Archives for December 2009
I had a reader ask me if I was planning on publishing a cool, Top 10 GIS stories of the decade article… indeed a great idea although no small task by any means. And so, I’ll ask our faithful readers, what do you think is the biggest GIS/Geo technology news story of the 2000’s?? Indeed there’s plenty of stories to ponder. The following are but a few news items of interest that stand out in my mind (off the top of my head):
- Google’s buy-out of Keyhole and the launch of Google Earth – no doubt this has changed the World!
- High resolution earth imaging satellites launched by DigitalGlobe and GeoEye – what would Google Earth be without all that fabulous imagery??
- The google Maps API – Indeed map mashups are a huge story and have changed the way we think about creating maps. Google maps has single-handedly brought GIS and map mashup awareness to the masses and we can all thank them! Now the GIS guy can easily explain to people what he/she does!
- ArcGIS 9X and Arc Data Online – You can’t argue that Jack Dangermond hitting the Forbes Richest list last year has plenty to do with the success of ArcGIS. Now with ArcData online the sky is the limit as access to data has been opened up to the masses.
- Removal of Selective Availablity – When the government removed the degradation of quality of commercial GPS signals the game changed… this was huge!
- Carol Bartz leaves Autodesk and makes a splash with Yahoo! – With the departure of Bartz is almost seems like Autodesk has left the minds of the GIS user… no doubt GIS is still a huge part of what Autodesk does but its also mostly about CAD/GIS integration. Where oh where has Autodesk gone…
- Nokia buys NAVTEQ, TomTom grabs Tele Atlas – Data is kind and the 2 largest data providers have been snatched up by industry giants. no doubt these moves have affected the industry, big time!
- The smartphone – If you don’t have a GPS enabled smartphone (think iPhone 3G S, Nokia N95, N97, Blackberry) then you need to get with the times… sorry but it’s true! Geospatial technologies and mobile location services have infiltrated the World.. really, who doesn’t use some kind of location-aware app on their mobile device?
- Twitter’s Geolocation API – with the release of the location API developers have cart blanche to roll out cool, location-aware applications and services that link up with Twitter and facebook. The opportunities here are huge!
These are but a few items that stand out in my mind and no doubt there’s plenty more. What do you think is the GIS/Geo industry story of the decade? Please comment using the form below, Tweet with Hashtag #GIStopnews or blast me an email (editor at gisuser dot com) Happy New Year!
Here’s a valuable GIS learning tool from UK-based NGO, MapAction (see mapaction.org) …”TheField Guide to GIS for Non-GIS Folks” From the NSGIC blog… The Field Guide to Humanitarian Mapping includes basic introductions to GIS mapping and to the use of GPS to collect data. It also offers detailed tutorials on using free and/or open source tools such as Google Earth and MapWindow to create and manage GIS data and maps for humanitarian response efforts (Via NSGIC blog) – Download the Guiude as a PDF document HERE
I was pleasantly surprised to receive the latest ArcNews Magazine in the mail yesterday and even more surprised when I noticed an article on page 40 that I contributed to… if you’re interested in the annual International ESRI User Conference then please be sure to check it out. In typical top 10 fashion, I’ll share with you 10 other important things I try to do each year to ensure that I have a productive and enjoyable user conference experience – see the article HERE
Once again, I’m sharing 5 more of my favorite Geo Tweets from the past several days…
- mike_elgan – Wow! You can buy every National Geographic since 1888, and they send it to you on a 160 GB hard drive!
- censusguy – What questions are on the 2010 Census form? See them here!
