The Journey is the Reward

At least the good people at Wanderlust would say. That site shows you the travels of famous journeys throughout the world. It’s kinda fun to trace the routes of, say, Amelia Earhart or Marco Polo and see where they overlapped. The site traces the routes at the world level, then allows you to zoom in for deeper views of specific places around the world. Its a nice flashy interface and a good way to explore geography and history and the journeys those created.

And it was really, really, really, really hard for me to NOT put a Journey song quote as the title instead of the Chinees proverb I chose.

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.

Associations/Groups – URISA

Urban and Regional Information Systems Association is a multidisciplinary group that has been around since 1963. In their own words:

URISA promotes the effective and ethical use of spatial information and information technologies for the understanding and management of urban and regional systems.

The association supports this mission in many ways and is very active with several publications per year including their journal, newsletter and conference proceedings. URISA organizes several conferences each year such as their annual conference, the Caribbean GIS conference, GIS in Public Health and their new Leadership Academy series. While the organization itself is international in reach, it focuses on North America and has regional chapters throughout the US, Caribbean, and Canada. Perhaps the association is best known outside of its membership for its survey of the GIS profession which it conducts once every three years which has acted as a guideline for professional expectations and a metric for companies to consider when hiring. Membership isn’t too expensive and is especially reasonable for students and comes with subscriptions to URISA’s journal and newsletter.

Gas Prices Got You Down?

If you drove anywhere of note in the US this weekend, you couldn’t help but note the uptick in gas prices yet again. If you were wondering where might be the best place to travel in the future, gasbuddy.com has a nice heat map of gas prices in the US broken down by county (there’s also a link for a Canadian version as well).

Of course if you’re just plain fed up with the whole gas price issue, you could look into immigrating to this Danish island. The island has converted itself to 100% renewable energy sources through a combination of on and off shore wind (my personal favorites!), solar, and biofuels. I’m sure you could get an electric car over there if you wanted to chuck fossil fuels completely!

Interactive Map of the Midwest Flooding

If you’re not from the great mass of the middle in the US, some of these places mentioned in the news might be a bit obscure or hard to find. That’s why interactive maps like this one are so useful. If you’re curious about where the flooding is has been hitting the last few weeks, that map will help you track them. Most of the points feature an indication of historical river levels, projected levels, and current levels. A few of the points link to news items about that area. What would have been nice to see is an overlay that has the current weather forecast as well. While the map isn’t necessarily the most interactively useful, it does present a fairly accessible presentation of the data, which is always important.

EDIT: I’ve added the link. ‘Cause sometimes “multitasking” means “something doesn’t get done”.

Rock Port, Missouri – 100% Wind Powered!

If you’ve been following the blog for awhile now, you’ll know that I’m all over alternative energy sources. I’d love to have a wind turbine for my house. Well the good people of Rock Port, Missouri have taken up the wind power challenge and gone 100% wind energy! The press release says they use 13 million kilowatts a hear and their fancy new wind turbines put out 16 million. Here’s hoping I can get my own turbine sometime so I don’t have to feel guilty about having four computers running in my house!

GPS talk on MacBreak Weekly

MacBreakSince this is becoming so common I will probably not highlight individual podcasts talking about GPS/LBS after this but MacBreak Weekly Episode 87 had a great discussion on the utility, usability and future on in-car navigation. The discussion wandered around a users perspective of GPS, LBS, and geotagging. Yes I am a fanboy, but that you should definitely take a listen.

Mobile Gaming meets environmental awareness

What better way to learn about conservation efforts to save Africa’s few remaining mountain gorillas than playing a mobile game! Silverbackers, a free game that can be downloaded and played on any Java-capable phone with a mobile web access / data plan, lets you help save mountain gorillas as you play through its 8 levels. Silverbackers is for ages 8 and up, and I think it’s great idea to combine gaming with learning about how we can be more responsible in helping conserve our planet’s wildlife and resources.

Via Popgadget