Yesterday featured a profile of GeographyZone, a website started by Roger Andreson that features puzzles, games and other educational resources to promote geography awareness. Although the site is not new, it’s nice to see geography education in the spotlight on a prominent news site.

Online mapping from the data gatherers’ perspective

I just finished an article on by Elinor Mills that poses the all-important question – why are the route directions and locations often inaccurate. She posed this question to a TeleAtlas (a major data provider) executive, Michael Mitsock, and received this response – “It could be that the map is out of synch with reality.” I think I will have to try that the next time someone notes an error on one of my maps.

But seriously, it’s an interesting perspective from the viewpoint of one of the leading players in the market of providing geographic data for online mapping applications.

Check out the article here

Online Book Initiatives

As many of you probably already know, a number of projects have been underway to digitize books and make them available online. Google’s effort has probably generated the most recent publicity, due to copyright issues. Google has now released the beta version of Google Print, with only works in the public domain available in their entirety. However, many new works are listed in the search results, with cover images, table of contents, and even short excerpts available. The scans are so-so in quality, but no worse than your home scanner or a standard photocopier.

Microsoft is countering with a deal with the British Library to digitize about 25 million pages of content, with an initial scanning of 10,000 books. will be launching their “Amazon Pages” program next year, which will let people buy individual pages as well as entire books.

It will be interesting to see how book publishers react. According to an article at, Random House is already looking to negotiate deals to offer its book content for paid online viewing.

MIT project maps wireless use on campus in real-time

Researchers at MIT are utilizing the university’s newly upgraded wireless network to track wireless use on campus. They have developed electronic maps that track use across the campus, not only where people are logging in, but also what types of devices they are using. Using 3D mapping functionality, they can also distinguish connectivity in multistoried buildings.

Some of the maps generated by the research are being displayed in the school’s Museum. While their primary stated goal is understand use patterns to improve services, some of the other implications of the system are a little scary.

MIT iSPOTS website


NVIDIA Immersive Dome Experience

Check out these pictures of NVIDIA’s Immersive Dome Experience at SIGGRAPH2005. Now that’s 3D visualization!

Scott Hessels and Gabriel Dunne did some cool visualization experiments using FAA flight pattern data for a project called Celestial Mechanics and one of the final visualizations was on display in the Immersive Dome Experience. You can check out some of their images here:

Flight Patterns



After our podcast episode on cartography, John Krygier emailed us, and mentioned that CartoTalk might be a good resource for people interested in cartography and map design. It is a forum with over 250 members and topics include news, general discussions, a map gallery, and advice and tutorials.

Registrations is free, so if you’re interested in cartography, check it out.

Trends blog does a roundup of 3D

I stumbled across the Trends blog (by R. Banks) while I doing some searches on 3D visualization, and found a nice roundup titled “3D. What is it Good for?”, which includes a number of technologies that we have also blogged. I explored some other categories, and found that while Trends seems to be a general tech blog, there are a number of other entries that are relevant to geospatial technologies, so I will try to keep up with this one.