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Wednesday, December 21, 2005

Like many journalists, I’ve a fascination with the “most e-mailed article” list on many news sites. Today, the one at the New York Times? “Governments Tremble at Google’s Bird’s-Eye View”.

The article is another round up of the concerns countries around the world have regarding the imagery provided by Google Earth, in particular. The article, from Tuesday is well-written and quite correct, so far as I can tell, regarding technology and legal issues. In fact, when I blogged it earlier this week, (from a publication that ran it last Friday) it was the most read blog post here at APB. It actually had a different headline: “Google Earth: Too close for comfort?”

There are some points to be made regarding the “popularity” of this article.

1) Bird’s-Eye View is the term Microsoft has chosen for its oblique aerial imagey from Pictometry. I believe Pictometry used the term before licensing the data to Microsoft. Bad rap for Butterfly man!

2) The article, and ones like it which do not have evidence of misuse of the technology, has cauased some, alas in geoblogging community, to use such headlines as: “Iraqi Insurgents Using Google Earth Against American & British Forces.” Others are good enough to include a question mark, suggesting that well, maybe they are: “Iraqi Insurgents Using Google Earth in Warfare?”

3) Why are “regular” (non-geogeek) people so interested in this topic? I’ll offer a few guesses: They don’t really understand how the technology works or where the imagery comes from. They, like the countries who are nervous, wonder just how Google can “get away with this.” They are concerned about their own privacy in the U.S. and elsewhere (and why not considering the latest news from Washington?).

by Adena Schutzberg on 12/21 at 07:57 AM | Comments | Bookmark and Share

A press release from Navizon is titled: “Navizon Transforms Cell Phones and Wi-Fi Devices into A GPS Device” It goes on: “GPS Never Looked So Good!  This Powerful Peer-to-Peer Network Allows Users to Share GPS Information

The release goes on to state that it’s “the world’s first software based, peer produced, wireless positioning network.” Oh, so it’s not GPS and the software really does not transform these devices into GPS devices. let’s just be clear on that!

The press release does not include the URL of the company, but after a visit, I learned that those with GPS chips in their devices are asked to help map their neighborhood for those who do not. The software is Windows only. To make things more confusing the website says:

“The first Peer-to-Peer Wireless Positioning System that successfully blends GPS + WiFi + Cellular signals together into one accurate and powerful Mobile Geo-Location System”

If this is going to work, Navizon, you need to be more clear on what exactly you are offering!

by Adena Schutzberg on 12/21 at 06:00 AM | Comments | Bookmark and Share

I see the 2006 FGDC CAP Grants information has been posted. Sort of too bad it isn’t sent out in a press release. Still, there’s more than $1 million in funding for the cooprerative agreement program grants to build up the NSDI and other geospatial goodies. Requests close February 1 - get going!

by Adena Schutzberg on 12/21 at 06:00 AM | Comments | Bookmark and Share

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

With the New York City Transit strike underway, the New York Times has posted a mashup of car pool staging areas, HOV routes, and reserved arterials. The interesting tidbit here is that the Times is asking readers to share their commuting stories that will be posted to the map. But they are only asking for the zip code in which their commute began. I assume they are being cautious with regard to privacy concerns but it is a little hard to figure how they will communicate much benefit to others if they start with a zip code. Seems like they could have asked for a street intersection to be more useful.

by Joe Francica on 12/20 at 08:55 AM | Comments | Bookmark and Share

I just want to point out that this headline from several UK publications, regarding Galileo “UK helps to bring sat-nav to the masses” sort of contradicts this one from a blog on GPS: “GPS Enters the Mainstream.”

by Adena Schutzberg on 12/20 at 06:00 AM | Comments | Bookmark and Share
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