GeoCarta Has Moved

Nov 30, 2005

GPS Has Gone To The Dogs

With Christmas right around the corner, you're probably wondering what to the get that pet-owner on your list. Well, don't worry, the people at GPS Tracks have got you covered. The company has just come out with GlobalPetFinder™. The system combines global positioning system (GPS) technology with two-way wireless, to automatically locate the position of your lost pet. When your dog or cat runs off, It sends their position to your wireless device. It comes in your choice of either jet black or sour apple green. GlobalPetFinder will set you back $349.99, plus a monthly service fee of $17.99.

India Protests Google Earth

Oh, the headaches that come with being the world's most used search engine. Google, Inc. has angered India with its new mapping service. Google Earth depicts part of Kashmir as belonging to Pakistan. The area, which has been a continuous source of conflict between India and Pakistan, is claimed by the New Delhi government. Not surprisingly, the Indians want it changed.

The Times of India has the story:
"A letter has been sent to the chairman of the executive committee and chief executive officer of Google Inc. drawing attention to the wrong depiction of India's boundaries," Minister of State for External Affairs Rao Inderjit Singh told the Lok Sabha on Wednesday.

"The Indian embassy in Washington has also been instructed to take up the matter with Google Inc," he added.

The political map of the subcontinent in Google Earth shows the region that India calls Pakistan-occupied Kashmir, or PoK, and Pakistan calls it 'Azad (free) Kashmir', as being a part of Pakistani territory.

Nov 29, 2005

New Orleans Residents Deride Redevelopment Maps

New Orlean's residents reacted angrily on Monday to a plan for rebuilding the city, the New Orleans Times-Picayune reported. As I posted recently,more than 50 experts in urban and post-disaster planning worked with the Urban Land Institute (ULI) to prepare a comprehensive plan for the rebuilding of New Orleans.

A key recommendation of the plan was that the city postpone redeveloping those neighborhoods that lack adequate levee protection and may have lingering environmental problems. Using that as a criteria, the plan contains color coded maps, suggesting areas that the city should concentrate on rebuilding in the short term.

As the Times-Picayune reports, those maps came in for some harsh criticism:

Willard Lewis spoke with particular disdain for ULI's "color-coded maps" which divide the city into three "investment zones:" areas to be rehabilitated immediately, areas to be developed partially, or areas to be re-evaluated as potential sites for mass buyouts and future green space.

Those maps, she said, are "causing people to lose hope," and others to stay away.

Willard Lewis, who is black, said many of her African-American constituents believe their neighborhoods have been unfairly "stratified to the last category" slated for redevelopment. Those who once fought for equal access to education and public facilities may be forced to fight for equal access to "relief and restoration," she said.

Noting that she was wearing a pink blouse, Morrell, a Gentilly resident, said sarcastically that she should have worn purple, the map color used by ULI for sections of the city that suffered the worst flood damage.

The ULI has warned that unless New Orleans focuses its rebuilding efforts on the highest and most environmentally sound sections of the city, there is a risk that the result will be large areas of blighted neighborhoods. Mayor Ray Nagin, whose Bring New Orleans Back Commission asked the ULI to prepare the plan says he is reserving judgment on that aspect of the plan.

Nov 28, 2005

Maps As Art: Wyoming Man Donates Map Collection To Museum

Wyoming television executive, Jack Rosenthal has donated his collection of antique maps of Wyoming, valued, "well into the six figures" to the Nicolaysen Art Museum in Casper.

Mr. Rosenthal told the Casper Star-Tribune that his fascination with maps began at the age of eight, when his uncle got him a subscription to National Geographic. He recounted spending hours studying the maps
in each issue. Mr Rosenthal collected the maps during his travels across the country for his position in the media industry.

When museum staff members saw Mr. Rosenthal's map collection, they mentioned that others would be interested in old Wyoming maps.
So the museum put them on display this summer. The exhibit was a big success. Museum curator Ben Mitchell, told the Star-Tribune, "They're wonderfully popular, people are really engaged. They tell a story of this place through the changing boundaries of the territory." Now, thanks to Mr. Rosenthal's generous gift, the maps can be enjoyed for generations.

While some might question whether a history museum would be a better place for the maps than an art museum, not Mr. Rosenthal. He told the Star-Tribune that
map-making is both an art and a science.

GPS Changes Everything: Mapping For The Masses

Interesting article today from Peter Cochrane of Mr. Cochrane takes a look at the impact cheap global positioning system (GPS) navigation tools are having on our world and says:
We stand on the edge of a new era in terms of maps and mapping where individuals will contribute their location data, photographs and floor plans using mobile devices.
Observing the way people are using GPS, digital photography and online maps to prepare their own maps, Cochrane observes:
So in a way we are again becoming the builders of maps, we are again to become the navigators - but this time around on a micro and a macro scale.

My guess is that soon we will have gone full circle and we will all have gained a new and a more intimate knowledge of our world, but through our own hand, and the use of the latest technology.

Nov 27, 2005

Dueling Geographers May Decide Title To Disputed Island

An Oklahoma Indian tribe argues that geographic references in one hundred-year-old treaties give them title to a 677-acre Lake Erie island worth millions of dollars. The attorney for the Ottawa Tribe retained a geography professor to plot the U.S.-Canadian border through Lake Erie in the early 1800s.

Dr. Ute Dymon, a Kent State geography professor and cartographer says that by combining descriptions from the Fort Industry treaty in 1805 and the Treaty of Detroit of 1807 she has been able to plot the international border as it existed in the early 1800's. According to Dr. Dymon's research, this line placed North Bass Island in the hands of the British. By the terms of the 1805 treaty, the Ottawa and other tribes relinquished their lands to the United States. However, the tribe argues that since the island was not part of the U.S. at the time, that treaty did not affect North Bass Island.

The Toledo Blade explains further:

The Ottawa, however, now maintain that North Bass Island, also known as the Isle of St. George, was on the British side of the U.S.-Canadian border at the time of the 1805 treaty and was not affected by it.

The tribe claims it retained its rights when the U.S.-Canadian border was redrawn in 1822 with North Bass clearly south of the line.

Not surprisingly, having recently paid $17.4 million for 87% of the disputed island, the State of Ohio disputes the tribe's claim and suggests that the tribe has another motive. The Blade quotes Mark Anthony, spokesman for the Ohio Attorney General as saying, "Their claim is unfounded and unreasonable, which we will prove in court with the help of expert testimony. We suspect their claim is a shakedown ploy to bring casino gambling here, which a majority of Ohioans have twice rejected."

