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Thursday, February 23, 2006

Christine Gorman, a senior writer at Time Magazine, contacted us about a story she blogged on the use of Google Earth by Sherrill Davison, an avian flu researcher at the University of Pennsylvania, to track the spread of the virus. Davison is a poultry veterinarian that is using GE in preparedness plans in case the H5N1 avian flu virus makes it to the US by mapping hen houses on commercial poultry farms. Gorman tells us that "this is important when you are trying to figure out where an outbreak has occurred and which farms/buildings need to be included in a quarantined area."

by Joe Francica on 02/23 at 10:45 AM | Comments | Bookmark and Share

Update: Yep, it’s a hoax. I got duped. Even worse, I reported on this in the past! Thanks Don!

Original follows:

Apparently a Danish company began offering a “GPS dart” of sorts to tag criminals back in 2002. Empire North, of Copenhagen, Denmark, calls its gun-like offering the “ID Sniper Rifle.” It inserts a tiny GPS chip into the body with about the pain of a mosquito bite, according to a an article from 2004. At the same time, a camera attached to the gun takes high resolution imagery of the target.

My first thought on this idea: won’t people try to dig the chip out, causing all sorts of medical issues? Then authorities could track them down in hospitals with infections…

A few weeks ago there was extensive coverage about the Los Angeles Police using a golf ball sized GPS to tag suspected vehicles aimed at preventing or limiting car chases.

by Adena Schutzberg on 02/23 at 06:45 AM | Comments | Bookmark and Share

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

The Jackson County, Indiana, Tribune reports that a Seymour, Indiana woman has been accused of copyright infringement after selling ESRI software that was under license to the US Department of Agriculture. According to the complaint, ArcView 3.2 and extensions were licensed to the Farm Service Agency under a blanket agreement with USDA.

Julia Hensley, a geographic information systems program technician with the Farm Service Agency, 28, is alleged to have sold 41 infringing copies, made at her home, between October and December 2003. She made about $7,120 from sales via eBay and Yahoo. The software, if purchased from ESRI, was worth more than $70,000. She may face a maximum of five years in prison and $250,000 in fines. A first hearing is being arranged.

And, how might this have been caught?

ESRI staff routinely monitored Internet auction Web sites for illegal sales of its software.


by Adena Schutzberg on 02/22 at 05:27 PM | Comments | Bookmark and Share

Says Wired, in yet another article about the “center” of Google Maps and Google Earth:

Some edits were made for security reasons: Vice President Dick Cheney’s residence at 1 Observatory Circle in Washington, D.C., is an undisclosed location, thanks to a blur, and details on rooftops around the White House have been obscured.

Google did not make the edits, the data providers did, as Google says over and over...

by Adena Schutzberg on 02/22 at 05:09 PM | Comments | Bookmark and Share

Time has a “who’s who” look at Google with a little snippet on Google Earth:

When Google hires someone, it generally isn’t for a specific job. The idea is to bring in talent that can be slotted wherever there’s a need. A new Googler might be placed on a team developing search applications for mobile phones and, when that project is done, help write code for, say, a video-search prototype. Chikai Ohazama runs the team developing Google Earth, the company’s mesmerizing satellite-imagery application. Ohazama, a software engineer, was a co-founder of Keyhole, the firm that developed the technology, which Google acquired two years ago. On a recent afternoon he sits with his team in a conference room brainstorming new applications. Google Earth has to be seen to be appreciated: it seamlessly brings together images of the globe taken from above. You can zoom in to see your house or pull back for a broad view of the city or the country or the world. Google is trying to figure out how to make money from the free service, and for now it is throwing engineers at the problem. It’s similar to Google’s origins: first perfect the technology, then figure out the business plan. Ohazama gets reports from a series of team members: a woman has figured out how to superimpose U.S. hiking trails on the images. Another is adding in ferry routes. A third reports he’s struggling to get data on the terrain in Connecticut. Despite some glitches, Ohazama urges the team to press on: “It’s fine to make mistakes for now,” he says, “until the point where we have to turn it on.”

I’m most enamoured the “first perfect the technology, then figure out the business plan.”

by Adena Schutzberg on 02/22 at 05:07 PM | Comments | Bookmark and Share
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