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Monday, July 24, 2006

The New York Times reports that NASA changed its mission statement back in February to remove this clause: “To understand and protect our home planet.” It now reads: “to pioneer the future in space exploration, scientific discovery and aeronautics research.” Suggestions have been made that it was changed to reflect the current administration’s interest in manned space flight and its interest in moving away from the global warming issue.

by Adena Schutzberg on 07/24 at 06:00 AM | Comments | Bookmark and Share

Two weeks ago we asked about the time readers spend in a virtual 3D environment, for work or play. Forty two responses broke down this way:

7%  >10 hours
14%  5-10 hours
16%  some minutes to 5 hours
63%  none at all

This week on to how we, as GIS professionals, use mapping portals. The latest thought, from Greg Sterling, is that most end users go to the big mapping portals only for directions, not for local search or other tools. Is that true of us geofolks? Vote on the lower right hand side of the main page.

by Adena Schutzberg on 07/24 at 06:00 AM | Comments | Bookmark and Share

Sunday, July 23, 2006

The NYT leads its Monday Technology article with a comparison of the three major mapping portals—Google Maps, Yahoo! Maps and MapQuest.

In the Race With Google, It’s Consistency vs. ‘Wow’

“But today, Google Maps still does not offer some of the pedestrian conveniences of Yahoo Maps and MapQuest from AOL. For example, it does not remember addresses, so users need to tell it where they live every time they want driving directions.”

Full text is here. User registration may be required.

Continue reading...

by Adena Schutzberg on 07/23 at 07:13 PM | Comments | Bookmark and Share

Friday, July 21, 2006

Greg Sterling (Search Engine Watch) reviews Windows Live Local’s mapping features at it nears its first birthday. Nothing new for those who have been paying attention, but he does make this interesting observation:

Currently of the top four mapping sites, Microsoft is in fourth position in terms of traffic, according to comScore. It goes, Mapquest, Yahoo, Google and WLL in that order. Mapquest is the least dynamic of the four but still dominant. Part of that is the brand and consumer habit and part of it is the use case. Most consumers have not discovered the full utility of mapping sites as a starting point for local search. The dominant use case today remains driving directions after I’ve decided where I want to go.

He doesn’t point to specific numbers, but I expect he is correct. Despite all the whizbang of Birds Eye views and 3D and specializing local search, most of us are still simply using routing engines. We are not doing local search. We don’t yet think that way. That certainly supports why MapQuest, the “Kleenex” of routing, is still in the lead. There’s still a lot of educating to get the public to take advantage of “what more the map can do.”

And, I’ll go further, that’s the case for basic mashups, too. Putting dots on the maps is still what’s of value to most consumers and some percentage of businesses. Educating them not only that GIS can do modelling, but that it has value, is still a top priority as geospatial thinking comes to a broader audience.

Eric Kass covering Media Post’s Search Insider Summit quotes Google’s Karen Crow, director of sales and operations “summarized the general feeling:”

Local is huge, but it hasn’t really been tapped into.

Interestingly, Google, Microsoft and Ask.com are keeping local search separate from Local. Yahoo, is going the other way and itegrating it into the main search.

Above all, Yahoo believes that users find multiple entrances for search counterintuitive and inconvenient, [Ron] Belanger [senior director of channel strategy and development for Yahoo search marketing] said—which may explain the low activity rates on specialized local search portals.

 

by Adena Schutzberg on 07/21 at 10:14 AM | Comments | Bookmark and Share

There’s been a bit of buzz on the U.S. Homeland Security department preparing to send emergency info to wireless devices. An article at Information Week gets into the possible technology providers. It profiles SquareLoop, which according to its COO is unique because of its locating technology that does not involve tracking and its ability to send messages with unique tones. What interest me was the location technology.

[SquareLoop COO] Walsh insists SquareLoop is mindful of personal privacy because the company doesn’t track a person’s location. Instead, it relies on an application downloaded on the phone and the phone’s wireless receiver to filter messages, which contain a target location and time frame. The phone then determines if the message applies.

So, essentially, the technology is built on a fences - if you are inside the area, you get the message, if not you don’t . But if you cross into the area after the alert, you’ll get it at that point.

by Adena Schutzberg on 07/21 at 09:45 AM | Comments | Bookmark and Share
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