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Monday, January 09, 2006

[update 1/9] Roger Hart at GeoCarta notes expansion of NOAA’s partnerships with commercial players, like it did with Google for Katrina imagery, in the coming year.

Here in Massachusetts we have this terrific free warehouse of MassGIS data hosted by MIT (on some cool open source software). So far as I know, the same data are available on Google Earth.  New, one foot data from Washington and Benton counties in Arkansas is now on the big Google Earth server. I wrote about how Microsoft was offering states the ability to host data on TerraServer back in September.

Guess what? It looks like Google may be the keeper of our public data. Gee isn’t it nice that all the GIS companies are providing KML out tools to comply with this vision? What happened to loosely coupled servers based on standards (The MIT server, CAST’s GeoStore and TerraServer all implement OGC standards, by the way and so far, Google Earth does not)? Wasn’t that how we were going to build a national map, an NSDI and a GSDI? Or maybe we’ve forgotten that vision? Or can we not follow through? I’ve suggested before that a private company may do better at NSDI tasks (heck ESRI already runs Geodata.gov) so why not Google for this role? Is that what we want?

by Adena Schutzberg on 01/09 at 08:04 AM | Comments | Bookmark and Share

Very Spatial shares an article from the South Dakota Argus Leader noting that funding has been allocated for a new USGS (built by NASA) satellite, perhaps to be named Landsat 8. $338 million is budgeted for this fiscal year with launch expected in 2010. It will continue that program which has had a continuing glitch with Landsat 7 and more recently issues with Landsat 5. And, ideally, the new satellite will keep EROS in business.

Very strange (or not?) that this has been so quiet…

by Adena Schutzberg on 01/09 at 07:45 AM | Comments | Bookmark and Share

[Update 1/10] According to another Forbes report, VW will not comment on the announcement. What’s up with that?

[Update 1/9] Forbes reports: “Google software will allow single images from satellites and aerial photographs to be incorporated into a detailed visual navigation system able to zoom in on buildings.” So, that’s not so Google Earthlike - is it?

Deep in the coverage of CES last week is a tidbit about Google working with VW on a navigation system built on Google Earth. From Electronic Business:

[Larry Page began] his presentation showing a powerful Google Earth satellite application that could eventually work in vehicles. He said Google is working with VW on such an application where the operator would punch in an address on the car console. The system would direct the operator to his or her destination in a 3D application similar to what occurs in Google Earth on a PC. 

Sure, why not? Some are concerned about the amount of data one would need to carry around or transfer via wireless or other methodology. Others question whether Google Earth data are the right stuff for this type of app. (See comments by James Fee and Frank Taylor.)

I’m not worried. This is all about teaching the consumer market (and frankly the business market) more about services. That’s what CES was about - not so much the hardware on which to play the services - but rather about the services themselves. That’s where the money is to be made.

That said, I do find it interesting that MapQuest just got into the “in car” nav space this fall with some hardware and Google is jumping in too. I suspect in time you’ll be able to buy the GPS hardware you want and then pick the service you want, too. All that’s needed: standards. Are they out there yet?

One other point, will these be free, with location-based ads? Or, will they be, like phone-based LBS services a few dollars a month?

by Adena Schutzberg on 01/09 at 06:00 AM | Comments | Bookmark and Share

Friday, January 06, 2006

GeoCarta reports that a several year old lawsuit between Skyline Software (used to be local folks here in Boston, now in Virginia) and Keyhole (now owned by Google, and offered as Google Earth) is simmering. The patent infringement suit was filed in May 2004 and Google was added as a defendent after it acquired Keyhole. The topic is detailed at AZCentral in article from Bloomberg.

Skyline argues that Google Earth should be shut down until the case is resolved and filed papers to that effect this week. Goolge is expected to reply to the complaint by January 18, but the court may rule on the shutdown request earlier.

The patent in question, from 2002 is tiled “remote landscape delay and pilot training” and offers a “method of transmitting digital 3-D images over a network.” I couldn’t find it on US Patent Office site.

by Adena Schutzberg on 01/06 at 02:21 PM | Comments | Bookmark and Share

St. Petersburg Times (FL) (KRT) Via Thomson Dialog NewsEdge) Jan. 6—LAS VEGAS—There’s a smattering of nifty ideas making the rounds at the annual International Consumer Electronics Show this week. Like a device that uses veins, not eye or finger scans, for identification and a backyard astrology kit that uses GPS to track stars.

Yes, that’s right - back yard astrology. Astrology is, per wikipedia,“refers to any of several traditions or systems in which knowledge of the apparent positions of celestial bodies is held to be useful in understanding, interpreting, and organizing knowledge about reality and human existence on earth.” I suspect the telescope in question would also be of interest to backyard astronomers (those who study “the science of celestial objects and phenomena that originate outside the Earth’s atmosphere, such as stars, planets, comets, galaxies, and the cosmic background radiation”).

The press release from Celstron, the folks behind the telescope, clearly aims it at astronomers. “For years amateur astronomers and beginners alike have used a variety of tools to help locate items in the night sky. ”

by Adena Schutzberg on 01/06 at 07:44 AM | Comments | Bookmark and Share
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