Open Source Geospatial Foundation begins…

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Schuyler Erle over at has a round-up of Saturday’s activities in Chicago. The upshot is that we now have the Open Source Geospatial Foundation, OSGeo (eventually to be at The organization will support several ongoing open source and free projects including MapServer, GDAL/OGR, PostGIS, GRASS, GeoServer, GeoTools, Mapbender, and Ka-Map to name a few. I will post more as more is announced (and as I continue to read the IRC log). I think this will be a great step forward that will build on the initial ideas of the MapServer Foundation.  Unfortunately, we had already finished the podcast for this week so it won’t be in the podcast news until next week, and hopefully we can drag someone for an interview on the OSGF once things have settled down.
Also noted on Spatially Adjusted, PerryGeo, Spatial Galaxy, SlashGeo and import cartography


Spidy Tracer for real

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Anyone who has followed Spiderman knows about the Spidy Tracer – a device that Spiderman can throw at his enemies which allows him to trace bad guys wherever they go. Apparently somone at the LA Police Department is a big Spiderman fan, because they’ve started using GPS unit they can propel at cars to track their movements rather than engage in a highspeed chase. Way to go true believers!


Geography on WikiMedia Commons

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GeoKeysWhile many of us are familiar with the Wikipedia project, there is a similar and related project to gather non-copyright or open copyright media on subject matter. There is a Geography category that has video and images that are fairly general, many of them human/cultural geography related. There is a Map category that, of course, has maps of different types. And, there is a Cartography category, that is a mix of maps and technical explanations including explanatory images of projections.

You can also search keywords to find interesting images that have been placed in other categories.



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TrailRunnerXWe received an email regarding an interesting free MacOS X tool for route planning for trail related sports (running, skiing, hiking, biking…)  Here is a quote from the developer:

TrailRunner is a route planning software for people who enjoy running, biking, hiking or skiing.  The software will import GPX tracklogs or tracklists from GPS receivers and then plot the data on maps. Within the map, TrailRunner can calculate routes for a given distance. You can even export directions as text to a classic iPod or as small NanoMaps to your iPod nano. TrailRunner is free!”

It is an interesting little tool which give will those folks who have never digitized a line a new experience.  Although their isn’t a library of trails on the TrailRunner webpage (that I could find) I am sure this will change as it gains more users.

Also mentioned on GISUser Blog


New Location Based Services in Japan

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A company called Mapion has launched a new service that lets phone users point at a building, click, and find out what’s in that building.  If your phone is GPS and integrated compass enabled, you can wonder around the streets of Tokyo pointing and clicking all over the place to find out what’s in what building.  Pretty cool.

Via Engadet


Yes, even you can afford Virtual Reality

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This NY Times article from back in January takes a look at some of the ways people are creating Virtual Reality setups without having to spend a million dollars to do it. Although the article is focused on VR for artists, a number of geographers and others interested in geovisualization have been doing work involving the use of VR in geographic research. One of the initiatives highlighted is Canvas a collaborative project from the University of Illinois, where the well-known CAVE (Cave Automatic Virtual Environment) system was developed. Now, for about $1000 per projector (with a minimum of 2 required), $300 for polarizing filters, (and whatever you can afford to spend on a good desktop, rear projection screens, stereo glasses, or even datagloves), you can have your own VR setup for teaching, art work, or research. The Canvas program offers a free software program called Syzygy to run the VR. So, if you’ve always wanted to try out VR, and you have a few thousand dollars lying around, go for it!
Via Trends

Update: One of our readers pointed out that the Geowall Consortium is another resource to help you put together a relatively inexpensive VR setup for scientific visualization.

Human Geography

Book review of Tweed’s Crossing and Dwelling

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TweedBookThe American Religious Experience at is an online journal which has been in publication for nearly a decade, which is edited by Briane Turley of WVU. In our continuing effort to support the folks we know, Mike Ferber (a fellow grad student) has recently published a review of Thomas Tweed’s newest book, Crossing and Dwelling: A Theory or Religion. Tweed is one of the first scholars of American religion to utilize a spatial model for interpreting religious diffusion and development in the U.S.


Laser-Scan’s new Radius Studio

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I know that Jeff at Vector One mentioned his interest in this product last week and today I received Laser-Scans enewsletter so I thought I might quote from it…

“Radius Studio acts as a spatial processing, analysis and compliance engine offering domain experts the possibility to create, review and refine business rules for spatial data across the web, without requiring developer skills.  It is a tool that can quantitively measure spatial data quality by analysing the compliance of business rules with the existing data sets.”

I was in contact with Laser-Scan to be an educational partner through work, but I didn’t feel I had the time to invest to make it worth their while.  I hate to get software and just have it sit on a hard drive unused.  As soon as I am in a position to use it though, I hope to try it out.  We used to have a license for lamps before I arrived at WVU, but the VAX or Unix box it lived on has long since been sent to surplus.  And now I am just rambling…


avsp music to date

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I have been terrible about giving credit to the bands we play in the podcast. This is mostly because I don’t usually decide what to include until we have finished recording and I am editing the podcast. That said, here is a round of the bands we have featured so far…