BrightKite – social location web app

I have started taking a tour of some of the location based social apps that are out there since I haven’t had time to write code myself. The first one have been playing with is brightkite.com which can act as a stand alone web app, a location feed for Twitter and works with Yahoo’s Fire Eagle. A quick example of a BrightKite map is here which is a checkin I did from PA. The location information from an account is shown through a list or map of visited places and you can create a series of shortcuts to different Placemarks for quick updating. There is the general friends settings so that you can follow others and of course you can find folks based on location. As with most of these apps you can access it via web or SMS. Check it out if you can get an invite.

India getting into the lunar mapping game

At a press conference on Monday, officials from India’s ISRO announced that they are planning to launch the Chandrayaan-I satellite that will orbit the Moon for two years on a terrain mapping mission. This will be part of India’s long-range efforts toward a planned manned lunar mission within the next decade. I think it’s really a toss-up as to what country will actually successfully launch the next lunar mission.

Via Times of India

AAG New Media session recap

I am a bit behind in posting a roundup of the New Media session from the AAG, but we had great participants, a good (if small) audience, and a terrible time (supper time). The line up was:

Sue Vajoczki – McMaster University
Adena Schutzberg – Penn State and Directions Magazine
Sue Bergeron – WVU and VerySpatial
Katie Pritchard – Virginia Tech and the Plaid Avenger Plaidcast
John Boyer – Virginia Tech and the Plaid Avenger Plaidcast
Jesse Rouse – WVU and VerySpatial

(unfortunately Patrick was stuck in NC)

The session focused on the intersection of New Media and education. Sue V. started us off with a discussion of how New Media are being adopted and implemented at McMaster. It seems like a great approach which has received support from faculty, students, and administrators. They will be releasing their findings in an upcoming report (I will link to it once it is available). Adena spoke about the role of online ed technologies, moving from the brick and mortar to the online campus. John and Katie spoke about how an external podcast can invigorate student learning and how New Media offers an immediacy that a textbook can never parallel. The discussion went on for a couple of hours and Sue B. and I kicked in the ideas that you have heard so often from us on the podcast. Unfortunately, I was out of it enough that even though I had 2 records set up, I forgot to turn either of them on…oops.

Plans have already begun for the fourth New Media session that will probably turn more toward the MacArthur Foundation’s idea of Digital Media and Learning (DML), and I will put out the call for participants in the fall.

GPS on the iPhone…really?

The rumor mill has kicked in for the 2nd Gen (3G) iPhone that seems to be just on the horizon. The rumors include the addition of a GPS receiver in the new phone. This is a bit curious since there is such a great location based technology in the existing firmware with the wifi location with Skyhook and cellular location from Google. While there are situations in which you may want higher res location than is currently available I am not sure the power drain that a GPS chip would add is worth it. That seemed to be one of the big detriments of the N95, the battery issues associated with the GPS (though I haven’t had the chance the test it myself). Why not just make it possible to connect to a Bluetooth GPS unit? There is already a bluetooth antenna on the phone. We will have to wait a month or so to find out what reality will be, but it is a curious turn.

The second-gen iPhone: 3G, GPS, only slightly thicker – Engadget

Landsat Archive to be Made Available at No Charge

Our readers Michelle and Ed both gave me a heads-up on the USGS’ plans and timeline for making the entire Landsat archive of imagery (with less than 20% cloud cover) available for download at no charge. The Landsat program has been an amazing success story, and its archives are really an incredible resource for research and education.

Here’s the current timeline for when each type of data will be available for download through the Internet (thanks Michelle):

Landsat 7 – all new global acquisitions – July 2008
Landsat 7 – all data – September 2008
Landsat 5 – all TM data – December 2008
Landsat 4 – all TM data – January 2009
Landsat 1-5 – all MSS data – January 2009

To check out Landsat scenes, head over to the USGS Global Visualization Viewer, or the USGS Earth Explorer.

Earth Day contest winners

To wrap up Earth Day here on the east coast(ish) of the US I would like to congratulate the winners of our Earth Day contest. The two runners up who will receive VerySpatial shirts were Harsha from India and Graham from South Africa (I think). Our grand prize winner of a VS branded flash drive is Matt from Bakersfield.

Congrats everyone, for those of you who did not take home a shiney prize check back over the summer for our 3 year anniversary contest in which we will be giving away (hopefully) multiple sweet/awesome/rad/(other 80’s slang terms for good) prizes.