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Wednesday, June 21, 2006

The local TV station touts MapWindow, free GIS software written by Idaho State grad students. The description of MapWindow is forward-looking: “The software is called MapWindow GIS, it is part of the world wide Geographic Information System.” I love the idea that one day we’ll have a single world wide system of systems (GSDI).

Map Windows G-I-S started as an alternative for people who were interested in this technology, but who didn’t want to pay for expensive software.

The software had its 10,000 download in April and is described by a student as offering “the ability to do scientific analysis on a map.” The desktop software/control and other tools are open source and supported, by among others, NOAA.

by Adena Schutzberg on 06/21 at 05:45 AM | Comments | Bookmark and Share

An article in the Georgetown Kentucky paper reports that while most schools do not have enough up to date computers to meet student/computer ration requirements, students are doing many technology projects. Among the technologies mentioned: GIS, GPS, creation of virtual tours, podcasts. That’s good news for the growth of the geospatial workforce. Other good news: “the approval of a $50 million bond dedicated to updating schools’ technology.”

by Adena Schutzberg on 06/21 at 05:38 AM | Comments | Bookmark and Share

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Two “lab” stories this week prompt me to add to my list of “must do’s” for those offering new Web 2.0 APIs.

The first requirement is to have a contest. I was being a bit flippant about this in the past since I thought it was being over done. I have to be honest; it’s not a bad idea. And, one which got SRC some quick press with a 15 minute mashup (or should I say Dashup) contest recently.

The second is to have a lab. Google has a Lab where new experimental project boil and gurgle until they come out in beta for some or all to see. MetaCarta announced its lab recently. James Fee respectfully asks if ESRI will soon have a lab. And, Search Engine Watch today notes’s new Zillow Lab.

The lab idea works very well in the context of one of Tim O’Reilly’s rules of Web 2.0. Recall this one: experiment. I hope we’ll see more labs opening soon. Gee, even Web publications should have labs for experimental stuff…

Update:6/21/06 Just read about Autodesk Labs!

by Adena Schutzberg on 06/20 at 09:01 PM | Comments | Bookmark and Share

The Wall Street Journal had a special section in its June 19 issue regarding its recently concluded conference, D: All Things Digital. There may not be much here on location technology but there are some good interviews with Bill Gates (Microsoft), Robert Iger (Disney), and Barry Sonnenfeld (movie director) on the movement to, what else, "all things digital." Its worth a read to see how other industries are utilizing digital/internet technology for software, entertainment and advertising…you can get it online but the WSJ charges for access unless you want to sign up for the free two week access.

Continue reading...

by Joe Francica on 06/20 at 08:15 PM | Comments | Bookmark and Share

The Associated Press reports on tests conducted by the LA County Sheriff’s Department to explore the use of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs or drones) as surveillance devices.  The three foot long, $20,000 to $30,000 planes will “initially be limited to scanning rooftops for break-ins and finding lost children or hikers.” The idea is to use them in place of loud, expensive helicopters. With the right sensors the UAVs can send back real time video and fly at night. Of course, privacy issues come to the fore.

This is one of those technology we’ll all start to deal with more and more as these and other remote control vehicles carry sensors to places we cannot travel. Keep an eye out for such a drone at a conference near you in the demo area and in the sky.

Update (6/23):It seems the Sheriff didn’t get FAA approval for the tests and that agency is currently exploring whether the department will be punished. Reports the LA Times, “the test raised the ire of FAA officials, who said they had told the Sheriff’s Department a week earlier that it could not fly the drones without receiving a certificate of authorization from the agency.”

by Adena Schutzberg on 06/20 at 11:28 AM | Comments | Bookmark and Share
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