Geospatial Redux: ESRI Changes Its Pronunciation, Foursquare Coming to Bing Maps, ESRI Mashup Winners Announced

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ESRI Changes Its Pronunciation

Apparently the name I’ve been mispronouncing for over sixteen years is now the correct pronunciation.  James Fee first reported on the change from pronouncing all the letters (i.e. E-S-R-I) to “ezree.”   Adena Schutzberg contacted ESRI for a statement which explained that the move is an effort to “grown ESRI’s name globally.”  I’m sure people will continue (as they have been) to choose their own preferred way of pronouncing ESRI.

It seems the Wikipedia entry was altered by a user that’s probably from ESRI (Redlands, anyone?).

The old entry:

According to the company, ESRI is not pronounced as a word but as distinct letters similar to IBM, SAP and other software companies with an acronym based name. It is thought within the GIS circles, and even joked that ‘old’ users prefer E-S-R-I, while novice users use the ‘ez-ree’ pronunciation. Employees of ESRI still pronounce the name in both fashions (typically depending on the audience).

The new entry:

According to the company, ESRI is pronounced as a word, ‘ez-ree’.

Foursquare Coming to Bing Maps

Microsoft made some Bing related announcements at the Search Engine Strategies conference which included a preview of a new mapping application that pulls in real time data from the popular location game Foursquare.

The foursquare map app is a powerful combination of the spatial canvas that Bing Maps provides, combined with foursquare’s user reputation service ability to see who has unlocked specific badges, where and who has been crowned mayor of certain locations making it easier to explore any city in the world as if you were a local.  Let’s say you’re travelling to New York City for the week, but you don’t know what’s hot in Greenwich Village. Selecting the foursquare Map App in Bing Maps, and zooming into to Greenwich Village will get you tips that show you what locals are saying about the hot spots in that area. It’s like an interactive day planner, designed to help find the best things to do in that area. And if you have questions, you can always contact users through foursquare to get the inside scoop.

ESRI Mashup Winners Announced

ESRI has announced the winners of their 2010 Mashup Challenge.  The challenge asked submitters to build a mashup using ESRI’s ArcGIS Online content and Web APIs, publish the related URL, and post a video describing the application on YouTube.  The top prize of $10,000 went to Dave Bouwman, CTO and lead software architect at DTSAgile.

US Census 2010 Updates

There are a lot of news articles covering the U.S. Census, particularly in how residents will be counted.  The counting of every single resident in the entire United States is mandated every ten years by the Constitution.  MSNBC has an interesting article on the tiniest of towns and how, even in those small burgs, miscounting is common.  The U.S. Census claims there are four incorporated one-person towns but three of those towns, when contacted by the Associated Press, claimed to have more than just one resident.  The fourth town couldn’t be verified.  While the U.S. does count military personnel stationed in foreign countries, the Census Bureau denied a bid by Utah to have Mormon missionaries counted who are currently overseas on missions.  This month, the Census Bureau is sending out more than 130 million forms to residents.

Map Madness

In time for March Madness, ESPN has launched Map Madness.  The challenge is to pinpoint the location of all the schools based on questions that pop up.  You have ten seconds to mark your location.  The quicker you answer, the more points you get.  In order to move on to the next rounds you have to score high enough.  Top scorers are listed on the page.

Scribble Maps

Scribble Maps is a fun way to annotate and share Google Maps.  Zoom in to your desire geographic extent, then mark up your map with scribbles, text, and imagery.  Saved maps can then be shared in a variety of ways: KML, emailed, Facebook, and more.

Voice of GPS

Have you ever wondered who the most common GPS navigation voice is?  Meet Karen Jacobsen, a voice-over artists and singer, who’s soothing Australian accent is the preferred voice for turn-by-turn directions.  Both the Houston Chronicle (February 2009) and Sydney’s Morning Herald (last week) have interviews with Karen Jacobsen who is the “Australian Karen” on Garmin GPS.   After fifty hours of recording, what’s her favorite word?  Relcalculating.  ”Because not only can you recalculate if you’ve missed a turn while you’re driving, but in your life you can always stop and recalculate and start all over again.” (Via Geographic Travels)

8-Bit NYC

Using data pulled from OpenStreetMap, 8-Bit NYC is an interesting pixelation of New York City.  Brett Camper created the map to evoke a reminiscence of 1980s computer games while utilizing the “geographically accurate data that drive’s today’s web maps and GPS navigation.”  Much like a raster layer, the map was created by processing geographic data via SQL/PostGIS to attribute 16 x 16 pixel tiles.  Those tiles were then aggregated in 256 x 256 pixel tiles and served up via TileCache and OpenLayers.  The result is an interesting visualization of New York City that clearly is more artistic than functional.  Some of the rendering is decipherable but the mapping application could use a legend.

(Via @MadameSoybean)

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