Report from IPAC Conference 2008, “Climate Change and Canadian Public Policy: Adaptation and Action”

Insoo (Steven) Chung, GEOIDE student and Master of Spatial Analysis (MSA) candidate with Claus Rinner at Ryerson University, has attended the Institute of Public Administration of Canada (IPAC) Conference 2008 on “Climate Change and Canadian Public Policy: Adaptation and Action”. His summary of general conference topics is attached. Presentation slides from the conference are available at .

Geode not Geoide

Endless buzz about the impending release of Geode by Firefox can not be ignored. Geode (looks a lot like GEOIDE) is currently a plug in for Firefox but will be included in the Firefox package soon. Geode will allow websites or web services to read your geographical position and this information could be integrated into specific services. “Loki” is a technology by Skyhook, which tries to identify the position of a computer using a wireless networks. Do you think of a way the geoweb can benefit from plug ins such as Geode?

Database of threatened species geared for Big Companies

Multiple NGOs have banded together to create the IntegratedBiodiversity Assessment Tool (IBAT), a new online database that brings together as much data on biodiversity as possible in a single database. "IBAT for business is an innovative tool designed to facilitate access to accurate and up-to-date biodiversity information to support critical business decisions." (IBAT website). IBAT was revealed this week at the World Conservation Congress in Barcelona. "The idea is to make it easier for businesses to incorporate concerns about conservation into their planning from the beginning of a project, and not simply when protesters show up at their offices." (from an article in the economist about the project). This project aggregates data from a variety of environmental conservation NGOs such as Conservation International, Birdlife, UNEP and others.

Digital Earths and bathymetry

A presentation from SIGGRAF 08

Virtual Seminars on Neogeography

If you'd like to learn more about neogeography, here are a series of virtual seminars, led by the big names in GIScience:

From Dave Unwin (minimally edited)


Virtual Seminars on Neogeography


Introduction: Aims and Objectives

For the past three years, in collaboration with both the US University Consortium for Geographic Information Science and UK’s Royal
Geographical Society Quantitative Methods Research Group
, the World Wide University Networks’ Global GISc Academy has been promoting the
idea of international ‘virtual’ seminars.

Plans are now complete for a series of six virtual seminar sessions during the fall/autumn of 2008 on the general theme of Neogeography.
This has come to consist of a set of techniques and tools that fall outside the realm of traditional GIS and geography. Essentially, it is about people using
and creating their own maps, on their own terms, by combining elements of an existing toolset. Neogeographers use mapping API like Google
Maps, talk about GPX versus KML, and ‘geotag’ their photos. The term arose with Web 2.0 and the increased public appeal of mapping and
geospatial technologies that occurred with the release of Google Maps, the decreased cost of GPS, and increased ubiquity of mobile devices.
However, in its original formulation it was wider than this, and included work in fields as diverse as art, programming, literature, and
leisure. Almost all of this has evolved outside of what we usually think of as geography, yet it presents a variety of technical, societal
and academic challenges to traditional academic views and practices. The series will attempt to explore these challenges.

Who can participate

The seminar series is open to faculty and students in universities that are part of the WUN, together with members of the Quantitative Methods
Research and GIScience Research Groups of the Royal Geographical Society
(with IBG), Universities in the UCGIS, and other interested
parties.  Although it carries no activities for which a formal assessment is appropriate, our hope is that graduate student classes,
in particular, will build on it by creating some formal, assessed activity that enables the series to be ‘hard wired’ into their research
training programmes. Possible activities might be completion of an individual essay based on some or all of the presented materials,
building a website, having a debate and so on.

