by Kirk Goldsberry, Harvard Business Review, September 30, 2013
In its 375 years, Harvard has only ever eliminated one entire academic program. If you had to guess, what program do you think that was and when was it killed off? The answer: Harvard eradicated its Geography Department in the 1940s, and many universities followed suit. … As I look out on the world of data visualization, I see a lot of reinventing of the wheel precisely because so many young, talented visualizers lack geographical training. … Which brings us back to the sheer lack of geographical training available.”
To read this thoughtful and timely essay, visit: http://blogs.hbr.org/2013/09/teaching-and-learning-visualiz/
- The Importance of Spatial Thinking Now (blogs.hbr.org)
Date: July 31, 2013
Subject: NSDI Strategic Plan – Public Comment Period
I am pleased to announce that the Federal Geographic Data Committee (FGDC) is seeking public comment on the draft strategic plan for the National Spatial Data Infrastructure (NSDI). The draft plan, which has been developed through collaboration with partners and stakeholders in the geospatial community, describes a broad national vision for the NSDI and includes goals and objectives for the Federal government’s role in continued sustainable development of the NSDI.
I encourage you to review the plan and offer any comments for improvement. The strategic plan, along with instructions for providing comments, is posted at the following address: http://www.fgdc.gov/nsdi-plan and a copy is attached. Comments may be submitted electronically to: email@example.com. Comments are due by August 21, 2013.
The new NSDI plan is important and timely for several reasons. First, while the FGDC community has engaged in a series of strategic initiatives over the past several years, including the Geospatial Line of Business and Geospatial Platform initiatives, the current NSDI strategic plan has not been revised for a number of years. Second, geospatial technologies, industries, and applications have seen tremendous growth and change over the past several years, and our strategies need to be modernized to align with and leverage these changes. In addition, the recent report by the Government Accountability Office (GAO), “OMB and Agencies Need to Make Coordination a Priority to Reduce Duplication” (GAO-13-94), reaffirmed the importance of improving coordination and reducing potential duplication and recommended the development of an updated NSDI strategy.
As we have developed the plan, we have provided multiple opportunities for participation and input. These opportunities have included forums for leaders of key geospatial organizations, workshops for Federal leaders, sessions at geospatial professional conferences, and public meetings of the FGDC Coordination Group, the FGDC Steering Committee, and the National Geospatial Advisory Committee (NGAC). Our goal has been to engage leaders of key geospatial organizations in the early stages of the planning process, gather initial input, and seek continuing involvement. The input and suggestions we received from our partners, both within and outside of the Federal government, has been instrumental in shaping the new plan. The NGAC, in particular, has provided extensive and thoughtful input into the plan.
Following the public comment period, a revised draft of the plan will be prepared for final review and adoption by the FGDC Steering Committee. Following completion of the strategic plan, the FGDC community will develop more detailed project plans for the goals and objectives in the strategic plan.
We appreciate your long-standing involvement and support for the NSDI, and we look forward to working with you and your organizations as we finalize and implement the new NSDI strategic plan. Additional information about the NSDI planning process is posted at: http://www.fgdc.gov/nsdi-plan. We will post additional information on the webpage as the planning process advances.
Anne J. Castle
Chair, Federal Geographic Data Committee
Assistant Secretary for Water and Science
U.S. Department of the Interior
This one-and-a-half-day NSF/CCC sponsored visioning workshop on Spatial Computing outlined an effort to develop and promote a unified agenda for Spatial Computing research and development across US agencies, industries, and universities (Report PDF).
The workshop identified (1) fundamental research questions for individual computing disciplines and (2) cross-cutting research questions requiring novel, multi-disciplinary solutions. The workshop included US leaders in academia and the public sector. Results of this workshop were presented to the NSF in order to inform possible funding initiatives.
The workshop included presentations from invited thought-leaders and agency representatives, brainstorming, and interactive demos and focus group sessions with spatial computing professionals.
Download the report (pdf) here:
- A national spatial planning framework for development announced (spyghana.com)
- Government considering National Spatial Development Framework (sonetco.wordpress.com)
Alex Fitzpatrick, Mashable, Dec 17, 2012
Sen. Al Franken of Minnesota is championing the cause of data privacy — specifically, he wants to keep the smartphone locations of women and children a secret from stalkers and third-party companies. Franken’s new bill, the Location Protection Privacy Act of 2012, would outlaw so-called “stalking apps,” software specifically designed to track a person’s movements via their phone’s GPS signal and which is marketed for nefarious purposes. What are stalking apps used for?During testimony last week to the Senate Judiciary Committee, Franken told the story of a Minnesota woman whose abuser was sending threatening text messages based on her location.
