Geospatial Redux: Map Reading is a Redundant Skill, GEO:Connexion, MapIconFactory

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All Points Blog has an interesting entry about a survey by Nickelodean on what kids and adults feel are important skills to know in this high-tech world.  Receiving a significant thumbs down were spelling and map reading skills.

The Boston Globe recently profiled Ron Eastman, developer of IDRISI.  Ron Eastman is a professor at Clark University in Worcester, Massachusetts and runs Clarks Labs.  IDRISI has been around since 1981 and is primarily a raster-based GIS: Charting the earth’s health

GEO:Connexion is a monthly magazine for users of spatial technologies within the British Isles, Europe, the Middle East and Africa. It covers applications of GIS, GPS and remote sensing within sectors such as telecoms, emergency services and retailing etc.

Based in Austin, Texas, SWIGIS is an “organization of female geospatial professionals dedicated to the awareness, education and participation in geography and GIS.” Members can participate in social and educational events in the Austin area: Supporting Women in Geography and GIS (SWIGGIS).

The deputydog blog has 11 amazing images looking down on various phenomenom on earth.  From a two part image of a coastline in Sri Lanka at the time of the Tsunami back in December of 2004 to spectacular images of the earth from space, this post is a definite visit.

The Digital Inspiration blog has a quick how-to on finding the x,y coordinates of any given location on using Google Maps.   By centering the Google Map on the point you are interested in, you can extract the latitude and longitude from the URL that gets returned.

Now available in the open source utility library, MapIconFactory v1.0 enables you to more easily create variably sized and colored markers for your Google Maps mashup. This post over at the Official Google Maps API blog has more information including their Google Maps Election demo.

Google Maps latest “what the…” in their online mapping directions now occurs when directions from Canada to Australia are requested.  Gizmodo discovered the hilarious directions to kayak the 12,724 km across the Pacific Ocean when requesting directions from Sydney Airport, Canada to Stanmore, Australia.

Take this fun quiz to see where your American accent comes from.  The thirteen question quiz asks you to select from a list of choices to see how closely you pronounce various words before calculating a result of what region your accent most matches: What American Accent Do You Have?

If you are looking to learn about cheap or free tools to help you with your spatial work, this blog is a good source for tips. Run by Leszek Pawlowicz, this blog has resources for shapefile utilities, working with Google maps and tips for your GPS unit: Free GeoTools Blog.

Announced through the Official Google Blog, Google Maps now offers a simple text interface that can be read by speech recognition programs or for quick text-based directions. Called Textual Maps UI is set up for users to type simple English queries with the starting and ending addresses of the trip.

Not having the address of his former coworker didn’t stop Paul Bates from trying to send a Christmas card to his friend. He simply drew a rough map of the area with an arrow indicating “somewhere here”: UK Royal Mail delivers letter with a map instead of an address.

The latest Service Pack for ArcGIS is now available.  ESRI had announced earlier this month that ArcGIS 9.2 Service Pack 5 would be available for download by the end of March.    Also available is a PDF that lists and describes “What’s New in ArcGIS 9.2 Service Packs.”

Google recently announced the availability of the Google Earth Browser Plugin for the Mac.  The plugin can be used with browsers Safari 3.1+ and Firefox 3.0+.  To go along with the release, a globe-based game called Puzzler is also being made available for both Mac and PC platforms.

If you’re curious about the enchancements to be found in the upcoming release of ArcGIS 9.3, check out ESRI’s “What’s Coming in ArcGIS 9.3” page.  The update is expected to be released sometime in the third quarter of 2008.  If you still have questions, you can ask them through ESRI’s questions page.

Brazil’s National Statistics Office (IBGE) has released new maps showing the extent and causes of deforestation in the Amazon rainforest.  Mongabay.com reports that these maps show, for the first time, the extent of deforestation caused by agriculture, logging and infrastructure development.

Map of deforestation in the Amazon rainforest

Map of deforestation in the Amazon rainforest

Source: Mongabay.com

People’s Daily Online is reporting that China will begin to restrict surveying and mapping by foreigners beginning March 1, 2007. The new restrictions prohibit independent mapping. Ownership and control of all products will belong to the Chinese government: China to Tighten Control of Surveying, Mapping of Foreigners.


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