Links: Earth monitoring, neo geo who?, Flickr places explained, Syria censorship

  • Earth monitoring: Nature has a special issue on Earth monitoring out. Nature reporter Declan Butler blogs it, and provides links to PDFs of some of the articles.
  • How now, neo geo? In case you’ve missed it, over on All Points Blog a debate has erupted as to whether neogeography is GIS or not. One unintentionally funny comment:

    This “neogeo” can provide acuraccy? [sic]

    The guardians of the GIS gate are wondering whether neogeographers should be let in. The problem is that we barbarians are already inside the gate, and we’re charming the socks off the good burghers’ daughters. (Andrew Turner at High Earth Orbit has more.)

  • Flickr Places: Flickr’s Dan Catt explains the rationale behind the new Flickr places pages over on Geobloggers. I hadn’t quite gotten the point of these pages before — it feels less dynamic than what went before, but Dann explains thus:

    The “Places” project is one that’s been brewing for quite a while. My glib reason for having them, is actually to have a page from which we can hang location based geoRSS (and KML) feeds off. I mean we have geoRSS feeds for San Francisco and so on, but up to now no-where on the site that you can get to them from.

    So expect KML (network?) links soon.

    That said, I’m still wishing for something that was even more versatile — GeoRSS and KML feeds for pictures that are within a certain radius of a coordinate or within bounding boxes would be my choice. That way, you’d be able to collect images from odd places like Antarctic bases, a particular stretch of coast off Ireland, or just the three block area around where I live.

  • Censored in Syria? So Facebook is blocked in Syria due to Israeli “infiltration”. Zeinobia on Arabicareport assumes the reason you can’t get Google Earth in Syria is for the same reason — Syrian government censorship — but in this particular case she’s wrong. It’s US export regulations that forbid Google from making Google Earth available in Syria (and Cuba and Sudan and no doubt North Korea, were anyone other than Dear Leader to have an internet connection).
  • Nice maps: Digital Urban points to “possibly the best city map in the world”, on Surely not scalable, unless you’ve got cheap labor, and lots of it. If this being the Chinese century means cuter maps, I’m all for it:-)
  • Hyperwords: Also at the Berlin Online Educa, Hyperwords had a stand. They are the makers of a completely free Firefox plugin that lets you do an astonishing amount of contextual menu-based actions on the words on a web page — including mapping any location name to Google Maps.
  • GPS cameras anyone? CNET on whether 2008 will be the year of GPS-enabled cameras. The reporter is skeptical — GPS units need to fix their positions more quickly before GPS can go mainstream. I’d agree. Apparently, improvements are in the works.
  • Photosynth competition: Microsoft’s Photosynth looks like it might be getting competition, according to Wired:

    Researchers at the University of Washington have developed a piece of software that synthesizes thousands of photos, digitally edits out your kids cheesing for the camera, calculates where each photographer was standing when they took the shot. By comparing two photos taken from slightly different perspectives, the software applies principles of computer vision to figure out the distance to each point. The app then stitches the photos together to create a highly detailed 3-D model of the Statue of Liberty, the Grand Canyon, or any number of tourist destinations getting snapped by the minute.

    See the comments.

  • ArcGIS converter: Mapperz looks at ET Geowizards 9.7, which he calls “one of the best all-round third party extensions you can get for ArcGIS.” Lots of options for converting to and from KML.
  • KML@OGC feedback wanted: You’ve got until January 3 to comment on the OGC’s draft KML 2.2 standard.
  • Where 2.0: O’Reilly Radar on what to expect at next year’s Where 2.0.
  • Photo map choice:, which lets you upload and geotag photos (including from your mobile) boasts it is the only photo sharing site where you can choose your map: Microsoft’s, Yahoo’s or Google’s imagery.

3 thoughts on “Links: Earth monitoring, neo geo who?, Flickr places explained, Syria censorship”

  1. I still have a difficult time really seeing the application for Photosynth — as it’s only a perspective view within coordinate space, not an actual method to produce ‘meaningful’ content such as a 3D model. Or so, that’s what I can gather from it thus far.

    Also, apps like RealViz’s Image Modeller are out there and do a great job at producing models. (Which you can export directly into SketchUp or Max, etc.)

    Andy over at Digital Urban mentioned a while back that he was thinking of releasing their in-house tool for photographic modelling in SketchUp, but I haven’t seen an update on that — unless I missed it. I am curious to see what they’ve got.

    There’s also a tool from CS MSU Graphics & Media Lab called GML Texturizer that works relatively well for basic texturizing, but it’s hardly the same thing — somewhat basic in principle. It’s nice to have around though!

  2. I think if you look into it. You will find that PhotoSynth is actually Microsoft funded research at Univ of Washington (Steve Seitz) that was originally called PhotoTourism:

    Here is Prof Steve Seitz’s page, which looks like he is what Wired is talking about.

    As for uses for PhotoSynth, Take a look at how birds eye images overlay 3D scenes in the latest verison of Microsoft Virtual Earth ( 3D (and turn on brids eye).

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