GeoCarta Has Moved

Jan 31, 2007

Worldmapper: A New Way to View the Planet

An interesting website run by a collaboration of cartographers and other researchers offers, "the world as you've never seen it before." Worldmapper contains 366 maps each of which re-size territory according to a specific subject of interest. For example, with a couple of mouse clicks, you can see a map of the Earth where each country's size relates to the number of people living in cities, or the number of tractors working.

Not surprisingly, the U.S., Europe and Japan tend to be greatly exaggerated from their true size in the wealth and income maps. Africa and most of Asia, what we think of as the "third world" tend to increase in size whenever the categories are poverty and disease. However, it's one thing to know the numbers. Seeing displayed the way Worldmapper does adds new meaning to it, and can be kind of fun.

The site is sponsored by the University of Michigan, the University of Sheffield, the Leverhulme Trust, and the Geographical Association.

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Census to use Handhelds to Minimize Map Errors

In 2010 census, the Census Bureau will equip its temporary work force of 500,000 people with hand-held computers to help them make a more precise count of the people living in the U.S. it was reported today.

The bureau will mail the traditional census form to all U.S. addresses in March of 2006. Experience shows that about 35% of the recipients will not respond. In order to count those people, the Census Bureau plans to send out 500,000 enumerators. The enumerators will carry wireless hand-held computers, specially made by Harris Corp. Over a three-month period, data will be collected and transmitted to computers at 455 regional offices.

About half of census-recording errors come from mapping mistakes, Preston Jay Waite, Associate Director for the Decennial Census said. In the past, the bureau printed paper maps identifying each U.S. household. But census-takers often had trouble deciphering the maps. This time, they'll use computer maps that pinpoint each address to an accuracy of 3 meters.

Field trials so far have resulted in a 91 percent accuracy rate, which Waite said is better than expected. "At first, we wanted to develop the technology ourselves, but we realized that we didn't have the expertise," Waite said.

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Jan 30, 2007

Researcher Urges Mapping the Great Barrier Reef

A marine scientist today called for the preparation of a "risk map" of the Great Barrier Reef today. Dr. Russell Reichelt with the Great Barrier Reef Research Foundation told The Age that such a map would fill an important gap in knowledge in order to help the reef survive. "There are so many variations around how coral bleaching impacts from place to place, at different depths and locations, and on individual reefs," he said.

Dr. Reichelt proposed creating, "...a map of several layers, similar to a geographic information system. It is quite difficult science — we want to make a map of 350,000 square kilometres of world heritage area." He placed the cost of such a project at, "millions of dollars".

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Washington Post Profiles National Geographic Cartographer

Today's Washington Post profiles Allen Carroll, chief cartographer for the National Geographic Society. Mr. Carroll tells the Post that as a child he actually wanted to be an architect. This despite the fact the he spent time looking at maps the way most kids read books, " never crossed my mind that I could make a living making maps." he said.

While a fairly interesting article, I have to take issue with the way the writer defines cartography with what would more properly be called geographic information systems, stating "cartographers ...are employed by all sorts of companies...People who run fast-food restaurants use maps to figure out where people are moving so they know the best place to open a store.


Jan 29, 2007

GPS Device Reportedly Infected with Malware

A number of tech websites and blogs are reporting that the GO 910 global positioning system device by TomTom was shipped with Trojan horse and virus software installed on it. While some sites are reporting that TomTom has confirmed that some units were shipped with malware installed on them, technically, the company only states that its GO 910 "may be infected with a virus." [Emphasis mine]

Officially, TomTom states, "It has been confirmed that a small number of TomTom GO 910 devices, produced between September and November 2006, and shipped with software version 6.51, may be infected with a virus." How do you confirm that something "may" have happened?

The company goes on to categorize the viruses as, "extremely low risk". The infection of TomTom's GPS devices was reportedly first reported by the DaniWeb blog.

See also: TomTom Takes #2 Spot In Booming GPS Navigation Market.


Jan 28, 2007

Inaccurate Maps One of "Small Gaps" That Led to Crash

Inaccurate maps were among the "small gaps" that doomed Comair Flight 5191 when it crashed August 27, in Lexington, Kentucky, the Cincinnati Enquirer reported today.

