GeoWorld September 2012

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NEWSLINK Mali Survey Yields Data for Agriculture The Office du Niger, a quasi-governmental organiza- tion in the African nation of Mali, recently completed a survey of 25,000 hectares for potential hydro- agriculture development. West African consulting engineering firm CIRA worked on behalf of the office to complete the work. The survey, which falls under Office du Niger's role of managing more than 100,000 hectares of irrigated delta land, offers a wealth of data for use in develop- ing land in an area known as the Inner Niger River Delta, or Macina. The area comprises 1.8 million hectares of lakes and floodplains. Two teams performed survey work during two months in the dry season, collecting data to produce a digital model that should aid the production of a "pre-study," complete with plans and detailed pre- project CAD drawings for drainage, irrigation canals and related infrastructure. Field equipment for the survey included Ashtech ProMark 500 GNSS (Global Navigation Satellite Systems) receivers as well as a base station and survey rovers connected via UHF. The ground-based approach (rather than aerial photography combined with LIDAR) was chosen due to time constraints. With an eight-month contractual window, according to CIRA, the set-up for aerial/LIDAR methods would have taken too long. Geo Coalition Weighs in on FTC Privacy Report A group that includes major geospatial organiza- tions asked the head of the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) to address concerns that members of the geospatial community have with a recent privacy report written by the agency. The report, "Protecting Consumer Privacy in an Era of Rapid Change," was released in March 2012 and recommended actions for business and policy makers to take to protect consumers' private information. The Coalition of Geospatial Organizations (COGO) asserts that during the comment period for the report "the FTC had assured the geospatial community that the intent of the report was not to cover the ordinary activities of the geospatial community." COGO lead- ers are continuing to comment even after release of the final report, urging FTC to modify report language they believe doesn't adequately address the activities of the geospatial community. According to a COGO statement, the FTC "had indi- cated that a definition of the term 'precise geolocation data' or an exception for the legal, legitimate and ordi- nary activities in the professional geospatial practice would be included in the Commission's final report." For COGO, a major sticking point in the report Recent survey work in the Inner Niger River Delta region of Mali delivered data that should aid in planning hydro-agriculture projects, including drainage, irrigation and related infrastructure. 6 GEO W ORLD / SEPTEMBE R 2O12 involves the concept of "consumer choice" and the mechanisms for offering consumers control over private information. A footnote to the report states, "With respect to use of geolocation data for mapping, surveying or similar purposes, if the data cannot reasonably be linked to a specific consumer, computer or device, a company collecting or using the data would not need to provide a consumer choice mechanism. Similarly, if a company takes reasonable measures to de-identify smart grid data and takes the other steps outlined above, the company would not be obligated to obtain consent before collecting or using the data." But the footnote is not enough for some in the geo community. "The revisions, additions and clarifications COGO suggested would provide clarity with respect to parcels and addresses," said Jeff Lovin, a COGO delegate from the Management Association for Private Photogrammetric Surveyors. "One footnote in ASHTECH/TRIMBLE

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