Month: August 2009
As many of you know, we have been involved in research related to geovisualization, 3D immersive virtual environments, and 3D virtual worlds for quite a while, and we’ve talked about some of the issues and opportunities a number of times on the podcast. One of the biggest obstacles to a compelling VR environment is getting a true sense of physical immersion, and a project called Virtualization Gate from INRIA and Grenoble University in France has developed a full-body immersive system that places the user within a 3D virtual world that can be interacted with. The video below, created for SIGGRAPH 2009, shows the system in action, but also shows just how difficult it is to set up a system like this with current technology. Still, this a pretty cool project, and I wish our CAVE setup at WVU could do this:
Via Singularity Hub
Some of you may have seen this already, but here’s a cool concept for those times when you just want to see a map, or when you want to point something out to someone without having to start at your smartphone screen or, God forbid, unfold a paper map…It’s called MAPTOR, and it’s a design concept from Jin-Sun Park and Seon-keun Park. Basically, you wear the MAPTOR projector on a lanyard or maybe even as a keychain or beltclip, and when you need to see your map, you press a button, and Presto! your map is projected onto whatever nearby surface is handy. Since it’s a concept only, it’s not available commercially, but I would love to have one…
Since I finished my GISP application and FINALLY sent it in I thought it was probably time to highlight the GIS Certification Institute. From their web site the GISCI
“provides the geographic information systems (GIS) community with a complete certification program. GISCI offers participants from the first early years on the job until retirement a positive method of developing value for professionals and employers in the GIS profession.”
While the GIS community itself seems to fall into varying camps regarding the issue of certification, GISCI offers an option for those of us who feel that certification should move forward. The organization has grown out of efforts and conversations at URISA and other educational organizations along with industry. GISCI’s certification process is experience based and relies on documentation of your education, GIS experience and your service to the GIS community (kind of a tenure process for GIS folks really). If you are more interested in a test-based certification you may want to look to the ASPRS.
While there is no universally recognized certification for GIS and geospatial technology professionals, I think that GISCI has made the most significant steps toward such a goal with at least 4,535 GISP members to date.
The Disney Universe is a pretty elaborate one and one of the ways they keep it running is GIS. Some of the current job openings include is a civil engineering intern with a knowledge of GIS, several GIS and remote sensing related Animal Program internships, and many actual GIS related jobs around the U.S. with Disney. None of the jobs involve creating elaborate scavenger hunts on Disney property or Disney themed GPS equipment as far as I can tell…. but wouldn’t that be cool.
An article in the U.K. Dailymail covers current research about why people walk in circles when they get lost. Although I am sure that it was written with tongue in cheek about the usefulness of this type of study, the actual results are geospatial. According to a researcher quoted in the article, ‘People cannot walk in a straight line if they do not have absolute references, such as a tower or a mountain in the distance or the sun or moon, and often end up walking in circles.’ So true in making maps, so true in real life. The funniest thing about the article is the editorial comments section by people explaining situations in which they were lost.
The BBC has a nice write up of Augmented Reality and a video from Layar demoing how their phone based AR works. LBS marches forward!
Today I bring you a public service announcement…As I sit in my new 10×11 windowless office on the campus of UNC Pembroke, I realize I am at a bridging moment in life that I wouldn’t necessarily suggest to other grad students of any discipline. I am teaching four general education courses this semester, 2 Intro to Geography and 2 World Regions, AND trying to push through the last stages of my dissertation. I am lucky in 2 ways: 1) the classes here are capped at 40 students (I am used to teaching a single class that could have 200-300 where as here my total number of students is only 160 max) and 2) there isn’t a huge push for research $$ and pubs in the first year here so the pubs that I already have in progress will probably cover me for this year and next.
The point of my rambling so far is that if you are working on your grad degree, PLEASE try to finish your defense before you head out into the real world. I didn’t stick around on campus any longer because (in my mind at least) I will actually have more time now that I am not a grad student being torn between GTA, research, helping other students, and the last thing I worked (my own fault) my dissertation document.
We tend to over extend ourselves though. We go on to get advanced degrees BECAUSE we want to work with others and be involved with research…it definitely isn’t about the money 😉 But I encourage my fellow grad students to step back occassionally, lock your self in a room with the internet and phone turned off and write like mad. It will make your move to the industry or academic job that you snagged easier for you and the folks around you.
Here’s an interesting bit of geographic news from the USDA – rural counties with broadband tend to have more jobs and those jobs are better paying. Another fascinating finding is that households above the same income level tend to have broadband. Rural-urban differences become non-existant above a certain level. There are also some regional differences, with the south east unsuprisingly being behind the times relative to the rest of the US. The article contains a link to the full report if you want to check the nitty gritty. To me the whole report highlights the critical importance of our rural areas adopting broadband and doing so quickly.