December 18th is the United Nation’s International Migrants Day to recognize the efforts, contributions, and rights of migrants worldwide. Migrant workers and migration has had a natural fit with geography and geospatial approaches from historic analysis to today’s global world. The UN is taking a geospatial approach to recognizing International Migrants Day. They asked global citizens to participate by sharing photos and videos tied to their personal stories about how migrants positively contribute to communities and economies worldwide on Facebook and Twitter using #IAmAMigrant which were then featured on the UN’s Storify page. Storify by Livefyre is a free online tool that collects location based social media and videos from around the web into a unified story.
Here’s a great use of LBS and I’m kinda surprised more navigation apps don’t have this built in – TurnCast will route you around weather events while you’re driving. This can be super helpful if you’re in a new area and don’t know the weather patterns or roads. Driving through hellish storms can be a chore. Sometimes going a bit ‘out of the way’ can actually save you time and energy. It certainly can be safer. TurnCast isn’t quite out yet, but the company has a number of other weather apps that provide more ‘real time’ information than most weather apps. The downside is it looks to be iOS only, so Windows and Android users are kinda out of luck.
Once upon a time there was a services division at a company…they liked and saw potential in location. They decided to save some licensing $$ and acquired a data company. After a few years, as hardware moved forward and operating systems changed, there seemed to be a disconnect between the hardware and services divisions of the company. Part of the disconnect was that the services division was keeping the hardware division afloat, or so it seemed to me. Don’t get me wrong, the hardware is top notch (don’t tell Sue, but I have even thought about switching phones a couple of times). However, while the hardware was good, the services are great.
Now the big M has said it will purchase the hardware division (so much to hope for and fear in that one) leaving behind the services division. On the data side of things I think this is a good thing, on the app and services side of things I think this is phenomenal for iOS and Android users. It seems a bit like the Erdas/Leica/Erdas/Intergraph roller coaster in terms of Navteq/Nokia/Here set of transitions, but at the core is the potential, both proven and future, of location technologies. And at the heart of that potential is data, data, data.
When we talked to the folks from Here at the Esri UC (coming in episode 425) you could tell that they are as excited as ever about the data and products they bring to market. Their partnerships with software and hardware companies make it clear that all is well and good for the portion of Nokia that will be left to the name after the hardware division (and a bundle of patents) is claimed by its Redmond overlords. I do question what kind of tomfoolery can go on at the larger corporate level in the next few months as the transition occurs, but the results should be a strong services and data company come the end of the transition period.
(and a true Microsoft phone to boot, given the Surface Pro, this is a good thing…I think)
The geospatial community is so used to the growing use of geospatial technologies that it is easy to assume that everyone around you has been as immersed in how it works. We take it for granted that everyone knows SmartPhones have geo-tagging or are location based, because it is the heart of many geospatial technologies that people use everyday. We also assume that people know how to turn geo-tagging on and off on their SmartPhones. I was therefore surprised when several people I know posted this “Warning!!!! If you take photos with your cell phone” and were highly concerned about geo-tagging – because they had no idea that many of the applications they use on their SmartPhone use location based information. Continue reading
I must issue a mea culpa because when I first looked at the sponsors and participants in the National Day of Civic Hacking June 1 – 2, 2013 I saw no mention of GIS, geographers, or geospatial technologies, even though the data itself was very spatial. Today, ESRI announced that it is sponsoring National Day of Civic Hacking geospatial events in four US cities: Los Angeles; Denver; St. Louis, and Minneapolis in order to bring geospatial awareness to civic hacking by providing subscriptions to ArcGIS Online, Esri’s cloud-based mapping platform, for hacker teams to use in their projects. They are also providing Esri developer tools for anyone who wants to participate in other locations at their ArcGIS for Developers page. This is a great way for people who want to get involved in the U.S. or anywhere in the world to participate in two days of civic engagement.
If you know of any other geospatial organizations that are sponsoring or participating in the National Day of Civic Hacking, please post them below.
By now almost everyone with a computer and some spare time has taken the Harvard Mouse Click Age Test, which tries to determine a person’s age by how proficient they are at using a computer mouse. I personally scored about 15 years younger than my real age making me almost a teenager again, so thank you: 1. Harvard, and 2. geospatial computing. A younger “computer age” might not have the same impact on a person’s quality of life as the results of The Real Age health assessment test, but it can often have an impact on your career.
Keeping up with new technology has always been a challenge in the job world, but today’s employee is faced with the intersecting need to keep up with the huge growth and changing type of technologies, the use of these technologies following them outside of work, the cost associated with the technologies and training, and many other factors. Several recent Wall Street Journal articles highlight the influence of social media, cloud computing, mobile recruiting, and other new technologies in finding and keeping a job, such as the increased use of smart phone apps for advertising and filling out applications. Many of these technologies have geospatial underpinnings that drive the technology. In addition, over the past few years the number of professions using GIS, remote sensing, and other geospatial technologies in their work on a routine basis is rapidly expanding. Careers such as facilities management, utilities, weather, municipal government, and a myriad others. Larry Wall blogged about how he thought that retiring from the oil & gas industry would mean he no longer had to keep up with technology, found that even part time jobs at the mall requires knowing how to use the latest devises.
