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Friday, December 30, 2011

For decades, scientists at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) have been carving satellite data into customized chunks that help other federal agencies solve some unusual problems—at no cost to the users. But faced with soaring NOAA satellite costs and a bleak budget outlook, lawmakers last month ordered the agency to explore ways of charging other federal agencies—and perhaps even some large consortiums of academic scientists that partner with government agencies—for its "specialized data products." It's time, they argue, for beneficiaries to help NOAA sustain a cash-strapped satellite program. A storm is brewing over the suggestion.

Science (fee to read full article) via Geodata Policy; sadly I found no other coverage of this on quick look
by Adena Schutzberg on 12/30 at 07:04 AM | Comments | Bookmark and Share

Alexander Zipf, Chair of GIScience, Department of Geography, University of Heidelberg, Germany shared news of an article comparing OSM and TomTom data in Germany.

A new study by the GIScience Research Group of the University of Heidelberg ( that compares the evolution of the crowdsourcing project OpenStreetMap (OSM) with the commercial dataset from TomTom/Teleatlas has just been published. It is available fulltext as Open Access at and covers the years 2009 to 2011 in Germany. 
As shown earlier the data contributions to OSM show a geographically heterogeneous pattern around the globe. Germany counts as one of the most active countries in OSM; thus, the German street network has undergone an extensive development in recent years. The question that remains is this: How does the street network perform in a relative comparison with a commercial dataset? By means of a variety of studies, the authors show that the difference between the OSM street network for car navigation in Germany and a comparable proprietary dataset was only 9% in June 2011. The results of the analysis regarding the entire street network showed that OSM even exceeds the information provided by the proprietary dataset by 27%. Further analyses show on what scale errors can be reckoned with in the topology of the street network, and the completeness of turn restrictions and street name information. In addition to the analyses conducted over the past few years, projections have additionally been made about the point in time by which the OSM dataset for Germany can be considered “complete” in relative comparison to a commercial dataset.
 Neis, Pascal; Zielstra, Dennis; Zipf, Alexander. 2012. "The Street Network Evolution of Crowdsourced Maps: OpenStreetMap in Germany 2007–2011." Future Internet 4, no. 1: 1-21.
by Adena Schutzberg on 12/30 at 05:25 AM | Comments | Bookmark and Share

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Residents [of Reynosa, on the Mexico side of the Texas/Mexico border] are now using social media and Google Maps to report drug dealers in their neighborhoods.

An anonymous group of Twitter users launched the project a few months ago but it's now surging in popularity.

In an email interviews with Action 4 News, the creators of the map said they are asking people to report drug dealers using the #reynosafollow channel of Twitter.

Officials have their own reporting channel.

- Valley Central

The McCreary County  [Kentucky] Tourist Commission is looking for local mappers. The goal?

to “map” trails for tourists who may share their particular interest — such as hiking, off-roading, crafting, coal history, photography, etc. The resulting maps can then be developed into itineraries available on the county’s tourism website for self-guided tours.

“We need information for all kinds of trails,” County Tourism Director Ginger McCartt-West told The Record. “It doesn’t have to be an outdoor experience.”

A grant enables the effort and volunteers can use helmet cameras to make first person videos for the county website.

- McCreary Record

A class at UC Berkeley is mapping doggie amenities vs number of babies in San Francisco's Mmission District. Have any input?

- Map via Mission Local

by Adena Schutzberg on 12/29 at 06:00 AM | Comments | Bookmark and Share

Update: Rolta’s founder, chairman and chief executive, Kamal K Singh responds to the allegations and details the company focus on homeland security.

- DNA India

--- original post 12/8/11 ---

The Hindu has an in depth report that suggests that confusion in contracts between Rolta, which delivered a custom package of software from Intergraph, Bentley and Oracle for image analysis, and the Indian Army have led to software slowdowns and the need to reinvest to updated licenses. There is also a suggestion that Rolta repackaged Intergraph software without permission.

- The Hindu

by Adena Schutzberg on 12/29 at 05:42 AM | Comments | Bookmark and Share

Yes, that's right, you can pay for an app for you cell phone that will "fine" you when you fail to meet your planned gym workouts.

Gym Pact, a new program dreamed up by Zhang and fellow Harvard grad Geoff Oberhofer, charges you a penalty for skipping your workouts. It launches Jan. 1 at

"A gym membership is something you pay for at the beginning of the year or the beginning of the month, and there's no additional money on the line," Zhang says. "We wanted to tie a cash incentive to every single workout you do, week-by-week."

Here's how it works: You set a pact to get to the gym of your choice a certain number of times (minimum one day per week). You pick a fee to charge yourself for breaking your pact (minimum $5 per day missed). You download the Gym Pact app to your smart phone and check in when you get to the gym. (They'll use GPS to confirm you're actually there.) And when you fall short of your pact? They charge your credit card the pre-determined penalty.

Sure you could fool it by "checking in" at the gym and doing nothing (lots of folks seem to use the gym for checking e-mail rather than actually doing those bench presses...) but I guess it's better than nothing. Even better: having an actual person meet you at the gym. They are much harder to fool than cell phones.

- Chicago Tribune

by Adena Schutzberg on 12/29 at 05:26 AM | Comments | Bookmark and Share
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