A List Apart has an interesting article on how to use CSS to make online maps more accessible to visually impaired people. What I find most interesting is that A List Apart, being a web centric development site, applies web ideas to maps. It seems to me that much of what they are attempting to do could be done less complicatedly if a little more GIS functionality entered into some of these APIs. This type of article is what happens when so many different people from some many different backgrounds attempt to define data spatially. It isn’t necessarily a bad thing, since more ideas and more eyes can only make geospatial technologies that much more robust.
The folks over at TechCrunch have put together a pretty good comparison of the various mapping services out there today. It’s a pretty quick rundown, but I think the chart sums up the features nicely. It should be interesting to see what (if anything) changes when a more GIS-centric organization like ESRI enters into the fray full steam.
Sorry for the excessive alliteration there, but it sums up this article quite nicely, I think. It appears that the infrastructure that surrounds car ownership does more than generate excessive amounts of smog. Carports, garages, overpasses and the like could pose a significant risk to California residents should a massive earthquake like San Francisco’s 1906 quake strike. I think we’ve all seen the historic footage of the Golden Gate Bridge shaking like a polaroid picture. Imagine that happening anywhere around the state and you can see the concern!
Warning: Image slightly risque! Maxim Magazine has created a 75-by-110-foot billboard to celebrate its 100th issue. It features a cover image of Eva Longoria rather scantily dressed. What is interesting about this is the efforts the magazine took to produce the advertising. Is this the rather racy start to a general trend in Web 2.0 work?
This is rather off the beat and path from our normal news, but I thought it was interesting given the National Geographic Society’s involvement. Apparently a National Geographic Society expedition has discovered a leather wrapped papyrus manuscript written in Greek in Egypt. This manuscript featuring what is believed to be the gospel according to Judas is considered to be the “most significant ancient, nonbiblical text to be found in the past 60 years.”
Via the New York Times
This is kind of off the beat from normal geography stuff, but this guy in France who is 28 and is autistic has created a detailed city named Urville from his imagination. He has a detailed geography, culture, politics, history, and economics for the city, as well as a few hundred drawings of the city! That’s pretty impressive, if you ask me!
No, not the celestial type… movie stars! You can track movie stars in near real-time via a Google Map. While on the surface this might appear to be a normal Frank Fluff piece, in reality this is a rather grave development. It brings to the forefront the idea that people’s movements can be tracked an analyzed in real time for the whole world to see. That’s a little bit of a chilling notion, I believe. Although star gossip is a multimillion dollar business, I think it’s rather intrusive to have their every movement documented for general consumption. If Dame Judi Dench wants to pop by her local comic book store and pick-up the latest supplement for Dungeons & Dragons, what business is it of anyone else…
Way cool for space nuts out there like me…. Google Mars!Ã‚Â It’s just like Google Local, except with data from Mars.Ã‚Â There’s a nice elevation dataset and some interesting visible data as well.Ã‚Â Of course you can’t search for pizza joints in the area, but hey, it’s a step in the right direction!
Geographic names databases are pretty important for search spatial data textually. Normally geographic names are published on a country by country basis. Cartography is reporting about this new service Geonames.org that collects the published geographic names of countries around the world and displays them on a googlemap. The data looks to be fairly up to date for the US at the least.
Ogle Earth has an interesting little piece on a project called OBIS-SEAMAP. This project tracks marine mammal, seabird and sea turtle data around the world. The really intersting thing about the site is that they make the exact same data they use available to the general public for download. The more expert GIS users can download an ESRI Shapefile while the general public can download a KML file for use in Google Earth. As Ogle Earth points out, this is a great model for getting the public in general and younger students specifically interested in science and scientific ideas.
I know I would have thought it was the coolest thing in the world when I was in school to be able to track and analyize data in the exact same way as leading scientists in the field. Who am I kidding? I
still think it’s the coolest thing in the world!