I have started taking a tour of some of the location based social apps that are out there since I haven’t had time to write code myself. The first one have been playing with is brightkite.com which can act as a stand alone web app, a location feed for Twitter and works with Yahoo’s Fire Eagle. A quick example of a BrightKite map is here which is a checkin I did from PA. The location information from an account is shown through a list or map of visited places and you can create a series of shortcuts to different Placemarks for quick updating. There is the general friends settings so that you can follow others and of course you can find folks based on location. As with most of these apps you can access it via web or SMS. Check it out if you can get an invite.
The folks over at the Official Google Maps API Blog have provided links to the YouTube versions of each of the seven the Google Geo Developer series. If you are a fan of the KML or Google API then check them out and enjoy the free learnin’.
Just coming off a session where we were talking about how user generated content can offer great advantages to local communities it was interesting to read this article which talks about a new wiki map called WikiCrimes that allows users to report crimes and their location in Brazil. Apparently the Brazilian police do not provide access to crime data, plus there seems to be an underrepresentation of crime as people do not always report crimes. Given these issues there still seems to be some apathy about the mapping initiative not only from the police (which is expected) but also by some of the public. The BBC’s article is definitely worth a read to see an interesting take on public mapping.
Google has put up an interactive Google Map where you can share Earth events and ideas with people around the world. It’s a fairly basic site, but there are some neat stuff people are planning to do. For instance in Very Spatial’s own home turf, people are planning on doing more composting. What’s going on in your area for Earth Day?
The Surui people, who have been so remote in the Brazilian forests that they were only ‘discovered’ in 1969, have turned to the high tech tools of Google Earth to help them protect their existence. Initial contacts with outsiders led them to fight, but bows and arrows proved rather useless compared to modern weapons. Since then, they have negotiated a peace, but their lands are continuously encroached upon. Enter Google Earth, which the tribe uses to monitor treaty breaking moves by logging companies. The whole story is a testament to how far web mapping has spread into our modern (and sometimes ancient) lives.
As geographers, I know everyone out there is thinking, “I get the the home buying industry in the US is imploding like a black hole, but I still am having trouble understanding what’s going on.” Fear not dear reader, the wonderful people at the Federal Reserve have given us – Dynamic Maps of Nonprime Mortgage Conditions in the United States! Now you can browse the mortgage meltdown in map form. All of the maps are color ramps with a few layers of reference data to help you find your way. You can search by zip code as well. My only issue with the maps themselves lies with the fact that it’s hard to see a lot of the graduations in the ramps, especially for themes with lower absolute numbers.
I am feverishly working to get my dissertation proposal finished, and while reading Hamlet on the Holodeck (a great book, by the way), I jumped online to look a couple of things up and stumbled across the Atlas of Early Printing. It’s project done by the University of Iowa’s Libraries, and offers a nice Flash-based web map application that gives a geographic perspective on the first half-century of printing in Europe (1450-1500). The map layers include the spread of printing, and the locations of universities, paper mills, and fairs. Other resources related to the atlas include an animated 3D model of an early printing press. There’s also a nice slider feature that allows you to animate the layers chronologically to get a more dynamic picture of how printing spread. I whiled away a good half hour just checking out some of the points in the atlas, and there’s lots more great information on the site.
Ever wondered what would happen if Google Streetview was taken to the next level.
But what is it? Is it Immersive Technologies…or ‘the Google.’ Fingers crossed for a sequel.
Cheers to Sue for the great find and for being too slow to post it herself
While looking for some sample GIS data for a demo, I ran into the US Atlas of Renewable Resources, a project of the National Renewable Energy Laboratory. The atlas (which is still under development) includes a web mapping interface that show the geographic distribution of wind, biomass, geothermal and solar resources, and the NREL site also has data available for download. The Atlas of Renewable Energy is one of several GIS projects and data sets available from NREL, so if you are interested in mapping or GIS analysis related to renewable energy sources here in the US, it’s a good place to start.
Our reader Ed always sends us great links to cool applications and projects, and Globe Glider is another great find. According to the site, it’s a “geo-browser” with an interface that allows users to search and browse by location. Both a Google Maps and Virtual Earth interface are available (you can also use it in Google Earth), with the top half of the browser window given over to a larger view of one of the web mapping apps, while the other is still available in a smaller frame in the lower left corner. If you want to switch the views, there’s a button to flip the two. What the heart of Globe Glider is, though, is its linkages to other sites and resources that are all linked to the locations you are browsing in the mapping interface. For example, I used a Virtual Earth 3D interface in the upper window to navigate to northern Wisconsin, and typed hotels into the Google Local search bar, which gave me results for the nearest hotels to the location. I could then click on the GeoURL tab and see websites from IP addresses nearby, Flickr for geotagged photos, and even weather (a ridiculously cold -27F). Globe Glider brings together tools from Google, Microsoft, Wikipedia, Flickr and others to create a one-stop shop that gives a great example of how location-based search can really change the way we navigate the Web and find information.