Short news: iEarth Monday, AGU, patents

Short news:

  • The NASA-Google announcement is now set for Monday, Dec 18, 11:00 PST reports ZDNet, citing a NASA press release. It doesn’t get much sparser than this:
    WHAT: Media briefing announcing details of Space Act Agreement with Google, Inc.

    What is a Space Act Agreement? In the case of Google, it’s a private-public partnership. That’s the second one in a week involving Google Earth. BTW, everybody’s money is still on iEarth being announced.

  • Frank Taylor gives a great write-up of the special sessions on virtual globes at the American Geophysical Union’s (AGU) annual conference in San Francisco. Day 1, day 2 and day 3.
  • The patent tussle between Google and Skyline Software Systems appears to have taken another step. I got this in my newsreader today:
    Complaint, Counterclaims Filed In ‘Google Earth’ Patent Case

    BOSTON – In response to a first amended complaint (FAC) filed by Skyline Software Systems Inc. alleging patent infringement by Google Earth and related products, Keyhole Inc. and parent company Google Inc. (Google, collectively) have filed an answer alleging patent invalidity (Skyline Software Systems Inc. v. Keyhole Inc. and Google Inc., No. 06-10980 DPW, D. Mass.). Full story on

    Nothing more is given away without us first ponying up some cash. Anybody with a Lexis subscription care to take a look? I’m interested, but not $25-dollars-interested, if you catch my drift. (Bloggers are cheap.)

  • A few days ago, a big phallic symbol discovered in Google Earth imagery of a British school’s roof caused a frisson online. It wasn’t worth a post, though one line in the story has now caught my attention:
    Google said: “If users spot something offensive we would consider having it removed.”

    I certainly hope that was a lie. Why go through all the trouble of standing up for freedom of speech, transparency, accuracy, impartiality, etc… when at the first sign of a lewd use of this freedom, it is given up. This is a slippery slope, it is.

  • A Norwegian site reports that local Norwegian company, Blom, has licensed its pictometry database to Microsoft — used for bird’s eye imagery. Blom’s own site shows it has plenty of images of Italy, so we can stop guessing as to where Microsoft got its Italy data from in the update last week. Also, there are some interesting details about the deal on Blom’s site, here:
    The agreement will give all Microsoft’s clients world wide the right to use Blom’s data for commercial purposes. The agreement will give Blom access to all Microsoft clients and their substantial sales force and network. Blom will receive an agreed portion of the revenue Microsoft will earn from their customers use of Blom’s database.

    Blom is the first Norwegian company to enter into such an agreement with Microsoft, and the parties agree that the database will form an important enhancement of Microsoft’s database for geographical information, and support their determination to provide the best web based services for location based services in the future.

    Blom will actively market the Pictometry database for other companies all over Europe that prefer a direct access and/or full functionality. Blom will also support Microsoft in their efforts to increase the number of clients and improve the quality of the database they are offering.

    Note the revenue-sharing agreement — would that be from the ad revenue in Virtual Earth?