Archive for November, 2008
I’ve been mostly quiet on the geospatial front recently as I’ve been busy with work, but there are a couple of things worth commenting on.
- Environment Canterbury GIS Beta blog. Not the first to the council GIS blogging game, but certainly early, is my local regional council in Canterbury. They’ve started a blog to engage with the community, and built their first mashup. This is a great step, and I’m excited to see more of the public GIS practitioners provide a means of direction communication and engagement with the communities they represent. Very exciting.
- A reminder that whilst we’ve still got a long way to go, things could actually be worse.
Getting back to mashups, I believe that they are a nice simple and cost effective means of communicating simple geospatial needs to users – ECan’s swimming water quality mashup is an example of that – a simple means of seeing visually the quality of swimming places around Canterbury.
However, the real benefits are going to come when that information is freed from the encumberance of being tied to an Internet connection. Lots of recreational activities that we undertake are not always near Internet connectivity, and mobile data access is still prohibitively expensive to be checking these sort of data sources over summer when away from your computer and Internet connection.
As a very keen recreational user of handheld GPS for geocaching and other activities, I am ever hopeful that councils such as Environment Canterbury will start to consider making some of their underlyign data available for download so that it can be bundled into offline maps that can be used in car, auto and mobile phone, GPS devices.
This will complete the full loop – councils create our communities (geospatially at the very minimum), they record geospatial data about our communities, and with mashups – we are finally starting to get some of this geospatial data back.
I look forward to the day when councils are extremely open with the geospatial data and make it available so that we can put in our choice of portable mapping device
Always a sucker for nice aerial imagery – NASA has a nice image for Aqua/MODIS of a plankton bloom near Chatham Island that was taken a couple of days ago. Hard to believe that without satellite imagery, we’d have little idea of the scale of these phenomena.
What a cool wee application this is. Using the search data from Google, and combining it with geolocation data, they are now estimating flu activity in the US based upon search for flu-related terms that have a good correlation to actual flu activity. What a great mechanism for getting the low-down on flu activity. I wonder if we’d have enough search activity in New Zealand (and indeed for other counties) to be able to use this as an estimator for flu in the future.