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Thursday, February 09, 2006

The Rolla Daily News offers the latest in the saga of the USGS reorg and move to Denver. The bottom line reported by the Investigator General: senior management failed to properly document the decision, but no laws were broken. So, “all is a go” for Denver.

Rep. Jo Emerson, who along with the state senators requested the 11 week investigation, still feels the decision was an error. “the decision to close the doors at Rolla was made in the dark, and the outcome of the process is totally unsupported by the criteria chosen by USGS,” she said.

The report was turned over to the paper yesterday. It’s been aggressively covering this story since consolidation was mentioned. It notes several issues that illustrate a lack of communication:

USGS did not take meeting notes or minutes to document decisions or the instructions given to the team assigned to develop site selection criteria, according to the report.

“The chair interpreted this new direction [heresay regarding Siderelis’ priorities] as unethical influence to manipulate an otherwise objective study and steer it toward selecting Denver, Colo., as the NGTOC site. The chair was never told to recommend Denver, Colo., but assumed it was implied,” the report said.

Siderelis said she did not document her decision because it included subjective considerations. She also was told by the USGS office of communication to keep details about the decision to a minimum.

by Adena Schutzberg on 02/09 at 12:03 PM | Comments | Bookmark and Share

Virtual Earth has been combined with CyberGolf, essentially a golf marketing site to form CyberGolfCities,  a site “to complete the search process for golf consumers; city-specific sites are tooled with multidimensional mapping to ease the challenge of golf course location.” That’s from the press release.

I’m not sure what “multidimensional mapping” means here, nor am I sure about “the challenge of golf course location.” The latter to me speaks to finding land to build a new course, but then, I’m a GIS geek.

The site looks like a basic mashup and I point it out here since it’s nice to see a Virtual Earth one, one someone considered worthy of a press release. Frankly, I was disappointed, but I have to keep reminding myself, VE (and others offerings like it) are about advertising, not geospatial apps. So, in that sense, it is successful enough, I guess.

Says Stephen Lawler, general manager of the Virtual Earth Business Unit at Microsoft, “Cybergolf’s use of Virtual Earth’s satellite imagery, coupled with rich mapping capabilities, has created an incredibly powerful yet simple tool to view local city golf courses and their surroundings.” That’s sort of true - you can use a VE map to find little flags that identify courses (I could not decipher the difference between green and blue flags) and see map or aerial views. But, there’s no special mapping of the courses that I found - just a link to a Cyber City Golf page of the course, or the course’s own website. The Cyber City pages, per the press release, “feature golf courses located on interactive maps with photos of the golf courses and GPS satellite views.” (Yes, the use of the term GPS is gratuitous and wrong…) I found no satellite views or Bird’s Eye views, on those pages, but perhaps I didn’t know where to look.

by Adena Schutzberg on 02/09 at 07:51 AM | Comments | Bookmark and Share

RF Micro Devices is offering a software based GPS solution to some of its customers with full distribution expected this summer. The vendor expects that a software solution will increase use of GPS since it does not require the expense of a dedicated chip.

On the other hand, the company will have to charge something for the software. That’s not besing discussed just now. Further, it will be interesting to see how well the solution works in comparison to chip-based systems. One other factor, if it can use an antenna, that will continue to be a hardware cost. So, we are not out of the hardware woods just yet…but maybe soon.

by Adena Schutzberg on 02/09 at 07:28 AM | Comments | Bookmark and Share

“Studies show that drive-time-to-workout is a key factor in determining whether a person actually uses that gym membership card. “

The South Bend Tribune explains why is includes a map in its 2006 Fitness Center Directory. We can’t seem to get around that principle of least effort as it relates to geography…

by Adena Schutzberg on 02/09 at 06:00 AM | Comments | Bookmark and Share

GCN reports on which agencies will get more funding in 2007 and which will get less. In the details are how specific geospatial efforts will be funded.

One of the programs slated for an increase is the Geological Survey’s Landsat Data Continuity Mission, which would receive an additional $16 million to build a system to process data from the Landsat 8 satellite set to be launched in 2010. The remote-sensing satellite gathers data important for business, land management and scientific purposes, Interior said.

Also for USGS, the budget proposes creation of a multihazards pilot to merge information on various risk areas into consolidated form to support department planning.

[...]

But the administration seeks to slow down spending on the National Information Exchange program, a gateway for electronic links to EPA’s data, from $19.4 million in 2006 to $17.5 million next year.

So, Landsat 8 is funded. Good!

Now, what’s this about a multihazards pilot? Didn’t we do something like this already? I wrote a lot about the OGC’s multiharzard mapping initiative in my first years with the organization and have heard little since. The website is down as I write.

I do recall hearing about the NIE from EPA, which was another thing that sounded like a good place to use standards. Too bad funding is down for that effort.

by Adena Schutzberg on 02/09 at 06:00 AM | Comments | Bookmark and Share
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