Month: May 2010


Heavy metal…not just for the 80’s

BBC News has a great graphic showing the fastest supercomputers around the world, sorting them by Country (where they are located), speed, OS (Linux in a landslide), application, processor manufacturer, and system manufacturer (IBM has more but Cray has faster). It is pretty interesting to see all of this information, though I would like to see a comparison between these supercomputer numbers and the total computing power behind a Google, Amazon, or Microsoft cloud system. In the geospatial arena, while it is nice to have the supercomputing muscle behind global, 3D, or large network models, most of our daily activities take place on a smaller scale that can run locally or across copper and still perform admirably. But that doesn’t mean we wouldn’t like to have a supercomputer in the closet for those special occasions.

A VerySpatial Podcast – Episode 254

A VerySpatial Podcast

Shownotes – Episode 254
May 30, 2010

Main Topic: Our conversation with Tim Trainor of the US Census Bureau

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    Read More

    The NorthSkirt

    I say that we should have more clothing that incorporates navigation aids.

    Spatial Humanities SIG at the ESRIUC

    Since the AAG/UVA sponsored Geography and the Humanities session back in 2007 there has been an ever growing conversation about the use of spatial technologies in the humanities. UVA’s Scholars’ Lab Institute for Enabling Geospatial Scholarship which has taken place over the last few months, including a round earlier this week, is an example of an open event that focuses on these discussions. There have been a few other small group workshops over the last year or so as well, that are yielding papers and books like the upcoming Spatial Humanities book.

    With the ESRI International User Conference just around the corner in July, it seems like a good time to try to pull together those folks who will be in San Diego who has an interest in Spatial Humanities. We have a Spatial Humanities special interest group meeting scheduled for Tuesday July 13 at 5:30 in Room 30D of the SDCC. We currently have one of the co-editors of the Spatial Humanities book who is going to talk about what they came up with and talk about in the text. Then there will be lots of time to break up and talk about some specifics. We look forward to seeing all of the folks who are interested in the intersection of GIS and the humanities at the meeting. Keep in mind that if you are sticking around to the end of the EdUC on Tuesday you should come by.

    FedEx and Buttheadistan

    A Bittersweet Last Goodbye for the Mars Phoenix Lander

    Today would have been the 2-year anniversary of the Mars Phoenix lander’s touchdown on Mars and, although it was a longshot that the lander would have survived the harsh Martian winter, numerous listening attempts have been made since January in hopes of hearing a signal from the craft. Efforts have finally ended this past week, as a failure to hear anything, combined with an image of the lander taken by the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter on May 7th showed strong evidence of fatal damage to the lander’s solar panels.

    The Phoenix lander’s mission, though, was a great success, and I think it was also a great demonstration of how NASA could leverage social media, by utilizing a Twitter feed in Phoenix’s name to offer updates on the mission and the data and analysis it has provided. Phoenix verified that water exists in the Martian soil, and even observed what may have been snow falling on Mars:

    All in all, another amazing scientific mission to explore our solar system, and hopefully we will be able to continue to build on the knowledge gained from our exploration of Mars. For a University of Arizona video of the Mars Phoenix lander’s mission highlights, click here.

    Via National Geographic News

    5th Anniversary Contest – Question 2

    On to the second of 5 questions. Remember, you can answer each question only once. A correct answer will mean an entry into the drawing for an XBOX 360 (answer all 5 questions correctly, you get 5 entries). All submissions must be in by midnight July 1, 2010. Additional contest details and restrictions can be found on the 5th anniversary contest page. Good Luck!

    Scott Kurtz can predict the future! And there’s Starbucks discounts

    If you read (a great webcomic, by the way), you’ll recall a story line where a character uses a fictional Foursquare like service to become the mayor of a coffee shop.  In the comic, this entitles him to discounts on coffee.  In a strange twist of life imitating art, Starbucks is now providing discounts to actual Foursquare mayors of various Starbucks across the land.  This is a pretty cool blending of the virtual space with the actual space and starts to highlight a lot of the promise of Location Based Services.  It turns it all into a sort of ‘meta game’ and I, for one, find it utterly fascinating (not least of all because I find PVP hilarious!)  I think you’ll begin to see more and more of these sorts of blurring between the real world and the virtual world.

    A VerySpatial Podcast – Episode 253

    A VerySpatial Podcast

    Shownotes – Episode 253
    May 23, 2010

    Main Topic: Our conversation with Bern Szukalski on

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    Read More public beta is now live

    Ever since we got the first preview of and ArcGIS Explorer Online back at the Dev Summit, we’ve been waiting for the chance to try it out ourselves, Well, ESRI’s Bern Szukalski tweeted earlier today that the public beta is now live, so you can head over to and start making and sharing maps and checking out its other features. In this week’s podcast, Episode 253, which will be going live tomorrow morning, you’ll be able to listen to Bern tell us a little bit more about and how it fits into the overall ESRI platform.

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