#Washington; #LibraryOfCongress; #Georeferencing; #rasterData; #SpatialReferenceInfo
Washington/Canadian-Media: The technology in the process of Georeferencing or adding digital spatial reference information to an otherwise non-spatial image is explained by Meagan Snow, Geospatial Data Visualization Librarian in the Geography and Map Division of the Library of Congress (LoC), LoC reports said.
Library of Congress. Image credit: Twitter handle
Addition of spatial reference information to a scanned map image facilitates the alignment of map image correctly with the geographic features it was built to represent.
This enables a user to layer any other spatial data file alongside (or on top of) their map image.
Snow makes use of the following 1967 map of the US Capitol grounds as an example.
Map showing properties under the jurisdiction of the Architect of the Capitol, 1967. Geography & Map Division, Library of Congress. Image credit: LoC
This map shows properties under the jurisdiction of the Architect of the Capitol in 1967. The Madison Building of the Library of Congress, home to the Geography & Map Division is missing in this map. The comparison of this 1967 map to today’s Capitol Hill Complex reveals how the area has changed over time.
Maps that are scanned as image files, explains Snow, and meets the criteria for what is called raster data: data composed of a continuous grid of cells (or pixels).
The fact that spatial data can commonly be stored in a raster format enables scanned map images to be loaded directly into GIS software without any file conversions needed.
It is the presence of “spatial reference information” in GIS software enables the Geographic data layers to align correctly when viewed through the software allows a user to manually add control points between the non-spatial scanned map image and a pre-existing GIS data layer that already has spatial reference information and displays correctly in GIS software.
Georeferencing tools (available in all of the most widely used GIS software options) provided by the software package they are using allows a user to place a control point by selecting a specific point on the scanned map image, and then selecting the exact same point on the GIS layer. Once the user adds a couple of control points, the scanned map image will begin to align with the existing data layer scale.
Beginning of the georeferencing process: two control points have been placed between the scanned map image and the current aerial imagery, bringing the scanned map image to the correct scale but not the correct placement.. Image credit: LoC
But for the rest of the map to be aligned, a user must continue to add control points, making sure they are well-distributed across the map image, until it is determined that the two layers are aligned properly. Here’s what the map looks like after 21 control points have been placed.
Completion of the georeferencing process: a number of well-distributed control points have been placed, bringing the scanned map image to both the correct scale and correct geographic placement. Image credit: LoC
The georeferencing can be saved after the completion of the process enabling the scanned map image to go to the right place in the world whenever it is loaded into GIS software.
In the lower right-hand corner of the map we can now see the current aerial footprint of the Madison Building where it was missing.
The 1967 map of the Capitol grounds is layered against current aerial imagery, showing 50 years of changes to the Capitol Complex, including the construction of the Library of Congress’ Madison Building. Image credit: LoC
A georeferencing a scanned image has many uses, primary reason being it allows a map user to view the map in geographic context with any number of other spatial data sources and further enables the user compare maps created at different scales or in different times periods.
The users are also facilitated to see an older map juxtaposed against current aerial imagery or spatial data as well as to use the scanned map image as a basis for the creation of new spatial datasets.
#Ottawa; #COVIDAlertGlitch; #ExposureNotification; #GooglePlayStore; #AppleAppStore
Ottawa/Canadian-Media: Canada's COVID Alert app glitch, that left some Canadian users without exposure notifications for much of November, was fixed last week by the developers, media reports said.
Covid Alert app. Image credit: Twitter handle
A glitch in the COVID Alert prevented the app from checking for potential exposure to the coronavirus on certain devices for at least two weeks in November.
An update to the app released on Nov. 23 said it would fix a "bug causing gaps in exposure checks for some users."
The uncertainty of the number of people who missed exposure notifications due to the glitch, raises the prospect that certain people were not advised to self-isolate or seek a COVID-19 test in a timely manner, presumably delaying diagnosis.
