This is an abnormally long version of our 'batch geonews' edition, covering the news since the holiday break.
On the open source & open data front:
On the Esri front:
In the miscellaneous category:
A bunch of minor geo-related stories discussed over Slashdot:
In the maps category:
Here's the recent Google-related geonews, including the holiday break.
From various sources:
Via internal email, I learned that a few minutes ago the Government of Canada announced the final stage of the RADARSAT Constellation project.
From the press release: "The contract with MacDonald Dettwiler and Associates (MDA), announced today, will lead to the completion of construction; the launch of the three satellites, planned for 2018; and the first year of operation of the mission."
Technical details available here, "The RADARSAT Constellation is the evolution of the RADARSAT Program with the objective of ensuring data continuity, improved operational use of Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR) and improved system reliability. The three-satellite configuration will provide complete coverage of Canada's land and oceans offering an average daily revisit, as well as daily access to 95% of the world to Canadian and International users."
Every frequent Slashgeo reader knows about OpenStreetMap, and now, the project reached another important milestone: 1 million OpenStreetMappers.
From the blog entry: "OpenStreetMap has just passed 1 million users! That's a million people who have signed up on openstreetmap.org to join in with creating a free map of the world. At first glance you may think that OpenStreetMap is a map. Those who know more will tell you that it's actually a database; a flexible editable repository of free geospatial data. But above all OpenStreetMap is a community. A massive community in which people like you and me come together collaborate and help build this thing... and now there's a million of us!"
To ease contributions even more, they also introduced the alpha version of the new OpenStreetMap editor, codenamed iD (screenshot below). And for its beauty, see the short animation on OpenStreetMap: A Year of Edits 2012.
Nothing we did not know or suspect, but a nice article named Websites Vary Prices, Deals Based on Users' Information (via OR).
From the article: "A Wall Street Journal investigation found that the Staples Inc. website displays different prices to people after estimating their locations. More than that, Staples appeared to consider the person's distance from a rival brick-and-mortar store, either OfficeMax Inc. or Office Depot Inc. If rival stores were within 20 miles or so, Staples.com usually showed a discounted price."
Last year saw a record number of drones and UAV stories, and it's not expected to stop since they now are an efficient and cheap way to do remote sensing and a lot more. Here's a story discussed over Slashdot last weekend: DRONENET: An Internet of Drones.
Their summary: "In a series of posts on his blog, military theorist John Robb outlines what he thinks will be the next big thing — "as big as the internet," as he puts it. It's DRONENET: an internet of drones to be used as an automated delivery service. The drones themselves would require no futuristic technology. Modern quadrotor drones are available today for a few hundred dollars, and drone usage would be shared across an open, decentralized network. Robb estimates the cost for a typical delivery at about $0.25 every 10 miles, and points out that the drones would fit well alongside many ubiquitous technologies; the drone network shares obvious parallels with the internet, the drones would use GPS already-common GPS navigation, and the industry would mesh well with the open source hardware/software community. Finally, Robb talks about the standards required for building the DRONENET: "Simple rules for drone weight, dimensions, service ceiling, and speed. Simple rules for battery swap and recharging (from battery type, dimension, etc.). Simple rules for package containers. Simple rules for the dimensions and capabilities of landing pads. ... Decentralized database and transaction system for coordinating the network. Rules for announcing a landing pad (information from GPS location and services provided) to the network. Rules for announcing a drone to the network (from altitude to speed to direction to destination). Cargo announcement to the network, weight, and routing (think: DNS routing). A simple system for allocating costs and benefits (a commercial overlay). This commercial system should handle everything from the costs of recharging a drone and/or swapping a battery to drone use.""
Happy 2013 to everyone. Please expect a week or two before we catchup all pertinent geonews.
On Christmas day, Slashdot discussed a story named New York Paper Uses Public Records To Publish Gun-Owner Map.
Their summary: ""First it was the sex offenders being mapped using public records, now it seems to be gun owners — I wonder who will be next? It seems a newspaper in New York has published an interactive map with the names and addresses of people with [handguns]." It's happened before: In 2007, Virginia's Roanoke Times raised the ire of many gun owners by publishing a database of Virginia's gun permit holders that it assembled based on public records inquiries. (The paper later withdrew that database.) Similarly, WRAL-TV in North Carolina published a database earlier this year with searchable map of (partially redacted) information about permit holders in that state, and Philadelphia made the news for a similar disclosure — complete with interactive map and addresses — of hundreds of gun permit applicants and holders."
Bloggage update: I posted on my old website a number of Google Maps in v.2 API that I have not converted to v.3. I also used Google Fusion Tables a number of times - along comes a Google Fusion Tool that helps both on v.3 API and the new régime with simple Google Fusion Table templates - this may be my way forward against the day Google Map v.2 API is turned off.
Bloggage update: Recent mass shootings in the US and elsewhere affect me in a particular way. The Guardian had excellent coverage, not only in statistics but also the attendant data in their outstanding Data Blog. Whilst I created maps in Google Fusion Tables before, look no further for great uses of Google's new rendering tools! The issue is complicated: if the rate of assault and murder is overwhelmingly tipped toward firearms, their numbers are in slight decrease. World map also shows that whilst the US has the most guns per capita, it certainly doesn't have the highest homicide rates globally.
This is our last batch-mode edition of the year - happy holiday break to everyone!
From the open source / data front:
From the Esri front:
From the Google front:
In the remote sensing category:
In the miscellaneous category:
In the maps category: