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Thursday, November 04, 2010

Interesting article by Eric Rodenbeck, the founder and creative director of Stamen, on the plans for soon to be released open source Citytracking.

Citytracking, one of this year’s Knight News Challenge winners, will present digital data about cities that journalists and the public can easily grasp and use, and provide tools to let them distribute their own conclusions. We will build a series of tools to map and visualize data that is truly Internet-native and useful. The project will be:

- Simple enough that a fairly technical reporter who understands Google Maps and basic HTML can embed something good in their article/report/blog posts.
- Beautiful enough that an interested amateur citizen will find it useful and interesting.
- Complex enough to catch the attention of developers nationwide, who we hope will contribute to the project on an ongoing basis.

This caught my eye:

There have been several attempts to turn a thriving open source ecosystem into a money-making operation (Cloudmade off the back of OpenStreetMap, EveryBlock’s acquisition by MSNBC). Generally these tend to be unsuccessful or boring. The model that Drupal uses, where an open source platform is supported by both an open source community and a thriving commercial practice around supporting it, seems like a model worth thinking about.

- MediaShift

by Adena Schutzberg on 11/04 at 08:09 AM | Comments | Bookmark and Share

A telephone survey on use of location-based services released Thursday by Pew Research Center’s Internet & American Life Project put the percentage of LBS users among Internet users in the US at 4%. It can go as high as 8% among males 18-29.

- study
- USA Today

by Adena Schutzberg on 11/04 at 07:55 AM | Comments | Bookmark and Share

So, which geospatial companies are tapping into the interest in wind power? In the case of the Meskwaki Indian nation in Iowa, it’s a design build engineering firm, that provides wireless telcom solutions, based in Exton, PA.

The tribe, also commonly known as the Sac and Fox Tribe of the Mississippi in Iowa, recently contracted with WPCS International, design-build engineering specialists for communications infrastructure.

“We put up a meteorological tower to measure the wind for the next year. We will analyze the data and after a year we will do a final report,” said James J. Heinz, executive vice president, with WPCS International Inc.’s St. Louis operations. The company is headquartered in Exton, Pa.

And the company is looking to do more of the same kind of work.

WPCS provides wireless communications systems for the Foxwoods Resort Casino of the Mashantucket Pequot Tribal Nation, among other work for Indian nations, but Heinz, added that “this is our first Indian reservation where we are able to do a wind study, and we are very interested in doing this for other reservations. There is grant money available to Indian nations for renewable energy, and there are a lot of Indian tribes out there that got that.”

- Indian Country Today

Suzuki is recalling 20,692 vehicles in the US for a problem with the Garmin navigation system. This recall is on models equipped with a Garmin Nuvi model 750, 760, or 765 Navigation system in which the batteries could overheat, resulting in a fire. Garmin technicians will replace the battery and insert a spacer on top of the battery.

- Automotive World

Garmin was down 34% in earning over the year ago quarter with sales of its biggest product line (auto and personal satnav devices) leading the slump. The company hoped other businsesses areas would make up the expected drop.

- press release

by Adena Schutzberg on 11/04 at 07:25 AM | Comments | Bookmark and Share

How can residents help update Maryland’s broadband map? A few ways:

The website does feature a disclaimer warning that the information is only verified to the Census block level. Indeed, some residences the map indicated had coverage did not have access to broadband when providers were contacted. A feature under the “Results” tab on the map lets users report errors in an ongoing effort to improve accuracy.

Users can also take a speed test that will show them the download and upload speed of their current provider. Map developers plan to use these results in a new feature so users can compare their Internet service speeds against average speeds from their ZIP code and county.

Along with speed test data, users can take a 20-question survey that will allow developers to further increase the accuracy and usefulness of the map’s data. According to SU, this data will ultimately be used to determine where Maryland should build and improve upon broadband coverage.

- Delmarva Now

A couple in Makham, Ontario, Canada wants to sell the house. The challenge? It’s no 4 on the street and that’s an unlucky number in Asian populations, the ones most likely to buy. Hence, the selling price is lower than if it had another number. So, the couple asked to change the number, something is possible, so long as numbers are available. And, 3 and 5 are available. But the couple was turned down since there’s the even/odd thing. Still, they will try again.

- York Region

The West Virginia Sheriff’s Association has contracted with Pictometry to provide areal imagery covering the entire state and this week held training for sheriffs. The article in the local paper says they are learning GIS while working with Pictometry’s Electronic Field Study (EFS) software. Are they really learning GIS? Will sheriffs think this is all GIS is? It’s been suggested to me that Pictometry implementations have taken funding away from traditional local GIS data collection and management efforts.

- Herald Dispatch

by Adena Schutzberg on 11/04 at 07:06 AM | Comments | Bookmark and Share

Before yesterday’s Facebook HQ meeting on mobile, the buzz was about a potential Facebook phone. Nope, it’s more about expanding Facebook places in a way that many think threatens top LBS “rewards” players like Foursquare, Gowalla and others.

...Facebook went ahead and launched a big new suite of mobile features that includes, notably, enhancements to Facebook Places that let businesses easily automate “deals” for when users check in. On the surface, given Facebook’s scale, this looks like it could spell difficult times ahead for Foursquare.

The big news is the services are “self service” and available to any business. And there are different flavors of offerings:

- charity deals, where a business gives per check-in
- group deals - where the deal applies if a Facebooker brings in friends who check-in
- loyalty deals - where individuals get deals on multiple check-ins

For now the services appears to be free; monetization, says Facebook, will be via Facebook ads business will buy. When you check-in for a reward, it’s posted to your Facebook newsfeed and follows the privacy settings for Places. Many folks have turned those up to “very tight” meaning little if any location sharing, so the “group deals” will be the ones to watch to see if this new twist ups use of location sharing.

CEO Dennis Crowley of Foursquare was speaking to the future of his company at an AdTech event on the same day. (Mashable coverage)

- C|net

by Adena Schutzberg on 11/04 at 06:50 AM | Comments | Bookmark and Share
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