This episode highlights how the app could provide users with a false sense of security, said Kelly Bronson, a Canada Research Chair in science and society and serves on the Global Pandemic App Watch program at the University of Ottawa, which tracks the uptake of similar tools around the world, pointed out "automation bias" -- human tendency to rely on automated decision-making, which can reduce personal vigilance and warned that the apps
"are not a panacea."
"I think it's really important that people know the limitations of these technologies," she said, CBC News reported.
The process of receipt by a smartphone codes from a central server of exposure to Covid 19 is supposed to take place several times a day.
Several users said on the social media that their devices did not show any exposure checks from Nov. 9 to 23 .
The problem was presumably first been reported by commenters in the Google Play Store as early as Nov. 12 "I noticed today that COVID Alert has done no exposure checks for the last two weeks," a user wrote in Apple's App Store on Nov. 20. "What good is this?," reported by CBC News.
Users of Android devices are requested to check their the Google Play App Store, and users of iPhones should check with their Apple's App Store to ensure their Covid19 Alert app is updated.
#Quebec; #Covid19AlertApp; #SmartPhones; #PotentialExposure; #HealthCanada
Quebec, Oct 07 (Canadian-Media): Quebec's adoption of the COVID-19 Alert app, and Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island (PEI)'s commitment to join it in the coming days, has left British Columbia (B.C.), and Alberta as the only remaining provinces with no immediate plans to activate the app, media reports said.
Covid19 Alert App, Image credit: Twitter handle
The federal government-administered Bluetooth technology with smartphones, COVID-19 Alert app, with its expert notification framework developed jointly by tech giants Apple and Google, facilitates users to communicate when they are less than two meters apart for at least 15 minutes prompts them of a positive coronavirus test and alert others of potential exposure.
"The app will only really help us if many people choose to activate it," Quebec Premier François Legault told reporters shortly after he downloaded the app, CBC News reported.
Ottawa Public Health said that the first prompt of the exposure notification of COVID-19 diagnosis last month was through the COVID-19 alert app.
As Health Canada says it awaits additional features of the COVID-19 alert app but insists that adoption of the app "as is" by all provinces and territories should be a priority.
Initially, Quebec had resisted joining the app, but being confronted by a steep increase in COVID-19 infections, reporting more than 1,000 new cases daily for the last 10 days, necessitated it to join the app.
#Microsoft; Holograms; #CloudStorage; #MicrosoftResearch
New York, Sep 24 (Canadian-Media): When people think of holograms, they may think of the small insignia on credit cards that appear to move as you rotate the card. Or they may think of recent rock concert spectacles featuring realistic 3-D performances by singers who are no longer alive. Whitney Houston, Roy Orbison, Tupac Shakur, Buddy Holly and Ronnie James Dio drew rave reviews from fans in 'live' performances made possible by holography even though they all have been dead for years, techxplore.com/news reports said.
Holograms consist of a series of special types of image created by laser using diffraction to project a three-dimensional image, preserving depth and parallax aspects of the original image.
Invented by a Hungarian physicist Dennis Gabor in the 1940s, the technology is now playing a key role in efforts to create new modes of storage in an era in which global digital content is growing exponentially.
In view of ever greater storage demands, Microsoft's AI research labs at Cambridge partnered with colleagues at cloud storage giant Azure to rethink storage solutions based on holography.
The initiative—Project HSD (Holographic Storage Device)—was announced at Microsoft's virtual Ignite 2020 conference this week.
The project continues on the work begun under Project Silica in 2017, at which time Microsoft explained that traditional cloud storage methods are no longer sufficient to keep up with skyrocketing storage needs.
"The demand for long-term data storage in the cloud is reaching unprecedented levels, and continues to grow into the zettabytes," Microsoft said. "Existing storage technologies do not provide a cost-effective solution for storing long-lived data. Operating at such scales in the cloud requires a fundamental re-thinking of how we build large-scale storage systems, as well as the underlying storage technologies that underpin them."
Microsoft said this week that current storage technologies are not improving at a sufficient pace and that they also "face reliability and performance challenges due to the mechanical moving parts in hard disk drives and the declining endurance of flash cells."
