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 GISCafe Voice

Posts Tagged ‘Google’

Crowdsourcing, or, 200,000 heads are better than one

Monday, October 24th, 2011

A think tank is usually comprised of a group of people hand selected to solve a particular problem or to do research on a problem. We don’t usually open up the think tank to just anyone.


Crowdsourcing opens up a question or inquiry or research to everyone, or perhaps to a select special interest group, those who can offer authoritative data. People are drawn to contribute knowledge – whether it be of the pothole status in a given neighborhood, crime rates, weather patterns, or crisis intervention. This knowledge has very often not had a home in the past because there was nowhere to put it, or it might have to be vetted first (made into authoritative geodata) before being committed to the total database of knowledge on the given subject.

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Welcome to the GISCafe Voice

Wednesday, October 19th, 2011

Welcome to our new offering, the  GISCafe Voice. This is a new editorial blog-type content that will provide more timely coverage of breaking news to be posted two-three times per week. The articles will provide rich editorial content on topics important to GIS and geospatial professionals, including conference coverage, coverage of geospatial being used in emergency response and disaster recovery, and new products and trends that shape the industry.

Why the GISCafe Voice at this time?

We’re noticing that as geospatial information and geographic information systems become more pervasive, they are becoming critical in more industries than ever before. They are a part of the defense military and homeland security departments, tracking and identification of weather systems such as hurricanes , tsunamis, floods and earthquakes. Organizations without large GIS departments still need access to GIS information which is possible now with technologies that allow individuals to view, markup and access GIS information on the internet or in the cloud. Crowdsourcing has added another dimension to GIS and geospatial, opening up the technology to anyone who wants to contribute current information about an event, community or disaster.

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Black Friday shopping geo news

Tuesday, November 23rd, 2010

The Dealmap, a source for consumers to find and share local deals,  announced it has categorized and mapped more than 165,000 unique Black Friday product offers at more than 52,000 retail locations so that consumers can easily find nearby holiday sales.  The press release says that the Dealmap’s Android and iPhone apps are the “first and only” mobile applications that make use of location awareness to display nearby Black Friday deals on a map.

Borders is participating in Google’s Local Availability feature, a national service that provides customers with “a fast, easy and convenient way to search for books and other products at participating retailers.” Borders has also linked up with Meetup to enable consumers to direct customers to family-friendly events in their communities. Look for a dedicated page at Borders.com on Meetup Everywhere for customers to locate Borders’ kids parties, storytime events, musical performances, national author readings and book signings as well as other activities happening in their communities.

New retail and mobile merchandising opportunities will come about as a result of the acquisition of NearbyNow, mobile location technology provider by JiWire, a location-based mobile media company. 

Maybe not in time for Black Friday this year, the acquisition “accelerates the expansion of JiWire’s extensive location-based media channel across Wi-Fi and mobile with the addition of industry-leading location technology. The combination of JiWire’s broad location-based audience, which gives advertisers access to over 35 million monthly uniques, and NearbyNow’s sophisticated mobile location technology and deep expertise in retail and mobile merchandising will create a new set of location-based advertising opportunities for major brands.”

Google sues Interior Department

Tuesday, November 2nd, 2010

An article in this morning’s New York Times reports that Google is suing the Department of Interior for violating the Competition in Contracting Act by considering only Microsoft email and collaboration software products for its 88,000 employees, and not Google Apps.

with a suit filed Friday in the U.S. Court of Federal Claims, Google is attempting to block the department from buying any of the Microsoft software until it allows competitive bidding. Google Apps are cloud-based tools. In July, the company came out with Google Apps for government, which passed federal security standards.

Google Claims U.S. Excluded It From Contract The New York Times November 2, 2010

SketchUp 8 includes access to all of Google’s geospatial data

Friday, September 10th, 2010

Google SketchUp 8 was announced at Google’s user conference 3D Basecamp held in Boulder, Co. last week.

 

The released focuses on the following features: 

 

Some very straightforward access from within the modeling interface for SketchUp to all of Google’s geospatial data. “For an architect, we can give you a very comprehensive site model for any project you’re working on almost anywhere in the world,” said product manager John Bacus. “Obviously some areas have better data coverage than others, but we’re able to give SketchUp modelers direct access to Google’s aerial photography collection. We also have launched a new data service that provides high resolution terrain directly into the SketchUp modeler for almost any location on earth.”

 

Modelers have access to any 3D building models for adjacent buildings to a site they might be working on. Most of these models are coming from other SketchUp users, said Bacus. “For the last four and a half years or so, the SketchUp team has been working on building systems for users to make models of 3D buildings and now we’re able to give those back to the SketchUp modeling community in the form of site models, context models.and we also can give users access to streetview data for use in site reference or directly as photographic texturing for their models.”

