Great video introduction to the National Map

One of the fun things I get to do in prepping for my classes is getting to look at all the amazing video resources out on the interwebs for Geography and geospatial technologies. While putting together my Intro to Mapping lecture, I remembered this great 6-minute video introduction to the National Map, including a little bit about the history of the USGS’s role in mapping the US, how digital technologies are changing mapping, and the development of the National Map and its functionality. Even if you saw the video when it came out back in January, it’s still a great reference for what the National Map is all about.

King of Bing contest provides great apps

While the King of Bing contest ended last week, there are lots of great map apps that you can now check out and play around with. This is the time to do so since the judging will be based on each map app’s use between August 1 through 15. Gizmodo, for instance, highlighted one of the apps which calculates your cab fare for you based on pick-up, time, and distance. Other apps offer parking locations, tourist info, and, my new favorite when traveling, GeoSalesTax

There are tons of other apps available that have either been submitted for the contest, by content partners, and by Bing itself. One of the newest Bing created apps (which just rolled out today) is an OSM map. For all these goodies and more (to come) head over to

Microsoft Research’s Street Slide

If you haven’t seen the demo of Microsoft Research’s Street Slide, it’s a pretty cool addition to Bing Streetside that is not available yet, but will be presented at SIGGRAPH 2010. While Google Streetview and Bing Streetside allow you to see photo representations of an area as you navigate through it, you’re basically limited to the perspective from your position on the centerline of the roadway as you look left or right. What Street Silde allows you to do is zoom out and take a side scrolling type of look at the whole side of the street moving side to side and panning over the streetscape. It looks like you can also get a panoramic view as well. If you want to see Street Slide in action, check out this video:

Via Engadget and MIT Technology Review

ERDAS releases Apollo on the Cloud

ERDAS has entered the cloud service race with the announcement of Apollo on the Cloud. It is a hosted solution that provides access to Apollo Professional on SkyGone’s servers. We have talked to Mladen Stojic about Apollo on the podcast in the past which is one of ERDAS’s newer products that provides that layer of abstraction that many enterprises are looking for between the geotechnologies and the casual user…aka the guy at the desk. With a browser-based viewer, integration with Titan, and standards compatible there are plenty of ways for the user to connect to the service. On the backend you get all of the power that Apollo offers in serving data, running geoprocessing services, and creating user experiences. If you are looking for a way to centralize the processing of your remote sensing data and do not want to host a solution locally or don’t have the dedicated IT staff to do so, this is worth a look.

Digital Egypt

It has been a while since I did a general GIS search over on YouTube. This time around I found an interesting piece of marketing for a product named Digital Egypt that will apparently be coming out in the future. It seems to be primarily focused toward the real estate sector, but it grabbed my attention as I was scrolling through with its interface. While not a standout interface, it is clean and looks much better than some of geo-based realtor tools I have seen out there. public beta is now live

Ever since we got the first preview of and ArcGIS Explorer Online back at the Dev Summit, we’ve been waiting for the chance to try it out ourselves, Well, ESRI’s Bern Szukalski tweeted earlier today that the public beta is now live, so you can head over to and start making and sharing maps and checking out its other features. In this week’s podcast, Episode 253, which will be going live tomorrow morning, you’ll be able to listen to Bern tell us a little bit more about and how it fits into the overall ESRI platform.


In case you haven’t listened to this week’s episode, you are missing out on our conversation with a couple of the guys (David and Mark) of IndieMapper. Part of that conversation included them rolling out a coupon code for our listeners and readers. If you use the code “veryspatial” you will get 50% off the price of the first month (I assume after the 30 day free trial). Watch the video to learn a little more.

Mapping education monies

The Chronicle of Higher Education recently highlighted an interactive map of state spending on higher education institutions and how federal stimulus monies are being used in each state. The focus is on three themes: Percent of higher ed budget from stimulus monies (FY 2009-10), change in general fund spending (FY 2008-2010), and budget gaps as a percent of the general fund budget (FY 2010). It is interesting to see which states are in the best position to support state schools and which ones will have significant issues when federal stimulus monies begin to disappear in 2011. The image below is the % budget from stimulus map, click through to play around with the interactive map.

Google adds Biking Directions

Apparently lots of people have been asking Google for biking directions and now they get their wish!  The directions get added right along with the driving and walking directions we’ve all come to know and love.  They’ve even added the ability to avoid hills (good luck with that in West Virginia)!   Like the walking and driving directions, the biking directions report total miles and estimated time.  I’m not a biker, although I’ve considered trying to bike part-way to work this summer.  It’s nice to know how many miles it will take and how long I should budget in the morning to do so.  It also seems to do a pretty good job of planning the route to avoid major roads with no real bike support.  I did my house to work and a large section of it is basically a county highway with little to no shoulder.  It routed me through a residential area for part of it so I avoid the traffic.