Posts Tagged ‘google

26
Nov
12

Sandy. No, the other one. The Island.

An intrepid team of Aussie researchers set out to find the prize of explorers for centuries, undiscovered lands. In this case, it was a small-ish island shown on some maps as lying between Australia and New Caledonia. There was some disagreement as to whether the island even existed. You see, some maps showed it, including Google, while others did not, like nautical charts. Which was right? Why were there no records of inhabitants on this island or previous landfalls? Could this be where Amelia Earhart landed? Or where all those missing from the Bermuda Triangle were transported?

Of course not. That’s because the island doesn’t exist. When the ship arrived at the place that was supposed to be an island, all they found was water. About 1400 feet deep of the stuff. When asked, Google merely said that the World is a constantly changing place, so maybe it sunk, or something to that affect.

All we could surmise was that the grant that the Aussies had was specifically to pay for a boat expedition. It would have been too fast to consult satellite imagery or too easy to fly a plane over the area. Had to be a boat. Hope they went fishing too.

Get the real story here:

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-asia-20442487?goback=%2Egde_1494267_member_188928862

19
Sep
12

business insider: you are really going to hate apple maps

Business insider is reporting that the initial findings on the new Apple Maps app is that it really sucks.

The new iOS6 will drop Google as the default mapping program and begin using the package that Apple has developed with a number of vendors including TomTom.

Apples new iPhone5

Several differences have been highlighted, including the lack of transit information in the new package, but Apple intends to overcome this by integrating the best public transit apps around, providing a more thorough handling of local transportation.

However, many developers and privileged insiders are already using iOS6 and are reporting a much bigger problem with the maps – they don’t use Google. Apple has utilized the Yelp search engine to provide results for geographic queries. However those used to the powerful Google engine could well be disappointed with the results. According to BI, one Apple Repair Shop employee they interviewed demonstrated how a search for ‘Ipad Repair’ yielded no results. Yelps struggles with searches that are not based on Yelp categories, business names or addresses.

To add to the noise, Noam Barden, CEO of Waze (itself a super social/crowdsourced/opensource mapping application that runs on the iPhone) is quoted as saying that TomTom were “the weakest player” that Apple could have partnered with, and warns that users may find that at least initially, many places just don’t show up or are misplaced on the maps.

2 million pre-order customers are still coming to terms with the fact that their old cables will not be usable on their new iPhone 5s,  so the lack of a quality mapping application on their 5th generation handset could make life unbearable for a short time. Whilst we can only speculate as to how much of an inconvenience the teething troubles will be, this is yet another reminder as to the huge hold that Google continues to have over the world’s geographic data.

Rest assured that print maps will not be affected by the new operating system and can be purchased here.

Unhappy with your new iPhone 5? If you experience disappointment with your brand new gadget, whether because of cables, maps, reception or any other reason, our editors will happily exchange them for fully tested alternative phones from big name suppliers including Ericsson, Nokia and Motorola, fully tested over long periods (ie used).

18
Sep
12

BBC Interviews Jerry Brotton: Maps and their biases from Mercator to Google

In “A history of the world in 12 Maps” Professory Jerry Brotton demonstrates the bias and distortion behind a variety of cartographic examples  stemming back to the first Mercator projections. In this interview for the BBC, he shows how maps at their worst can be a deceptive expression of the politics of the author,  or simply a reflection of a particular contemporary view of the world. He asks if there should be more concern about a private entity such as  Google being the single biggest collector and owner of geographic data worldwide.

(Of course some authors would argue that expressing our feelings and beliefs through maps is a freedom we should treasure and celebrate).

Help yourself to a Peters or Mercator projections at Maps.com’s online map store.

BBC Meet The Author: Prof. Jerry Brotton

23
May
12

Tablet Wars: The OS Battle

Ever since the iPad burst onto the scene, tablets have been the darlings of consumers and educators alike, with hundreds of millions of units sold. But is the US market indicative of the Worldwide trend in mobile platform adoption?