Advances in optical technologies such as smartphone cameras and the expansion and development of cloud storage systems open up opportunities through holographic solutions, Microsoft said.
"Growth in demand for cloud storage has highlighted the need to rethink our storage systems from the media up," Microsoft said.
Holography promises extraordinary improvements in storage capacity because for the first time, storage media will not be restricted to two surfaces of a storage disk but, rather, will take advantage of the volume of the media used.
Holographic storage uses an optical crystal to read and write data. Using the entire volume of the crystal, an enormous number of data sets can be stored. Erasing is easily accomplished through the use of UV light. Researchers say this is more efficient than flash devices, which not only are more expensive but have limited read and write capacities. It also is superior to hard drives that depend on movable parts subject to wear and tear.
"The hologram occupies a small volume inside the crystal, which we think of as a zone, and multiple pages can be recorded in the same physical volume or zone," Microsoft said. Recent software improvements achieved through AI allowing for one-to-one pixel matching, for instance, mean simpler and less expensive optics can be used to achieve even better results than before.
So far, Microsoft Research says it has attained a near doubling of density in holographic storage tests, and that it expects improved compression and faster access rates in the coming months.
The Project HSD team is composed of experts in physics, optics, machine learning and storage systems. It is part of the Optics for the Cloud group at Microsoft Research Cambridge, which is exploring storage solutions based on cloud and optic technologies.
#UN; #Nairobi; #GreenNudgets; #UNEP; #EnvironmentallyFriendlyHabits; #GreenerLifestyles
Nairobi, Sep 4 (Canadian-Media): The UN Environment Programme (UNEP) today launched a new publication, “The Little Book of Green Nudges”, which aims to inspire up to 200 million students around the globe to adopt environmentally friendly habits and greener lifestyles.
Image credit: Twitter handle
The book is UNEP’s first on behavioural science and nudge theory, which focuses on human actions and how to change them, and was drafted with The Behavioural Insights Team and GRID-Arendal. It contains 40 ready-made nudges - simple measures that make it easier to make green choices – which university campuses can deploy to encourage students and staff to embrace more sustainable behaviours. Nudging can be a powerful tool at universities, especially when deployed alongside strategies like decarbonizing and divesting from fossil fuels. UNEP will be sharing insights from the publication at the World Academic Summit with leaders of some of the world’s top universities.
The Little Book of Green Nudges contains evidence-based guidance on implementing nudges, centered around techniques such as resetting default options, changing the framing of choices, and harnessing social influence. It also includes case studies of nudging interventions rolled out at universities from Thailand to Kenya, Finland and Colombia.
Examples of nudges recommended in the book include:
“Universities are the source of so much knowledge that students will continue to utilise throughout their lives – instilling sustainable habits and values should be a key part of this education, with the potential to shift to cleaner, greener societal behaviours,” UNEP Executive Director Inger Andersen said. “Changing behaviour is critical if we are to stay within our planetary boundaries. We invite higher education institutions across the world to join us in employing nudges on their campuses.”
David Halpern, Chief Executive of The Behavioural Insights Team, said: “Behavioural science research has shown how effective major life events such as starting university are for establishing new routines and habits which can often last a lifetime. It’s been really exciting to work with UNEP and GRID-Arendal on creating this series of easily achievable but powerful behaviour change ideas that will help students and their places of learning deliver major changes to their environmental and sustainability impacts both now and far into the future.”
“At Yale we have seen first-hand how powerful nudges can be. As highlighted in our case study, we were able to improve our recycling rates through some simple measures. We are sure that The Little Book of Green Nudges will be useful to universities all across the world who are looking for creative ways to enhance sustainability on their campuses,” said Lindsay Crum, Senior Manager, Data Analysis & Program Management at Yale University, which is one of the pilot universities.
With COVID-19 forcing a major rethink in higher education, redesigning processes and routines to make their campuses safer, this is a strategic time to make them more sustainable too by incorporating green nudges in their schools. Nudges have been shown to be particularly successful when they are introduced at timely moments of change.
