SharedGeo Goes to WLIA Conference

February 20, 2014 by central No Comments

Technical Director Bob Basques mans the SharedGeo booth.

Technical Director Bob Basques mans the SharedGeo booth.

SharedGeo Executive Director, Steve Swazee, and Technical Director, 
Bob Basques, each gave presentations at the 27th annual
 Wisconsin Land Information Association (WLIA) conference February 
12-14 at the Marriot Madison West in Middleton, Wisconsin.  The
 conference focused on making the vision of Wisconsin’s GIS future into 
a reality and served as a platform to showcase the latest open source 
technology–including SharedGeo’s shared funding project, GeoMOOSE.

Executive Director Steve Swazee presented SharedGeo’s Minnesota Marker
 Project: “U.S. National Grid Trail Markers — Bringing
 Geo-location to a Trail Near You!”  The presentation discussed the 
technical and practical considerations for deploying the USNG marker 
system, and the ways it enhances safety and emergency response in 
recreational areas, like parks and trails. Mr. Swazee also talked 
about how markers have been deployed in Minnesota’s
 Arrowhead region, and how the markers are being considered for
 statewide adoption by snowmobile clubs and other outdoor enthusiasts.

Technical Director Bob Basques’s presentation highlighted SharedGeo’s
 Automatic Vehicle Locating (AVL) system. Basques discussed how the AVL 
system was built using GeoMOOSE, OpenLayers web clients, Mapserver, 
and the PostgreSQL database, and why the team chose to build their own
 web viewer instead of a commercial package. Mr. Basques also 
demonstrated AVL production services in a live view mode.

Both workshops were well attended, and SharedGeo’s booth in the
 exhibition hall experienced heavy traffic with conference-goers 
expressing strong interest in SharedGeo’s open source software,
 GeoMOOSE, Mr. Basques’s AVL project, and the USNG Minnesota marker
 project. You can learn about GeoMOOSE, the AVL project, or the USNG 
Minnesota marker project and all our other projects on the SharedGeo
 website.

GeoMOOSE and City of St. Paul Win Governor’s Award

November 3, 2013 by central No Comments

SCN_20131014112840_001 copy

SharedGeo is pleased to announce that the locally developed, geospatial open source program, GeoMOOSE, was recently recognized with a Commendation from Minnesota’s Governor, Mark Dayton.  The award was presented to the City of St. Paul for its role in the creation and release of GeoMoose as an open source project.

Administered by the  Minnesota Geospatial Information Office (MnGeo), the Governor’s Award honors a project or organization that “exemplifies a commitment to coordinated, affordable, reliable and effective use of GIS to improve services within Minnesota” by improving government responsiveness, promoting public access to information, and fostering and exemplifying the benefits of collaboration.  The first version of GeoMOOSE was developed by SharedGeo Technical Director, Bob Basques, SharedGeo chief programmer, James Klassen, and Dan Little, of D.B. Spatial, while they were employed by the city of St. Paul.

GeoMOOSE joins Mapserver as one of only two open source programs honored with the Minnesota Governor’s Geospatial Commendation Award. Earlier this year, GeoMOOSE also joined Mapserver as one of only two open source programs with Minnesota origins to be officially sanctioned by the Open Source Geospatial Foundation (OSGeo).

As an open source software, GeoMOOSE is available at no-cost to any organization that would like to serve spatial data publicly. You can learn more about GeoMOOSE and the Minnesota Governor’s Geospatial Commendation Award by visiting the GeoMOOSE and MnGeo websites.

SharedGeo to Participate in 2013 Give to the Max Day

November 3, 2013 by central No Comments

giveMN_tag_RGB_for webSharedGeo is proud to be participating in GiveMN’s 2013 Give to the Max Day on November 14.  As an IRS approved 501 (c) 3 non profit, SharedGeo relies on support from our friends in the community to continue our work with the emergency services sector, our groundbreaking efforts with the US National Grid project, and to continue providing and developing free, open source GIS software for the public.  We hope you will consider donating to SharedGeo on November 14.  To schedule your donation for Give to the Max Day, click here.

SharedGeo Executive Director & USNG Featured in “Living Ready” Magazine

September 1, 2013 by central No Comments

SharedGeo Executive Director and U.S. National Grid proponent Steve Swazee was featured in the article “One Grid to Rule them All” by Brett Ortler in Living Ready magazine’s Fall 2013 issue.

The article provides a brief history of the U.S. National Grid system including examples of how using the U.S. National Grid can overcome problems encountered by emergency responders when using latitude and longitude.  The article goes on to explain how the grid works. Using the National Grid coordinates for the Minnesota State Capitol Building as an example, Ortler details how the coordinates are broken down into zone designations, regional codes, and local coordinates to provide the most precise location information possible. Ortler also discussed how the U.S. National Grid can be used with both electronic and paper maps.

