In case you missed this (as I did when I was traveling), I chatted with the gang from the excellent VerySpatial.com for one of their podcasts a while back, and it’s now posted on their blog. We recap Virtual Worlds 2007 a bit and explore some other corners of mapping and virtual worlds. It was an interesting chat, and should make an interesting listen.
Microsoft will push the development of geospatial and mapping applications with “unrestricted funding” totaling $1.1 million that has been offered to 21 winners chosen from among more than 140 university teams that responded to a recent Microsoft Research request for proposals. The awards are made for one year.
What I like about this program is that it’s focused squarely on how mapping and geospatial functions can be used to improve our physical lives. According to a press release, “The university research teams aim to study and map the physical world in real time, to push the technological boundaries of local search, and to understand the potential societal impact of these kinds of geographic technologies. New solutions ultimately resulting from the research are expected to yield rich and diverse benefits, such as helping tourists find affordable restaurants with the shortest lines, or helping scientists understand changes in the ecology of biological systems under the threat of climate change.” [Emphasis added.]
Projects already in the works include layering current environmental conditions into a mirror world like Microsoft’s Virtual Earth, or allowing climatologists and other scientists to examine data over the long term to track pollution and climate changes. Other projects take in what we at 3pointD would call augmented reality, combining data from tiny real-world sensors, the Internet and “a variety of other sources” with map information and geographic imagery. There’s also a researcher who’s contemplating recreating his movements in a mirror world so that friends and family can keep up with him remotely. Now that’s my kind of mapping. Continue reading
Dan Catt’s mapping panel was a very cool session that was difficult to synthesize at the speed it went by, but I think I got most of what the panelists said. All very 3pointD.
Moderator: Rev. Dan Catt, from Geobloggers.com and Flickr
Tom Carden from Random Etc.
Aaron Straup Cope from Flickr
Jerry Paffendorf from the Electric Sheep Company
Ian White from Urban Mapping Inc.
Catt first asked everyone without laptops to stand up and shake their hands in front of them in order to wake up, then groan quietly like a zombie, then louder than the person next to you. Two questions before you sit down: Who objects to swearing, say boo. Those who don’t object to swearing, say Fuck Yeah. (You can imagine which was louder.)
Cope talked about how we tell where things are. Shows a quote from Douglas Coupland’s Shampoo Planet. “History and geography are being thrown away.” Cope: This is wrong.
Cope: Geography helps set the stage for an experience, history gives an experience context and nuance. We have theselocation devices that tell you where things are. I could care less where the nearest Starbucks is. I don’r eally care about driving directions either. But if I’m at a place, I would love to be able to see what came before and have a sense of its history. Continue reading
As Ogle Earth points out, the 5th International Symposium on Digital Earth is taking place June 5-9 in San Francisco. This sounds like a very cool event, devoted to an “international vision” that “encompasses the virtual and 3-D representation of the Earth with vast amounts of scientific, natural, and cultural information that is spatially referenced and interconnected with digital knowledge archives from around the planet to describe and understand the Earth, its systems, and human activities.” This is one of the things we were kicking around earlier this year at the Metaverse Roadmap summit that looked at how various technologies might develop not just to create richer and more extensive virtual worlds but to replicate the real world in a digital medium as well, and how that might become useful in various ways. While the program for the symposium isn’t set, speakers will include Al Gore and Douglas Engelbart, one of the early pioneers of computing as we know it today. (A call for presentations at the symposium is open until January 15.) Attendance is a bit expensive, at $650 for the whole shot, but if you can swing I imagine it will be a very interesting place to be.
