Month: June 2006


Q or text balloon

quiznoQuiznos. the sub joint, has these bizarre little trays that are supposed to be Q shaped I guess. They are much more useful as text balloons in my opinion. That is a project for Make magazine, scrolling LEDs in the trays 🙂

Be sure to click the image to check out our conversation.

MesoStor – Online GIS data delivery system for Central America

I was going through my Caribbean GIS listserv alerts, and I noticed one about MesoStor, a project to make GIS data about Mesoamerica available online. MesoStor is part of SERVIR, “a regional visualization and monitoring system for Mesoamerica that integrates satellite and other geospatial data for improved scientific knowledge and decision making by managers, researchers, students, and the general public.” What is really cool about this project is all the partners who are working together to make it happen. The USGS and NASA have contributed data and expertise (in fact, the site is hosted by NASA), and other partners include NOAA, The Nature Conservancy, Conservacion Internacional, ESRI, the World Bank, and several universities.

LAPD Get their Spidey Tracer!

If you read the blog regularly, you’ll know my facination with the “Spidey Tracer”. (in truth, I’m facinated with all super gadgets… Batman is my hero!) Now the LAPD will jump on the spidey tracer fun bandwagon with Virginia-based company StarChase’s new laser homing dart GPS. The dart can be launched by chase vehicles onto a suspects car. Rather than chase through LA’s busy streets and breakneck speeds, the police can catch the alleged criminal in a safer manner. Apparently this is a huge issue because the article linked above states that police chase, on average, kill on Californian every week! Hopefully this new device will help lower that scary statistic.

Texas Redistricting Decision – Legislators can redraw maps whenever they like

Well, the Supreme Court decision on the case of the Texas congressional re-districting map is in and, while there was a small victory for Democrats and minority voters, the real long-term impact is that the court ruled that “state legislators may draw new maps as often as they like – not just once a decade as Texas Democrats claimed. That means Democratic and Republican state lawmakers can push through new maps anytime there is a power shift at a state capital.”

So, let’s think about this. Now, the explosion of web mapping and new ways to link demographic data to location have placed vast amounts of information at the disposal of politicians, if they really want to use it. I think it’s only a matter of time before all of that information starts being used in addition to, or even instead of, traditional census data for re-drawing congressional district boundaries.


50th Anniversary of the creation of the US Interstate Highway system

Tomorrow, June 29th, will be the 50th anniversary of the signing of the bill that created the US interstate highway system. An article at MSNBC today has a nice little discussion about how the interstates fundamentally changed the way Americans live.

Major calendar update

Update: I have found how to make WebCalendar allow subscriptions. If you are using an iCalendar based software use as the subscription address and you should receive all updates to the calendar as we publish them.

We have just added over 20 new events to the calendar, so be sure to check those out to figure out where you want to take your vacation this year 😉

We are primarily pulling from the AAG, GITA, and URISA calendars to fill out our calendar. If you know of any other organizations or companies that keep lists of upcoming events please let us know so we can include their announcements in our calendar.

Comments and pingbacks

Update: NOW comments work without a login. I apparently forgot to uncheck a box on another page in the options. Happy commenting.

I am going to give it a try. I am opening up comments and pingbacks/trackbacks. It is still possible you will get kicked over to moderation before your comment appears, but the spam filters finally seem to be working well. Fingers crossed people 🙂

Mark Up Your Google Maps

Quickmaps is a beta site that allows you to draw on your googlemaps. You can drag and drop a bunch of different markers, add a text label, or even draw straight or curved lines. You can add a title and some textual information for your map. Then, you can add it to your website. Apparently the site is having some issues since it got Dug, but here’s a link to the developer’s blog. The blog has a nice tutorial of how to use the site, as well as a link to the newer application. There’s also some pretty nice examples of what you can do with the tools.

Urban Planning – Sim City style

BBC News has a nice article about MetroQuest, a software application that uses a Sim City-like visual interface to allow users to model how urban planning decisions might affect the city over the next 40 years. MetroQuest has been used by planners in several places, including Manchester, England and Bali in Indonesia. By allowing users to visualize geographic information in ways that more closely represent real-world features, tools like MetroQuest can help increase participation in planning decisions by reducing the level of cartographic expertise required to understand what it is being represented. There’s a whole subdiscipline known as PGIS, or participatory GIS, that looks at ways to include the public in decision-making processes that are supported by GIS, and visualization tools like MetroQuest would fit right into those types of projects.

Watch Boats In Real Time

This site, although still in beta, shows boat traffic in the San Francisco bay in real time. You can see different boats and ships move around the bay over the course of a half an hour. There’s a handy speed adjustment to make them move faster or slower. If you move your pointer over one of the arrows, you can get information about the boats movement speed, size, and destination. If you click on the table below the map, you can watch individual ships move about.

I’m of three or four minds about this site. On the one hand, I think it’s a pretty cool implementation of real-time data. On the other hand, it’s kinda scary what you can find out in real-time. And on the third hand its just cool to watch!

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