Category Archives: Civil/Transportation


Setting a Standard in Railway Renewal

A highly traveled section of the UK’s West Coast Mainline rail corridor (between Warrington and Preston) required the renewal of three miles (five km) of track among four major junctions. In an intensive, nine-day continuous spell, the innovation team at Network Rail completed the work almost 16 months earlier than proposed—and avoided disrupting rail travel....

The Army Corps' GIS Cadre working at the Corps' Recovery Field Office in Joplin, Missouri after a multiple-vortex tornado struck Joplin on May 22, 2011. Credit: U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.

USACE GIS Cadre Mapping Team’s Future

The cadre is a team of Army Corps employees from throughout the nation who are GIS subject-matter experts. When a federally declared disaster occurs the team gets ready to deploy and can be on the ground in just hours, setting up their own equipment even before other agencies are on the scene.



“The actual state of our knowledge is always provisional and … there must be, beyond what is actually known, immense new regions to discover” – Louis de Broglie “Conseil Européen pour la Recherche Nucléaire” (European Council for Nuclear Research), the celebrated research center in Geneva, Switzerland and home to the Large Hadron Collider (LHC), holds...


Surveying Google

One of my side gigs is as an adjunct lecturer on GIS with the University of Arizona. Through that association, I was recently given the opportunity to attend the first Google Geo for Higher Ed workshop at Google’s corporate headquarters in Mountain View, California. Referred to as the “Googleplex,” Google’s world nerve center is spread...


Can You Hear the Shape of a Room?

There is a sort of scientific “sweet spot,” a window of discovery. It occurs when science turns a question into a potential solution to practical problems, even to problems that had been long dismissed as a “bridge too far.” If you can identify this sweet spot, you can trace the scientific roots of an emerging...


20,000 Chains Under the Sea

This particular day in the field has been hard. Precise levels are always a challenge to run, and the surveyor is weighing his options. First, he sets his level down at the first point and waits for a reading—so far so good. He slowly turns and begins his journey to the second waypoint, making sure...