February has definitely been a month for me to play catch-up. I just came across an article from early Feb in the Argus Leader about the new EROS director Eric Clemmons. Apparently he is moving to South Dakota from a position at NOAA where he was involved in their remote sensing group. With Landsat 8 near contract and Landsats 5 and 7 limping along, I would guess that it is an exciting time to be at EROS from the Landsat portion of their activity alone.
The concept of augmented reality, utilizing technology such as mobile displays and portable devices that can superimpose data onto your view of the real world, has been around for awhile in various forms, but now the technology really is starting to catch up to the vision with the development of tools like Olympus’ Mobile Eye-Trek. It’s basically a set of glasses with a tiny LCD panel in the right eyepiece, which simulates a viewpoint approximately 50cm in front of the user. GPS tracks the users location and wireless functionality allows the device to send and receive data from a server which is hosting the local data. A prototype of the mobile Eye-Trek and an associated data service will be undergoing testing in early March using students from Chuo University in Japan
Olympus has been making Eye-Trek head mounted displays for a few years now for the consumer market, so it is possible that a version of this device and the necessary data services may actually make it onto the market, with 2012 as a target date.
Apparently there is a “traveling” web design conference called An Event Apart that will be hitting New Orleans April 24-25 and then Boston, Chicago and others every month or so. Of course it caught my attention since it is going to be in New Orleans. I am not sure if the speakers or topics change by location, but it looks like a pretty interesting set of topics. While most of the geospatial web companies have a pretty good handle on the mix of tech, content and design, I think there is still plenty of room for design in may home brew or tech focused projects. I will be the first to say that most of my web map projects over the last 10 years have been fairly design void (though I thought they were great at the time I was creating them). There is definitely a different aesthetic sense used for cartography than for publication (web or hard copy) design that I have really begun to think about more as I sink back ever further into the cult of Mac. There are a few “good site” and “bad site” design websites out there that you can get ideas from, but I have to say that while it can be a pain in the butt, designing by committee will often produce a more tempered, accessible design than an individual’s personal vision.