Ortler cites the simplicity and versatility of the U.S. National Grid as the primary reasons to use the system, and he features SharedGeo’s Minnesota Marker Project as a real-life example of the Grid in action.  Though currently in trials, the Minnesota Marker Project has led to at least one rescue and is being used as the model for other Grid programs throughout the country.

You can read more about SharedGeo’s efforts with the Minnesota Marker Project under the Projects tab. Check out the Living Ready website to learn more about the magazine and “One Grid to Rule them All.”

SharedGeo Helps Local Girl Scouts Get the Most Out of Maps

August 2, 2013 by central No Comments

Cookie on the Go MapOne of the greatest challenges facing public, private, and nonprofit organizations alike is effectively and efficiently identifying potential clients, markets, and/or patrons directly related to the organization’s mission or business.  However, Geographic Information Systems (GIS) mapping technologies can greatly simplify this process by organizing data into easy to understand, customizable diagrams and maps.

The Girl Scouts of Minnesota and Wisconsin River Valleys have already put GIS mapping technologies to work for them with Cookies on the Go maps, which identify the best neighborhoods for selling cookies, based on which areas are without or have very few Girl Scouts.  Cookies on the Go maps, originally created by Alison Slaats with Envision Minnesota, break down census blocks and household density data into easy to understand selling-area maps tailored for use by individual Girl Scouts.  Slaats, who currently works at GIS nonprofit, SharedGeo, made over 1600 Cookies on the Go maps for the Girl Scouts of Minnesota and Wisconsin River Valleys in 2013.

With the success of the Cookies on the Go maps, the Girl Scouts of Minnesota and Wisconsin River Valleys have begun using GIS mapping technologies to identify potential new scouts and better serve the girls in their communities. “We have been using the spreadsheets and maps to identify girls within our jurisdiction, and the [spreadsheets and maps] have helped us identify where to focus our resources to better serve Girl Scouts in the community,” said Sara Ernst, Membership and Volunteer Services Director at the Girl Scouts of Minnesota and Wisconsin River Valleys.

The Enrollment Potential project, created by Slaats with SharedGeo, uses demographic information from the Minnesota, Wisconsin, and Iowa Departments of Education to identify which communities are being underserved by the Girl Scout organization. The resulting spreadsheets and maps are arranged by service unit area, showing the number of girls in each school in 49 counties, then organizing this data by age and Girl Scout level.  According to Ms. Ernst, the GIS maps are useful for staff and volunteers to be able to know where girls are, so that they can better target resources to schools and communities without troops, know where troop leaders are needed, and where potential new troops can be formed.

As is demonstrated by the Cookies on the Go and Enrollment Potential maps, GIS mapping technologies can be used to fit a variety of needs. And, because most GIS projects are custom-built, the ability to apply mapping technologies to inform projects or processes is nearly boundless. Whether you need to find potential new clients or communities to serve, or just need to identify the best neighborhoods to sell cookies, using GIS mapping technologies is the smart, cost-effective, and user-friendly way to unlocking your organization’s data potential.

SharedGeo Goes to FOSS4G-NA

June 17, 2013 by central No Comments

FOSS4G-NASharedGeo was a sponsor and exhibitor at the 2013 Free and Open Source Software 
for Geospatial
 North America Conference (FOSS4G-NA), which took place May 22 through May 24 at the Minneapolis Marriott City Center and was attended by nearly 400 people. SharedGeo Executive Director, Steve Swazee, and Technical Director, Bob Basques, shared and discussed SharedGeo’s wide range of capabilities, products, services and projects with FOSS4G-NA attendees.

FOSS4G_Booth_Small copy

Mr. Swazee introduced enthusiastic FOSS4G-NA conference-goers to SharedGeo’s many ongoing projects, like the U.S. National Grid Emergency Marker project (USNG), and distributed fliers about SharedGeo and the Director’s Blog.  Mr. Basques engaged attendees with technical and coding information about SharedGeo’s variety of open-source software products, while showing demonstrations of 3D Maps in browsers and videos of drone flights. Mr. Basques and Cory Karsten also delivered a well-attended presentation about their Automatic Vehicle Location (AVL) implementation efforts in the City of St. Paul.

SharedGeo Administrative Director, Nancy Read, also played a key role at FOSS4G-NA by leading SharedGeo’s role of fiscal agent for the conference.   In addition, Dr. Read presented with Brian Fischer of Houston Engineering on the open source suite of software being used at the Metropolitan Mosquito Control District.  Dr. Read and Mr. Basques—along with representatives from the DNR, Portland TriMet, and AppGeo—also served as panelists for a discussion on the use of open-source software for state and local governments.

One-Dollar Bitner-Small copySharedGeo was also represented by Chief Programmer and Technology Developer, Jim Klassen, who served on a panel of experts that discussed the merits of various geo-portals.  Mr. Klassen also met with GeoMOOSE coders for a code sprint on the final day of the conference.

