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Friday, November 30, 2007

Google PR folks want you to know:

The holiday season has begun, and Santa Claus will soon be dusting off his sleigh. Thanks to a partnership with NORAD (North American Aerospace Defense Command), children all over the world will be able to follow his travels in Google Earth. NORAD has been tracking Santa for over 50 years through its NORAD Tracks Santa program, and this year they have partnered with Google to track Santa’s annual trip.

The countdown begins December 1st on NORAD’s website, where families can find a new kid-friendly game or activity every day until December 24th. And starting at 1:00 am PST on December 24th, users will be able to track Santa’s trip in real time. Users can download Google Earth and add the NORAD Tracks Santa iGoogle gadget to their iGoogle page anytime, and should come back to on December 24th to download the special Santa Tracking file for an enhanced 3D Santa- tracking experience.

Read more about Google’s partnership with NORAD on the Official Google Blog.

by Adena Schutzberg on 11/30 at 02:38 PM | Comments | Bookmark and Share

Update: The company has filed for bankruptcy under section 7.


—- original post 11/27/07—-

I guess I didn’t think about it much when GISers started jumping ship (see for example, folks going to TerraGo), but I guess they saw something wrong. Last Friday, most of the staff was let go per CMP. Apparently the firm is up for sale (better option) or whill head into bankruptcy (worse option). The company offers data storage solutions and used to have a geospatial arm. SANZ sold off its EarthWhere division, which developed software to manage geospatial data to SPADAC for $600,000 back in August.

What caused the layoffs and planning for the worst? SANZ purchases over half of its products from Avnet, which it now owes $2.9 million. Avnet sent SANZ a letter of default earlier this month saying $1.3 million is past due and refusing further sales on credit. In addition, Sun Capital Partners II announced it will cease funding the company. 

by Adena Schutzberg on 11/30 at 09:31 AM | Comments | Bookmark and Share

Investigations by the Department of Labor Inspector General reveal widespread use of sole source grants sometimes without appropriate documentation. (report, pdf) The finger points at Emily Stover DeRocco, the Assistant Secretary of Labor for Employment and Training and her underlings at the Employment and Training Administration who granted about a quarter of a billion dollars from the U.S. Treasury under the High Growth Job Training Initiative.  You may recognize the name High Growth Job Training Initiative since geospatial is among the areas targeted by the initiative. 

The IG found that over the previous six years, DeRocco’s agency awarded 157 grants totaling $271 million under that program. Only 23 grants totaling $29 million were awarded competitively. Fully 87 percent of the funds were handed out without any competition.

Even worse, 90 percent of these non-competitive grants that the IG examined in detail (35 out of 39) were done in a manner that did not conform to proper procedures for awarding such grants. The IG identified 69 procedural errors ...

GITA’s grant is among those with imcomplete documentation. I suggest nothing innapproriate was done at GITA; it did a great job of promoting not only that it got the grant, but documenting the milestones along the way.

A $235,500 grant to the Associate General Contractors (the trade association of the construction industry) was justified by an abstract which the IG found to be incomplete, as was the case with a $695,000 grant to the Geospatial Information and Technology Association (the trade group for infrastructure professionals), a $4,268,000 grant to the Home Builders Institute (an affiliate of the National Association of Home Builders), and a $1,877,000 grant to the Evangelical Lutheran Good Samaritan Society.

De Rocco stated that she “strongly disagrees” with the report.

- American Progress

by Adena Schutzberg on 11/30 at 09:17 AM | Comments | Bookmark and Share

Randall Newton at AEC News blog notes the 10,000+ number and notes the event will soon catch up with the one time big CAD event: AEC Systems. It’s still small compared the ESRI User Conference. Also noteworthy: coverage of the event, for those who like their CAD news on “tv.”

by Adena Schutzberg on 11/30 at 09:08 AM | Comments | Bookmark and Share

I had to read the press release more than once to make sense of ABI Research’s latest prognostications about the growth of the LBS market and its use of "real-time two-way" (RTTW) communication for navigation systems. Boiled down to simple terms, RTTW means having two communication system on one device. The first might be the GPS receiver to support navigation; the second a celluar radio to receive traffic information. Regardless of the form, the result is predicted to be explosive growth. From the release, "Handset-based navigation, where the navigation processing is conducted off-board (not on the handset) is one form of RTTW connected navigation, and it will experience explosive growth. Off-board navigation will go from under half a million users worldwide at the end of 2006 to more than 70 million at the end of 2012."

by Joe Francica on 11/30 at 08:38 AM | Comments | Bookmark and Share
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