Recursive

This was something that I didn’t expect when I installed Greasemap in Greasemonkey.

[Greasemap] augments any web page you visit by searching the page for geocodeable addresses or other geotags. If it finds any, it automatically shows all such locations on a Google Map which is injected into the page you are viewing, within an iframe from Vinq.com.

Pretty cool, says I. I get to see where various bloggers live (provided they’re in the US, anyway) and that’s about it. But, it does its one trick pretty well.

But when you are investigating something (like a business) on a website that has a link to bring up a map, a “where we’re located” sort of thing, and it sends you to a MapQuest page, you also get the Greasemap of the same place. I’m not even sure if it really qualifies as ‘interesting’, but that’s what I said to myself as it happened…

Tracking Rita

Weather Underground has a Tropical Storm Tracking Map for Rita. James at Spatially Adjusted notes that you can track Rita by selecting “Current Hurricanes” in ESRI’s Hurricane Katrina Disaster Viewer.

It is hard to keep track of all these hurricanes this year which is too bad for people who live in the Southeast United States. I went to the ESRI’s Hurricane Maps and Help, but Rita doesn’t seem to be on their radar yet. Lucky for us, ArcWeb Services has tons of weather services that don’t require any hacking on the users part. Just open up the Hurricane Katrina Disaster Viewer, zoom out all the way and then from the “Map Type” drop down list at the upper right, select “Current Hurricanes”. [more]

GIS You Can Actually Use

I have been watching this with great interest for some time — well since Google Maps appeared — and continue to. The potential is fantastic.

Google tinkerers make data come alive [CNN]
Google charts each point on its maps by latitude and longitude — that’s how Google can produce driving directions to practically anywhere in the nation. Seasoned developers have figured out how to match these points with locations from outside databases that can contain vast amounts of information — anything from police blotters to real estate listings.

And that is the essence of what Geographic Information Systems promises (and has for a very long time). The big vendors missed this so badly, but it is an example of why the coolest things first come via a single person or a very small shop doing something that engages them and what can happen when systems (as in APIs) and standards are open rather than proprietary. It’s hard for us to dance when the elephants want to dictate what the band plays.

Acme Mapper vs. Google Map

John uses Acme Mapper to point to his childhood home, which is a stone’s throw [provided you can throw a stone 13 km] from mine. The Google Map for my childhood home just sucks, so I recommend Acme Mapper for your rural Kansas mapping needs. (fast radio voiceover:   “not affiliated with Acme Mapper”)

[March 2008 update] For whatever reason I revisited these links. Based on some changes in street layout and school improvements, I would have to say that the Acme mapper aerial data is at least 12 years old (ca. 1996). I do not have a good answer as to why I did not notice this earlier. Please temper my previous recommendation accordingly.

Fire Simulation

There is a lot of GIS involved in this, it is pretty cool.

Flames leap 200 feet in the air and burn at 2,000 degrees. A rain of fire sets thousands of acres ablaze. The smoke jumpers may get the glory, but the battle is being won by the wildfire simulation brigade. (Wired)