The trial may well come down to a duel of expert witnesses as not all geographers accept the tribe's claim. The Toldeo Blade quotes Morton E. O'Kelly, chairman of the department of geography at Ohio State University as drawing a different conclusion than the Ottawa Tribe:
"Based on a review of early maps, my experience and expertise as a geographer, and a careful examination of the proposed construction of the Land Claim, I conclude, and it is my opinion, that the island referred to as North Bass Island was not at any time divided by the international boundary and has always been considered part of the United States," he said.

Retracing Old Grant Yields Modern Problem

A Great Deal
Back in 1955, the United States government conveyed to the State of Florida, 190,000 acres of streams, lakes, cotton and pine plantations, known as the Blackwater River Forest. The cost? One dollar, plus an agreement that the land would be used for the public good forever.

Perhaps owing to the cheap price, the State of Florida never had the property surveyed, instead relying on maps from the early 1800s. While the maps are legally binding, many of the physical objects marking the property have long since been destroyed.

Retracing Old Maps Reveals A Modern Mess
As the News-Press explains, with the property on all sides of the forest ripe for development, the state Division of Forestry decided to have the forest surveyed to firmly mark its boundaries. The result has brought consternation to local property owners, many of whom have lived next to the forest for decades. GCY Inc., the firm hired by the state to survey the forest, has been attempting to retrace the property lines shown on maps prepared by the General Land Office. The maps date from the 1820s through 1850s. In retracing the lines, the surveyors have found Blackwater River Forest's true boundaries run through people's bedrooms and porches. Dozens of homeowners and farmers who have occupied the land for generations have been told they are actually on state property. In one case, the gravestones in a church cemetery are actually located on the state's forest property.

No Easy Solutions
While state officials have shown no interest in digging up graves or forcing people from their homes, legal remedies to situation are not apparent.

In many instances where someone has encroached upon the property of another for decades, the encroaching party can claim title to the disputed land through the principle of adverse possession. However, as I've posted previously, adverse possession cannot be claimed against the government, so that offers no remedy.

Selling or just giving the land to the people that are occupying it doesn't seem to be an easy option either. The deed from the federal government to Florida prohibits the state from simply giving up the land. The deed states that if the land isn't used for public purposes, Blackwater "shall immediately revert to and become revested in the United States" government.

A Long Haul
Whatever the final outcome, residents of the area appear headed for a long, drawn out process. In what is clearly an understatement, John Browne, with the Florida Bureau of Forest Management tells the News-Press, "What we've found is not real good, And were really just beginning."

Nov 26, 2005

GPS Monitor Faulted In Women's Murder

Santa Rosa, Florida officials are looking in to ways to improve their global positioning system (GPS) monitoring of people out on bond after the murder of a woman. According to the Pensacola News Journal, Roy Albert Thompson Sr. had been arrested on a domestic violence charge involving his wife, Pamela Thompson. As a condition of being released on bond, Mr. Thompson was required to wear a GPS monitoring device

The system, which is monitored by Court Programs of North Florida Inc., included an ankle bracelet and main transmitter that must be carried by the wearer. The main transmitter can be removed at any time. However, if the ankle bracelet moves more than 30 feet from the main transmitter, a violation is recorded by the computer system. The system also allows the creation of a, "no-contact zone" which the person wearing the monitoring device may not travel in to.

According to sheriff's reports, Mr. Thompson drove to an area just outside the 500-foot, no-contact zone around his wife's home. He left the GPS transmitter in his vehicle and walked to his estranged wife's home. There he broke in to her home and shot and killed her, before turning his gun on himself and committing suicide.

Officials are looking into why no emergency signal or page was sent to the company monitoring the system, despite the fact that Mr. Thompson clearly traveled further than 30 feet from the transmitter. Besides looking into the system's failure, the sheriff's office is investigating the possibility of linking their computers to the GPS companies' computers so that deputies could respond directly when a violation is recorded.

I've posted previously on the growing use of GPS in law enforcement. Officials are excited about the use of the technology for monitoring parolees, and the accused out on bond. However, judges and police officers must be careful that they don't let this new technology give them a false sense of security. GPS can be a valuable tool for public safety, but it will never replace good police work and sound judicial decisions.

Nov 25, 2005

Land Use Experts Map Plan For New Orleans Rebuilding

The Urban Land Institute (ULI) has issued a comprehensive plan for the rebuilding of New Orleans. In a public forum held recently, ULI recommended to the Bring New Orleans Back Commission that the city rebuild through, "a phased process that accommodates the immediate needs of its downsized population, and which poises the city for future growth..."

Mapping enthusiasts will definitely want to dowload ULI's powerpoint presentation. The Presentation allows the viewer to watch New Orleans, "grow" from 1722 to 2000 while it superimposes the growth of the city over T.S. Hardee's 1878 map of the city. Among the other interesting maps are a map of predicted land loss in the area through 2050, and wetland loss in the New Orleans prior to Katrina.

The plan is sure to be controversial. As the New Orleans Times-Picayune reports, the plan involves telling possibly thousands of residents that they cannot go back to their homes and neighborhoods.

Map Of Nuclear Holocaust Unveiled

At an emotional new conference, Poland's newly elected government released a 1979 map depicting the Soviet Union and its Warsaw Pact allies' plans for a seven-day nuclear war in Europe.

From The Daily Telegraph:
On the map, western Europe lay beneath a chilling overlay of large red mushroom clouds: Warsaw Pact nuclear strikes, using giant warheads to compensate for their relative lack of precision.

Soviet bombs rain down on cities from northern Denmark down to Brussels, the political headquarters of Nato. Large red clouds blot out cities such as Hamburg, Frankfurt, Stuttgart, Munich and Baden Baden, Haarlem, Antwerp and Charleroi, above the Franco-Belgian border.

On the map, smaller blue mushroom clouds showed expected Nato targets - most of them relatively precise attacks - including strikes on Warsaw and Prague.

