Monthly Archives: April 2008

10-day predictions of path and intensity of hurricanes and tropical storms

This one comes out of the insurance industry as Guy carpenter has announced a new forecasting tool – WSI LiveCat Forecast. According to the company, WSI LiveCat Forecast is a service for the insurance marketplace that provides accurate 10-day predictions of the path and intensity of upcoming hurricanes and tropical storms. Beginning on June 1, 2008, for each named tropical storm or hurricane, WSI LiveCat Forecast will issue:
Track and intensity forecasts for each named tropical storm or hurricane, twice daily, up to 10 days out; Landfall probability forecasts that are dependent upon storm-specific track uncertainty rather than historical error statistics; Weather forecasting skill comparable to or better than the National Hurricane Center. And get this, WSI LiveCat Forecast is available either online or via GIS shape files. More info here


Global Mapper v9.03 Released

Global Mapper has today announced the release of an update to Global Mapper with v9.03 Enhancements include:
– Added support for loading Tiger 2007 Shapefiles with full attribution and automatic styling and type assignment.
– Added support for loading OpenStreetMap (OSM) and Vulcan3D files.
– Added support for exporting to Delft3D (.ldb), TomTom OV2, and Vulcan3D format files.
See more at

The Airborne1 ASPRS PowerBall Give-Away

I’m always interested in new, clever give-aways at conferences. Recall the Magellan find your match buttons, or perhaps the Jeopardy parody game show give-away? These were cool and now Airborne1 has a good idea for those who visit their booth at ASPRS this week. Just drop by Booth 418 and you’ll get a PowerBall Ticket from the crew! Good luck – see also
Is your company planning a fun contest or give-away? What’s the coolest contest you’ve seen at a Geo event?

Tips for reducing that cell phone bill

With gas prices soaring here’s a tip that could help you cut your cell phone bill down a bit, enabling you to have a bit more change for fuel! If you use data on your mobile then you know that data plans are quite costly. Something to keep in mind, check your carrier’s data plan rates as they constantly change. If a new plan comes on or your existing plan gets reduced then you need to formally ask your carrier for the reduction, otherwise they will gladly keep taking your hard earned cash. Something else to consider, drop your data plan on months when you don’t need it. I’ve had “all you can eat data” for the past 2 years at a rate of about $30 per month. Not a bad deal but there’s been many months when I simply don’t use it that much. For months when you don’t travel much or don’t expect to use the data then drop it from your services, when you need it again simply add it back on – T-Mobile (and others) will gladly do this. I just dropped mine this month and now I simply surf onto free Wi-Fi when I need it and I found out that when I add it back on the rate is now $19.99 p/month instead of the $29.99 p/month i was paying.

Energy Day and Geography Awareness Week 2008

This update comes from Dr. Barry Wellar, Program director, GAW, CAG – Dr. Wellar always keeps me informed of the CAG’s plans for celebrating GAW and GIS Day. The following explains a change for this year’s plans…

The very successful “Theme Day” feature that was introduced for Geography Awareness Week 2007 will be continued in 2008, but with a major change. That is, Energy Day will be added to Weather and Climate Day, Water Day, Transportation Day, and Food and Health Day in the CAG’s Geography Awareness Week Program.

This change enables us to connect with Canadians from coast-to-coast-to-coast on a matter of increasing importance. Further, the spatial aspects of energy supply, distribution, and consumption are especially appealing in terms of the various ways of graphically illustrating the energy-geography relationship. Clearly, those are two very good reasons for adding energy to the Theme Day portfolio.

I would welcome hearing from individuals who will assist in identifying, selecting, and ‘recruiting’ ten non-academic organizations whose websites would be the basis of the Energy Day component of Geography Awareness Week 2008. For those seeking guidance, the model of what I have in mind for Energy Day is any of the Days posted on the CAG website at:

Atlas of Yellowstone Park

Yellowstone area universities, National Park Service experts, and other federal and private agencies have joined forces with the University of Oregon to develop the Atlas of Yellowstone, the first atlas dedicated to a national park and its surrounding region. The geographic focus of the atlas will be on Yellowstone National Park; however, maps and graphics will cover the entire region, including Grand Teton National Park. The Atlas began as a UO geography class project in 2002. The students focused on mapping a very specific area within Yellowstone National Park. Since then, the Atlas has expanded dramatically to be inclusive of the Greater Yellowstone region and is now approximately 30 percent complete. See Atlas of Yellowstone,

Remember Statistics can be very misleading – watch your local market

Stats are a funny thing. They are great for identifying trends, however, when not conveyed in the correct context or with the whole story they are also very misleading – case in point, the real estate market. It drives me around the bend when I hear the national news and the national real estate numbers are released, this in an effort to freak-out and scare the heck out of Joe Public! It’s a given that the economy is tanking pretty fast and the real estate market is correcting (it had to happen sometime didn’t it?) but the numbers reflecting the national trends simply don’t mean anything to me when considering the local market.
Here’s a recent sampling of details released on our local housing market:
– Local sales are down but the average sales price has continued to rise.
– March home sales were down 12.2 percent but average sales prices were up 4.5 percent.
– For the first quarter, home sales were down 13.8 percent with sales prices up 5.1 percent from last year.
– Sales of existing single-family homes dropped 13.8 percent, but the average selling price rose to 7.9

Last year’s price drop was mostly due to building getting scared and dumping their product while they could… that inventory has since been absorbed.

So remember, consider the local market and your local sales figures before you panic… oh, and quit watching the news so much!