Sunday, December 21, 2008

First Global Map of Human Impact on Marine Ecosystems

Thursday, December 11, 2008

geocoding unstructured addresses in India

After traveling to India this Fall and beginning the work on a collaborative GIS project with students from the Indo-Asian Academy I am happy to see Microsoft Research India working on a way to geocode addresses in countries lacking a standard addressing scheme like the United States.  While in India, I was wondering how you would perform geocoding in a country growing so fast with infrastructure stack on top of infrastructure not to mention the vast diversity of housing that would be required to geocode.

Here are a couple of posts on the topic ...

blogger gets it's location on

via GeoRSS. Tag your post with location to allow people to search based on geography. Available through only.  See the location link below ... nice.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Street view for Asheville is up today

The Google vans were spotted around town 6 - 9 months ago collecting street view data and today it is available. See if you can find a friend or yourself walking down the street ...

GPS goes civilian today in 1993 ....

Secretary of Defense opens the GPS system to civilian use on December 8th, 1993... and I was using it the next year.

Read more here...

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Updated GIS Day 2008 information

GIS Day is one week from tomorrow. Below you can get PDF's of all the activities. Remember, it is a drop-in event so come for as much or as little of it as you can.

Get the flyer here ...

Get the full schedule of events here ...

Get the list of presenters here ...

Get the GIS Day Cake Decorating Contest Information here ...

Monday, October 27, 2008

GIS Day 2008

Learn more about GIS Day 2008 - a WNC Regional Event here.

Friday, October 24, 2008

GIS Day 2008

Monday, October 20, 2008

Couple of job postings

Both are located in Asheville - they are off campus positions with Michigan State University.

Both are natural resource related positions.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

GIS Day is coming soon!

Join the celebration, visit GIS Day

November 14th, 9:00-2:00pm
Balsam Computer Technology Center
Asheville - Buncombe Technical Community College

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Discussing GIS with students at the Indo Asian Academy

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Examples of student work

CORE Projects and Technologies - Bombay

Monday was spent in Bombay with people at CORE Projects and Technologies discussing how their 3D immersing technologies can be integrated into some of our classes. CORE Projects and Technologies is a products and solutions driven company with many PPP's (Public Private Partnerships) in many domains within the education arena. They focus on both the Business of Eduation and the Delivery of Education. Primarily and education company, CORE has domain expertise in the following domains:
  • Assessment / Achievement
  • Accountability
  • Grants and Financial
  • Safety
  • Student Information
  • Communication
  • Professional Development
We also visited the India Institute of Technology (IIT) while in Bombay. IIT is the premier Engineering and Technology University in India. We met with the engineering school who is working with CORE on the 3D immersion technologies. IIT is using it to better model and visualize earthquakes.

Agra and the Taj

A brief break from long days, much travel and many meetings brought us to the town of Agra and the Taj Mahal. The Taj was greater than expected and it's hard to imagine we were there. The Taj Mahal was built by a king in honor of his second wife. There are two other tombs flanking the Taj where his first and third wives are buried. In addition to the Taj, we visited the Red Fort across the river where the King was imprisoned by his son before the Taj was completed. His son imprisoned him because he thougth the Taj was too excessive and expensive. This was a nice break considering the week after consists of flying 3 cities in 5 days and having countless meetings. Enjoy the pictures of the Taj Mahal.

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Sunday, September 21, 2008

Where's Pete? (and Pam and Russ)?

Please ignore the straight line going southeast from the airport ... I turned on the GPS unit in a town southeast of the airport and it drew this line. I don't have the software to edit it our currently.

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Saturday, September 20, 2008

India pics

Check out the pics from Dehli. A couple of thoughts ... the traffic is every bit as crazy as you hear. Actually, crazier. Also note the differences between the very nice buildings (not the norm) and the areas that do not seem so nice (more the norm).