3pointD has been missing London lately. So it was with no small amount of joy that we discovered that London is one of the cities featured in the especially cool Goggles: The Google Maps Flight Sim, created by London-based Flash developer Mark Caswell-Daniels (and linked in Glitchy links the other day). Goggles lets you fly a cute little cartoon plane around a Flash-based world built from Google Maps data. It looks better than the screen grab above, which is a bit juddery because it’s grabbing as the picture’s moving, but above all it’s a fun way to tour a bunch of the world’s great cities (and two more far-flung locations as well). You can speed up and slow down, bank, climb and dive (with a cute little explosion when you crash) and even fire little bubble shots from your forward-mounted bubble-gun. A massively multiplayer version of this would be outstanding. But read on for some slightly deeper thoughts on mapping technologies. Continue reading
Sony is introducing a new GPS device that will let you easily add geolocative information to digital photo files and browse your snaps via a Google Maps app using Sony’s Picture Motion Browser. According to a press release, the two-ounce GPS-CS1 GPS device ($150 when it goes on sale on SonyStyle.com in September) is about three and a half inches long and simply clips onto your belt loop or keychain and records your location over time, as near as I can figure. You then import the GPS information, and some Sony image-tracking software matches locations to photos based on timestamps.
Once synchronized, your photos can become virtual push pins on an online map by activating the Picture Motion Browser software bundled with the latest Sony cameras and camcorders released after July. You can easily add new photos and coordinates to the mapping web site, courtesy of Google Maps, and showcase years of globe-trotting.
Neat. Would love to hear more about this, if anyone has any links.
If you’re going to be in London in September, you might want to drop in on the Association for Geographic Information‘s AGI 2006 conference, being held September 12 – 14. The AGI includes not only geospatial industry members, but researchers, academics and simply interested individuals, as well, and its annual event will include speakers from Google, Microsoft and others who’ve been poking around in the field. The conference will include cool-sounding panels on the state of geospatial services in 2010 (“geospatial semantic grid” and “invisible GIS”) and “Geography: Revolution or Evolution?”, and will include two open debate sessions that the public will be able to participate in. If they can afford the 500-600 pound registration fee, that is.
Cory Linden, aka Cory Ondrejka, chief technology officer at Linden Lab, makers of the virtual world of Second Life, has sent along what looks like a nice SL-del.icio.us mashup that works as a kind of SL-centric “GPS” location-tracker and has the potential to become a piece of social networking software for SL as well. The slice of Linden Scripting Language code (aka LSL, pasted after the jump) goes in an attachment worn on your avatar, and periodically posts your location to del.icio.us under the “SLurlTrack” tag. If you want to monitor someone’s movements or track your own, just subscribe to the del.icio.us feed for the right user and the SLurlTrack tag. While Cory’s codeslice is a bit crude at the moment (codeslice? did I just coin that?), it contains the fundamental seeds of some interesting possibilities, and could easily be reworked to do some powerful stuff. Continue reading
Thank god I opened my feedreader this morning, or I’d never have known about the Battleship: Google Earth mashup that’s being created by Julian Bleecker at the University of Southern California’s Annenberg Center for Communication. (Actually, thank Ogle Earth.) Bleecker is hacking together a system whereby one player plunks down a huge battleship in Google Earth (just like in the old Milton Bradley game), and the other tries to bomb it — only to do this you have to visit a real location with your GPS-enabled phone, dial in to the game engine, and say “drop.” The game puts a big red peg at your location — which is hopefully close enough to sink your opponent’s battleship. Continue reading
The New York Times writes about “a missing link between cyberspace and the physical world” that comes in the form of a very 3pointD a GPS-enabled cell phone available in Japan that ties geolocative information into Internet-based data about your surroundings.
If you stand on a street corner in Tokyo today you can point a specialized cellphone at a hotel, a restaurant or a historical monument, and with the press of a button the phone will display information from the Internet describing the object you are looking at. . . . The phones combine satellite-based navigation, precise to within 30 feet or less, with an electronic compass to provide a new dimension of orientation. Connect the device to the Internet and it is possible to overlay the point-and-click simplicity of a computer screen on top of the real world.
Have any thoughts about “integrating cartographic data with geo-tagged knowledge repositories” and how “the emerging Geospatial Web will revolutionize the production, distribution and consumption of media products”? If so, you may want to be in touch with Austria’s Know-Center project, which is seeking chapter submissions for an upcoming book on the geospatial Web. There’s a whole list of possible topics in the submission guidelines, including:
â€¢ State-of-the-art and emerging trends of geo-browsing platforms
â€¢ Knowledge acquisition and management in a geospatial context
â€¢ Knowledge relationship discovery and management (e.g. matching geospatial relationships with semantic or temporal relationships)
â€¢ Knowledge-intensive, location-based services
â€¢ Marketing of products and services via the Geospatial Web
â€¢ Content, annotation and ontology services as enablers of the Geospatial Web
Submissions are due by October 10, 2006 — so get to work.
