Monthly Archives: January 2006

Looking for a new smartphone? check out the BenQ – WiFi, quad band and PDA-like functionality…sweet!

I was recently checking out what mobile device make BenQ has been up to… in doing so I came across an amazing new mobile device (smart) that should be of interest to anyone currently using or considering using a Blackberry, Treo, or symbian smartphone.. enter the P50… this device is sweet! Features that got my attention include (but not limited to): built in antenna, large screen with PDA-like functionality, Built-in WiFi 802.11b, loads of bundled apps like Skype and instant messaging, voice recognition, and office apps. 1.3 mega-pixel camera/video, Java game support, quad-band GSM/GPRS 850/900/1800/1900, Built-in Bluetooth & IrDA, Fast USB Syncing, SDIO Support,  SD/MMC Memory Card and loads more… check it out at .. oh, it runs on Microsoft Windows Mobile – see more details at http://www.benq.com/NewProducts/product.cfm?product=13
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GeoExpress 6 provides some handy new functionality for users of imagery and rasters

Users of satellite imagery and large raster datasets will be interested in checking out the latest release of GeoExpress from Lizardtech. This affordable solution is a breeze to use and offers users quick and convenient access to commonly needed functionality like reprojection, mosaicing, color balancing (matching) and area of interest encoding. I had a tour of Lizardtech’s facilities and got a first hand look at the product – see details at http://www.gisuser.com/content/view/8029/28/. At r6 they also offer some nice, flexible licensing and the requisite free demo is also available for download.

More info about Imagery for the Nation

I just caught wind from the ND GIS listserv about a program called, “Imagery for the Nation.”  First proposed at the 2004 NSGIC (National States Geographic Information Council) conference, it was further detailed at the 2005 conference.  The message noted that a lot of work has been and is going on behind the scenes.  The current plan calls for a business plan to be developed this spring. If if the federally-funded program moves forward, the Imagery for the Nation program will provide nation-wide aerial imagery on an annual basis for most states.  States will have the ability to “buy-up” from the default 1m, natural color, leaf-on.  States will be asked for their imagery requirements.  More information can be found at http://www.nsgic.org/committees1/documents/Jan%2016%202006%20Imagery_for_the_Nation_Flyer_NSGIC_V14.pdf (6 MB PDF)

Battle of the mobile Portals has Yahoo! edging Google and Mapquest… for now

A report on Mobile Search branding has released some interesting findings. In the early lead we find Google (Search), Yahoo! (maps), ESPN (Sports), and The Weather Channel (Weather) are at the head of the pack From M:Metrics, they have found that Yahoo! is the most popular mobile content brand. During the quarter ended December 2005, 12.8 million U.S. mobile subscribers accessed Yahoo’s services in an average month — 4 million more than second-place AOL. MSN and Google follow, with about 7 million subscribers accessing their mobile offerings each month during the fourth quarter.  In the area of maps and directories, Yahoo edges Google and Mapquest, but by a slim margin. More info can be found at  mmetrics.com

The Mysterious Flying Car via google earth (down-under) simply won’t go away!

The mystery of the flying car in Perth, Australia just won’t go away. I noticed just today that the Sydney Morning Herald just ran an item on the topic (See http://www.smh.com.au/articles/2006/01/30/1138469638185.html). I have to admit, I noticed last week there was a flurry of activity surrounding this topic but I really wasn’t that interested in learning more about it. After seeing yet another news item published today curiosity got the best of me and I looked a bit deeper. Low and behold it really is an interesting item, although hardly the first time a “UFO” has been spotted. For fun, and if you have absolutely nothing better to do tonight (except maybe catch the next episode of 24!), check out the in-depth report at the guardian that goes as far as listing several actual photos from the position in question… nice bit of investigative reporting!!! See http://www.theregister.com/2006/01/25/flying_car_launch_site/ – FYI, you can load this KMZ in Google Earth to see the flying car for yourself – http://www.theregister.com/2006/01/23/flying_car.kmz

The Mysterious Flying Car via google earth (down-under) simply won’t go away!

The mystery of the flying car in Perth, Australia just won’t go away. I noticed just today that the Sydney Morning Herald just ran an item on the topic (See http://www.smh.com.au/articles/2006/01/30/1138469638185.html). I have to admit, I noticed last week there was a flurry of activity surrounding this topic but I really wasn’t that interested in learning more about it. After seeing yet another news item published today curiosity got the best of me and I looked a bit deeper. Low and behold it really is an interesting item, although hardly the first time a “UFO” has been spotted. For fun, and if you have absolutely nothing better to do tonight (except maybe catch the next episode of 24!), check out the in-depth report at the guardian that goes as far as listing several actual photos from the position in question… nice bit of investigative reporting!!! See http://www.theregister.com/2006/01/25/flying_car_launch_site/ – FYI, you can load this KMZ in Google Earth to see the flying car for yourself – http://www.theregister.com/2006/01/23/flying_car.kmz

A quick look at ESRI’s ArcWeb Explorer Beta

From ESRI…  ArcWeb Explorer is a Web-based map viewing application based on Macromedia Flash 8. The ArcWeb Explorer uses vector mapping technology to render maps quickly in the browser instead of having the server render them.  See http://www2.arcwebservices.com/v2006/solutions/awx.jsp for details

You can check it out for yourself at http://redlandsarcweb.esri.com/explorer/index.jsp. Running a “sporadic” wireless connection from my laptop, I managed to connect but my speed wasn’t too great.. either that or this app is a bit of a pig.. I’m not quite sure yet! At first glance the biggest turn off is the lack of panning which I’ve become totally accustomed to when using AJAX map servers (i.e.. think of Google, local.live, etc…). Out of habit I keep trying to pan but this forces a zoom rectangle… totally annoying!
Option menus available to users include Navigate, Find, Directions, and Map styles. The find works ok and is fast, quickly taking me to a location. Searching for Seattle, WA obviously returns a quick “hit” although if you want to locate a place like “Starbucks”, Seattle, WA there’s no POI DB like that at the time. The street maps look pretty nice and major features and landmarks are provided (e.g.. Greyhound bus station etc…), so far though the pan and zoom using the nav tool is pretty slow.. maybe there’s simply too many users testing it.

Testing the Navigation tools… cached zoom levels obviously come up fast, however, clicking the – key to zoom out caused about a 3 second delay for me and place names seemed pretty cluttered on the display. Panning… clicking the “”W” or “E” nav option to pan resulted in about a 3 second delay in regenerating the new display… it didn’t seem very transparent or seamless either as I waiting for black areas to fill in with detail. The left and right arrows didn’t seem to accomplish anything for me at times so that left me a bit confused. After moving around a bit it turns out the arrows function as a “page forward” page back” option… I find this a bit confusing as they really do look like they would be meant for navigation like functionality like panning – Mouse-over tips would be really nice as an additional feature and would have clarified this a bit, however, a bit a customization can easily fix this, after all this is a beta test. For now I’m still messing around… what are you finding??