Of Interest: Flood Map, iPhone Tracking Update

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Esri has released an online Flood Map to track observed flooding locations (point locations symbolized by categorized flooding intensity), precipitation reports, and social media (Twitter, YouTube, Flickr) posts about the situation in the Midwest.  Satellite, topography, and street data can be toggled on and off as the base layers.

Flood data is provided by NOAA and precipitation data from Telvent.  The social media posts are based on keyword searches for “flood”.

You can change the mapped social media posts by hovering your mouse over the social media listing on the legend and typing in a new search term to map.

Esri's Flood Map

As the buzz generated from Where 2.0 about iPhone tracking gained traction, Apple finally issued a response in the form of a Q&A posted to its web site.  In the statement, Apple responds to the question of iPhone tracking, “Apple is not tracking the location of your iPhone. Apple has never done so and has no plans to ever do so.”  The data being collected, according to Apple, is the location of Wi-Fi hotspots and cell towers which are used to helped calculate the location of the iPhone.  An article by Glenn Fleischman in MacWorld explains how this information is used to figure out the iPhone’s location within seconds as opposed to the several minutes it takes using GPS triangulation (via The Map Room).

The length of time Apple took to respond to the growing concern has been criticized by pundits.

By letting a week pass without answering questions or explaining why the unencrypted file was on iPhones and iPads, Apple let others fill the news vacuum, never a good move for a company under fire.

In addition to having Congress get involved and a class action lawsuit filed, the delay was long enough to even have South Park spoof iPhone Tracking.  Representatives from both Google and Apple will be testifying at a congressional hearing on May 10th about consumer privacy and smartphones.

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