Month: May 2011


A VerySpatial Podcast – Episode 306

A VerySpatial Podcast
Shownotes – Episode 306
May 31, 2011

Main Topic: Direction of GIS

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    Animated Maps on Memorial Day Weekend

    On this memorial day weekend the History Channel is kicking off a week of Civil War themed shows.  While watching I thought I’d see if there were any interesting maps available on the intertubes.  What did I find? Some wonderful animated maps from the Civil War Trust ! The maps are flash based and progress through some key battles of the war.  The site also provides users historical maps and new digital maps that are static.

    Additionally, the site has available BattleApps. The BattleApps are virtual Civil War tour guides for the war or specific battles for the iPhone or iPad.  The apps are location aware and throughout the tour one could view video clips from the national park service and see locations of troops of both the North and South.  Another great example of giving old paper maps a new lease on life with digital innovation!

    Fredericksburg Gets Civil War App:


    New Pyramids Found Through Remote Sensing

    Finding new pyramids in Egypt! Apparently a team out of NASA used IR cameras to find underground rooms of 17 new pyramids. It also found 1,000 tombs and 3,000 new settlements. Archeology through remote sensing. What’s cooler than THAT? Indiana Jones would be jealous 🙂

    Cicadas, Locusts, and Mapping

    Throughout history, cicada and locusts have produced fascination, food, and frustration, among other f words. The Cicada Mania site “Dedicated to cicadas, the most amazing insects in the world.” provides TONS of information on cicadas. Other calls for citizen scientists include those of University of Georgia, Dept. of Entomology, asking for pictures and locations of cicadas and shed cicada skins. Their call recommends that parents participate with their young children because their children will not see this amazing event again until they are adults.

    Many countries have set up citizen science watches to keep tabs on what is happening this year. According to a Charlotte news report, the 14 state Cicada Watch citizen science project had hundreds of volunteers in Mechlenberg County, NC alone this year. Other watch projects across take place across the globe. The Australian Government of Agriculture,Fisheries, and Forestry has an up to date section for “Current Locust Situation and News“. The Desert Locust Watch is produced by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations for desert regions such as the Sudan, Morocco, Saudi Arabia,

    Call for presentations, AAG 2012 session

    With the AAG taking place in February next year, the call for papers will close earlier than usual (Sept 28). Due to this earlier timeline I am putting out a call for a session I am putting together that will be made up of papers that will look at Participatory or Community Integrated GIS since the broad introduction, in 2005, of user generated and crowd sourced data along with Web 2.0 technologies. The broad question underlying the session will be “How have open data and accessible technologies changed Participatory GIS approaches?”. Presentations should provide:

  • a discussion of the changes in participatory projects,
  • an overview of the connection between participation and new data sources,
  • a specific example of new technologies in action,
  • or a sample of how communities are taking advantage of open data and new software.
  • If you plan to attend the AAG in NY and would like to be included in the session please contact me and provide a tentative title and a one sentence description of your topic. I will post a second call in August and finalize the session in early September.

    VerySpatial TV 43 – Frank @ AAG’11

    Frank Lafone discusses his poster and project at the 2011 Association of American Geographers conference in Seattle.

    Click here to download VSTV Episode 43 full size (132 MB)
    Click here to download VSTV Episode 43 small size (23 MB)

    A VerySpatial Podcast – Episode 305

    A VerySpatial Podcast
    Shownotes – Episode 305
    May 22, 2011

    Main Topic: The intersection of touch and mobile

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    Sony SmartAR – markerless augmented reality

    Augmented reality is one of those technologies that has seemed like it would be next big thing for the last couple of years, but it has proven pretty difficult to translate from WOW factor proof-of-concept prototypes to actual commercial implementations. When I saw this demo video of Sony’s Smart AR, though, I have to say I was pretty impressed with how good the AR model looks in the real-world environment it’s being projected into, and how responsive it is. The SmartAR seems to be able to handle movement in the 3D space really well, and the virtual object is not tied to the marker surface, which is really important in making the augmented reality compelling. Another aspect of SmartAR technology allows a user to capture an image of an object and then access additional information about that object through the device. For Sony, of course, implementing technology like Smart AR for gaming and other commercial uses is certainly a main focus, but I can see tons of other applications for markerless, high-speed augmented reality.

    Via Engadget

    How to Read a Map

    Found a fun little video that shows that while we have come a long way, we are trying to share the same ideas now that we were a few decades ago.

    Endeavor’s last launch is picture perfect

    I’ve already posted my thoughts on the approaching end of NASA’s space shuttle program, but Endeavor‘s last launch this morning went off perfectly, and reminded me once again how amazing the program has been. There will be one more shuttle flight, STS-135 in early July, when Atlantis takes its final trip into orbit. So, here’s to a successful final mission and landing for Endeavor!

    (Image courtesy of NASA)

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