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Tuesday, August 31, 2010

A reader posed the question that we articulate this way: “Why are data taken for granted in LBS hype? What happens when you remove the map?” Our editors think that is a great question and explore it in the context of navigation apps, weather and traffic apps, social apps and augmented reality.

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by Adena Schutzberg on 08/31 at 01:00 AM | Comments | Bookmark and Share

Monday, August 30, 2010

Word came late Thursday that Google has updated its policy on its reviews that users can submit to Google Maps/Place Pages and apparently dropped search results from Yelp, one of the most popular restaurant review services. Word on the former came from the Google Lat Long blog; the latter from TechCrunch.

The new review guidelines say something on the order of “be nice, be honest” and we have the right to remove reviews if they are illegal, a conflict of interest, etc. TechCrunch noted missing reviews and Google said they’d been reclassified. Yelp was not happy when Google began populating its Place pages with Yelp reviews.

- Search Engine Land

A study from KeyesLabs, the folks behind developer tools and licensing offerings, reveals patterns of Andoid app piracy for one of that company’s apps, Screebl Pro. The vast majority of the piracy, some 69%, is from the U.S. So, apparently piracy is not prevalent where the apps/service are not available. There’s a map, but it’s got no legend. : (

- Keyes via Android Guys

The New York Times reviews Forrester’s latest research about how just 4% of people have tried “locating” themselves for LBS apps. There’s nothing really new here, but I find myself in total agreement with a 65 year old, Richard Sherer, a freelance writer in Redondo Beach, Calif. “I can’t think of anybody who cares where I am every minute of the day except my wife, and she already knows. Maybe it’s a generational thing. As we old fogies die off, maybe this will no longer be an issue.” (BTW, I’m 46, if it matters.)

- New York Times

by Adena Schutzberg on 08/30 at 06:00 AM | Comments | Bookmark and Share

URISA is promoting its upcoming GIS Pro event with a webpage titled: “Convincing Your Employer That You Need to Attend GIS-Pro 2010.” I know getting the time off and the funding to travel to, eat, sleep and cover registration for a conference can be a hard sell.

I’ve been successful in the past with proposals that boil down to: “I can attend this event for $500 and none of my work will slip.” That tends to work, though I’m on peanut butter sandwiches and long subway commutes once I get to the city in question. And, frankly, if the event is that good, I’m ok with those inconveniences. Further, if I can show a return on the minimal investment for this year, the employer may well pay a bit more for my attendance in the future.

Which leads me to URISA’s list of why you should go:

- New Ideas
- Sharing What Works
- Inspiration & Rejuvenation
- Knowledge Gathering (speakers)
- More Knowledge Gathering (exhibitors)

That list probably would work for any conference on any topic in any city, as would most lists like this on other conference websites. (Here’s one for the ASHA.) URISA also offers a customizable letter (.doc) you can prepare for your boss.

Have you used such tools to lobby for attendance? Any luck? If you hold the purse strings, does this sort of approach work? What other advice might you add?

by Adena Schutzberg on 08/30 at 06:00 AM | Comments | Bookmark and Share

In Lyons County (KS) it’s time to buy some new GIS/appraisal hardware:

A laptop for a field appraiser at $550. The current laptop the employee reflects light outdoors and has to be used in the shade, slowing down productivity.
A GIS computer at between $900 and $1,100. The computer that is now being used is running slow and needs replaced, Stapp said.
A GIS color copier at $4,387. The machine the GIS office has now is 10 years old. The proposed replacement machine from Century United would replace the GIS machine and a copier/printer combination machine.

- Emporia Gazette

In Plumas County, California, GIS was identified as part of the problem in a notification event around a SWAT raid on a house.

... Plumas County Administrative Officer Jack Ingstad has been working with the county’s information technology department and Hagwood to correct some glitches in the emergency notification system, used to send a recorded telephone warning to residents.

Ingstad reported about 50 percent of the calls sent out by the system during the fugitive incident didn’t reach the right destination because of a mistake in how numbers in geographical areas were grouped by the county’s geographic information system department.

- Plumas News

The Victorian Government in Australia is asking famers to report on a map where they see locust hatchings. The government says untreated locusts could cause significant farming losses, disrupt football finals, Spring horse racing and regional airports.

- ABC News

Ready to go the Nebraska State Fair? Get ready to see animals and agricultural products and GIS.

4-H also jumped onto the digital bandwagon. Adjacent to the Fairport - formerly known as the CyberFair - students competed to build harvesting robots and make GIS maps.
Science, engineering and technology specialist Brad Barker said both GIS and robots are increasingly prevalent in agribusiness.
“We are actually teaching precision agriculture,” he said.

- Journal Star

Mecklenburg County is using Google Earth and its own Polaris images to track code violators, just like in other parts of the county. It’s only use when a complaint is called in, such as a suspicion building is going on without a permit. The article and report both imply Google Earth is GIS.

- Fox Charlotte

I don’t want to speak to the “raid” on a property in Calabasas, California that sent an unwell senior packing, but the legal document that set it in motion gives me pause.

According to the City, the search was based on affidavit authorizing an inspection of the property for purported violations apparently discovered using satellite photos from the City’s GIS system software and Microsoft’s Bing Search Engine taken on April 29 of “land for sale,” according to the affidavit signed by Maureen Tamuri, AIA, AICP Community Development Director, City of Calabasas, authorizing the surprise inspection.

- Topanga Messenger

by Adena Schutzberg on 08/30 at 06:00 AM | Comments | Bookmark and Share

Like many plant species, those used for traditional Chinese medicine are competing for space with other plants, animals and man. A study in China aimed to determine suitable growing locations for Rheum tanguticum Maxim, aka Chinese Rhubarb, an herb used for treatment of various ailments including those of the stomach.

“An improved version of GIS-based program for the distribution prediction of traditional Chinese medicine (TCMGIS-II) was employed to integrate national geographic, climate and soil type databases of China. ...Results: A total of 660 counties of 17 provinces in China, covering a land area of 3.63x106 km2, shared similar ecological factors with those of native habitats appropriate for R.”

- 7th Space based a paper in Chinese Medicine

85% of all natural disaster-related fatalities occur in Asia, according to the World Health Organization. And in late August, representatives from 13 countries will meet in Vietnam to address the widespread occurrence of disaster-related fatalities in Asia and how to better prepare for them in the future.

- Fast Company

Researchers at USC set out answer this question: “Can hospital (Emergency Department) surveillance data reveal fine scale spatial variation in diabetes related conditions for a highly vulnerable population?” I’m really not sure of their conclusion since I don’t really understand the abstract or the paper (pdf). Perhaps a reader can help explain the results.

- via 7th Space

by Adena Schutzberg on 08/30 at 06:00 AM | Comments | Bookmark and Share
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