Tele Atlas and Intermap join forces for the greater driving good!

I don’t know about you, but when I’m sent away on assignment to some exotic and interesting city to which I’ve never been before, the thing that really gets my goat is when my in car navigation system from my deluxe car rental has terrible data and gets me lost. Oh, wait… that’s never happened to me…

Well for people who do have this problem (like Jesse and Sue), I’m sure you’ll be happy to know that Tele Atlas and Intermap have entered into a co-operative agreement to make vehicle navigation data better. What’s really cool is that the will be making both 2D and 3D data available for these systems. Look for this in California in the near future as a pilot study.

Wonder if they’ll have this in place for the ESRI Users Conference in August? I hope so, because I really look forward to hearing about how well it works from people who actually get to go!
Via Geocarta!

TrailRunnerX

TrailRunnerXWe received an email regarding an interesting free MacOS X tool for route planning for trail related sports (running, skiing, hiking, biking…)  Here is a quote from the developer:

TrailRunner is a route planning software for people who enjoy running, biking, hiking or skiing.  The software will import GPX tracklogs or tracklists from GPS receivers and then plot the data on maps. Within the map, TrailRunner can calculate routes for a given distance. You can even export directions as text to a classic iPod or as small NanoMaps to your iPod nano. TrailRunner is free!”

It is an interesting little tool which give will those folks who have never digitized a line a new experience.  Although their isn’t a library of trails on the TrailRunner webpage (that I could find) I am sure this will change as it gains more users.

Also mentioned on GISUser Blog

Live in the SouthCentral US…Make some cash

SkySiteEngadget points out a money making venture that they feel in perfect for geocachers…I think that we (geospatial professionals) are just as well suited (if not better) for the task. Space Data Corp utilizes balloon-based cellular systems to get signals out to the boonies. The balloons are at an altitude of between 80-100k feet, but what goes up, must come down and the electronics probably aren’t cheap.

Enter SDC’s SkySite program where they offer up rewards for returned platforms. They offer up the location on a first come first serve basis with a 48 hour exclusive window where only the first person has the coordinates, after that I assume they begin to add others into the mix with the spoils going to the person who recovers the platform. Last year they paid out $93,000, with the top earner taking home around $10,000, at $25-$50 a pop, that is a lot of tracked down balloons. Find out the details and full backstory at the SkySite website.
Cash-in on your geocaching skillz – Engadget

GPS for Tsunami Warnings

Wired News has an interesting article about the use of GPS as an aid in tsunami warnings. Researchers have suggested at least 2 ways in which GPS might give warning information: 1) GPS receivers can measure ground movement in real time, and they could also be used to measure tsunami-associated pressure waves in the Earth’s atmosphere. Either method, when combined with seismic-based warning systems, could help cut down the time before a warning can be issued and increase time for evacuation.

Virtual Hiking and the C5 Landscape Initiative

As many of you know, GIS analysis is based on the notion that alorithms within the computer can be used to analyze the digital representations of real-world physical features such as topography that are stored in the GIS. An example of an algorithm-based analysis would be a Least Cost Path, which analyzes the elevation values between two points and calculates the path between them that would require the least cost to traverse. The cost can be defined in any number of ways. The C5 Landscape Initiative is a series of projects that explore using GIS to represent different conceptions of the landscape as we move through it. One of their GIS-related projects, which incorporates virtual hiking, is called The Other Path. They trekked the Great Wall of China and mapping it using GPS, then returned to California and used various techniques to map out a path in a virtual California landscape using a virtual hiker, “an algorithm that produces computationally derived paths from data in such a way that allows them to be re-followed through the actual world.” The analysis created a virtual path in California that matched the path of the Great Wall in China. Then, they physically hiked the path to compare the experience. It’s pretty amazing stuff and only one of their projects. They have also created the C5 Landscape Database, which has an open-source API for Digital Elevation Model processing and analysis.