CNet’s Daniel Terdiman has been on a bit of a 3pointD-style road trip lately, visiting five states with a carload of travel gadgets that help connect him to the rest of the world. Fun, interesting reading, including a few good 3pointD insights: “While I would reach my destination exactly as planned, I had absolutely no idea how I got there. I couldn’t even have begun to tell you what roads I took, or how to get back from there without this digital helper.”
Real estate maps mashups were one of the first user-generated tools for apps like Google Maps. Now Century 21, the world’s largest real estate sales organization, has a mashup of its own, based in Microsoft’s Virtual Earth and MapPoint, according to a press release. Century 21’s Property Search Gold lets prospective home-buyers browse sale properties on a satellite map based on their own search criteria. Not a hugely exciting new class of application, but interesting to see a big company buy into this kind of mashup on a big scale.
A short piece in The New York Times today mentions a very nice tool created by SL resident Hiro Pendragon, a kind of 3D wiki that lets users collaboratively work on designs for the redevelopment of a real-world park. We blogged about the park project a while back, before the wiki was up, but this addition certainly merits more attention, as it’s a good example of the kind of tools that can be built in SL with a bit of thought, creativity and application — and also an unexpected case of a 2D tool suddenly sprouting a third dimension. Continue reading
It’s a very cool service that allows people to make simple widgets which get sent to your phone and run on your phone. They are similar to OS X widgets and do various things like read RSS feeds, show flickr images for a particular tag, or show a Technorati feed. It’s still in Beta, but seems to work well. It works on Java phones so will work on non-Nokia phones as well.
Seems like you could do cool 3pointD-type stuff with this and GeoRSS, maybe even combining it with a GPS-enabled device for even better action. Like a quick feed of interesting places nearby. Easy to hack together. Should be interesting.
Very Spatial yesterday flagged an interesting story on the BBC about Google‘s mobile aspirations for the future. That, combined with talk coming out of Google’s Geo Developers Day that various people have reported to me, has finally convinced me that Google may at least be starting to think about some kind of multi-user version of Google Earth. If it comes, it won’t be soon, but it’s worth recapping possible developments (if that makes any sense), though a lot of this talk has been circulating for some time. Mozilla as well seems to be thinking about related ideas. Continue reading
There was lots of news out of Google‘s Geo Developers Day, held yesterday ahead of O’Reilly’s‘s Where 2.0 conference that starts today. Among the notable tidbits (mostly lifted from Ogle Earth, but also reported by Jerry Paffendorf, who’ll be speaking at Where 2.0 this afternoon):
â€¢ Here’s Google’s press release about it all.
â€¢ Google Earth in new version 4.0 beta is now available for Linux [< -- download] and on Mac [< -- download], as well as Windows [< -- download]. Good roundup of new/changed features on Ogle Earth, including support for textures and local lighting on SketchUp models.
â€¢ The Google Maps API also now supports Geocoding for many parts of the world.
â€¢ There’s a new Google Maps for Enterprise service (with fee) for business and government.
The New York Times has a story about a new GPS system that learns and follows your favored routes, instead of giving you the weird pathways that things like Google Maps and most GPS systems tend to come up with. Plus: “With accessories, the unit can play Sirius or XM satellite radio, show which roads are jammed, connect to Bluetooth cellphones, operate an iPod and display images from a rearview camera.” It’s new to me, and to the Times, but the product (which retails for about $2,250) has been available for about six months now.
Forbes.com (on Wired News) flags 10 of their favorite GPS devices — including the GPS-enabled wheelchair pictured above. Get directions, geotag photos, keep track of family members (or ex-cons) and go off-roading even if you can’t walk. Good stuff.