Self-driving cars need extremely detailed and comprehensive maps in order to work—far more detailed than what’s usually available. Paradoxically, Vox’s Timothy B. Lee reports, that’s going to require significant human labour, in the form of human analysts annotating the map. “As Google and its competitors expand their self-driving vehicle programs nationwide, they’re going to have to hire thousands of human analysts to produce the detailed maps that enable cars to drive safely.” [MAPS-L]
Monday was apparently Sanborn’s 150th anniversary. Known for its detailed fire insurance maps during the late 19th and early/mid 20th centuries—a treasure trove for historians—Sanborn has since diversified into a geospatial company, though fire insurance maps are still one of their business lines. [WMS]
Is Sexism a Problem in GIS? Caitlin Dempsey Morais of GIS Lounge grapples with a thorny subject. “Over a two week period in September of 2015, I opened a survey on GIS Lounge to those working in the geospatial industry in order to take a look at the question of, ‘is sexism in the workplace an issue for women (and men) working in GIS?’ This article reports back on the results from that survey.”
Some Mainers consider DeLorme’s Atlas and Gazetteer their own backwoods bibles. The collection of maps works perfectly for planning expeditions afield, and can prompt plenty of discussion around a wood stove after a long day of hunting or fishing.
When the BDN asked for readers to share their thoughts on the iconic map book, dozens responded, telling us how much the maps have mattered to them.
DeLorme publishes other state atlases and gazetteers, but the Maine Atlas and Gazetteer is the one that started it all, the one Mainers rely on heavily, the one they’re worried might disappear now that DeLorme’s been bought by Garmin. Hence screeds like Troy Bennett’s (I should warn you, there are song lyrics):
Is there any other publication so complete, showing roads, trails, campgrounds, public reserve land, rivers, coves, islands and city streets? Am I the only one who didn’t know what an esker was before they picked up a Gazetteer? I doubt it.
If the new owners kill the map that helps define the state, what will happen to us? How will we know the Crocker Cirque even exists, let alone how to find it. (Map 29, D3, by the way.)
So, I’m looking at you, Garmin, out there in Kansas: Keep your hands off my Gazetteer.
Of course, nothing’s happened yet, and nothing may necessarily happen, but Maine losing the Maine Atlas and Gazetteer would be like London losing the A to Z or Winnipeg the Sherlock atlas: paper maps that are local, idiosyncratic, and essential. [via]
Previously: Maine Reacts to DeLorme’s Acquisition by Garmin.
Local Maine media is reacting to the news that Garmin is buying DeLorme, which is based in Yarmouth. Here’s coverage from the Portland Press Herald, which notes that the Maine headquarters will be maintained, but the map store will close. (Eartha will continue to be open to the public.) There is no news about the future of DeLorme’s Maine Atlas and Gazetteer, the paper-based product that started DeLorme off in 1976, which is worrying the Bangor Daily News’s outdoors editor John Holyoke.
Garmin has announced that it is buying Maine-based GPS manufacturer DeLorme. “Garmin will retain most of the associates of DeLorme and will continue operations at its existing location in Yarmouth, Maine following the completion of the acquisition. The Yarmouth facility will operate primarily as a research and development facility and will continue to develop two-way satellite communication devices and technologies. Financial terms of the purchase agreement and acquisition will not be released.” (Presumably that means that Eartha won’t be moved to Olathe.)
[A]s Google aimed its maps mostly at consumers, Esri was able to hold on to its revenue base among power users in business, government and other organizations. Google is great for directions or locating your home on Zillow. But if you are, say, the Bavarian police charged with securing the G7 Summit near Munich and need a detailed real-time dashboard that can pinpoint every delegation, police officer, emergency vehicle, first responder, protest site, road closure, mountain trail and access point to the summit’s venue, you’ll use Esri. Last year Google pulled the plug on a halfhearted push into enterprise maps and began moving its customers to Esri.
Notable that Esri has stayed private rather than raising capital through the stock market, which in the tech sector is just unbelievable. Its estimated value is $3 billion.
Peter Bellerby is interviewed in Fashion Times. Bellerby is the founder of Bellerby & Co., which makes hand-made, hand-painted—and very expensive—globes. (When I blogged about them last August, the cheapest globe I could find in their catalogue was £999.) Bellerby’s PR and marketing is fairly sophisticated and positions a globe as a serious luxury good; being interviewed in Fashion Times is consistent with that. They’re not exactly in the same market as Replogle, if you follow me. [via]
Last October the Wichita Eagle profiled Ken Gebhart, the 79-year-old owner of Celestaire, a local company that sells navigation equipment, including sextants. The sextants are Chinese imports; Celestaire itself makes the navigation tables and almanacs that accompany sextant use. You might have thought that sextants had gone the way of horses and buggies, but apparently the U.S. Navy is reviving celestial navigation training, as a fallback in the event of a GPS failure. [via]
Bellerby & Co. produces gorgeous hand-made, hand-painted globes. Peter Bellerby started the company six years ago—he wanted to make a globe for his father for his birthday, but got a bit carried away. Very much a luxury product: the least expensive item I could find in their catalogue was £999, and the higher-end and custom globes climb well into five figures. Not, in other words, comparable to Replogle’s product line.
Citing changing priorities, Yahoo announced today that Yahoo Maps is among the products that it will be shutting down; it’ll go dark at the end of this month. “However,” says Yahoo chief architect Amotz Maimon, “in the context of Yahoo search and on several other Yahoo properties including Flickr, we will continue to support maps.” Business Insider, TechCrunch, VentureBeat.
For a few years Yahoo Maps got frequent upgrades and improvements. The current map platform launched in May 2007; it replaced a Flash-based map engine that first debuted as a beta in November 2005 and became the default map a year later, replacing an even older map service that, if my memory serves, was like the pre-Google Maps MapQuest. Since then Yahoo Maps has stagnated—but for a while there, before Google Maps became the dominant juggernaut it is today, it could have been a contender.