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Wednesday, December 19, 2012

I noted that NORAD had switched from Google tech to Microsoft's Azure and Bing Maps as the backend to its Santa Tracker. Today comes word that Google will host its own version on Google Maps, as an alternative.

While we’ve been tracking Santa since 2004 with Google Earth, this year a team of dedicated Google Maps engineers built a new route algorithm to chart Santa’s journey around the world on Christmas Eve. On his sleigh, arguably the fastest airborne vehicle in the world, Santa whips from city to city delivering presents to millions of homes. You’ll be able to follow him on Google Maps and Google Earth, and get his stats starting at 2:00 a.m. PST Christmas Eve at google.com/santatracker

There's a Chrome Extension, an Android app and updates on Google+, too.

- Google Lat Long Blog via HuffPo

by Adena Schutzberg on 12/19 at 07:09 AM | Comments | Bookmark and Share

Another of those precautions was the city acting on [City Councilor Marty] Lorrey's motion to get the bridge included in GPS systems because some drivers have said the systems have not alerted them to take a different route.

[Eric] Eby [the city's transportation engineer] has been working with the city's coordinator of geographic-information systems to notify the services that provide information to mobile GPS systems of the height limits of the span.


That quote is from an article about a low bridge in the City of Lowell, Massachusetts. Many trucks get stuck there and long term plans are looking at increasing the clearance, but in the meantime, "the GPS systems" must be changed. Clearly, that's a new task for local GIS coordinators.
 
by Adena Schutzberg on 12/19 at 04:39 AM | Comments | Bookmark and Share

TwinCities.com/The Pioneer Press offers a series of maps titled Prescription opiates and heroin in Minnesota based off the ARCOS federal drug data. More interesting to readers of this blog will be the pain required to get the data out of PDF and into Excel. Then, there was the issue of access to GIS software. It's not clear what GIS software was used for any analysis, but the presentation is via what looks like Fusion Tables in Google Maps.

- TwinCities.com Data Mine Blog

A "fat map" has shown how some schools in Birmingham are hemmed in by as many as 19 takeaway outlets in a 400-metre radius.

About 70 per cent of all primary and secondary schools in the city have a kebab shop, chip shop, pizza store or Chinese takeaway within the same distance.

The city has one of the  highest levels of childhood obesity in the UK with 40% of children age 10 in the severly overweight category.

Birmingham Public Health worked with the Ordnance Survey to create the map. The map for Britain is here.

- The Telegraph

Headline: UCMC Doctors Perform First Transplant Using GPS

Huh? Well, apparently GPS was used to track a kidney found in a national registery to help doctors waste no time in performing the transplant at University of Cinncinatti Medical Center (UCMC). How the GPS worked while the kidney was on the plane? I guess not so well.

Yesterday morning Shonda donated her kidney --- doctors immediately packaged it up into a box and put it on a flight. For the first time ever, a GPS unit tracked the organ's progress from hospital to airport to California. This allowed the doctors there to prepare the man who was going to receive the organ without any lag time. 

- Local 12 WKRC

by Adena Schutzberg on 12/19 at 04:25 AM | Comments | Bookmark and Share

Sen. Al Franken of Minnesota is championing the cause of data privacy -- specifically, he wants to keep the smartphone locations of women and children a secret from stalkers and third-party companies.

Franken's new bill, the Location Protection Privacy Act of 2012, would outlaw so-called "stalking apps," software specifically designed to track a person's movements via their phone's GPS signal and which is marketed for nefarious purposes.

The bill passed a Senate committee with bipartisan support, along with support of Internet privacy groups and women's groups. It needs Senate and House ok and presidental signature to become law.

- Mashable

by Adena Schutzberg on 12/19 at 04:04 AM | Comments | Bookmark and Share
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