Friday meetings with IBM and IGNOU

Friday started with the first meeting of our trip at IBM with the Country Manager for Government and Education, Satish Kaushal. Satish gave us a great overview of the education system in India including past, present and future hopes for the country. We also discussed IBM's role in the country with higher education and their unique position to assist with infrastructure and delivery of educational content through hardware and other solutions. This meeting was initiated by Amita Mehta, Chief Operating Officer and Chief Technology Officer with Core Products and Technologies Ltd who we will be spending time with in Mumbai (Bombay) early this coming week exploring 3D visualization technologies.

From there, we went to Indira Gandhi National Open Universtiy (IGNOU), a very large university with a major campus in Dehli. IGNOU has 1.8 million students (yes ... 1.8 million) throughout 20+ countries. We met with the chair of the School of Engineering and Technology, another professor in the School of Engineering and Technology, and a professor in the School of Sciences. This meeting provided an opportunity to discuss education in the 21st century for students in North Carolina, India and the entire world. The purpose of this open University is to 'reach the unreached'. They have a very similar goal the Community College in the United States has of working with non-traditional students.

IGNOU highlights:

* Reaches the entire country of India using a model of 48 Regional Centers. The Regional Centers cover all the states in India and take care of all admistration tasks including student advising and registration.

* 2000 Study Centers where various subjects are taught. These Study Centers work with other colleges and Universities in varied geographic locations to share/contract resources such as lab space.

* Vast distance learning initiative including their own TV station with 25 channels, FM radio stations and other ways of reaching students that are not on campus.

* 'Self-instructional material - many text books are written collaboratively by teams of faculty and other experts.

* Many courses are offered in several languages.

* Classes culminating with certificates, diplomas, Masters and PhD's.

* Just beginning to have first classes online.

Potential collaboartion between our colleges include opportunities to develop curricula that may be shared through learning objects. Other collaboration may include international collaboration between students and faculty on school work and projects.

Thursday, September 18, 2008


We made it ... 14 hour flight from Newark wasn't as bad as I thought it would be. We left Asheville around 5:30pm on Wednesday and arrived in New Dehli at 8:30pm on Thursday.

Tomorrow, we will be picked up at 7:30am and be driven to IBM to meet with the Director of Education for the country and then on to Indira Gandhi National Open University- IGNOU - for another meeting before flying out to Agra for the weekend.

Highlight of the flight for me ... GPS tracking of the plane all the way so we could see exactly where we were the entire time. I took a picture of the screen in front of me but it is pretty blurry. You get the idea though - we heade NE out of Neward towards Greenland and then across towards Moscow and down through Afghanistan and Pakistan into India.

Second highlight for me on the flight ... viewing the mountain range between Afghanistan and Pakistan. Not the northern Hindu Kush region we all know so much about thanks to Al Qaeda taking refuge there but impressive none-the-less.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

off to india ...

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2 hours to Newark, NJ
14 hours to New Dehli, India

Friday, September 12, 2008

GIS for Realtors class

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Get a one year eval of 9.3 for around $33

Thanks to Josh O'Conner for pointing this out ... it's an ESRI Press book that comes with a 365 day license of ArcGIS (ArcView of course)

Mapping Our World Using GIS: Our World GIS Education, Level 2 (Our World GIS Education) [Illustrated] -

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Job at Buncombe County

Job Title Computer Programmer Analyst II (GIS Analyst)
Agency Planning
Temporary No
Grade 72
Salary Range $41,240 - $45,587
Job Location Planning / GIS
Closing Date 8/20/2008
Job Details

Responsible for the implementation, development and maintenance of geographic information systems (GIS) projects and databases within an enterprise environment. An employee in this class is responsible for performing data quality assurance for GIS databases, automated application development, and provide technical assistance to both internal and external customers who use GIS technology. Work may also involve occasional presentations to users and upper management.

Examples of Work
Work will initially involve migration of legacy GIS-related data and applications data to an RDBMS and web application (.NET) environment. The employee consults with county departments to provide transparent electronic access to GIS related databases, and works closely with county I.T. software developers, network analysts, and outside consultants (as needed). They ensure automated flow to data between GIS and non-GIS databases. They must be able to assist with design and deployment of future GIS applications in such a manner that they can be integrated with enterprise GIS and non-GIS databases. They must demonstrate tact and courtesy in working with all levels of users and handle data requests requiring multiple data formats. They must have the ability to obtain relevant information from appropriate technical references, and perform work as required.

