New York City Transportation Apps

The New York City Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA)  has been in the news this week for it’s new Subway Time app, but that isn’t the only transportation app that they or several other creative individuals have created to use in the city. There are over 65 officially sanctioned MTA apps including the Exit Strategy NYC which allows users to determine the most ideal place to stand on a subway car or platform to real time bus schedules, historic bus tours, and 3d Maps to explore New York City.  One of the most interesting facts about these apps is the backstory of how and why they were created. Most of them begin with someone who has an idea, problem, or need and spends time making a geospatial solution that meets their needs and in doing so meets the needs of a section of the larger population.

The MTA serves North America’s largest transportation network providing over 14.9 million people with 5,000 square miles of inspiration. This inspiration is supported by the fact that the MTA has an in house geospatial technology department and provides a Developer’s Resources page to encourage application development. In the past, the MTA created a Challenge Quest – MTA App Quest to challenge software developers to use MTA developers to create new apps.  The use of the word software developers, highlights its use as an umbrella term to capture anything related to app development, such as geospatial developers, graphic designers, and others.  A review of the plethora of different types of contributers to the over 65 MTA apps indicates that it might be time to begin thinking of a more accurate term to describe app developers.

So long and thanks for all the pics…

With the USGS announcement today that Landsat 5 will be decommissioned in the coming months we would like to pull together a couple of panels for podcasts in January and March. The first will focus on Landsat 5 and its contribution to science and our knowledge of the planet. If you would like to join us one Saturday afternoon in January to discuss Landsat 5 send me an email. If you can’t join us but have something to say, feel free to record your comment and email it in or leave a voicemail and we will try to include your comments in the podcast.

Mapping defibrillators

The Wall Street Journal featured a health article on the need to map automated external defibrillators for heart attack response, “The Device that Saves Lives, But Can Be Hard To Find”.    Like many health saving devices, such as fire hydrants, many locations aren’t compiled in one easy to access location. The University of Pennsylvania and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation used crowd sourcing and public participation to map AED locations. The  project was called The My Heart Map Challenge , which utilized cash rewards to develop a smartphone app. They are currently creating a toolkit that other municipalities and cities can use to hold their own challenges.

Moon’s Gravity Mapped To The Micron

Gizmodo has a really cool article about NASA’s attempts to map the moon’s odd gravity down to the micron. Two orbiters around the moon are part of the GRAIL program have been tasked with measuring the moon’s micro gravity in an attempt to understand the moon’s interior structure. The two orbiters have been collecting data since New Year’s day, 2012, so they’re about to hit their one year mark (and thus potentially get to sign up for medical insurance 🙂 …. is this thing on?) One of the neater aspects of this program is that the orbiters are fitted with remote cameras. Middle school kids actually get to control the cameras remotely for science projects at school. It’s all part of NASA’s MoonKAM (Moon Knowledge Acquired by Middle school students). Man, I wish there had been stuff like this when I was in middle school….

Intern sought for Spring 2013

We are looking for one or two interns to support blog and podcast activities on for the Spring 2013 semester. Any undergraduate or graduate student in Geography or a related field can apply. Activities for the internship will include:

  • research content for podcast and blog,
  • write weekly short blog posts on current news items, and
  • write monthly article length posts.
  • To apply, please send a short writing sample and a resume to *podcast at*. We will begin review of applications as they arrive, including setting up potential Skype or Google+ interviews, and make a decision by January 12th, 2013.