GIS News

Google Earth: The 25-Year Search

Nov 22 2016 [Archived Version] □ Published at Maps under tags  google earth maps maps, earth

Remember back to the time when you first opened Google Earth. Where did you fly? Nearly all of us search for the same place: Home. The starting point. Where we fit into the bigger picture, and one way we define our sense of identity.

Imagine if you didn't know where "home" was? What would you search for first?

In 1986, 5-year-old Saroo Brierley fell asleep on a train parked at a rural station in central India. He awoke to find himself locked in an empty carriage barrelling through the Indian countryside to an unknown destination. After two days and nearly 1600 kilometers, the train reached its final stop, the enormous Howrah station in the sprawling Indian megacity, Kolkata. Saroo disembarked alone, far away from family and no way to get home. Living on the streets for months, Saroo survived a series of harrowing encounters before he was taken to an orphanage. In time, he was adopted by an Australian couple and brought to Tasmania.


The Brierleys gave Saroo a loving home and a second chance, but memories of his birth family haunted him. As he grew older, these echos became louder until his early 20's when he was finally compelled to search for his lost home and family. Right around this time, Saroo heard about a new program called Google Earth. He realized he could use the tool's satellite imagery to find familiar landmarks, and lead him to the train station from his fleeting memories of that fateful night. Night after night for three years, Saroo followed train lines from space, combing through thousands of stations until one day in early 2012, he finally found the proverbial needle in a haystack.

Thanks to his unwavering determination, Saroo reunited with his birth mother after 25 years. Saroo's improbable story has been a source of inspiration to all of us on the Earth team and to many around the world. We're especially excited his story will reach new audiences with the release of the new film, Lion, on November 25.

To celebrate the film's upcoming release, we invite you to retrace Saroo’s journey through the Finding Home experience now available in Google Earth’s Voyager layer. The experience takes you behind-the-scenes of Saroo’s search—what he used to guide him, the odds he faced, and how with a lot of will and a bit of luck, he was able to find home.

Uber recommends places to go based on its user generated Big Data

Nov 22 2016 [Archived Version] □ Published at Geoawesomeness under tags  geo news uber

If you don’t know what is the best local pub or where to spend the evening, this new Uber feature might be for you. What’s really awesome is that Uber is not buying this data from Foursquare, Yelp or TripAdvisor but the company uses its own data-driven approach that relies on where their users choose to go. […]

The post Uber recommends places to go based on its user generated Big Data appeared first on Geoawesomeness.

Location Data Management

Nov 22 2016 [Archived Version] □ Published at Esri Insider under tags  geography industry focus maps technology

By Gary Sankary Location is Critical to Retail Every retail transaction happens in a specific place for a reason. For every item that is purchased, regardless of channel, there is a trail of location specific data points that can give … Continue reading

Mapping Ineligible Voters

Nov 22 2016 [Archived Version] □ Published at The Map Room under tags  politics usa voters

Last year Neil Freeman produced a map of ineligible voters in the United States. “There are three main groups of people who aren’t eligible to vote: children, non-citizens, and disenfranchised felons. The Census does a survey of voting age and citizenship, this map uses 2013 estimates.” [Max Galka]

Finding Solutions the Lean Way

Nov 22 2016 [Archived Version] □ Published at The EPA Blog under tags  big blue thread clean water act efficiency epa grants integrated solutions

By Travis Robinett Having spent more than five months as a Pathways Intern at EPA Region 7, something I couldn’t help but hear about was EPA’s focus on Lean practices. In case you haven’t heard about Lean, it’s a method for process improvement. It’s about questioning the status quo of how you work, analyzing it,(...)

The Mississippi Fracking Fight: Saving Forests, Woodpeckers, and the Climate

Nov 22 2016 [Archived Version] □ Published at Articles – FracTracker Alliance under tags  articles bureau of land management climate change ecology enviroment

By Wendy Park, senior attorney with the Center for Biological Diversity   If the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) gets its way, large areas of Mississippi’s Bienville and Homochitto national forests will be opened up to destructive fracking. This would harm one of the last strongholds for the rare and beautiful red-cockaded woodpecker, create a new […]

The post The Mississippi Fracking Fight: Saving Forests, Woodpeckers, and the Climate appeared first on FracTracker Alliance.

What’s the Point of Desktop Maintenance?

Nov 22 2016 [Archived Version] □ Published at ArcGIS Blog under tags  arcgis desktop arcgis pro arcmap maintenance

ArcGIS Desktop 10.5 is just around the corner but if you’re not current on maintenance, you’re going to miss out. You might say, “What’s the big deal about maintenance? My current version of ArcGIS Desktop works just fine.” Maintenance is … Continue reading

World Imagery Updated with more DigitalGlobe and Contributor Imagery

Nov 21 2016 [Archived Version] □ Published at ArcGIS Blog under tags  arcgis content arcgis online community maps dg digitalglobe

Last week, we updated the World Imagery basemap with more recent imagery from DigitalGlobe and other members of the GIS user community.  This latest update features DigitalGlobe imagery for Argentina, as well as the Caribbean and parts of Central America as shown … Continue reading

Fun with GIS 207: Competition!

Nov 21 2016 [Archived Version] □ Published at GIS Education Community under tags  analysis arcgis online careers competition education

In spring of 2016, Minnesota announced an ArcGIS Online competition for high school and middle school students across the state. From initial discussion to completion was barely three months, but they had over 200 entries from 25 schools across the … Continue reading

Where the Animals Go

Nov 21 2016 [Archived Version] □ Published at The Map Room under tags  books wildlife

Co-authored by James Cheshire and Oliver Uberti, Where the Animals Go: Tracking Wildlife with Technology in 50 Maps and Graphics (Particular Books, 2016) is a book of maps by wild animals. It’s a compendium of tracking data from field biologists’ research projects, ably curated and turned into some spectacular maps (if the excerpts on the authors’ website … Continue reading "Where the Animals Go"