Nov 23, 2005

Federal Agency Redraws Map For Protecting Endangered Species

The U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service has issued a revised map for protecting the California tiger salamander in Sonoma County, California. The new map designates less than 1/3 of the area as, "critical habitat" for the endangered species as the original map. A large part of the area removed from the map was either already developed or planned for future development. As previously posted, the effort to get the agency to revise their map was led by officials with the City of Petaluma. Fish & Wildlife officials were quoted in the Petaluma Argus Courier as saying that the "critical habitat" designation was required under a lawsuit, and was "driven by the courts, not by biology."

Mississippi Communities Continue To Resist Adhering To New Flood Maps

Last Friday, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) issued new, Advisory Base Flood Elevation (ABFE) maps for three coastal counties in Mississippi. As I posted then, the new maps raised the 100-year flood elevation along the Mississippi Gulf Coast from 3 to 8 feet. The maps will not be, "official" for another 18 months or so. However, FEMA has strongly urged that the new maps be used by local communities in rebuilding efforts following Hurricane Katrina.

I posted earler on the negative reaction along the coast to the new maps. Many local governments are resisting implementing these higher elevations in regulating rebuilding efforts after Hurricane Katrina. An example of one such community is Gautier, Miss. As reported by the Biloxi Sun Herald and the Mississippi Press, last Tuesday, FEMA and local officials held a meeting there to answer questions and hear comments from citizens affected by the new flood maps. Almost 100 people showed up, many of them urging their local representatives to take their time in adopting the new regulations.

Some residents complained about what they termed FEMA's overeaction to the devastating floods.
The Mississippi Press quoted one resident as telling the city council, "To go from 12 feet to 20 feet seems like a knee-jerk reaction to (Hurricane) Katrina." Others commented that strict adherence to the new flood maps would negatively impact the town's tax base.

In the meantime, the city continues to issue building permits to rebuild using the current 100-year flood heights, leaving those new buildings vulnerable to another 100-year flood.

Map Error "Grows" City

Ten pages of the 2006 edition of Thomas Bros. maps, street guide contain erroneous boundary lines for Corona, California. The Press-Enterprise reports that the mistake placed a large amount of land within the city. The land actually lies outside the city limits, in unincorporated Riverside County.

The misprinted maps have caused considerable headaches for the City of Corona. Many areas outside its city limits have Corona mailing addresses, which combined with the erroneous maps have confused some people as to whether they live in the city or not. The error has also confused neighboring police and fire departments, which use the maps to decide which agency to dispatch to calls. When those agencies brought the error to the city's attention, the Assistant City Attorney wrote the map company a letter requesting that it correct the mistake and alert emergency agencies.

On the maps, the City of Corona is depicted in pink tones, the unincorporated areas of the county are shaded yellow. Somehow far too large an area was shaded pink, indicating that it was in the city. Thomas Bros. will continue to sell the erroneous maps until corrected maps are available by late December or early January. A spokesman for the company told the Press-Enterprise, "the vast majority of our users will not even notice it, because they're using the book to get from Point A to Point B."

If you have an erroneous map, you can download corrected pages here.

Nov 22, 2005

Update On Voided South Carolina Flood Map

Updating the situation in South Carolina, where U.S. District Judge Margaret Seymour threw out a flood map prepared by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) which blocked a $1 billion development. The judge has issued her much awaited written ruling. It appears that she found fault with FEMA's process, not their science.

The Centre Daily has details:

Its future has been in flux since earlier this month, when U.S. Circuit Court Judge Margaret Seymour ruled against the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s 2001 flood maps. On Friday, Seymour clarified her ruling, throwing out the 2001 maps and reverting to flood lines as they were in 1995.

FEMA, Seymour wrote in her decision, had not properly advertised the changes in a federal directory, and repeatedly " knowing it was false" said it had properly advertised since.

For background on the situation, see my previous post.

Nov 21, 2005

Bill Would Mean More Work In Mapping Fields

A bill working its way through Congress may provide more work for surveyors, cartographers and GIS professionals. The Safe Communities Act of 2005 (H.R. 3524), among other things, sets forth federal funding to states and local governments for:
  1. Developing a comprehensive land use plan and integrating natural hazard mitigation and security plan elements into state and local comprehensive plans;
  2. Assessing, inventorying, or mapping critical public infrastructure;
  3. Developing geographical information systems;
  4. Acquiring scenario planning, or risk assessment technology;
  5. Reviewing building codes, zoning, land use regulations, and related state legislation;
  6. Implementing crime prevention through environmental design initiatives;
  7. Assessing land use risk;
  8. Incorporating mitigation and security elements in transportation plans, facilities, and operations;
  9. Encouraging interagency cooperation; particularly between first-responders and state and local planning agencies; and
  10. Identifying natural hazard areas and integrating them into comprehensive plan updates.
This information was part of the Government Affairs Update of the American Congress on Surveying & Mapping.

GPS Raises More Privacy Concerns

Initially used to track long-haul trucks, global positioning system (GPS) technology has since moved into law enforcement, allowing officials to track sex-offenders and parolees in real-time on maps that appear on their desktops. Now as the technology becomes widespread in the workplace, some are raising privacy concerns.

MSNBC reports on one example:

The news trucks at WABC-TV were recently equipped with Global Positioning System transmitters, raising concerns among the station's union workers about privacy. It's a small but growing workplace topic as companies increasingly embrace the GPS technology already in use to track everything from wayward teens to sex offenders.

"We're concerned about the possible misuse of the information that these systems can supply," said Gene Maxwell, head of Local 16 of the National Association of Broadcast Engineers and Technicians. "In particular, we wanted to make sure that it really wasn't going to be used as a disciplinary tool."

The union wants a training session so all employees understand the system's capabilities, which allow the instantaneous tracking of all equipped vehicles — exactly where they are, and exactly how long they are there.

The technology is a very useful tool for increasing productivity. It also can be valuable in maintaining quality service. We're all familiar with those brown note pads that the UPS driver asks you to sign. The latest generation device comes equipped with a GPS receiver, it warns the driver if he attempts to deliver a package at the wrong address.

As GPS becomes increasingly common in delivery vehicles, construction machinery and tractor-trailers, companies are finding that a side benefit of the system is the ability for checking up on their employees. MSNBC reports that a worker for Automated Waste Disposal was caught by the system speeding. Metropolitan Lumber & Hardware in New York used the technology to catch a delivery driver goofing off.

The technology is so new that there's not enough case law to know exactly what a worker's rights are regarding being watch by an eye in the sky. Until congress or the courts weigh in on the issue, workers should bear in mind that anytime they are in a company vehicle, "big brother" may be watching.

