There are a lot of things about algorithmic patents that just seem wrong, and I'm not going to sit here and debate the obviousness of the work in patent application 10/631611 by Bryan Kendall Beatty via Microsoft, however I think there is an interesting lesson in how innovation helps us defeat patent lockout.
For those of you who use our LoadMyTracks program along with the Sony CS-1 (or similar) device, you'll have noticed that for a large portion of the last year, it has been nearly useless. From 10.4.9 on the device hasn't worked correctly on some machines, and as of 10.5 it didn't work with any. Well, the waiting is finally over as Apple's new 10.5.3 works great with LoadMyTracks and the Sony CS-1.
My brother Derek pointed me at this article from CNet about a move by ESRI to more directly and easily support export from ESRI formats to "the geoweb." Now, considering that this is mostly KML, I'm not particularly surprised, since KML is basically a presentation and not analysis format. Would that they were adding more support for WFS!
It's been a while since we talked about LoadMyTracks, software from ClueTrust (our sponsor) and there've been a lot of changes in the past few months. Since March, we've been doing a lot of development, and adding support for a lot of new devices, including the latest from Garmin, and some old standbys from Magellan (serial-based receivers now), as well as a new crop from GlobalSat, including the GH-615 Sport Watch and the DG-100 Data Logger (which US GlobalSat was kind enough to send us for development purposes). Click the link for more...
The folks who keep Open Street Map thriving are having a conference in Limerick, Ireland in July to discuss the State of the Map. If you aren't familiar with Open Street Map, I'd encourage you to check it out, and then to get out your GPS and digital camera and get some data on the map! Most of the current US data is from the TIGER/Lines data set, and in my area of DC is pretty out of date.
With all of the recent move to put cartography and GIS data on the internet, it should come as no surprise to readers of this blog that there are a lot of web sites out there with nice looking maps and data that everyone expects to be real. This is where people should stop to think about the source of the data.
Real estate web site Zillow has announced that they are making the shape files that they use to indicate neighborhoods across the US available under the Creative Commons license. That's right, a commercial data provider who is willing to make data available for free. As they'd say in New Zealand, "Good on you!" The license requires attribution only, and that you make future versions available under the same license if you change the data.
In the Google Maps blog yesterday, they carried an announcement that Google Maps will be adding support for the hCard microformat in Google Maps. What does this mean for you and I? More machine-usable data in Google Maps.
According to an article in MacWorld today, Garmin has announced that Training Center for the Macintosh is "now available" (although they also indicate that the software will be available for download in Late January, it will be distributed on CD at MacWorld in a week and a half). No word on firmware upgrading and support of non-training devices, but this is a step. Congratulations, Garmin.
If you know your geography and are from the UK or the US, then click on over to Geography Cup and help your team win! The contest lasts until December 31, 2006 and has been going on since November 12. The UK is clobbering the US in terms of score per participant, but the volume of US participants is keeping them in the lead. Show your team spirit and help out!
Worldmapper is a site that uses Cartograms (maps that have been distorted to show non-geographical data in interesting ways. Public Health Spending, as an example, shows how much of the world's health care dollars are spent in the US. Compare that with Population, and you get an idea how distorted spending is relative to population. It's an interesting way to view information, using maps as a reference point instead of an accurate rendition, like so much of online mapping.
As an ESRI customer, I've been interested in getting my hands on 9.2 to check out the new features. Yesterday (annoyingly close to Thanksgiving here in the US) my package arrived. Expect some commentary on the advances and changes in 9.2.
The latest release of Google Earth Pro version (additional $400 per year, subscription only) now includes the GIS import module, the movie making module, and the premium printing module, each of which were paid extras before this week.