Adopting green nudges could also make universities more desirable to prospective students who are looking to attend institutions that share their values. A recent survey found that 86 per cent of first-year students in the UK want their higher education institutions to actively incorporate and promote sustainable development.
GRID-Arendal Managing Director Peter Harris said: “Nudges are an important tool in our toolbox to help us cut carbon emissions, curb waste and encourage adoption of more sustainable diets and modes of travel. Seemingly small shifts can have dramatic impacts.”
#Newfoundland&Labrador; #CovidAlertApp, #ContactTracing
Newfoundland & Labrador, Sep 3 (Canadian-Media): Details of how the free COVID Alert App works were unveiled morning of Sep 3 morning by the the provincial government of Newfoundland and Labrador, the second Canadian province to sign up for the the federal government's exposure notification system, media reports said.
Covid Alert App. Image credit: Twitter handle
The app has been in operation in Ontario since the end of July.
When phones with this app are in contact at a distance closer than two metres for more than 15 minutes, that contact is logged via Bluetooth as a "digital handshake," a code of random numbers and letters in which no personal information is collected or stored.
When a person tests positive for COVID-19, another code, called a key, is given to the person by the public health officials to enter into the app, which then triggers an exposure alert to all phones with which it has logged contact over the last 14 days and alerts them that they might have been exposed to COVID-19, and gives them instructions on how to get tested.
All aspects to the program from downloading the app to entering a positive test code into it are voluntary, and code itself expires in 24 hours.
Dr. Janice Fitzgerald, the province's chief medical officer of health, stressed the app notifies of possible exposure to a case and is notified that a COVID-19 test is recommended.
"It's not going to replace contact tracing and that traditional expertise from public health, but it certainly is another tool that we can use," said Fitzgerald, the province's chief medical officer of health, adding contact tracing will continue for every positive case and added, "What we have to remember is that we're preparing for the future as well...this app will be useful," she said.
She added it will be useful for people who go to bars or nightclubs where they may be close to others they don't know
The app was previously inaccessible to seniors and people in lower socio-economic brackets as COVID Alert works on Apple and Android phones made in the last five years, using relatively new operating systems.
NL's Premier Andrew Furey said Sep 3 the province is working with community organizations to figure out best ways to eliminate those barriers.
"The more people who download the app, the better," he said.
In late August, Quebec decided against using the app, citing lack of public support due to privacy concerns as one reason.
Officials Thursday stressed the app does not collect or store personal information. The federal privacy commissioner was also consulted on the app's development.
"It's been subject to a lot of scrutiny. And we're confident that this app does not involve the collection of personal information by the government or by a company," Michael Harvey, the province's information and privacy commissioner said Sep 3.
The app is available through Apple and Google's app stores.
#Japan, #JapanSkyDriveInc; #FlyingCar
Japan, Aug 31 (Canadian-Media): Japan's SkyDrive Inc., among the myriads of "flying car" projects around the world, has carried out a successful though modest test flight with one person aboard, https://techxplore.com/news reports said.
This photo taken at the beginning of August, 2020 and released by ©SkyDrive/CARTIVATOR 2020, shows a test flight of a manned '"flying car" at Toyota Test Field in Toyota, central Japan. Japan's SkyDrive Inc., among the myriads of "flying car" projects around the world, has carried out a successful though modest test flight with one person aboard.
Image credit: (©SkyDrive/CARTIVATOR 2020 via AP)
The decades-old dream of zipping around in the sky as simply as driving on highways may be becoming less illusory.
In a video shown to reporters on Friday, a contraption that looked like a slick motorcycle with propellers lifted several feet (1-2 meters) off the ground, and hovered in a netted area for four minutes.
Tomohiro Fukuzawa, who heads the SkyDrive effort, said he hopes "the flying car" can be made into a real-life product by 2023, but he acknowledged that making it safe was critical.
"Of the world's more than 100 flying car projects, only a handful has succeeded with a person on board," he told The Associated Press.
