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Friday, February 10, 2006

IMO, short for independant mobile, is a new store coming to a mall outside of Boston. It sells all the different cell phones and plans. The hook? The ability to compare them all, and buy them all, in a single place. One of the draws is a map.

[The store has] created a computerized map detailing coverage areas down to the street. The company says its workers drove 5,500 miles testing phones along the way to pinpoint dead spots.

That’s certainly a level of service beyond any cell phone store/carrier I’ve ever seen. Most instructive: the store figures if you are buying a cell phone around Boston, knowledge of dead spots locally will be very important. It’s all about local…geography still matters!

by Adena Schutzberg on 02/10 at 07:17 AM | Comments | Bookmark and Share

Consider this quote from an article about using GPS to halt invasive weeds in Hawaii.

The GPS units collect information from satellites in space that are operated by the military. You can tease that map through a series of queries and you can find out what species are where, how much of the area is occupied,” said Mike Sibernagle, Wildlife Biologist for the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Services.

I suspect there’s a GIS somewhere in this process, but its interesting it’s not noted. Of coure, the article is about GPS…

Perhaps since the software that accompanies may GPSs offers basic queries its considered part of the GPS? Or perhaps the data is dumped into a simpler mapping/visualization program that doesn’t really qualify as a GIS?  Is this an indication that the technology really be “disappearing” into other apps as was predicted some years ago?

by Adena Schutzberg on 02/10 at 07:10 AM | Comments | Bookmark and Share

I had the odd experience last night of having not one, but two women, both working on master’s degrees come up to me bubbling over with excitement about GIS. One had played with, she working on affordable housing issues in a section of Boston. The other had seen a GIS demo where a tool calculated the percentage of different minorities in an area, helping to figure where it was best to sample for certain types of people. She studying public health and taking a GIS course. Both had the same sorts of questions/issues: how can I get data, our project has no money, is there “GIS for dummies”, etc. We are having a “GIS breakfast” next week to get them started.

What floors me about this is these are two random people who just happen to be in my 400 person running club and are agog about GIS, which is great. Clearly, they both see the potential for GIS in their work. Here’s the part that scares me: they are in reputable programs but don’t seem to have the resources they need. On the other hand, with busy grad school lives, perhaps they simply haven’t been inspired enough to push a bit farther with their schools?

I was pleased this morning to read about a burgeoning GIS certificate program in Idaho. It’s grown considerably since inception in 2002 and may even begin offering day instead of night only classes. Even better news: some 25% of students have their way paid by employers. That suggests that employers “see the benefit.” The article even goes into such detail as to note, “Program credits also count toward professional GIS certification, which is awarded by the Park Ridge, Ill.-based Urban and Regional Information Systems Association.” I believe certification is conferred by GISCI.

by Adena Schutzberg on 02/10 at 06:43 AM | Comments | Bookmark and Share

Thursday, February 09, 2006

There’s been a run of publicity on, a site that uses maps to show housing price estimates in the United States. It was noted on Spatially Adjusted today and covered in the New York Times yesterday.

I heard about it in an e-mail first thing this morning. My source said it was Flash (he couldn’t see it on his Mac, and I confirmed it used Flash 8 on my Windows machine) though Mr. Fee says its Ajax (maybe it goes both ways?). The app was only vaguely interesting (yam, yet another mashup) but the responses were fascinating.

From a writer on a private e-mail list:

Should I worry that they are showing lots of houses with prices where houses are not actually located, that the address they claim is mine is in the wrong block of the street, the home facts are half wrong, and the price they estimate is clearly out of the correct ballpark?

Apprently, NPR mentioned it yesterday, when it launched (press release). Today NPR shared listener responses. One said the data in their neighborhood was from the 1970s and their house, built in 1982, was not even on the map! A second chided NPR for providing free advertising to the startup.

The company does have extensive explanations about its data coverage and how it works, but it really doesn’t matter. And, neither did it going down under the load of all this viral marketing. Bottom line: If your house is not there, or the data is old, sites like this seemed to be dismissed out of hand. It’s a tough world out there!

by Adena Schutzberg on 02/09 at 04:14 PM | Comments | Bookmark and Share

Kimberly Anderson (Women in GIS profile) was appointed Sales Channel Manager at CollabraSpace, a provider of web-based collaboration solutions for government and commercial enterprises. Our community knows Anderson as one-time regional manager at ESRI’s Washington DC office (where I worked with her managing a big benchmark years ago), the Federal Market Development Manager at GE Power (Smallworld) and most recently the vice president of business development and sales director for CH2M Hill.

Moving from GIS to collaboration solutions seems quite a logical step to me.

by Adena Schutzberg on 02/09 at 03:41 PM | Comments | Bookmark and Share
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