IT Trends: Weatherproofing Electronic Devices, 3-D Rome

Urban and Regional Information Systems Association awards local governments for improving citizen services.

by / November 17, 2009

3-D Rome in 21 Hours

There's an old adage that says "Rome was not built in a day," but a team of researchers at the University of Washington's Graphics and Imaging Laboratory (GRAIL) recently created a virtual Rome in 21 hours using 150,000 panoramic images from the popular user-generated Web site, Flickr.

The project -- described in a research paper presented at the 2009 International Conference on Computer Vision in Kyoto, Japan -- pioneered a method for solving large-scale distributed computer vision problems.

GRAIL researchers developed a new system that uses parallel processing to rapidly match the huge number of individual images that were needed to create the detailed 3-D rendering.

Electronic Weatherproof Protection

Government agencies that spend millions of dollars replacing weather-damaged equipment can sigh with relief, thanks to a new coating process called Golden Shellback, developed by the Northeast Maritime Institute. The coating produces a vacuum deposited film that's nonflammable, has low toxicity and can make electronic devices and other surfaces splash-proof. The process is specifically designed to protect devices commonly used in marine and hazardous environments against damage caused by exposure to moisture, immersion in water, dust, effects of high wind and chemicals. -- Northeast Maritime Institute

Award-Winning Governments

The Urban and Regional Information Systems Association (URISA), a nonprofit association of GIS and IT professionals, announced its 2009 Exemplary Systems in Government (ESIG) Awards. Winners were recognized for exceptional use of IT to improve government services. Here's a look at the winners and their applications.

Charlotte, N.C.'s Virtual Charlotte enables the visualization of 311 calls, traffic accidents, construction projects, permits, street maintenance services and vehicle locations tracked with automated vehicle location technology.

Airdrie, Canada, was the first municipality in Alberta to move from a paper-based system to a completely electronic method for its annual citizen census. Through the Online Census system, Airdrie implemented a secure, real-time, virtually paperless data collection process that simplifies the census process for clerks, enumerators and citizens. The system includes the use of biometrics to validate enumerator identities, use of tablets for in-field data collection and use of online PINs for secure data entry by citizens.

Forsyth County, Ga., developed its GIS Mobile Emergency Response System to enhance emergency management preparedness, response and recovery. The system provides emergency support for the county's emergency operations center or can be deployed in the field to provide direct support to first responders.

Read more about the ESIG winners. -- Source: URISA

Domestic & International Stats

According to U.S. Residential Broadband Speeds on the Rise, a study by In-Stat, the average American Internet download speed is 5.6 Mbps.

A decade ago, there were 57,000 broadband subscribers worldwide, however, that total now exceeds 400 million, according to the International Telecommunication Union.

Watch Spectrum on GTtv.


Karen Stewartson

Karen Stewartson served as the managing editor of Government Technology for many years. She also contributed to Public CIO and Emergency Management magazines.