"I hope many people will want to ride it and feel safe."
The machine so far can fly for just five to 10 minutes but if that can become 30 minutes, it will have more potential, including exports to places like China, Fukuzawa said.
Unlike airplanes and helicopters, eVTOL, or "electric vertical takeoff and landing," vehicles offer quick point-to-point personal travel, at least in principle.
They could do away with the hassle of airports and traffic jams and the cost of hiring pilots, they could fly automatically.
Battery sizes, air traffic control and other infrastructure issues are among the many potential challenges to commercializing them.
"Many things have to happen," said Sanjiv Singh, professor at the Robotics Institute at Carnegie Mellon University, who co-founded Near Earth Autonomy, near Pittsburgh, which is also working on an eVTOL aircraft.
"If they cost $10 million, no one is going to buy them. If they fly for 5 minutes, no one is going to buy them. If they fall out of the sky every so often, no one is going to buy them," Singh said in a telephone interview.
The SkyDrive project began humbly as a volunteer project called Cartivator in 2012, with funding by top Japanese companies including automaker Toyota Motor Corp., electronics company Panasonic Corp. and video-game developer Bandai Namco.
A demonstration flight three years ago went poorly. But it has improved and the project recently received another round of funding, of 3.9 billion yen ($37 million), including from the Development Bank of Japan.
The Japanese government is bullish on "the Jetsons" vision, with a "road map" for business services by 2023, and expanded commercial use by the 2030s, stressing its potential for connecting remote areas and providing lifelines in disasters.
Experts compare the buzz over flying cars to the days when the aviation industry got started with the Wright Brothers and the auto industry with the Ford Model T.
Lilium of Germany, Joby Aviation in California and Wisk, a joint venture between Boeing Co. and Kitty Hawk Corp., are also working on eVTOL projects.
Sebastian Thrun, chief executive of Kitty Hawk, said it took time for airplanes, cell phones and self-driving cars to win acceptance.
"But the time between technology and social adoption might be more compressed for eVTOL vehicles," he said.
#London; #UnitedKingdom; #InternetSpeed; #Covid19
London (United Kingdom), Aug 23 (Canadian-Media): The world's fastest data transmission rate has been achieved by a team of University College London engineers who achieved internet transmission speed a fifth faster than the previous record, https://techxplore.com/news/2020 news reports said.
Dr Lidia Galdino, UCL Electronic & Electrical Engineering. Credit: University College London
Working with two companies, Xtera and KDDI Research, the research team led by Dr. Lidia Galdino (UCL Electronic & Electrical Engineering), achieved a data transmission rate of 178 terabits a second (178,000,000 megabits a second) – a speed at which it would be possible to download the entire Netflix library in less than a second.
The record, which is double the capacity of any system currently deployed in the world, was achieved by transmitting data through a much wider range of colors of light, or wavelengths, than is typically used in optical fiber. (Current infrastructure uses a limited spectrum bandwidth of 4.5THz, with 9THz commercial bandwidth systems entering the market, whereas the researchers used a bandwidth of 16.8THz.)
To do this, researchers combined different amplifier technologies needed to boost the signal power over this wider bandwidth and maximized speed by developing new Geometric Shaping (GS) constellations (patterns of signal combinations that make best use of the phase, brightness and polarization properties of the light), manipulating the properties of each individual wavelength. The achievement is described in a new paper in IEEE Photonics Technology Letters.
The benefit of the technique is that it can be deployed on already existing infrastructure cost-effectively, by upgrading the amplifiers that are located on optical fiber routes at 40-100km intervals. (Upgrading an amplifier would cost £16,000, while installing new optical fibers can, in urban areas, cost up to £450,000 a kilometer.)
The new record, demonstrated in a UCL lab, is a fifth faster than the previous world record held by a team in Japan.
At this speed, it would take less than an hour to download the data that made up the world's first image of a black hole (which, because of its size, had to be stored on half a ton of hard drives and transported by plane). The speed is close to the theoretical limit of data transmission set out by American mathematician Claude Shannon in 1949.