- PublicEarth – Our iPhone App is now available for free via iTunes
- cloudmade – Free downloads of Shapefiles, Garmin GPS Maps and more have just been updated
- geoparadigm – Eyes in the Sky II: NASA Remote Sensing Training Opportunity for High School Science Teachers
Sorry for the off-topic announcement but I wanted to pass along a message from a friend of mine (Randy) who asked that I share some details on an important issue – Blood Cancer. This from the Scout Lab… every four minutes someone is diagnosed with a blood cancer, and every 10 minutes someone dies from a blood cancer. To help find a cure for lymphoma and other blood-related cancers, Scout Labs is supporting a non-profit called the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society (LLS). It is the world’s largest voluntary health organization dedicated to funding blood cancer research, education and patient services. Our goal, hopefully with your help, is to raise $10K. See more details on this topic and how you can help
So, you have a nice, shiny, new iPhone… now what?? The following are just 10 of the must-have, free apps any good iPhone user needs on his/her device. If I had to start loading my iPhone from scratch today these would be some of the first apps that I would load. Enjoy!
- Echofon – a fabulous, free Twitter client.. basic yet powerful – Echofon also has a facebook client as well to stay connected with your facebook account anytime any place
- PixelPipe – you have loads of social media accounts, now you need a handy way to upload media to all your resources with one click… pixelpipe is the tool for you.
- TweetDeck – You manage multiple Twitter accounts and are more of a power user… EchoFon may not cut it for you so TweetDeck is the solution… amazing that its still free!
- PhotoFunia – if mobile photography is your thing then this amazing little app will entertain you and your family, providing you with the ability to create some amazing and fun effects from your photos… I’d easily pay $5 for this one but again, its free!
- Waze – if you don’t want to get lost while on the road then Waze is for you. This free mobile navigation app not only gets you there but you’ll be crowd-sourcing data and connecting to your social media as well.
- WHERE – this handy LBS app puts cheap gas, Starbucks locations and loads of local content at your finger tips. All based on location, you can find anything you need, near you with WHERE.
- Foursquare & GoWalla – this one is a tie… location gaming is huge and both of these apps will enable you to check-in from your favorite places and connect to Twitter… one or both are a must-have!
- Last.FM – take your favorite music with you, search and listen to almost anything you want with this amazing app.
- REI Snow Report – if you ski or hit the mountains for any recreational activity (or maybe you plan on hitting the 2010 Olympics in Vancouver) then this fabulous app is a must-have. Get the latest conditions, maps, snow cams and more.
- PhotoShop Mobile – again for the photo buff, PS Mobile enables users to easily crop, rotate, enhance or otherwise manipulate your photos so you can upload and share some fine works of art.
Indeed the Top 10 lists are a plenty as we approach the end of the year (and end of another decade). I ran into an interesting list put together by Edmonds.com looking at some of the top technologies to complement the auto industry during the 2000’s… naturally, LBS and navigation were huge! The Edmonds top 10 includes:
1. iPod Integration
2. MP3 File Access
4. Satellite Radio
5. High-End Branded Audio Systems
8. Voice Activation
9. Ford Sync
10. Location-Based Services
An interesting data tip from a reader… Showing historic estimates and future projections for cities, urban areas and megacities with more than 750000 inhabitants for 1950-2050. The data has been acquired from UN Population Division and georeferenced. The data is available as spreadsheet/table, maps, for Google Earth, in an animation video and for GIS data download. The data has been retrieved from the UN Population Division publication and web service World Urbanization Prospects, 2007 revision, and georeferenced using a variety of sources.
The database is available for unrestricted download, under the Creative Commons 2.5 attribution license. This gives you the right to reuse and modify the data, as long as Nordpil and the UN Population Division are properly credited – see the World database of large urban areas 1950-2050
With Twitter’s opening of their location API to developers there’s going to be a ton of third party apps that will enable Twitter users to share location-aware information via their Twitter accounts. This isn’t to say that you’ll now be able to geo-locate your tweets as that functionality has been enabled for some time now by a number of apps – think Brightkite, foursquare, Schmap and many others… however, what it does mean is that many other applications will be providing users with the ability to geotag their tweets and provide geo information enabling cool third party functionality. Read on as we look at a number of cool, geo-aware, social media apps including: brightkite, GoWalls, waze, Schmap, Loopt, Flook and others – See the full article here