This past week on the NPR/KQED MindShift education blog, Frank Catalano examines the trends in the global market and finds that while Apple has a majority of the market share in tablet adoption by both consumers and educators in the US, it is Google’s Android that is leading the way with multiple sub-$150 devices being created in several countries and large scale adoption on a national level. Read Frank’s post here: “Which device will win the tablet battle?

Image

The question for publishers and content developers then becomes how to create content and curriculum as platform-agnostic as possible in order to capitalize on the adoption of as many of these devices as possible worldwide. At the moment, there are no easy answers, especially when publishers have to reach schools that are on the front lines in adopting the newest technology as well as those that lag behind, having to make do with years-old hardware and software.

At Maps.com, we are creating content and applications both specific to iOS and Android operating systems as well as cross-platform applications – primarily with HTML5. For instance, in our Maps101 Web service, we have long had a collection of hundreds of outline maps and a Flash-based MapKit drawing tool for users to create and modify their own maps. This month we released a new tool called MapSketch that adds to all of our maps an HTML5-based drawing tool that is cross-platform compatible. MapSketch will also be made available to add the same drawing tools to third party sites and applications such as Interactive White Board Activities. Contact us to find out how.

18
May
12

another member of the axis of google-bashers speaks up

With China actively seeking to eliminate Google from its virtual shores, even going to the effort of creating its own version, Iran has turned up the heat on the internet mapping giant this week over its failure to label the Persian Gulf, according to a report from CNN.

National Geographic Bible Lands 1938

1938: National Geographic – The Bible Lands

The Iranians believe that Google is making a political statement by failing to use the Persian Gulf label, which has in recent years been re-titled ‘The Arabian Gulf’ by some believing it is more ‘politically correct’.

The Persian Gulf is coveted by Iranians as a statement of power and ownership over the gulf, and refers back to the nation’s history in the Persian Empire. Proponents of the Arabian Gulf name suggest that as 70% of the Gulf coast is NOT in Iran, that the Arabian Gulf is more appropriate, and that the use of Persia is an anachronism even in Iran, where the population is a mix of Persians, Arabs, Kurds and numerous other ethnic groups.

Iran has raised similar complaints against various institutions for decades. A simple Google search finds correspondence with the Dutch Airline KLM during the mid 1990’s after they referred to the Arabian Gulf in their in-flight magazine. More recently thousands of people protested through Facebook ’causes’ when the US Navy used Arabian Gulf, the Economist magazine was banned when it referred to the waterway as ‘The Gulf’ and reportedly the infamous Louvre gallery in Paris, France found itself in hot water when its guidebooks did the same.

A look at maps going back to the turn of the century in Maps.com’s National Geographic Classic Collection reveals, interestingly that published print maps have always typically used the Persian Gulf label. One edition from 1991 shows both Arabian Gulf and Persian Gulf labels, but was designed to highlight the various disputes and issues of the region at that time.

Referring to the International Hydrographic Organization, sometimes used by Cartographers as the ‘final word’ on water naming conventions (“The Vision of the IHO is to be the authoritative worldwide hydrographic body which actively engages all coastal and interested States to advance maritime safety and efficiency and which supports the protection and sustainable use of the marine environment” ) last updated its materials in 1953 and clearly refers to the water as The Persian Gulf. But for those who use the Times Atlas of the World there is a distinct lack of controversy as they opt to name it ‘The Gulf’ (what next, “The Ocean” and “The Land Mass”??)

National Geographic Middle East In Turmoil 1991

1991: National Geographic – Middle East States in Turmoil

Google is of course an easy, and high profile target when it comes to this type of dispute. For one, any assault on Google, the world’s third biggest superpower behind Apple and Microsoft, is bound to make headlines or at least come out near the top in a Bing search. And for two, any irate consumer who wants to bash the search engine giant can take their pick of lost cities and mislabeled waterways to rant about.