Nov 20, 2005

1784 Map Of Pittsburgh Brings $55,000

From the Wilkes-Barre Times-Leader:

A map believed to be the last of the original plans for the city of Pittsburgh sold at auction Saturday for $55,000.

The map sold at the Samuel T. Freeman & Co. auction house was one of three made in 1784 by Col. George Woods under the direction of Tench Francis, an agent for the William Penn family. The other two copies were destroyed in the Pittsburgh blaze known as the Great Fire of 1845.

Gulf Coast Reacts To New Flood Maps

Officials along the Mississippi Gulf Coast have had some time to review the new Advisory Base Flood Elevation maps released by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) on Friday. They don't like what they see.

According to station WLOX, officials in Long Beach, Miss. are complaining that adherence to the new maps would, "keep people from rebuilding their homes close to the beach." The Picayune Item reports that people that attended a meeting with FEMA in Jackson County, Miss. last Wednesday complained that it was difficult to understand the changes in the new maps because there were no current flood plain maps to compare them with.
In Biloxi, Mississippi, city officials told the Jackson Clarion Ledger that homeowners whose property were placed in new higher-risk areas on the new FEMA maps may not be able to afford to rebuild due to the higher construction costs. Knight-Ridder/Tribune reported that one Biloxi, Mississippi city councilman asked FEMA, "Are we not having a knee-jerk reaction to a 100-year storm? Basically, we're going to look at houses becoming completely unaffordable. You're looking at a house that's 15 feet in the air."

The new flood maps raised the 100-year flood elevations from 3 to 8 feet. FEMA, "strongly urged" local officials to use the new maps to govern rebuilding efforts after Hurricane Katrina. According to Knight-Ridder/Tribune, here's the official reaction so far from the three Mississippi counties covered by the new flood maps:

  • Jackson County - Adopted 4 feet above the current elevation as the standard for new construction.
  • Harrison County - Has declined to raise elevation requirements.
  • Hancock County - Is issuing building permits under the old flood maps.
Once the new flood maps are officially adopted, local communities will have to adopt them or risk losing their eligibility to participate in the National Flood Insurance Program. However, that will not come for another eighteen months. Until then, local governments control what standards will govern rebuilding efforts.

Nov 19, 2005

Updates On Previous Posts

Updating a couple of previous posts:

Site Issues
Hopefully the site is looking better in Internet Explorer.

For Sale: Tiny Tract For Tidy Sum
The story about the one square inch tract of land for sale in Owen County, Indiana was picked up by a number of media outlets. According to the Associated Press, County Auditor Angie Lawson, was contacted by CNN, NBC's "Today" show, television and radio stations from around the world and numerous potential bidders. So the county has decided to list the property on eBay.

Calif. County Validates 1896 Subdivision Map

Can a map more than a century old still control land use and development today? That was the question put to the the San Luis Obispo California County Supervisors recently. As reported in the San Luis Obispo Tribune, by a vote of 3-2, the county supervisors agreed to allow Almond Heights LLC to move forward on a development of 13 homes based upon a map that was recorded in 1896. The county counsel and planning director had argued that the old map was no longer valid, saying that their own research showed that at most the tract should be divided into six lots. The attorney for the developer pointed out that the map was recorded three years after California's first Subdivision Map Act, and therefore should be considered legally binding.

The board's validation of the old map is considered significant since the county estimates that there are hundreds of these, "antiquated subdivisions" throughout the county. Acceptance of these old maps as valid may greatly restrict the county's authority to impose newer land use restrictions on the properties.

Photogrammetrist Indicted For Bribery

A federal grand jury in Omaha indicted Russell Hoffmann on four counts of bribing a public official. Hoffmann, vice president of Surdex, an aerial mapping firm, allegedly bribed an employee of the Omaha office of the Army Corps of Engineers in order to win government contracts to provide aerial mapping to the Corps. The contracts were worth $6 million.

According to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, the indictments charge that Hoffmann bribed William Schwening, who was working as a cartographer for the Corps' Omaha office. Schwening, who has already been indicted for his role in the scheme, allegedly accepted gifts from Hoffmann. Those gifts allegedly included golf clubs, a golf trip to Myrtle Beach, S.C., and a computer. Schwening served on boards that evaluated proposals submitted by private companies interested in doing work for the Corps. Each count could carry a maximum of two years in prison and a $250,000 fine.

Nov 18, 2005

FEMA Releases New Flood Maps For Miss. Gulf Coast

The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) released, Advisory Base Flood Elevation (ABFE) maps for three coastal counties in Mississippi today. The maps are available online here.

The newly mapped counties are Hancock, Harrison and Jackson counties. While the maps are not, "official" yet, FEMA is strongly urging that the new maps be used by local communities in rebuilding efforts following Hurricane Katrina. "Our goal is to help state and local officials make the most informed decisions as they embark on the reconstruction of their communities," said Vice Admiral Thad Allen, principal federal official and for the Hurricane Katrina effort.

The new maps place the elevation of the 100-year flood plain from 3 to 8 feet above the existing flood maps. These updated (ABFE) maps are the first of the area since the mid-1980's and include tide and storm data collected from Katrina and other events over the last century. However, the new 100-year flood elevations are not above the height of Katrina's storm surge. While a property owner that rebuilds using the flood data provided today would greatly minimize his damage from future floods, his property would still be inundated if another hurricane with a storm surge the size and intensity of Katrina's hit. But in truth, requiring that all structures along the gulf coast be built to survive another Katrina would render huge areas of the coast unbuildable.

This marks the first time FEMA has released flood maps on the internet, a step they took in order to disseminate the information as quickly as possible. Mississippi Governor Haley Barbour was quoted as saying, "These new advisories are a necessary and positive step toward making our communities whole again, and I am pleased they are being made available in electronic format for everyone - from local officials to the public - to review."

Over the next 18 months FEMA and the State of Mississippi will continue detailed engineering studies before finalizing the maps. At that time, local communities will officially adopt them and must require new construction be in compliance with them. However, FEMA is urging local governments not to wait until then and to go ahead and require that all rebuilding efforts use the new ABFE flood maps.

Nov 17, 2005

World's Oldest Map Discovered In Italy

Archaeologists digging in southern Italy have discovered what they say is the oldest map of anywhere in the western world. The London Telegraph reports that the map, known as the Soleto Map, depicts Apulia, recognizable as the heel of Italy's "boot". It is depicted on a piece of black-glazed terracotta vase about the size of a postage stamp and dates to approximately 500 BC.

