New Geo Ideas Sell, Open Source Leaders Encourage Boycott, Microsoft Research Taps into Relationships and more

By Adena Schutzberg

Turning Movie/TV Sets into Tourism
The movie "Sideways" includes much footage in California's wine country, specifically Santa Ynez Valley.The Santa Barbara Conference & Visitors Bureau published 10,000 "Sideways" maps and was cleaned out of them within a month of the film's release.30,000 more were printed and pressure was relieved by posting the map online.The map has been downloaded nearly 5,000 times since December."The OC," set in California's coastal Newport Beach, has also spawned a map so tourists can see where action happens.Might an aspiring cartographer want to open a business to serve this specialty mapping niche?

DigitalGlobe Enterprise Partner Program
DigitalGlobe named a participant in its Enterprise Partner Program, which was launched last fall.The idea is to provide large global companies with distributed imagery needs a direct route to get the data they need.Basically, the organization pays up front for a certain amount of data and draws down that account.The first to sign up is Apache, a large oil and gas independent with core operations in the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom North Sea, Egypt and Western Australia.I have to hand it to DigitalGlobe, the company is working hard to make buying and using its data easier.The Enterprise Partner Program launched just around the same time as the new government licensing, which also opened usage to a new level.

Open Source Leaders Encourage OASIS Boycott
Many of the "big names" in open source (OS) software (Lawrence Rosen, Bruce Perens, Lawrence Lessig, Tim O'Reilly, Mitchell Kapor, Eric Raymond and Doc Searls, and Richard Stallman) have signed an e-mail encouraging OS developers to avoid implementing standards from the standards organization called OASIS (Organization for the Advancement of Structured Information Standards).The issue is the newly updated OASIS patent policy.The policy allows not only royalty free licensing (appropriate for open source), but two options for actual licensable technology to be in OASIS standards.Those in the open source community would prefer that royalty free be the default or the only option.This is worth watching as it may have an impact on both the open source and the open standards world.

Mapping Your Contacts Microsoft Research's Social Computing Group is exploring how to better organize our contacts.A "personal map" arranges how and with whom an individual communicates into different levels: an inner circle, for example, includes the most active group.The map is updated in real time based on who gets e-mail and who gets copied, etc.A related project, Wollop, is a Friendster like network app which among things maps how everyone is connected to everyone else.While all of these seem a bit silly to me (my circle is too small?) I do appreciate that Microsoft sees that there is value in mining the relationships, much like we mine spatial relationships in GIS.

Big Electric Generation Company, Small GIS Company: Serious Contracts American Electric Power (AEP), based in Columbus, Ohio is the nation's largest electricity generator.A release from DeLorme explained that AEP chose the company to supply GIS software, street-level base map data, and GPS hardware for its field operatives.It's an interesting mix of products including the company's XMap, a professional product, to its Street Atlas, a consumer product.Thousands of field staffers will use DeLorme technology explained Keith Gray.He noted that training is minimal and generally it's the staffers providing the data that need a bit of training, not the end users.A second power company, which chose not be identified, has also selected DeLorme tools. DeLorme's emergence in this space points to two interesting things.First, it highlights that a consumer mapping company can translate that expertise into the business world (beyond the business traveler).Second, it highlights that more and more workers, in all sorts of fields, are using GIS, most likely without degrees or certificates.

Protection from Technology
In an announcement that barely reached geospatial ears, the Wireless Foundation, which was launched by the Cellular Telecommunications & Internet Association (CTIA) in 1993, put up $500,000 to train police, social workers and advocates how to use technology to fight abuse.The sad truth is the abusers of the technology often know more than those being abused and those who aim to protect them.Some of these technologies are geospatial including GPS tracking devices, but others are "non-spatial" such as spyware that tracks where users go on the Internet.This situation is a reminder that technology in and of itself is not good or bad, how we use it determines that.It also highlights the need in general for education about technology, geospatial and otherwise, for everyone.

Published Saturday, February 26th, 2005

Written by Adena Schutzberg

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