After reviewing the 650 pages of information National Transportation Safety Board investigators have gathered thus far in their investigation into the cause of the crash, the Enquirer cites two main factors in the crash; pilot error and maps which failed to show which runways were under construction, and which were open.
The vendor supplying Comair with airport maps didn't know about the construction in Lexington. Comair pilots had maps that still showed the pre-construction.

Map company Jeppesen Sanderson said a computer error caused it to not receive the notice of construction, which in turn prevented it from providing up-to-date information. Jeppesen flight safety manager "Rich Fosnot stated that Jeppesen staff had 'no idea there was ongoing construction' at LEX at the time of the accident," investigators said. "Jeppesen discovered that a software error was responsible for the data not being reported out."

The crash has already prompted the Federal Aviation Administration to ask airports to begin providing diagrams of ongoing construction projects instead of just text descriptions.

While applauding the new procedure, Terry McVenes, chairman of the Air Line Pilots Association said all airline cockpits should be equipped with a moving map display similar to global positions systems available in automobiles."The technology is already there" he said, "newer airplanes already come equipped."

See also: Airports' Digital Maps Get Failing Grade.

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Jan 27, 2007

Fishing Trip Leads to Formation of Mapping Company

Maine Today details the humble beginnings of mapping company DeLorme:

The story began one spring in the 1970s when [David] DeLorme was fishing in the Moosehead region and came to a fork in a private gravel road, confusing him as to which one led to his destination.

No up-to-date road maps existed for Maine's large, private lands, so his problem proved a common one in those days.

DeLorme's dilemma spawned an idea that took root in 1976 on his kitchen table after he had collected county, town and road maps that were in the public domain. He put a large-sized maps book together, named it DeLorme's The Maine Atlas and Gazetteer and drove around the state, selling from his car, a most humble start.

The story goes on to outline some of the problems Mr. DeLorme in his early days as a cartographer.

Complete article here.

Grammer corrected 01/28/07 (I'm going to stop posting on Saturday nights).

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Geography Professor Studies the Paranormal in Unique Class

Determined to show, "that geography can be a fun and relevant subject," Dr. Charles "Fritz" Gritzner, Professor of Geography at South Dakota State University has begun a new class called, "Geography of the Paranormal".

The Collegian has more:

Gritzner's idea for the class came from his interest in the abnormal. One year, a student of his did a research paper about crop circles, which then lead to his own research on crop circles. He then found the book "Unexplained," by Jerome Clark, which was all about abnormal activity. Using a list of six research criteria, Gritzner picked fifteen of the book's 350 topics to cover in class. The topics include crop circles, the Bermuda Triangle and spontaneous combustion.

"Almost everything can be explained using geography," Gritzner said.

Despite concerns that he might be labeled a "wacko," Dr. Gritzner has high hopes for the class and it has proven popular with students. "This class dealt with a lot of stuff that you would never discuss in any other class," Matt Frankenstein, a geography major. "It was interesting because we got to study strange phenomena and the causes behind them."


Jan 26, 2007

Vermont Towns Begin Mapping Ancient Roads

Under a state imposed deadline to "map them or lose them" towns across Vermont have begun digging through centuries of old maps and land records to try and discover the location of ancient roads.

Act 178, which was passed by the State Legislature last year, established deadlines for identifying ancient roads by local communities. Local governments have until July 1, 2009, to identify all previously unmapped or have them declared an "unidentified corridors." By 2015, if the roads still haven't' been identified, they will be automatically discontinued.

Many of the ancient roads, most of which do not appear on any current maps, were established were established decades, if not centuries ago. Some of the roads may not have ever been actually used, but simply plotted on a map. In almost all cases, the roads are not clearly visible.

According to the County Courier, the law's deadlines have sent local officials deep into their archives, searching for early town and state maps, lotting plans, local history, surveying, deeds and land transfers to uncover the hidden history of roads in every corner of Vermont.

While some government officials have groused about the difficulty of the task, local historians see a tremendous opportunity for research and have recruited volunteers to assist in the effort. Gerry Longway, a member of the Fairfield Historical Society, told the Courier, "This is my thing. I love this stuff. You've got all this historical information and now we get to put it all together ... It could be a great project."

