Featured Posts

<< >>

Happy Birthday Copernicus

Google decided to highlight that today is the 540th anniversary of the birth of Nicolaus Copernicus. The honor bestowed by Google has resulted in dozens of articles in the mainstream

A New Look at the Earth: Landsat 8 Launches

Yesterday, NASA launched the Landsat Data Continuity Mission (LDCM) carry a new Landsat 8 satellite. According to NASA: LDCM is a collaboration between NASA and the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS).

Should You be Making Maps?

A couple of recent blog discussions reminded me of an age-old controversy around computers. Computers automate tasks and allow wider information access, making it easier for more people to do

Jack Dangermond: “This is no longer a dream. It is actually starting to work”

Today in frigid Washington D.C., the 2008 ESRI Federal User Conference started. I attended and share here some observations on the opening presentation by ESRI’s President, Jack Dangermond. This is

A Nation of Dunces?

Has it really gotten this bad? Apparently so, laments Susan Jacoby in her opinion piece in The Washington Post this past Sunday, “The Dumbing Of America: Call Me a Snob,

Watch the GeoEye-1 Launch on Saturday

GeoEye-1 Rendering

It’s not every day there’s a launch of a remote sensing satellite, and one we can watch online too.

According to GeoEye, GeoEye-1 is world’s highest resolution commercial imaging satellite, with resulting imagery as good as ½ meter resolution and 3 meter positional accuracy. Additional capabilities include the ability to revisit any location on the earth every three days.Here are the specifics from GeoEye –

Live launch video and commentary will be streamed over the Internet beginning at approximately 11:15 a.m. (PDT) beginning with 15 minutes of color bars and tone. This live web broadcast can be accessed by visiting the GeoEye Web site or by going directly to http://launch.geoeye.com.

Who in GIS/LBS is an Outsider?

Usually, no one wants to be an outsider. Especially in my area of the world, Washington, DC. However, with the presidential election, it is suddenly in vogue to be considered an outsider. With all of the swirl around McCain/Palin being reformers and outsiders from the “Washington establishment” and Obama being the candidate of “change”, I started to wonder – what about GIS and LBS? Who are the outsiders? The anti-establishment? Is there an establishment to be outside of? Is GIS or LBS a big club, like Washington politics? Is there something needing new ideas? Reforms?

Let me know what you think, via comment on the blog or privately (ron at thegeofactor dot com). I’ll share the essence of what you say here, without attribution if desired.

And for those in the path of hurricane Gustav, let us hope things return to normal as soon as possible and that people using geospatial expertise and technologies can accelerate the recovery efforts.

Enthusiasts to GIS Mecca – ESRI User Conference 2008

ESRI logo on door

GIS – Geography in Action; that’s the theme. On the product side the emphasis was simplification and stability. There is a lot to cover from the conference, so I’ll start with an overview of day one. 



San Diego Convention Center

San Diego – clear sunny days, not too hot. You want to be outside but need to be in. The sprawling convention center is ready on Monday – primed like a pump to handle the throngs of ESRI enthusiasts about to descend on the place. 


The event rings of a sort of Mecca for GIS practitioners (no religious disrespect intended). They come from near and far – 14,000 from more than 120 countries. (Only the Olympics have more international representation?)  And they venture from afar to see and hear what the company, its partners, and its customers are up to. And to meet people of like interests. Four days, hundreds of sessions, a huge exhibit hall, a never-ending map gallery, special interest group meetings, and numerous social events.



The plenary – the main event, the kickoff. Colorful kites adorn the front stage while three huge screens occupy the waiting audience with questions – geography questions. (Tough questions, too!) Meanwhile, gentle eclectic music with an international feel plays. 


Jack begins by welcoming the masses and he asks us to stop for a moment and meet another person. I turn around and meet a guy who’s at his 11th ESRI UC. When I tell him it’s my first, he says, “It’s all about Jack. That’s all you need to know.” I laugh. And it turns out that does not seem at all true – after the opening day, Jack stepped into the background and let his employees, partners, and customers take over. They had more than enough to share and do without worrying about Jack, it seemed.



Dirk Kempthorne, Secretary of the U.S. Department of the Interior, said that GIS is changing how we abstract our world, how we reason about the world, how we organize and communicate. He referred to the vision of explorer and scientist Alexander von Humboldt as the foundation of Interior’s vision. Kempthorne also suggested that in the future GIS will be more pervasive because of all human action related to place. But he stressed the importance of reaching users outside the room – those not now using GIS. Reaching them is the only way to make GIS part of the infrastructure. 


Various product announcements followed Read more

ESRI Answers Before Conference

ESRI holds its annual user conference at the San Diego Convention Center next week and I will be attending. (Contact me if you want to meet.) The company did a conference questionnaire and just posted answers. This list of 139 questions ranges from technical – “Will ESRI support the Flex API in ArcGIS Server?” to business – “What are ESRI’s main business strategies?”

Both the questions and their answers make for interesting reading and provide a rather complete view of what ESRI and its customers are thinking and doing. Anyone interested in the company should read this, whether attending the conference or not.

Nokia Ovi Must Be Good – 50 Cent Uses It

Reported by Beet.TV, Nokia is about to open up its Ovi site for content sharing. Beet.TV interviewed Kamar Shah, head of global head of industry and marketing for Nokia.


“The Nokia N95 is becoming part of the Internet social networking phenomenon, Kamar, says. He cites news gathering and the use of the device by 50 Cent and others.  Users can stream live video or e-mail pictures to friends.” 

As you might recall, Nokia acquired Navteq, the map data provider, and the $8.1 billion deal closed earlier this month. Ovi is for people to share photos, videos, music, and other files. And Nokia device users can sync with their PCs.

Kamar discusses the importance of social networking, but as an example uses finding a restaurant near where you are. Huh? A cursory look at the site reveals little integration of the maps with anything but the phones. For example there is no mention of sharing maps between a mobile phone and a PC. What about sharing maps with friends? Not apparent on the Ovi pages, but I found elsewhere that Nokia says you can share routes and favorite spots with friends. Geotagging photos? Nope. The walking directions look interesting, though. No sign of recently acquired Plazes. Plazes is a service that lets people update others on what they are doing and where.

So, one can download the world in 4GB, says Nokia. Under the Ovi brand Nokia is likely to do more in the future with maps and other location-based data. It’s up to buyers, thought, to learn what they can really do … and understand Da Repercussions.