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Thursday, February 09, 2006

Like many other bloggers I seek out interesting geospatial tidbits for this blog. I try hard to keep my skeptic hat on because I think that’s what’s needed in these times (and perhaps that’s part of why the nice people at Directions pay me…)

Tuesday I ran into this article at Telematics Update about MapPoint Web Service 4.1. I read the text, dated 2/7/06, searched news sites for other mentions and tried to remember if I’d covered that announcement here or at Directions Magazine. I found a lack of other coverage in the U.S. (example, MP2K Magazine), but a bit from the international press (example, European news site). After checking (Google searching!) this blog I found that I did note it, on January 24.

So I dug further. One blog posted 4.1 going live on January 23. Our GIS world’s James Fee noted it on the 24th citing the Virtual Earth Blog, which I too cited. The MapPoint Development Center on MSDN (Microsoft Developer Network) has two posts 1/18 and 1/19. I didn’t find anything on the Press Pass section of Microsoft’s site. That’s the part for journalists.

So, what’s going on? Nothing, really. No one did anything wrong. We just forgot about geography!

There was no press release on MapPoint 4.1 in the U.S. Instead, it was announced on MSDN and via a blog. That’s not a problem; I applaud companies that don’t do a press release when one is not necessary. (Google’s a pro at this.)

But, there was a press release for Europe Middle East and Africa (EMEA) launched yesterday. And, Telematics Update, being a worldwide publication picked it up. Telematics Update’s website doesn’t scream “this is a worldwide publication” and you might not even notice unless you note that it hosts “World News” “Africa News” and “America News” on its main page. So, no shame on MP2K on picking up the news and linking to the article.

Even though the Web can flatten geography/time/space/news, we do need to respect that worldwide companies may still wish to do different things in different geographies. Moreover, press releases are simply not the only way “news” gets out.

Special thanks to Rob Carter (UK) and Ashley Johnson (US) at Waggener Edstrom Worldwide (Worldwide - get it?) for their help on this matter.

by Adena Schutzberg on 02/09 at 12:00 AM | Comments | Bookmark and Share

Wednesday, February 08, 2006

I’m not sure what this really means, but Fed Sources reports that there are three new lines of business in the President’s IT budget:

There are three new “Lines of Business” (LOBs) (IT Infrastructure, Geospatial and Budgeting). The six existing LOBs are Case Management, Federal Health Architecture, Financial Management, Human Resources Management, Grants Management and Information System Security.

Can someone more savvy in budget issues explain the significance, or lack thereof, of this addition?

Update 2/8 am:

This from a Q & A with White House on Director of Office Management and Budget, Joshua Bolton:

Q Your budget proposes three new line of business programs in IT infrastructure, geospatial and budget formulation. Can you go into some detail about that, and what you expect?

DIRECTOR BOLTEN: Clay, is that something you want to take?

Q The question is, the three new lines of business—IT infrastructure, geospatial and budget formulation, how they ́ll bring benefits or what they ́ll require.

MR. JOHNSON: All three of those programs are—deal with matters that are common across many agencies. And so we looked to come up with government-wide solutions to government-wide opportunities or problems. Geospatial—there are a number of agencies that use geospatial information. And rather than each of them have been trying to come up with separate mechanisms for collecting this information and having accurate resources to turn to, we ́re coming up with a resource that all agencies can tap into.

The other two were?

Q IT infrastructure and budget formulation.

MR. JOHNSON: Well, by budget formulation, they ́re looking for common—developing common expenditure codes that all agencies can use that will allow us to pull up data by expense type much more—with a much more productive fashion, so we can have better information, better diagnostic information about our expenditures.

Q And then IT infrastructure?

MR. JOHNSON: IT infrastructure is there are a number of common infrastructure expenditures that every agency faces—IT security, IT training, a help desk and so forth. And we ́re looking for coming up with government-wide solutions to those common needs that every agency has.

I’m guessing they are speaking of Geospatial One-Stop? Perhaps its matured enough to have its own line of business? Again, input from those who understand this process would be appreciated!

by Adena Schutzberg on 02/08 at 06:00 AM | Comments | Bookmark and Share

Update[2/8 am]: The New York Times covers the story in its technology section today. (free registration may be required).

Ok, I’ve been making fun of Tiger Telematics/Gizmondo since it sold off its flooring business, Floor Decor, but apparently I was correct in doing so. The UK subsidiary tried to file for administration (like bankruptcy in the UK), but the court basically said, “no.” The court put it into liquidation.

Mike at TechDirt has this explanation:

This was for a company that had built a non-competitive, non-compelling expensive handheld gaming machine in a market that was already dominated by huge players. Much more importantly, though, the company had execs with criminal pasts who were paying themselves millions of dollars and even giving themselves expensive luxury cars as part of their compensation—despite the fact that the company had no real revenue.

Gizmondo, among other things, was supposed to leverage GPS technology in its games. So far, no such game has been released and it seems if it were, there may be no handheld or any interest in it.

by Adena Schutzberg on 02/08 at 06:00 AM | Comments | Bookmark and Share

The Department of Labor is revving up its engine on geospatial via a webinar titled “The Geospatial Industry - An Overview.” It’s being put on by Workforce3one, an “a new collaborative effort between the US Department of Labor/Employment and Training Administration (ETA), the Center for Employment Security Education and Research (CESER), which is the 501c3 affiliate of the National Association of State Workforce Agencies (NASWA), and the National Association of Workforce Boards (NAWB).”

This Webinar provides an overview of the geospatial technology industry and sectors, key occupations and career opportunities, skills and education, key workforce challenges, and the investments that ETA has made to address those challenges.

Here’s what struck me in checking into this:

1) So far I’ve seen a press release only on one geospatial website. Surely, this event is not aimed at us. the geospatial community? Or maybe it is? The website and press release don’t make it clear who is the target audience.

2) The participants are knowledgeable (from GITA, AAG, U Southern Mississippi, William F. Gooding Advanced Skills Center) but their organizations are also recipients of DOL grants related to geospatial. (AAG is working with GITA on its project, which once belonged to STIA.) My fear is that all of the results of the DOL grants may all come from the same place and present the same point of view.

States the press release: “These webinars feature business leaders and their education, economic development, and public workforce investment partners discussing the industry’s workforce challenges and the successful demand-driven solutions implemented.” Perhaps these presenters will be sharing what they’ve learned from business leaders?

by Adena Schutzberg on 02/08 at 06:00 AM | Comments | Bookmark and Share

Tuesday, February 07, 2006

In the spirit of being open and tranparent, Howard Butler put forward a Request for Comments (RFC) document outling benefits/concerns regarding joining the Open Source Geospatial Foundation. It passed with a +7 vote of the MapServer Technical Committe (MSTC) yesterday. I can shed light on the +7. A la Apache, those permitted to vote offer -1 if they are “against”, 0 if they have no opinion and +1 if they are “for.” Add up the votes and you get a value. So, all seven members voted +1, making it unanimous “for.”

The second part of the process to join OSGF, as outlined by Butler, is a poll that asks the community to offer an opinion. It’s open to registered members until Friday. If a majority votes yes, the motion is considered passed.

-via Spatial Galaxy

If you’ve not read it, consider a slightly different dilemma from the PostGIS/uDig developers/community as described by Paul Ramsey of Refractions Research.

by Adena Schutzberg on 02/07 at 08:02 AM | Comments | Bookmark and Share
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