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Sunday, August 24, 2014

Just a few months later and a few dollars more from my attempt, the Lion's Share paid off $2.4 Million to a New Hampshire man on Friday August 22, according to the Wall Street Journal.

-----  Original Post: June 5, 2014 ------

I was on an indoor location quest. While I’ll don’t indulge in gambling, much, I was fascinated by a story I read recently about a famous slot machine at the MGM Grand Casino. At the time, I was attending the HxGN LIVE event, the user conference of Hexagon that was held at the MGM. So, it was an opportunity to see how quickly I could locate the machine and perhaps beat the house odds.

The Lion’s Share slot machine has not paid out the jackpot for nearly two decades, which now sit at $2.38 million. It has its own Facebook page. There are sometimes waiting lines just to play it. According to an article in the Las Vegas Sun, it has reached legendary status and a cult following.  By Nevada Law, it can’t be removed until it pays out. The casino could remove the machine but it must move the entire jackpot to another machine, which it has no plans to do. According to the Sun, if someone does hit the jackpot, the casino owner is to be notified any time day or night to hand out the check directly.

So, I simply had to find the machine. But where to start? At first I simply wandered the casino but as anyone knows who’s been to a Las Vegas hotel, the whole intent of casinos is such that you never find your way out! With 2000 slot machines, it wasn’t feasible to blindly hope to stumble into it. And it’s not like there is a spotlight hovering over its location.

As indoor location technology advances, wouldn’t it have been nice if the casino had implemented beacon technology to help locate this slot machine. The MGM has an app of course but an indoor map to help gamblers find the Lion’s Share was not a feature.

Fortunately, the Sun article provided the proximal location and a helpful concierge pointed me in the right directly to refine my search. And there it sat, unobtrusive and at this time, looking pretty lonely. I sauntered up, inserted a few bills and promptly lost $20. I figured that if it wasn’t my day, any more of my hard earned money wouldn’t entice the Lion to release the jackpot from its money den. I snapped this photo, geolocated it and vowed to return to find it more easily next time.

by Joe Francica on 08/24 at 10:45 AM | Comments | Bookmark and Share

Friday, August 22, 2014

Using 3D to Track Flu

Speaking from her base in California, Ms [Lauren] Bennett [Spatial Analysis Product Engineer] said advancements in mapping technology could provide unprecedented insights into how influenza and other disease outbreaks spread in Australia and who is most at risk.

“For example, in the case of an influenza epidemic, we can now create 3D temporal maps of incidents to identify hot spots where the time of the outbreak provides the third dimension,” said Ms Bennett.

This is from a press release (though you'd not know it since it looks like a bylined article) from Esri Australia.

Where are the Blood Donors in Vancouver?

The Vancouver Sun has the answer (map at right):

Map shows the share of the population in each Metro Vancouver neighbourhood who donated blood in the past year. Large blue icons indicate the location of permanent blood clinics. Blue dots are temporary clinics. Click on a neighbourhood for more details.

United Way Using Story Map for Campaign

United Way and the Ad Council, in collaboration with the National Football League, have announced an extension of their successful LIVE UNITED campaign, including a new series of public service ads (PSAs) featuring NFL players promoting health and wellness, and ads showcasing the true outcome of United Way's work in local communities. The new campaign also includes an online interactive map that illustrates local impact stories from United Ways around the country.

The press release calls it a story map; it's built on Google Maps.

Continue reading...

by Adena Schutzberg on 08/22 at 04:38 AM | Comments | Bookmark and Share

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Census Mobile Quiz: Statistical Literacy of U.S. Population

The U.S. Census Bureau today released Census PoP Quiz, a new interactive mobile application that challenges users' knowledge of demographic facts for all 50 states and the District of Columbia. The new app, which draws from the Census Bureau's American Community Survey, aims to raise statistical literacy about the U.S. population.

I'd love for educators to let me know if this raises issues about statistical literacy in the U.S. and how that fits into school standards and goals.
GeoHumanities at Penn State

[Hélène] Huet, a doctoral candidate in the Department of French and Francophone Studies, is writing her dissertation on the works of and the relationships between some of the writers, publishers and illustrators of the Decadent movement in late 19th-century France. She found that the writers’ proximity to their publishers played a role in shaping their collaborations.

She did her research using ArcGIS but found authors' locations via Google Earth.
ArcGIS MOOC Returns Sept 1
An updated version of the GIS Basics MOOC (enroll) offered by Pace University professor Peggy Minnis will start on September 1. The new version titled Desktop GIS (syllabus) will again focus on ArcGIS Desktop 10.2 but the course is now structured around three units across its 12 weeks. More at APB.

Continue reading...

by Adena Schutzberg on 08/21 at 03:40 AM | Comments | Bookmark and Share

An updated version of the GIS Basics MOOC (enroll) offered by Pace Uneiversity professor Peggy Minnis will start on September 1. The new version titled Desktop GIS (syllabus) will again focus on ArcGIS Desktop 10.2 but the course is now structured around three units across its 12 weeks:

1. In the first unit, basic principles of mapping, sourcing data online, converting the data to a useable format and making a annotated map will be accomplished
2. In the second unit, new data will be created, addresses will be found, selections will be made, buffers created, GPS data will be collected and integrated with digital photographs.
3. The third unit will use some of the common extensions:  3D, Spatial Analyst and Publisher.

Students can obtain badges for completing each unit. Students completing the whole course including the creation of a portfolio will receive a certificate.

Learn more about the original course in a series of articles at Directions Magazine.

by Adena Schutzberg on 08/21 at 03:34 AM | Comments | Bookmark and Share

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

The patent Systems and methods for generating electronic map displays with points-of-interest information based on reference locations was granted yesterday to MapQuest. Today, rumor is the company is shutting down its Lancaster, PA location (where two of the inventors of this patent, at least, appear to work) and sending everyone to Denver.


Methods and systems are provided for generating an electronic map display. In one implementation, a method is provided for receiving route information associated with a route having an origination point and a destination point, determining a location of a reference point along the route, assigning a spatial identifier to the reference point, searching for points of interest (POIs) in a search area associated with the spatial identifier, ranking, using a processor, the POIs based on distances of POIs from the location of the reference point, and providing POI information for an electronic map display, wherein the POI information is associated with one or more POIs and selected based on the ranking of the POIs.

by Adena Schutzberg on 08/20 at 11:03 AM | Comments | Bookmark and Share
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