Europeans and Americans just give directions differently. Who knew? Researchers conducted an experiment to see if people gave directions differently if they thought the person was driving verses looking at a map. Turns out that while that does have an impact, where you’re from has a larger impact on how you describe directions. Americans tend to give directions by saying street names and giving cardinal directions, e.g. “Go North on Main St”. Europeans tend to give directions by saying the number of streets to go and whether to go left or right, e.g. “Go up two streets, then take a left”. The article proposes a number of theories as to why this might be the case, but they don’t actually test any of them fully. Still, it’s a pretty interesting finding, I think. Also, it’s yet another point suggesting that I’m secretly European and didn’t know it
Yard sale, garage sale, boot sale, trunk sale.. no matter what it is called, the idea of selling stuff someone doesn’t want out of their house isn’t something that is normally thought of as being geospatial. Yet, most yard sale pro’s think geospatially in terms of neighborhoods in order to get to the most yard sales in the short space of time they are open, usually from 8:00 a.m. – noon. It’s common to be asked at one yard sale, if anyone knows of any other yard sales on the same road. Jokingly, First for Women Magazine says that one of the “7 Signs that You’re Queen of the Yard Sale” is that ” 3. You’ve programmed the addresses of all the best houses into your GPS – and grouped them by neighborhood.” This isn’t your grandma’s yard sale planner using the often vague directions from the newspaper classifieds.
The Yard Sale Treasure Map is a free online geospatial tool created in 2009 that combines Google Maps and Craigslist to identify yard sales within a certain area. There are several Smart phone garage sale apps including gsalr.com which combines a garage sale locator with turn by turn directions. Garage Sale Finder is another app that makes it possible to download garage sale locations to your GPS. Some local community websites and newspapers, such as the Fredericksburg.com, Orlando Sentinel and the Town of Falmouth are providing online yard sale maps along with their classifieds listings. There is obviously a big market for geospatial tools that make getting to yard sales easier. If only there was some participatory GIS going on that would tell you the status of a yard sale. One of the big banes of yard sailing for everyone is when it closes early and there is no way to know not to stop by.
A year after the introductory post to my “All tied up” series I am actually releasing my next post. In the intervening year terms have, if anything, become even more interwoven with many of us often going to the now de facto ‘geospatial technologies’ to explain the wealth of technologies and data that we pull out of the toolbox and database for any given project. The term that has most been hidden by this (in my opinion, with no easy way to back it up) is Remote Sensing. By Remote Sensing I refer to what Lillesand and Keifer define as “The science and art of obtaining information…acquired by a device that is not in contact with the object…”.
This is a very broad definition and it captures all of the ways in which remotely sensed information is captured, but here I will narrow it down to those raster-based data (and occasionally point cloud data) that are captured from a distance. We can easily include photogrammetry (planes, balloons, etc) and satellite remote sensing capturing everything from panchromatic to hyperspectral images.
While we are on ‘what it is’ I will include what may get lumped in occasionally. Remote sensing is not all sensor data from remote locations. While the term is not incorrectly used, it is not always the same since some of these sensors are in direct contact with what they are measuring (stream gauges, temperature sensors, etc). So in a Venn diagram there is a large overlap between sensors located remotely and remote sensing instruments, but they are not completely overlapping sets. Kind of an aside, but I wanted to make a Venn diagram.
Getting back to remote sensing, there are two ways to look at the term. One is that it isn’t so much tied up, but largely absent in the industry today. In many areas, imagery has become the term of choice and, of course, the backdrop in our web maps, cartographic products, etc. In these projects and products we talk about imagery, but its source has become an almost unimportant aspect of some work. The other way we look at remote sensing is definitely one that is tied up in GIS. Many, many moons ago you had raster software and vector software and much of that raster geospatial software was driven by remote sensing activities, but that has changed (I think we can agree, for the better) in the GIS space as vector and raster has come together. As discussions with some of the leading remote sensing software vendors on the podcast have shown they are inline with, or even making tools available directly within, GIS software packages. We have lost the divide between GIS and Remote Sensing which having to switch between applications gave us. The separation continues to fade in terms of the software arena.
What does standout in terms of Remote Sensing, not tangled up if you will, is the hardware used to capture imagery (from satellite to helicopter to kite to drone…) and the data itself. This content continues to push our industry forward as we can collect both broad swath information that pushes science forward (e.g. moderate resolution data) and we continue to create sensors with ever-finer resolution and higher accuracy and precision (e.g. lidar). These data, as mentioned, are seen now more than ever with web maps and virtual globes, but it is the analytical potential that they offer, whether resulting in time series, human/environment processes, or finding archaeological sites, that are the strength of our investment in remote sensing platforms and data.
We will cut the strings there, as raster analysis is another set of terms that have been tied together as well. But keep in mind as you are doing your research or projects that your imagery is the result of over a century of research in capturing and manipulating images from a distance. While we have begun to take the technologies for granted in some cases, remote sensing remains an integral part of many areas of the industry.
