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Monday, January 02, 2006

In what’s being called a “collaboration” by the local paper, The Republican, Google Earth (a piece of software) and Northampton, Mass. (a city) are making a avialable local data for that city. Two local real estate agents are funding the purchase of “software from Google Earth.” (The city is looking for one more sponsor, if anyone is interested.) My best guess on what was purchased? Google Earth Pro and the GIS extension.

The city has a nice long list of KMZ files it hosts including bike paths, flood planes, zoning, etc. (I had to update the install of Google Earth I had to access the data.) Shape files are also available for those with GIS software. Other maps are available as PDFs, for those who do not want to “make their own maps.” A bit of history: A press release from 2002 boasts of Northampton’s use of BeyondGeo to publish its geospatial data on the Web.

So, what does this mean for Google Earth displacing other mapping services, like BeyondGeo? (I can’t think of many that were really successful.) Will Google Earth be the tool of choice, vs. say the easier for many citizens to use Google Maps mashups? (That’d be too bad, in my estimation, as GE is a bit much to ask many folks to navigate.) How many small and large cities will head down the this path? (Clearly, some will. Let’s keep an eye on which ones, and how far they go!) Welcome to 2006!

by Adena Schutzberg on 01/02 at 06:00 AM | Comments | Bookmark and Share

Saturday, December 31, 2005

In a very quiet note on its website, GeoTango announced on December 23 that the Canadian visualization company was acquired by Microsoft. GeoTango is known for its 3D visualiziation and content development tools.

I suspect that Microsoft was most interested in the company’s 3D Internet visualization offering, GeoTango GlobeView, which according to the company “delivers a 3D digital earth allowing you to interactively explore the world.” Its distinguishing feature? “Unlike other systems GeoTango GlobeView offers a truly open and web services-oriented solution.” Truly open may refer to its support for XML, Web standards as well as OpenGIS standards.

The product with which I am most familiar, and which may be used to build data for Microsoft products and perhaps to be sold as well, is SilverEye, an image processing package that generates 3D building models from single images. The company calls it “the fastest approach to build 3D models of any location in the world.”

The entire GeoTango website, save the main page, seems to have been removed from the Web. That may be an oversight, or may be for competitive reasons. A cached version from Google is still around, at least for a while.

GeoTango made a big splash at ASPRS in 2004 (I covered it) and more recently showed its wares at Where 2.0, where Nat described GlobeView as the “other side of the coin” from Google Earth since it’s in the browser.

Clearly, Microsoft is looking to catch up with or surpass Google in this space. Also of interest, the open standards part of the equation puts Microsoft into closer competition with ESRI’s upcoming ArcGIS Explorer.

by Adena Schutzberg on 12/31 at 04:15 PM | Comments | Bookmark and Share

Friday, December 30, 2005

The Columbia Missourian reports that “The Center for Geospatial Intelligence at MU will receive $1.75 million in next year’s defense appropriations bill, according to a recent announcement by Sen. Kit Bond, R-Mo.”

by Adena Schutzberg on 12/30 at 07:48 AM | Comments | Bookmark and Share reports that Avatech Solutions has released a preliminary version of a tool to export 3D AutoCAD models into KML. It’s a freebie, which requires some simplification of the model, and has no support at this time.

by Adena Schutzberg on 12/30 at 07:26 AM | Comments | Bookmark and Share

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
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