Desktop Geotagging done right…Magrathea

MagratheaWe have mentioned MapMemo before, but I thought it was missing that little something (geographic coordinates). Caffeinated Cocoa has rolled out a great little desktop app for the Mac called Magrathea that uses web services to pull in Yahoo! Map data and geocoding services to allow to geotag desktop data, web information, and the ability to geotag and upload photos to Flickr. So as with its name sake you can make your own world with this fancy little app.

Magrathea – Caffeinated Cocoa Software

Service at Sea – taking GIS around the world

While we were at the ESRI UC, we had a chance to talk with Drew Stephens, who is the founder of a great program called Service at Sea. The idea is to sail around the world with a group of GIS technology professionals, teachers and students, making various stops along the way to provide GIS support and training to local community organizations involved in conservation and other initiatives. The staff on board the Service at Sea sailboat will be volunteers and a small paid crew. I think there may still be opportunities for people to volunteer as well.

Service at Sea’s boat is called the Copper Sky, and the program had a symbolic launch last Friday morning in San Diego at the end of the ESRI UC. The actual program begins in July and focuses on helping organizations along the Pacific Coast up to Valdez in Alaska. After a short break for the holidays, the second segment is planned to focus on Mexico and Central America.

It’s really a great idea, a great way for members of the GIS community to help get their expertise out to local communities who really need it, and Drew has a lot of passion and energy for the project, so I think it will be an amazing experience. They have already lined up some sponsors as well, including ESRI, National Geographic Society, AAG, and Soul Fabric Films and others. The project has also been getting some good press, including a short article at SailWorld’s website.

Friendly Floaties

If you haven’t ever heard of this really fantastic story of the “friendly floaties” you need to check it out. Oceanographers have been tracking the bathtub toys for over fifteen years, using it to predict then prove many theories about currents. Wikipedia sums it up succinctly, “Seattle oceanographers Curtis Ebbesmeyer and James Ingraham, who were working on an ocean surface current model, began to track their progress. The mass release of 29,000 objects into the ocean at one time offered significant advantages over the standard method of releasing 500–1000 drift bottles. The recovery rate of objects from the Pacific Ocean is typically around 2%, so rather than the 10 to 20 recoveries typically seen with a drift bottle release, the two scientists expected numbers closer to 600. ” I found two kid’s books about the floating ducks (why not the turtles or the beaver?) One is written from a plastic ducks point of view called DUCKY by Eve Bunting. Another is written by an author I love called 10 LITTLE RUBBER DUCKS by Eric Carle, who also wrote The Very Hungry Caterpillar.