I know I am about a week behind on this, but I am still pretty excited about TomTom’s ever growing utilization of its MapShare database. With the release of regular, free updates of the community provided information this brings not only a boon for the TomTom nav unit customers, but an increasing recognition of, and, I would assume in turn, an increase in community provided data. This is a great asset for the TomTom data licensing customers who benefit from these user driven data updates. (Yay!)
The great Ed Parsons giving Reuter’s the skinny on maps now and the future (the fine line between useful and creepy).
There’s a good 124 (ish) reasons I love this site – Building with Chrome and Lego. The most important are because it’s Lego and a Map. The basic premise is you can grab a plot of land and ‘build’ your lego construct virtually on that plot of land. It can be a house or an abstract sculpture or pretty much anything you can envision in Lego (except those weird Lego Bonicle things my nephew lovs so much). It is also great to see Google really pushing the envelope of what’s possible with Chrome and HTML 5. More ‘food for thought’ is a great thing for near future HTML 5 work that anyone involved in web stuff is going to have to embrace. My only real problem with the site is that even though it is tied to space, it is a space most people won’t know. The constructs are unlikely to represent Australian in any meaningful way. But hey, you can’t have everything!
Now if Lego would just move the experiment a tad South East and render all their Lord of The Rings Lego, we could recreate the movies in Lego on the map. Maybe that’s just too much awesome for one app
Every year, the gaming industry teases us with the latest and greatest in new games and technology at shows around the world. One of the biggest shows, E3 (Electronic Entertainment Expo) recently gave us a couple of previews that really wowed. The first, Watch Dogs, is by major game studio Ubisoft, and explores the implications of controlling all aspects of city functions, sensor networks, and even monitoring the inhabitants’ personal technology footprint through a single operating system, a “City OS”, and what would happen if someone had the skills to hack that system. The short preview of the game from E3 showcases stunning graphics and real-time movement, and shows that not only can the gaming world be a great source of inspiration and technology for geospatial applications of 3D and real-time modeling, but the stories played out in games can also explore the questions that arise from implementing this technology. Take a look at the preview here:
I am just beginning to watch the video from today’s press event at Mountain View, and while it apparently ends with a few announcements it begins with a great history of Google Earth/Maps going all the way back to SGI and Keyhole to the process of building (and filling) Google Maps. Take a look to see the history, uses, and future of Googles approach to geo.
The U.K. is experiencing a summer of GIS with several overlapping large and unique events taking place that use geospatial tools for planning, management, analysis and public outreach. Like many instances of GIS integration for event planning, it might seem as if it happened overnight but in fact took more than five and in some cases ten years of planning and cooperation between many different organizations and agencies.
Olympic Torch and the 2012 Olympics
According to Public Service UK, The National Policing Improvement Agency (NPIA) Learning Strategy Department has trained all 250,000 police officers and staff in the UK to use geospatial tools for safety operations for the London Olympics and Paralympics. This would be a big enough job, if the London Olympics only took place in London. However, the Olympic Torch Relay travels within an hour of 95% of people in the UK. The training was available through a GIS e-learning module and provides maps and plans of venues and locations for use in operational planning, briefings and deployments.
Transportation is another big area of concern for the upcoming Olympics. The interactive map website, Get Ahead of the Games, is a collaboration between the Mayor of London, National Rail, Department for Transport, Highways Agency, and Transport for London to make planning and travel easier during the Olympics and Paralympics. It includes travel by public transport, National Rail, road and river services.
The Ordnance Survey has documented the creation of the 2012 Olympics siteusing detailed ariel imagery from 2001 through to 2010. The planning and construction of the London 2012 Games was funded by the National Lottery, the Department for Culture, Media and Sport, the Mayor of London and the London Development Agency. They presented about the “Learning Legacy: Lessons Learned from the London 2012 Games construction project“. A web-based GIS viewer and spatial visualization tool was created to all contractors to access and share information. Over 2 million individual pieces of data were created and are part of the infrastructure planning and continued venue management.
The Queens Diamond Jubilee
The Olympics aren’t the only event that has had an impact on geospatial awareness in the U.K. this summer. The National Policing Improvement Agency (NPIA) also had to prepare for The Queens Diamond Jubilee, along with routine events such as Wimbledon Tennis, Notting Hill Carnival, and football. According to a presentation entitled “Securing the 2012 Olympics: A Milestone in the UK Policing Improvement Programme” geospatial planning and integrated situational awareness has been happening behind the scenes for years before being implemented in time for the U.K.’s summer of GIS.
ESRI UK have created interactive map of the over 41,000 Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Beacons being lit on Monday, June 4th, throughout the United Kingdom, Channel Islands and the Isle of Man, along with Commonwealth and UK territories overseas. The beacon chain itself has been used for communication and celebration for hundreds of years making it a very old form of geospatial communication.
I am floored! We talk all the time about the use of SketchUp in building out virtual worlds and have just taken for granted that it was tied in to Google’s draw for Earth and Maps. Apparently that was not such a given.
The SketchUp acquisition is just the most recent in a line of notable acquisitions that include eCognition for Remote Sensing and PeopleNet for logistics, as well as others that link to SketchUp’s potential such as BIM and StruCAD.
These software trends have been on top of Trimble’s growing GNSS and a related hardware offerings.