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Friday, January 30, 2009

The village in Scotland is Skinflats. It’s home to 350 people. The latest bus timetable somehow renamed the village Skinflints.

The old timetables were taken out of circulation and a new one distributed. No harm done and even the folks who live there had a chuckle.

- Daily Record

by Adena Schutzberg on 01/30 at 10:03 AM | Comments | Bookmark and Share

Just the other day Maryn McKenna at Poynter (the website for journalists; I read it because I’m not trained as one) highlighted something I’d run into for years: local papers not including their location on each page. The articles are typically fine but if you arrive there via your favorite search engine, you have very little geographic context, unless you know there is only one such county with that name and in which state it belongs. Oh, you can try to tease out location from ads or weather information, but it’d be far better to have the location clearly stated in say a footer.

Now, onto another challenge the Web brings to the media. This one also involves geography, but in a different way. It’s the challenge of the orphan map. The user of a search engine will find a map. Here’s one from the Charlotte Observer. It’s an ok map, but where’s the context? How would I find the article that references the map? There’s no link on the map’s page. So, one must go back the main page of the paper website and either find the article there or do another search. I found the referencing article under “local news”. I propose such stories always include a clear statement about the source article and a link.

by Adena Schutzberg on 01/30 at 09:42 AM | Comments | Bookmark and Share

You may not know the name Mark Gorton, but he’s the guy with the money that funded GeoServer and some of the other open source goodies available for geospatial analysis. In 1999 he founded The Open Planning Project, TOPP, the geospatial division of which now has been renamed OpenGeo. The article highlights how the money from one community driven effort (P2P data sharing company LimeWire) allowed him to pursue a dream of open tools for urban planning.

One quotes stood out for me:

“It [open access to geodata] didn’t really exist before [GeoServer]. Most of the data was run on software from a company called Esri [sic]. Government agencies have this data, but it’s all running on proprietary systems and you couldn’t get access to it, or it was very hard to get access to it.” - Gorton

He is one of the visionaries who are helping morph GIS for these times.

- Wired Epicenter Blog

by Adena Schutzberg on 01/30 at 09:14 AM | Comments | Bookmark and Share

The Seattle Times blog that covers Microsoft tallies the 72 jobs the company has posted in Washington state since its layoffs last week. Some of the jobs offer insights into some geospatial projects.

Windows Live and MSN are also hiring locally, with at least a dozen openings out of the 72 posted in the past week. One posting described a “newly formed” MSN/Virtual Earth Core Platform team that will “define how developers, media producers, and businesses create, deploy, manage, and monetize one of the largest online networks on the planet.”

(The job posting also had some interesting usage stats about MSN and Virtual Earth: “over 600 internally developed sites serving 284M unique users/month and 15.5B pageviews/month. Those sites consume hundreds of applications/services, run over 400,000 feed ingestion jobs each day, and are served globally to 44 markets via 6 datacenters. Virtual Earth powers over 3000 enterprise customers and the Live Maps, Local Search, and 3D products.”)

Another want ad for a software development engineer outlined “a brand new MSN website focusing on local people, activities, and businesses. ... By combining the best of local content destinations (like City Guides and Weather) with the power of local search, we are embarking on a cutting-edge project to revolutionize the way people consume local content.”

The company’s Live Labs is also hiring, including the Seadragon team that helped bring Photosynth to market.


by Adena Schutzberg on 01/30 at 06:00 AM | Comments | Bookmark and Share

Thursday, January 29, 2009

U.S. News and World Report’s cover story of their special year-end report promoted the "50 Ways to Improve Your Life in 2009 (12/18/2008 issue)." Curiously, one of those ways was "geotagging your photos." I took this to heart and immediately ran out and bought a Blackberry Storm. Perhaps you’ve followed my trials and tribulations on Twitter as it hasn’t improved my life in ways I was hoping. But, if part of my job was to cover this industry, why not jump into the fray and invest my time on something that was supposed to be fun too. Might as well, since all of the social media in which we have invested at Directions surely tests the balance of worthwhile reporting, marketing and time-frittering anyway. You should know that Twittering and getting a LinkedIn account were advised as well. Having checked those boxes, it was on to geotagging in a more productive way.

I’ve used Flickr in the past so it wasn’t just about geotagging. This was more about cutting out a step in the process and seeing if it really worked. Again, nothing new to those who already have an iPhone or use the Eye-fi SD card. It was as much about testing the Storm as it was about improving a process that would support my ability to cover the news. And what I found was that nothing is as easy as it sounds and productivity comes at a price…

Continue reading...

by Joe Francica on 01/29 at 03:17 PM | Comments | Bookmark and Share
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