LIDAR Applications

Light detection and ranging, or LIDAR, is a type of remote sensing technology that is similar to radar. It is used in a variety of geographic and environmental applications to model and analyze the physical world. Often mounted to an airplane or motor vehicle, the sensing unit uses radio waves and the measured time delay between pulse transmission and reflected pulse receipt to determine the distance from an object. There are two styles in which this data can be received by the unit. Some units use what is called “discrete-return,”…

Creating a Favicon for Your Website

A favicon is a small icon associated with a website or a web page. Many favicons are simply the logo of the organization or business. In a browser, a favicon appears next to a website title when bookmarked. You will also see them in your browser tabs, and if you’re using Internet Explorer, the address bar. Firefox previously allowed them in the address bar, but removed this feature early last year to increase security and hide fraudulent SSL-esque favicons. Why use a favicon? Having a favicon is by no means…

Four Principles of Small Business Teaming

As a small professional services company, Zekiah is constantly evaluating opportunities and making decisions about how to approach and/or respond to those opportunities. One of the most important decisions that can be made as part of the bid/no-bid process is teaming. For small businesses, teaming can be the life blood of business development and building a good team can be the difference between a win and a loss. What follows are four principles regarding teaming that have served me well during the course of my career: Be open to teaming…

Best Practices for a Data Collection Event Using a GPS Unit

I have been a part of three different data collection efforts that collected line geometry and infrastructure of recreational trails. One effort was the development of the Fish and Wildlife Services (FWS) Trails Inventory Program. This effort involved collecting trails data in FWS national wildlife refuges across the United States. The second was an effort to collect trails data on all of the recreational trails at Haleakala National Park in Hawaii. This effort was based upon the FWS trails data collection with a few minor changes to how the data…

Intro to WordPress and Drupal

WordPress and Drupal are open source content management platforms powering millions of websites and applications. They allow you to easily organize, manage and publish your content, with an endless variety of customization. Both are written in the PHP programming language and depend on a MySQL database to hold content. Because WordPress and Drupal are Open Source projects, users and developers all over the world continue development on it, and you are free to use it without paying anyone a license fee. The best part about these platforms is that you can…

Ensuring Specific Feature Contents in Randomly Cropped Images

I am working on an application that show pictures with hidden objects in them and the user is supposed to find and click on them. It is very similar to some of the popular search-and-find games on Facebook. Here you can try it yourself. On the picture below, try to find the yellow submarine. Good. Now try to find it again in the picture below. That was pretty fast, wasn’t it? Well, that is a problem. It turns a fun task into a boring one of spatial memory. Now try…

Web Hosting Considerations

When setting up a website, one of the largest hurdles is deciding on a host site. Much time is spent deciding on pricing and the amount of resources that will be required, and this will be a quick walk through of the process. The first thing to take into consideration is any special needs your site will require, as for smaller sites (a personal blog for example) a paid host may not be required, as there are specialty hosts for many different applications, such as Wordpress, Blogger, etc. Some specialty…

Core Values of Management

Over the years of owning and managing Zekiah I’ve narrowed the core values of my management down to three main concepts. The core values apply whether I am managing an individual, a team, a project or my entire company. They are discipline, affirmation and tools. Let me explain… Discipline Discipline comes in many forms. The first and most important is setting the rules for people to work within. Inherently employees want to do a good job and clearly stating WHAT you want gives you the best chance of achieving that…

Getting Started With the Platform Independent Model – Tools and Applications

So nearly everything we have discussed so far is not really useful unless we can figure a way to get it to help with what we need to do with geospatial data. It's sort of like having the world's greatest bowling ball with no lanes. How do we make this help us with increasing productivity, promoting sharing, reducing user frustration, and making us 'cost competitive?' The simple, practical answer is flexible, user modifiable applications. What are these applications? Making practical use of a data standard involves a number of required…

Managing Geospatial Data Models With a PIM API

Much of the conceptual background and structure managing a geospatial data model using a platform-independent model (PIM) has been outlined in previous posts. And while it is useful to understand how the PIM is structured in the tables and views inside the PIM database, the critical knowledge relates to the way the PIM API retrieves and organizes this information, and details the properties and methods of the various PIM API objects. So if you are not particularly interested in the conceptual, now would be a good time to pay attention.…