Geospatial Redux: ArcGIS 10 SP 1, Soft-Maps, Google Earth 6, Steve Coasts Moves to Bing, GIS Day 2010,

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Love maps so much you want to snuggle with them?  Now you can get close to your favorite Brooklyn map by Emily Fischer.  The blankets are called Soft-Maps and feature hand-stitched maps of Brooklyn neighborhoods and parks: Soft-Maps.

Come and get it!  The ArcGIS 10 (Desktop, Engine, Server) Service Pack 1 is now available for downloading.  Esri recommends that all customers download and install this service pack.  The list of issues address by this service pack is here.

Steve Coast, the founder of OpenStreetMap, has been hired by Microsoft.

As a Principal Architect for Bing Mobile, Steve will help develop better mapping experiences for our customers and partners, and lead efforts to engage with OpenStreetMap and other open source and open data projects.

The first order of business will be providing OpenStreetMap with access to Bing’s higher resolution aerials.  This is help expedite the digitization of geographic data on the crowd sourcing project.  James Fee puts in his two cents on What Steve Coast’s Move to Bing Really Means.

Bing’s example of how their imagery will help with data creation of OpenStreetMap

Google Earth 6 has been released in beta.  The Google Earth Blog has written about the three main improvements of tighter integration with Street View, 3D trees, and adjustments to the historical imagery notification.

Submit Your Ideas on the Geospatial Platform: The Federal Geographic Data Committee (FGDC) is seeking input from interested participants on the proposed Geospatial Platform initiative.  The vision for this initiative was outlined in President Obama’s Fiscal Year 2011 Budget:

“In 2010 and 2011, Federal data managers for geospatial data will move to a portfolio management approach, creating a Geospatial Platform to support Geospatial One-Stop, place-based initiatives, and other potential future programs.  This transformation will be facilitated by improving the governance framework to address the requirements of State, local and tribal agencies, Administration policy, and agency mission objectives. Investments will be prioritized based on business needs.  The Geospatial Platform will explore opportunities for increased collaboration with, with an emphasis on reuse of architectural standards and technology, ultimately increasing access to geospatial data.”

The intent of the initiative is to increase information sharing between government agencies and industry sectors.  From the FGDC web site:

The Geospatial Platform will become a managed portfolio of common geospatial data, services, and applications contributed and administered by authoritative sources and hosted on a shared infrastructure, for use by government agencies and partners to meet their mission needs and the broader needs of the Nation.  The Platform aims to deliver valuable geospatial services that can be easily accessed by government organizations and used to provide place-based products and services to the American public.

The FGDC is accepting feedback through December 10.  Input can be submitted in two ways:

  • On-line:  The FGDC has launched an IdeaScale website,, providing an online venue where stakeholders can submit ideas and comments related to the Roadmap and the Platform.  IdeaScale, which has been used successfully with and other Open Government initiatives, also offers space for stakeholders to provide meaningful feedback and enter into dialogues on conceptual and specific elements of the Roadmap and the Platform.  The FGDC will use these comments and communication threads to improve the Roadmap and refine the Platform.
  • Via e-mail:   Submit written comments directly to the FGDC at through December 2010 using this Comment Form [Excel].  Comments will be used to improve the Roadmap and refine the Geospatial Platform.

Esri has launched a new section of its web site that is focused on showcasing presentations on various topics relating to the geospatial technology field.  The videos are mostly Esri software centric but feature presentations from some very prominent individuals:

Presenters include thought leaders such as Harvard University landscape architecture professor Carl Steinitz, GIS pioneer Roger Tomlinson, and Technology/Entertainment/Design (TED) conferences founder Richard Saul Wurman.

There’s even a video introducing the Esri Video site.  Very helpful is the interactive transcript that runs on the right hand side of each video.  By clicking on test within the transcript, you can jump to that point in the video.

Visit:  Esri Video

Oxford’s 2010 Place of the Year has been named: the country of Yemen. Once a promising experiment in Muslim-Arab democracy, Western opinion now recognizes Yemen to have all the features of a failed state. Obscured by the attention of the political geography, is what de  geographer Harm de Blij calls “a Yemen that might have been.”  “In the modern world of terrorist cells and jihadist movements, Yemen’s weakness spells opportunity.” Regional conflicts like the Houthi rebellion in the north and revival of the southern secessionist movement diminish the power of the government. Terrorist bases now reside in the remote countryside, posing a familiar dilemma for the United States: Is shoring up the country’s army and police worth the risk of increasing Al Qaeda protection and loyalty? At the same time Yemen stands to be the poorest country in the Arab world, nearly depleted of its leading export, oil, while facing a water shortage experts say is heighted by the country’s addiction to qat, a mildly narcotic leaf.  Oxford invites comments on Yemen and the Place of the Year short list at the OUPblog.

Some facts about Yemen in 2010:

  • Population: 22,858,000
  • Capital: Sana
  • Government: Multiparty Republic
  • Ethnic Groups: Predominantly Arab
  • Languages: Arabic
  • Religions: Islam
  • Currency: Yemeni rial = 100 fils
  • Cash crops: coffee and cotton
  • President: Ali Abdullah Sale
Footbridge in Shaharah, Yemen. Photo by Bernard Gagnon.

Themed “Discovering the World Through GIS”, this year’s GIS Day will be celebrated on November 17th, 2010.  Always held on the Wednesday of Geography Awareness Week, many GIS groups around the world will be hosting a day of promoting mapping and geospatial technology.   Visit the Esri sponsored GIS Day web site for ideas on creating your own GIS Day celebration and to register your event.  Reach out to those distant GISers by sending them an electronic postcard.  More: Fun with GIS and Geography Ideas Page

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