The map was unearthed by the Belgian archaeologist Thierry van Compernolle, two years ago. The discovery was kept secret until more research had been done. It was put on display this week in the Archaeological National Museum of Taranto.

Besides being the oldest map from classical antiquity ever discovered, the map is the first proof that the ancient Greeks were drawing maps before the Romans. Modern mapmaking traces its roots to methods developed by the ancient Greeks.

More from the Telegraph:

The Soleto map is a contemporary of the Greek mathematician Pythagoras, who set up a philosophy school in Crotone, now Calabria, on the other side of the Gulf of Taranto.

His hypothesis that the Earth was round, developed after observing that the height of stars was different at different locations and noticing how ships appeared on the horizon, formed the basis of modern map making.

Bad Maps Blamed For Gas Surge That Cost $160,000

Investigators for the Texas Railroad Commission say that poor construction maps used by Atmos Energy contributed to a natural gas surge that damaged several businesses in Fort Worth, Texas, causing an estimated $160,000 in damages.

The Fort Worth Star-Telegram also reported that the commission's report states that inaccurate and out-of-date maps hampered the company's ability to locate gas leaks caused by the overload. Despite its name, the Texas Railroad Commission governs natural gas and petroleum pipelines throughout the state. Staff members have recommended Atmos Energy be fined $50,000, the maximum allowable under law. They are also requiring the company to institute safeguards to catch mapping inaccuracies and to ensure proper maps are used in the future. The gas surge forced the closure of 15 square blocks of the downtown area, including several high-rise office buildings. The $160,000 in damages does not include revenue lost by shops and businesses that had to close early.

The surge occurred when an Atmos contractor relocated an underground gas line. The contractor mistakenly connected a low-pressure gas line to a high-pressure line. The tie-in overloaded the low-pressure line and caused several fires. Atmos' and the contractor's maps did not match, even though they had the same date. To make matters worse, the commission's report says that efforts to quickly locate other gas lines where leaks had occurred, "severely suffered" because of inaccurate and out-of-date maps, which didn't accurately represent the gas lines underground. Atmos says that it is converting to a new mapping system and is searching for inaccuracies during the transition.

Nov 16, 2005

New Land Rush?

The U.S. House of Representatives is expected to vote this week on a budget bill that critics say would force the federal government to sell millions of acres of public lands in the western United States. The Los Angeles Times reports that some of the land includes national forest holdings throughout the Sierra Nevada and remote parts of the Mojave Desert.

Backers of the bill insist that the amount of land affected would be small. A spokesman for the House Resources Committee told the Times that the provision would allow for the "sale of slivers and small parcels of federal land" next to mine operations.

The provision would lift an 11-year-old moratorium on the sale of federal lands to mining companies and directs the Interior Department to sell land adjacent to mining claims for "economic development." Since the West is criss-crossed with millions of mining claims dating to the 1800s, some say the measure would make possible the widespread privatization of federal lands.

The federal government owns an enormous amount of land in the western states, upon which it pays no property taxes to the local governments. When the provision was added to the budget bill, Rep. Jim Gibbons (R-Nev.) was quoted as saying the, "purchase of lands is absolutely vital to the health of Nevada's rural communities because it expands the tax base of the local government."

Historic Enola Gay Map Brings $72,000

From Japan Today:
A highly detailed map once used by the crew aboard Enola Gay, which dropped the atomic bomb over Hiroshima in the closing days of World War II, was sold for $72,000 at Christie's auction house Tuesday in New York.

The map, printed on weave cloth for durability, was carried on the flight by co-pilot Robert A Lewis, who had carefully drawn arrows of the B-29's flight path to Hiroshima to drop the nuclear device and the return journey. In large block letters Lewis wrote, "Hiroshima Bombing/Aug 6, 1945 8:15 a.m. This map was carried/on flight by Capt Bob Lewis" on the far right-hand portion of the map.

Nov 15, 2005

GPS & Digital Maps Combined To Increase Helicopter Safety

Using global positioning system technology along with digital maps, Honeywell has developed a new, enhanced ground proximity warning system, a system it says greatly increases helicopter safety. The system, as described in the Fort Worth Star-Telegram, is designed to help prevent one of the leading causes of helicopter crashes: pilots flying into hills, trees and other obstacles. Because they fly relatively close to the ground in urban areas, hills, buildings and communication towers pose quite a risk to helicopters, especially at night or in bad weather.

Honeywell's system contains digital maps on a single memory chip, but which a special difference. The maps contain the location of approximately 100,000 known towers and other obstacles, as well as 5,000 offshore oil rigs. Because the system uses the digital maps, it can warn the pilot of approaching hazards before they can be seen. The system displays approaching obstacles in red on a screen. If the pilot continues towards the hazard, a warning light flashes and finally a voice comes on urging the pilot to change course. The system has already gained widespread acceptance within the oil services industry and several manufacturers are making it standard equipment on their new models.

Nov 14, 2005

Golden Age Of Maps?

The Charlotte Observer has taken a look at the increasing use of the internet and GPS and is predicting a "golden age" of maps.

For almost as long as there has been civilization, there have been maps -- to record the boundaries of property and territories, to identify landmarks, to show the way to destinations.

Now, thanks to satellite photography, global information systems and advances in computer technology, cartographers -- professional and amateur -- are entering what promises to be a new golden age of maps.

Over the last 10 years, the Internet has revolutionized access to mapping tools. Millions print maps and travel directions every day, all swiftly generated on a half-dozen free and easy-to-access sites.

Global Positioning System units in cars use a network of stationary satellites to guide travel with astonishing precision. Hand-held GPS units can locate anyone at any place on the globe, and even allow some techno-geeks to play an increasingly popular and sophisticated form of hide-and-seek.

Among the innovations the Observer cites that have been made possible by the, "marriage of maps, computers and the Internet":

  • Cities can make real-time assessments of development patterns.

  • Third World countries can plan for growth to lessen environmental damage of development.

  • Tracking bird flu in Asia. Managing explosive urban development in China.

The Observer is also excited by the fact that, "Anyone can become a sophisticated cartographer..." using the National Atlas of the United States of America.

The last three innovations cited are:
The National Aeronautics and Space Administration's Shuttle Radar Topography Mission; Google Earth; and the countless mash-ups.