Knowledge, Skills and Abilities
Considerable knowledge of the capabilities, limitations, design and quality of GIS data within enterprise geographic information systems applications. Strong experience in spatial technologies such as ARCGIS with ARCOBJECTS, ARCIMS, ARCSDE, ARCPAD APIs and GEODATABASE highly desirable.

Minimum Education and Experience
Graduation from a four year college or university with major coursework in computer science, cartography, geography, related field and two years of experience or an equivalent combination of experience and training. Skills in UML, Microsoft's .NET, Python, MICROSOFT's Visual Basic, ARCOBJECTS, AND ARCGIS SERVER highly desirable. Experience with local government highly desirable.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Fall classes start soon ...

August 18th is the first day of the semester.

We are offering the following GIS courses this fall:

  • 4 sections of GIS 111 - Introduction to GIS
  • GIS 121 - Georeferencing and Mapping
  • GIS 215 - GIS Data Models

Call or email to get signed up!

pkennedy (at)

828.254.1921 x289

Wednesday, July 23, 2008


Definitely under the mainstream geo label, Engadget reports today that Sony's senior marketing manager was heard mentioning GPS enabled PSP ... I'm not a gamer at all but there are a lot of people that will be liking this. Sounds like the original GPS game has some competition.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Monday, July 14, 2008

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Geographic Information Systems (GIS) internships as NASA Langley

NASA Langley Research Center in partnership with the Virginia Space GrantConsortium (VSGC) is offering the NASA-VSGC GIS Internship Program toprovide student support to the NASA GIS Team.Internships are open to high school, community college, undergraduate, andgraduate students majoring in the fields of geography, technology, civilengineering, and other areas with an interest in developing their skills inspatial data technology in support of NASAs mission. Positions in fall andspring are available.

Application deadline for fall internships is July 8and November 1 for spring internships.More information at

Monday, June 30, 2008

What's New at ArcGIS 9.3 - Flash Based Demo

India Cities and Itinerary - *** preliminary ***

View Larger Map

We are getting things nailed down for our trip. Looks like we'll be gone September 17, 2008 through September 27, 2008

So far we'll be visiting:

Quote of the week from All Points Blog

[The Center for Spatial Studies at the University of California, Santa Barbara is involved in incorporating spatial thinking and analysis into fields of study that range from marine biology to religious studies, and Director Michael Goodchild envisions a future where spatial thinking will be taught in high schools alongside history and algebra.]

"There’s been a democratization of GIS over the past couple of years," Goodchild
said. "It’s reached the point where everyone needs to learn it."-

Goodchild quoted in "GIS: Cops Favor New Kind of Plotting" in Miller-McClure Magazine

Thursday, June 26, 2008

The Petabyte Age: Because More Isn't Just More — More Is Different

Very interesting article on computer storage ...

read it... and look at the links below. Many have geographically based data and NCDS that gets a mention stores all their data right here in Asheville!

NC DOT job near Raleigh

If anyone wants to go to Raleigh ... or just get a feel for what a GIS Tech job posting looks like ...

This one would fit one of our Computer Technology students well if they also got the GIS certificate ...


$30749 - $49880

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Today, June 19, 240 B.C.: The Earth Is Round, and It's This Big

June 19, 240 B.C.: The Earth Is Round, and It's This Big.

And this is a big deal for GIS folks. We teach that Eratosthenes was one of the first scholars to calculate the circumfrance of the earth, a basic measurement needed for mapping of the earth to occur. Now there are literally 100's of ellipsoids/spheriods that approximate the shape and the size of the earths surface. These ellipsoids have evolved over time as technologies have advanced and more accurate measurements of the earths shape and size have been made. What's amazing is how close Eratosthenes was to todays estimates of the circumfrance of the earth.

