More Google Street View Coverage

Looks like the Google Van was driving around the Valley of the Sun taking pictures because Phoenix/Tempe now has Google Street View images.

Google SteetView Tempe

Google took plenty of pictures of my sons pre-school which somewhat freaked my wife out, but they didn’t make it into our neighborhood. We’ll see how the Phoenix press reacts to the city being displayed this way.

Update: Looks like today’s Arizona Republic is covering the news.

Phoenix is added to Google Street View today

Street-scene photos raise privacy concern

“People do expect a certain amount of anonymity in their everyday lives, and that’s something that they should be able to have,” said Rebecca Jeschke, spokeswoman for the San Francisco-based Electronic Frontier Foundation, which has been a vocal critic of Street View.

“It’s not a question of legality, it’s a question of rudeness, really,” she said._

Don’t be rude Google!


End of a short week

Tropical Drink

I had a blast with some local GIS users here in Honolulu. Thanks for inviting me out tonight guys, Alan Wong’s was incredible. By far the best meal I’ve eaten in quite some time. We spent a long time talking about issues they have here in Honolulu with data sharing governmental agencies (or specifically getting public data from the City and County of Honolulu). Some of the projects they are working on are really impressive (lots of oceanographic stuff) and it seems like raster analysis is big here in the islands as it seemed everyone was talking about ASCII GRIDs. As I said above, thanks for dinner and if you are ever in Tempe, look me up.

When I got back to the hotel, I stopped at the bar for one last drink before I get on the airplane tomorrow morning. As I was sitting there I noticed someone in the corner georeferencing their photos that they took during their vacation in Panoramio. As a Geographer, I’m always happy to see taking advantage of maps, but these days I can’t but help notice that folks aren’t even thinking about how they use these tools anymore. They just entered the mainstream and that just makes me feel good about Geography. Kids aren’t just learning about identifying the state capitols by reading them on a map these days but are creating KML files for Google Earth with text and pictures to tell a better story than a point on a map. I love that my son is working with Google Earth in his Pre-K class (without me pushing for it) and the teacher says everyone there just loves making maps. (side note: The only thing I can remember from my preschool days was taking naps).

Just today in the hotel lobby I noticed the concierge using Google Transit to help a couple find the best route to a local doctor using Oahu transit system. They were amazed at what was printed out for them and how simple it made everything vs. using a timetable (I can’t wait until we get this Google Transit for Valley Metro in Phoenix). I just smiled and felt good to be in profession where the best is still yet to come.

Anyway, enough rambling as I have to get to bed for my early flight tomorrow back to Phoenix. To everyone I met in Honolulu, Mahalo.


Open Source on the beach at Waikiki

I’m “stuck” in Waikiki this week at our Honolulu office helping them get back on track with their GIS after our GIS coordinator resigned to join her husband in the peace corps on Tonga. The new GIS person is really excited about GIS and that is always nice to be around. Sometimes even I need my GIS Kool-aid recharged.

Anyway I was hanging out at Duke’s Waikiki and randomly started talking to the group next to me at the bar. Turns out that they are all readers of my blog and have been migrating their GIS from an ESRI only shop to a combination ESRI/open source shop. It was interesting to hear how they were picking and choosing the best products from ESRI and open source to help them better get their work done. What was also interesting is that they didn’t decrease their maintenance costs, but reallocated. They’ve replaced most of their ArcView seats with QGIS, replaced all but one license of ArcSDE with PostGIS and in turn used those savings to buy more licenses of ArcInfo and extensions. They’ve been able to give their high end GIS analysts the tools they feel that they need to get their work done, but still increased their GIS production. Every person at their company has either an ArcInfo or QGIS license on their desk that they can connect to WMS services hosted by MapServer and PostGIS.

I wish I could have spent more time with them talking about this, but they were heading to China in the morning so they needed to get to bed. I liked how they were able to give better tools to everyone by prioritizing what they needed and picked the best tools for the job.