Tag Archives: Microsoft

Friday Geonews: ESRI in China, Road Detection for Bing, Egypt Protests Maps, and more

Here's the Friday geonews in batch mode, well, at least the news not already covered by today's two topic-specific batch mode entries. On the ESRI front:

  • ESRI opened R&D offices in China offering localized software and services
On the Microsoft front:
  • Here's an entry on automatic road detection from imagery for Bing, here's a reaction to this announcement and why it matters for OpenStreetMap
  • Ready for the Super Bowl, there's new imagery in Bing Maps
In the miscellaneous category:
  • Here's an entry on precision in the difference function for PostGIS and SQL Server, the conclusion: both aren't perfect
  • A colleague informed me of localmind, a new location-aware social tool (French link), sadly, their official site offers no information at the moment
  • Spatial Sustain offers a perspective on how can the developing world leap ahead with geospatial technology?
In the maps category:
  • Ed Parsons discusses crime maps in the UK and how Fox News misplaced Egypt for Iraq on a map
  • Regarding Egypt protests, TMR mentions map sources
  • Here's a map and discussion of Europe's wind and solar energy potential
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Kinect Hack Builds 3D Maps of the Real World

Slashdot is running a story named Kinect Hack Builds 3D Maps of the Real World. Their summary: "Noted Kinect-tinkerer Martin Szarski has used a car, a laptop, an Android smartphone and the aforementioned Xbox 360 peripheral to make a DIY-equivalent of Google Street View. The Kinect's multi-camera layout can be used to capture some fuzzy, but astonishingly effortless 3D maps of real world locations and objects. As we saw in Oliver Kreylos' early hack, you can take the data from Kinect's depth-sensitive camera to map out a 3D point-cloud, with real distances. Then use the colour camera's image to see which RGB pixel corresponds to each depth point, and eventually arrive at a coloured, textured model." You can also head directly to the original blog entry on the hack.

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New Bing Maps Features: Interior Views, Enhanced OpenTable Integration, Real-Time Transit, Streetside for Mobile, and New Map Style

In addition to today's other news about Microsoft named Bing Panorama Builder And Streetside Video, here's some more details on the two announcements. The first one focused on new features: Interior Views, Enhanced OpenTable Integration, Real-Time Transit, and Streetside for Mobile:

  • Interior Views: Provides users with immersive 360-degree panoramas of local businesses
  • OpenTable Integration: Lets users interact with OpenTable directly from restaurant pages
  • Real Time Transit on Mobile: Gives users real time info if a bus is on-time or delayed
  • Streetside for Mobile: Brings users street-level imagery + some mobile-exclusive enhancements

The second official entry is all about Bing Maps new map style, version 1.1. Key changes are:

  • Increased city density while preserving a clean, visually appealing map
  • Clearer differentiation between major and minor city streets
  • Greater color contrast at the city-level so streets “pop” out more
  • Altered font sizes and contrast for crisper, less cluttered map labels
  • Improved highway shields for US and added new shields for 7 countries

Of course, the entry offers several screenshots to show the differences.

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Bing Panorama Builder And Streetside Video

If the two recent Bing Maps announcements (here and here) left you underwhelmed, fear not. There is a new video up from cnet which has Blaise Aguera y Arcas, Microsoft's architect of Bing Maps and Bing Mobile, giving a rundown on some of the new mapping features they are releasing (starting with the iPhone). Check it out as it's pretty interesting and innovative stuff coming from Microsoft.

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Friday Geonews: Christmas Geo-Gifts, ArcGIS for iOS Data Capture, Potlatch 2, and much more

Here's the traditional Friday geonews in batch mode.

Christmas geo-gift ideas:

  • Four entries from Very Spatial: The four days of holiday gifts, Day 2: Sneaky Geography Gifts, More holiday treats for the geographer in your life, To round out our holiday gift ideas
  • TMR shares an entry on Map Blankets

From the Google front (yes some more since yesterday):

  • An official entry named How Local Search Ranking Works
  • The GEB shares an entry named Google Earth continues to reveal strange sights from above
  • APB discusses the Google Earth Engine as an Image Analysis for the Masses

From the ESRI front:

  • I was amongst many to notice that ArcGIS for iOS now has data capture capabilities

From the open source / open data front:

  • The OpenStreetMap editor Potlatch 2 has launched
  • MapQuest is now using Swizerland and Netherlands data from OpenStreetMap
  • Here's details on the Microsoft imagery access given to OpenStreetMap
  • Thanks to open data, you can generate added-value for mostly anything, including an OpenFireMap
  • V1 shares a long review of the OpenStreetMap - Be Your Own Cartographer book by Jonathan Bennett
  • Via the OSGeo Discuss, I learned about the International Free and Open Source Software Law Review journal

In the miscellaneous category:

  • Don't we all at some point look for a Free Shapefile of Countries of the World, here's a comparison
  • Via the EOPortal, here's an article named Russia To Spend 2 Billion Dollars For Space Clean-Up
  • SS shares an entry named Psychological Scientists Look at Spatial Skills for Indoor Navigation
  • Slashdot ran a few somewhat geo-related stories: Combining Two Kinects To Make Better 3D Video, Aussie Government Competition To Predict Commute Times, and Feds Warrantlessly Tracking Americans' Real Time Credit Card Activity
  • The GEB shares an entry named Take your own aerial photos with the Swinglet CAM
  • The EO-1 satellite has been acquiring imagery for 10 years already