The success of the FOSS4G-NA 2013 was due in large part to the leadership of David Bitner, owner of dbSpatial LLC, along with a team of dedicated volunteers.

SharedGeo Featured in St. Paul Pioneer Press

May 14, 2013 by central No Comments

SharedGeo and the US National Grid (USNG) Emergency Markers Project were featured in the May 12th issue of the St. Paul Pioneer Press.  The article, written by Pioneer Press tech writer Julio Ojeda-Zapata, discussed SharedGeo’s role in the inception of the Marker Project and how the marker designs have evolved over years of trial-and-error.

The article also detailed how the markers help emergency responders locate emergencies, using real-life stories of people whose lives were saved because of the USNG markers.  Mr. Ojeda-Zapata discussed the future of the Marker Project, and the distinct possibility of the markers being implemented on a national scale.  So far, the markers are being tested in Minnesota’s Arrowhead region.

SharedGeo Executive Director, Steve Swazee, and Technical Director, Bob Basques, were interviewed for the Pioneer Press’s piece entitled, “Minnesota Marker Signs Might Look Funny—Until You’re Lost and Need One.”  Check out Julio Ojeda-Zapata’s blog for more on the Marker Project.

GeoMOOSE Becomes OSGeo Sanctioned Software

May 1, 2013 by central No Comments

geomooseSharedGeo is pleased to announce that after a six-year application process, our shared funding project GeoMOOSE has become officially sanctioned by the Open Source Geospatial Foundation, or OSGeo. GeoMOOSE went through the OSGeo Incubation process, which included a review of software licensing, the creation of a community-run Project Steering Committee, and the addition of promotional support from OSGeo. The project was facilitated with support from OSGeo volunteer, Jody Garnett, the GeoMOOSE project mentor. As officially sanctioned software, GeoMOOSE will be a featured project on the OSGeo website and joins MapServer as only the second program with Minnesota origins to be blessed by OSGeo. GeoMOOSE software is downloadable for free, and is useable under an OSI-certified open source license.

GeoMOOSE is an Open Source Web Client JavaScript Framework for displaying distributed cartographic data.  GeoMOOSE excels at creating a useful web-based GIS environment for those who need something that works from the first download. The GeoMOOSE demo (available on the GeoMOOSE website) contains a fully operating web-based parcel application. It can render, investigate, and even edit layers without the need to write a single line of code.

Want to learn more? Visit the OSGeo or GeoMOOSE websites for additional information and to download GeoMOOSE 2.6.1! You can also learn more about GeoMOOSE and SharedGeo’s other projects in the SharedGeo Project Portfolio.

SharedGeo Presents on the US National Grid at Cook County Emergency Management Conference

April 30, 2013 by central No Comments

Cook CountySharedGeo Executive Director Steve Swazee and Technical Director Bob Basques presented at the Cook County Emergency Management Conference, which took place April 26-27, 2013.

On Friday evening, April 26th, Basques and Swazee’s met with a community focus group to discuss the ongoing Minnesota Marker pilot project underway in adjoining Lake County.  During this presentation, Basques and Swazee discussed SharedGeo’s efforts to develop standardize U.S. National Grid (USNG) emergency location markers that can be used throughout the United States. Swazee and Basques also received valuable feedback and ideas about how the signs could be used to help authorities respond to emergencies, continuing the collaborative spirit of the USNG project underway in Lake County.

On Saturday morning, April 27th, Swazee and Basques provided two hours of USNG instruction covering the rational for U.S. National Grid use, basic concepts, GPS interface, map reading, and anticipated future developments.  Among the attendees were several local trail managers who indicated they were excited about the potential use of USNG in their Search and Rescue efforts.

For more information, see Bob Basques and Steve Swazee’s USNG presentation (see presentation called: “U.S. National Grid Trail Markers – Bringing Geolocation to a Trail Near You” and the SharedGeo’s USNG Marker project page.

SharedGeo presents at the 2013 Nonprofit Tech & Communications Conference

April 15, 2013 by central No Comments

MCN_Logo (1)On April 10, SharedGeo Development Director, Sally Wakefield, and Technical Director, Bob Basques, spoke at the 2013 Nonprofit Technology & Communications Conference, an annual conference hosted by the Minnesota Council of Nonprofits.  SharedGeo was one of more than 50 exhibitors in attendance who showcased technology-based products and services, along with educational seminars.

Mr. Basques and Ms. Wakefield’s presentation discussed how nonprofit and government organizations can benefit from the use of Open-Source Geospatial mapping technology.  Ms. Wakefield examined how free, open-source technologies can assist organizations with program and service development, member development and fundraising, and communications.  Mr. Basques delved into the technical details of how SharedGeo and other nonprofit and government organizations use GIS.  He also showed examples of how the recently OSGeo sanctioned software, GeoMOOSE, could be used in a range of projects.

To learn more, see Bob Basques’s presentation and Sally Wakefield’s presentation.