Weekly Links: LiDAR, WannaCry, and OSM Imagery

May 18, 2017 • #

🗺 LiDAR Data for DC Available as an AWS Public Dataset

LiDAR point cloud data for Washington, DC, is available for anyone to use on Amazon Simple Storage Service (Amazon S3). This dataset, managed by the District of Columbia’s Office of the Chief Technology Officer (OCTO), with the direction of OCTO’s Geographic Information System (GIS) program, contains tiled point cloud data for the entire District along with associated metadata.

This is a great move by the District to make high value open data available.

🖥 WannaCry and the Power of Business Models

Ben Thompson breaks down the blame game of the latest zero-day attack on Windows systems. This article makes a great case for the business model being to blame rather than Microsoft, their customers, the government, or someone else. a SaaS business model naturally aligns incentives for everyone:

I am, of course, describing Software-as-a-service, and that category’s emergence, along with cloud computing generally (both easier to secure and with massive incentives to be secure), is the single biggest reason to be optimistic that WannaCry is the dying gasp of a bad business model (although it will take a very long time to get out of all the sunk costs and assumptions that fully-depreciated assets are “free”). In the long run, there is little reason for the typical enterprise or government to run any software locally, or store any files on individual devices. Everything should be located in a cloud, both files and apps, accessed through a browser that is continually updated, and paid for with a subscription. This puts the incentives in all the right places: users are paying for security and utility simultaneously, and vendors are motivated to earn it.

🛰 DigitalGlobe Satellite Imagery Launch for OpenStreetMap

DG is opening up access to imagery for tracing in OpenStreetMap, giving the project a powerful new resource for more basemap data. Especially cool for HOTOSM projects:

Over the past few months, we have been working with several of our partners that share the common goal of improving OpenStreetMap. To that end, they have generously funded the launch of a global imagery service powered by DigitalGlobe Maps API. This will open more data and imagery to aid OSM editing. OSM contributors will see a new DigitalGlobe imagery source, in addition to imagery provided by our partners, Bing and Mapbox.

📷 Updating Google Maps with Deep Learning

If you’re in the mapping space, seeing any of this R&D that Google is doing is mind-boggling.