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Friday, December 30, 2005

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

Knight Ridder has done an analysis on albeit incomplete data on the victims of Hurricane Katrina (including some spatail analysis, but no maps) and found many of the early conclusions regarding who died were in error, especially those using the term “disproportionately”. Some examples:

The addresses where bodies were recovered were compiled by Louisiana state officials and released earlier this month. Knight Ridder charted the locations on a map of Orleans and St. Bernard parishes, then compared them with census data on income in those neighborhoods.

The comparison showed that 42% of the bodies found at homes in Orleans and St. Bernard parishes were in neighborhoods with high poverty. That’s only slightly higher than the 39% of residents of such neighborhoods in general.

Similarly, 31% of the bodies turned up in areas with poverty rates below 15%, where 30% of the population lived.

One of the sadder findings: many of those who were thought not to have transportation and hence could not leave, had cars in their driveways. Now, of course, they may not have had gasoline, but apparently there were vehicles.

by Adena Schutzberg on 12/30 at 07:00 AM | Comments | Bookmark and Share

Steve Outing writing at Poynter.org notes that Jonathan Dube at Cyberjournalist.net cites the top online story (most popular from that blog) as the use of Googe Maps. It even topped the use of citizen images in the coverage of Katrina. Google reports 1,740 hits on “google maps” from cyberjournalist.net. (I supect that’s more than even Directions!) A thought: maybe the hype around Google Maps (of which I confess to being a party) was part of the reason it was top story?

A plug for Poynter.org. If you are not trained in journalism (like me), it’s a great resource. I add it to a steady diet of Beat the Press (CPB, WBGH, Boston) and On the Media (NPR).

by Adena Schutzberg on 12/30 at 06:00 AM | Comments | Bookmark and Share

Thursday, December 29, 2005

PC World hands out its 2006 Innovation Awards and includes Google Earth in the Wireless and Mobile category (a stretch in my estimation).

Says the description of the awards: “Our criteria for innovation included such elements as design, and the integration of technology with function. In all cases, we looked for products and services that did something first, did it much better than its predecessors, or reimagined what had been done before.”

The award paragraph itself reads: “Google Earth SATELLITE MAPPING SERVICE (Free) One of the search king’s handful of out-of-browser experiences, Google Earth lets you pan and zoom over satellite images of the far-flung corners of the globe. Then when you’re ready to find a cheeseburger in Paradise, Michigan, simply check the Restaurant option in the Layers panel on the left to view specific locations (the same goes for hotels, gas stations, parks, schools, government buildings, and millions of other points of interest). And if you’re getting ready for a road trip, just enter your start and end points to view the route superimposed over the satellite image, along with turn-by-turn directions in the left pane. Fun, practical, and free—that’s a tough combination to beat.”

It’s not all satellites, folks! How about Earth Imaging Service? And, what did Google do with Keyhole besides make one version free? Was their a big jump in product features?

by Adena Schutzberg on 12/29 at 09:02 AM | Comments | Bookmark and Share
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