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Tuesday, November 22, 2005

In past months we at Direcitons have been astounded by the traditional media coverge of Google Maps and Google Earth, almost to the exclusion of coverage of ESRI, Yahoo, MapQuest or any other mapping or GIS company or product. But, the New York Times redeems itself today with coverage of NASA’s World Wind as a tool to explore the moon. It does note that Earth coverage is also available.

Also interesting is the mention of how “Users of the public program have produced a Web site that provides instructions and help, as well as applications that use the World Wind data, such as an add-on program that makes it easier to find spots like the Apollo landing sites, Mr. Hogan said.” It’s a Wiki!

by Adena Schutzberg on 11/22 at 08:13 AM | Comments | Bookmark and Share

Information Week highlights how a small online community Judy’s Book, that provides local reviews of local service, raised $8 million in venture funding. So, what’s different about this site? Says the article “The idea is to connect consumers with businesses that provide the best service, rather than those that have the biggest advertising budget.”

Also of interest is TrueLocal, which aims to drive surfers off line to businesses. “TrueLocal starts with a base of listings from nationwide yellow pages, matches those businesses to their Web sites, and then, when a search is conducted, only returns results for businesses that have an actual physical address in the desired geography. Local businesses can advertise, Google-style, by bidding to appear high up on listings based on category and zip code.” Basically, TrueLocal is doing “due diligence” on the geography of its content providers.

by Adena Schutzberg on 11/22 at 06:00 AM | Comments | Bookmark and Share

If you’ve not run into an article by Glen Gibbons yet, you probably will soon. GIS Development includes an interview with the founding editor of GPS World where he explains “I am in the process of launching a magazine ‘Inside GNSS’.” He’s also authored a piece for American Surveyor, which also notes the new publication in his bio. Good marketing campaign! (Gee, I gave him more marketing my mentioning it…so be it!)

One question: are people in this community familiar with the term GNSS? I know many outside know what GPS is, but may not be aware that GNSS is broader term referring to Global Navigation Satellite Systems including GPS, GLONASS and the upcoming Galileo.


by Adena Schutzberg on 11/22 at 06:00 AM | Comments | Bookmark and Share

Monday, November 21, 2005

Last week GIS Monitor offered a review of a French company’s review of Google Earth as a tool for military and defense. The editor followed up with several questions for John Hanke, the company’s Product Director for Local Maps & Earth. This question and answer were very interesting to me.

Does Google Earth abide by OGC standards, as claimed in the French report? In general, what is Google’s attitude toward standards?

“We currently support the import of WMS data into our enterprise client. You can subscribe to a WMS server and see that as an overlay on the Google Earth data as you pan around. Google Earth is a good complement to a traditional GIS system — it is not a replacement for one. It is about a geo-browsing experience. We support some OGC standards, particularly WMS. OGC standards were created for GIS companies; they are not consumer-oriented standards. We have contacts with OGC and would like to see the emergence of consumer-oriented standards. However, it is pretty easy to add data to Google Earth using KML and people have written converters [to facilitate that]. The bulk of the world’s GIS data lives in proprietary ESRI systems — not in OGC-compliant ones. ESRI has announced its intention to support KML.”

First off, full disclosure: I consult to OGC and have for several years.

Some thoughts:

“Import of WMS data” – I could be wrong, but there is no such thing as WMS data.  WMS servers pick up a graphic -  think JPEG or PNG - and delivers it to a client. It’s a snapshot of the result from the GIS. The data underneath could be anything – ESRI shape files, DGN, MapInfo, images, whatever. If anything, WMS data is a simple bitmap sent with further information about where to locate it, etc.

“subscribe to a WMS server” – I suppose for Google subscriptions are big deal. Most people talk about connecting to a WMS server.

“We support some OGC standards.” I wonder which ones besides WMS? For those not keeping count, here’s the current list.

“OGC standards were created for GIS companies; they are not consumer-oriented standards.” I admit ignorance – what’s the difference? Is the Wi-Fi standard for electronics companies or consumers? I think both, but perhaps this is more subtle.

“The bulk of the world’s GIS data lives in proprietary ESRI systems — not in OGC-compliant ones.” It’s interesting to note that several of ESRI’s products implement OGC specs and others have passed conformance testing for them. So, I wonder if that statement will be outdated soon?

Oh, and that Enterprise Client Hanke mentions, don’t look for any details about its support for WMS on the Google Earth page. The only details I found were on a Keyhole page.

The client, so far as I can tell only comes with the Enterprise version of Google Earth. And, exactly how do you access WMS servers? “A 2D overview map window is available. This overview map can be driven by a WMS-compliant server.”

by Adena Schutzberg on 11/21 at 12:32 PM | Comments | Bookmark and Share

The Statesman (India) reports on a November cover article (not yet online) in GIS Development arguing that Google Earth is “more opportunity than threat…” The Stateman adds to the value of Google Earth for India by quoting a former BJP MP from Mumbai, Mr Kirit Somaiya/, who states, “It is a fact that no governmental agency has a map of the course of the Mithi river. For all official records, this river does not exist.” That river was the cause of death for some 600 people last July.

by Adena Schutzberg on 11/21 at 06:00 AM | Comments | Bookmark and Share
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