See also: "Phantom Roads" Provide Pitfalls For Landowners; Potential Work For Cartographers

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Continued Growth in GPS Forecast

Taiwan's leading manufacturer of global positioning systems (GPS) devices is predicting strong shipment growth for its own-brand of GPS products The Taipei Times reported today. Executives at Mio Technology Ltd. told The Times the growth is fueled by demand from the US and European markets.

Worldwide, the company expects to ship 3.5 million GPS units, almost double last year's 1.6 million units. Mio Technology, which moved into the US market at the end of last year, claims to have a 6 percent of the market in the U.S.

The Times quotes researcher Gartner Inc, as putting Mio Technology at number five in worldwide personal digital assistant (PDA) shipments in the third quarter of last year. In the past, the company's biggest market has been in Eastern Europe.


Jan 23, 2007

Quebec Map Angers Neighbors

The government of Quebec has angered the government of Newfoundland and Labrador with a map tracking migrating caribou the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC) reports. It's not that Newfoundland and Labrador objects to tracking the herds, it's the maps that report those migrations that has them steamed. What Newfoundland and Labrador objects to is Quebec's depiction of much of southern Labrador as being part of Quebec.

John Ottenheimer, Newfoundland and Labrador's minister of intergovernmental affairs, told the CBC that the map is the latest in a line of claims that Quebec has made about its boundary and Labrador. "We don't like it," Mr. Ottenheimer said. "We've seen this over the years — it happens time and time again." According to the CBC, on previous occasions, Quebec has sometimes used maps showing no border marking Labrador at all.

The boundary between Labrador and Quebec evolved until its current form was determined by a committee of the British Privy Council in 1927. However, Quebec never recognized that decision. Quebec officials declined an interview with the CBC but did say that maps used on the departmental website are official maps of the province.

You can view the offending maps here.

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Jan 22, 2007

China Restricts Foreign Surveyors & Mappers

China Daily reports today that Beijing has issued new regulations that will greatly restrict foreign surveying and mapping projects in the country:
"Foreign organizations and individuals, who engage in surveying and mapping must obtain approval from the central government and accept supervision from local governments above the county-level," said a regulation issued by the Ministry of Land and Resources.

The regulation forbids foreigners from conducting land surveys, aerial photography, mapping of administrative borderlines and the drawing of navigation maps.

The number of foreigners conducting surveying and mapping in China is on the rise and many field projects have been carried out illegally, which have threatened the security of the country, said the ministry without mentioning the number of such cases.

China Daily reports that last year, two Japanese scholars were fined a total of 80,000 yuan (10,000 U.S. dollars) and deported for collecting materials and coordinates of an airport and water facilities. China claimed that their results could be put to military use.

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Is "Astro-tising" the Next Big Thing?

When KFC wanted to remake their brand's image last fall, they decided to think big...really big. So they had workers assemble painted tiles into a gigantic image of Colonel Sanders in the Nevada desert.

The 87,500-square-foot of the Colonel was put together so it could be photographed from space by GeoEye's Ikonos satellite. The Chicago Tribune quotes Mark Brender, a spokesman for GeoEye as saying that the project is part of a new trend they call "astro-tising". The new KFC image was unveiled to coincide with the company's announcement of a campaign to modernize its restaurants.

Despite the logistical challenges and worries that cloudy weather could obscure the image, Mr. Brender told the Tribune you can expect to see more companies using the ploy. "We will look for the right opportunities and certainly be responsive to any company that calls and wants satellite imagery over their facilities or over their brand or their trademark, as long as we can see it from space," he said. GeoEye charged KFC about $2,000 for the job.

Image courtesy of The Edge of I-Hacked.

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Jan 21, 2007

DigitalGlobe's CEO: More Acquisitions; IPO in the Future

The Denver Post has an interview in today's edition with Jill Smith, CEO of DigitalGlobe.

When asked if the firm, which acquired GlobeXplorer earlier this year, has other acquisitions planned, Ms. Smith replied:
"We will continue to seek out partners, whether they're content partners, technology partners, customer partners...

