Signs of Water on Saturn Moon Enceladus!

Nasa is reporting this after that their Cassini probe has discovered what appears to be liquid water errupting “Old Faithful” style from the surface of Enceladus.  As everyone is probably aware, water is the key to life… As the director of the imaging program said, “… we have significantly broadened the diversity of solar system environments where we might possibly have conditions suitable for living organisms.”  Pretty exciting news!

New Version of MapGuide Open Source

Autodesk has announced a new version of what used to be Mapserver Enterprise – which was just Mapserver but then combined with Autodesk to be split into Mapserver and Mapserver Enterprise – but has now been renamed MapGuide Open Source (confused yet? I am!) This open source version is hosted by the Open Source Geospatial Foundation. The feature set is pretty cool, including an AJAX type viewer, support for a bunch of different file types, a fairly platform independent environment, and what looks like some impressive extensibility features. We at VS haven’t had a chance to play with this product, but I think I’ll move it up on my “to do” list.

Arc Explorer Demo Video

James over at Spatialy Adjusted pointed out that ESRI have published a demo movie of Arc Explorer in action. The file is in Windows Media Format and runs at ever so slightly over a minute ( agree with James – a slightly more universal file format would have been nice). A short demo like this doesn’t show much, but there are a few details that are interesting. They demo doing a bit of spatial analysis. The analysis is clearly written in their model builder stuff you can use in most (if not all) of their current GIS applications, which is handy for non-programmer GIS programmer types (you know who you are!) It’s also pretty evident from the left hand side tool bar the Arc Explorer can add a healthy amount of data from different formats, including Google Earth KMZ files! Look for this product in (I believe) the May timeframe.

Calls for Free Spatial Data in the UK

The Gaurdian has started a campaign to get the UK to publically release spatial data collected with taxpayer money. For those of you unaware, in the UK you pay for publically funded data, which just hampers mapping efforts inside the UK. They’re calling on the British government to follow the US example. I’m sure this is a bit of a hot-button topic amoung GIS professionals in the UK. Here’s hoping our GIS breathern on the otherside of the big pond get a little spatial freedom in the near future!

Trying to Stop Extinction Before It Happens

The BBC has an interesting article about a group trying to pinpoint speicies that might soon be candidates for extinction. The idea is that if you can identify a speicies in trouble before the critical point, you can save more of them (clearly). Apparently this group has identified 20 areas that are prime for human development and thus potential species extinction.