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Thursday, July 06, 2006

Our local NRP show, Here and Now, with Robin Young (who in my house rates as one of serveral NRP folks in the #2 spot to Terry Gross as an interviewer) spoke with Syracuse geographer Mark Monmonier about his new book, From Squaw Tit to Whorehouse Meadow, about place names. Monmonier is his usual charming and amusing self even as he notes oddities in the U.S. rules about place names. (Warning: the language may not be appropriate for all.)

by Adena Schutzberg on 07/06 at 01:45 PM | Comments | Bookmark and Share

Microsoft sponsors a lot of contests to spark innovation. In its third fourth year of operation, the Imagine Cup seemed to focus on geo-related offerings. The first round was held in Redmond last week (finals are in India) and included these potential health related prototypes: mapped a complex 3D image on to a pair of specially created glasses

Gates was particularly taken by two methods for assisting blind people. One involved a pair of vibrating GPS-enabled wristbands that fed the wearer directional information - buzzing left to indicate they should turn left, and so on. The Indian competitors, meanwhile, had created an echo-location system to build accurate maps of spaces and allow those with visual impairments to use software. Gates enthused about using cameras and other detection to enhance the “real-world experience” of people with impaired sight.

Another popular project, from Germany, involved community-created maps that helped people with disabilities find useful directions, parking spaces and other information.

...“Virtual Earth, we’re doing some neat things with that ... [but] I hadn’t thought about these overlays for handicapped people showing routes and special parking places. That was an insight,” said Gates.

This is a very different way of considering geospatial technology. It’s also worth noting that innovations designed to help the disabled tend to be equally valuable to everyone. Those push to open doors, for example, are a godsend to Moms pushing strollers.


by Adena Schutzberg on 07/06 at 07:53 AM | Comments | Bookmark and Share

Want to check where Space Shuttle Discovery is? You don’t need a mashup. The folks at NASA offer their own app to do it. You can even look up when it’ll be flying over your town.

via TechBlog from GCN

by Adena Schutzberg on 07/06 at 07:37 AM | Comments | Bookmark and Share

This week’s the annual conference of the International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE) in San Diego provided an opportunity to begin the update of the National Educational Technology Standards for Students (NETS.S). The standards, develop in the late 1990s, “define what students should know and be able to do with technology, and are now in use in 48 of the 50 U.S. states and many countries.”

So, what were they talking about in 2006?

...educational applications of new and emerging technologies such as GPS and GIS, cell phones, interactive TV, 3D gaming environments and nanotechnology. 

Technology educators are encouraged to provide feedback on the standards via an online survey.NETS-S by completing an online survey.

by Adena Schutzberg on 07/06 at 07:17 AM | Comments | Bookmark and Share

Ogle Earth lead me to a rumor column from AppleInsider suggesting Apple is at work on a Google Maps sort of offering for its new OS, OSX 10.x., aka Leopard. The article is from June 23.

According to sources, Apple has been working on a similar approach, but modeled after Google’s Maps feature. The technology will presumably allow Leopard users to scour the globe through satellite imagery and whisk up driving directions on the drop of a dime.

Apple has been rather quiet in the geospatial arena of late though developers offer educational, consumer and professional (GRASS) solutions that run on the machines. It’s intresting to consider such a move since Apple is not an advertising supported sort of company. In fact, it’s known for its clever advertising! It does of course have a loyal following in graphics, gaming, movies and music. Further, it’s leading the way in handheld music and video players. Full details on the operating system are expected at the World Wide Developers Conference to be held in early August.

Update: Further rumor: The new mapping system maybe used to track stolen iPods.

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