Expect more announcements in terms of partnerships and potential acquisitions, but that will be an ongoing examination over the course of the coming years, not a sprint to grab additional capabilities in the very, very short term.
As far as plans to take the firm public, Ms. Smith, while cautioning against a firm timetable, stated that she anticipates doing that, "within the next couple of years".

You can read the short interview here.

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Jan 20, 2007

Google Earth Obscures Some Iraq Bases

The Telegraph reports that Google has blotted some British military bases in Iraq on its popular mapping feature Google Earth. The action was taken at the request of the British Government in order to hinder terrorist attacks. The action comes after published reports that terrorists in Iraq were using the maps to target the most vulnerable areas of British bases.

The Telegraph reported that British military officials in Iraq were astonished at the clarity with which all their positions were shown. The satellite pictures, which were easily viewed on the internet depicted vulnerable tent locations, vehicle parks and were even clear enough to show tank tracks.

The paper reported that in addition to obscuring military positions in Iraq, Google Earth has also blotted out sensitive posts in the United Kingdom itself. Facilities now hidden from view include nuclear submarine pens in Scotland, and an eavesdropping base. A spokesperson for Google told The Telegraph, "Google gets information from third-party providers so all the pictures are publicly available."

The publicity regarding military posts visible on Google Earth have prompted The Register to sponsor a "Spot the Black Helicopter" competition where users were asked to find sensitive military bases using Google Earth.

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Jan 19, 2007

GPS Units Foil Burglary

Lindenhurst, New York Police say that three men burglarized the Town of Babylon Public Works garage the other night. However they were arrested just a few hours later, one of them holding some of their loot in his hand.

According to The Harford Courant, police say the men stole 14 global positioning system devices from the town garage. When the burglary was discovered, local officials simply looked to their GPS system which led officers right to them. The alleged thieves reportedly thought the units were cell phones.


Jan 18, 2007

NZ Man Seeks to Right Mapping Wrongs

George Holmes, a retired public servant in Wellington, New Zealand, is passionate about things being correct, especially maps. According to The New Zealand Herald, he recently submitted his 60th successful case to the Geographic Board to correct wrong spellings of place names throughout country.

Mr. Holmes discovers the misspelled names by meticulously researching old documents. Among the cartographic changes that have come about as a result of Mr. Holmes' work:
  • Mt Eggeling - previously Mt Eggelling
  • Mt Norriss - previously Mt Norris
  • Gros stream - previously Le Gos stream
  • Williams Stream - previously William Stream
Despite his successes, there is one big change Mr. Holmes has not been able to convince government authorities to make; changing New Zealand to New Zeeland, after the province in the Netherlands.


Jan 17, 2007

Map of Great Salt Lake Completed

The U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) has completed the second of two maps defining the bottom surface of Great Salt Lake, Utah. According to the agency, these maps are the first detailed, systematic surveys of the lake.

The mapping project was first begun back in 2002 and completed last year. Advanced technology was used in the effort, including a high-definition fathometer, real-time differential global positioning system, and depth-discrete sound-velocity corrections. A total about 12.8 million depth measurements were collected to define the the bathymetry of the lake.

According the USGS, these new maps will assist researchers in understanding the transport of salt and contaminants in the lake, the chemistry of the lake, the geologic history of the lake, and ecological implications of water depth and volume. Lake circulation modeling and other studies are already being done using the new maps.

The Great Salt Lake actually has two basins, separated by a low-lying ridge extending from Promontory Point southwest to Hat Island. This ridge has been submerged and consequently has not been shown in detail on any previous maps.

Maps of both the north and south basins have been posted online.

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Cartographers Focused on Then and Now

Historical Cartography
Many of us admire ancient maps. Joseph G. Garver, a reference librarian in the Harvard Map Collection of the Harvard University Library admires them as well. Only he doesn't just admire them, he has actually used them. Since 1990, he has followed maps from Australia to Hong Kong and into southwestern China.

Eschewing modern maps, Mr. Garver instead relied on maps such as a 1909 map drawn by explorer Major H.R. Davis that showed mule tracks, wooden suspension bridges and local inns. He has also followed old maps and journals to Thailand, Singapore, across India to Switzerland and Scotland's Isle of Skye. "I have always been fascinated by maps," Mr. Garver told the Newton TAB, Mr. Garver will deliver a presentation on his work as a cartographic historian tomorrow (Thursday) at the Newton Free Library, in Newton, Massachusetts, at 7:30 p.m. His presentation will feature images of 35 rare maps from his new book "Surveying the Shore: Historic Maps of Coastal Massachusetts, 1600-1930."

