I haven’t posted about a Google Maps mashup in awhile, but this one, called Putting Nanotechnology on the Map, offers an interesting perspective on where nanotechnology research hotspots are located in the US, including universities, private companies and government facilities. Some of the centers, like the San Francisco Bay area, are no surprise, but I was kind of amazed by the number of companies and universities that are engaged in nanotechnology research and business in places I wouldn’t necessarily think of, like Montana or Idaho.
Ever wonder how accurate that phrase, “It’s going around” really is? Well now you can figure it out with Who is Sick? This is sort of epidemiology amateur style. Anyone can post their symptoms along with where they’re located. So if you’re feeling a tad under the weather, give the site a shot and see if whatever you have is “going around” in your area.
For those who may not have heard, Virginia Tech University in Blacksburg Virginia has suffered a great tragedy on its campus. Thirty-two people were shot and killed yesterday by what now looks to be a single gunman. I grew up roughly an hour drive from that campus and I spent a lot of time there in high school, so I’m fairly familiar with its layout. However, for those who aren’t as familiar and would like to have some idea of the physical layout of the shootings, the Baltimore Sun has put up a google map detailing the source of the shootings. It’s unfortunate the satellite imagery isn’t very good for the area, so you could easily see how this could happen with the building layout. The campus is extremely beautiful. The oval section between the two shooting sites houses a lovely green quad area that is almost stunning in the fall. Most of the class room buildings face the quad and many of the dorms are behind those row of buildings. Unfortunately it seems what partially makes the campus so beautiful is just the thing that allowed the gunman to do so much damage.
We here at Very Spatial send our thoughts and prayers to the families and friends of the victims.
Microsoft has awarded over $1.1 million in grants to winners in their Virtual Earth and SensorMap grant competitions. The SensorMap project include work on Harvard’s CitySense project, which will utilize a network of 100 sensors aroudn Cambridge, Mass. that record various types of data related to local conditions, such as current weather and traffic levels. The data will then be published on the SensorMap platform. There are a number of other interesting projects related to various types of sensors and data collection, as well as dealing with issues of integrating different types of data into the SensorMap platform.
The Virtual Earth winners hint at some of the research priorities Microsoft is interested in, including local search, building 3D models from photos (a winning proposal from Steve Seitz of the University of Washington, one of the people behind PhotoTourism, which is part of the Photosynth project), and utilizing StreetSide imagery to help generate models. Basically, all the winning projects are looking to further refine the ability to representate and navigate 3D virtual representations of the world around us.
I’ve only really touched on a small portion of the winning proposals, so for a full list of winners of these and other Microsoft Research grant programs, head to the Research Funding Opportunities page, and click on the individual grant competitions.
For those of you who are developers and work with ASP .NET, you might be interested in a nice article from the WebSphere Journal site written by Jeevan Murkoth that goes over the basics of the Google Maps ASP .NET control and gives you a nice “Getting Started” walkthrough for a simple implementation. I keep telling myself I need to get more into the web stuff, so I will probably be trying this out in the near future.
Ever have an upcoming trip to (INSERT CITY NAME) and think, “Wow, I hate taking cabs. I wish I knew how to use the subway system in (INSERT CITY NAME FROM ABOVE HERE)!” Well here’s a great site for you! This site has gone through the trouble to scan in digital copies of all the subway maps of the major cities of the world. Unfortunately, they’re not very interactive right now, but here’s hoping for upgrades.
Looks like AAA (American Automobile Association) is looking to get more heavily into the online mapping market, as they’ve announced the venerable TripTik, now in online form as the Internet TripTik, will be available free of charge.
It’s a crowded market already, but AAA has a long history of providing travel services, and they may introduce a few new people to the joys and frustrations of online mapping.
The folks over at Twingly (non-English site) have created what may be the world’s coolest screen saver. It basically reports blog activity around the world in real or near real time. Here’s the YouTube clip of the application working. I haven’t downloaded it (mostly because I can’t read what I believe to be Swedish), but it is a very interesting idea.
WARNING! The application links to a LOT of blogs, some of which contain very adult material (although not all by any means). Please be careful when clicking on any of the links to make sure you’re not opening anything you might find inappropriate.
Update (from Jesse): I downloaded it and it is, in fact, really cool (though unfortunately it is Windows only). The actual download page is in English. I even added the RPC connection to the VerySpatial blog so our posts will be showing up in the Twingly list too.
If you’re really into watching professional biking, but haven’t as of yet had the resources to go to an actual race, this news is for you. The Amgen Tour of California is going to feature riders with geotracking devices to chart the rider’s movements in real time. As Wired is reporting, “The system uses a complicated home-brew combination of GPS data, general packet radio service signals, HTTP streaming and SMS messaging to send data to and from the network of about 20 GPS satellites. The system can pinpoint a rider’s position within just a few yards, which is much more accurate than plain GPS, which is accurate only to within about 65 feet.” It should be neat to watch via their custom web app.
Via Wired News
Believe it or not, Google Earth isn’t just for finding your house. The BBC is reporting that Iraqis in Baghdad are using Google Earth mashups to plan escape routes to avoid sectarian violence in Iraq. The site has loads of information about how to avoid getting captured in the violence, not just the map. However it is interesting to see these new tools used in life saving ways.