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Tuesday, June 09, 2009

When last we heard from USGS (February, at the NSGIC mid-year, APB post), the plan was to use The National Map as the engine to produce digital geoPDF quads. Well, the beta of this workflow is now available. It went up quietly last week. Luckily, Gary Price at Resource Shelf let me know when he found it. The latest news from USGS is from May 8. (Just sayin’; I know the USGS folks work very hard!)

Today, if you visit the Digital Map page of the TMN you’ll learn of this beta. Basic info:

The “Digital Map - Beta” is the first step toward a new generation of digital topographic maps delivered by the U.S. Geological Survey. These maps are built from The National Map data, which are integrated from local, State, Federal, and other sources. The initial version of the “Digital Map – Beta” includes orthoimagery plus roads and geographic names in the traditional 7.5 minute quadrangle format. “Digital Maps - Beta” are available free on the Web in the GeoPDF format. File size is about 15 to 20 Megabytes.

Tools are available free for download. Users can turn data layers on and off, zoom in and out, and print the maps. As the “Digital Map - Beta” evolves, the USGS will add historical versions of the topographic maps and will incorporate other data layers including hydrography and contours. Use of the term “Beta” signifies that these maps are initial versions that do not yet contain the full content of the traditional USGS topographic quadrangle maps.

The USGS values your comments and suggestions about the new “Digital Map - Beta”.

The page also describes how these electronic maps are different from others. Another key resource: A quickstart guide. (pdf)

Here some things I learned testing out the system:

Continue reading...

by Adena Schutzberg on 06/09 at 03:42 PM | Comments | Bookmark and Share

A widely-cited NY Times piece reports, “95 percent of blogs being essentially abandoned, left to lie fallow on the Web…” That got me thinking about whether there are any geoblogs that have gone dark that should be revived. Any nominations?

I miss Allan Doyle’s Think blog, which originally was geo-focussed, then more tech focussed.

by Adena Schutzberg on 06/09 at 11:34 AM | Comments | Bookmark and Share

After some tough months I’m sure the folks at TomTom were pleased with the market response to the announcement made yesterday at Apple World Wide Developer Conference. For now, TomTom is the only nav developer to partner with Apple. The first app, and a car kit for the iPhone, is slated for release this summer, when further details and pricing will be shared. One analyst suggested a $50 price point, about the same level as TomTom’s introductory hardware offering, though this is far above the price of most apps in the AppStore.

- Wall Street Journal

by Adena Schutzberg on 06/09 at 08:35 AM | Comments | Bookmark and Share

The market for portable devices is changing rapidly and is now broken into three classes:

  • Single function devices like MP3 Players
  • Programmable devices like Smartphones, laptops, or Netbooks
  • A new class of multifunction devices with some programmability. These might be devices that are programmed for one function but can accept other embedded functions much like a portable navigation device (PND) with entertainment features. WinCE and Android can start to enable these kinds of devices with more programmable capabilities.

And multifunction capabilities are very important for mobile devices in developing countries were users only want to carry one thing in their pocket that is a phone, navigation, and entertainment system.

All of this is according to Kanwar Chadha, founder and chief marketing officer of SiRF Technologies. SiRF started looking at the possibility of offering a multifunction, programmable chip three or four years ago. Last year, SiRF launched the premium SiRFprima location system processor that offered a 64-channel chip to support the U.S. GPS and European Galileo constellations, plus 3D visualization, high-resolution video recording, etc. as the company’s first attempt at a multifunction chip.

The new SiRFatlasIV location engine processor being launched today by SiRF Technologies is designed to location-enable just about any mobile device you can think of: Netbooks, digital cameras and other, entertainment portables like MP3 players that perhaps were before not a high priority to become location-aware devices.

The objective of the SiRFatlasIV is to give a much richer visualization experience coupled with navigation and all that comes with a GPS chipset including the ability to be more programmable for developers. It will have a lower price point to support a consumer market for mobile devices of many different genres.

But Chadha also said the new chip is targeted at supporting location-enabled appliances for the enterprise. This multifunctional chip set would be a likely solution to location-enable:
-  embedded mobile device like sales force management
-  telematics solutions
-  dedicated devices for mobile resource management
-  dedicated devices for asset management

Chadha says he wants to simply offer a location-enabling platform and let the market determine how to use it. Intel, he says, believes that location is an integral part of their future platforms. Some Netbooks have SiRFStarIII chips already. But in the future, expect laptops and many other mobile handsets to support location determination as well as this new class of multifunctional devices.

by Joe Francica on 06/09 at 08:00 AM | Comments | Bookmark and Share

Last fall Global Map Solutions introduced (press release) its solution for created very smart PDF documents from ArcMap. Map users, armed with Adobe Acrobat (alas not Reader) and a free plugin could then manipulate them. (We covered the new technology at Directions Magazine.)

Yesterday the company announced (press release) that it now offers a free, non-Adobe reader solution. The PDF LOGIQ Viewer is built on the open source xpdf project commercialized by Glyph & Cog.

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