Mr. Garver spent two years researching and writing his book utilizing collections from Harvard, as well as sources throughout Massachusetts. Several of the images are of rarely exhibited one-of-a-kind maps. Mr. Garver said his presentation and book are not aimed at collectors or specialists but ordinary people who want to appreciate the fascinating role maps played throughout New England history.

If you can't make it to Newton tomorrow, Mr. Garver's book is available online.

Cartography as a Career
If you've dreamed of leaving the 9-5 behind and setting off on your own as a map-maker, The Northwest Herald has a story of what a job like that is like. The paper profiles Tom Wilcockson and his one-man company Mapcraft.

Also covered in The Map Room.

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Jan 14, 2007

Wales Wiped Off Map

All news network CNN recently published a map of the United Kingdom in connection with a story it was doing on a serial killer. On the map, Wales was lumped in as part of England.

The Welsh are upset about it.

A spokesperson for Cymuned told icWales the incident showed that the Welsh Assembly had not done enough to raise its profile around the world. An Assembly spokesman said of the map, "This seems to be a badly drawn map by someone with a very tenuous grasp of geography."

A spokesperson for CNN told icWales that they didn't know why their artist had eliminated Wales. and apologized for the mistake.

As if to add insult to the injury, Scotland was distinguished from the England on the offending map. For Wales, it's not the first time the Principality has been overlooked. In 2004 it was omitted from a map of Europe on the cover of The Eurostat Yearbook published by the European Union.


Jan 13, 2007

Mapping Firms Tout New Handheld Applications in Vegas

Several mapping/navigation firms were at the gargantuan International Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas this week. Here's a roundup of what they were touting:

NAVTEQ focused on its digital maps for handheld devices, unveiling Discover Cities, a pedestrian relevant guide, as well as its suite of traffic solutions. The firm says that Discover Cities bundles maps as well as other data for location aware devices, such as cellphones and PDAs in much the same way a traditional tourist guide would.

NAVTEQ’s traffic solutions featured a real time demonstration of the firm's ability to incorporate real-time traffic flow data from probe sources into its maps. Probe data is generated whenever a GPS connected vehicle, such as a delivery truck reports its location.

Trimble Navigation introduced its GuideWorx GPS application. GuideWorx GPS transforms a mobile phone into a handheld GPS device for both on- and off-road navigation. The application allows users to access off-road maps as well as retrieve turn-by-turn directions in real-time on their GPS-enabled phone. GuideWorx GPS is aimed at the outdoors enthusiast.

Tele Atlas
teamed up with a number of partners to demonstrate its latest location-based services (LBS) and personal navigation (PNAV) applications, which are based on the firm's digital maps. Users can access the digital maps and other information from anywhere, using their computers, mobile phones or other handheld personal devices. Joy Morel, Tele Atlas Consumer Markets Director said “PNAV is one of the fastest growing ‘must-have’ technologies for consumers, as well as for the consumer electronics manufacturers and wireless carriers focused on developing innovative applications to serve this growing market.”

Spelling and grammar corrected 01/14/07 (I was up late).
Photo courtesy of the Las Vegas News Bureau/LVCVA.

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Jan 11, 2007

Ancient African Maps Posted Online

The Northwestern University Library has posted its collection of rare maps of Africa online. The 113 maps, date from 1530 to 1915.

Curator David Easterbrook told the BBC that the antique maps not only show the growing geographical knowledge of Africa but the progression of colonisation.

"Early cartographers had not visited or surveyed the land, so they had to do their best guesswork," he told the BBC.

"The earliest maps show just how unreal the knowledge of Africa was in Europe at that time," Mr Easterbrook says.

The cartographers were often working from multiple and often varying accounts.

In some early examples, the River Nile is in the wrong place and many mountains, lakes and sources of precious minerals were based on hearsay.

The maps depict numerous ancient African kingdoms, including Abyssinia and Monomotapa.

Northwestern University Library website here.


