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Monday, March 06, 2006

Ok, that title is a bit misleading but so is the one on the artilce I read: “An RFID solution to rush hour headaches?” In fact the reduction is due to fees; how they are paid may or may not have anything to do with it.

Drivers are encouraged to put an RFID chip on their windshield so to automatically pay when travelling on city roads during peak hours. Those without the chip have their license plates captured by cameras and are sent bills that can be paid on the Internet on at 7-Eleven. I guess they are ubiquitous in Sweden? And, wow, that’s a good gig to get. Gotta believe folks will grab a coffee, soda or whatever when paying their bills.

I’ve always been a proponent of a slightly different tactic - make gasoline really, really expensive.

by Adena Schutzberg on 03/06 at 12:55 PM | Comments | Bookmark and Share

Last Thursday night Microsoft began the announced move to “turn off” its “old” Maps and Directions website, aka, MapPoint. Users to that URL (http://mappoint.msn.com/) are now redirected to Live Local. But, if they want, users can still use the old interface for a while. Says the new welcome message:

What Happened to Maps & Directions?
You’ve been redirected to our new maps site, Windows Live Local. From here, getting driving directions and searching for addresses or local information is easy.

Not ready to switch to the new maps and enhanced printing options? You can still use the old MSN Maps and Directions Web site.

by Adena Schutzberg on 03/06 at 07:27 AM | Comments | Bookmark and Share

Federal Computer Week reviews the recommendations from the latest White House report on Katrina response and notes the NGA among the “what went right” category.

Buried in the 228-page report are narratives that describe some agencies’ initiative and effectiveness in responding to Katrina. For example, the Defense Department’s National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency began collecting information on airports, hospitals, police stations, emergency operations centers, highways and schools well in advance of Katrina’s landfall. Merging imagery with other information, NGA employees created hundreds of intelligence products for federal, state and local emergency response teams. NGA’s imagery also helped relief workers locate and recover oil platforms.

The key terms here are “well in advance.”

The other finding that’s called out is that “key decision-makers at all levels were unfamiliar with the National Response Plan, the document that assigns accountability and dictates actions during a national incident. ” Why? Well, they don’t use it much! I continue to remind users and policy makers that people need to use the tools/processes/etc. in an emergency that they use EVERYDAY. They should be familiar and known, not “new and different” in an emergency.

by Adena Schutzberg on 03/06 at 06:57 AM | Comments | Bookmark and Share

“It is amazing how you can put in an abstract in November yet wonder what you are supposed to be talking about 2 days before you leave…”

Jesse at Very Spatial on preparing his paper for the AAG Conference this week. I’m sure he’s kidding as he included a smiley face, but frankly, I fear this is all too common. One exception: I actually participated in a trial run of an AAG paper last week via the Web. So, at least one presenter has prepared well in advance.

I recall my first AAG paper when I was just out of grad school. I was really nervous.

On the plane ride up to Toronto a fellow sitting next to me challenged me about geography and its place in the world. I later learned he was on the Geography faculty at Clark University and he clearly knew I was a newbie. It was not the best way to be welcomed into the profession.

When I finally gave my paper, a rather well-known geographer sat in the front row. I recognized him from his picture in a GIS magazine. He spent the entire session (all three papers) writing his own presentation for the next day, so far as I could tell. I found that most disconcerting and disrespectful. The least he could have done was to sit in the back ...

by Adena Schutzberg on 03/06 at 06:31 AM | Comments | Bookmark and Share

CityBloc was announced via a press release today:

What if you could go to one site and view information on more than 20,000 US cities, counties and towns? What if you could view an interactive map of that community and even view a zoom-able satellite image? How much time and energy could a site like that save?

And, that’s just about what you find. However, the mashup, at least for me, adds little to the combination of sources. The maps are from Google; the data from Wikipedia. The “nearest cities”? I’m not sure how those are determined. The ads are from all over. I was suprised to find the “about” menu pick was not available. I suspect it answers these questions.

This seems to be a site that wants to make money from ads. My sense is that there is not enough there to entice people back.

by Adena Schutzberg on 03/06 at 06:18 AM | Comments | Bookmark and Share
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