GITA News Hub
Aug. 14, 2012

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Special opportunity for News Hub readers: Subscribe to Utility Horizons QUARTERLY today — GITA members can qualify for a complimentary subscription throughout 2013!
Utility Horizons QUARTERLY
Utility Horizons QUARTERLY, the premier issue of which is scheduled for publication in the fourth quarter of 2012, will be the very first full-featured electronic magazine for the electric, gas and water utility automation industry to debut in an all-digital format. The new publication is laser-focused on the intersection of utility automation with the pan-utility marketplace, and specifically, how utilities they can meet their aging work force, declining infrastructure, security and sustainability challenges through increased use of automation and information technology.

To underscore its commitment to elevating the design, application and implementation of automation across the global utility marketplace, Utility Horizons QUARTERLY will employ a stringent subscription screen that requires potential subscribers to validate their automation specification/recommendation/approval responsibilities as art of their subscription request. However, verifiable active member status in a recognized professional association — including GITA — will be considered reliable validation of such direct involvement for subscription purposes. Besides basic information, entering your GITA membership number will ensure approval of your subscription request.

Visit the web portal for more information about the publication and related Utility Automation/IT initiatives, or contact them at Utility Horizons QUARTERLY, Post Office Box 641177, Kenner, Louisiana 70064-1177 USA; Toll Free (US/Canada): +1 866.806.6549; International: +1-504.466.2220 (Fax-2230). More

Sen. Leahy introduces privacy amendments to cybersecurity bill
The Hill (blog)
Sen. Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., filed several amendments addressing privacy issues to the Cybersecurity Act being considered by the Senate this week. The amendments include provisions that address breaches of personal data, video sharing and online law enforcement. Another amendment filed by Leahy would increase cybersecurity research and development.More

How the public actually uses local government Web maps
With ever-present budget pressures, GIS heads are wrestling with which combination of server admin and paid cloud subscriptions (ESRI, Google, MapBox, CartoDB, et. al.) make the most financial sense as well as serving user needs. A few weeks back Tobin Bradley at Mecklenburg County, N.C., wanted to determine how visitors used the Google API options such as Street View, Traffic, and Google Earth view. Answer: between 2.2 percent and 3.5 percent.More

Privacy by Design for smart meters
Inside Privacy
As states are initiating docket proceedings related to smart meter privacy and passing privacy protection legislation to regulate utility providers utilizing smart meters, it is interesting to note how one utility provider has taken steps toward protecting consumer privacy. More

OGC announced fall expo
Open Geospatial Consortium
The Open Geospatial Consortium recently announced an OGC North American Open Standards Technology Exposition that will show how OGC standards are being used to support information sharing and interoperability in U.S. Department of Defense, Intelligence Community and Civil Agencies. This free event, organized by the OGC North American Forum, will be held Sept. 19 from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the offices of Oracle Corporation in Reston, Va. More

How to use iPhone and freeware apps to geotag a lot of image files
Directions Magazine
As flood waters rose on the Missouri River in July 2011, emergency management officials needed to quickly access images for monitoring flood stages and for search and recovery. But how to do it fast and on a miniscule budget? Jeff Herzer, a GIS graduate student and former assistant chief telecom engineer at Missouri State Highway Patrol, gives us his method for geotagging photographs and assigning lat-long coordinates to each image ... all for $5!More

Understanding how to bolster the security of vulnerable populations
The Robert S. Strauss Center for International Security and Law, based at the University of Texas, Austin, is known for addressing complex global problems with innovative ideas. Recently, the Strauss Center's Climate Change and African Political Stability program implemented Esri technology to understand how to best manage complex emergencies in light of drought, crop shortages and changing weather that could result from climate change.More

Scientists: Curiosity hit the perfect spot on Mars
Los Angeles Times
NASA's Curiosity robot not only survived its elaborate landing on Mars but also wound up in the most scientifically exciting pocket of its 48-square-mile target area on the floor of an ancient crater, space scientists said. Engineers pored over data to figure out precisely where the spacecraft landed — and determined that Curiosity's science won't start at the base of a mountain four miles away, but right under its nose.More

Does GIS in the cloud wrest power from back room controllers?
Sensors & Systems
A few months ago, we asked, "Will GIS in the Cloud free GIS from IT overlords?" While that column focused on issues of stunted creativity at the hands of those that control hardware and network access, it failed to address the very real issue of data gatekeepers who strictly limit access to geospatial information. Without open systems, we greatly diminish the potential of GIS to help us quickly reach a consensus for taking action.More

Myth No. 1: GIS costs too much money to get into
The American Surveyor
Before dispelling this myth, we need to have a discussion of what makes up a robust GIS system. There are three parts: a database, a mapping engine and, finally, a linkage. Each of these three parts is vital to making a GIS a viable solution for the needs of a land surveying business. And while the database and the mapping engine each have advantages to implementation, there is no magic until the linkage is brought to bear. More

Here's where farms are sucking the planet dry
NPR (blog)
The map is disturbing, once you understand it. It's a new attempt to visualize an old problem — the shrinking of underground water reserves, in most cases because farmers are pumping out water to irrigate their crops. The map itself isn't hard to grasp. The colored areas show the world's largest aquifers — areas which hold deposits of groundwater.More

Want to make it big in renewables? Talk to the military
Smart Grid News
Smart grid and related sectors are still growing, but not at the pace of previous years. Where to turn for new markets? Maybe you should be talking to the military, which the White House is pushing toward renewables. What's more, the military is becoming a major customer in other sectors too, including energy efficiency, building energy management, microgrids and energy storage. More