This Week’s Hangout: The Future of GIS with Peter Batty

This week I’m lucky enough to be talking with Peter Batty about the future of GIS. As always, the Hangout will be at 10am PDT. There is one big change this week though, there is now a webpage devoted to the hangout so you’ll always be able to find it. Go to to see the hangout and revisit the previous ones. Comments are also integrated into the pages so you’ll be able to give immediate feedback and talk with others viewing. Hopefully this will resolve some of the issues where people felt like there was no way to comment.

So tomorrow at 10am PDT, Peter, Madeline and I will be talking. Come check it out.

This Week’s Hangout is With Gretchen Peterson

This week we’re stepping out of the IDE and getting artistic!

James Fee, renowned cartographer Gretchen Peterson, and Madeline Steele will chat about Gretchen’s new book, Cartographer’s Toolkit, some current events in cartography, and more. We will give free copies of Gretchen’s book to the two viewers who make the best comments during the live broadcast!

You can view the hangout live at; we’ll track your comments on both YouTube and Google+ and respond to them during the show! If you can’t make the live broadcast, the video will be archived on the same YouTube channel. This is the third episode of Hangouts with James Fee: Attitudes across Latitudes, and we go live at 10am, US PST.

That’s right, not only do you get to hear from Gretchen, but you can also win one of two copies of her latest book Cartographer’s Toolkit. I’d wager we are in the enlightened age of cartography so it will be great to hear Gretchen’s views on this.

Google Street View Updates — What’s the Implication?

Google Street View is one of those projects that is awesome and frustrating at the same time. I can’t tell you how often I use it to look up a destination, but so often the imagery is old. I’ve often wondered how often Google is planning on driving every street in the world (quarterly?), but even with older imagery, it’s still a great service.

This brings us to New Orleans, I mentioned the Google Street View imagery almost 4 years ago (crazy huh?). Basically at the time, the Street View images were much more recent than the satellite imagery. Times change though and the street view images were locked back in time. Mayor Landrieu is happy to note the improvement of New Orleans though the Street View pictures.

We invite you to take a look at the updated Street View imagery of Louisiana to see, appreciate, and celebrate the progress in neighborhoods here in New Orleans and across the entire state. And I welcome you to come experience the sights, sounds, and soul of New Orleans for yourself once you’ve gotten a virtual preview to whet your appetite.

Now this brings up an interesting crossroads for Street View. Clearly the project is for navigation and tourism (especially given this) but what about analysis and research? We’ve had Historical Imagery in Google Earth for years, but what about historical Street View? Years ago when I was going for my Masters, I was researching the “conversion” of orange groves in Mesa, AZ into tract housing. I used the Landiscor historical imagery which I guess was what we all did before Google Earth to see the destruction of the orange groves. Today I’d probably use Google Earth, but what about using Street View?

I’d love to see Google offer up this historical Street View imagery as part of Google Maps Engine (does this project change names monthly?). It’s pretty amazing to think how Google has indexed the worlds streets through Street View and I think that’s a hugely valuable service for analysts to have. We all want the most up to date Google Street View images, but future generations will love to see what the world looked like back in 2007-2012.

Real Genius

It doesn’t take a real genius to figure out this is a good idea

Google Buys Another Local Guide Company — We Try And Remember The Last Time We Used Frommer’s

Update: The purchase price was an astonishing low $23 Millon.

Back in the olden days, one used to buy a guidebook before going on a trip. You probably headed down to the local Waldenbooks or B. Dalton and paid a ton of money for a book you’d probably use only a couple times. Well given that both of those book sellers are dead, you probably haven’t bought a guide book in years. I looked back into my Amazon purchase history and I’ve never bought a guide book in almost 20 years of using Amazon, either for myself or as a gift.

Well guidebooks are back in the news.

[Google] is acquiring the Frommer’s travel brand from publicly traded [John Wiley & Sons Inc.] for an undisclosed price in order to bolster its offerings of local reviews around the world. Google is buying the Frommer’s brand of travel guides from publishing house John Wiley & Sons for an undisclosed price, Jeffrey Trachtenberg reports on digits.

In Frommer’s, Google sees an opportunity to broaden its consumer offerings outside of restaurant reviews.

Makes sense right? How do we find reviews of hotels and travel spots? For me it’s Trip Advisor or Yelp, but others just type it into Google Search. Zagat is restaurant reviews and Frommer’s is more destination guides. Combined, Google now has reviews to take on Yelp, Trip Advisor and any other small companies that wouldn’t sell themselves to the borg.

Of course what does it mean to the staff of Frommer’s? At first you are excited you won a gold medal were acquired by one of the best companies to work for, but then you realize no, we got second you are a publisher of paperback books in a company that is trying to kill of the medium. Best of luck guys!

Wait, we got second