For full text of the article, visit Senator Wants to Keep Women’s GPS Data Away From Stalkers.
Congressional Research Service Summary
Latest Title: Location Privacy Protection Act of 2011
Sponsor: Sen Franken, Al [MN] (introduced 6/16/2011) Cosponsors (6)
Latest Major Action: 12/17/2012 Placed on Senate Legislative Calendar under General Orders. Calendar No. 567.
Location Privacy Protection Act of 2011 – Amends the federal criminal code to prohibit a nongovernmental individual or entity engaged in the business of offering or providing a service to electronic communications devices from knowingly collecting, obtaining, or disclosing to a nongovernmental individual or entity geolocation information from an electronic communications device without the express authorization of the individual using the device. Defines “geolocation information” as any information concerning the location of an electronic communications device and used to identify or approximate the location of the electronic communications device or the individual using the device. Makes exceptions: (1) necessary to locate a minor child or provide fire, medical public safety, or other emergency services; (2) for the sole purpose of transmitting the geolocation information to the individual or another authorized recipient; or (3) expressly required by state, regulation, or appropriate judicial process.
Hearing on: H.R. 2168, the “Geolocational Privacy and Surveillance Act,” Thursday 5/17/2012 – 10:00 a.m. at 2141 Rayburn House Office Building, Washington, DC. House of Representatives Subcommittee on Crime, Terrorism, and Homeland Security. Details pending. Visit Hearing on: H.R. 2168, the “Geolocational Privacy and Surveillance Act” for more information.
Various op-eds on the issue:
- Geolocation: Is It Safer to Have it On? (blogher.com)
- Geolocation and Privacy – Oil and Water? (blogs.rsa.com)
- E-commerce trade group: Mobile geolocation privacy bill is ‘awful’ (macworld.com)
- Tag! You’re It! Are Geolocation Services Making A Cybercase Out Of You? (webroot.com)
By Timothy B. Lee, Ars Technica, March 7, 2012
A Maryland court last week ruled that the government does not need a warrant to force a cell phone provider to disclose more than six months of data on the movements of one of its customers. … Judge Richard D. Bennett ruled that a warrant is not required to obtain cell-site location records (CSLR) from a wireless carrier. … The Obama administration laid out its position in a legal brief last month, arguing that customers have “no privacy interest” in CSLR held by a network provider. Under a legal principle known as the “third-party doctrine,” information voluntarily disclosed to a third party ceases to enjoy Fourth Amendment protection. …
For full text of this article, visit Obama admin wants warrantless access to cell phone location data.
- Obama admin wants warrantless access to cell phone location data (arstechnica.com)
- United States v. Flores-Lopez (jolt.law.harvard.edu)
- Court Ruling Opens Phones To Warrantless Searches (forbes.com)
- New CRS Report on Governmental Tracking of Cell Phones and Vehicles (geodatapolicy.wordpress.com)
By Jess Bravin, Wall Street Journal, What They Know, January 23, 2012
WASHINGTON—The Supreme Court ruled Monday [in United States v. Jones] that police must obtain a warrant before attaching a GPS tracker to a suspect’s vehicle, voting unanimously in one of the first major cases to test constitutional privacy rights in the digital age. … The court split 5-4 over the reasoning behind Monday’s decision, with Justice Antonin Scalia writing for the majority that as conceived in the 18th century, the Fourth Amendment’s protection of “persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures” would extend to private property such as an automobile. …
For full text of the article, visit Supreme Court Backs Privacy Rights in GPS Case – WSJ.com.
For full text of the Court’s opinion in United States v. Jones, click here.
- Supreme Court rules 9-0 that warrant absolutely needed for police GPS tracking (wired.com)
- GPS Surveillance: A Crossroads for the Fourth Amendment (geodatapolicy.wordpress.com)
- CDT Summary of Supreme Court Case, Does GPS Tracking Require a Warrant? (geodatapolicy.wordpress.com)
- Supreme Court Considers GPS Tracking Case Today (geodatapolicy.wordpress.com)
- New CRS Report on Governmental Tracking of Cell Phones and Vehicles (geodatapolicy.wordpress.com)