Seminar Environment

Building on its successful use in our previous series, the seminars will use the Marratech™ platform, which is an extended desk top video and audio-conferencing environment. This platform enables a moderately sized client to be downloaded and
used with Windows™, Linux and Mac-OS™ systems. Provided broadband access is available, participants can use this system with a simple
headset/webcam from home, or via a pre-arranged video suite at the home university, which is what we would recommend for entire classes of
graduate students. If you intend to set up such a suite, please note that institutional firewalls can generate problems in using the client,
but these are not insurmountable. Dave Unwin has prepared a fairly full guide that details all the wisdom about using this system that we have accumulated over the past two years, available on request from him or the WUN website.

List of dates & topics

All seminars will commence at 1700 UK time (NOTE: this is a change from previous years), initially BST then GMT. Please check carefully that
you have the correct local time.

Date, Presenter, Title

October 8th Jeremy Crampton (Georgia State) Mapping without a net: neogeography in the 21st century

October 22nd Muki Haklay (UCL) 'What so new in neogeography?'

November 5th M.W. Dobson (TeleMapics LLCV) ‘Data quality and neogeography’

November 12th Martin Dodge (Manchester) ‘Do we need user-generated cartography?’

November 19th GIS DAY

November 26th American Thanksgiving

December 3rd Mike Goodchild (UCSB) ‘Citizens as sensors: volunteered geographic information’

December 17th Dan Sui (Texas A&M) TBC – issues from the series

To view the seminars in real-time and participate

On the day of the seminar, from 4.45pm (UK local time) or earlier, there are two ways by which the Marratech™ is client software can be accessed:

  • The simplest is to point your web browser to the a href="">URL. Clicking on this
    link will install some Java based software on your system. The install sequence is obvious and should give you no problems. We recommend you
    do this and familiarize yourself with the interface well in advance of the seminar; 
  • Alternately, you can download a free desktop client (Marratech Pro™) from the supplier’s website.  From in this  system point  to  the  slightly  different  URL.

Instructions on how to access them are also available at the website.

We strongly recommend that you ‘enter’ the virtual seminar room in good time for the advertised start and hope that you have at least ‘played’ with the client’s interface to understand how the interactions it offers can be used.

The archive

The 2005, 2006 and 2007 seminars have been archived on the WUN GGISA website. The precise form of any one session archive depends upon what we were able to acquire, ranging from PowerPoint™ or PDF files of the materials used through to complete recordings of the session that can be viewed off-line using the Marratech ™ client and a set of associated resources such as an edited version of the discussions, bibliography and so on. We hope that you might find them a useful source of materials for your students to browse.


Adding a location and social service will always make a killer app, even with virtual lighters...

There are at least 10 different virtual lighter applications available for the iphone, most of them free. However users are paying 99 cents and downloading Smule's Sonic lighter like mad. The thing that sets Sonic lighter apart from other virtual lighters is that it has built in social and viral, location based features " and they also give this ridiculous but effective incentive to use the app all the time." (TechCrunch) When you have your virtual lighter on, it will blaze on a virtual earth, so the more people with it on the more that location will glow. Kind of like a global rock concert.

Microsoft Virtual Earth 3-D new release


A new version of Microsoft Virtual Earth 3-D was released today. Over 300 cities have been modeled and are featured. Also included in the release is a program called Remix allowing users to create their own 3-D mash ups. You can read more on the blogs or the official press release

Spoofed GPS!

CBC reports how GPS units can be spoofed. Scientists at Cornell University created a device about the size of  a brief case that, when it is placed near a GPS unit, will modify signals that will reach the GPS. The research is a test of the vulnerability of a GPS. What could this mean for neogeographers and the participatory geoweb?

It's clean up the world weekend!


It's clean up the world weekend. See who is participating on this map. See who is doing what where.


Abaqus Inc.
who specialized in location based products today announced the launch of My Geo Recorder, a groundbreaking GPS-powered mobile application that allows consumers to record personal location-based content in real-time via a mobile phone and then share it with any social network and online service on the web." What could this mean for our research? This article talks about using this device for work out regimes, for work, geotagging photos but not using it to document changes in the environment. I hope some sort Spatial Data Infrastructure is in place with the My Geo Diary service that comes with this device.

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