Friday, 6 April 2007

Virtual Globes, Google EULA, and Gazetteer XML considerations

I missed out on going to the "Geobrowsing Workshop" held at the University of Cambridge last week, but I came across this interesting review of it by Eddy Boyle who I believe works over at Edina, a spin-off service from the Edinburgh University's Data Library.

Then yesterday one of my classmates' (who incidently knows Eddy Boyle) and I were having a discussion about the use of Google's images and their EULA. Odd, as Bull's World did a post on exactly what we were speaking about, followed up by the news that Ed Parsons was joining Google, which in turn was followed up by Spatially Adjusted's obvious request!

What am I up too? Well, I'm trying to finalise the planning of the XML 'grammar' I'm going to use. It's swinging either the way of Linda Hill's Alexandria's Digital Library Project, that being a light-weight gazetteer which we can supply for the world to use. We've got probably the most extensive set of gazetteer data for Scotland, so it's certainly a service that could prove interesting to other users - in a similiar way to how geonames currently works.

The problem is that the Gazetteer for Scotland is much more than a simple place/feature gazetteer, containing vast volumes of other descriptive information, photographs and other media. Clearly this isn't something we can serve to the world directly (copyright issues), and yet it's important that these elements can be adequately represented in the XML structure.

Anyway, once we've decided we'll start working on adapting a few perl scripts to draw the data out into our XML, and then the fun begins of stylesheet transformations etc.

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Monday, 2 April 2007

April catch up - Glencoe, FutureTV and news.

I've been pretty busy over the past month or so - and I've just realised I haven't done any blogging. That doesn't mean I've ditched my course, or even been on holiday (much), just that the time has flown by!

So, a quick catch up. First, three fellow students are doing Gazetteer for Scotland topics, and we have a combined questionaire on the ScotGaz website to try and get some customer feedback. Some criticism of it too, as apparently I left no space to comment or suggest educational ideas. My fault, though I'll happily take suggestions here, in addition to the comments and emails ive already received.

As a class we had a brief three day holiday in Glencoe, Western Scotland. Had a really good time, with fantastic scenery and even a day on the slopes! I'll post more photos on my website in the near future.

river coe
River Coe, Glencoe.
ben nevis
Ben Nevis from Aonoch Mor

Anyway, back to some links related to my dissertation, and to start one that really isn't!

Firstly, Hey What's that I blogged about before, has now made their viewshed analysis tool available to the rest of the World. Some of the data is a bit crumbly, and not nearly as accurate for most of Europe as it is in the U.S. but for some locations most noticeably The Alps and other hi-res areas around the world it works a treat. For instance, this is the view from West Lomond in Fife. Bit odd you can't see much east, because the other summit East Lomond, really isn't that imposing!

- Ogle Earth mentioned a really interesting project involving the visualisation of non-spatial data in Google Earth, and some similiar work involving Second Life. Worth a read.

- A bit off-topic but related to above, Microsoft Virtual Earth April Fool's Joke! but also a huge update (UK included) a few days previous. Cool.

Oh and I almost forgot, one of our lecturers, talks on UK Future about The Future of mapping in the digital age

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