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Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Dr. Christopher K. Tucker will share his experiences as the Chief Strategic Officer of the CIA’s venture capital fund, In-Q-Tel, in a free public lecture on Tuesday, Sept. 25 at Washington College. The talk will take place at 7 p.m. in Litrenta Lecture Hall on the main campus, 300 Washington Avenue, Chestertown [MD].

Washington College News via @GISPathway

There's a very positive review of Aliens Abducted, an app that challenges players to name countries and identify their flags in an alien exploration theme. I found the footer frustrating.

Aliens Abducted app is available at the app store and is available for your iPhone and iPad. It's $2.99 which is cheaper than the price of an atlas.
Comparing a game app to an atlas is not a fair fight on price or content! I say this having taught World Regional Geography with one required text: Goode's World Atlas.
The Commonwealth of Kentucky's recently signed Esri Educational Site License makes ArcGIS technology available to all K–12 public and private school students in the state. The license will be managed by the Kentucky Geographic Alliance (KGA), a longtime supporter of geography initiatives for elementary and secondary schools.
by Adena Schutzberg on 09/25 at 10:21 AM | Comments | Bookmark and Share

On Monday, the [NY's US] senator [Schumer] called for a federal investigation into the problem [of truckers using sat nav designed for cars that do not take into account truck height] and for the U.S. Department of Transportation to come up with GPS standards that prevent the devices from guiding trucks onto restricted parkways.

There are of course height restriction signs, but Senator Schumer notes that drivers don't read them.

But truck drivers have been increasingly missing the signs as more rely on GPS devices, Schumer said.

Schumer see this not as a human skills issue, but a technology issue that must be addressed via government intervention.


by Adena Schutzberg on 09/25 at 06:31 AM | Comments | Bookmark and Share

A user submitting corrections on POIs in Scotland to Apple Maps reports sub 24-hour turnaround for the corrections to be made.

- Coolsmartphone via Computerworld

by Adena Schutzberg on 09/25 at 06:10 AM | Comments | Bookmark and Share

Esri hosts a higher ed list for colleges and universities using its software. Last week an educator asked a series of questions regarding how to best implement ArcGIS for his educational institution and how to manage his accounts and credits. Angela Lee of the Esri education team provided some detailed answers. While she is addressing higher ed users, I have to believe the new features will be available to all ArcGIS Online users. I've recapped what I consider to be the key points, but I encourage everyone to read the full Q & A

1) Currently, there is no way to allocate credits to an individual user, but that functionality is planned for a future release. Assigning appropriate roles (user, publisher, administrator) can help manage credits since they have increasing levels of access to processes that use credits. For example, "users" can't publish, and typically user fewer credits on average.

2) Esri is developing a "credit estimator" that will both describe how credits are consumed and estimate credits for a process, presumably based on the size of the dataset and other parameters. That tool/information is expected in September.

3) Named users are linked directly to the number of ArcGIS Online users. Thus it may be wise to have some departments "share" a single named account. Esri is still determining how this will work within universities (and presumably, enterprises): "We anticipate the potential number of users of ArcGIS Online to be higher than the number of ArcGIS for Desktop users, but we don't yet have a reliable way of predicting how many users are needed for a college/university of 5,000 students compared to a college/university of 50,000 students, so we need to hear from you."

4) Administrators are notified when credits drop to 75% of the total in the subscription account (that's seems to be the case for license holders of several types, including universities). If a subscription account hits zero, it is suspended until new credits are purchased. Credits delivered with a subscription are good for one year, then disappear. Additional credits purchased to complement those that come with a subscription last for 24 months, while a subscription is active.

- Esri Higher Ed List Post


by Adena Schutzberg on 09/25 at 04:23 AM | Comments | Bookmark and Share

With some trepidation I downloaded iOS 6 to my iPhone 4S just to see what all the commotion was about with Apple's new mapping app. So here are some quick observations if you've not yet made the leap to iOS 6:

  1. LOAD TIME: I found the Apple Maps app loads a little faster than Google Maps and it found my location very accurately.
  2. 3D VIEW: 3D view in map mode seemed a bit useless and it isn't until you get into an urban area where building models are present does it make much sense.
  3. ZOOMING/PANNING: Zooming into Madison Square Garden in 3D mode took an acceptable amount of time to load and panning through the rest of Manhattan was smooth and loaded just fine.
  4. BUILDING MODELS: When you are not in 3D mode you can see building footprints if the area is populated with building models.
  5. POIs INCOMPLETE: On of the biggest complaints noted by many but particularly illustrated by "The Amazing iOS 6 Maps" blog was the lack of detail provided by the app. So, I located a park near the area where I am currently located and, sure enough, the park boundaries were incorrect. Specifically, the park is Island Beach State Park in New Jersey. Only one-third of the park extents were correctly defined. And obviously there are many more examples that have already been cited.  I'm scratching my head going, guys, this was an easy layer in your database to field check if you had just bothered to consult a real map. Google, Mapquest, OpenStreetMap all had the park boundaries correctly identified. What was their source map that allowed such a gross oversight?
  6. YELP INTEGRATION: I like the integration with Yelp; I think that's a nice touch because I've been disappointed with the Where application that I have now to find restaurants etc.
  7. VOICE NAVIGATION: The addition of voice navigation will certainly help drive prices down for portable navi devices now. Watch for Christmas-time fire sales on some of the lower functioning PNDs. I did find the voice a bit muffled however so the clarity is lacking that you find in a Garmin or TomTom.
  8. REAL-TIME TRAFFIC: I found the real-time traffic feature, while accurate, to be confusing. Apple uses dashed red or yellow lines to indicate slowing traffic. This will be a personal preference thing. If you liked Google's Traffic feature with RED/YELLOW/GREEN, this might seem less than what you prefer. However, Apple has allowed you to see the individual roadways clearer while Google's has a tendency to obscure the roadway when traffic is overlaid.

So what's the bottom line? Apple clearly has some work to do. The bar has been set much too high and as I said in our podcast, Apple seems to have ignored the fact that so many apps in the app store rely on location-based information and maps for display, navigation and reference. They've got to fix the problem well before the next release of the operating system. Otherwise, when the iOS version of Google Maps comes out there will be calls to dump Apple Maps and use Google which has invested much more time and effort into being a "mapping company." Apple will eventually figure out that maps are no longer a "nice to have" feature on a phone but are now an essential part of the infrastructure of mobile applications.

by Joe Francica on 09/25 at 03:56 AM | Comments | Bookmark and Share
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