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Tuesday, May 24, 2005

One of the competitive advantages of the Microsoft/Pictometry deal for including imagery with the new MSN Virtual Earth map portal is the availability of oblique aerial imagery. These "off nadir" images give the viewer a "jet passenger" view that shows building faces rather than their rooftops, and sometimes can capture ground level facades. Very cool especially if you get vertigo looking at "standard" aerial photographs or satellite imagery.

Take for example this shot of some local shops in downtown San Francisco (see below):

The building store fronts are clearly in view but the indentities of each proprietor are difficult to reconcile. Still, if you had this image and were unfamiliar with the neighborhood, you can discern the surroundings none the less. Is this an advantage. Well, its better than a stick map. I guess it also leaps tall buildings too, for that matter, to get a good, ground level perspective.

Take also the image below of the Concorde,which was captured while on the tarmac at JRF Airport by Pictometry aircraft. So, if you wanted to know if this was a plane operated by British Airways or Air France, one can clearly see the "Air France" logo on the side of the plane and get a 2.5D perspective of the supersonic transporter.

Here is where the true advantage lies: identity. I can see the logo; I know who owns the plane; or store or building for that matter. If you could see the storefront signs or logos in the first image, that would offer value that I may be even willing to pay for. Supposedly, Pictometry will offer higher resolution to MSN in the future.

So, there is the advantage of the oblique view. If I’m looking for the Au Bon Pain to pick up my favorite pastry on the way out of my hotel in an unfamiliar city, and want to know what it looks like when I get to the intersection provided by my MSN MapPoint directory assistance, this view will help to show me where and in what building that store is located. (Images courtesy of Pictometry)


by Joe Francica on 05/24 at 04:05 PM | Comments | Bookmark and Share


From the release: УTo further simplify geocaching, the Magellan business has introduced the new Magellan eXplorist(TM) 400, 500 and 600 handheld GPS receivers with built- in geocaching capabilities. These rugged, compact eXplorists offer Magellan Geocaching Manager software, which allows users to load geocaching information directly from the Internet to the receiver as opposed to manually entering GPS coordinates.Ф The announcement is tied into a new game promotion that started May 23. ItТs nice to see the uptake of the sport by Magellan, including support of the event by REI. While the companies may sell a few more GPS receivers, my hope is more people understand how these devices work as they appear in more places in their lives.

by Adena Schutzberg on 05/24 at 07:00 AM | Comments | Bookmark and Share


In a tiny press release former Autodesk Chief Technology Officer Scott Borduin, announced heТd left to pursue the restoration of integrity in the U.S. government.


by Adena Schutzberg on 05/24 at 07:00 AM | Comments | Bookmark and Share

The GIS labs that made news in support of in the Columbia Shuttle recovery are merging.  With a $4.1 million appropriation from the federal government the Forest Resources Institute lab and the other (no where to be named in the press, interestingly) at Stephen F. Austin State University (Nacogdoches, TX) will merge and ideally provide better service and have lower costs as the Columbia Geospatial Service Center. The new Center will be located across the street from the Nacogdoches Convention and Visitors Bureau.

by Adena Schutzberg on 05/24 at 07:00 AM | Comments | Bookmark and Share
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