Microsoft Surface Sphere

Remember back in april we reported about Sensisphere’s new touchable display that’s in the form of a hemisphere? Well apparently the good people at Microsoft do (they got the idea from reading our blog, I’m sure of it ;)! Gizmodo is reporting that Microsoft is going to unveil a new spherical multi-touch Surface product next week at the Microsoft Research Faculty Summit 2008. It should be immediately recognizable to pretty much anyone reading this blog how ultra cool one of these will be. Imagine one of these in every classroom!

Hopefully they’ll bring some of this stuff to the ESRI UC this year so we can check it out. You can bet I’ll be asking around the Microsoft booth this year to see what they can tell us about this product.

Stitch your way around the World

While I was waiting for my XNA project to rebuild, I was surfing around the Web and found a great little gift idea over at Uncommon Goods. For those of you who still have a soft spot in your hearts for the analog world we’ve left behind, this nifty map postcard comes complete with a needle and red thread so that you can sew your way from destination to destination. Each card is $5, and you currently have a choice of the USA, Europe, or the World.

DiRT is good

As a one time field archaeologist I can say whole heartedly that dirt (known to some as soil) is good. But this post is about the Digital Research Tools (DiRT) wiki that has been garnering some attention over in the Digital Humanities circuit, but it is a great site for anyone who is doing research whether digital or not. The description of the wiki is:

This wiki collects information about tools and resources that can help scholars (particularly in the humanities and social sciences) conduct research more efficiently or creatively. Whether you need software to help you manage citations, author a multimedia work, or analyze texts, Digital Research Tools will help you find what you’re looking for.

In some cases there are reviews of the sites and software listed, other times it is still just a link, but since the wiki is still new expect to see more content coming on-line in the future. It is a great resource, one that definitely outstrips our own (out of date) attempt at collate desktop GIS applications as it covers a wealth of areas from text analysis, to dynamic maps, to data visualization. Head over to check it out.

Stonehenge gets the Photosynth treatment

You know I just love Photosynth (although I wish Microsoft would finally make it available in some form other than a technology preview), so I had to check out the video National Geographic has posted of Stonehenge as seen through Photosynth technology and photos by Rebecca Hale. Even in the short video, the virtual tour of Stonehenge is pretty cool and I’d really like to see the Stonehenge collection added to the Photosynth page so you can explore the collection on your own.

Earth Balloon – Geography ed that’s not just full of hot air

nullFor all you K-12 teachers out there, and anyone who’s interested in a cool Geography educational tool, check out Earth Balloon. It’s a 20-foot high, hand-painted inflatable globe that can be used in conjunction with Geography lessons on a wide range of topics. Whereabouts, Inc., a company that specializes in Geography educational tools and programs, has created a traveling Earth Balloon program and will come to schools with their Earth Balloon and allow students to actually go inside the inflated balloon as part of the program. They’re based in the Chicago area, so I’m not sure how far they’re willing to travel.

You can even buy your own Earth Balloon and, really, what Geography class wouldn’t be way cooler with a giant inflatable globe that you can walk inside!

Via STLToday

Largest Self-Portrait in the World!

Created with DHL shipping company and the help of GPS! It spans nearly every continent and shows a pretty elaborate path. While this might seem flippant, I think it shows an important intersection of technology and art. Anyone familiar with ancient maps can see the obvious art there, but I can’t say I’ve ever thought of art and GPS in the same sentence before!

Via Gizmodo

Our first Smart Car sighting

SmartCarAs we were making the long, long trek from the Extended Parking area at Pittsburgh International Airport on Saturday, we got a chance to see a real Smart Car just sitting there all cute and cuddly in the parking lot. We couldn’t resist grabbing a quick camera phone shot before heading into the terminal.