Jan 10, 2007

Online Street Directory Sued Over Copyrights

A Singaporean travel website has been sued by a board of the Singaporean government over it's use of their maps. Virtual Maps provides online maps of the country using raw data it obtained from The Singapore Land Authority (SLA), which is claiming copyright infringement. SLA, manages land sales and the nation's land survey system.

According to The Singapore Press, Virtual Maps signed seven licence agreements with SLA in 2001. The agreements allowed Virtual Maps to modify the maps, which were then sold or downloaded for a fee.

The company continued displaying its maps on the web after SLA terminated the agreements in 2004. Virtual Maps claims that the license allowed them to create their own maps, using SLA's raw data, and that the license does not require them to destroy their own maps. Virtual Maps also claims that SLA filed suit in order to reduce competition to its own recently launched street directory.

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Jan 9, 2007

India & Pakistan Agree to Map Disputed Border

From Defense News:
In an attempt to resolve a longstanding territorial dispute, India and Pakistan have agreed to conduct a joint survey of the marshy area along Sir Creek, which empties into the Arabian Sea, officials here said...
The joint survey of Sir Creek will be carried out by officials from India’s Border Security Force; Survey of India, the Department of Science and Technology’s national survey and mapping organization; and surveyors and border guards from Pakistan. Working in the area through mid-March, they will use Global Positioning System receivers and other advanced equipment to determine a boundary, an Indian Defence Ministry official said.
The two countries have clashed numerous times in the area including the 1965 war.

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Men Prefer to Find Their Own Way

Almost seven out of ten men admit that when lost, they would likely continuing driving and try and find their own way, rather than ask for directions. That's according to a new Harris Interactive poll of Americans. And for all you guys like me that like to fake it when you're lost, forget about it, we're not fooling anyone. According to the same poll more than half of women surveyed reported having been in a car with a driver who was unwilling to ask for directions when lost.

The survey was commissioned by Handmark, which develops content for mobile phones and other devices.


Jan 8, 2007

USGS to Release TerraLook

The U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) announced today the upcoming release of the TerraLook data product. TerraLook consists of a collection of JPEG images created from ASTER images from the Land Processes Distributed Active Archive Center and Landsat Orthorectified images from the USGS Center for Earth Resources Observation and Science archive.

Users of the images will be able to select and order their own images through the USGS Global Visualization Viewer (GloVIS), The images are geo-registered, simulate natural color, and are bundled with footprints of the images as well as standards-compliant metadata. The data will come as a single zipped file. The images are expected to available later this month.


Deadline Near for Map Competition

You only have until January 15th to enter the map design competition sponsored by the Cartography and Geographic Information Society (CaGIS) and the American Congress on Surveying and Mapping (ACSM). The competition's goal is to promote interest in map design and to recognize significant design advances in cartography. Anyone in the U.S. or Canada can enter.

There is a special category for student entries, which are especially encouraged. First prize in either of the student sections receives $500 as well as some other prizes.There are numerous categories in the professional category as well. For complete details, visit the CaGIS website.

You can admire last year's winning entries here.

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Jan 6, 2007

GPS Everywhere

If you think almost everyone has a Global Positioning System device mounted on their dash, you're pretty close to being correct. Worldwide, the supply of GPS products reached about 143.2 million units last year. That number was provided by the market research firm, Research and Markets, and is based on data provided by the Industrial Economics & Knowledge Center in Taiwan and was reported Friday. Although that sounds like an awful large number of GPS units, the firm says that the growth rate of the number of GPS devices in vehicles actually slowed in 2006 when compared to previous years.

So what's Research and Markets predicting for the GPS market in '07?
  • Multifunction - GPS devices will transform into multifunction systems for a variety of applications.
  • Convergence - Mainnland China GPS makers will emphasis hybrid models that integrate mobile entertainment with their increased position accuracy and real time information delivery. So maybe you'll be able to get directions to the nearest Starbucks on your iPod?
  • Personal Touch - Taiwan manufacturers are expected to focus on personal navigation devices (PNDs) and personal tracking systems.
  • Lower Prices - Prices are expected to decline anywhere from 10 to 30 percent this year.


