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!
The Gaurdian has started a campaign to get the UK to publically release spatial data collected with taxpayer money. For those of you unaware, in the UK you pay for publically funded data, which just hampers mapping efforts inside the UK. They’re calling on the British government to follow the US example. I’m sure this is a bit of a hot-button topic amoung GIS professionals in the UK. Here’s hoping our GIS breathern on the otherside of the big pond get a little spatial freedom in the near future!
The National Agricultural Statistics Service updated their site to include a whole host of new ways to get their data, including a fancy new mapping service. The latest data I could find on their map was 2002, but you can really get at what you want pretty easily, either map or table form. One note is that their maps are in SVG format, which is an extenstion put out by Adobe. It allows for some pretty cool dynamic quering of data but it does require a plugin. If you’re into US agricultural statistics, the site is definately worth a look. Here’s the direct link to the site.
An interesting blog post at ZDNet talks about an issue we’ve discussed both in the blog and in the podcast. As the blog suggests, data has the upper hand in this Mashup marriage between tools and data. Without data, these wonderful Mashups wouldn’t be able to function. It’s a pretty interesting and short read. I do wish they’d make the counter point that while applications are reliant or data, data is also reliant on rich applications to make the data worthwhile. Data on a shelf is better known as expensive paperweights.
The USGS has recently announced the Center for LIDAR Information Coordination and Knowledge. According to CLICK’s fact sheet:
“The Center for LIDAR Information Coordination and Knowledge (CLICK) was designed to assist users in accessing LIDAR data and provide information to help facilitate LIDAR innovation in the scientific community….The CLICK web portal (http://lidar.cr.usgs.gov) is a way for all LIDAR usersÃ¢â‚¬â€inside and outside the USGSÃ¢â‚¬â€to visit, ask and answer questions, and coordinate with others who are looking for or have data in their study area.”