Points of Interest: January 24, 2005

Updated NOAA Portal. A new Web portal run by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration provides information from thousands of real-time observing stations and forecast locations to coastal residents and others interested in weather and water-related conditions. It's actually version 2 of the portal built on ESRI's ArcIMS and ArcSDE. No OGC Web Services are available according to the FAQ. Why not?

The Smoking Map. Walt Disney's idea of provided only limited smoking areas for its parks is spreading to other campuses. Humboldt State University in California has a new smoking policy that designates but 18 locations on campus where smoking is permitted. Six are near dorms and others were chosen to minimize the impact of second hand smoke on the population. The map's here and an article on the logic is here. I hope that unlike Disney, which I wrote about a few years ago, the locations are clearly marked with signs.

Montana Takes on Black Box. A hearing I set for Wednesday in Montana to have a look at HB 322 which concerns "event data recorders" (EDR) or "black boxes" in cars. The Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) has mandated that all new cars must come equipped with EDRs by 2006. The "black box" stores information about how fast a car has been traveling, braking, turns, times of these, and a great deal more. The bill attempts to limit the invasion of privacy, "stating that a car (non-commercial vehicle) may not be sold in Montana with an EDR unless it has an owner-usable on/off switch, so the EDR may be disabled by the owner. It also says that any information stored on an EDR is the private property of the of the vehicle owner, may not be released to anyone else without the owner's written permission or a court order, and if the information is released without consent or court order the owner may sue anyone involved for violation of privacy." The bill would take the wind out the FHWA's sails, no?

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Source: Material used herein is often supplied by external sources and used as is.