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Monday, October 10, 2005

Randall S. Newton writing at notes that SketchUp now has a plug-in that allows it’s 3D models to be input to Google Earth and Google Earth imagery to be included in SketchUp models. Google’s on board as it showed the technology at the company’s recent user conference, 3D Base Camp.

Newton has two points:

“The first is that the simplicity and power of SketchUp, combined with the accessibility of Google Earth (the basic version is free) makes for a powerful new tool.

“The second point is that [SketchUp] has just leaped to a very exclusive place in the market. If you want to place 3D models in Google Earth, you must use SketchUp. Not AutoCAD, not MicroStation, not ArchiCAD or any other CAD program. (Simplistic shapes that represent buildings, created in the ESRI “shape file” format, can be added to Google Earth imagery. But there’s no comparing them to SketchUp models.)”

I have to call Newton on one thing. He states: “Because the GIS environment is Google Earth, the results are accessible to anyone with the free Google Earth browser.” Well, no, Google Earth isn’t really a GIS environment. What is it? Newton answers himself, later in the article: “’The media doesn’t get it,’ said Google Earth software engineer Michael Ashbridge Friday at the SketchUp conference. ‘Nobody in the media who writes about Google Earth gets it. Google Earth is a 3D browser.’”

Now, SketchUp did a big push at the ESRI conference a few years ago and redefined CAD/GIS integration. It was not the “geoengineering” sort of vision put out by Bentley or the GIS on CAD platform of ESRI or the AutoCAD plus some more stuff of Autodesk. It was a “CAD makes 3D models that you need in your GIS visualization” vision. And, while it had its buzz, I’m not sure how much the GIS community embraced it. That is, it got sort of quiet after the big rollout.

Now, rekindling that vision with a broader (free, cool, hot, full-of-buzz) platform, like Google Earth, is another story. It certainly puts higher expectations on users regarding the blocky existing 3D buildings in Google Earth. The other implications? I’m not yet sure.

by Adena Schutzberg on 10/10 at 07:00 AM | Comments | Bookmark and Share

A cooperative effort involving Massachusetts’ Executive Office of Environmental Affairs, MassHighway, and the Statewide Emergency Telecommunications Board means full access to an enterprise license for the NAVTEQ geo-coding database. “This license allows all political subdivisions of the Commonwealth - including boards, commissions, and municipalities to access this system.”

by Adena Schutzberg on 10/10 at 07:00 AM | Comments | Bookmark and Share

Gary at Resource Shelf continues to find interesting tidbits. (He’s a librarian, if you wonder why he’s so good at this stuff!) His latest find? A temporary geo-job at Google:

Google Earth GIS Data Preparation Technician - Mountain View

This is a temporary assignment at Google through ABE Services. This position has the potential to become a full-time role. ABE Temporary Assignment

Google is searching for a highly motivated and well-organized individual who has a passion for GIS to help in the data preparation of imagery, terrain, and vector data for the multi-terabyte Google Earth database.


  * 1-2 years of GIS Experience.
  * Linux and Windows knowledge.
  * Experience with ESRI, MapInfo, and other GIS tools.
  * BS degree in CS or Geosciences.

by Adena Schutzberg on 10/10 at 07:00 AM | Comments | Bookmark and Share

Last Tuesday after our weekly track workout I wished my training partner “best of luck” as she tried to manage the last few anxious days before heading to Chicago for Sunday’s marathon there. I hoped I’d be near my computer to keep tabs on her during the race, but alas, I was on duty at a water stop at a half-marathon here in Boston while the race would be run. But, no matter. I set up text alerts to be sent to my cell phone to see her splits. That’s good use of RFID, Internet and cell phone technology. Mostly, it’s just cool!

Interestingly, Starbucks has set up 10 of its Chicago stores as “runner update centers” where spectators can check in on “their” runners. I’m sure it’s nice to know if your runner has passed by yet, or better yet, if you need to get to the finish earlier than planned!

Update: 10/11: She posted a 6 minute personal record and easily qualified for Boston. Way to go Yili!

by Adena Schutzberg on 10/10 at 07:00 AM | Comments | Bookmark and Share

“Researchers at the University of California, San Diego (UCSD) have been awarded $760,000 from the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS) to build a Geographic Information System (GIS). This system will link to the NIEHS Hurricane Katrina Information Website, providing workers in the field and researchers with up-to-date information regarding toxicant exposure and human health.”

by Adena Schutzberg on 10/10 at 07:00 AM | Comments | Bookmark and Share
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