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Monday, October 01, 2012

First off, what is Firsthand?

With 36 days until the presidential election, I'm delighted to introduce Firsthand, a project that uses all the tools at our disposal to expand the conversation and put the spotlight on what really matters most in people's lives. Firsthand will be all about engaging our community, allowing you to share the ideas and images that tell the story of our country during this campaign season, as you see it.

Second, the mapping bit:

To tell these stories -- or more accurately, to enable you to tell them -- we're launching a mobile app for the iPhone and Droid, in partnership with Ushahidi, the open source platform that uses crowdsourcing to map crises around the world, from the earthquake in Japan to election violence in Kenya. You can use the app to send photo and video "reports," which will appear on a map on our Firsthand page.

Ushahidi uses Google Maps (by default, but may be able to use other basemaps, I don't know). Ms. Huffington still runs MapQuest, right?

- HuffPo

by Adena Schutzberg on 10/01 at 02:21 PM | Comments | Bookmark and Share

The key story broke not long after Sept 21, the day users got their hands on the device. The story, in short: the app isn’t too good for navigation and points of interest are in the wrong place. As I write, on Oct 1, the situation is pretty much the same. The app still isn’t very good. The only news of significance popped up on Friday, when Apple’s Tim Cook apologized for the poor performance and promised to do better. Why then has this story continued to smolder for the last 10 days?

Continue reading...

by Adena Schutzberg on 10/01 at 01:03 PM | Comments | Bookmark and Share

Saline County [MO] E911 GIS Technician Brandon Wolfe said often small counties struggle to maintain a level of training with GIS. He explained that most people in his field have doctorate or master degrees specific to GIS, and often county employees only receive three-day training sessions. Most counties cannot afford to pay for someone with an advanced degree to maintain the system.

"It's a common problem throughout the United States," Wolfe said. "There's just no funding for it, and not enough people."

That statement explains one perspective on why the 2006 $161,000 GIS system wasn't fully implemented and updated. Now, Wolfe is cleaning up the assessor's data and making it more friendly. The hope is that assessor's office staff will maintian it thereafter.

- Marshall Democrat News

Hamilton County, Nebraska had a data breach of survey and GIS data. The cost to recreate it from backups could cost up to $100,000 but the current thinking is it will be less. 

That was good news for the county, but it came with a dose of bad news when Hamilton County surveyor Duane Katt told commissioners he believes someone entered his office at least twice after hours, breached the passwords and removed files before corrupting the hard drive and backups.

- Aurora News Register

The Palmerston North City Council [New Zealand], as part of the Geospatial Information Consortium (GISCO), have used a flex-based mapping platform to configure and deploy Geo-Guide – an online solution for residents to easily find rating valuations, property information, Council services, planning zones and more.

The solution is built on ArcGIS Server and the council GIS (presumably, Esri). The consortium includes 17 council and organizational members. Perhaps more interesting: the councll has implement augmented reality solution LAYAR to access assessment information.

In a separate technology move the Palmerston North City Council is providing information using LAYAR, an information application for smartphones, to provide rates, capital and land value of property just by pointing a smart phone at a property.

LAYAR is an augmented reality application that uses the GPS on your phone to provide information about the properties around you. It will find the 50 closest rates valuations to your current location, and the range can be set by the user if needed.

- press release

Ohio's state-owned properties and buildings can now be searched via a new interactive tool from the state treasurer's office. Looks like Google Maps API and a database.

- The Republic

by Adena Schutzberg on 10/01 at 04:58 AM | Comments | Bookmark and Share

Google has a new LBS app, Field Trip.

The app, Field Trip, offers historical trivia about a park, an architectural factoid about a building or reviews of a nearby restaurant. Google says it’s like having a local friend with you as you make your way through a city.

The app is another way to leverage both user location and a variety of content form partners including Arcadia Publishing, Atlas Obscura, Curbed, Eater and Cool Hunting.  And, its another way to gather data to send offers and ads to users. Google hosted launch parties this past Saturday to introduce the app in several U.S. cities.

- NY Times

GeoPollster, a new "connected app," links with your Foursquare account then shows the political contributions of every company to which you've ever checked in, when the data's available.

Data is from The reviewer found data sparse: ony two companies of all the ones he'd checked in at had data. The real goal of the app is locatoin-based polling, so, once you register and check one part of the other, the company keeps track of your check-ins and hopes to learn the habits of the red and the blue.

- Mashable

Foursquare announced Friday that the company will partner with popular restaurant booking service Open Table, allowing users to check out menus and book reservations right from the app. GigaOm suggests this is the start of a focus on local.

- GIgaOm

by Adena Schutzberg on 10/01 at 03:35 AM | Comments | Bookmark and Share

“GIS is not like Google Earth. What GIS gives to education is the ability to look at more than just a pretty map.”

Missouri Geographic Alliance coordinator Shannon White describes the difference between Google Earth and GIS in an article about the state's new Esri K-12 license for the state quoted in the student newspaper, The Maneater.

by Adena Schutzberg on 10/01 at 03:09 AM | Comments | Bookmark and Share
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