LightSquared to Impact 75% of GPS Receivers…. maybe

Here’s some bad news for LightSquared – looks like their system will negatively impact the overwhelming majority of GPS receivers currently in operation, based upon a leak of a test report. A series of tests were conducted by the National Telecommunications & Information Administration between Oct. 31 to Nov. 4 confirming this concern. LightSquared fired back suggesting they plan on operating at a lower power point than the tests and that ‘interfered’ isn’t properly defined by the study. They estimate their new systems will only negatively interact with 10% of existing GPS units. LightSquared says in a letter, “The report presents a completely slanted and selective review of the test results. Clearly the leak was intended to prejudge the issue and prejudice public opinion against LightSquared.”

To be honest, in my opinion, even 10% seems a bit high. Regulators were withholding approval for the new system in anticipation of this study. Looks like to me LightSquared better commission a new study PDQ or risk loosing approval for their new systems.

Conserving the Night Sky

Is your portion of the night sky polluted by artificial light?  Check out this really slick Google Map interface I found on the International Dark-Sky Association (IDA) web site .  For over 22 years, the IDA has been advocating to keep our night sky clean of light pollution.  Their reasons go beyond astronomy purposes and have provided resources for legislation that would both reduce night sky lighting and provide very large amounts of energy savings to the global economy.

Find A Dark Spot Tonight
Click on the image to go directly to map viewer

Data for the map comes from the NGDC, where you can find some links to more interactive maps and other imagery services.


Flash Player Dead for Mobile

Adobe announced today they are killing development of a mobile flash player. Is this the death call for flash? Maybe not, but it certainly is a serious blow. We all know the mobile platform is growing at a phenomenal rate and it’s hard for IT departments to contemplate new development that doesn’t include mobile platforms. However, for now at least, flash on the desktop is secure. Adobe has re-affirmed commitment to HTML 5 development and tools. It may take over the Flash platform even on the desktop in the not too distant future. I rather curious to see if API developers are looking to expand into the HTML 5 market anytime soon.

It’s HERE! It’s Finally HERE!

Just in time for my switch to the iOS platform. ESRI has finally released ArcGIS for Android! If you’re on the Android platform, head over to the Android Marketplace and you can download this free app. If you’re familiar with the iOS or the Windows 7 Phone version, you should know what to expect – mobile mapping, location based information, data collection ability, the ability to link to your own Arc Server installation, etc. All great stuff and it’s wonderful to see it finally here! Guess what I’ll be playing with this morning?

Galileo taking the stage

While this week’s launch of two of the satellites for the Galileo constellation there has been quite a bit of information ramping up for the yet unusable system. BUT with the EU having worked so hard to make Galileo a reality it is good to see that there they are trying to make sure that it will capture the attention of industry and consumers alike. With GLONASS‘s aging and yet incomplete constellation and the GPS constellation also seeing an aging infrastructure and unclear upgrade path thanks to reduced budgets over recent years (not to mention continuing uncertainty on the Lightsquared front), it is great to see the EU making visible progress (as well as China) in deploying new positioning systems. Below is a video about Galileo and this link takes you to a BBC look at a satellite during construction.

NASA Updates Topographic Maps

NASA has teamed with Japan’s Earth Remote Sensing Data Analysis Center to create a new topographic map covering 99% of the Earth’s landmass.  The maps are created using two sets of data from Japan’s ASTER sensor which are slightly offset from one another.  Merging the data creates a 3D look like Google Earth’s topographic display.  The elevation measurements are 30 meters apart.  The real benefit here is that it’s the first global elevation model and it’s freely available for anyone in the world to use.  Furthermore, since it’s using the existing ASTER sensor, new models can be built often, which allows for significant change detection from year to year.  That’s especially important in areas like West Virginia, where mining techniques can have a significant impact on the topography.  Watch the video at the link for more information and some great visuals!

Via Gizmodo

First Annual Sketch Up Halloween Challenge

Sketch Up has announced their first annual Halloween Challenge. You can pick three categories: 1:Jack 0’Lantern, 2: Haunted House, 3: Both together. You need to fill out a challenge submission form and upload your model to 3D Warehouse in publicly downloadable format. The SketchUp team will judge the entries on October 28th. Here is a link to Googlemeister’s Amazing Haunted House Walk Through Collection from last year in 3D Modeler.

If you need some inspiration, here is a link to the Haunted House (real and fictional locations), traditional Halloween, Halloweentown type locations, and popular Halloween episodes in TV Tropes.

Search For Life on Mars

Ok, not Mars. Not just yet, at least. Researchers have created really cool science project called MAPPER. The idea is to leverage citizen scientists to comb through data and find signs of life on far away planets. For now, they have tapped into a couple of DeepWorker bots currently exploring the depths of two lakes in Canada. It’s more or less a groundwork (or more like underwater groundwork, I guess) project to lay down the foundations for a system that could be used on other planets. The system uses a cool web interface that should be immediately recognizable to anyone who plays games. Taking a clue from modern gaming, the scientists have built in social media and achievements. Let’s be honest – who DOESN’T want to unlock the ‘Found Life On Other Planet’ achievement?

Via Gizmodo