I want one! It’s a multi-touch spherical display that you can make for around $1,000. Oddly enough for such a high tech device, it’s got a bit of a steampunk vibe to it. The first example they use is the obvious Google Earth example, but they do show using it in other contexts. I’m not convinced the photo viewer or music making device really needs a globe surface. If you’re interested in making your own, the directions for building one can be found here. WARNING: The directions aren’t exactly the simplest to follow and I’d imagine there’s a lot of winging it involved.
A recent post on the GIS and Science blog noted that submissions are being accepted for the 26th volume of the ESRI Map Book. If you have a map made with ESRI products then you can submit your map for consideration by the end of Geography Awareness Week, Friday, November 19 at 5:00PM PST.
If you have attended the ESRI International User Conference then you probably have a copy of one of the Map Books gracing your shelf, and it is (in my opinion) the best part of the SWAG bag that you get with your registration. If you have not had a chance to check out one of the hard copies, however, you can access volumes 1 and 20-25 online. The online version provides descriptions of maps along with full views of the maps along with PDF versions of the pages from the map book. I have been using the Map Books as examples in my Intro to Cartography class to show the wide range of design approaches.
It’s a project we’ve been excited for ever since we first heard about it, and was great to be able to interview some of the Geospatial Revolution Project team, so it’s great to be able to post that Episode 1 is now live on the Geospatial Revolution Project website!
The full episode is jut over 13 minutes, but it’s also broken up into smaller videos via YouTube for those who can’t stream the whole thing. The team have also made the episode video shareable, so spread the word and to get you started, here’s Chapter 1 of Episode 1:
I admit it, I love steampunk mods. If I had lots of spare time, and a little cash, I’d love to try my hand at creating a few cool gadgets myself. But in the meantime, I will have to be content to admire the handiwork of others, like the project John Knight is showing off at Maker Faire Detroit. Dubbed the “Electromagnetic Geospatial Globe and Remote View with Obligatory Goggles”, it’s Google Earth meets steampunk, with Google Earth running on a tablet, and controlled by the cool brass globe outfitted with RFID tags. Better than me trying to describe it, check out this video:
The FTC is mandating that in 2011, light bulbs get new labels that emphasis luminosity more so that watts. If you take a look at the labels shown at the link, it features quit a bit of new information to help buyers determine the best bulb for their needs. The emphasis on lumens over watts is a good change, as it’s the actual measure of light instead of energy usage. I personally like the “average yearly cost in electricity” of the bulbs. From the example, I’m not sure $7.23 for a incandescent bulb will hurt many people’s wallet, but think how many light bulbs you have in your house. The total can become a healthy chunk of change each month!
Assuming you don’t live in a metal box that’s trapped under a heavy rock buried far, far into the Earth’s surface, you should be aware Apple is launching a new phone in the next day or so. Part of that is the role out of a new iPhone OS – OS 4. It’s available for most of the current iPhone/iPad/iPod Touch devices already and can be downloaded as of… well, now. However, what you might not be aware is if you install the OS, you’re agreeing to allow Apple to collect anonymous location information about you. The information is supposed to be used to help make their location services better, as well as to sell to location providers to do the same. The information is collected in near real-time and there’s literally no way to opt out (other than the obvious opt out of not using one). Think you’re safe with Android? Think again. Google has been collection location information (sometimes not so anonymously because it includes your phone number) for a long time.
To me, this represents one of the great potential downsides to the mobile phone market. There’s a lot of value in information about you and companies will most likely be fairly aggressive to collect the information. There isn’t really a functional way to opt out of these systems without grossly crippling your phone. We hope that phone carriers and phone manufacturers use this information responsibly and protect the rights of their customers. Unfortunately there’s a long history of corporations NOT being so responsible with customer information, despite intentions to the contrary. For me, the take away from this change in the iPhone’s terms of service is that we, as consumers, need to more aware of the value of our information, and take as many steps as possible to protect that information. That being said, if I had AT&T, I would be second in line (behind Jesse, most likely) to grab the new iPhone. So it’s hard to practice what I preach at the end of the day.
BBC News has a great graphic showing the fastest supercomputers around the world, sorting them by Country (where they are located), speed, OS (Linux in a landslide), application, processor manufacturer, and system manufacturer (IBM has more but Cray has faster). It is pretty interesting to see all of this information, though I would like to see a comparison between these supercomputer numbers and the total computing power behind a Google, Amazon, or Microsoft cloud system. In the geospatial arena, while it is nice to have the supercomputing muscle behind global, 3D, or large network models, most of our daily activities take place on a smaller scale that can run locally or across copper and still perform admirably. But that doesn’t mean we wouldn’t like to have a supercomputer in the closet for those special occasions.
I say that we should have more clothing that incorporates navigation aids.
While I continue my research in the area of immersive virtual worlds and serious gaming, I have also been doing a lot of work recently in the area of digital cities, and trying to implement the idea of a “smart” 3D city or town landscape that can be used as a visualization and collaboration tool for municipal management and planning. Once again, an IBM project has grabbed my attention by combining serious gaming and digital cities into one cool project: CityOne. Today I saw a press release announcing the CityOne project, a SimCity-like game using real world data that will be designed to bring together players of the game to help work through and solve real problems facing cities around the world. IBM will be introducing CityOne at Agility@Work Zone at Impact2010 in Las Vegas this week (this is the IBM software conference for business and IT, not to be confused with another conference called IMPACT 2010, which some blogs and sites have linked to by mistake)
Check out the CityOne preview: