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In his 1992 novel, Snow Crash, writer Neal Stephenson imagined the ultimate user interface to access geographic information: "There is something new: a globe about the size of grapefruit, a perfectly detailed rendition of Planet Earth, hanging in space at arm's length in front of his eyes... It's a piece of CIC software called, simply, Earth. It is the user interface that the CIC uses to keep track of every bit of spatial information that it owns -- all the maps, weather data, architectural plans, and satellite surveillance stuff." [More excerpts ] Opinion
Jul 29, 2005   By Abhijeet Chavan
I haven't clicked through all the links yet on this fantastic post on research in urban climate from Roland Piquepaille's technology blog. I plan to. As usual, it's a tremendously good aggregation of the state of research in a field. Meteorologists and urban planners, with the help of Earth-sensing satellites, are starting to get a sense of how even small features of cities -- individual skyscrapers -- have an effect on global weather patterns and pollution. Opinion
Jul 22, 2005   By
From this month's issue of Wired, I give you this roundup of interesting uses for Google's wicked cool mapping application. Salient bits:It's Google's world, we just live in it. In the few months since its release, the search engine's latest info-appliance - satellite photos searchable by address - has spawned dozens of inspired spinoffs. Here's a look at some of the ways the hive mind is bending maps.google.com Opinion
Jul 8, 2005   By
Where have I been? I have no idea. Take this with a grain of salt, for what it's worth, etc., but the consultancy Jupiter Research now says that municipal WiFi programs ain't worth the money. Excerpt from the release:"Because the benefits of municipal wireless networks are inherently difficult to measure, and because it is too early to look at outcomes, examining breakeven thresholds provides the best reference point for decision-makers," stated Jay Horwitz, Senior Analyst at JupiterResearch. Opinion
Jul 8, 2005   By
My colleague, Chris Haller, has done some great research on online mapping tools/techniques that can be used for community planning and community building.  Here's some stuff he discovered on GeoTagging. Since Google started its mapping service, based on xml and an API open to everyone, a lot of non-affiliated web applications have been emerging that bring GIS and online mapping closer to “Joe Internetuser”. Opinion
Jul 1, 2005   By Ken Snyder
Just an added note on personal rapid transit. Some years ago, Bruno Latour wrote "Aramis" which documents the French government's attempt to create a PRT system for Paris (later killed by the government itself). Written as a cross between a socialogical study and a mystery novel, its worth a look for those interested in the subject. Opinion
Jun 23, 2005   By Scott Page
So Steve Raney, directory of the nonprofit transit advocacy group Cities 21, emailed me a pre-packaged blog entry, including images and a proposed blog title, about a proposal his organization is circulating for a personal rapid transit (PRT) system on the Microsoft campus in Redmond, WA. The visualization on the site were, in fact, fascinating, and a great introduction to how well PRT can work as a transit alternative. Opinion
Jun 23, 2005   By Chris Steins
In Adam's spirit of "tweaking" fellow bloggers, (Hi All) I'd like to emphasize Adam's last point - "Is it still a utility if no one utilizes it?" For all of the talk about municipal wireless, particularly in my hometown of Philadelphia, I've always been concerned about the ultimate use of the investment despite the fact I agree that anti-municipal broadband laws are detrimental to the flexibility of any City to serve their population. I'm reminded of an interview posted on Muniwireless Opinion
Jun 23, 2005   By Scott Page
Mostly I'm posting this just to maliciously tweak my fellow blogger Charles Kaylor. Hi, Charles! It seems that not everybody wants free WiFi downtown. At least, not everybody in Orlando, Florida, which according to the Orlando Sentinel is cranking down the valve on the urban teat. Or something.Sunday marked the last day of a pilot program that allowed those in certain downtown "hot spots" to access the Internet free of charge. Opinion
Jun 21, 2005   By
Less a cool application and more of an example of the power of information put in the hands of neighborhood groups. The Philadelphia Inquirer a month or two back put together this interactive map showing the frequency of shootings in the City (which Charlie's map reminded me of). Illustrated like a topographical map, many neighborhoods reacted quite strongly to the information. The unfortunate trends, represented and placed on the front page, has further inhibited any ability to market specific neighborhoods as improving and/or attractive places to live. Opinion
Jun 7, 2005   By Scott Page