General News

Are you ready to rumble? Geography Cup US vs UK

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!

Upcoming ArcGis 9.2 features

For those who don't know, the annual ESRI user conference is currently going on in sunny San Diego. As happens from time to time, ESRI is getting to release a new version of the flagship software ArcGIS 9.2. Any of those of you who are interested in a listing of the new features can check out the folllowing link to the ESRI webpage. Of interest to many is the new feature that allows direct connectivity to Excel spreadsheets. Amazing that this feature has taken so long considering how many people use Excel to handle data. Thanks to Very Spatial for the heads up.

Analyzing media impact on voting

According to an article on Directions, the Carter Center and ESRI are working together to determine the impact that various forms of media have on voting patterns. The stated purpose of the project is to "reduce corruption and promote equitable access to political information during elections by using the maps to empower policy makers and the public to facilitate constructive reforms of political finance laws and practices regarding media access." Again quoting from the article, "The maps depict which kinds of media reach which voters, and who owns those media outlets. In addition they display voter characteristics in a given district in terms of native languages, socioeconomic status, and education levels". While there is no mention of the types of analysis to be performed or the level of statistical sophistication, the project does seem like an interesting use of spatial analysis. Most interesting of all is that the project will NOT be conducted in the US, but instead will analyze patterns in Argentina, Mexico, Peru, and Guatemala. As a former faculty member of a Political Science department, I would find that this type of analysis would provide very interesting results if conducted in the US (big money, big media, big victory). However, perhaps the results might cut a little too close to the bone of advertisers and media outlets that are ESRI customers. Just my cynical speculation.

TOM TOM component shortages could spell trouble

According to an article on Automotive Business Review Online, TOM TOM is being hit by component shortages which will impact the availability of its GO models (910 and 510). While it didn't reveal what component was in short supply, TOM TOM claims everything is working out and things will be shipping "in line with our planning". This could hurt the bottom line or at least the stock price as earnings are due to be released soon.

Avenza releases MAPublisher 7 for Adobe Illustrator

Avenza, maker of Cartographic add-on software for Adobe Illustrator and Freehand released a new version of MAPublisher yesterday. According to the site, "MAPublisher 7.0 combines the best features of GIS with the powerful design environments of Adobe Illustrator CS and CS2 to enable native GIS data files to be used as a base for cartographic production. " The software allows the importation of the most widely used GIS data (ESRI, MapInfo, Microstation, AutoCAD, etc..) and the preservation and editing of all GIS data attributes and parameters while working in Illustrator. Available in both Mac and Windows flavors, the software looks like a good addition to any cartographers toolkit.

Spatial business is good investment

According to a small article on All Points Blog, Garmin is a great investment for all those who invested before January 1 2006. In the 6 months of this year alone the stock price has gone from $65 to $102 and on May 3rd it offered a 2 to 1 stock split and now offers dividends. I don't have the information on other Spatially related businesses, but I would speculate that they too are doing very well as evidenced by all of the major internet companies jumping on the mapping bandwagon over the last year or so.

Mapping a Soccer game

As a life long soccer player (football for those of you not in the U.S.) and reader of National Geographic, I was pleasantly surprised to see some very interesting maps of an actual soccer game. As an avid reader of National Geographic and major fan of the monthly supplements they include in the magazine, this was one of the more unique maps I have seen in a long time. More after the jump.

National Geographic talks blogging and maps

National Geographic has an article today about blogs and maps, highlighting—once again—the growing prominence of maps on the webs and the movement towards more map output. However, we're still stuck here wondering when people will become less interested in maps and more interested in having access to the underlying data. Although it's nice that you can create a map easily, there are few sites whose stated objectives are to actually share the data for analysis and further study. It is interesting that the map craze spawned by the availability of raw data and free mapping services may well portend the end of the availability of that raw data in deference to pictorial representations which have little use to those interested in using the data.

U.S. has no idea where it is on a map

The results of the annual National Geographic Society survey of geo-literacy are in and we are once get a country that is largely "geo-illiterate". The results indicate that despite fighting a war in Iraq for several years, 63% of 18-24 year olds can't locate Iraq on a map. Other major news also failed to have an impact on our geographical knowledge as 3/4 of all respondents couldn't locate Indonesia (Tsunami) on a world map and that 1/3 couldn't find Louisiana and 48% couldn't locate Mississippi on a map. For more depressing news about our country read the article.

Tracking ships at Sea

Although I live in a very landlocked area of the U.S. I am fascinated by the ocean and sailing upon it. Now my fascination has a new place to manifest itself in the form of This site provides a live tracking map of ships locations around the world, powered by the World Meterological Organization's Voluntary Observing Ship service. The site allows users to select different areas of the world as well as different classes of ships (Tall Ships, Cruise Ships, Research Vessels, etc ..) for viewing. In addition, users can query for specific ships as well and chart travels across a date range. Overall it is a pretty cool site offering some fairly impressive map quality in addition to being able to stalk those on a cruise.

Mapping the Marvel Comic World

For those of you who spent too much time reading comics in their youth, or still do, there is a new map project being undertaken to map all of the Marvel Comic world. Entitled the Marvel Atlas Project (MAP), the project is the work of Sean Kleefeld and it currently encompasses quite a few maps from around the world of Marvel Comics. While the navigation is a little clunky at times (you can't click on the maps to view other maps) it is nonetheless an interesting site. In addition to maps there is a lot of interesting information relating to the geography of the Marvel world and the cool font found in almost all comic books.

Putting Maps on an iPod: a review of different products

Amazingly, despite my gadget freak nature I had largely avoided getting an iPod until very recently. However, a few short weeeks ago my family (thanks again) gave me a new 5G 60 gig do everything you ever wanted and more iPod. While I spent a week or so playing with the music and putting video on it (Get Eye TV 2 if you don't have it already), I finally got around to trying to put USEFUL maps on my iPod. As with everything, there are various different alternatives, some good, some not, some free, some not. Read more after the jump.

Stalking goes spatial with Gawker Stalker maps

While Gawker has been providing celebrity sighting information for years in their "Stalker" section, they have recently started using Google maps to provide mapped locations of the celebrity sightings. Interestingly, once they put them in map format, everyone decided to freak out. Notably celebrity manager Ken Sunshine has said "It invites weirdos, if not dangerous weirdos, to physically come in contact with anybody they choose to expose on this site". While, I agree that people are a little celebrity obsessed, the information is hardly stalking as it is presented and not worthy of all the negative publicity it has been getting. Specifically, the information is simply reader provided information about where celebrities were spotted that is e-mailed to Gawker who then reviews it and posts it on their site. Hardly the stuff of true stalking. However mine is just one opinion, so I suggest you go to the site your self and make up your own mind.