DigitalGlobe to add Third Satellite

Colorado-based DigitalGlobe announced this week that Ball Aerospace & Technologies Corp. is constructing a third satellite for the firm's constellation. Called, "WordView 2", the firm refers to this latest satellite as a next generation system. WorldView 2, will offer the highest collection capacity of Earth imagery, available and is scheduled for launch in late 2008.

WorldView 2 will operate at an altitude in excess of 800 kilometers and offer flexible target selection, and increased spectral capabilities. The satellite's large on-board storage and greater communication downlink capabilities mean it will be able to collect up to 950,000 square kilometers of half-meter imagery a day. Jill Smith, president and CEO said “The addition of WorldView 2 will provide DigitalGlobe, with higher collection capabilities, more frequent revisit and refresh, more spectral information and greater imaging flexibility.” WorldView 2 will also be able to download satellite imagery directly to customers.

The firm cited growing demand for geographic applications on the Internet and within enterprise applications in announcing the latest satellite. Currently, DigitalGlobe provides Earth imagery and geospatial information collected from it's QuickBird satellite to government and commercial customers involved in mapping and planning.


Jan 2, 2007

Boeing Lands GPS III Contract

Boeing has successfully completed a review of its Global Positioning System Segment III program and has been awarded a $50 million contract for additional system design.

The review is part of a $10 million follow-on order to the Phase A Concept Development Contract awarded in 2004. The U.S. Air Force is expected to award the multi-billion dollar GPS III contract in 2007 with an initial launch scheduled for 2013.

"GPS III will provide transformational capabilities, such as anti-jamming, to our customer and our warfighters, along with better accuracy and interoperability with Europe's Galileo system for our civil and commercial users" said Boeing GPS Program Director John Duddy.

Boeing is currently producing 12 GPS Block IIF satellites. The first of those satellites is scheduled for launch this year.

See also, Air Force Considers Outsiders for GPS Work.


A Novel View of Ancient Cartography

Barbara Parker's mystery novel The Perfect Fake offers, "compelling glimpses of obsession and the fascinating art of cartography" according to a glowing review in The Miami Herald.

The story centers around a struggling graphic artist and his efforts to duplicate a rare, 500-year-old map. According to reviewer Sam Harrison, The Perfect Fake has the love interest, murder and deceit, you'd expect in a thriller, but with a cartographic twist:

"...but what sets it apart is its success in making the implausible quite believable. The whole effort to recreate an ancient map is meticulously described. From the intricacies of paper to the making of inks to the workings of ancient presses, the extraordinary world of cartography is detailed and illuminated, while smartly interfaced with contemporary computer and digital technology, to create a tantalizing scenario. But the myriad details never obscure the plot or characters, and the descriptions of Italy, especially Florence, are full and rich without reading like a travelogue. Balanced, provocative and captivating, The Perfect Fake leaves nothing hanging. It just might generate a new wave of map freaks, too."

I've never been a fan of mystery novels, but I plan to check this one out.


Jan 1, 2007

Map Politics

South Koreans are campaigning to change the name of the Sea of Japan according to a report today in The Korea Times.

Koreans commonly refer to the sea on the east side of their peninsula as "Tonghae’’ (East Sea), not "Sea of Japan," the name officially recognized by the international community. So the Korean government and some civic groups have been campaigning to get the international community to adopt the English name "East Sea’’ to replace "Sea of Japan." Japan is opposed to the change.

However, some in Korea are now pushing the name "Sea of Korea," instead, claiming it is more historically accurate. They cite the fact that European maps produced in the 17th and 18th centuries, mostly used Korean names to described the body of water. Among the examples is a map of Japan produced by Jacques-Nicolas Bellin of France which calls the sea the "Mer de Coree.’’

In the late 1700's, British and French cartographers appear to have been the first to use the name "Sea of Japan.’’ By the late 19th century, the term had become commonplace. At the 1929 Monaco Conference of the International Hydrographic Organization (IHO) the name "Sea of Japan" was officially adopted, and that was the term published in the authoritative "Limits of Oceans and Seas.’’ Korea did not attend the conference since the country was under Japanese rule at the time.

The issue may come up again this August when the United Nations Conference on the Standardization of Geographical Names in New York.

More info:
Korean View.
Japanese View.

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