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Friday, March 17, 2006

Investor’s Business Daily previews its weekend offerings including this curious tidbit:

Mobile mapping

You may be accustomed to mapping out destinations online or on paper, but what about on your cell phone? Rand McNally and Google (GOOG) are just two companies rolling out mobile maps with GPS features and voice-guided directions. Jean Lee sat down with our technology contributor Bambi Francisco for a rundown on the pros and cons of these high-tech maps.

I’m aware of Google Maps support on mobile phones, but hadn’t heard of anything like this.

Update: An article on a little Google party in Waterloo Canada reminds me of Google’s wireless acquisition in that city.

The Waterloo office will primarily start out in mobile applications technology such as SMS Google searching and Google Maps on cell phones, but the office has the potential to grow into other technologies over time.


by Adena Schutzberg on 03/17 at 07:49 AM | Comments | Bookmark and Share

One of the fools looks at the acquisition and offers some interesting ideas for monetization, including folks designing dream houses and advertising for contractors/building supply companies to provide goods and services.

More intersting to me, perhaps, is this statement:

And Google’s extensive mindshare in the mapping world affords it the luxury of being able to sell premium versions of SketchUp.

Of course the Fools don’t cover ESRI as it’s private, but clearly they’ve identified their leader in the market.

by Adena Schutzberg on 03/17 at 07:08 AM | Comments | Bookmark and Share

To start:

“Butler Group is the premier European provider of Information Technology research, analysis, and advice. Founded in 1990 by Martin Butler, the Company is respected throughout the business world for the impartiality and incisiveness of its research and opinion.”

I’ve never heard of them. But, they put out this paper on sharing GIS that you have to register on the company website to read but is reprinted at TMCnet. Basically, it argues for GIS consolidation up the governmental food chain to save money in repeated work.

GIS systems tend to be expensive and require specialist support staff. The support teams often do the same repetitive tasks such as maintaining and updating data, managing the base maps, and user administration and support. The councils also have to pay for the costs of servers and other hardware (e.g. plotters), and software such as a database for their GIS data. In two-tiered authorities, i.e. county and district councils, there is also a great deal of overlapping processes and duplication of data. Add to this the fact that many councils use the same GIS software, then the case for sharing GIS resources and assets really begins to make sense.

The paper offers a several step plan:

business case is proven…consolidation and centralization of GIS support resources…sharing of maintenance processes ...Hardware could be centralized…sharing of the actual GIS software and databases, achieved through consolidation of software licenses

The paper then goes on to conclude:

However long and complicated the program though, it could deliver cost savings at the end of each stage, and in the end it could transform councils’ land- and property-based services by providing high quality and consistent information and services to staff and customers across council boundaries.

This paper is clearly geared toward the UK. It doesn’t seem to mesh with the vision I hear about here in the states - decentralization integrated via standards-based services.

by Adena Schutzberg on 03/17 at 06:43 AM | Comments | Bookmark and Share

Reader Jeff Fiore shared a link to the Maps and Geography Wiki, which offers a table of APIs for mapping, geocoding and other related topics. Details include terms, costs and limitations. It included some services of which I’d not heard, but left out a few, too. I’m sure APB readers could help fill it out.

by Adena Schutzberg on 03/17 at 06:33 AM | Comments | Bookmark and Share

Thursday, March 16, 2006

“The good thing with GIS technology is the streets are up before they exist.”

Former fire chief Steve Betts, who helps with communications for the city of Bellevue, Nebraska, quoted in the Bellvue Leader. Would that it were like that…

by Adena Schutzberg on 03/16 at 06:56 AM | Comments | Bookmark and Share
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