Whenever I see articles like the one about a smart IBM guy who uses Twitter to control his house functions, it makes me think of those old Tex Avery cartoons about the home of tommorw or the clip about the future house. I can imagine it being used to prove that no matter where I am during the day, the dog is sleeping either on the couch or my bed. On a more serious note, I can see it helping with elderly relatives who want to have independence but need someone to make sure the stove is turned off. But then when you read a quote like this from the IBM website about the same guy, “How IBM’s Andy Stanford-Clark and his llamas inspired a new type of auto insurance…and other tales of innovation”, you begin to get side tracked…..
The Disney Universe is a pretty elaborate one and one of the ways they keep it running is GIS. Some of the current job openings include is a civil engineering intern with a knowledge of GIS, several GIS and remote sensing related Animal Program internships, and many actual GIS related jobs around the U.S. with Disney. None of the jobs involve creating elaborate scavenger hunts on Disney property or Disney themed GPS equipment as far as I can tell…. but wouldn’t that be cool.
An article in the U.K. Dailymail covers current research about why people walk in circles when they get lost. Although I am sure that it was written with tongue in cheek about the usefulness of this type of study, the actual results are geospatial. According to a researcher quoted in the article, ‘People cannot walk in a straight line if they do not have absolute references, such as a tower or a mountain in the distance or the sun or moon, and often end up walking in circles.’ So true in making maps, so true in real life. The funniest thing about the article is the editorial comments section by people explaining situations in which they were lost.
TreeHugger has linked to a slideshow of what they consider the world’s most interesting subway maps. It provides a good visual history of the development of the subway map and its many incarnations and interpretations. Having lived in DC, I can agree with the statement that their map is easy to use but distances are deceptively farther away than they seem.
I just went to a great ESRI session on social & environmental sustainability where researchers in areas as diverse as homelessness and toxic waste, asked the age old question of cause and effect. The interesting part was that they sought to gain depth of knowledge using GIS. As the last speaker, Dr. bossard from San Jose said about his upcoming book, Envisioning Neighborhoods, deeper understanding of places leads to wisdom. Wisdom can add to quality of life.
Way back in 2005, Sue blogged about Dave Rumsey’s huge historical map collection . I just recently stumbled on his Google map that has started with about 120 maps from his collection. The site is a little bit like a Harry Potter book or a Russian nesting doll with maps within maps within maps. I haven’t had a chance to check out his Second Life maps but I’m off to do that now.
According to a BBC report, geospatial technologies have helped determine that The Great Wall of China is A LOT longer than previously thought. They state that, “Archaeologists had lobbied for the survey to be done to provide scholars with an accurate understanding of the construction. ” The wall is actually 8,850km (5,500 miles) not the 5,000 km commonly thought.
A friend told me about this musician, Frankmusik, who has challenged himself to travel to his final gig using nothing but myspace and his cell phone. It is a pretty neat viral idea that uses all types of social media including Google Earth and blogs. Even if it’s a PR stunt its hard not to get caught up in the shared experience of it. I think because the time frame is short and it is easy to follow. On a whim I typed in Rick Astley too and can only say, you have to see it to believe it. Maybe one of the most bubble gum uses of social media, but cute.
If ever there was a news story that is geography related this is it. A whole village in North Wessex Downs called Linkenholt is for sale for 22.5 million pounds by the Herbert and Peter Blagrave Charitable Trust. According to the Times online property section, the new owner will get a 2,000-acre estate, two blacksmiths, a shop, a cricket club, a three-story manor house,a commercial shoot, farming land, an educational activity center for children and 22 houses. However, the residents of the village don’t want the new owners to change how anything is currently done. I’m not sure what you get for your money, but a breath taking and historic piece of geography.
According to CNN, floating cities are three years away. They quote a former Google engineer as stating, “Patri Friedman, a former Google engineer who now works for the Seasteading Institute, said floating cities are the perfect places to experiment with new forms of government.” The modules would be like a cross between an oil platform and a cruise ship, which is quite a wide spread. Part of me thinks it’s really cool but another part asks if it is the set up for a floating “Bioshock” game.