Lead author Dr. Galdino, a Lecturer at UCL and a Royal Academy of Engineering Research Fellow, said: "While current state-of-the-art cloud data-center interconnections are capable of transporting up to 35 terabits a second, we are working with new technologies that utilize more efficiently the existing infrastructure, making better use of optical fiber bandwidth and enabling a world record transmission rate of 178 terabits a second."
Since the start of the COVID-19 crisis, demand for broadband communication services has soared, with some operators experiencing as much as a 60% increase in internet traffic compared to before the crisis. In this unprecedented situation, the resilience and capability of broadband networks has become even more critical.
Dr. Galdino added: "But independent of the COVID-19 crisis, internet traffic has increased exponentially over the last 10 years, and this whole growth in data demand is related to the cost per bit going down. The development of new technologies is crucial to maintaining this trend towards lower costs while meeting future data rate demands that will continue to increase, with as yet unthought-of applications that will transform people's lives."
Washington; #US; #China; #ByteDance; TikTok; #ExecutiveOrder
Washington, Aug 15 (Canadian-Media): An executive order had been issued Aug 15 by United States (US) President Donald Trump demanding China's ByteDance, the owner of TikTok to divest interests in TikTok's US operations within 90 days.
TikTok. Image credit: Twitter handle
“There is credible evidence that leads me to believe that ByteDance ... might take action that threatens to impair the national security of the United States,” Trump said in his order.
ByteDance is expected to destroy, under the latest order, all its copies of TikTok, a wildly popular short form video-sharing app, data attached to U.S. users, and le the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS) know when it has destroyed all that data.
"In order to effectuate this order, not later than 90 days after the date of this order, unless such date is extended for a period not to exceed 30 days, on such written conditions as the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS) may impose, ByteDance, its subsidiaries, affiliates, and Chinese shareholders, shall divest all interests and rights in: any tangible or intangible assets or property, wherever located, used to enable or support ByteDance's operation of the TikTok application in the United States, as determined by the Committee," Trump said in the order on Friday.
ByteDance responded Aug 14 to Trump’s latest order with the following statement: “As we’ve said previously, TikTok is loved by 100 million Americans because it is a home for entertainment, self-expression, and connection. We’re committed to continuing to bring joy to families and meaningful careers to those who create on our platform for many years to come.”
#Ottawa, #loweringSpeedLimits; #SavesLives; #ClimateBenefits; #SlowsClimateChange
Ottawa, Aug 14 (Canadian-Media): The attempt to lower speed limits in Canadian cities from Edmonton to Montreal not only saves lives, but also leads to lead to indirect climate benefits by slowing down climate change, media reports said.
Lower Speed Limits. Image credit: Twitter handle
Natural Resources Canada estimated that an internal combustion engine driven vehicle with a speed of 120 km/h burns 20 percent more fuel than driving the same distance at 100 km/h.
Trucks with installed technology to limit their speed to 105 km/h, required by Ontario law were estimated to have reduced greenhouse gas emissions by 4.6 megatonnes between 2009 and 2020.
But slowing down to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and air pollution would be not just on urban roadways but also on highways.
Certain pollutants such as nitrogen oxides are generated mainly at higher speeds, said Marianne Hatzopoulou, professor and Canada research chair in transportation and air quality at the University of Toronto.
Some eco-friendly driving tips from Hatzopoulo include sticking to the posted speed limit (or go slower if there's congestion or traffic signals ahead), Keeping a steady pace (cruise control can help), slowing of both acceleration and deceleration, and limiting the number of times you change speed which means fewer lane changes and less passing.
Lower speed limits lead to indirect climate benefits in discouraging car travel and, by making streets safer, encourage walking and cycling.
The city of Prince George, British Columbia, advocates reducing downtown speed limits to 30 km/h specifically to encourage walking and cycling as part of its 2020 climate mitigation plan.
"Slower speeds … actually create liveability," said Sandy James, a Vancouver-based urban planner who has been advocating for lower speed limits for years.
Tech & Innovation