Cartographica.Com: Museums move ahead in internet mapping

Filed under: GIS in Libraries — geoLibro @ 3:43 pm alerts us to a May 24, 2006 Christian Science Monitor article that reviews a pair of geo-savvy museum publications. The second of these, Folk Songs from the Five Points, is exactly the kind of thing libraries might do with their placeable collections. Perhaps more than anything I’m interested in atypical applications of GIS and mapping, and geographic access to library collections may or may not be considered an example thereof. Either way, Folk Songs… (as well as Curating The City, for that matter) is a great example of how content tied to place can be placed. Make sense? Good, because libraries are full, full of placeable material.

These are the kinds of projects for which a library-centric GIS might be especially-suited. A publication like Folk Songs… isn’t exactly hard science, and some might argue that it’s not GIS at all. My point is that while this kind of geospatial application becomes more and more commonplace and more and more desirable, students and faculty are going to be more and more curious about it for their own work and are going to need some place to which they can turn and get support for it. Hard science or even just department-specific labs are typically not interested in providing this kind of support, especially for extra-disciplinary folk. That’s all I’m saying.


Filed under: Geotagging — geoLibro @ 7:19 pm

Am I slow? I just heard about, and it appears to be yet another boon to those interested in writing their web content to geospace. I guess we could call it geobookmarking, where we (users) organize our world of web content by how it’s organized across the planet. The concept isn’t wild here, but I’ve played with this tool for about ten minutes (What? I get excited.) and it is very easy to tag your web content. You save a bookmarklet to (probably) your bookmark bar and whenever you come across a web page that you want to tie to a place, you just click that bookmarklet. You’re then taken to the geotagthings site, where you verify the location, add an optional note, then complete the tagging process and return to the original website. It uses the Yahoo! Maps API and I got it to work in Safari and Camino so far but OmniWeb choked on the login and Opera wouldn’t run the geocoding process (but did allow me to navigate manually to the location).

But then your tagged sites are available as a number of xml-based feeds, including kml. Which means your Google Earth can load it as a network link. Here’s mine. (Note, this won’t download a kml or kmz. I think you need to add this network link manually).


Explore Shakespeare with Google

Filed under: GES — geoLibro @ 9:06 pm

Come on, Google. Why you wanna make us do all the work? Google launches Explore Shakespeare with Google and asks us to “take a literary field trip” by downloading Google Earth. Well, that would be step 1, perhaps (could be WorldWind, after all). But since you have all of those computers and all of those dollars, why not geotag the texts themselves so we can click straight out of the text into Earth or Maps? Or get a robot to do it. An entire summer of code and no Classic literature geotagging robot? Not even a Roomba mod? Sheesh.

Besides, it’s sort of been done by humans already anyway. Plug it into your fancy machines already, Google.


Filed under: GPS & Mobile Location — geoLibro @ 8:15 pm

Meetro was released for Mac today. I’m a little curious about it, but it appears that the ‘geo’ part of it being geo-enabled is limited to what the user reports as their location. A more revolutionary feature would be if it constantly updates the location of the person based on a wireless triangulation or a GPSr or…something. Mostly I don’t care now because my only friend is my wife and I know where she is most of the time. I can see how it might affect collaborating students across campus, of course, but let me think aloud about how this could be used in-library:

There’s chat in libraries already, usually centered around reference service. Proximity between the librarian and the patron probably doesn’t matter much. Possibly the reference librarian could use the location of the patron to direct them to the nearest resources, but if that was terribly necessary the location of the patron could just as easily be discerned by a question (I don’t know, maybe “where are you on campus?”). No? I suppose a patron — given the choice — could choose a reference librarian who happens to be closer, but…eh. There are certainly exciting things that can be done with location in a library (or throughout a library system), especially with RFID-tagged materials and live tracking, but my guess is Meetro ain’t one of them.

The Orthophotos Here…

Filed under: Data Sources — geoLibro @ 4:51 am

Uh, the GIS in West Lafayette is better than in South Texas already, and I’m not even in Indiana yet. Jane Frankenberger, (Associate Professor of Agricultural and Biological Engineering) and Larry Theller, (GIS Specialist at Purdue’s Center for Advanced Applications in GIS) wrote today to the PurdueGIS ListServ about an excellent set of digital orthophotos (aerial photos) taken in 2005, in color, at a rather remarkable resolution. Agencies in South Texas also have datasets like this but they’re all a little tight-fisted about them. Border Patrol, county appraisal districts, local police, and pretty much everybody else tends to not want to grant open access to datasets like this, neither to the public nor each other.

