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Friday, September 28, 2012

The Central Intelligence Agency has released into the public domain its collection of online maps of 75 countries and world regions, including links to information on political leaders around the world.

Each map comes in three versions: administrative, physiographic and transportation. But don't get too excited: they are in PDF and JPG only.

While the maps are in the public domain (not sure what that means? I just wrote about that elsewhere), the CIA does have a request for certain kinds of use:

The only restriction is that the agency requests asks that if a map is modified or used in a mashup, the identification number on the map be removed. "If you take a CIA map and superimpose on it all the electrical plants in the country, we ask that you remove the number so that your modified map will not be mistaken for a CIA product," said the agency spokesman.

- InformationWeek

by Adena Schutzberg on 09/28 at 04:50 AM | Comments | Bookmark and Share

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Apprently funding for projects in a region of The Phillippines has not resulted in expected changes on the ground. Officials hope to keep better track of funding in the future by putting geotagged photos of the projects on a QGIS map.

By using Quantum GIS, local authorities will be able to improve their project monitoring efforts by geotagging projects to inform decision makers on what projects have been implemented, their exact location and how they are progressing.

The GIS may help, but it seems there are other issues to be addressed as well! There are no details on why QGIS was selected or who performed the training of staffers.

- Future Gov

If you missed it during the Apple Maps mess, the real big news of the week was a Knight Foundation grant to Development Seed (makers of Mapbox) to develop better tools (presumably open source) to create and edit OpenStreetMap data.

New Tools for OpenStreetMap: Launching tools that make it easier for communities to contribute to OpenStreetMap, the community-mapping project used by millions via foursquare and Wikimedia and becoming a leading source for open, street-level data. DevelopmentSeed will create the tools.

There's a rather confusing (to me) article on TPM about how MapBox got the grant...but I understand MapBox is a project of DevelopmentSeed. And DevelopmentSee got the grant per the press release. There's also some confusion about open source software and software you have to pay for.

- press release

Azavea has open sourced the mobile code for its OpenTreeMap.

- press release

by Adena Schutzberg on 09/27 at 07:04 AM | Comments | Bookmark and Share

French start-up GIS and location apps developer Web Geo Services has raised EUR 2 million from Seventure Partners, Soridec and Jeremie LR, reports Les Echos. The company will use the funds to increase its R&D investments and accelerate its growth in France and internationally.

The twenty person company was formed in 2009.

- Telecom Paper

How do you fund archeology? How about using the crowd?

DigVentures is an ingeniously designed, self-sufficient crowdsourced archaeology research team that’s just successfully completed its first large scale dig.

But that's only half the story. Those who contribute also get to participate in the analysis of the site, not so different from those who outline crators for NASA. The trick here? They pay for the privilege.

- Daily Crowdsource

Today, Chicago-based Evzdrop announced the launch of its iPhone app, which lets businesses and individuals ‘listen to places through people.’ The app lets people or businesses post ‘drops,’ or information about places, which other app users can find in real-time. The company also announced that it has raised $500,000 in funding from several angel investors, and co-founder David Rush said they plan to use the funding to invest in their team, in addition to bolstering their product development and marketing efforts.

This sounds like a repeat of similar services that have not taken off.

- BetaKit

by Adena Schutzberg on 09/27 at 06:34 AM | Comments | Bookmark and Share

Cell Broadcast Service (CBS) allows cell towers to transmit text messages to every handset in the immediate area. It can be used used to send local weather information, adverts or emergency broadcasts. But researchers in India want to use it to locate phones without GPS or to create solutions where wi-fi locating is not practical (such as where there are no good maps of wi-fi hotspots, such as India).

Cell towers transmitting via CBS include the name of their location, but not the specific latitude and longitude. Yadav created software for feature phones that captures these location names and finds their exact coordinates using the Google Maps online geocoding service - which phones can access over the cellular network.

Just using a single CBS-provided location is not very accurate, however. Yadav and colleagues tested 143 locations and found they were out by an average of 600 metres. Taking a user's location history into account and giving a higher weighting to more recent messages reduced the average to 400 metres.

by Adena Schutzberg on 09/27 at 06:15 AM | Comments | Bookmark and Share

The University of New Hampshire Department of Education has received a $1.2 million dollar grant from the National Science Foundation (NSF) to implement a science-based afterschool program and to research whether the program improves science achievement in traditionally underachieving groups.

The project will engage more than 2,000 rural and indigenous youth in afterschool programs across New England in which they will map sustainable practices (MSP) within their communities. The goal is to strengthen the connection for youth between science and their home and community lives.

Interestingly, there is no mention of the youth using GIS, though I suspec they will. What is mentioned? Sharing of results via GIS.

The researchers plan to share the results of the project — effective MSP approaches and descriptions of the learning contexts and student products — with science educators through a project-sponsored conference and interactive geographic information system (GIS) websites. 

- Fosters

The now famous "cave club" from Bigfork High School may get some new recruits at the GIS program garnered some new funding.

• Mr. Bodenhamer’s GIS classes received a $3,236 Montana Great Classroom Award from the Plum Creek Foundation and a $1,287.84 donation from the Flathead Conservation District.

- Bigfork Eagle

Gov. Andrew Cuomo, released an interactive “tracker map” today to help citizens understand where their school districts are in designing new teach evaluation plans.

The map lists every school district in each county and indicates whether the district has submitted a plan to the state Education Department and whether that plan has been approved.
By state law, districts must have their plans approved by Jan. 17. If they fail to do so, they will be ineligible for a state aid increase for 2012-13.

Tech? Not GIS so far as I can tell.

- Syracuse.com

 

The Rotary Club of Laguna Niguel has donated a Bas Relief Map of Laguna Niguel to the city and Laguna Niguel Library for the benefit and geographical education of adults and children.

Check out the picture; it's really nice.

- Laguna Niguel Patch

by Adena Schutzberg on 09/27 at 06:07 AM | Comments | Bookmark and Share
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