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Thursday, December 27, 2012

Until Wednesday only the Chinese government and military had access to the interface to use the signal from the Beidou constellation. Then the interface was made public. To be technical:

an official version of the complete interface control document [pdf] (ICD) for the nation’s BeiDou Navigation Satellite System (BDS) Open Service signal-in-space (SIS) [was made public]

What that means is that now other organizations can build recievers and devices using those signals. That's the good news, along with the specs: .

 location to 10m (33ft), their velocity to within 0.2 metres per second, and clock synchronisation signals to within 50 nanoseconds.

The bad news is that receiver chips are far more expensive than comparable GPS chips and the constellation only works well in Asia. With 40 more satellites planned it should be valuable worldwide - in about 2020.

- BBC via @RDQ_geography

- Inside GNSS

- Wikipedia

by Adena Schutzberg on 12/27 at 11:33 AM | Comments | Bookmark and Share

Autodesk User Group International (AUGI) sent word the day after Christmas (odd timing?) announcing the renaming of the free membership to basic, and fee based premiere ($25/yer) and professional memberships ($75/yr for  limited time, then $100/yr) in the organizations. The latter two have more access to archives (premium) and the newly restored monthly print magazine (professional). Really, a monthly print magazine?

I was in NAAUG (North American AutoCAD User Group) and GBAUG (Greater Boston AutoCAD User Group, met first Wed of each month at FST) back in the day.

I wonder if these sort of benefits will generate the hoped for 5% of paying members that freemium service providers aspire to capture. Do any other user groups in and around our space use this model?

- FAQ

by Adena Schutzberg on 12/27 at 04:13 AM | Comments | Bookmark and Share

Consumer Reports makes very clear which brands might be keepers:

In years past, there were numerous brands competing in the portable navigator space. Now there are essentially three main players: Garmin, Magellan, and TomTom. All others are truly fringe players and their products should probably be the first to be brought to the return counter. They may well be outdated and future map support may not be convenient.

Then come the details of reasons to upgrade:

lack of traffic, lack of lifetime map upgrades, poor windshield holders

The biggest question:

Is a phone app good enough, especially one from the vendors noted above? Short answer: sometimes, but get a car charger since these apps eat battery power quickly.

- Consumer Reports

by Adena Schutzberg on 12/27 at 03:59 AM | Comments | Bookmark and Share

The program, although frustrating to learn, provided the students with an increased self confidence. To see them go from frustrated to their professional final product – I think it gives them a sense of achievement.

That's how Dr. Abigail Domagall describes her students' experience with ArcGIS, which was used for several final projects in her GIS/GPS course. The Black Hills State University (BHSU in South Dakota) assistant professor of geology, had students work for clients including the Spirit of the Hills Wildlife Sanctuary, potential new bike routes through Spearfish, and orienteering for the BHSU Outdoor Education program.

- Rapid City Journal

UW-Eau Claire has been using student tuition money to grow, among other things, its geospatial education program.

The UW-Eau Claire geography and anthropology department has been educating students in the geospatial realm for many years, and by using Blugold Commitment funding - a student-supported differential tuition increase that is invested in academic programs to add value and enhance student learning - the department is prepared to keep up with the increase in demand.

In 2011 Blugold Commitment funds were used to hire Goettl and Cyril Wilson, a human-environmental geographer with expertise in GIS and remote sensing. Blugold Commitment funds were again used in 2012 to create a new 28-seat department lab used for geospatial instruction.

The new lab is being used by students from at least 10 other majors on campus, including biology and geology, as well as others interested in geospatial techniques, doubling the number of students able to use geospatial technology. The addition of the staff members and a lab gave the department of geography and anthropology the ability to expand course offerings, leading to the design of a certificate program available in fall 2013.

Also noteworthy: the courses are built with reference to the GTCM.

Leader Telegram

Lehigh University is the home of Tectonics, a GIS-based set of exercises to teach about the physical world.

Tectonics is a series of geospatial investigations designed to augment existing middle school Earth science curriculum. Students use Web GIS to investigate important tectonics concepts. The investigations include scientific practices, crosscutting concepts, and core ideas from the National Research Council (2012) Framework for K-12 Science Education.

The materials are best used with the Firefox or Google Chrome Web browser. This material is based upon work supported by the National Science Foundation (DRL -1118677).

I like that the ArcGIS Online based Web GIS does not have one of the stock interfaces. It's not sexy, but it's probably accessible to students.

via @CADREK12

by Adena Schutzberg on 12/27 at 03:56 AM | Comments | Bookmark and Share
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