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Friday, December 09, 2005

Mac fans are all agog with word that Google Earth may soon grace their machines. Says WebProNews: “Reportedly, a version of Google Earth for Mac OS X began showing up outside the US. That pre-release edition relies on OpenGL rendering, the report said.” The article also notes that Google has yet to release a product for the Mac save a mail notifier.

by Adena Schutzberg on 12/09 at 08:51 AM | Comments | Bookmark and Share

“GPS isn’t just GPS anymore. Traffic is the new frontier.”

Ted Gartner, a spokesman for Garmin quoted in an article in the Baltimore Sun offering that just telling you where you are or how to get somewhere is old hat.

by Adena Schutzberg on 12/09 at 08:46 AM | Comments | Bookmark and Share

Have you got a wish list of what you’d like to see happen in the geospatial industry in 2006? Or some ideas about what you think will happen? Drop us a note (250 words or fewer) and tell us what you think. We’re planning to run an article on this topic early in 2006, and want your input. Anyone whose material we use will receive Directions swag!

by Adena Schutzberg on 12/09 at 06:00 AM | Comments | Bookmark and Share

Thursday, December 08, 2005

Gary Price at Search Engine Watch notes a new Google beta for a trip planner using public transportation in Portland, Oregon. He didn’t get it to work and there are no definite plans from Google noted. Still, it’s an interesting future project. One cool tool: an estimate of the cost to drive to the destination compared to the public transportation cost.

by Adena Schutzberg on 12/08 at 08:31 AM | Comments | Bookmark and Share

Despite Microsoft’s efforts to keep it a secret, Live Local was the talk of at least some parts of the Web yesterday. I noted it yesterday in this blog. By yesterday afternoon, Search Engine Watch had the press release, which my notes say wouldn’t be available until 9:01 am today.

So, should you be excited? I wasn’t. Yes it has the promised Pictometry Imagery. Yes it has updated directions tools (ooo – you can either print the maps, or the directions in steps, or both!). Yes, it has tools for annotating the map with you own push pins. But none of those are enough to drag me off of my preferred mapping platform.

Why? The app, now called Live Local powered by Virtual Earth, is still clunky. Things don’t work intuitively. In the demo, Tom Bailey, Director of Marketing, MSN, placed a custom push pin at the front door of a building. He then located a hotel and tried to create driving directions to that pushpin. I waited eagerly for him to double click on it in the scratch pad and for that location to populate the “to” part of the directions tool. No such luck – we had to zoom to the location, then click on the pushpin on the map! That’s inelegant and adds steps to what should be a simple process.

And, let’s consider Live Local as a name. The old MSN Virtual Earth URL points to the new, Live Local is one of the terms my local TV station uses to promote its news. Live Local does not sound like maps. (I have yet to hear anyone refer to Google Maps as Google Local, though its name changed some months ago.) And, perhaps maps should not be part of these offerings’ names. Local is about Search first, geography second. That said, I hope the company will also examine some of the core interface challenges as well.

Microsoft has big plans for more data and goodies for Live Local and that’s good. One good one to note: Virtual Earth will in time become the core mapping technology that will power Live Local, MapPoint Web Service and the company’s consumer mapping products.

by Adena Schutzberg on 12/08 at 06:00 AM | Comments | Bookmark and Share
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