Press Release – January 13, 2006

PRESS ANNOUNCEMENT

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

For information about this announcement, contact:

Jesse Rouse
VerySpatial, LLC
tel: +1-304-756-8125
podcast@veryspatial.com

A VerySpatial Podcast half-year episode featuring interview with Peter Morville

Morgantown, WV, January 13, 2006 – VerySpatial, LLC

VerySpatial, LLC is pleased to announce that we have reached the 26th episode of A VerySpatial Podcast, which features an interview with Peter Morville, noted author and information scientist. A VerySpatial Podcast premiered with its first episode on Geography and geospatial technologies in July 2005. The podcast is intended to be a weekly source of information that is supported by a blog accessible at http://veryspatial.com. A VerySpatial Podcast has continued to grow over the last half year and now reaches a global audience of listeners.

The featured guest for Episode 26, Peter Morville, is the author of Ambient Findability: What We Find Changes Who We Become (2005) and co-author of Information Architecture for the World Wide Web: Designing Large-scale Web Sites (2002) both from O’Reilly Media, Inc.

The half-year anniversary episode is not the first interview with a prominent individual from the geospatial community as we have been joined in the past by Rick Lawson, of Environmental Systems Research Institute, Inc. and Dr. Tim Warner, a remote sensing specialist from West Virginia University. VerySpatial looks forward to continuing to provide news, discussion, and interviews on a wide range of topics related to Geography and geospatial technologies.

A VerySpatial Podcast is available for direct download from http://veryspatial.com/podcast.php and can be subscribed to through iTunes and other podcast aggregators. More information is available at http://veryspatial.com.

VerySpatial, LLC is committed to providing information on Geography and geospatial technologies through audio and web-based technologies. Formed in 2005, VerySpatial, LLC is located in Morgantown, WV.

Did the Chinese discover America?

The BBCNews website posted an article today about a Chinese map that, if authentic, may suggest that Chinese mariners visited and mapped the coasts of America before Columbus. Chinese characters on the map apparently say that it was drawn in 1763 as a copy of a map made in 1418. The map’s ink and paper are being tested to try to confirm the 1763 date, but the article notes that there is a great deal of skepticism regarding the map’s authenticity. Even if it can be traced to the eighteenth century, the only evidence for the original 1418 comes from the notation on the map itself.
Via Digg.com

Perspective mapping using Google and Yahoo!

Google3DSliced bread may be nearing its end as the measuring stick for greatness, as new ideas are leaping onto the web for ways to use all of the AJAX and Flash goodness of Google and Yahoo!. Matt over at PlaceMap references a Japanese site that allows you to interact with Google Local in 3 dimensions. You start with a 45 degree perspective view, but as you pull out you move to the more traditional orthogonal view. You can spin the scene as opposed to panning, but I am sure they will add panning functionality as a Ctrl-click or something eventually (of course they may have already, but I can’t read kanji).

Matt offers up another perspective view using Yahoo’s flash maps, which, while it doesn’t offer the same navigation options, is very clear and just plain cool. The PlaceMap Project » 3D YMaps

NSG Statement of Strategic Intent Available

The NGA issued a press release today announcing the availability of the National System for Geospatial-Intelligence (NSG) Statement of Strategic Intent, a document that gives a vision for the future of geospatial intelligence. If you are interested the full press release is available from your favorite geospatial news sites. Here is a link to the full document on the NGA site (PDF).

Alaskan Volcano webcam

The Alaska Volcano Observatory website has a webcam located on Augustine Island in Alaska, monitoring Augustine Volcano, which had a small ash eruption yesterday and continues to show signs of unrest. The images are updated every 30 minutes, and show a pretty good image of the ash plume and several small lahars (volcanic mudflows). The USGS posts daily status reports on the volcano on the website. So, if you’re interested in physical geography, geology, or just curious about volcanoes, check out the webcam and maybe you’ll get to see an actual volcanic eruption!

Via Digg.com

NPR on web-based directions

“Ask anyone for directions and you will see the strengths and weaknesses of the human species…” (NPR Morning Edition, Jan 10, 2006) Sometimes I am a little frightened that I will start a story off that way, big intro…small return.  While the story brought out good points for the general public to be mindful of, they didn’t spend much time on the data which all of the direction finding services mentioned rely on third party data and instead focused on the network analysis (never called that though).  Overall, good information for folks not familiar with the way it works…humorous (or sad) if you are a professional.

Via Glenn’s GISUser Blog

Google Maps mash-up to track your packages

Ok, so I admit, I’m probably more excited about this than most people, but whenever I order something, I obsessively track its progress via the handy tracking feature on most carriers websites. Now, I can obsessively track my packages as they move across space and time with Packagemapper.com, which uses Google Maps to display the progress of US Postal Service, UPS and FedEx packages right to your door. The site has been featured on Digg.com and other places, so it’s getting hit pretty hard.

Update on National Geospatial Technical Operations Center review

Adena over at the AllPoints blog posted a link yesterday to the USGS site, where the final report on the review of the decision process that led to the selection of Denver as the site for the NGTOC was posted. There doesn’t seem to be an associated press release and the results, which upheld the earlier decision, are not surprising. This also clears the way for the competitivie sourcing process to get underway.

Jesse’s 2 cents: I agree that this isn’t really surprising. Still, I am we are not a proponent for centralizing in such a manner. I work with (not for) the NRCS and I have seen what impact multiple offices, centers, structures, etc have on an organization, and while at times it causes redundancy it also creates important feedback. This feedback is a blend of positives and negatives that usually work out in the end to create a better product for their customers, the US citizens. While the decision to centralize isn’t surprising since funding is tight throughout the government, the customers (all of us) are clamoring for more products. Perhaps the onus should be on the government to stay abreast of their customers needs and remain technological savvy to supply ever improving products as opposed to closing doors on some opportunities and important jobs.