Some GEarth tips

While Google Earth is still around, it makes sense to maximise its usefulness. The Google Earth Blog shares some nice pointers how to tune your GEarth installation in case you experience performance issues. They’ve also recently covered a company called which offers a set of custom KMZ overlays for use in GEarth. Honestly, I … Continue reading Some GEarth tips

Motivating volunteers

Crowdsourcing projects like OpenStreetMap, Google Map Maker or Building Maker without compensation for contributors rely on volunteers’ efforts. There are various studies which try to shed light on the motivational factors of such volunteers. One way to motivate people to contribute their time and effort can be to make them feel that they are part of … Continue reading Motivating volunteers

Google in Libya

Maps are about territory. And in history, cartography has often been (ab)used to political ends. Due to its big popularity and global visibility Google’s geo-products have attracted their share of border and naming debates and disputes over time and the change of a border’s status or the name of a proportion of land in, for … Continue reading Google in Libya

Esri buys Procedural

Hot from the press: Esri announces the acquisition of Procedural. The Switzerland-based company specialises in procedurally (i.e., rule-based) constructed 3D city models and is known, for example, for its reconstruction of ancient Rome. Procedural’s approach, embodied in its software CityEngine, allows for very fast modelling of urban scenes.

Esri’s move will considerably strengthen its stand in the 3D realm and maybe we will at some point see BIM (Building Information Modelling) by Esri? Spatial Sustain points out correctly that Esri hasn’t usually grown by acquisitions, but steadily by its own activities. Before that background, Esri’s move into 3D via Procedural seems rather outstanding and meaningful!

Head past the break for some rather captivating examples of Procedural’s products. Continue reading “Esri buys Procedural”

Old maps of undersea cables

Boing Boing highlights this map of undersea cables of the Eastern Telegraph Company system printed in 1901. At Boing Boing’s source a person points to a treasure trove for anybody interested in the history of undersea cables or, specifically, related cartography. Above map with its salient red cables clearly highlights the Europe- and US-centric history of … Continue reading Old maps of undersea cables

Path of destruction of tornado visible from space

Living in Switzerland you don’t get to experience many weather phenomena as dramatic as hurricanes and tornados. However, a former colleague of mine investigates the movement patterns of hurricanes to find similarities between individual storms. And in 2004, I was professionally dealing with hurricane Ivan. Ivan was a Category 5 hurricane and is, apparently, the 10th most intense Atlantic hurricane ever recorded. Back then we ordered a Quickbird image (and were lucky enough to get one without too much cloud coverage) and did both a qualitative and quantitative damage assessment of Grand Cayman Island.
These have so far been my only exposures to the study of extreme weather events and, specifically, to the analysis of storm-induced damage captured by means of remote sensing. But some days ago NASA’s Earth Observatory has released a stunning image of a tornado track (of one of the several tornados which have struck Massachusetts in early June 2011) that is well visible from space. Head past the break for the image and more info.

Continue reading “Path of destruction of tornado visible from space”

OSM’s new license arrives…

… in my inbox today: Hi, Thank you for being a long-time contributor to the OpenStreetMap project. We are writing to ask you to login into your account at and accept a new set of contributor terms. Why are we asking this? We need to ask you to explicitly grant permission for us to continue using … Continue reading OSM’s new license arrives…