Adam DuVander over at O’Reilly has written a decent summation article on the current state of mapping apis in the world. It’s a short read and highlights some issues, but I think the more important take-away is the lack of cross pollination between geographers and internet mappers. He doesn’t even discuss ESRI’s api, for instance, and it offers many of the capabilities for which Adam is asking. There’s simply too much stove piping between the ‘experts’, meaning traditional geospatial experts, and the ‘amateurs’, which are mostly people coming from more traditional computer backgrounds. Unfortuantely, I fear it might be on the shoulders of the geospatial experts to teach the rest that what we do is important and relevant. Otherwise we’re libel to see much re-inventing of our spatial wheels… except maybe with added spinners.
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.
To mark the five-year anniversary of Hurricane Katrina’s devastating landfall in the Gulf Coast, NASA Earth Science has released this short video retrospective of some of the imagery and analyses that were used to track and visualize Hurricane Katrina
I know, another xkcd comic, but I just couldn’t resist:
The BBC’s Webscape video show recently took a look at Geocaching.com, sadly the video isn’t embeddable, so you will have to head over to their sight to take a look.
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 http://bing.com/maps/explore
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:
Apparently Hexagon has been happy with their geospatial acquisitions over the last few years since the have announced their acquisition of Intergraph. You may recall that it hasn’t been too long since Intergraph went private (2006). Since then there has been a quiet but consistent movement in the company’s divisions and, of course, Intergraph has a strong set of patents.
On the other side Hexagon has been acquiring geospatial hardware and software companies for a few years including Leica Geosystems, ERDAS, GeoMax…basically anything you need to survey, map, or capture rasters. I am hopeful for what this acquisition means for Intergraph. About a decade ago I was a fan of GeoMedia Professional and many of their other GIS and CAD software offerings, but they didn’t really keep up with their competitors in terms of software evolution. With any luck, under the new structure the companies can invigorate the Intergraph brand.