GeoBriefs: Embedding Google Maps, GIS Career Profile, Mexico Wins the Geography Bee

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UPDATE:  Google has formally announced the availability of embedded Google Maps.  Read about it and get instructions on using this new functionality from Google’s Lat Long Blog:

As reported on the CNET site, Google Maps is poised to release a new feature next week that will allow users to embed Google Maps into their web sites;

No coding or programming required; just copying and pasting a snippet of HTML“, a Google spokeswoman says. “To embed a Google Map, users will simply pull up the map they want to embed–it can be a location, a business, series of driving directions, or a My Map they have created–and then click ‘Link to this page’ and copy and paste the HTML into their Web site or blog.”

Source: CNET – Adding a Google Map to your blog

As part of their “Fresh Starts” career series, the NY Times profiled the field of GIS as a career choice in an article published on Sunday, August 12 entitled “Technology Reveals New Worlds to Map”.  Source: NY Times.

In their first-ever title, Mexico unseated the United States and Canada by correctly answering the question “What historic site was carved from sandstone in about 1200 B.C.? This site includes two huge temples and statues of an ancient ruler.”  Watch the video on the National Geographic site where you can see Carlos Franco, Angel Aliseda, and Emanuel Johansen, representing Mexico show their elation at winning the Geography Bee.


Interesting piece by Elisabetta Povoledo published in the International Herald Tribune on the factor of politics in map making. Some noteworthy quotes from Vladimiro Valerio from the University of Venice who says, “Maps aren’t faithful portraits of reality but subjective construction.” Rather, “Maps reflect the design for which they are to be used. They reflect who commissioned it.” In sum, he said, “cartographers don’t lie, but they take a position.” Read: Political tides shaping cartographers’ craft.

An article from on the competition between companies like Navteq and Tele Atlas to gather the largest and most accurate amount of geographic data for GPS navigation systems and online mapping. Focusing on Navteq, the article looks at the amount of labor needed to constantly update geographic dating covering 12 million miles and 69 countries which Navteq accomplishes by using data from 100,000 different sources ranging from satellite images and aerial photography to maps issued by local governments and commercial companies. Most of all, the companies has 700 employees who spend a significant amount of time gathering data from their cars. The article quotes Navteq CEO Judson Green,

“I would say that 80 to 85 percent of the effort that we put into making a digital map is from that very labor-intensive driving that we do. We cannot find the quality, accuracy or richness of the information from all these other sources unless we go do it our way.”

Source: CNN – Race for Digital Geographic Data

If you want some chill with your morning coffee, head over to Global Incident Map. With its ominous blinking icons, this web site scans news items to map out incidents of terror and other “suspicious” activity around the world. The most recent thirty events are listed below the map and further down on the page, incidents are listed in categories ranging from Aviation/Airport events to general terrorism news. Hovering your mouse over an icon brings up a maptip with a brief summary of the location and type of event. Clicking on the icon brings up a detailed page of the event along with a link to the news article as well as a zoomed in satellite map of its location.


If you’re curious about where the sunlight is hitting the earth at any given moment in time, visit the “World Sunlight Map” web site.  Using computer simulation, the site shows the extent of lightness and darkness on the surface of the earth in realtime.  Cloud cover is also updated every 3 hours.  Towards the bottom, you can play around and view the map in various projections; the map default is Mercator but you can also view PetersMollweide or equirectangular projection maps.



Created by Jerry Loma and Terry Hogan, this interactive maps highlights sites in the fictional town of Springfield, home of the Simpsons:

Simpson version of ADNDiscover Springfield, where live the Simpsons family; Homer, Bart, Marge, Lisa and Maggie. Roll over the places to discover a picture of it. The map of Springfield is based on the Guide to Springfield USA The Simpsons. I made this interactive, the job is not finished, there are allways framegrabs to add and add some functions to the map.



The New York Times has a front-page article (July 26) on the proliferation of maps on the “GeoWeb”, created as the result of easier mapping tools made available by Internet companies such as Google, Microsoft and Yahoo. Comparing the mapping similar to the concept of Wikipedia in that the efforts reflect “the collective knowledge of millions of contributors” and that “these companies have created the tools that are allowing people with minimal technical skills to do what only professional mapmakers were able to do before.” Read: With Tools on Web, Amateurs Reshape Mapmaking

An interesting new spin on the Tetris game is StateTris, a geography game by IntenCT that tests your geographic knowledge of the United States.  This online game drops each of the 48 states one by one from the top of the screen.  Using the arrow keys, you have to move the state over to its location. The space bar drops the state.  If you have the right location then it will settle on to the screen.  If you’ve picked the wrong location then the state drops off the bottom of the screen and you have to try again.  There are three modes: easy, medium and hard.  In the easy mode you can see the state’s name and it is oriented the correct way.  In medium mode, you still get to see the state name but the orientation isn’t always correct and you need to use the “Up” arrow key to move the state around.  In hard mode, the state is no longer labeled.




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