If you read the blog regularly, you’ll know my facination with the “Spidey Tracer”. (in truth, I’m facinated with all super gadgets… Batman is my hero!) Now the LAPD will jump on the spidey tracer fun bandwagon with Virginia-based company StarChase’s new laser homing dart GPS. The dart can be launched by chase vehicles onto a suspects car. Rather than chase through LA’s busy streets and breakneck speeds, the police can catch the alleged criminal in a safer manner. Apparently this is a huge issue because the article linked above states that police chase, on average, kill on Californian every week! Hopefully this new device will help lower that scary statistic.
Quickmaps is a beta site that allows you to draw on your googlemaps. You can drag and drop a bunch of different markers, add a text label, or even draw straight or curved lines. You can add a title and some textual information for your map. Then, you can add it to your website. Apparently the site is having some issues since it got Dug, but here’s a link to the developer’s blog. The blog has a nice tutorial of how to use the site, as well as a link to the newer application. There’s also some pretty nice examples of what you can do with the tools.
This site, although still in beta, shows boat traffic in the San Francisco bay in real time. You can see different boats and ships move around the bay over the course of a half an hour. There’s a handy speed adjustment to make them move faster or slower. If you move your pointer over one of the arrows, you can get information about the boats movement speed, size, and destination. If you click on the table below the map, you can watch individual ships move about.
I’m of three or four minds about this site. On the one hand, I think it’s a pretty cool implementation of real-time data. On the other hand, it’s kinda scary what you can find out in real-time. And on the third hand its just cool to watch!
It’s a flash map, but it’s still pretty cool. Ever wonder where all the alternative energy is being produced in the world? Well now you can find out! This site has three views of the globle (which I find very attractive, by the by) and nifty 3D icons showing sources of geothermal, solar, wind, and wave sources of energy. The red dots give you nice little information about the areas in question.
A Phd student at the University of Calgary’s Interactions Laboratory has come up with some pretty cool new interactive tools for Google Earth and Warcraft III (not at the same time). He’s using a tabletop environment to control how you interact with Google Earth. You can do much more hands on type interaction with the table setup. I think it’s a more natural environment, or much more paper map-like, than some of the mouse/keyboard setups we currently use. It’s worth checking out the videos (bottom right of his site or mirrored here). They give a good idea of the types of things you can do with this new type of system. I particularly like the Warcraft III “Command and Control” system demo.
And really, it’s all about kickin’ butt in video games anyways, right?
For people in the interior of countries, the difference between a category 2 hurricane and a category 3 hurricane might not be all that aparent. That’s why the good people at the Associated Press have hosted this handy, dandy Hurricane Simulator! The simulator features a 3D model of some trees, a house, and a mobile home. You can see the simulator run the gambit from category 1 thru category 5 and how it affects those structures on the coast. Its interesting to note that Katrina was only a category 3 hurricane when it hit New Orleans, meaning it could have been much much worse. Those with longer memories on the East coast of the US will recall Andrew’s devistation, which was a category 5 hurricane!
With Hurricane season begun here in the US and the after effects of Katrina still being felt, Live Science is reporting a pretty cool new technology. A new radar satellite shows pretty good images of what happens inside storms systems. Right now they’re only in the test stage and can’t be used really this year, but hopefully in the near future the data will crop up in storm models.
If you’re like me, when you go to plan your summer vacation, weird questions like, “Is there a major earthquake fault or active volcano in the area?” will eventually come up. Now you don’t have to worry about those pesky active volcanoes in your holiday planning! The site features a google mashup with the Smithsonian and USGS Weekly Volcano Activity Report, so you know you’re always up-to-date with the volcanic activity in the area. Clicking on the volcano point brings up a handy, dandy popup featuring current activity, background, some general information, and the more complete entry into the greater database. The general tab will let you zoom directly to the volcano for a better look.
Here’s a cool project - make a google map that allows people to tag anything on the face of the planet and write stuff about it. All you do is zoom into a sufficent scale and click “Add Tag” in the upper right hand box. This allows you to draw a box around a location, then add textual information about it. When you’re zoomed out, all the boxes are (obviously) smaller and clickable so you can zoom right to it. Like any other Wiki, pretty much anybody can add information to the points. There aren’t a lot of them out there right now, but I can imagine this sort of thing catching on. We’ll have to see about putting Very Spatial on the map
I blogged this way back in January when it first came out. It’s a World of Warcaft Online Map using the Google Maps API. They’ve added a bunch of functionality to the map, with layers you can turn on and off. It includes both “photography” as well as point layers (like where treasure is located) and polyline layers(indicating common travel paths). It’s pretty fascinating the amount of detail they’ve put into this virtual resource. I stumbled across it again via their blog.
An interesting side note is the ranking of which college campuses play more World of Warcraft than others. While it’s a trivial example, I think it’s kinda neat the continued desire to link the physical with the virtual in some for of spatially accessible manner. Plus, I like seeing that our University beats Princeton as something for once (but only by one place!)