News of the week

Compared to last week, it's been a little quiet, and we've been a little busy (not working, don't worry). Here's a quick round-up of some things that have caught our eye over the last few days. 

Google takes on enterprise GIS

The biggest news from Google for a while: Google Earth Builder. For several years, the Google Earth virtual globe software has brought GIS-type workflows to everyone. It's been downloaded an incredible 700 million times. Now, for a fee, you can upload and manage your own geospatial data, and share custom layers with your organization... in a tool everyone knows already. This is potentially transformative because GIS, however powerful and popular, has yet to really penetrate any organization I've seen, though ESRI's amazing ArcGIS Explorer and ArcGIS Server offerings are gaining traction. It's typically still fairly niche, with a small community of power users, lots of dabblers, and masses of people who have no idea what it is and make maps by annotating JPEGs in PowerPoint. Yes, that is as scary as it sounds.

New geo-tagging camera add-on

Geo-tagging photos isn't new, even phones do it. But professional-grade GIS, with rapid location fixing, accurate altitude and compass functionality, is often quite expensive and/or bulky. A small US company, Eka Designs, has announced a couple of new products to try to change this: FotoSpot, an entry-level model, and FotoMapr, for professionals. These camera add-ons use WiFi, Bluetooth, or cable, to connect to a variety of regular digital cameras, oncluding models from Nikon, Canon, Panasonic, and Ricoh. You might want to upgrade your camera more often than your GPS, so this sort of peripheral might be a good investment if you spend a lot of time in the field. Certainly beats scratching down map coordinates and filenames in the rain. 

New books... a lot of new books

We took a look at Amazon's new geoscience books, and it turns out that books are nowhere near being dead! It's hard to find recent titles because when you sort by date you have to scroll past about 500 books that won't be published for months, years even. But here are some recent additions that caught our eye, in no particular order:

Book Titles: How The Bit After The Colon Is Getting Too Long: Where Will It End?

This regular news feature is for information only. We aren't connected with any of these organizations, and don't necessarily endorse their products or services.