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Wednesday, December 07, 2005

A report in the Rolla Daily News highlights the uncertainty of USGS employees in Rolla awaiting the final decision on the planned move of the main mapping center to Denver. Many are cutting back on holiday spending while some ponder a $25,000 maximum buyout. The buyout means “the employees forgo their ability to work in federal government for five years.”

What is the status of the internal report on the process of choosing a location for the center?

USGS spokeswoman Barbara Wainman said the internal review is complete and has been submitted to Director Pat Leahy, who will review it and submit the findings to the Department of Interior. Wainman said the report was submitted on the Friday after Thanksgiving and Leahy has been traveling since that time.

Wainman insists USGS is not dragging its feet.

by Adena Schutzberg on 12/07 at 06:00 AM | Comments | Bookmark and Share

Quality Planning Corp., a risk assessment firm released a report on Tuesday based on data from 15 million auto insurance policies and 2 million claims. I “mapped out” traffic accidents severe enough to cause property damage and made some interested observations:

Drivers living within a mile of a church are the safest—they’re 10 percent less likely to crash than their fellow drivers, according to Quality Planning Corp., or QPC.
Alternately, drivers residing within a mile of a restaurant are 30 percent more likely to be in an accident.

The AP story goes on to note that insurance companies may well use the data to update rates. Critics say the study is ridiculous.

by Adena Schutzberg on 12/07 at 06:00 AM | Comments | Bookmark and Share

Slashdot points to a ZD article that explains how Oregon and Washington state have recieved money from the U.S. federal government to institute mileage based tolls using GPS. The article points out “there is no provision in place to prevent the uncontrolled surveillance of motorists without a court order.”

by Adena Schutzberg on 12/07 at 06:00 AM | Comments | Bookmark and Share

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

Autodesk shared some screenshots of “MapServer Enterprise.”

by Adena Schutzberg on 12/06 at 09:26 AM | Comments | Bookmark and Share

Ralph Grabowski notes in his review of Autodesk University (soon to be available here, I suspect.):

One of Autodesk’s GIS products has always had the ability to read DGN files created by MicroStation from Bentley Systems. A future release of AutoCAD will also read DGN files. At the AU show, there was some controversy over the source of the DGN translator. British CAD editor Martyn Day did the research, and found that “Autodesk reverse-engineered DGN itself, at the cost of something like $400,000 in a cleanroom environment. It’s V8 DGN. Autodesk wonders if there would be any advantage in putting the source code up as open source, to keep the cost of development down.” That’s cheaper than outsourcing!

I’ve always felt that Autodesk kept the tools to import DGN and shape files in Map and not in AutoCAD simply to boost sales of the former. This note regarding Autodesk consideration of open sourcing its DGN reading technology is interesting on several fronts:

First, it follows the “we love open source” ideas eminating from the Infrastructure Solutions Division. It’s be nice to see follow ons to the release of the latest Web mapping software to open source.

Second, it would compete with the Open Design Alliance, which offers libraries, for a fee. Recall that its head, Evan Yares, did not join the CAD technorati at Autodesk University this year.

Third, where would Autodesk put the code? The MapServer Foundation? Another foundation? Out on its own?

by Adena Schutzberg on 12/06 at 07:56 AM | Comments | Bookmark and Share
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