I admit it, I love steampunk mods. If I had lots of spare time, and a little cash, I’d love to try my hand at creating a few cool gadgets myself. But in the meantime, I will have to be content to admire the handiwork of others, like the project John Knight is showing off at Maker Faire Detroit. Dubbed the “Electromagnetic Geospatial Globe and Remote View with Obligatory Goggles”, it’s Google Earth meets steampunk, with Google Earth running on a tablet, and controlled by the cool brass globe outfitted with RFID tags. Better than me trying to describe it, check out this video:
If you haven’t seen the demo of Microsoft Research’s Street Slide, it’s a pretty cool addition to Bing Streetside that is not available yet, but will be presented at SIGGRAPH 2010. While Google Streetview and Bing Streetside allow you to see photo representations of an area as you navigate through it, you’re basically limited to the perspective from your position on the centerline of the roadway as you look left or right. What Street Silde allows you to do is zoom out and take a side scrolling type of look at the whole side of the street moving side to side and panning over the streetscape. It looks like you can also get a panoramic view as well. If you want to see Street Slide in action, check out this video:
Fedstats’ Mapstats for Kids is a collection of interactive games created to teach concepts about maps and statistics. It is based on the national standards for geography, math, and statistics. The characters are called Globie (maps) and Stixie (statistics).
It’s been in several news sources, but I think ArsTechnica does the best job of discussing the issue. The short of it is that thousands of people are still without access to broadband in the US. The most interesting thing for me is that, when you get down to it, this is all a geography question. The initial report from 1999 basically listed a county as having access if a single person had access. The new method says that 1% of the population in the county has to have access to count, which is still a fairly loose metric. However, even that one change made the report conclude the US is failing compared to even a decade ago. Not this concerns access, not subscription, which is a critique some on the FCC have made about the report. In addition to the geographic change, the FCC bumped up the standards that are now considered “broadband” (a welcome and long needed change, in my opinion). That also is not without controversy from critics. What I find oddly lacking in the reports I’m reading about the FCCs conclusion is a comparative international component. The fact of the matter is that when the US is compared with most other industrialized countries, access, speed, cost per megabit, and adoption are sorely lacking. Perhaps that should be factored into evaluating the US’s success in broadband deployment (or perhaps it shouldn’t – please discuss in the comments if you’re itching to give an opinion!)
One of the great educational booths at the esri conference was Chugach Children’s Forest in Alaska. I finally got a chance to check out their interactive website. Chugach Children’s Forest is a “symbolic designation for the entire Chugach National Forest: and “a ground-breaking new program that creates exciting opportunities for Alaska’s youth and communities to connect with Alaska’s magnificent public lands”. What I enjoyed the most and thought would make a great resource for teacher’s are the student films created by the Chugach Conservation Corps and other youth groups. National Geographic’s My Wonderful World blog has entries by student posts over three days field experience on their blog. My Wonderful World is a National Geographic campaign to expand geographic learning in school, at home, and in communities.