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Wednesday, April 19, 2006

“Couples counseling is more of a Google Local kind of service…”

- Dave Evans, a consultant on online dating and the like. This is not something you’d have heard a year ago and it’s a sign of the times. By the way, it’s worth mentioning that other adult services are also very “local.” I think it was the CIO from Iowa who spoke at a recent Geospatial World who reminded us to look at that industry for the cutting edge uses of technology…

by Adena Schutzberg on 04/19 at 10:05 AM | Comments | Bookmark and Share

Among Microsoft’s new search research is a tool called Photo2Search. It works this way:

1) Take a picture of a place/person etc. ideally with a cell phone
2) Submit it to Microsoft’s engine
3) Receive information abotu the place/person found on the Web

Sound too good to be true? It does to me. How different for example, are the two Starbucks in my city? The one near the gas station and the one Davis Square? More important - where is Microsoft going to get the database of pictures to which to compare mine? And, keep it up to date? I know the company (and others) are already working on “steet level” imagery…still - that’s a big job for say NYC, let alone the USA and beyond.

And, while there are many pics of say, me, on the Web, can they connect that it’s me to my pic? And what of privacy issues? This sounds more like a behind a firewall than a public app.

by Adena Schutzberg on 04/19 at 09:46 AM | Comments | Bookmark and Share

A shout to Mike Pegg at that blog on its first birthday. It’s one of the first blogs I read and continues to be among those on which I regularly depend. I have to say that the energy of those who pick a “smaller chunk” of our vastly expanding marketplace and document it are key for me and my colleagues as we try to knit together the bigger picture. Said another, we can stand on the shoulders of giants, and as such, try not to simply republish their good work.

We do link to that work, however. Look for the three “Other Points” I suggest are worth your time each day on the top right of this blog. Today read about Google Earth’s data update, an online spreadsheet app and some heavy duty business enterprise mashups.

by Adena Schutzberg on 04/19 at 08:18 AM | Comments | Bookmark and Share

socalTECH interviews Walt Stender, CEO of Digital Map Products, a GIS company based in Costa Mesa. (It was originally formed by Psomas and Thomas Bros. Maps.) The interviewer asks all the right questions, in particular about how Google/Microsoft et. al. and ESRI impact this company’s business, which focusses on property and real estate apps for non-GIS professionals. Like everyone else, including those very companies, the president claims his own niche:

Digital Map focuses on businesses that need to leverage GIS technology for land acquisition or to track, analyze and report on property or location-based information. We will continue to make complex GIS data and work flows easy to use for our target audiences and do not have any plans to develop solutions that address the needs of the consumer market.

We don’t directly compete with ESRI. We focus on niches where ease-of-use and turn key solutions are paramount. Our users, especially our LandVision users, are not GIS professionals and don’t typically have the budget to hire GIS professionals or have a custom solution built from scratch. ESRI really caters to the GIS professional.

I’m all for niches, but at what point does such a firm turn to these bigger players for their IT infrastructure? How long can such a business afford to develop its own technology in the face of free/smaller fee based Web Services?

by Adena Schutzberg on 04/19 at 08:01 AM | Comments | Bookmark and Share

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

As a once practicing geologist, I could not let this day pass without recognizing the anniversary of the 1906 San Francisco earthquake. I had an opportunity to visit one of the more obvious surface features caused by the quake which is located not far from the information center at Point Reyes National Seashore along the Earthquake Trail. For anyone who has studied the 1906 quake, you will typically see a textbook photo of a fenceline that was offset by the displacement caused by the quake along the San Andreas fault. That fenceline can be seen at Point Reyes although I suspect it may have move just a little in the past 100 years.

Last year I also had the good fortune to visit one of the few structures left standing after the 1906 temblor. The San Francisco Mint, called "the Granite Lady" opened for business in 1874 and because of its massively think walls and steel window shutters survived the quake and subsquent fires. This building is literally a fortress and will hopefully be renovated within the next year. Thanks to friend Gil Castle who was the past Mint Executive Director in charge of renovation, I was able to see the Mint’s vaults and classical design. Don’t miss it when it opens to the public.

If you are interested in seeing some of the activities/festivities marking the event, the 1906 Centennial Alliance has created a map showing the various events (Caution…another Google mashup). And be sure not to miss the great resources provided at the USGS website.

by Joe Francica on 04/18 at 10:01 PM | Comments | Bookmark and Share
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