Google adds Biking Directions

Apparently lots of people have been asking Google for biking directions and now they get their wish!  The directions get added right along with the driving and walking directions we’ve all come to know and love.  They’ve even added the ability to avoid hills (good luck with that in West Virginia)!   Like the walking and driving directions, the biking directions report total miles and estimated time.  I’m not a biker, although I’ve considered trying to bike part-way to work this summer.  It’s nice to know how many miles it will take and how long I should budget in the morning to do so.  It also seems to do a pretty good job of planning the route to avoid major roads with no real bike support.  I did my house to work and a large section of it is basically a county highway with little to no shoulder.  It routed me through a residential area for part of it so I avoid the traffic.

Rock And Roll Metro Map

This is a pretty cool example of a map that shows aspatial information – the Rock and Roll Metro Map.  It looks like a metro map, showing the connections between various rock artists.  You’ve gotta love the combination of two of my favorite things – maps and music.

You can quibble with a few of their linkages, but it’s a pretty cool idea for a map!

via and flickr

Moved 10 Feet to the Left

Wired news is reporting that modern GPS sensors have be able to determine the Chilean city of Concepcion has been moved 10 feet to the west from the recent earthquake.  Apparently this area is prime area for seismic activity due to its location over a subduction zone.  The hope by researchers is to quickly get more GPS stations on the ground in that area so more precise movements can be detected.

Human Movement Can Be Predicted by Cell Phones

This shouldn’t come as any huge shock to anyone familiar with LBS, but researchers have shown that 93% of human movement can be predicted by cell phone.  In an article published in Science, the researchers suggest that most human movement is fairly limited in area.  They actually say most customers stay in a 6 mile radius most of the time.  They go on to suggest this sort of aggregate data would be great for city planners (or cell phone companies, presumably)  The findings were broken down by hour and unsurprisingly, tended to be highly volatile during ‘transition’ times.

Best US Government Blogs

Ran across this interesting post: the best government blogs and why they’re the best.  With the exception of NASA, none of these have a direct geospatial tie.  In fact, all but one of them are CIO’s of their respective organizations.  It sorta makes sense it would start there, but I’d like to challenge anybody in local, state, or federal government who has any stake in geospatial information to start blogging.  The points on what makes each of these blogs work are excellent starting points to use in your own blog.  I’d love to see more geospatial government blogs out there!

Twenty-two maps that will change how you see the world

On my twitter feed this morning, @geoparadigm tweeted this great link on tree hugger about Twenty-Two Maps That Will Change How You See The World.  The maps are pretty impressive, although I’m not sure it will change how many of us in the geospatial community sees the world.  Being tree hugger and all, most of them are environmental in nature.  However the thing that most interested me was that the vast majority of the entries are actually interactive maps, not static maps.  If you ask me, the fact that these world view changing maps are primarily interactive shows a whole new world in and of itself.  Perhaps the greatest change is the need to move from the static to the dynamic in our maps themselves.

Can US Senators Draw Their Own State?

National Geographic has a really cool geography awareness week challenge for US Senators – can you draw your home state and give three points of interest within it?  Thus far, only a few Senators have replied with their drawings.  It should be no surprise that Al Franken is one of them, since he can draw all 50 states pretty dang well.  The other Senators’ drawings are at the link.  If you click on the highlighted states on the map, you’ll see the submissions by each participant.  To me, the most interesting pieces are the “points of personal interest”.  Everyone seems to go for “I live here”.  Personally, I want to know what’s taking the other Wyoming Senator so long.  Senator Enzi seemed to have no trouble with the boundary at all! 🙂

Ice Age Took 6 Months to Form?

Who would have thought a Dennis Quaid movie could be right? (well, except for Enemy Mine, which I maintain is simply to awesome to not come true some day)  Geology researchers are now saying that the last ice age could have happened in an extremely short period of time, not the previously thought decade or so.  This is based upon some research done in Ireland on lake bed.  I’m not going to pretend I know the first thing about this stuff, but it is interesting to think that our climate is much more fragile than we thought.  Plus, anything that allows me to reference Enemy Mine I’m gonna post toot-sweet.

Broadband Stimulus Money Going, Going, Almost Gone!

Ars Technica is reporting that the Obama administration has decided to ramp up the broadband stimulus money outlays into one more round instead of the planned two.  The monies appear to be a different pool than what is funding the broadband mapping work, but the article is a tad unclear on that point.  All in all around seven billion dollars are being invested, largely to tackle the “last mile” issue in US broadband.  Interestingly enough, I think, most of the project seem to be focused upon projects that will help stimulate private companies toward developing that last mile, not so much making the last mile itself.  I guess time will tell if this is a good strategy or not.