James over at Spatially Adjusted comments on an article by Dave Bouwman that discusses the differences in the user bases between the traditional GIS software and the new web map interfaces. Summary…ESRI and other GIS software has a given user base that will never be satisfied with the minimalist capabilities that Virtual Earth or Google Earth have. At the same time most of the folks using MapQuest, Google Local and others will rarely need to conduct a network analysis on a trout streams to determine population migration (not that I have either). I would like to say that we have mentioned this in the podcast, but we have done enough episodes that I am just not sure. Head over and give it look.
We received an email from a Redmond employee who created a Virtual Earth shapefile loader. This has been pointed to by several sites including James at Spatially Adjusted. If I hadn’t been a slacker for the last week I would have already blogged it…
Spatially Adjusted: Putting Shapefies into Virtual Earth
This is an ongoing open source project based in the UK that I read about on Mappinghacks.com,
whose main goal is to provide free geographic data to anyone. openstreetmap was basically started because geographic data is not free in many countries, unlike sources like the National Map here in the US.
If you are interested in open source web mapping projects, check out openstreetmap.org
Wired has an interesting article/commentary about how online maps are changing the way we interface our entire lives. I think the next to the last sentance sums up the concerns nicely… “That’s the SimCity trap, emphasizing spatial relationships over more intimate, human considerations.”
This free game uses Google Earth to play a kind of geocaching, where you launch the game from within Google Earth and follow the clues to various location checkpoints. If you find the envelope “hidden somewhere on Earth, you will advance to the Big Game.”
I haven’t played it myself yet, but I may give it a try in between actually trying to get my GIS work done.
For a basic tutorial, check out the Earth Contest website
Via Ogle Earth
One avenue of research in geospatial technologies and geovisualization is immersive Virtual Reality. One of the biggest issues is how to simulate moving through a real landscape. The VirtuSphere rotates as the user walks in any direction while wearing the head mounted display that delivers the virtual environment. I’m sure it’s not the only apparatus out there, but the fact that it’s portable and doesn’t require the extensive structure of a CAVE or other projection-based system is kinda cool
If you’d like to see some pictures and demo video, check out the VirtuSphere website
Satellite images show glowing sea. It’s always interesting when science can help confirm ghost tales. The real question is this… is it really bacteria or the ghosts of souls lost at sea? We may never know…