Space Elevator Games – year 2

Sue hasn’t mentioned the Space Elevator Games yet this year so here goes nothing. The second year of the Space Elevator games can be described simply as impressive. The games are divided into two competitions: 1) tether strength and 2) climbing a tether. No one took home the cash ($200k) in either of the two competitions this year, though one team only missed the money on the climbing comp by a couple of seconds. The competition will heat up a bit next year as they raise the purse to $500,000.

The competition, which started last year, is planned to be an annual event until 2010.

The Space Elevator Blog

Wired News on Web 2.0, mashups, and revitalizing democracy

Over at Wired News, Jennifer Granick has a nice article on how Web 2.0 apps, including mashups and online mapping, can help us get back to the essence of democratic government: “Though it may not be obvious, the road marks in this amorphous thing called Web 2.0 are political: grassroots participation, forging new connections, and empowering from the ground up. The ideal democratic process is participatory and the Web 2.0 phenomenon is about democratizing digital technology.”

She also mentions GeoRSS and OGC’s WMS standard as ways of integrating data sources, and notes that the big internet players are beginning to understand the potential of collaborative efforts to map political information, pointing out the new US Election Guide in Google Earth that was unveiled on Monday.

If you haven’t checked it out already, it’s short, but definitely a good read.

Life on Mars…..?

Honestly, we just don’t know. Apparently the basis of most of our belief in the lack of life on Mars might be bad data. The Viking Mars Mission from 30 years ago flew close enough to Mars to see if it could remotely detect signs of life. Apparently scientists have reproduced the technology the Viking mission used and tested it in remote regions of Earth. Their findings show that Viking wouldn’t have found life on Earth using the technology it employs in similar climate regions when clearly there is life on Earth in those regions. Does that mean there is life on Mars? Nope, not necessarily. All we can say is that the Viking Mission employed techniques that wouldn’t have found signs if there were any life on Mars. Hopefully the 2009 mission will help decide once and for all this age old question.

UK town tests Augmented Reality system for local planning

The town of Burnley Wood in the UK has become a test bed for a new system that will help local residents visualize how proposed development will change what their town looks like. The Augmented Reality Interactive Environment System (ARIES) consists of a 3D representation of what the area will look like following the planned multi-million pound redevelopment project, loaded onto GPS-enable handheld devices. Residents are then able to move around and see what that specific location will look like. In addition, residents are also able to use the handhelds to record comments and notes as they are walking around. The test is part of the Elevate East Lancashire project, which

There has been a lot of research into using GIS and geospatial technologies for participatory local decision making, and the Burnley Wood test of the ARIES system is just one of an increasing number of examples of how these technologies can be used to help local communities.

Via Burnley Citizen

Enhanced podcast now in iTunes

meAs of today you can follow this link to the enhanced AAC version of the podcast on iTunes. While I am sure the MP3 version will always be more popular, I like being able to include images and links in the enhanced version. Of course you can still use the enhanced AAC RSS feed if you are not a iTunes user, or you can download the episodes from the show notes. In early November I will be adding the AAC version to the existing MP3 archives at

Also, keep your eyes open for some new video podcast goodness coming out of the AVSP ‘studios’ around Geography Awareness Week.

Largest Image on the Web?

This site has a nice photographic representation of The Parete Gaudenziana. So nice, to properly represent it, they decided to go with a 8.6 Gigapixel image! Of course, the Gigapixel Project has been documenting large photos for awhile, but I believe most of their work is in the single gigapixel range. This sucker is over 8 times as large! You can zoom in and around the image to see how fine they captured the information.

We will rock you (planetary)

There is an article in CNN today about Brian May from Queen. “He gave up his PHD studies in interplanetary dust to help form Queen but now, almost four decades on, he has come full circle to co-write “Bang! The Complete History of the Universe” with astronomers Patrick Moore and Chris Lintott. “To me it is a spiritual force in my life,” May told Reuters at the book’s London launch.” I can’t find it on Amazon yet but will put up a link as soon as I do. I found a link to his old school papers too. review of Street Maps and Garmin GPS

On the Oct 19 episode of Digital Life TV (, Patrick Norton does a review of a dashmount Garmin GPS and the new Microsoft Streets and Trips and everyone uses many of the correct terms and phrases 🙂 The overall take on the Garmin model they reviewed was pretty good, and at a $250 (US) price tag it seems promising. Head over to to view the episode online or to download the video podcast. For the MS Streets and Trips they mention the Live Search integration. The review is around 35:00 minutes.