Links: Nargis, Mesh4x KML, China to censor online maps?

Well, the “throat infection” was actually a misdiagnosed pneumonia, and it ended up taking a wee stay in the hospital to beat that into submission. (I found myself mouthing the lyrics to Lloyd Cole & the Commotions’ Lost Weekend — though to be fair, the price of the medicine is quite reasonable here in Cairo.) I’m recovering well, so it’s time to dive back into the blogging…

  • Nargis links: Paul Currion over at has collected a long and useful list of Burma/Myanmar-related links related to how GIS-related technologies are (or rather aren’t yet) being used in the disaster relief effort. That’s in addition to the links on Google Lat Long and Google Earth Blog.
  • KML syncing: One challenge facing relief workers: Updating local data and then sharing it. InSTEDD’s Eduardo Jezierski’s built Mesh4x KML Adapter, a syncing tool for KML files that should solve precisely this problem. Comes with a bonus monster KML file containing everything you’ve ever wanted to know about the Central African Republic, and then some.
  • China gets that urge to censor maps: Reports AFP:
    According to Min Yiren, vice head of [China’s] State Bureau of Surveying and Mapping, authorities hope to get rid of online maps that wrongly depict China’s borders or that reveal military secrets, the People’s Daily said Monday.

    Too bad that that horse bolted from the barn back in 2005. Chinese military secrets have been a free-for all on Google Earth Community (GEC) since day one of the launch of Google Earth. It would be a pity if Chinese surfers were to be cut off from Google’s mapping resources. But I very much doubt that Google will ever remove three years of collective intelligence gleaned from Digital Globe’s high resolution imagery on GEC or begin restricting new such info for the rest of us. Still, a battle between Google and China’s government over this could be quite bloody.

  • Find a missing Mars lander: The Mars Polar Lander was lost just as it was about to land near Mars’s South Pole in 1999. There are now some excellent sub-meter resolution images of the region taken by the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter, and you’re being asked to help comb those images to find the Mars Polar Lander. The setup is not as sophisticated as Amazon’s mechanical turk, used in the search for Steve Fossett and Jim Gray, but then again the task is not as urgent. (Via Bad Astronomy)
  • Google Vue de la Rue: Google Street View car spotted in Paris.
  • Berlin Wall Guide: Berlin has introduced the Mauer Guide, a handheld GPS-enabled device that help you trace the course of the Berlin Wall, much of it now demolished. Just like in a museum, it tells you about what you see around you, except that it knows where you are via GPS. Very cool. (Via Spiegel Online)
  • 3G? I want my 4G iPhone: Sweden awards five 4G mobile licences. How fast will 4G telephony be? More than 100mbps, according to one of the bidders.
  • GĂ©oportail launches API: France’s National Geographic Agency’s GĂ©oportail gets the promised API (beta). It’s built on open source OpenLayers tech (wow) and lets web developers incorporate French cartographic data into their web apps. Only 2D at the moment, and only 100 page views per day are allowed, among other restrictions. In other words, for beta testing purposes only.
  • Google Ocean: CNet reports that Google is planning to come out with a 3D bathymetry tool called Google Ocean. The Earth is Square can’t help but point out that Google is playing catchup to NASA World Wind, which has had 3D bathymetry since 2004.
  • World Wide Telescope gets a launch date: Bill Gates says Microsoft’s World Wide Telescope will be launched by the end of May.
  • Microsoft Pro Photo Tools 1: A Windows application that lets you edit the EXIF metadata of your photos, including RAW photos, with a special focus on georeferencing. You can marry your photos to a GPS tracklog, or place photos on Virtual Earth, and then get the name of the place via reverse geocoding. There are other georeferencing tools out there for Windows, but none that do so much for free. (Via Ars Technica)
  • LoadMyTracks 1.3: Mac GPS utility of choice LoadMyTracks gets a pretty solid update. Free.
  • JetPhoto Studio 3.0.1: This update to the Mac photo georeferencing/CMS tool adds searching for photos by location.