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Saturday, December 31, 2005

In a very quiet note on its website, GeoTango announced on December 23 that the Canadian visualization company was acquired by Microsoft. GeoTango is known for its 3D visualiziation and content development tools.

I suspect that Microsoft was most interested in the company’s 3D Internet visualization offering, GeoTango GlobeView, which according to the company “delivers a 3D digital earth allowing you to interactively explore the world.” Its distinguishing feature? “Unlike other systems GeoTango GlobeView offers a truly open and web services-oriented solution.” Truly open may refer to its support for XML, Web standards as well as OpenGIS standards.

The product with which I am most familiar, and which may be used to build data for Microsoft products and perhaps to be sold as well, is SilverEye, an image processing package that generates 3D building models from single images. The company calls it “the fastest approach to build 3D models of any location in the world.”

The entire GeoTango website, save the main page, seems to have been removed from the Web. That may be an oversight, or may be for competitive reasons. A cached version from Google is still around, at least for a while.

GeoTango made a big splash at ASPRS in 2004 (I covered it) and more recently showed its wares at Where 2.0, where Nat described GlobeView as the “other side of the coin” from Google Earth since it’s in the browser.

Clearly, Microsoft is looking to catch up with or surpass Google in this space. Also of interest, the open standards part of the equation puts Microsoft into closer competition with ESRI’s upcoming ArcGIS Explorer.

by Adena Schutzberg on 12/31 at 04:15 PM | Comments | Bookmark and Share

Friday, December 30, 2005

The Columbia Missourian reports that “The Center for Geospatial Intelligence at MU will receive $1.75 million in next year’s defense appropriations bill, according to a recent announcement by Sen. Kit Bond, R-Mo.”

by Adena Schutzberg on 12/30 at 07:48 AM | Comments | Bookmark and Share

AECNews.com reports that Avatech Solutions has released a preliminary version of a tool to export 3D AutoCAD models into KML. It’s a freebie, which requires some simplification of the model, and has no support at this time.

by Adena Schutzberg on 12/30 at 07:26 AM | Comments | Bookmark and Share

The Asbury Park Press (New Jersey) reports that Monmouth County Sheriff’s Office and the Office on Aging is giving away 40 free “GPS style” bracelets for those with dementia with the hope they will help in locating these individuals should they become lost. A staffer at the office of aging describes the hardware as “wristbands, which weigh only an ounce and emit inaudible radio signals.”

There needs to be a better way to describe this sort of technoloy so that it’s not confused with GPS. Perhaps they might say: “The wristbands send out a radio signal” or refer to them as “radio signal bracelets?”

by Adena Schutzberg on 12/30 at 07:16 AM | Comments | Bookmark and Share

I generally ascribe errors regarding geospatial technology found in small papers to earnest staffers with limited experience or limited time for fact checking. I expect the New York Times and NPR to do better. Alas, no. Today on Morning Edition NPR shared two corrections on a piece that discussed Galileo and GPS. In particular it corrected a statement saying that GPS accuracy was but 16 feet, when many recievers can achieve much higher levels. A second noted that signal augmentation was no longer applied to GPS; it was “turned off” five years ago.

by Adena Schutzberg on 12/30 at 07:07 AM | Comments | Bookmark and Share
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