Here’s a perfect idea that should have happened long ago. Google is rolling out an interactive application for gas pumps to allow travelers to search maps and print them out at the pump. Want to know where the closest hotel or pizza joint is located while you’re filling up? No problem, the interactive map will help you find it. Apparently some functionality is missing in that you can’t search for a specific address, which is too bad. I’ll bet they’ll roll that out in the near future, however.
Working on the notion that showing people is often the best way to influence their behavior, the Haringy Council in the UK is providing an online Interactive Heat Loss Map. The idea is to let residents see their own homes’ heat loss and work on insulating their properties better, but the map also lets everyone see how their neighbors’ houses stack up.
Thermal imagery is used in various applications here in the US, and the companies who acquired the Haringy data have done a number of other projects, but I couldn’t seem to find a similar application where the data were made freely available online.
OK, now I know there are a lot of sites out there that map hotel and lodging information for trip planning, but I just had to do a quick post (while we’re packing up our lab for the move) about TvTrip, a European travel site that not only maps hotels in several major cities in Europe, but also offers you the opportunity to watch videos of the hotels. It also has a cool slider bar for you to set your price range. It’s actually a pretty cool idea and, if other sites haven’t picked up on the idea, I’m sure they will be soon. All I do know is, the movers are coming to get our computers and desks to move to our new building on Monday, and I have spent half the afternoon watching videos of hotels in Berlin and Madrid. Oh well. TvTrip only seems to have 5 cities right now: London, Paris, Madrid, Brussels, and Berlin, but if you’re traveling to any of those cities, you might want to check it out.
The online version of the latest issue (July/August 2007) of Technology Review has a fairly comprehensive article by Wade Roush about Second Life, virtual globes, social mapping, and the prospects for merging geospatial technologies and virtual world to create a Second Earth. None of the topics is especially new, but Roush does a good job of providing an overview of the various technologies and players. The main focus of the article, though, is to discuss the possibility of a Second Earth or metaverse and how that might come about. Roush starts off with the most obvious possibility, combining Second Life and Google Earth, but notes that both Google Earth and Linden Labs deny they are working on it. All in all, the article offers a nice synthesis of what’s going on in relation to the development of the metaverse and the convergence with geospatial technologies, and some intriguing possibilities for the next step.
I ran across this site today via Digg – Find your local Recycling station! I checked our area and the data is rather mediocre at best. It has the commercial sites but none of the county wide sites that are maintained. Barb works with our county recycling authority, so I’ve had a pretty good chance to get acquainted with the business. Hopefully their data is a little more robust in more urban areas. It’s a great idea that I hope grows and grows!
I am desperately trying to get through all the email that has piled up while we were on the road, and I had to do a quick post about this site that our reader Elaine alerted me to. It’s called Local Harvest, and has a nice Google Maps mashup feature that lets you see where the local farmers’ markets, groceries, co-ops and farmers that sell local foods and produce, including organic, are located. So, if you like to take advantage of local foods and farmers, definitely check out Local Harvest.
I will hopefully be catching up on some other cool things I want to post, some from ISDE5 and the ESRI UC, and a couple of other projects I really like.
Scott Davis is authoring an upcoming book entitled GIS for Web Developers: Adding ‘Where’ to Your Web Applications from the Pragmatic Bookshelf the book will be out either June or October. Davis has been writing and speaking about GIS and web development for a couple of years.
Things the book will cover include
-Find free sources of GIS data on the web
-Browse GIS data using open source desktop viewers
-Manipulate GIS data programmatically
-Store and retrieve data using geographically-enabled databases
-Explore free web toolkits like Google Maps
-Publish and consume web services using OGC interfaces
And you can even buy a ‘beta’ version of the book in PDF now.
A pdf is available that outlines some of the concepts that will probably be in text (links to a pdf)
The Age is reporting that the terrorists plotting to blow up JFK airport in New York may have used Google Earth in their planning. As the article states, less than a month ago, the head of the NGA offered the opinion that the US government should consider censoring satellite photos. Certainly any tool can be used for both good and evil, but hopefully this latest revelation won’t have a negative impact on the emergence of these open tools.
The success of web mapping applications does, of course, have its drawbacks. Case in point – GeoSelector. This new mapping tool from DirectMail.com lets users define a targeted audience for direct mailings based on location and demographics and boasts a database of 220 million consumers in 110 million households. GeoSelector is built on the GoogleMaps platform, and includes added layers such as school and voting districts and census tracts. You can access GeoSelector for free, and once you have your targeted location area, you then order mailing lists based on your selection criteria (you do have to pay for the lists).
Of course, the use of geodemographics for targeted marketing is nothing new, but GeoSelector certainly lowers the bar in terms of getting access to these tools.