National Geographic Middle East

Today: National Geographic – The Middle East

What they can be accused of is sidestepping the issue a little. If you type ‘Persian Gulf’ into Google Maps, it will take you to the center of the unlabeled body of water with a nice red pin to mark the spot. If you type in Arabian Gulf, it suggests “Arabian Gulf, Kuwait” which when clicked takes you to the same body of water, very close to the coastline of Kuwait. Type in other waterways of lesser profile – Caspian Sea, English Channel, Baltic Sea, Strait of Gibraltar and every one of them is labeled. So maybe Google lost its nerve on this one. (Google maps in fact fails to label the East Sea, AKA The Sea of Japan, depending on whether you are from Korea or Japan – so it has previous form here).  An anonymous Google representative argued that they simply ‘dont have labels’ for every body of water. It can be really frustrating when you run out of labels. Perhaps they could have borrowed the one from “Ditch #1, Osceola AR.”

From our point of view at Maps.com, newly published maps follow the convention set by leading cartographic publishers and organizations like the IHO – and will continue to be ‘The Persian Gulf’ until further notice.

Maps.com World Map

Today: Maps.com – New Century World Map

11
May
12

apple dropping google in cartographic celebrity divorce?

According to several sources close to Apple, the new IOS6 operating system for iPhone will no longer include Google Maps, and will instead feature an Apple developed mapping service believed to be faster, cleaner and more reliable. It will also proudly boast awe inspiring 3d rendering developed by C3, a spin-off of the Swedish auto and aerospace manufacturer SAAB, which was purchased by Apple in July 2011. C3 specialized in developing 3d rendering from color aerial photography.

Rumors about this change have been circulating ever since the purchase of Placebase, a mapping software developer, was revealed in 2009. Initial evidence of a split was seen earlier this year when iPhoto for the iPad was found to be using Open Street Map instead of Google Maps as in previous versions and the outcome became an inevitability when Apple failed to renew its contract with Google that was due to expire at the end of 2012.

9to5Mac Mockup of 3D rendering comparisons

Whilst nothing has been officially announced it is expected that maps will once again be making the headlines at the forthcoming iOS6 launch. Who knows, maybe they can make some fundamental improvements like including the names of rivers in the new maps and find some of the more recently ‘lost cities’.

11
Jul
11

No Sudan movements from map-makers as the South celebrates.

de Südsudan en Southern Sudan ru Южный Судан

Image via Wikipedia

The people of South Sudan celebrated this week as they became Africa’s 54th nation. But cartographers around the world are in no rush to redraw.

Both Google Maps and Bing Maps are still awaiting confirmed geo data for the new border, which has not yet been officially agreed. As confirmed by US Secretary of State Hilary Clinton, the exact location of the border will be determined along with military re-deployments and agreements on natural resources. A 12 mile buffer zone to reduce outbreaks of violence is expected to be part of the final agreement, with Ethiopian troops playing a key peace-keeping role. The conflict in the region is estimated to have cost over 1.5 million lives in decades of violence.

A number of ‘unofficial maps’ have been developed, including this one from London’s Guardian Newspaper, and South Sudan’s own Foreign Ministry has been issuing maps for use by its embassies and foreign diplomatic missions, however they are yet to finally agree the borders or receive official recognition from the United Nations. This should occur in a meeting Thursday, and will follow the EU, United States and Russia’s recognition of the state whose independence was finally declared last Saturday, July 10th.

Juba will be the new capital where many challenges such as extreme poverty will be faced. This is also where the nations wealth of oil reserves will be strategically  managed from.

Google reported that they were awaiting the most accurate data before they would update their Google Maps and Google Earth products with the new nation, until then they have been encouraging locals to produce their own maps in community mapping events.

South Sudan already has its own national soccer team which played its first match against a Kenyan club team on saturday, however currently the world governing body FIFA does not recognize the new nation and matches will remain, like the cartography,  ‘unofficial’.

Republic of South Sudan, via the Mission of the Government of South Sudan.




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