Category Archives: Technology

Bloomberg Businessweek Magazine: Saving Elephants In Kenya With Drones and Google Earth

The November 4, 2013 Issue of Bloomberg Businessweek has an article about park rangers using drones and Google Earth to help save elephants in Kenya, where poaching is a serious problem. The rangers use radio collars with GPS to track important members of elephant herds, and then plot this information on Google Earth. When the herds get close to known locations of poachers, one of three drones is sent out to scare the animals in the other direction.

The article quotes James Hardy, the manager of Mara North Conservancy: “Drones are basically the future of conservation…A drone can do what 50 rangers can do.”

This is a great example of the application of GIS, drone technology, and actual decision making based on spatial data.

Landon Blake

APOGEO Magazine: Applications of GIS for Wildfire, Diamond Mining, and Wind Farms

The Summer 2013 Issue of APOGEO Magazine has multiple articles that highlight the application of GIS technology around the world. These articles include:

  1. An explanation of how GIS technology is used to manage wildfires in the United States. The article explains the phases of a wildfire that GIS can be used to manage and lists the data themes that are important in Wildfire GIS. It also talks about the types of sensors used to collect the data needed to support a Wildfire GIS.
  2. An article that shows how satellite imagery is used to track the location, size, and distribution of illegal diamond mines and mining activity in the alluvial deposits of Africa.
  3. An article that shows how wind farm planners use GIS to track long term studies of wind speed, direction, and duration on potential wind farms sites. It also describes the sonar/LIDAR technology that can be used to collect this wind data.

All of these are great examples of the application of GIS to real world challenges.

Landon Blake

GPS World: First Galileo Position Fix With Open Source Receiver

GPS World recently reported that researchers had obtained the first position from Galileo satellite signals using an open source GNSS receiver design. The position fix was obtained by a research team at the Statistical interference Department at the CTTC. The work done by the research team was part of the open source GNSS SDR Project.

The article also talks about the benefits of an open source GPS receiver. It says:

“With GNSS-SDR, researchers and technology enthusiasts can easily change the implementation of a certain functional block and assess the impact of that change on the whole receiver performance,” said Pau Closas, GNSS-SDR scientific advisor and Head of the Statistical Inference Department at CTTC. “This paves the way to innovative mass-market, industrial and scientific applications that could make use of Galileo signals but require non-standard features which are not present in mass-market receivers nor in costly professional equipment.”

An open source GPS receiver…That is super groovy cool!

Landon Blake


The Economist Magazine: US Congress Tries to Fix Software Patents…Again

The December 7, 2013 Issue of the Economist Magazine has an article that explains the US Congress is taking another stab at patent reform. The first attempt was the 2011 Patent Reform Law passed by Congress. However, the 2011 law hasn’t stopped patent trolls from shaking companies down for bogus software patents. The “Innovation Act” (the current attempt at patent reform) is supposed to fix that.

The article indicates that the Innovation Act will shift the costs of litigation to the loser and will force the patent holder to disclose how the company being sued is infringing on their patent, something that isn’t now required.

It sounds like this is a step in the right direction. It is too bad that Congress didn’t get this job done the first time.

Landon Blake

Geography Matters: Predicting The Spread of Malaria By Tracking Cell Phones

Market Place Tech Report had a recent podcast that talked about the use of cell phone location data to predict how outbreaks of Malaria will move through a population. This is a great example of how geography matters, and illustrates how geospatial data from mobile phones will allow us to learn a great deal more about the movement of people…and diseases.

Landon Blake