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Tuesday, July 11, 2006

The Automobile Club of Southern California, the fourth largest provider of auto insurance in the state is moving to a model that does use where one parks one’s car to determine the rate, but rather how one drives. National Public Radio covered the story this morning and raises questions about fairness, race and if the idea will spread. Could auto insurance soon be a commodity where geography doesn’t matter?

by Adena Schutzberg on 07/11 at 08:20 AM | Comments | Bookmark and Share

It’s a regular old, “GIS is helping in agriculture article (GCN)” focusing on a USDA website to help both farmers and researchers tackle soybean rust. Then it gets interesting:

The soybean rust system is an open-source, Linux system. Other than the open-source code and the MapServer GIS mapping applications, ZedX has written the code, [Joe] Russo [ZedX company president and senior scientist] said.

“Open source links us to a larger community of developers. It saves the government and removes any issue of licensing,” he said.

Other government organizations, such as the National Weather Service, are using open source or leaning that way because of the the potential cost savings.

by Adena Schutzberg on 07/11 at 05:51 AM | Comments | Bookmark and Share

Monday, July 10, 2006

Antarctica is a new board game from a Canadian father and son team that tackles global warming (Edmonton Journal). The goal, in the end, is to “own” Antartica, “the largest uninhabited land mass left on Earth.” The board is a modified map of the World. The pair consulted experts at Queen’s University in Kingston to produce a realistic map based on rising sea levels.

It shows the United States without Florida and much of its eastern seaboard, Europe without Paris and much of its north, and havoc elsewhere because of an 80-metre increase in sea level caused by melted ice caps.

I learned a lot of world geography from playing Risk as a child. This game could give kids a faulty picture, at least in the short term. To be fair, while kids as young as eight might play, it’s aimed at the 15-20 year old gaming crowd.

by Adena Schutzberg on 07/10 at 07:37 AM | Comments | Bookmark and Share

I’m not sure the reason but there’s seems to be a lot of buzz about GIS and archeology of late. A blog on the topic is active and just today, not one, but two stories on the topic (one from Tennessee and one from India) popped up.

by Adena Schutzberg on 07/10 at 07:01 AM | Comments | Bookmark and Share

C|net reports that Yahoo is enhancing its Trip Planner tool, a travel app launched in beta in October of last year. The enhancements include the ability to share a travelogue and map of the journey with friends. That certainly fits with the popularity of social networking and user created mapping content.
Per early coverage in Macworld, there’s also:

a world map with icons that each link to a user-contributed trip plan for that location. Zooming in reveals more travel plan icons in a particular region, and moving the cursor over an icon brings a pop-up window with some information on the plan. Clicking on that window brings up the full plan itself.

What is maybe more interesting is that the microsite is being sponsored by MasterCard. Is that a model that might work for other types of sites that include mapping? Could, for example, the PrimalQuest site get a sponsor for its mapping next year? Or might others get sponsors for “custom” mashups to enhance an event or even a shopping site?

Update: The press release is out. By the way, there’s a contest attached to the launch!

by Adena Schutzberg on 07/10 at 06:51 AM | Comments | Bookmark and Share
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