Map Auctions Collections, and Effects

The Wall Street Journal today has an article on map auctions coming up in December titled, “Here be Dragons – and Map Lovers“.  The maps, globes, and other cartographic items they list sell for several thousand to several million dollars. One collector says that he spends up to 10% of his income on map collecting. According to the Barry Lawrence Ruderman Antique Maps Inc. most map collectors start out by collecting themed maps such as a specific geographic region, historical time period, or even type of cartographic style.  Geographaphicus, an antique map blog, says that one of the most frequent questions they get asked is how to determine if a map is authentic or a fake. This is a problem for collectors and also a staple plot device for literary novels and movies.

Antique maps have always made GIS users whistful and there are many requests on-line for how-tos on making a GIS map have more of the cartographic effect of an antique one, such as this post by James Fee from 2006 on creating historic map effects.  The Yale Map Library has a dated but thorough document on how  to do Classic Cartographic Techniques in ArcMap.  The real question is though, how will online and interactive maps stand up to antiquity? Will collectors be bidding on printed out versions of the maps we make today?

Hurricane Sandy and Metadata

Many online news outlets are posting real-time or interactive maps of the impact of Hurricane Sandy.  It is nice to see that many of them are including meta-data on the source of their information. It is something that is often missing from online news maps, which is strange because of the normally strict rules about citing sources in news articles. The Guardian UK has posted interactive Google Map of every verified event along with a downloadable Google Fusion Table of citations. Mashable U.S. & World has provided an article on How to Follow Hurricane Sandy On-line including webcams, interactive maps, and apps. Many news sources such as the New York Times are using information from the National Weather Service or Google’s Hurricane Crisis Map. Being able to verify the source of information is important, but especially during a disaster event.

 

Geospatial and Marketing Gimmicks

Many popular news sites, such as the Telegraph, have picked up the story of Nestle UK’s  campaign that embeds GPS trackers in candy bars, comparing it to the Golden Ticket from Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory. Using geospatial technologies as part of a marketing campaign has been around as long as the technologies themselves.

In 2006, The Charlotte County Visitor’s Bureau used a geocaching campaign to start a word of mouth marketing campaign by reaching over 3,000 geocachers, according to an article in the Herald Tribune.  A 2011 article in The Drum: Modern Marketing & Media, cites a Google study that found mapping and geospatial technology were one of the fastest growing types of marketing and were a major part of marketing strategy. Many marketing and public relations firms such as Blast Companies are using GPS enabled target marketing to reach customers. Specialized companies such as GoldRun focus on geospatial technologies such as GPS-linked and augmented reality environments. Popular types of geospatial campaigns include social media, QR codes, geocaching, and GPS-tracking.

 Using geospatial technologies in promotional campaigns hasn’t been without its hurdles. According to the Google study, like in many industries it has been difficult to introduce GIS and geospatial technologies for marketing and analysis because it requires a lot of work and a different mind set about how things are done. NetworkWorld raised questions about the security implications of GPS campaigns, while several other trade journals were skeptical about the effectiveness of the campaign. Only time (and sales numbers) will show how effective the Nestle UK campaign will be and determine if there will be an increase in GPS marketing campaigns in the future.

 

 

Watch Dogs – Hacking the virtual city

Every year, the gaming industry teases us with the latest and greatest in new games and technology at shows around the world. One of the biggest shows, E3 (Electronic Entertainment Expo) recently gave us a couple of previews that really wowed. The first, Watch Dogs, is by major game studio Ubisoft, and explores the implications of controlling all aspects of city functions, sensor networks, and even monitoring the inhabitants’ personal technology footprint through a single operating system, a “City OS”, and what would happen if someone had the skills to hack that system. The short preview of the game from E3 showcases stunning graphics and real-time movement, and shows that not only can the gaming world be a great source of inspiration and technology for geospatial applications of 3D and real-time modeling, but the stories played out in games can also explore the questions that arise from implementing this technology. Take a look at the preview here:

U.K. and the summer of GIS

The U.K. is experiencing a summer of GIS with several overlapping large and unique events taking place that use geospatial tools for planning, management, analysis and public outreach. Like many instances of GIS integration for event planning, it might seem as if it happened overnight but in fact took more than five and in some cases ten years of planning and cooperation between many different organizations and agencies.

