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Wednesday, December 07, 2005

A twelve-year old in Florida found an undersea structure that looks like a fist. How? Searching Google Earth, of course. Check out the picture, which the boy took himself and appeared in his local paper.

by Adena Schutzberg on 12/07 at 07:15 AM | Comments | Bookmark and Share

The San Diego Union-Tribune reports on Verizon’s rollout of a cell phone based navigation next week.

VZNavigator is the company’s first LBS app and is expected to compete with in-vehicle systems. VZNavigator will cost $9.99 a month for unlimited use or $2.99 for use in one 24-hour period. At launch only the GPS enabled Motorola V325 phone will be supported.

The system will offer a menu of target addresses of 14 million places in the United States in its database, including restaurants, ATMs, hotels, police stations, hospitals, movie theaters and gas stations. No word on the technology or database behind the system.

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

A report in the Rolla Daily News highlights the uncertainty of USGS employees in Rolla awaiting the final decision on the planned move of the main mapping center to Denver. Many are cutting back on holiday spending while some ponder a $25,000 maximum buyout. The buyout means “the employees forgo their ability to work in federal government for five years.”

What is the status of the internal report on the process of choosing a location for the center?

USGS spokeswoman Barbara Wainman said the internal review is complete and has been submitted to Director Pat Leahy, who will review it and submit the findings to the Department of Interior. Wainman said the report was submitted on the Friday after Thanksgiving and Leahy has been traveling since that time.

Wainman insists USGS is not dragging its feet.

by Adena Schutzberg on 12/07 at 06:00 AM | Comments | Bookmark and Share

Quality Planning Corp., a risk assessment firm released a report on Tuesday based on data from 15 million auto insurance policies and 2 million claims. I “mapped out” traffic accidents severe enough to cause property damage and made some interested observations:

Drivers living within a mile of a church are the safest—they’re 10 percent less likely to crash than their fellow drivers, according to Quality Planning Corp., or QPC.
Alternately, drivers residing within a mile of a restaurant are 30 percent more likely to be in an accident.

The AP story goes on to note that insurance companies may well use the data to update rates. Critics say the study is ridiculous.

by Adena Schutzberg on 12/07 at 06:00 AM | Comments | Bookmark and Share

Slashdot points to a ZD article that explains how Oregon and Washington state have recieved money from the U.S. federal government to institute mileage based tolls using GPS. The article points out “there is no provision in place to prevent the uncontrolled surveillance of motorists without a court order.”

by Adena Schutzberg on 12/07 at 06:00 AM | Comments | Bookmark and Share
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