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Thursday, November 30, 2006

I recall an op-ed in the Boston Globe from a few weeks back because the writer, commenting on what governor elect of the Commonweath of Massachusetts should do, noted Washington DC’s use of Google mashups to track potholes (or something public worksy like that). I recall thinking, “gee, does this guy know about what MassGIS does?,” and left it at that. MassGIS lead Christian Jacqz seems to have had the same thought and followed up with a detailed reply, which W. David Stephenson in his blog. Stephenson detailed what he learned from Jacqz:

the Commonwealth is taking the lead in one area of innovation: its web mapping services were honored as an “Exemplary System in Government” in the 2005 URISA competition’s Enterprise Systems category. The services are available to communities, regional planning authorities, and state agencies, and the tech support include a wiki (kewl: 50 extra points, guys and gals!). It supports kml (the language for Google mashups) with a mapping engine called Geoserver as well as a richer and more sophisticated xml-based protocol put out by the Open Geospatial Consortium (didn’t know about them—neat!)—add another 50 points each for xml and open source! Among other uses, Jacqz says MassGIS lets communities and state agencies build their own map-enabled web sites to display locations of interest (e.g., closest state office offering a given service) and also to collect data (such as exact facility locations from knowledgeable individuals, plotted on top of imagery—that sounds particularly relevant to homeland security in terms of critical infrastructure protection). He also told me that commercial on-line mapping applications use MassGIS’ orthophotos (e.g., what Google calls “satellite” images) and the office is also working with Navteq in a public-private partership to improve the completeness of the digital road map and the “hit rate” on geocoding.

by Adena Schutzberg on 11/30 at 09:16 AM | Comments | Bookmark and Share

Researchers at Sarnoff in Princeton, New Jersey offer a prototype solution for enabling GPS like navigation where GPS signals fail to reach, such as tunnels. The technology, which I don’t full understand, uses multiple cameras to build a 3D environment while a car say passes through a dead zone. The only problem? You need to travel 1/4 mile into the dead zone before the data is available.

- EFYTimes and a more complete discussion at Tech Review

by Adena Schutzberg on 11/30 at 07:45 AM | Comments | Bookmark and Share

Those in Denver from now until Christmas can drop by The Map Store @ USGS for free maps to use as wrapping paper. The Map Store @ USGS is in Building 810 at the Denver Federal Center.

- YourHub.com Lakewood

by Adena Schutzberg on 11/30 at 07:38 AM | Comments | Bookmark and Share

Per Wired’s coverage of a University of Washington grad student, you can in fact hack the device to track individuals with the RFID enabled sensor in their shoes. The Nike + iPod (I don’t have one, I use a Garmin Forerunner, which does not send any signals) works by having a powered RFID chip send information to the runner’s iPod, typically worn on an arm or belt. It provides data that’s translated into speed and mileage. My friends who have them like them a lot.

The problem, says Scott Saponas, is the the transmitter’s signal can be read by other iPods and thus other devices. He detailed a scenario whereby a reader at a doorframe could track an individual’s coming and going. He offers that Apple/Nike could make the device smarter and safer by having the pod only communicate with one reader.

I look at this from another perspective: how can race directors use the pods to track runners in races (with permission) so that they need not have the expense of renting chips?

by Adena Schutzberg on 11/30 at 07:28 AM | Comments | Bookmark and Share

Following up on my discussion of National GIS Day vs. International GIS Day, the clear winner is World GIS Day!

The minister noted that the main role of the World GIS Day is to raise awareness of GIS which can change our lives as this technology is widely used in advanced countries.

The Borneo Bulletin published that sentence in an article about a new map book to help delinate its administrative boundaries. It was launched in conjuction with the first celebration of GIS Day in that country.

by Adena Schutzberg on 11/30 at 06:58 AM | Comments | Bookmark and Share
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