Depending on the source, it is thought Erathosthenes was between 10 and 20 % off of the 'actual' circumference of the earth. Although, we still debate about the 'actual' circumfrance.

Some reasons it is so amazing how close his calculation were:
  • the well in Syene was not at 23.5 degrees (the Tropic of Capricorn) like he thought.

  • his calculation of the distance between the well in Syene and Alexandria was not completely accurate

At any rate... it was neat to see this on last week. I just got the post up after starting on the solstice last Thursday.

Monday, June 16, 2008


It is all but official (no plane tickets booked as of yet) - we are going to India this fall.

As part of an iniative to better understand and prepare our community for working in a global economy, this will be the second trip (my first) to India. We will focus on building relationships and learning about the the culture to prepare for workshops we will conduct once we return for businesses and the community as a whole.

I will, of course, be documenting as much of the effort as possible here on this blog... and yes, you'll see a lot of maps and spatial information about the trip here ... as you can see below.

View Larger Map
On this trip will be:

Russ Yelton, Executive Director of Entrepreneurial Ventures and Business Incubation on the Enka Campus of Asheville - Buncombe Technical Community College.

Pam Silvers, Chair of the Business Computer Technologies Department at Asheville - Buncombe Technical Community College.

Pete Kennedy, GIS and Computer Technology Instructor. GIS Certificate at Asheville - Buncombe Technical Community College.

Come back often and see how the planning for our trip is going.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Western Chapter of the NC Surveyor Society

Last night I presented to the Western Chapter of the NC Surveyor Society on the topic of Local Data Sources and Open-Source GIS. The presentation portion embedded in this post is pretty short however the bulk of the time I demonstrated MapWindow ( and some of it's functionality.

Some nice featuresof MapWindow include:

  • Create and edit shapefiles
  • Projects data - even on the fly - sort of
  • has many other vector tools like merge, clip, buffer etc ...
  • Can connect to postGIS
  • Plugin for exporting to kml
  • accepts many data formats
  • adding WMS layers

Some links from my presentation can be found here:

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Surveyors meeting

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This was used as a demonstration of how to select features (parcels) using MapWindow, export to shapefile and convert to KML. This KML was then incorporated into a Google Map and embedded in a blog.

Monday, May 19, 2008

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

NCAUG 2008 Student Scholarship

$300 supporting GIS related activities and research.


Thursday, April 24, 2008

the web 2.0

For anyone who doesn't yet believe or undertand how powerful the new world of the web 2.0 is (the world of blogs, wikis, mashups and more) - I have a great example for you.

Not long ago, Google was making statements about KML being the HTML of geographic content. Many people thought this was slightly (to say the least) arrogant and assuming of Google. One of my favorite GIS bloggers, James Fee over at made a quick post about it here ==> Google you have got to be kidding, right?

James has 3744 people subscribed to his blog through an RSS feed (so his feedburner says) that are notified any time he makes a post about anything on the blog. This particular post about Google, KML and HTML prompted a lot of people to make comments about this post. This is where it gets good. The post above we are talking about has 43 comments made thus far. Scroll down and look at who wieghed in on the discussion with the 38th comment ... Michael Jones - the main in charge of Google Earth - official title - Chief Technology Advocate.

I think that shows how powerful a more interactive and collaborative world wide web can be ...

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Monitoring Refugee movement with Google Maps

I thought this was an interesting article on CNN ... about 4 headlines down this afternoon.

Hightlights of the story ... note the last one. Very interesting ...

  • Google, U.N. team up to help pinpoint refugee movement
  • Maps will aid humanitarian operations, help inform about refugee crises
  • Special maps help track, give information about crises in each area
  • Google considering stand-alone version of its mapping software for field work

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Map of 98 ABTech students

This map utilizes using the Yahoo maps API. I cut down the number of students for a trial run. Zoom in and click on some of the dots to get more information.