Complete article here.

Amateurs Map 800 Miles of Trails With GPS

It looks like global positioning system (GPS) equipment has made map making so easy that amateurs are getting into it. The Connecticut Record-Journal details how volunteers working with the the Connecticut Forest & Park Association have recently updated maps of 800 miles of the, "Blue-Blazed Hiking Trails" that traverse the state. The maps were first published in 1937 by the non-profit group, and have been regularly updated ever since. This edition of the atlas, known as the, "Walk Book" marks the first time GPS equipment has been used in the update.

The Record-Jounal explains:

Volunteers for the nonprofit association spent three years mapping the 800 miles of trails using GPS equipment. The result is a guide that is a lot more accurate and a lot more clear, certainly a boon to hikers as well as landowners. About 40 percent of the trails are on or cross private land, the rest on municipal or state property.

Using such equipment, Vernon resident George Arthur led a team that traversed 800 miles of trail. "“Towards the end we had two teams going"” in a push to get the information to a cartographer, Arthur said.

The team would take a GPS reading every eight meters or so, pinpointing exact latitude and longitude positions. That information would be filed digitally and transferred to the computer Olson was using to compile the maps. The team consisted of a scout, someone carrying the GPS unit, another with a measuring wheel, followed by a note-taker.

"We needed the accuracy because a lot of people today walk with GPS units and want to know exactly where they are,"” said Arthur. "“We also needed to know whose property we were on."”

Nov 13, 2005

Resolving A 400-Year-Old Mystery

In the summer of 2007, a group of 14 men and women will sail and row a wooden boat into the Chesapeake Bay and up the Nanticoke River. The group will attempt to retrace the route of Captain John Smith's exploration in 1608. According to the Delmarva Daily Times, the trip has already garnered the attention of archaeologists, mariners, historians, cartographers and geographers.

An Incredibly Accurate Map
Smith prepared a map of his expedition. His map, published in England in 1612, is a valuable snapshot of what the bay looked like at the time of the first European contact. The map depicts about 200 American Indian villages. Wittin 40 years, the villages were all gone, their inhabitants the victims of disease or having been displaced by settlers. In addition to local villages, Smith's map is a detailed study of both sides of the Nanticoke River, showing its contour and tributaries that emptied into it. Describing Smith's map, Drew McMullen, President of the company building the boat told the Times, "His map is amazingly, shockingly accurate. You could navigate these rivers bend by bend with this map."

A 400-Year-Old Mystery
One question the reenactment will try to answer is, how did Smith cover so much of the Nanticoke River in so little time? Smith who is known for his skills as a soldier, not a sailor, indicates that the expedition was completed in just three days, during the hot and humid summer of 1608. While his 30-foot long ship was equipped with both oars and a sail, traversing such a huge area in a wooden boat stuffed arms and provisions would be an incredibly arduous, if not impossible task for the best of crews. Records seem to indicate that many of the 14 man crew were ill during the voyage.

Native American Cartography?
But if Captain Smith did not physically explore the entire area, how did he prepare such an accurate, detailed map of the area? Some speculate that Smith got some help with his map from Native Americans. Wayne Clark, an archaeologist with the Maryland Historical Trust suggests to the Times that the Indians might have sketched contours of the river and some creeks for Smith. "Who knew the river better?" Clark asked. "Smith's map of Nanticoke is one of the better maps of the bay's tributary system. Maybe the Indians drew him a map in the sand" and he copied it, Clark said.

Whether he copied it or mapped it himself, everyone agrees, the map is a remarkable document by a remarkable man.

Nov 11, 2005

For Sale: Tiny Tract For Tidy Sum

For those looking to really downsize, Owen County, Indiana has just the spot. The county has for sale, a one square inch piece of property in Jackson Township. That's right, a tract of land 1 inch by 1 inch. The asking price? $1,500.00, the amount of back taxes owed on the property. TV Station WISH reports that county officials speculate that someone bought the tiny piece of land to obtain fishing rights on a lake. When they failed to pay the taxes on it, the county foreclosed. The property can be yours if you are willing to pick up the back taxes.

Anyone interested in purchasing the property should stop by the Owen County Auditor's office to get a map showing its location. Because of the property's size, the county couldn't put up a for sale sign or they would be encroaching onto the neighbors lands.

Nov 10, 2005

New Flood Maps Of Miss. Coast Due Soon

The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) is schedule to publish new flood maps of the Mississippi coast on November 18, the Biloxi Sun Herald reported today. The new maps, which will be posted online, will depict flood elevations from 3 to 8 feet higher than the current maps. However, the new, higher, flood elevations are still lower than Hurricane Katrina's storm surge. "Quite frankly, in terms of hurricane storm surge, nothing compares to Hurricane Katrina. Not even close," Todd Davison, FEMA's mitigation director told the Sun Herald. Katrina's highest recorded surge was 35 feet, in west Pass Christian. FEMA officials say that it might be impossible to raise their flood elevation guidelines to protect structures based on Katrina's storm surge. The new flood elevations will be based on the "100-year" flood levels, as all flood maps have been. That means that another hurricane of the size and severity of Katrina would likely cause extensive flooding.

A frequent source of confusion, the, "100-year" flood elevation is based on a 1% chance in any given year that floodwaters will reach or exceed that elevation. That does not mean that the area will suffer a flood of that severity only once in a 100 years. FEMA used data from Katrina's flooding in preparing the new maps. However, the more recent data was combined with historical storm data.

FEMA is using sophisticated satellite technology to generate the new maps. In addition to showing the 100-year flood elevations, the new maps also will also show Katrina's storm surge. FEMA last published flood maps of the Mississippi coast in 1982 and was in the process of updating them when Katrina struck.

FEMA plans to have final versions of the maps in 18 months, when they will submit them to local governments for public review. Local governments must then adopt the new maps or be dropped from the National Flood Insurance Program. Until then, FEMA is urging coastal governments to require that residents rebuild using the new flood elevations.

Geocoding Saves LIves After Katrina

Rescue crews attempting to save people in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina faced a serious problem. Not only were the crews unfamiliar with the Gulf Coast area, but with floodwaters flowing down streets and many street signs missing, addresses of victims needing rescue were of very little use.

