A VerySpatial Podcast
Shownotes – Episode 354
April 29, 2012
Main Topic: 3D and Geo
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I am floored! We talk all the time about the use of SketchUp in building out virtual worlds and have just taken for granted that it was tied in to Google’s draw for Earth and Maps. Apparently that was not such a given.
The SketchUp acquisition is just the most recent in a line of notable acquisitions that include eCognition for Remote Sensing and PeopleNet for logistics, as well as others that link to SketchUp’s potential such as BIM and StruCAD.
These software trends have been on top of Trimble’s growing GNSS and a related hardware offerings.
This morning Space Shuttle Discovery left Kennedy Space Center in Florida on its way to its new home at the Smithsonian in Washington, DC, and it got a great sendoff in Florida, with tons of pictures out there on the Internet for those who couldn’t be there. When Discover got to Washington, its piggyback carrier plane did a flyby of the city, a cool and touching tribute and welcome. Definitely check out NASA’s Kennedy Space Center Facebook page and the usual social media suspects for images.
A BBC article, “Pretty Pictures: Can Images Stop Data Overload?” by business reporter, Fiona Graham, supports what many geospatial researchers have argued about the many reasons for business to use GIS and visual images. A neuroscience and psychology lecturer at Brunel University found using images help the brain process large amounts of data because they can use and retain the information more efficiently. They use David McCandless’s Information is Beautiful website as an example of data visualisation.
One thought that the article raises is the abscence of any spatial vocubulary even though data visualization leans heavily towards geospatial patterns, analysis, and mapping. GIS and other geo-spatial techniques remain an invisible step in the process between data and visual outcome or “pretty pictures”. Finding support for the use of images in the business world might be step towards raising awareness of the diverse applicability of GIS and geo-visualization.
As GIS people, we know we do awesome stuff everyday. However, this may ratchet up the awesome to 11… or maybe 12. A Indian man who had been adopted by an Australian family has found his long lost family via Google Earth. That brief summation doesn’t do the story justice and there isn’t much I can add here besides this – go read it. It’ll make your GIS heart proud.
Oh, and technology is AWESOME!
The World Bank has announced it will be joining the open data movement as of July 1st. All of its research and associated data will be found on a portal called the Open Knowledge Repository. Right now the repository holds a couple thousand of their book and publications for free download. By July 1st, the data is supposed to show up as well. There’s no word if any of the data will be specifically geospatial, but as we all know, it is pretty easy to take spreadsheet data and import it. The World Bank has had a fairly controversial history. Hopefully the movement toward open data will allow more eyes on their activity, whether it’s to critique or support.
March was a crazy warm month. How crazy? Over 15,000 temperature records were broken in the US over the month. Check out the video to see where they happened. If you’d like to find out more (or to verify the data yourself), check out the official report on NOAA’s website.