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Monday, January 23, 2006

A Japanese company offers an online service to create custom Google Maps to put on your website, include wtih invitations and the like. (press release) You use a little online “drawing package” to post pins with information, draw lines and the like and then are presented with some HTML for a webpage or a URL to share.

I had a bit of trouble with the pause tool, which ideally stops a command so you can do map operations (zoom out, pan, etc.) then continue, but overall I was pretty impressed. Here’s the map I made of where my running club meets. (I had to remove it as it was breaking something in the blog software. It’ll be back as soon as possible. -Adena)

by Adena Schutzberg on 01/23 at 06:00 AM | Comments | Bookmark and Share

Jeff Perkel writes in his blog at The Scientist about two sites that reveal patterns in the distribution of fish and ants. They are Google Maps/Earth mashups and he notes that they are key in sharing scientitific information.  He goes on:

I expect we’ll see more specimen collections making their way onto Google Earth and Google Maps. That’s because they are, at heart, basically just data presentation tools, more akin to Adobe Acrobat than to desktop GIS systems.

I agree.

While I love that these and related mashups are seemingly easy to create and bring a new light to data, I’ll prod that scientists need to demand more. Why should they have to convert their data to KML, which is slowly becoming a de facto standard? Why should they not be able to reach out to any map server and overlay that data right on top, at will? That’s the vision of those who are looking further ahead. And, maybe Google is too, now that it’s joined the OGC.

C’mon scientists, let’s think beyond what Google has given us! Demand a higher level of interoperability.

by Adena Schutzberg on 01/23 at 06:00 AM | Comments | Bookmark and Share

Sunday, January 22, 2006

At the SD Forum in Santa Clara, California Mr. O’Reilly, Sun Microsystems’ Simon Phipps and IBM’s Rod Smith participated in a panel on open source. First off, the three apparently refused to narrow the definition of open source (The Register), giving a sort of “it means whatever you think it means.” For example, anyone who uses Apache, they argued, is part of the open source community. That of course would include Microsoft which is oft reported to use open source technology in dribs and drabs in its empire. (Now, who would want to be part of a club that included Microsoft? Groucho would have a field day!)

More relevant to the geospatial world was the O’Reilly’s statement, “Google Maps is the new open source,” which followed the suggestion that Google is a great example of an open source company because it uses vast Linux server farms to build and deliver software services to customers. The writer at the Register felt O’Reilly was referring to Google’s “more open” interface allowing more users to create mashups than on Yahoo’s or Microsoft’s platforms.

If publishing an interface is all it takes to be open source than I’ll offer that Mr. O’Reilly did indeed redefine open source, or at least the “new open source.”

by Adena Schutzberg on 01/22 at 06:00 AM | Comments | Bookmark and Share

Friday, January 20, 2006

Red Herring reports that Autodesk’s technology will be inside Verizon’s kid tracking technology called Verizon Chaperone. (I like the name - a bit less “big brothery” than many.) It’s one of six to eight location-based services from the company expected before summer.

Autodesk has been working on this particular service for some 18 months and Verizon has been very wary, looking to maintain privacy. “Mr. Astroth said Verizon Wireless’ Chaperone will have three options that a parent can choose for the service: ‘always track,’ ‘ask to track,’ and ‘deny tracking service.’ Different options can also be set to coincide with days of the week, or times of the day.”

According to the article, Autodesk also powers Nextel’s and Sprint’s location-based services, though I hear very little about that.

by Adena Schutzberg on 01/20 at 03:26 PM | Comments | Bookmark and Share

I read a job posting today that read in part: “Design and develop end-user tools and application using ESRI or ESRI-like GIS products.”

I find that amusing. My mind runs amuck:

“Mechanic wanted to work on Ford and Ford-like cars.”

“Baker wanted to create pastry with King Arthur and King Arthur-like flour.”

“Carpenter wanted to build cabinets from wood and wood-like materials.”

How would you have written that ad? I’d have said “Design and develop end-user tools and application using GIS products.” And perhaps, if I felt the need to say ESRI, “Design and develop end-user tools and application GIS products (ESRI, MapInfo, etc.).”

by Adena Schutzberg on 01/20 at 03:19 PM | Comments | Bookmark and Share
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