Enter the GIS professionals of GISCorps. The organiztion fielded 20 volunteers on the ground in Mississippi less than 48 hours after Katrina's landfall. The GIS professionals used a process called "geocoding," to convert street addresses into global positioning system (GPS) coordinates. Shoreh Elhami, director of GISCorps explained to CNN, "They would get phone calls, or the Coast Guard would come in with addresses in their hands and say, 'I need a latitude and longitude for this address.' So the GIS professionals would do a geocoding, give it to the Coast Guard who got on helicopters and saved lives."

After assisting in rescue operations, the GISCorps prepared maps detailing road conditions, power outages, underground gas storage, and facilities with hazardous materials. Since 2004, GISCorps, a part of the Urban and Regional Information Systems Association has responded to disasters such as the Asian tsunami and Hurricane Katrina, as well as other humanitarian efforts.

Online Mapping Services Reviewed

Walter S. Mossberg, technology writer for the Wall Street Journal recently reviewed the mapping services of Mapquest, Google Local, and Yahoo Maps, in a recent article.

Mossberg's observations:

These newer sites are free, like MapQuest, but they offer some fancy features, like the ability to pan across a map simply by moving your mouse's cursor, or zooming in or out on a location quickly. Google adds satellite photos of the actual locations, down to the trees in your front yard.

MapQuest looks a little dowdy by comparison to the newcomers, but it works for a lot of folks because it gets people from point A to point B, without any extra fuss. So, we tested these new features from Google and Yahoo to see if they were actually useful, or just a lot of hype that muddied up the direction-retrieval process.

Mossberg's review, which focused on the accuracy and usefulness of driving directions more than anything concluded:

Overall, we concluded that, for the sake of getting where you're going with the most-thorough directions, MapQuest still does the best job, with the most accurate directions. But Yahoo has a multipoint routing feature that's valuable. And, for some, the ability to quickly pan a geographic region on Yahoo and Google -- with satellite photos on the latter -- can familiarize them with the surrounding area and make the drive easier
Of course, regular map blogger will recall that Cartography recently reviewed seven different online map sites.

Updates On Recent Posts

1878 Map of New Orleans
T.S. Hardee's 1878 map of New Orleans is availible online here. All I could find with my original post was a thumbnail.

Thanks to Cartography.

Voters Decide Property Dispute

Texas voters approved Propisition 8 by a vote of 61% to 39%. The measure should settle the question of who holds title to disputed land in Upshur and Smith counties.

Site Issues

For those Bill Gates' disciples using Internet Explorer, yes I know this blog looks weird in IE, and I apologize. I'm trying to resolve the issue. But given that my HTML skills are pretty limited and I have to work on it in between working my real job and trying to have a real life, that may take awhile. Your patience is appreciated.

You might try Firefox. Geeks whose opinion I trust say it's much more secure than IE. Once you've surfed with Firefox's tabbed browsing, you'll never go back to the Microsoft browser. And it's free.

Get Firefox!

Nov 8, 2005

Surveying Missouri's Past

Interesting story today in the Columbian Misourian about a project by Missouri University geographer Jim Harlan who is preparing a digital map of the state as it appeared to settlers in the 1800's. Mr. Harlan, with a team of 45 undergraduate and 10 graduate students has taken 660 volumes of surveyor'’s notes and prepared a map of the state as it looked in the 1800's. He hopes that the project, which is 95 percent complete, will help bring Missouri'’s history to life in schools, for the general public, and correct some false perceptions about Missouri'’s natural history. In addition to the general public, the Nature Conservancy plans to use the maps to assess land in the Mark Twain National Forest in order to understand what the natural vegetation was like before settlers changed the habitat.

The surveyor's mapped out, and marked the land prior to the settler's arrival. As they surveyed off the land, traversing swamps, river bottoms, forests and underbrush, they noted the natural features they encountered. These notes, recorded in books with quill pens are first-hand descriptions of what the land looked like before the settler's began to clear and settle it.

When the project is finished, the map and data will be made available by the Missouri Spatial Data Information Service. Mr. Harlan plans to publish a book, detailing the travels of the surveyors and piecing together the humor and the tragedies.

Nov 7, 2005

GPS Navigation In Its Infancy?

The past 27 years have seen tremendous advances in global positioning system (GPS) technology. While the size and cost of receivers have continued to decrease, the system's accuracy has steadily increased. The Seattle Times reports today on research by the Stanford Center for Position, Navigation and Time to greatly improve the accuracy of satellite navigation. The goal of the research center is to create a navigation system capable of locating objects within 1 centimeter (0.39 inch) within the next 20 years.

GPS In Its Infancy
James Spilker one of the founders of the Stanford research center, and one of the creators of GPS, says that satellite navigation is just in its infancy. Technologies are coming to the forefront that will impact billions of people and millions of businesses," Spilker tells the Times. While consumers are getting comfortable with GPS navigation systems in their cars, the researchers envision one that could tell whether you are in your car or standing next to it.

New Technologies
Pinpoint accurate satellite navigation is just one of the technologies the center is working on. Inertial navigation, may allow sensors that could be embedded in GPS receivers and detect tiny movements, even when out of satellite detection. Silicon oscillators that could improve the reliability of GPS devices. Smarter antennas could improve GPS reception in hard-to-locate places, perhaps even underwater and underground.

New Applications
These new technologies could bring incredible new applications in both the military and commercial fields. Some possibilities might include: Super smart bombs and missiles that almost never miss; Airplanes capable of landing on an aircraft carriers without a pilot guiding them; Small robot helicopters capable of flying over unexploded mines and mapping them for soldiers to see. Commercials applications may include: A computer security system where anyone logging into to computer would have to prove they were in the location before being allowed to access the computer. A system to track Alzheimer's patients and alert caregivers if they did something out of character.

Nov 6, 2005

Investigation Of USGS Move Continues

The Inspector General's office of the the Department of Interior is investigating a recent decision by the U.S. Geologoical Survey (USGS) to locate the National Geospatial Technical Operations Center (NGTOC) in Denver. The Rolla Daily News (RDN) quotes Paul D. Okerberg, special agent in charge of the Eastern Region, as saying, "Any time people are being displaced, we make sure proper procedures were followed.” The consolidation by USGS, which has been put on hold, would have closed centers in Rolla, Missouri, Reston, Virginia, and Menlo Park, California.

Downsizing the program to one location was part of a ultimate goal to determine if it is more efficient to outsource mapping duties. However, the choice of Denver for the center was questioned in light of documents showing internal committees and an independent consultant recommended Rolla for the mapping center.

