A VerySpatial Podcast
Shownotes – Episode 293 February 27, 2011
Main Topic: The space shuttle program and its contributions to geospatial
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It’s the beginning of the end of an era for NASA’s shuttle program, as Discovery is set for its final launch at 4:50pm EST today, with Endeavor’s final mission currently scheduled for April, and Atlantis’ possibly the summer. I have always been a huge fan of the shuttle program, and can remember when I got special permission to get out of class and go to the school library to watch the very first shuttle, Columbia, launch on its maiden voyage.
The shuttle program accomplished so many milestones, and there have been reports that the shuttle fleet may be sold for private use after their missions for NASA and the US government are complete. Other private initiatives for space flight are pretty exciting as well, so hopefully we will see more amazing innovations in the next few years.
To commemorate Discovery’s last mission and the shuttle program, CNN put together this great compilation of 132 seconds of shuttle launches – enjoy!
You have to love Facebook because many times friends will post news articles that you might have missed. Everyone is talking about the new 2012 U.S. Government Budget that just came out. The New York Times has created a visual of the budget with different size blocks representing spending with a rollover to show the percentage of change from 2010. It is nifty to play with and gets across the big (or not) spending picture. The Washington Post uses a similar visual forrmat to show spending priorities from Reagan to Obama. Both visuals are interesting on their own but it is the surrounding budget articles that provide a good context for understanding their “rectangles”.
Treehugger has a an article that demonstrates the nexus of spatial technology, visualization, art, and travel. It was an interactive art piece crated by artist Alexander Chen turning the New York City’s MTA subway schedule virtual string instrument. In a more literal interpretation of virtual music, Wesleyan University hosts the World’s Virtual Music Museum which is a map of the origin of instruments in their collection, which is one of the largest in the world.
Almost daily, I see a new cool and amazing hack that someone has accomplished with Microsoft’s Kinect that tops the last one. I’m hoping to try my hand at some much more modest attempts this summer related to my immersive simulation project, but I couldn’t come close to what Martin Szarski has done: 3D street mapping with a Kinect, his Google Nexus One phone for GPS, and his trusty car. If you haven’t seen this yet, the results are pretty awesome. The Kinect captures images for real-world objects as he drives along the street, and his phone GPS allows him to tie the image data to real-world coordinates. Up till now, you had to have some pretty expensive equipment to pull this off, and he demonstrates that you can do it with fairly inexpensive hardware and some great coding ability, of course. Martin already has some plans on how to improve on his first setup which began as an indoor experiment, and you can read his explanation of how he did it over on his blog.