 

The Building Maker app which was launched previously, gives people an easy modeling interface for buildng low rez photographically textured 3D buildings in places where Google had collected aerial oblique imagery, a birdseye type of view of a city. “We’re able to drag polygons on top of photography and do a kind of lightweight photogrammetry to figure out the precise dimensions of any building,” said Bacus. “In SketchUp 8 we’ve made that into a kind of feature in the modeler so you can bring up a window inside the main SketchUp interface and make a quick massing model for an existing building. Google will automatically texture it for you and send it back directly into the active SketchUp model in its proper scale and goelocation. For those users who want to start in Building Maker for a model, we also have a way to convert Building Maker models into SketchUp models. We’ve added a couple of new tools that make it easy to take the primitive massing model from Building Maker and add detail to it, clean up some of the messy geometry and add higher quality textures etc. The data is all freely available.”

 

SketchUp 8 also has a whole new set of modeling tools for people with experience in other 3D modeling packages. They include a simple set of Boolean modeling tools, which allow users to do unions and subtractions, trims and splits. The geometry model makes it possible to  now do objects that do volumes, so users can actually report the volume of collections of geometry in the SketchUp model. “If users are doing things like complex concrete form work, we can give them a pretty good first order estimation of the volume of concrete they’re going to need, so they can do a little more analysis on the model in that way,” said Bacus.

 

Google data collection meets with investigation

Wednesday, August 18th, 2010

StreetView, Google’s photo-mapping service, was in the news this week as a judge in Spain opened an investigation into whether Google collected data from unsecured wireless networks unlawfully while assembling photographs for StreetView.

 

This may be a continuing chapter in the story of “Who Owns Data?” A representative of Google was ordered to appear before the judge, Raquel Fernandino, in early October over a lawsuit filed by a Spanish association of Internet users. The summons was issued last month, but made public only this week.

Street View has been in the news in other European countries that have strict privacy laws, including Germany and Switzerland, causing regulatory and legal problems for Google. In Hamburg this May, a judge opened a criminal investigation of Google over its collection of data from unsecured Wi-Fi networks in Germany.

Google Sued in Spain Over Data Collecting by Raphael Minder, August, 17, 2010, The New York Times (registration required)

New online mapping tool for U.S. Census Bureau

Wednesday, March 3rd, 2010

“With mail-out of the 2010 Census forms less than one month away, the U. S. Census Bureau unveiled a new online mapping tool that allows communities nationwide to prepare for the 2010 Census by seeing how well they did mailing back their 2000 Census forms.

Visitors to the new Google-based map will be able to find the 2000 Census mail participation rates for states, counties and cities, as well as smaller areas called “census tracts.” After the 2010 Census forms are mailed out in mid-March, the online map will be updated to include a tracking tool with daily updates of the 2010 Census mail participation rates for local areas across the nation. Users will be able to compare their 2010 Census progress using their 2000 Census rates as a benchmark..”

–from the press release March 3, 2010

Battle of the mapping giants at the Olympics

Thursday, February 25th, 2010

It would seem that Google and Microsoft have been vying for mapping airtime during the Olympics in Vancouver. According to a CNET article, “Google has been featuring Olympic-themed doodles on its home page, while Bing is featuring Olympic-themed photos as its background, with the images rotating several times a day. Microsoft can also tap the fact it is helping power NBC’s Olympics Web site through MSN, giving it access to quite a bit of content from the Games….

Bing Maps has a special Olympics page that lets visitors see medal charts and click on a country to see how its athletes are faring. Meanwhile, Microsoft has also updated Vancouver with new street-side imagery and made it one of three cities (along with Seattle and San Francisco) in which it is trying out new features, such as Flickr integration”

For its part, Google features an interactive schedule, with links to medal results, news, and the venues. To get additional imagery for its maps program, Google augmented its usual fleet of cars with Street View photos captured by snowmobile.

Vancouver Sun reporter Jeff Lee has been covering the preparation for the Games since 2003.

His Vancouver map, created on top of Google Maps, has pin points for everything from the venues, to public events, national pavilions, and public transit stops and road closures.”

Olympics notebook: Mapping the Vancouver Games by Ina Fried, CNET News.com

Great product, but where’s the help?

Wednesday, January 13th, 2010

“Google’s celebrated algorithms may power the Web’s most popular search engine, but they have not yet been programmed to answer a call when a customer has a problem.”

The New York Times, January 13, 2010

Owners of the new Nexus One touch screen smartphone from Google are complaining that they can’t call the company for help and the company warns that it may take up to 48 hours to respond to emails.

http://www.nytimes.com/2010/01/13/technology/companies/13google.html?th&emc=th

Google announces Nexus One

Tuesday, January 5th, 2010

Google is set to launch its first own-brand mobile phone today. It includes a five-megapixel camera and is lighter and thinner than Apple’s iPhone, according to press reports.

The Nexus One is the first smart phone designed by the company’s own engineers and is expected to be unveiled at a press conference at its headquarters in California.

Unlike other mobile phones, it will be available from Google itself, allowing customers to use the network of their choice.

The launch of the Nexus is seen as Google’s latest bid to promote the Android operating system which it designed in 2007 and which is already used on other phones, including Motorola’s Milestone.

http://www.nytimes.com/2010/01/05/technology/internet/05google.html?th&emc=th

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