Month: June 2008
Click on the image to the see a larger version…no really, if you like Star Wars even just a little you must see this life size statue version of Princess Leia. But this isn’t your standard bikini clad Leia, it is the re-envisioned for the Clone Wars cartoons Leia. She is in her full Episode IV, A New Hope, original Star Wars my-unknown-father-just-took-over-my-ship-and-I-have-to-hide-these-plans-in-an-R2-unit-that-belonged-to-my-mom-though-I-will-never-know-that-bit-of-info glory complete with buns and white flimsy “dress” and laser gun. Our local(ish) comic store got this in for one of the customers and while the picture does this (5 foot tall) statue some justice…it is still one of those things that must be seen to believe. This may take the title of “coolest statue” from the current holder, a (larger than) life size Hagrid made out of Legos that I saw in London.
The latest mass email from ESRI regarding the International User Conference had a small blurb on a new Remote Sensing GIS Summit that has been added to the event on Sunday August 3 from 8:30 to 5:30. The preliminary agenda includes keynote and case study presentations as well as the expected technical presentations. If you are going to be in San Diego for the UC and will be in town on Sunday then you may want to check this out. We were thinking of hitting Lego Land that afternoon but I will try to mix the Remote Sensing GIS Summit (RSGS?) with the EdUC sessions in the morning.
Also, go ahead and put our live show on your schedule for Tuesday afternoon.
Ubisoft, maker of… well… LOTS of video games, is working on Far Cry 2. For those not in the video game know, Far Cry has pushed the limits of PC gaming hardware in the last year. Far Cry 2 looks to raise the bar even higher. The game takes place in Africa and features a game world of over 50 square kilometers, which is the biggest game world I think I’ve heard. There are a lot of innovative features in the engine, like a custom wind engine and the destructibility of everything in the world itself, particularly with the foliage (which doesn’t sound like much, but it’s a MAJOR improvement in gaming technology). Even if you aren’t into games, the possible applications of an engine like this for serious games or real world gaming can’t be ignored. Shacknews features a 20 minute demo video of the game (WARNING: the video is R rated!)
The band Nine Inch Nails has posted a cool new visualization of the 1,400,000 downloads of their latest album, The Slip, that they have released as a KML file. The data represents individual downloads directly from their site, and it’s is a cool way of seeing where those Nine Inch Nails fans really are. I’d love to see other bands do the same with their downloads.
Jesse added: Keep in mind that the 10 song version of The Slip is free and available directly from the NIN website so Trent R. and the gang have a wealth of information from server logs that no one, with the possible exception of Radiohead, has in terms of seeing where their tunes are being downloaded. It makes it pretty clear where NIN should focus their live shows.
I probably owe Glenn a buck for covering a Nokia topic (I’ll get it to you in San Diego) but I am giddy about some of the steps Nokia has taken in the OS, services and data areas. The data, of course, is their acquisition of Navteq which is awaiting the final go ahead from European regulators. The services is the announcement this week of their acquisition of Plazes.com, not to mention their own location services (check out our interview from Where 2.0 2008).
The topper though is their take over of Symbian Limited (the SymbianOS) and the newly announced Symbian Foundation (with 10 MAJOR players in the cell phone arena). While Symbian isn’t a big deal in the US, the SymbianOS is the leading SmartPhone operating system overall and until Android came out, the SymbianOS was the most open cell phone platform for developers. I am not going to connect the dots between the data, services and OS solutions, but just the continuing growth and direction are impressive. Here in the states we are talking (Google) Android and Apple iPhone, but Nokia is probably far more entrenched in Europe and Asia than either of these new comers can hope for. On top of that, I would think that given the closed structure of the US cell market (having grown out of CDMA) Nokia only gives us a small fraction of their efforts. Either way I am excited to see where Nokia (and the Symbian Foundation) are headed and hope that some of the ideas make their way back to the states for me to play with.
When looking for more information on the world’s biggest cruise ship, I found a great blog on GIS CAD Interoperability aptly called “GIS CAD Interoperability” GIS and CAD are some of the tools used to design cruise ships which are essentially floating cities. When you watch a video of the world’s biggest cruise ship, Oasis of the Seas, being built for Royal Caribbean you can practically see GIS at work. Some sections of the ship even have their own microclimate. You can book your trip at the Royal Carribbean site. Another cool, albeit less luxurious, cruise ship site is POGO-Ocean Cruises which is the International Research Cruise Information tool and website to locate the next ship for your big or small research expidition. It is a little disconcerting to go from the image of the Oasis of the Seas to POGO’s charateristics of research vessels but both of them look like fun.
The guys from CASA at UCL emailed us a few weeks ago about MapTube, another one of their great projects. I’ve wanted to post about it since then, but let some other things push it out of my mind temporarily. For those of you who haven’t seen it yet, MapTube is a site where you can go “to share, mix and mash maps with a nod towards professional map makers.” MapTube has a nice interface for viewing maps, and the cool thing is that you can actually overlay different maps and create new composite maps using the Search page. The maps aren’t actually stored on the site, just links, so that map owners can share their maps without having to upload them to the site. While there aren’t a ton of maps on MapTube yet, it’s a great idea and definitely worth checking out.
For more info on MapTube, check out this post at the Digital Urban blog
Boston.com has posted a collection of images and animations of Mars, both from orbiting reconnaissance imagers and from landers. They include true color mosaics taken from high-altitude and from the surface, a really neat image of sunset on Mars in color, and my favorite, a time-lapse animation of dust devils passing by the NASA Rover Spirit back in 2005.