Points of Interest: Feb 9, 2005


GM and Geography. General Motors wanted to be clever and decided to slowly reveal (free reg required) a secret message by putting a single word or punctuation mark on a billboard in a different part of the country every day. It was going reasonably well - until some techies discovered that the secret message was not so secretly hidden in the source code of the website. The spoiled the surprise, which, by design I suppose has to do with navigation and OnStar.

Where Do You Live? The New Zealand Herald reports that perhaps 10% of parents are fibbing about where they live in order to get their children into the best elementary schools in Auckland and other cities. Zones determine which students attend which school, though there are some extra spots, chosen by lottery, for those who want to attend a different school. One student's addressed turned out to be a massage parlor, another, an industrial park. Education officials are calling parents, checking sales and rental agreements and going door-to-door to stamp out fraud. School begins next week down under. Sure this happens elsewhere; sure sounds like some good GIS data could help!

Build Your Own Maps Collective. OpenStreetMap is an effort to produce free (licensed under Creative Commons) street maps for cities all over the world. For now, it's more of an idea with some technology in the works. The basic idea is to have people travel with GPS, interpret imagery or otherwise capture data. The first street was entered in December. It'll be interesting to see how this progresses. For now, I don't think TeleAtlas and NAVTEQ need to be worried.

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