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Tuesday, June 27, 2006

“If flu cases continue to appear in the medical system, then we start to get a pattern of its existence. We must immediately put in resources to stop the flu. We must remediate it, we must give out vaccines to people who might have been exposed to these people. The geography is crucial.”

- Charles Croner of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) He told this to reporters on the sidelines of a conference on GIS in Hong Kong. While obvious to those in the field, his statements make it clear to the world the power of GIS in health care and prevention strategies. The title of the article from Reuters misled me to think it was about remote sensing: “Experts call for computer imaging to halt outbreaks”

by Adena Schutzberg on 06/27 at 06:22 AM | Comments | Bookmark and Share

Monday, June 26, 2006

A reader sent on this link to an article from ACM Queue noted on Slashdot.

“It discusses how the Object Management Group (OMG) failed to make the Common Object Request Broker Architecture (CORBA) a viable standard.  Page 3 has an interesting analysis of their procedural failures,” he writes. From the article:

There are no entry qualifications to participate in the standardization process.
RFPs often call for a technology that is unproven.
Vendors respond to RFPs even when they have known technical flaws.
Vendors have a conflict of interest when it comes to standardization.
RFPs are often answered by several draft specifications.
The OMG does not require a reference implementation for a specification to be adopted.

“How well would the OGC hold up to this level of scrunity?  Are there leasons to be learned here?” he asks. 

I will note that I’ve not heard the term CORBA for some time.

by Adena Schutzberg on 06/26 at 09:39 AM | Comments | Bookmark and Share

No doubt you’ve heard the buzz about France’s new geoportal called Geoportail. Most commentators had no luck even accessing the site, which went live on Friday. The most amusing coverage, of course, is from The Register in the UK.

A French alternative to Google Earth - offering hi-res coverage of the entire country - went into meltdown last Friday shortly after its launch and is still unavailable due to a stampede of punters eager to avail themselves of the free service.

French prez Jacques Chirac chaired the official launch of Geoportail, Yahoo! reports, and quickly administered the Gallic kiss of death to the project by proclaiming: “This is a step forward for all citizens, which places France at the forefront of new technologies.”

Several bloggers have commented that comparing it to Google Earth isn’t responsible journalism.

by Adena Schutzberg on 06/26 at 08:17 AM | Comments | Bookmark and Share

I’m not an adverture racer (yet?) but am fascinated by these multi-day, multi-sport assaults on the barren wilds. This year, Primal Quest, being held in the Utah desert, will allow no support vehicles to maintain its environmental friendliness as coed teams of four cross the 800km route. Teams, there are 89, have GPS enabled satellite phones, should there be an emergency. Among the tasks to cross the desert are: trekking, kayaking, whitewater swimming, mountain biking, horseback riding and canyoneering. Each team must stay together. The top ones finish in 4-6 days. The slower ones have up to 10 days, but only 30% are expected to finish.

There’s a fancy Flash-based map of the course by ISITE Design. (I like that when you right click to use the Flash tools, you see the company name. Good marketing!) The GPS tracking map page offers this description:

Follow the race with GPS data updated in virtual real-time. Transmission times are staggered hourly for each team. Therefore, for the most recent hour of the race (or more, depending on transmission conditions or the status of the GPS unit), some teams’ data may not be completely current.

It uses a Java app to show the “latest” data which is downloaded at your request. This is a very elaborate mapping tool.

by Adena Schutzberg on 06/26 at 07:38 AM | Comments | Bookmark and Share

The Kansas City Business Journal notes Garmin’s latest patent: Methods and systems to interface navigation operations.  It allows developers (I think) “to rapidly permit any desired customization of software applications” on navigation devices. The article goes on to note that Garmin has an open API for its GPS-enabled iQue and may one day open APIs for its in car navigation devices.

Does this patent make it difficult for there to be a standard interface that might support many company’s nav systems?

by Adena Schutzberg on 06/26 at 07:24 AM | Comments | Bookmark and Share
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