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Friday, April 13, 2007

Over at Vector One Jeff Thurston notes that the buzz on mashups is from developers and wonders if the maps are actually used and if people are making money with them. I’m going to defer the latter question as we head in our Location Intelligence Conference next week and will get some timlely input to that question. On the former I have some input. I know that for me, as someone covering this space, new features in a mashup are what are interesting to me.

However,  with another hat on, that of distance runner, I can say (and have) that I use one mashup quite a lot: Google Maps Pedometer. Now, maybe that’s not a mashup in Jeff definition since it’s more of a “draw your route and save it” rather than a “put two or more data sets on a map.” While I like that site (and there are others like it that are well used in the running community) I have to point to the US Track and Field (they are the national organization for track and field in the U.S. - from Olympic athletes down to folks like me) app called “America’s Running Route.” Like GMaps Pedometer you can draw and save your routes, and you can share them with others. Is that used? Yes. How do I know? My non-GIS running friends use it all the time. Is USATF making money? Well, no, it’s a non-profit and provide the tool as a service. Another mashup I use all the time (and again, so do my friends) is the Mass Bay Transit Authority routing app. It helps you find bus/subway/train routes around Boston. It’s just great!

The difference I think is the “mashups for mashups sake” vs. the “mashups to solve a problem.” The former are “just cool,” the latter are used. Moreover, the latter are not, at least by me, thought of as mashups; they are just tools I use.

by Adena Schutzberg on 04/13 at 03:22 PM | Comments | Bookmark and Share

J-Lab: The Institute for Interactive Journalism announced ten grants to boost community news sites. Each will receive $12,000 New Voices Grants funded by John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, which funds the New Voices initiative. Follow up funding is available. There were 105 proposals and one of the funded projects is a mashup:

Vermont Climate Witness. To create a map-based interactive experience to track how residents see climate change affecting the state’s economy, from fall foliage and maple syrup to skiing. Tamarack Productions, a nonprofit environmental awareness organization, will work with the Vermont Natural Resources Council to develop user content and create Google Map mash-ups to help users visualize weather data and real-time weather indicators.

- PNN Online

by Adena Schutzberg on 04/13 at 08:05 AM | Comments | Bookmark and Share

Geogeeks were excited to see a Garmin ad during the superbowl, but it’s Mio, based in Europe, that’s taking the next big step in bringing GPS to the masses. The company is sponsoring Discovery’s Tour de France team. (Recall that after he rode for the US Postal Service, Mr. Armstrong rode for Discovery.)

- GPS Business News

by Adena Schutzberg on 04/13 at 07:36 AM | Comments | Bookmark and Share

Adweek reports on Nike’s new Major League baseball campaign which maps fan bases defined by the advertising company’s research on Web chat groups and enthousiast sites. The article suggests that “liberties are taken” and explains that the ads, distributed to Major League Baseball teams this week, are not for sale and have no display requirements. Nike has used maps in advertising in the past.

by Adena Schutzberg on 04/13 at 07:25 AM | Comments | Bookmark and Share

Carnegie Mellon Today profiles Kristen Kurland and her work using GIS to help battle health problems including obesity. She’s author of ESRI Press’ GIS Tutorial for Health touted as the gold standard of the discipline and used, says the article, by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control. The fact that ESRI published this book in 2006 suggests to me that there’s still a long way to go in integrating GIS into health care. The article touts this use of GIS as a “new discipline.” Let’s see: John Snow did his cholera mapping in 1854.

by Adena Schutzberg on 04/13 at 06:55 AM | Comments | Bookmark and Share
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