Best of the Blogs 19 November 2013

By on 19 November, 2013

Typhoon Haiyan

In the wake of Typhoon Haiyan, the broader geo-community is chipping in to help locate damage, closures, and other problems caused by the typhoon, through a variety of crowd-sourcing methods.
GIS Lounge has rounded up a few of them, so you can find a way to help.


Do you remember last year when the Scottish Ten laser scanned the Sydney Opera House for posterity? Well, the results of that scan are now available, according to the BBC, and they look fantastic.


Don’t forget: the Google Maps API v2 was killed today, the 19th November. Your v2 map may still work, though, as Google have wrapped the v2 calls into the v3 API, but many things will break. If you still need to switch over, Google Maps Mania have a link to a handy guide to upgrade.


There’s a rather interesting piece over at ViralNova, which tells the story of an apparent anomaly on Google Maps, which – upon closer inspection – actually turns out to be a memorial built in the middle of a Nigerian desert. A touching and fascinating story.


GIS Lounge has a post that talks of an open source project conducted by the New York Public Library, as a sort of OCR for vector maps. The program is able to extract polygon and attribute information from scanned maps. If this interests you – either as a user or contributor – the code is up on GitHub. I think this quote speaks of its utility rather well:
“[I]t took NYPL staff coordinating a small army of volunteers three years to produce 170,000 polygons with attributes (from just four of hundreds of atlases at NYPL).  It now takes a period of time closer to 24 hours to generate a comparable number of polygons with some basic metadata.”


LiDAR news has a very interesting post that claims that LiDAR will soon make it to our mobile phones – just like GPS did – giving everyone access to 3D cameras. It even includes a video that’s worth watching. Imagine what this will do when tied to 3D printers! You’ll be able to photograph a sculpture (or similar) when you’re out, then print it when you get home!

Further sealing this viewpoint, this comes just shortly after it was announced that Apple bought a 3D chip manufacturer (the same one that manufactures the Xbox Kinect’s chips).


The American Civil Liberties Union has a sobering map (based on Esri technology) that shows the severity of the injustice inherent in the US penal system. A must-read, so you can fully grasp the real fallout from the ‘war on drugs’.


Finally for those that were curious, GIM International has reported that the deprecated GOCE mapper has safely burned up in Earth’s atmosphere, with no reported damage to property.


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