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Signing of the Memorandum of Understanding

Last week in Valladolid ended with the official signing of the Memorandum of Understanding between AB Tech and ITSVA. It was an exciting time and we can't wait to move forward with our plans to more openly collaborate with ITSVA!

Below, you can see Asheville - Buncombe Technical Community College President Dr. Betty Young and C.P. Raúl Augusto Mendoza Alcocer Director General del ITSVA signing the MOU.

To learn more about our new MOU with ITSVA, see below!

Friday, February 29, 2008

Focus groups at ITSVA

A main objective of our trip was to meet with individual areas at ITSVA to determine ways we could work together. These areas are our Small Business Center, Nursing, Network Technology and Geospatial Technologies. We came out of these focus groups with some great ideas, goals and objectives.

Below you can see a short slide show of my part of the presentation to the ITSVA faculty, staff and students outlining how we will collaborate in the GIS area in the future.

Thursday, February 28, 2008

Dzitnup Elementary School

Yesterday, we visited a rural elementary school in Dzitnup and donated several bags of school supplies. The kids were happy and excited about having visitors. They recited poems and stories and we all had a great time. Thanks to Pam Silvers and Sarah Nie for helping with the supplies we were able to bring down for the school.

More information coming soon about the agreement signed yesterday between ITSVA and ABTech!

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Day 3 at ITSVA

On Monday, Pete Kennedy and Russ Yelton gave presentations to the ITSVA faculty, staff, and students. Afterwards, we split into small focus groups to discuss ways our colleges would work together. These groups focused on Network Technologies, the Small Business Center, English as a second language, and Geographic Information Systems.

In my GIS focus group, I met with Mario Rosado Balam and Renaw De Jesus Arleo Vivas from the state of the Yucatan Agriculture Department and Vicente Chimal Couoh from the City of Valladolid. The folks from the Agriculture department are using GPS in a program called Procampo where they are working with local farmers to keep them farming and not move to the cities. The city of Valladolid hopes to use GIS and GPS to map the infrastructure of the city - which is sorely needed. Through these projects we hope to offer students with international work experience through internships in Mexico and working online with our counterparts in Mexico. There will also be grade opportunities for training local people in using these technologies uing online and traditional classes through faculty exchanges.

Monday, February 25, 2008

Yucatan Travels

We've been busy... check out where we've gone so far ...

View Larger Map

Friday, February 22, 2008

Arrival in Valladolid, Mexico

The Asheville Sister Cities and Asheville - Buncombe Technical Community College delegates arrivied in Valladolid, Mexico last night and were greeted with open arms from our friends at ITSVA - Instituto Tecnológico Superior de Valladolid. We spent last night relaxing and enjoying each others company before visitng ITSVA today.

Ver mapa más grande

While at ITSVA today, we learned a lot of general information about the school and toured the campus including seeing 2 new buildings not yet in service. Dr. Young also addressed the ITSVA faculty, staff and students with a short presentation about AB Tec. Monday we will start more focused discussion groups on how we can grow the relationship between our schools. I will be leading a discussion / demonstration /workshop on GIS with a group of students and faculty studying computer science. It should be lots of fun!

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Happy Valentines Day Map Projection

Coordinate System Information
Projection: Bonne
False_Easting: 0.000000
False_Northing: 0.000000
Central_Meridian: 0.000000
Standard_Parallel_1: 60.000000
Linear Unit: Meter

Datum: D_WGS_1984

Friday, January 11, 2008

Classes start Monday, January 14th

Are you ready? If not call or email me ASAP!

pkennedy (at)

828.254.1921 x289

Spring 2008 GIS Courses can be seen here!

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

Wednesday, January 2, 2008

Handheld GPS Buyers Guide

I stumbled across this Handheld GPS Buyers Guide from the folks over at Geospatial Imaging & Informatics Facility (GIIF) and thought I would share. I often get asked the question: What is the best handheld GPS unit to buy? The technologies surrounding GPS has been evolving so rapidly with new GPS units coming out around the clock. This makes it difficult to keep up on the exact models to recommend however this guide will help you to understand the basic questions you should ask when looking at GPS units.