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Posts Tagged ‘Google’

The importance of U.S. commercial satellite imagery

Friday, April 13th, 2012

High resolution imagery of sub-meter – less than 40 inches – is only available from GeoEye, DigitalGlobe, Astrium Geo, and ImageSat. It is what the stuff of Google is made of. GeoEye and DigitalGlobe represent approximately 75% of this market, and 2/3 of their revenue is tied to the U.S.  government. There are lots of free, government sources of satellite imagery like Landsat, and weather satellites from NASA and NOAA, but these are not high-resolution satellites that can zoom in on your house, or support 3D modeling for engineering and virtual reality-type applications.

Read about why U.S. commercial satellite imagery is important:

The Fate of U.S. Commercial Satellite Imagery – and why you should care LBx Journal

 

Apple acquisition of C3 Technologies for 3D mapping

Thursday, November 17th, 2011

In October, Apple publicly announced its acquisition of its third mapping company since 2009 when it acquired C3 Technologies. C3 Technologies is a 3D mapping technology, Apple’s second acquisition of 3D mapping, after Poly9 was acquired last year.


Although it has just been announced, the acquisition actually occurred last year and is said to be worth around $240 million. The acquisition is expected to change Apple’s relationship with Google Maps, from which it outsources technology for its GIS mapping technology. This could ultimately really change mapping on the iOS platform.

Some pundits call C3 Technologies’ mapping solutions “Google Maps on steroids,” as the video shows.

Apple said that it is working on a crowdsourced traffic database to improve its traffic mapping service and speculation suggests that they will use their mapping database provided by Placebase, another of their acquisitions. This would mean cutting ties with Google, but that shouldn’t be happening any time soon as Apple recently renewed its partnership with Google.

Search engines and social media tracking

Monday, October 31st, 2011

Last week I read the Wired Cloudline blog Beyond Google’s Reach: Tracking the Global Uprising in Real Time which talked about the search engine Topsy, which is designed to “rank people, not pages,” as Google does. Topsy is an entirely different search engine model than Google, and therefore can pick up and aggregate information from social media in perhaps a different way than Google.

A case was made that suggested that Google did not pick up tweets on the October 15th protest at Occupy Wall Street as efficiently as Topsy.

I decided to look for myself and compare the posts that have been gathered today for both Google and Topsy for Occupy Wall Street. What is interesting is that each are picking up different bits of media –

Topics for Google:
Google is picking up newspaper articles and newscasts, such as “Opinion: Occupy Wall Street is a vigil, not a protest,” New Jersey Star-Ledger, “Occupy Wall Street kitchen slowdown targets squatters,” NYPOST.com, “Occupy Wall Street in the Age of Technology”, Huffington Post, “Most Americans Aren’t Occupy Wall Street’s ’99 Percent’ The Atlantic.

Topsy has picked up the following topics in tweets: “Protesters turn their back on @ericcantor during speech at University of Michigan http://t.co/tyuLvH8b #ows ”
A trustworthy #OWS activist tells me that an influx of homeless and hardened criminals is causing major issues for Zuccotti campers
“Police use bulldozers to break up @OccupyRichmond. http://t.co/nMJW5RJw #ows ”
“#OWS has spread to 87 countries with 1,039+ distinct events. (and counting) http://t.co/wcgGqOks ”

Note that the Google search is producing articles that were published as much as three weeks ago, while the Topsy search is displaying tweets written just 18 minutes ago.

In the realm of tracking events of local or global importance, it would seem that a combination of these two types of searches would be best, so that we have well researched articles side by side with the up-to-the-minute crowdsourced view of the bystander.

On the one hand, in-depth reporting of a body of knowledge on an event is always useful in tracking history and trends, and offering insightful perspectives. What is published in newspapers, magazines and books is thought to have staying power, whereas we are not yet sure how long the impact of a tweet or Facebook post will last.

The veracity of tweets is questionable, and they are posted before anyone has a chance to check whether they come from reliable sources. When several sources convey the same message, however, it can indicate that something is really happening at a given location. Topsy can be important in tracking social movement such as the progress of an uprising or movement of a group of people. There is power in numbers, so the sheer number of people who will protest now using social media may increase because they have more confidence in doing so when they know others are of like mind.

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

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