New Location Based Services in Japan

A company called Mapion has launched a new service that lets phone users point at a building, click, and find out what’s in that building.  If your phone is GPS and integrated compass enabled, you can wonder around the streets of Tokyo pointing and clicking all over the place to find out what’s in what building.  Pretty cool.

Via Engadet

Yes, even you can afford Virtual Reality

This NY Times article from back in January takes a look at some of the ways people are creating Virtual Reality setups without having to spend a million dollars to do it. Although the article is focused on VR for artists, a number of geographers and others interested in geovisualization have been doing work involving the use of VR in geographic research. One of the initiatives highlighted is Canvas a collaborative project from the University of Illinois, where the well-known CAVE (Cave Automatic Virtual Environment) system was developed. Now, for about $1000 per projector (with a minimum of 2 required), $300 for polarizing filters, (and whatever you can afford to spend on a good desktop, rear projection screens, stereo glasses, or even datagloves), you can have your own VR setup for teaching, art work, or research. The Canvas program offers a free software program called Syzygy to run the VR. So, if you’ve always wanted to try out VR, and you have a few thousand dollars lying around, go for it!
Via Trends

Update: One of our readers pointed out that the Geowall Consortium is another resource to help you put together a relatively inexpensive VR setup for scientific visualization.

Book review of Tweed’s Crossing and Dwelling

TweedBookThe American Religious Experience at http://are.as.wvu.edu is an online journal which has been in publication for nearly a decade, which is edited by Briane Turley of WVU. In our continuing effort to support the folks we know, Mike Ferber (a fellow grad student) has recently published a review of Thomas Tweed’s newest book, Crossing and Dwelling: A Theory or Religion. Tweed is one of the first scholars of American religion to utilize a spatial model for interpreting religious diffusion and development in the U.S.

Laser-Scan’s new Radius Studio

I know that Jeff at Vector One mentioned his interest in this product last week and today I received Laser-Scans enewsletter so I thought I might quote from it…

“Radius Studio acts as a spatial processing, analysis and compliance engine offering domain experts the possibility to create, review and refine business rules for spatial data across the web, without requiring developer skills.  It is a tool that can quantitively measure spatial data quality by analysing the compliance of business rules with the existing data sets.”

I was in contact with Laser-Scan to be an educational partner through work, but I didn’t feel I had the time to invest to make it worth their while.  I hate to get software and just have it sit on a hard drive unused.  As soon as I am in a position to use it though, I hope to try it out.  We used to have a license for lamps before I arrived at WVU, but the VAX or Unix box it lived on has long since been sent to surplus.  And now I am just rambling…