Despite the ability to keep up with technology, age discrimination is a very real problem, even if there is no skills gap. The Statesman.com newspaper has a insightful article, “Older Workers Without Jobs Face Uphill Climb“, about the technology job scene in Austin that describes the situation faced by older IT workers. However, although HR departments often confuse professionals who work with geospatial data with IT workers, it is a different profession that involves complex skill sets that are both art and science. Many times this is developed over years of education, experience, and continued training. The geospatial workforce shortage that was explored as early as a 2005/2006 ESRI ArcNews Online article on “Defining the Components of the Geospatial Workforce – Who Are We?” and continues in reports such as The National Academies Press “Future U.S. Workforce for Geospatial Intelligence” and Geospatial Today’s “The Who’s Who in the Geospatial Sector Share Their Views on How The Industry Will Unfold in the Days To Come… Outlook 2013” which highlights the need for geospatial professionals across fields that are able to think dynamically and adapt quickly.
It would be interesting to find out if geospatial professionals were quicker “on the draw” or on the click, than other professions thanks to using ArcGIS and other geospatial software.
The Telegraph recently published an article, “How Supermarkets Prop Up Our Class System” by Harry Wallop introducing his book “Consumed: How Shopping Fed the Class System“. In the article, he discusses how marketers use census data and other location based data to aggregate postcodes into 60 different social groupings that they then repackage and sell back to retailers who use the analysis to micro-target potential shoppers. He believes that instead of creating more opportunities for shoppers, spatial targeting is reinforcing class stereotypes and creating structural inequality.
Geospatial marketing for supermarkets and grocery stores is growing in popularity for industry and public health. The Food Trust documented how Pennsylvania is using geospatial and GIS to target underserved communities for Penn State Public Broadcasting’s Geospatial Revolution Project. Job search databases advertise for positions such as geospatial marketing facilitator, interactive marketer, and geospatial marketing analyst. The Shopper Marketing trade journal lists mobile applications, QR codes, location based shopping, and augmented reality among the trends it uses to both reach and collect data from shoppers.
In today’s society it is difficult for shoppers to take advantage of grocery deals without providing personal information. A LifeHacker article on saving money, “Use “Jenny’s Number” to Get Club Discounts at Stores without Providing Personal Information” jokingly suggested trying to use the phone number from the popular 80′s song. Which semi-seriously raises the question of which social grouping the people who provide her number would fall under or how many shoppers give fake geospatial data.
It’s never too early to get kids interested in geospatial technologies and geography. I was searching for a fun gift for a young kid and ran across the Daily Grommet, which is an online catalog that practices what it has termed “Citizen Commerce”. The site uses crowd sourcing to identify products and companies that people want to support. Their product lineup is constantly changing, but many of them are geospatial in nature. The ones that caught my eye were a number of games that teach 3D spatial skills such as a 3D maze game, the OGO build set which is basically a point, line, and polygon game, and the spatial 3d Challenge game.
The one that I thought might be really interesting was the GeoPalz Activity Tracker. It combines a pedometer tracker with an online interactive site that allows kids to earn prizes. When I initially read the description I thought that kids would be able to upload a map of their daily activity to the GeoPalz website and use it for interactive games, sort of like a mash-up of Google Maps with GPS Tracker and a Family Circus cartoon. The site looks like it uses the actual pedometer count,which is still really cool. It just goes to show how much we have come to expect of our geospatial technology in everyday life. More, More, More even for a kid’s toy.
Many popular news sites, such as the Telegraph, have picked up the story of Nestle UK’s campaign that embeds GPS trackers in candy bars, comparing it to the Golden Ticket from Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory. Using geospatial technologies as part of a marketing campaign has been around as long as the technologies themselves.
In 2006, The Charlotte County Visitor’s Bureau used a geocaching campaign to start a word of mouth marketing campaign by reaching over 3,000 geocachers, according to an article in the Herald Tribune. A 2011 article in The Drum: Modern Marketing & Media, cites a Google study that found mapping and geospatial technology were one of the fastest growing types of marketing and were a major part of marketing strategy. Many marketing and public relations firms such as Blast Companies are using GPS enabled target marketing to reach customers. Specialized companies such as GoldRun focus on geospatial technologies such as GPS-linked and augmented reality environments. Popular types of geospatial campaigns include social media, QR codes, geocaching, and GPS-tracking.
Lightsquared is not prepared to go gently into the night. They have hired Theodore Olson (among others) to help argue their case. Olson is most famous for having successfully argued for Bush in the Bush v. Gore Supreme Court case that settled the 2000 US Presidential election. In other words, Lightsquared brought out the big guns. Olson argues that government encouraged Lightsquared to invest in a startup technology then slammed the door in their face when final approval was sought. I’m not enough of a legal expert to know if Olson’s argument holds water, but it is rather telling a relatively famous attorney would take up the case.
As I’ve said in nearly every post in this ongoing saga…. we’ll keep you abreast of the situation as news becomes available.