A VerySpatial Podcast
Shownotes – Episode 237
January 31, 2010
Main Topic: Our conversation on the Census and Geography
Click for the detailed shownotes
Before there was Avatar and even before Fisher-Price Viewmaster, there was stereoscopy or stereo photographs that presented scenes in life-like three dimensions similar to a Viewmaster. A recent book on one set of Stereoscopic photos of 1850’s village life titled “A Village Lost and Found”. It is a picture book that evokes the Victorian times of a specific village through a series of 3-D images meticously gathered over a lifetime of research. But one of the most fascinating aspects of the work is its relevance to geospatial and social networking technologies today. The authors, Brian May and spent years searching to determine if the village was a composite of multiple villages or a specific location, but it wasn’t until 2003 that they asked for help through the Interent community and someone responded with a, “Well, I live there” that it was solved. How many other geographical mysteries big and small have been solved or are waiting to be solved by the world’s increased connectivity?
Frontline, a great program on PBS here in the US, will be airing the premiere of Digital Nation: Life on the Virtual Frontier on Feb. 2nd. The show will look at the rise of the Web and digital media, including virtual worlds, digital media in the classroom, the social impact of these technologies, and other topics. I’m really looking forward to seeing the show, as I’m hoping it will touch on a lot of the issues I’m dealing with in my own research as well as many of the topics we discuss on VerySpatial.
It’s hard to believe that Fisher-Price View-Master reels are over 65 years old and kids are still playing with them. Even with the advent of hi-tech toys for kids, the View-Finder still produces inexpensive reels ($4.00) of Dora the Explorer, Sponge Bob, and old Disney Classics. The red classic model is around $15.00. Accoding to The View-Master Ultimate Reel List over one billion View-Master reels have been issued since this unique stereophotographic format was invented and first commercially released in 1939. It was originally intended for travelogue/scenic subjects such as Carlsbad Caverns and other travel geography. According to author Natalie Bell, the View-Master and stereoscopic images in general “The View-
Master exists now a relic of the modern epoch; as a retrospective instrument that is itself an
archetype of a way of seeing.”
The tiny town of Noorvik, Alaska gets the honor of being the first town visited by Census enumerators, and the Head of the Census Bureau, Dr. Robert Groves, travelled to Noorvik to officially kick off the Census yesterday. Most of us here in the US will get Census forms in the mail in March, with follow-up door-to-door enumerations starting in late Spring.
Here is some video footage of the Census kick-off in Noorvik as part of a local news report in Portland, ME:
We mentioned OpenGeo Suite a while back on the podcast when they offered up an installer that loaded GeoServer, OpenLayers and GeoServer Data Importer.
Today, taking a step forward, they announced version 1.0 of OpenGeo Suite. It adds GeoExplorer, Styler, Recipe Book and Dashboard applications to the installer. If you are looking for an enterprise solution that takes advantage of open source software but still gives you support to fall back on then you may want to give it a look…maybe even take a look at the 90 day trial version.
As more and more mapping applications are being developed and releasing, we’re seeing a lot of innovative ways to utilize maps. Finding your way from point A to Point B, checking out real-time weather and traffic conditions, finding restaurants and services…. the list is getting longer every day. But one area that is still relatively untapped is mapping indoor spaces. One of the first applications I’ve seen is Micello’s new free iPhone application, which is now available for download from the iTunes store. Micello gave a preview of their indoor mapping app last fall, and generated quite a bit of buzz in tech news circles, and now the app is out in the wild. Most of the spaces included so far seem to be malls, but I’ve only had a little while to play with the app so far. Check out this preview of Micello Indoor Maps in action:
I found an interesting RFP today from NOAA that asks for research into “the effectiveness of current operational products, including graphics and uncertainty information”. Essentially it is asking a geospatial question, do our graphics work and do they tell you what you need to know. The geospatial compenent of weather forecasting is more involved than most users would imagine. The BBC has a Faq to explain why they went to 3D weather graphics. In 2008, The Weather Channel went HD and they continue to add tools and widgets. There is even a Facebook page called “I love the Weather Channel Graphics” with a plot of “”Using flashy graphics and smooth jazz to distract from a clear weather bias.” which is apparantly populated with their admins. NOAA has links to national weather data available in GIS formats, if you want to explore more.