In the maps category:

  • TMR shares a map of Natural Disaster Hot Zones

And the new somewhat off-topic link of the week: and entry from 'Information is beautiful' named Data, Information, Knowledge, Wisdom?, a quick look at the pic is enough, and it includes mapping ;-)

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OpenStreetMap Founder Steve Coast Joins Microsoft

This is certainly major news. Steve Coast, the OpenStreetMap founder, joined Microsoft's Bing Maps team. From the announcement: "Continuously innovating and improving our map data is a top priority and a massive undertaking at Bing. That’s why we’re excited to announce a new initiative to work with the OpenStreetMap project, a community of more than 320,000 people who have built high quality maps for every country on earth. Microsoft is providing access to our Bing Aerial Imagery for use in the OpenStreetMap project, and we have hired industry veteran Steve Coast to lead this effort. [...] As a first step in this engagement, we plan to enable access to Bing's global orthorectified aerial imagery, as a backdrop of OSM editors. Also, Microsoft is working on new tools to better enable contributions to OSM." Amongst the geoblogs reactions, James Fee provided his analysis of what this really means: " Microsoft needs to get involved with OpenStreetMap to continue to be relevant in the web mapping space and OSM needs Microsoft, their aerial images, their big pocketbook and their need to dominate all spaces they exist to join up." All Points Blog shares some more: "I don't think OSM has all the data inputs needed, nor the paid and unpaid staff needed, nor the smart software needed to win this competition. Not yet anyway, but clearly their backers are slowly adding to their dowry." Overall, from the "open data" point of view, it can certainly be considered a major win. Last August, Bing Maps was already offering the OpenStreetMap layer, and MapQuest already dived into OpenStreetMap some time ago.

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Bing Maps Launches V7 Of The AJAX Map Control

Over on the Bing Maps blog, there is an announcement of the launch of a couple of new items regarding Microsoft's map offering. From the article, the following were the highlights. The V7 ajax control was launched, the left-rail was redesigned, and there is now broader access to Map Apps and StreetSide. Head on over to the blog for a detailed explanation of each of those.

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Tuesday Geonews: Google HotPot, ArcGIS 10 SP1, 3D Globe in QGIS, GAW, and much more

I've been overly busy lately, the consequence is you're getting your geonews in batch mode a little later than usual. Here they are!

On the Google front:

  • Google provided an early look at HotPot, a local recommendation engine powered by you and your friends
  • Google Boost, a local business advertising program, is now available to about 10 U.S. cities
  • There's new panoramic photos in Google Earth

On the ESRI front:

  • ArcGIS 10 Service Pack 1 Released
  • V1 mentions GIS Tutorial books for ArcGIS 10
  • SS informs us that Esri Adds an iOS App to Help Link Your Health to Your Environment

On the Microsoft front:

  • There's a white paper on the new spatial features in the upcoming MS SQL Server

On the open data/open source front:

  • O'Reilly is enthusiastic about Boston real-time transit data now available
  • Here's an entry named Government institutions and OpenStreetMap in practice
  • Also interesting is USGS Trialling OSM Software Stack for Editing
  • A new feature for the Java Topology Suite: Single-Sided Buffers in JTS
  • News of the integration of a 3D globe directly in QGIS, and while we're at it, a summary of the QGIS hackfest
  • New releases: Geopublisher and AtlasStyler 1.6
  • Shapely 1.2.7 has also been released
  • Here's a discussion on ExifTool to modify location (GPS) metadata of your pictures

In the miscellaneous category:

  • I do have to have to mention that we're in the Geography Awareness Week
  • While we already discussed worldfile basics, here's to refresh our minds: the WorldFile explained
  • Vietnam ojecting to China's depiction of disputed islands in Map World
  • The FGT blog mentions the release of Dinamica EGO 1.6, software for spatial environmental modeling
  • V1 discusses ‘What is driving the need for real-time geodata, and how does that impact the spatial information sector?’
  • In another entry, V1 discusses the Strategic Citywide Spatial Planning of Port-au-Prince, Haiti
  • In a last V1 entry, BIM – CAD – GIS Integration is discussed

In the maps category:

  • A quick look to the map of landlocked and double-landlocked countries
  • Here's Cartograms of the U.S. Midterm elections
  • Might be useful, an Easy Magnetic Declination Value Website
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Microsoft Aims To Improve Maps With GPS Data

From an engadget story : "Microsoft's already added a Taxi Fare Calculator to Bing Maps to help keep your cabbie in check, and it's now actually enlisted the help of some 33,000 Beijing cab drivers in an effort to further improve driving directions. More specifically, it's relying on GPS data collected from the cab drivers' cars over a period of three months, which has since been funneled into a system called T-Drive created by a team at Microsoft Research Asia."

*update : More details have been posted on wired courtesy of the GIS Lounge Read More »

Bing Maps Discontinues 3D Plugin And Birds Eye Improvements

The Bing maps blog has a couple of major news items up on their blog today. The first being their enhancements to their birds eye view technology. Primarily updating it so that it's available without resorting to the use of Silverlight. Perhaps this has something to do with Microsoft "shifting their strategy" on Silverlight and focusing more on HTML 5. Looks like the days of Silverlight are numbered. Secondly, Bing Maps 3D will no longer be supported. Not that it has been supported much for the past year or two. Which explains why the Google Earth plugin has leapfrogged their viewer in every which way possible. This is just them officially saying that they will be dropping support for it. So read the articles if you want more details.

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