More from the Rolla Daily News:

Many speculate that USGS Assistant Director Karen Siderelis had ulterior
motives when she made the decision to locate the NGTOC in Denver.

Two Denver employees, Dale Benson and Sandra Hoyle, told the RDN that it would be easier to get contractors to bid on USGS jobs in Denver. Siderelis has ties to partners that could benefit if USGS outsources duties.

“I think the end result for Karen Siderelis is to do away with federal employees and give the money away to her little friends,” Hoyle said in an October interview with the RDN.

Nov 5, 2005

Judge Tosses Out SC Flood Map

U.S. District Judge Margaret Seymour threw out a flood map prepared by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) potentially clearing the way for the proposed $1 billion Green Diamond project south of Columbia, South Carolina. According to the Myrtle Beach Sun News, Burroughs & Chapin Co. Inc. had proposed to develop the 4,600 acre property along the Congaree River in Richland County.

In 2001, FEMA produced a new flood map, depicting 70 percent of the property in the flood plain. The new map ruled that levees placed along the river by a previous landowner were ineffective at protecting the property from flooding. Based on the new flood maps, Richland County then voted not to allow development in a flood zone, prohibiting the development. The developer then sued FEMA, arguing that the new flood maps were illegal, and that the method used to discount the effectiveness of the levees was scientifically flawed. While the judge's oral ruling backed the developer's claim, not addressed was what, if anything, FEMA could do to bring their map into compliance with the law. The parties await a formal written ruling, hoping that will give some guidance in the matter.

Nov 3, 2005

1878 Map Of New Orleans Shows Wisdom Of Original Settlers

With the federal government proposing to spend enormous sums to rebuild New Orleans, you often hear that the city should never have been built there in the first place. However, an article in today's New Orleans Times-Picayune reminds us that the founders of the city knew exactly what they are doing. The paper has compared the city, as depicted on civil engineer T.S. Hardee's 1878 map with the city today and concluded that the areas that were originally settled in New Orleans largely escaped Hurricane Katrina's storm surge. The reason? As depicted on the old map, the only area that was originally developed was the natural high bank of the Mississippi.

Further Explanation:
An 1878 map of New Orleans' settled areas shows that most of the city's 200,000 residents at the time clustered in a narrow swath along the Mississippi River, settling on the natural levees created by periodic floods.

It was still a good idea 127 years later. The city's old footprint corresponds closely to the small area that remained dry in the disastrous floods that came after Hurricane Katrina.

Consider the 1878 map of New Orleans, drawn by civil engineer T.S. Hardee, which shows a city whose east-west dimensions are similar to today's. But most of the populated area in 1878 is confined to a strip of the east bank of the Mississippi River that runs from the Jefferson Parish line down to Poland Avenue in the Bywater.

The old city made a few incursions into the area away from the river, mostly on ridges in Metairie, Gentilly and along Esplanade Avenue. The area between Canal Street and St. Bernard Avenue, toward today's City Park, was fairly well settled.

But other vast areas on the map, well populated when Katrina arrived, were plainly marked "cypress swamp": Lakeview, most of Gentilly, Broadmoor, Hollygrove, eastern New Orleans and the Lower 9th Ward on the lake side of St. Claude Avenue.

11/10/05 - Updated information, including a link to the map here.

Yahoo Releases Upgraded Map Service

The battle to attract web surfers with online maps is heating up. Yahoo Inc. has released a new, redesigned version of its online mapping system. According to the Associated Press, the new version is designed to make it easier to get driving directions to multiple destinations and find local merchants. The new release comes less than a month after Google upgraded its maps service . Users of Google Maps will find that Yahoo's feels very familiar. The new version features the ability to scroll across a map without reloading a web page, as well as the ability to obtain driving directions to several different city locations and have all the routes simultaneously displayed on the same Web page. Online mapping has become a prime battleground among the various search engines since it is one of the most popular features on the Web. .

Yahoo's new maps are available on a test basis at .

Mapping The Redcoats' Path

Using old maps, ship logs, and other information, a joint team is attempting to chart the course the British took on a five-mile path to assault the city of Kingston, New York during the Revolutionary War. In early October, 1777, the British army pursued American rebels through Kingston, which was then the capital of New York, burning much of the city during the attack. Station WSTM reports that the City of Kingston and the New York Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation have joined forces to map the route of the invading army with the hope of mapping the trail as part of a tourism project.

Nov 2, 2005

USGS Estimates Loss Of Louisiana Coastline

Hurricanes Katrina and Rita consumed approximately 100 square miles of southeastern Louisiana, according to a preliminary estimate by the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) that was released yesterday. Based on an analysis of Landsat satellite data from September and October, the agency estimated the areas of marsh that have been converted into open water. The USGS attributes the majority of the loss east of the Mississippi River to the effects of Hurricane Katrina'’s storm surge. Substantial marsh loss was detected east of the Mississippi River in St. Bernard and Plaquemines parishes as well as the upper and central portions of Breton Sound, where much of the land was converted into open water by ripping of the marsh or by marsh submergence.

The effects from Hurricane Rita were not as severe as Katrina in southeastern Louisiana though Hurricane Rita'’s storm surge caused new tears in fresh and intermediate marshes within Barataria and Terrebonne basins and reactivated older hurricane scars. HurricaeRita'’s storm surge did cause noticable marsh loss west of the Mississippi River to the Texas border.

While not all of the marsh loss is permanent, it is believed that much of the marsh will never return. The USGS National Wetlands Research Center plans future observations of satellite imagery as well as aerial photography to study the coastline over the next year to determine if some of the submerged marshes reemerge.

Timeline of Louisiana coastal land loss from USGS.

China To Build Five GPS Virtual Reference Stations

China has agreed to purchase five new Global Positioning System (GPS) reference stations from Trimble. Additionally, Trimble will install Virtual Reference Station (VRS) software to establish five new infrastructure networks throughout China. The networks will be installed in Shanghai, Wuhan, DongGuan, Tianjin and Beijing. The networks will provide a geo-spatial infrastructure in each area and provide fast and accurate GPS positioning for a variety of applications including surveying, urban planning, urban and rural construction, environmental monitoring, resource and territory management, disaster prevention and relief, precision agriculture, scientific research and transportation management. Trimble had previously installed its VRS networks in Shenzhen and Chengdu.