Each week GeoDataPoint finds a selection of good reads related to hot topics in the geospatial community. There's a lot happening this week: The National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency is “unbolting its doors,” in the words of the Pentagon; BBC News talks to FARO about police capturing crimes scenes in 3D (there's a neat video!); AUVSI's president and CEO talks to MarketWatch about drone technology and what he hopes will sway lawmakers.
From the Washington Business Journal: "The National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency has always had a reputation for being pretty innovative, but also tough to penetrate. But the agency is “unbolting its doors,” in the words of the Pentagon, with a new initiative to draw the greatest of industry ideas.
NGA, the provider of geospatial intelligence in support of national security for the Department of Defense and intelligence community, is expanding its GEOINT Solutions Marketplace — or GSM — that was launched last year as an online exchange for government and vendors, commercial partners, academic institutions and the broader geospatial intelligence community. It was created as a quick way to get ideas without going through the headache of a traditional procurement or request for information."
The BBC News has a good piece on police using 3D scanners to capture crime scenes. Watch the video as David Southam of FARO, which manufactured equipment used by UK police forces, explains to BBC News how it works.
An interview with Michael Toscano, president and CEO of the Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems International, is a must read. He discusses drones as extensions of humans: The eyes that can rise above the plumes of a forest fire and the airborne sound sensors that can look for victims of an earthquake. He says the industry is moving faster than regulations can keep up.
In other news, effective Aug. 20, the U.S. National Park Service bans drone use in all 59 national parks and 342 other federally controlled areas. On Friday, June 20, Jonathan Jarvis, director of the National Park Service, signed a policy ordering a ban on launching, landing or otherwise operating drones within the 84 million acres of federally controlled land and water area. The National Park Service controls all 59 national parks, as well as 342 other national monuments, historical sites and seashores. The ban goes into effect no later than August 20. Violating the ban carries a maximum fine of $5,000 and the potential of up to six months in jail. NPS spokesman Jeffrey Olson says park rangers should exercise discretion based on the individual circumstance.
Related: GeoDataPoint exclusive video - Watch UAVs Fly at Garden of the Gods Park in Colorado Springs, Colorado (Filmed before the ban was put in place, of course!)