Olympic Torch and the 2012 Olympics

According to Public Service UK,  The National Policing Improvement Agency (NPIA) Learning Strategy Department has trained all 250,000 police officers and staff in the UK to use geospatial tools for safety operations for the London Olympics and Paralympics. This would be a big enough job, if the London Olympics only took place in London. However, the Olympic Torch Relay travels within an hour of 95% of people in the UK. The training was available through a GIS e-learning module and provides maps and plans of venues and locations for use in operational planning, briefings and deployments.

Transportation is another big area of concern for the upcoming Olympics. The interactive map website, Get Ahead of the Games, is a collaboration between the Mayor of London, National Rail, Department for Transport, Highways Agency, and Transport for London to make planning and travel easier during the Olympics and Paralympics. It includes travel by public transport, National Rail, road and river services.

The Ordnance Survey has documented the creation of the 2012 Olympics siteusing detailed ariel imagery from 2001 through to 2010.  The planning and construction of the London 2012 Games was funded by the National Lottery, the Department for Culture, Media and Sport, the Mayor of London and the London Development Agency. They presented about the “Learning Legacy: Lessons Learned from the London 2012 Games construction project“. A web-based GIS viewer and spatial visualization tool was created to all contractors to access and share information. Over 2 million individual pieces of data were created and are part of the infrastructure planning and continued venue management.

The Queens Diamond Jubilee

The Olympics aren’t the only event that has had an impact on geospatial awareness in the U.K.  this summer. The National Policing Improvement Agency (NPIA) also had to prepare for The Queens Diamond Jubilee, along with routine events such as Wimbledon Tennis, Notting Hill Carnival, and football. According to a presentation entitled “Securing the 2012 Olympics: A Milestone in the UK Policing Improvement Programme”  geospatial planning and integrated situational awareness has been happening behind the scenes for years before being implemented in time for the U.K.’s summer of GIS.

ESRI UK have created interactive map of the over 41,000 Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Beacons being lit on Monday, June 4th, throughout the United Kingdom, Channel Islands and the Isle of Man, along with Commonwealth and UK territories overseas. The beacon chain itself has been used for communication and celebration for hundreds of years making it a very old form of geospatial communication.

Google’s Augmented Reality Glasses are HERE…. ish.


Google has begun field tests on their new augmented reality glasses.  I have to say, they’re pretty snazzy lookin’ all things considered, especially if you dig the Geordi LaForge look.  The link includes a demo video to show what life is like with the glasses and it’s AWESOME for nerdy folks like myself (and maybe not even no so nerdy folks).  The demo features a sort of combination of Siri, LBS, IM, Foursquare, Google+, phone, augmented reality and the aforementioned all around awesomeness 🙂  Google has even started a Google+ group for it so you can keep on top of the information.  What I haven’t seen much of as of yet is these things on people with glasses.  The beautiful models look fantastic wearing them, but they kinda have to, don’t they 🙂

How Many People Can New York City Hold?

New York City Skyline Sunset
I thought this was a particularly interesting article in the New York Times since the VerySpatial crew just returned from New York for AAG 2012.  The Times sat down with some city planners and academics living in and around New York to try to figure out some of the urban dynamics of large cities.  Currently New York holds around 1.6 million residents, with a surge to 3.9 million during the work day.  As crowded as it is, that’s nothing compared to NYC circa 1910, which housed around 2.3 million permanent residents.  So how many residents can New York hold?  Well, the article never really answers the question because it depends on what kind of New York you want.  Is it more residential, or large buildings?  Do we make it bigger by adding land fills to create a Lower-Lower Manhattan, or do we leave the current geography intact?  Ultimately, the article becomes a fascinating insight into urban planning and development, so check it out.

Photo courtesy of MikeLeeOrg on Flickr