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Monday, September 19, 2011

How do I know? I got an e-mail since I'm a registered user of geodata.gov (honest, I'd forgotten I was!). The e-mail details what's happening and when as does the front page of geodata.gov. It's all supposed to be done by Sept 30.

by Adena Schutzberg on 09/19 at 02:25 PM | Comments | Bookmark and Share

I admit it, I look at the headlines of press releases and if interesting, the first paragraph. But three press releases from last week required a revisit because the topics were so...interesting. 

First off, Depiction, which offers a "what if" visualization tool announced (press release) at State of the Map apparently (I'm not sure why but I guess it uses OMS?) a new product: DepictionPrep. The idea: it's software to help you and your neighborhood prepare for an upcoming emergency. No details on pricing; it's coming this fall. I have mixed feelings about this and note that Glenn just shared another related offering: Safety Maps which creates a custom "we'll meet here in case of emergency" map for free and is built on OpenStreetMap. And licensed under CC.

Second, Fox, the bike shocks folks joined the Ant+ alliance teamed with and Garmin the GPS folks (press release) to walk users through setting up the suspensions on the their moutain bikes. It's a proof of concept that does not require GPS. As I undrstand it, sensors in the pumps (that serve as shock absorbers best I understand, I'm a road biker) talk to the Garmin Edge and walk the user through the process. You can then save different settings for different terrains. I wonder if this is a solution in search of a problem. I'll have to ask my mountain biking friends.

Finally and this is the most big brother of them all: CrowdOptic (press release) has a platform to keep track of where cell phones are "looking" during an event like a football game or a concert. Then, that information can be used to feed more info (say stats on the player) or ads (Time for a coke!). The release does not say but I'm guessing you'd have to give the company access to your location and compass info. Sadly, this also suggests that at such events people spend a good deal of their time taking pictures from, lookng through or looking at their phones.

by Adena Schutzberg on 09/19 at 05:03 AM | Comments | Bookmark and Share

At the end of FOSS4G 2011, I sat down with Peter Batty, conference chairman, to get his thoughts on the event. Batty commented that from an attendee perspective, the level of technical presentations is something you don't find at any other type of conference. As such, one of his goals as a new OSGeo board member is to maintain the high level of presentations. However, he would also like to introduce a business track into the event. He believes that the open source for newcomers workshop was also extremely valuable. 

 
And what about adding more sponsors? Certainly there was concern by Batty that perhaps more private corporations need to be contacted for sponsorship. Autodesk's abandonment of support was replaced by others. Still, corporate entities like the major systems integration firms and perhaps others in the defense and intel communities that are readily using open source technology have a vested interest as well. 
 
On the way to the airport, I had a conversation with a person that is the lone GIS support individual in a medium-sized engineering firm. He was extremely pleased with the content of the event in which he received lots of good ideas and direction. His firm, however, does not maintain IT admin who are capable of putting in the necessary security measures to stand up an open source environment. But he was also concerned that the pricing of proprietary GIS systems is too high for projects that his firm undertakes. Hence, he feels caught in the middle between the need for the lower TCO that open source affords but less security needed and the high cost but more easily maintained proprietary software. 
 
Other, like-sized firms may feel similarly. Is there a way out of this dilemma?
by Joe Francica on 09/19 at 04:50 AM | Comments | Bookmark and Share

From now until October 8, every time someone checks in at any Walgreens branch in the US through Facebook Places or Foursquare, the drugstore retailer will donate one flu shot voucher to a deserving individual.

- PR Week

An emergency app to share whatever a cell phones sees/hears and its location with 911 dispatchers was developed by University of Maryland computer science professor Dr. Ashok Agrawala and a team of students at U Maryland. It's currently in use by a small group of students but from there will be explanded to the rest of the school and perhaps the community. Android now, maybe iPhone later.

WTOP

Roximity won Ford's contest to integrate an app with Sync at the TechCrunch Disrupt Hackathon. Roximity, still in stealth until the announcement "will offer coupons based on a user's location, through either a smartphone app or, as the Ford development indicates, a car."

- Car Tech (from C|net)

Rahm Emanuel is now on FourSquare as is a new (and the first!) city badge for Chicago called, of course, the Windy City Badge. (I deserve one after four years in Hyde Park...just sayin')

by Adena Schutzberg on 09/19 at 03:00 AM | Comments | Bookmark and Share

When we last checked in with this case, the appleate court had agreed with the county and said that it did not have to provide the geodata for free under the California Public Records Act. The Sierra Club appealed and word this week that the state's supreme court will take the case. (previous APB coverage 1, 2)

- Met News via Bruce Joffe (who e-mailed us the news)

Other coverage: Electronic Frontier Foundation

by Adena Schutzberg on 09/19 at 03:00 AM | Comments | Bookmark and Share
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