Purdue Libraries may try to do something with these photos in the future, but for now you can download them from IU’s gis data page, view them from within an ArcIMS-run public site, or load them into ArcMap via the ArcIMS service also at Indiana University.


sample DOQ
(that happens to show the house we’re trying to buy in West Lafayette and also happens to not even be at full resolution)


Major New Announcements for Google Earth

Filed under: Geographic Exploration Systems, GES — geoLibro @ 6:02 pm

The Google Earth Blog made an announcement today, maybe you heard:
The most interesting part in my opinion is that there’s a new Beta version (build 1563, I think) available for Mac and Linux. Google Earth Pro (Windows only) doesn’t seem to have been updated as of this writing.

I can’t tell if they tried to make the new UI OS X-ified or KDE-ified. Maybe its GNOME-ified, I guess I sort of don’t care. It will still burn the eyes of Mac users.

Take comfort, though, in the news that Google SketchUp (née Sketchup) free is now out for Mac. Now go spend fifteen hours building digital models of that birdhouse you promised your first-born. (Or use it like I plan to: build interactive, intuitive models of campus and campus libraries to help usher students to and from the great stores held at Purdue University Libraries.)


Google Spreadsheet

Filed under: Data Processing and Conversion — geoLibro @ 2:02 pm

About Google Spreadsheet: I don’t know, I don’t find myself collaborating on spreadsheets that often, to begin with. Also, it will certainly have less functionality than a desktop app. However: it will most certainly be a boon for mashup makers and it might make it easier for, say, a GIS Librarian to send or share data with a patron or vice versa. But more important than all of that is the possibility that it might startle people into realizing that there is a bright, easy, (inexpensive) beautiful world outside of Excel and the rest of the Office dungeon.


Ogle Earth: Google Earth Linux will be native, after all

Filed under: Geographic Exploration Systems, GES — geoLibro @ 4:51 pm

From Ogle Earth: Google Earth Linux will be native, after all

It doesn’t look like we’ll be putting any *nix machines in the GIS Lab in EAS (except on the triple-boot MacBook Pro I intend to bring with me to campus), but this is still good news for a decent amount of the Purdue computing community, no?

(By the way, if you’re interested in having Linux support [for GRASS, for example} in the lab, please let me know.)


Popular Science: Television Signals Plug the Holes in GPS

Filed under: GPS & Mobile Location — geoLibro @ 4:52 am

Popular Science writes about a GPS system that, if-it-could-possibly-work-but-I’m-not-that-smart-so-I-can’t-see-how, could go quite a long way toward leveraging the power of GPS mapping to applications that just couldn’t use it before. I’m thinking of analyses of patrons through a library space, primarily, but it could just as easily look at shoppers through retail space. But TV signals? I guess. It feels a little like the time I tried to make a hand-powered “tree-felling machine” with a spare chain and a dilapidated, upside-down Huffy. (Not really).


Inaugural Post: part 1 of x about setting up a GIS Lab

Filed under: GIS Labs — geoLibro @ 1:21 am

At Purdue University, instruction, outreach, and support for GIS will all be increasing coincidental to the arrival of a new GIS Librarian in August 2006. The librarian is me and I just returned from a kind of reconnaissance trip to West Lafayette, the primary purpose of which was to set up the lab that would support this new endeavor by becoming a central point of access for those Purdue students, faculty, and administrators who don’t already have the ability or facility to work with GIS data or software, but whose work might benefit from its  application. Additionally, research and applications conducted or built by Library users of GIS will need to be housed and in some cases published, possibly connected in some way to ongoing repository initiatives. So we’re hoping to buy some pimped-out desktop machines, sure, but also a server to run ArcSDE and ArcIMS installs. I wish I would also have the time to fuss with MapServer or some other open source publisher, but I doubt it very much. Very much. My hands will be full just getting a stable and usable SDE up, then building IMS on top of that will also need some heavy effort. 
But this is going to be very interesting, and I hope to document it within this blog for the benefit of others who might have the opportunity to build a GIS Lab (and library-centric program) from scratch.

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