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Friday, May 09, 2008

“You could say that the city is showing common sense in not trying to take a useless step.”

Professor Ralph Stein, who tracks Homeland Security issues at Pace University, on New York City’s decision not to blur images of the area in Google Maps. He made the comment in yet another Google Maps censorship story this time at WCBS-TV. In addition to this statement, the TV station provided another valuable statement:

“Google uses images from a state database, which is why Westchester was able to censor them. Yahoo! Images come from a private sector company.”

by Adena Schutzberg on 05/09 at 08:06 AM | Comments | Bookmark and Share

USGS and partners launched Global Wildlife Disease News Map Version 2 back in March; version 1 was out last December. To be clear this is a news map (Google Map mashup), not a map of disease, but a map of news on disease. So, when you “turn on” avian flu, you get a hit in Ohio. Strange, I thought, didn’t hear about that. Of course not! The article in the local paper was about how cows tested negative.

Even though I read the title with “news” in it several times, I kept thinking this was a map of spread. The other disappointment is that all news is tagged with point markers color coded to geographic level. Different colored “tears” mean: Place, County, Administrative Unit, Country, Continent. While I know creating meaningful polygons is a challenge, I found this confusing. I’d prefer they not symbolize for geographic level and let users explore that when they mouse over, more like MetaCarta’s GeoSearch News.

Details of how the app works are here. In the works: search by date range, user generated filters (queries I guess), more historic data, extraction of text.


by Adena Schutzberg on 05/09 at 07:21 AM | Comments | Bookmark and Share

The Citizen Services Platform allows local government to create Web-based electronic government services. It’s available to local and regional governments without fee, but they need to run"a Microsoft computing environment” for it to work.

For now it comes with:

E-Councilor template—A Windows Live Agent that allows messenger communication with a virtual government worker to ask questions.

Web TV template— Allows government and citizen video hosting in Web 2.0 style.

Windows SharePoint Services 3.0 templates— A set of 40 templates to customize scenarios that address site and system administration needs.

Local government communications template— Sample portal with intranet and extranet templates.

Role-based My Site template— Designed for Microsoft Office SharePoint Server 2007 and the My Site functionality.

Agenda Management template— Allows organizations to streamline processes.

Microsoft Dynamics CRM templates for municipal governments— Vertical templates, including reference data models, predefined work flows and role-based user experiences. 

The interesting part: “a possible template incorporating Virtual Earth to give people localized, neighborhood-oriented services or access to information based on their geographical position.”


by Adena Schutzberg on 05/09 at 06:00 AM | Comments | Bookmark and Share
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