GIS MONITOR, Dec 7, 2000
-TerraServer Gets Useful for “Real” GIS
-What’s the Big Idea? NIMA Insists on Product Independent Format
-Free Internet Access Coming to an End?
-Technology to Redefine the Landscape
-Earth Resources Mapping Partners With MapBlast
-Hide and Seek for the GPS Set
We have been contacted by ESRI and asked to share the following
information. Due to circumstances beyond ESRI control, ESRI Web, email
and phone service is not available December 7. Service will resume
TERRASERVER GETS USEFUL FOR “REAL” GIS
TerraServer has been enhanced to provide “world file” data to help
georeference the imagery found on the site. Previously, users had to
manually locate the images in a GIS to make them useful with other data.
As pointed out in the Spatial News article by USGS’s Joseph J. Kerski,
some issues remain. The downloaded files (free ones) are JPEGs and are
lossy. The naming convention for the files is wrong: .jgw is correct, .jpw
is not. And, you must be a bit careful with the file. Windows may try to
interpret that extension as a programming file. I had to readjust my file
associations to open it in a text editor and view the 6 numbers. Still, I
was able to create a world file and get it up and running. Here’s hoping
the crew at TerraServer can make this process simpler in the future.
WHAT’S THE BIG IDEA? NIMA INSISTS ON PRODUCT INDEPENDENT FORMAT
CubeWerx, as part of a consortium is working on NIMA’s (National Imagery
and Mapping Agency) “Big Idea” Initiative. The company's full suite of
unique and powerful products - CubeSTOR, CubeSERV, and CubeVIEW - will be
used as part of the solution. Part of the project’s goal is to integrate
and keep spatial data in an independent format until it is queried.
This project is worth watching for a few reasons. First, NIMA’s extended
enterprise is not that different from that of many county, state and
business organizations. It includes imagery and vector data, many
different platforms, the Internet, mobile users and more. NIMA provides a
perfect “test case” for a large enterprise implementation. Second,
CubeWerx has been very active in the development and implementation of
OpenGIS conformant Web solutions. NASA purchased their tools for that
reason earlier this year.
FREE INTERNET ACCESS COMING TO END
A free ride on the Internet may soon be a thing of the past. AltaVista’s
free service will end Sunday Dec 10, according to notices sent to members.
AltaVista’s provider, 1stUp.com, owned by AltaVista’s parent company, is
going out of business. That means that other portals using 1stUp.com for
free service, such as [email protected] and Lycos, are in danger, too. AltaVista
said they chose to shut down since they were not able to find another
provider. Members will have a transition opportunity to move to MSN to get
a few more free months but would have to pay after that.
BlueLight.com, Kmart's e-commerce channel, which teamed up with Spinway
and Yahoo! to offer free Internet service, is also on shaky ground.
Monday, after taking over assets of its provider, Spinway Inc., BlueLight
announced that after the holidays the service may shut down or
restructure. That would leave Juno and NetZero as the only large free ISPs
left standing. The reason: the ad revenue that these companies depend upon
has been limited.
The future? Dylan Brooks of Jupiter Research suggests that free ISP use
will grow from a current 8% of all Internet users up to 13% in 2003.
However, the free access will come packaged with hardware, or online
trading accounts. This model parallels the closest thing we have to free
phone service: the “free phone cards” that some times accompany purchases.
TECHNOLOGY TO REDEFINE THE LANDSCAPE?
Reader Arnold S. pointed out a new book of interest to the geospatial
community: 'The New Geography': Where to Plant Your Feet in the Digital
Landscape by Joel Kotkin. Basically, Mr. Kotkin explores where people will
live and work now that technology removes the strong ties to location. He
explores the role of “new nerdistans, like Raleigh, North Carolina, and
Irvine, California, where techies live in orderly new suburbs, to newly
revived core-city neighborhoods in downtown Houston, to artisan bakeries
in the outer boroughs of New York and refurbished small-town-like” says
Michael Barone, U.S. News & World Report on the back cover. A New York
Times review questions some of Kotkin’s conclusions, but the question is
certainly worthy of exploration.
EARTH RESOURCES MAPPING PARNTERS WITH MAPBLAST
Earth Resource Mapping selected Vicinity's MapBlast to integrate into its
software for government and real estate agencies. In addition, Vicinity
will use ERM as a reseller for its products to enter the government and
real estate arenas.
Why do these two companies need each other? MapBlast (“everyone needs a
little direction in life”) is focused on direction, rather than parcel
type data. Further, Vicinity has had great success in the commercial
arena, with business finding tools, BrandFinder and more, but is new to
the “old style” GIS market of local government.
ERM is moving to new arenas as well. Their fine ERMapper software was only
the beginning. With their image compression and distribution tools on the
cutting edge, a move to the Web seems inevitable. They can benefit from
the experience of a truly web savvy company like Vicinity.
ERM has taken the channel partner role before. When Autodesk jumped into
GIS, they took ERM as a partner to integrate their tools and provide a
strong GIS channel. According to its Web page, “ER Mapper is represented
by more than 280 reseller organizations worldwide. The software is sold
exclusively through resellers.” However, US and Canadian residents seem to
able to order via the Web.
HIDE AND SEEK FOR THE GPS SET
Geocaching, the latest hi-tech “sport,” is catching on. Geocaching is a
treasure-hunt for trinkets using a GPS receiver. Geocaching is made
possible by the lifting of Selective Availability and the resulting
ability for GPS receivers to locate targets within a few feet. The game
involves posting a note with the “cache’s” coordinates on a web page and
letting others find it. Today there are some 150 caches with more being
added every day.
The cache itself, a sealable bucket or container, includes some
inexpensive prizes. Finders may take one and are encouraged to add one to
assure everyone who visits gets a “goodie.” There’s also a log to sign to
celebrate successful seekers.
Not only would this sport encourages technologists to get away from the
computer and out into the world, but it would also be a great tool to
introduce kids and adults to maps and introduce GPS. A geocaching “game”
would make a great “event” to tie into GIS/GPS and related conferences.
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