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On to Walla Walla - A National Trail?

posted Apr 9, 2012, 7:35 AM by Ron Hall
It has been almost 2 years since I created this site as part of a presentation for the 2010 conference in Fort Benton - quite a bit has happen since then so I thought I had better update it as part of my preparation for my Walla Walla presentation.

    Recently got back from an extended trip to Washington DC, where I was part of the annual "Hike the Hill" effort to advocate on behalf of the National Trails System. I was asked to go and do several demonstrations of the work (National Forest service cost share grant) I had done on the Nez Perce National Historic Trail and give various government groups an idea of the capabilities of Google geo products/applications and how it can be of use in public/private partnerships.
    Was a great trip on many fronts (got a VIP tour of Library of Congress Division of Geography and Maps - 2 football fields of maps in the basement of the Madison building) - main library building also was running an exhibit on historical maps - including the Waldenseemuller Map (oldest know map to have the word "America" used to describe the new world).
    Did 4 major presentations of varying length (20 minutes up to an hour or so) in 4 different venues/buildings, under varying circumstances.
    All were well received, and in several cases I was allowed to sit in on other presentations having to do with updates on government sector GIS work.
    This was a narrow slice - Department of Interior and its subagencies that deal with America's national trail system - people were there from BLM, National Parks Service, and National Forest Service - I also did a presentation at the conference for the Partnership for National Trails<>- all this was part of annual "Hike the Hill" advocacy week.

      *1st presentation* was to/at Dept of Interior Building (Pentagon size/Art Deco building from the 1930's undergoing $1.6 billion dollar renovation
       - large conference room, HDMI input to a big screen, hardwire connection, help from tech people getting my laptop connected - went great. People there from all departments. Lots of Q&A after a fly through and brief demo. Was surprised how little a number of them knew about Google Earth - think it stems from licensing discussions Google and the gov't are having.

    *2nd presentation* was at an evening cocktail reception for the Partnership conference - large hotel venue, I was the floor show, up on a big screen via nice projector - 150 people ..... *no internet connection *(tried to see the room in advance, was told it had internet, but when I set up, no luck - even with hardwire - later found out that $300 fee was required) -  I did not tell anyone about the problem except key personnel, they told group to have another drink - had some content on my own machine, lots of cache, and switched over to showcasing analytic side/tools (did all the set up for this up on the big screen while people were networking, before I started/noticed quite a few following my work). Lots of hikers in the room so I used path tool/show profile (tip hold down left mouse key and making path appears to be like drawing a line). Even though I told everyone that I did not have an internet connection, most people I spoke to afterward did not know that. 
    Really shows the power of GE, what you can do with no internet. Lots of Q&A.
    *3rd presentation* was at the National Forest Service building - Next to Holocaust Museum on National mall - National Historic Landmark (original Treasury Building) also undergoing big renovation. Large scale conference room, big screen/monitor presentation that was being shared via the web with others in Salt Lake City, the Carolinas, and Washington State. Hardwire connection (good) problem was it was a secure network room and my laptop had not been approved for access (bad). No problem -presenter before me (I sat in on a presentation by the Forest Service nationwide GIS/information officer - she had seen my evening presentation at the reception and asked me to come early to see hers/give feedback) had administrator privileges on her machine. So we demonstrated how easy it was to download/install Google Earth, access my GE content from the Google Earth Gallery (Nez Perce Historic Trail), and run. Also used content/links in info bubbles to "loop back" to the Forest Service web page that has links to GE content piece and Google Maps piece. Also showcased some of the Gallery layers - 360 Cities and Weather. Did this in 20 minutes ...... which allowed them to get back on schedule.
    *4th presentation* was at new National Parks Service offices - mid size conference room, classic projector on the screen setup, hardwire connection. Among others, had director of Tourism for National Parks there, representatives from Historic Preservation/Historic Building Survey (my heros - I do 3D models with SketchUp, often using their plans), people from Parks Service CRGIS unit, number of Parks people that work on the national trails, and some VIP's from Japan (with their interpretor). Chose to showcase some government GIS data that had been provided to me several days before on a proposed Wind power project in a sensitive area. Displayed how you can interact with conventional GIS data in very interactive/innovative ways. Then flew them up to an existing project. Used time slyder, 360 Cites (someone had done an apres tower installation picture with camera attached to a mini helicopter), and a custom balloon on the project with links to Youtube video, articles/updates etc on the project. Finally displayed 3D models (thank you 3D Warehouse) of the the towers. Icing on the cake was a fly back to Washington, DC where I had stuck similar models in the national mall on the same spacing (they are almost as tall as the Washington Monument. Pretty much blew everyone away (GE did all the heavy lifting).
    Number of observations (if you are still with me):
    - I often add a WiFi hotspot to my iPhone for remote acces to internet - would have been a help here (I think)
    - Tried to do a "two for" - started each presentation with a tour that showcased various aspects of Google Earth while I talked/walked about the room hands free
    - Each tour included a geographic fly in to the location of the presentation, with a custom placemark bubble - very big response to this - especially when I rotated into 3D and 3D buildings layer was on.
    - Have done so many of these that it is fun to watch/observe the audience. It was particularly interesting to watch the people from Japan - they were engrossed/able to engage beyond any translators ability to explain.
    - I explained to each group that GE is a browser - Google Earth Builder video says it is being used by 700 million worldwide, I have heard numbers at a Google event that range up to a billion
    - Took the challenge of not making this a "whistle stop speech" presentation (American election talk for the same speech given repeated, ... generally by a Republican). Several people were at 2 or more of these, and I wanted to give them a broad exposure to GE/geo offerings.
    - One message I talked about was the synergism of public/private partnership via foundations/citizen groups. Most of what I showed was pro bono work, but key piece was done on a small cost share grant with National Forest Service/Nez Perce Trail Foundation.
    - Another talking point was that most of what I was displaying was existing "vetted" content - just breathing new life/usage into it.
    - If time allowed, talked about the use of other Google offerings for maintaining, hosting, collaborating on content.
    - Found quite a number of people using Google Earth that did not know about time saving features tools (ie GPS import), ability to add info to various layers, Google Earth Gallery button - the new info was much appreciated
    Could go on (actually worried about some default space feature in a post) - but three personal reflections 

    - First went to DC 40 years ago this coming spring, was a hotshot high school senior (Bill Gates was not even at Harvard then) that had won 
    Congressional seat in a youth in government program. Toured the capitol, was hosted by our Congress man (met and shook hands with a number of people - including Jimmy Hoffa who was testifying before a committee). Did not know it at the time, but there was a little project underway called ARPANET - about 23 users at the time. It has come quite a long way.
    - In trying to explain quickly the significance of the Nez Perce/Chief Joseph story to our visitors from Japan, I mentioned that in addition to the power of the story itself, was the fact that the original "network" in this country was the telegraph and railroads, and that the Nez Perce saga (circa 1877) was transported/shared with America via that network - capturing the attention of the nation. After the meeting, while walking down to the Library of Congress, it came to me that as tough as the story is, I found it to be good karma that almost 150 years later it was being used to showcase the capabilities of a new medium.
    - Got into doing demos/working with citizen groups because of Al Gore/"Inconvenient Truth". Google has developed a tremendous toolset for everyone to use. That said, groups like this forum have been a tremendous help to me.
    If you are still with me, thanks for your patience.
    Make it a good day.