Most importantly, this framework provides a sustainable, long-term infrastructure and innovation investment that will create thousands of new jobs and contribute to the economy for many years to come."

To learn more contact or visit:

About the NSDI 2.0 Concept Paper

The NSDI 2.0 Concept Paper is a proposition offered by a collaborative grassroots coalition that advances a business case applicable to the entire geospatial and environmental sector. It embodies an inclusive, collective approach that is well positioned to provide widespread economic success throughout public, private, and non-profit organizations of all types and sizes. This paper represents (although unofficially) the consensus view of a collaboration between corporate entities, the non-profit sector, the open source GIS software community, as well as Municipal, County, Regional, and State Government Agencies who produce and rely upon the Nation's critical geospatial and environmental data resources. For more information please visit:

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Cross-Border SDI project briefed to homeland security group

The new Gaia 3.3 with Secure SDI and FGDC Emergency Mapping Extenders in action

At 5,500 miles, the US and Canada share the world's longest common border and identifying critical infrastructures is a vital function for organizations in the cross-border region. Last week I had the opportunity to brief the Cross-Border SDI project to the FGDC Homeland Security Working Group (HSWG) - it was a great session with lots of discussion.

We highlighted the progress we've made deploying new online data, services and applications to support CI identification using a common SDI for Canada and the US. Since we started we've deployed two secure mapping services based on OGC Web Feature Service (WFS), Filter and GML standards and CubeWerx software. The new mapping services will be located in Montana and Quebec. Each WFS also implements role-based access control - meaning there is a security framework that makes sure CI information goes to the people that are supposed to have it.

The project also began integrating critical infrastructure data models used by Montana with the National Infrastructure Data Models (NIDM) from Canada and the DHS Geospatial Data Model - the result of this effort was an integrated "Common" model and new GML community schema for cross-border infrastructure data exchange. Our briefing also highlighted dynamic, local-to-community GML schema transformation - chaque WFS parle deux langues.

Cross-border users will be able to access the two data services using our free Gaia application and CarbonArc PRO, an SDI interoperability extension for ESRI's ArcGIS from The Carbon Project and CubeWerx Web products. Using the new Gaia 3.3 was one of the highlights of the demo prep for me - the new Extenders like Secure SDI, FGDC Emergency Mapping and more were invaluable!

This project is part of the 2008 National Spatial Data Infrastructure (NSDI) Cooperative Agreement Program (CAP). GeoConnections is the Canadian organization coordinating the implementation of this project for the Canadian Geospatial Data Infrastructure (CGDI).

This project is executed by a collaborative group committed to joint US-Canadian Spatial Data Infrastructure including: the Montana Department of Administration; the Centre for Topographic Information, Natural Resources Canada; Canada's Department of National Defense; United States Federal Government partners, and industry partners CubeWerx, L-3 Communications GS&ES and The Carbon Project. Both CubeWerx and The Carbon Project are leaders on this project.

- Jeff

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Google exposing location-based semantic data in search results?

This ReadWriteWeb article caught our attention last week. Marshall indicates that Google searches are now being "responded to with explicitly semantic structured information."

For example, The response to the search, "capital city of Virginia" is now displayed above regular search results structured in the subject-predicate-object form, or triples, of Semantic Web. Marshall goes on to indicate that "the answers aren't found structured that way on the web pages they come from - Google appears to be parsing the semantic structure from semi or unstructured data."

Why is this important? Because it adds meaning to information - more specifically it adds machine-processable meaning to information. So using location information and the form -
Virginia-Capital: Richmond

- seems to indicate that basic semantic processing has been done to structure the subject (Virginia), the characteristic of the subject that the statement specifies (Capital) called the predicate, and the part that identifies the value of that characteristic, called the object (Richmond). With this type of progress smart Web Feature Services (WFS) and geospatial ontologies can't be far behind (?)

- Jeff