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Friday, May 05, 2006

ZoomIn is the “Google Map/Local” (I’m aware that the “Local” name is no longer in use) for Australia that apparently beat Google to the punch downunder. New Zealand is on the docket. Apparently, ProjectX, the company behind the sites licensed local data and jumped ahead. Cool. The site allows users to input their places of interest. Also cool.

Here’s the interesting part for me, if I understand it correctly: per the technical director at ProjectX the apps are built on ka-Map. Never heard of it? It’s a DM Solutions begun open source project built on MapServer that puts a spiffy “Google Maps-like” client on the browser.

via O’Reilly Radar

by Adena Schutzberg on 05/05 at 06:51 AM | Comments | Bookmark and Share

Thursday, May 04, 2006

While several sources describe the company’s efforts to create a 10-gigpixel image Microsoft will hold a press conference today about its acquisition of Vexcel a few months back.

An 4-gigapixel image was created of Seattle, and unlike satellite images, is oblique, a “more natural” angle than orthos. The image was built from 800 individual images, taken over an hour and a half. The big leap here, apparently, is the software to elegantly knit the images together. Once you have several images of that size, they “could be woven together to form a 3D-like photograph consisting of tens of billions of pixels” says one article, citing Microsoft Researcher Cohen.

Technology Review also looks at this work and notes its goal is to enhance existing Birds Eye View imagery in Live Local. That imagery is from Pictometry, and the big limitation is that you can’t seamlessly fly through it; you must load one image after another. With high resolution, large area obliques such as those Microsoft is testing, Pictometry licensing could be lessened or dropped down the road.

How this project dubbed Big Panorama and Microsoft’s acquisition of GeoTango late last year fit together is still unclear.

by Adena Schutzberg on 05/04 at 08:05 AM | Comments | Bookmark and Share

Once there, an international team with GPSs in hand, plan to map the entire island in a single weekend. The about 30 participants will travel on foot, on bikes and in cars capturing attribute information via voice recording and pencil and paper. Once integrated the data will be added to the Creative Commons licensed OpenStreetMap database. The island is small, 22 x 14 mile island, covering the 147 square miles, but this sort of grass roots effort is taking hold. In July a similar effort is planned in Manchester.

The article goes on to make the recurring arguments about opening up Ordnance Survey data, something that’s been under discussion.

by Adena Schutzberg on 05/04 at 07:51 AM | Comments | Bookmark and Share

EE Times reports on an open house hosted by Microsoft’s research group held yesterday where Sense Web was shown. Sensors are placed in locations of interest and the data is delivered to Virtual Earth (VE). The project is expected to go live in the next few months.

The sensors collect and deliver data in real time. Nothing new there, but the examples given were different. A sensor might note the wait at a restaurant or track cars on the highway for better traffic information. Of particular interest is that Microsoft will offer tools for end users to link their sensors to a VE site. Get ready for sensor mashups!

This is all well and good; I do hope Microsoft is keeping an eye on developing sensor standards aimed specifically at making such data findable and useable on the Web. If not, they need to check out OGC Sensor Web soon.

Update 5/8: More coverage and images from Tech Review.

by Adena Schutzberg on 05/04 at 07:26 AM | Comments | Bookmark and Share

Google announced OneBox some weeks ago as an appliance to aid in enterprise access to data. It spoke more about it at Interop, held this week in Las Vegas. Two interesting points come out of Byte and Switch’s coverage:

Dave Girouard, director of Google’s enterprise division, explained that most firms have not tackled the key question of how their employees access data. “In the corporate market, in the enterprise, we are not delivering enough value to end users,” he explained.

I’m sure a case can be made - and Google is the one to make it. Unlike the fear that strikes in people’s eyes when faced with Oracle, there is usually great calm when they work with Google apps - from search to Earth to SketchUp.

David Dean, network manager at Yuma County told Byte and Switch that he is keen to hear more about the OneBox device. “We would be interested in allowing [our] constituencies to get access to public information via a OneBox,” he says, adding that the county could also tie its Geographical Information System (GIS) to Google Earth.

That was certainly my first thougth after reading about OneBox. While Google has many partners in the OneBox endeavor (from Oracle to to SAS), at this point I’d be hard pressed to see a name GIS company in that list anytime soon. That doesn’t mean integration won’t happen, just that it will with help of, around, or perhaps despite traditional players. Expect more of this sort of announcement to pave the way; it details how consultants integrated San Mateo’s (California) GeoMedia implementation with Google Earth.

by Adena Schutzberg on 05/04 at 06:41 AM | Comments | Bookmark and Share
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