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Wednesday, December 21, 2005

The Microsoft PR folks just dropped us an e-mail noting that this year NORAD’s Santa Tracker would be using the Live Local mapping technology to track Santa’s flight on Saturday.

On the other hand, the Microsoft folks point out this app for tracking holiday lights. It’s sort of lame since there’s little detail.

by Adena Schutzberg on 12/21 at 12:37 PM | Comments | Bookmark and Share

A SmartMobs post points out something very timely: that despite all the goodies on the Web to help manage the transportation crisis in New York City, the old fashioned way works. The story describes a woman standing on teh street with a sign reading: “Need a ride to 27th and Park.” Hopefully those in their cars will be more likely to see her and pick her up than those just browing craigslist on their home PCs.

by Adena Schutzberg on 12/21 at 12:30 PM | Comments | Bookmark and Share

A White House report (pdf) overseen by Karen Evans, from the Office of Budget and Management, reports on the success of e-government since the the passage of the E-Government Act of 2002. Recall that’s the source of Geospatial One-Stop.

Four federal agencies were described in a CNET article as successful using a scorecard: the National Science Foundation, the Department of Labor, the Department of Transportation, and the Small Business Administration. Nine others were described as “unsatisfactory.” The rest got “mixed” reviews. I confess that I can’t decipher the scores from the scorecard the last edition of which is dated September.

by Adena Schutzberg on 12/21 at 12:00 PM | Comments | Bookmark and Share

Like many journalists, I’ve a fascination with the “most e-mailed article” list on many news sites. Today, the one at the New York Times? “Governments Tremble at Google’s Bird’s-Eye View”.

The article is another round up of the concerns countries around the world have regarding the imagery provided by Google Earth, in particular. The article, from Tuesday is well-written and quite correct, so far as I can tell, regarding technology and legal issues. In fact, when I blogged it earlier this week, (from a publication that ran it last Friday) it was the most read blog post here at APB. It actually had a different headline: “Google Earth: Too close for comfort?”

There are some points to be made regarding the “popularity” of this article.

1) Bird’s-Eye View is the term Microsoft has chosen for its oblique aerial imagey from Pictometry. I believe Pictometry used the term before licensing the data to Microsoft. Bad rap for Butterfly man!

2) The article, and ones like it which do not have evidence of misuse of the technology, has cauased some, alas in geoblogging community, to use such headlines as: “Iraqi Insurgents Using Google Earth Against American & British Forces.” Others are good enough to include a question mark, suggesting that well, maybe they are: “Iraqi Insurgents Using Google Earth in Warfare?”

3) Why are “regular” (non-geogeek) people so interested in this topic? I’ll offer a few guesses: They don’t really understand how the technology works or where the imagery comes from. They, like the countries who are nervous, wonder just how Google can “get away with this.” They are concerned about their own privacy in the U.S. and elsewhere (and why not considering the latest news from Washington?).

by Adena Schutzberg on 12/21 at 07:57 AM | Comments | Bookmark and Share

A press release from Navizon is titled: “Navizon Transforms Cell Phones and Wi-Fi Devices into A GPS Device” It goes on: “GPS Never Looked So Good!  This Powerful Peer-to-Peer Network Allows Users to Share GPS Information

The release goes on to state that it’s “the world’s first software based, peer produced, wireless positioning network.” Oh, so it’s not GPS and the software really does not transform these devices into GPS devices. let’s just be clear on that!

The press release does not include the URL of the company, but after a visit, I learned that those with GPS chips in their devices are asked to help map their neighborhood for those who do not. The software is Windows only. To make things more confusing the website says:

“The first Peer-to-Peer Wireless Positioning System that successfully blends GPS + WiFi + Cellular signals together into one accurate and powerful Mobile Geo-Location System”

If this is going to work, Navizon, you need to be more clear on what exactly you are offering!

by Adena Schutzberg on 12/21 at 06:00 AM | Comments | Bookmark and Share
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