Monday, November 30, 2009

Google Dumps Gears for HTML5

Google Gearløs ...

Time to shift gears ...


It's official: Google is ditching its homegrown Gears offline web app API in favor of backing HTML5 for the win.

Now that the Chrome browser is becoming available for Mac, and the Snow Leopard OS doesn't play nicely with Gears, a Google rep confirmed the company has decided to trash the whole works and wait for HTML5, even though the spec isn't yet ready and isn't supported by commercially available browsers. Oh, the humanity... or rather, the machinery.

In the mists of time, back when Gears first launched, we wrote, "We've written many times before about the need for offline web app access... And guess who is most at risk with this announcement? Yes, Microsoft. Google after all has many of the top 'best of breed' web apps now."

This was before Google's Chrome browser had hit the scene, and the Gears project was a collaborative effort between Goog, Opera, and Mozilla.

But in our coverage of last year's Google I/O conference, we wrote of Gears, "We question whether offline access is even necessary. After all... in today's world, you're never too far from an internet connection. We concluded that offline access is important now, but less important with each passing day."

Not only could Gears be used to take online data offline; Google had more in store for Gears users.

A few short months later, Google announced a geolocation API for mobile devices running Gears. We wrote, "We think that location-aware software is going to be one of the most interesting markets to watch in the near future and as as location-aware devices become more ubiquitous, we will hopefully see a lot of new and innovative services make use of them." [...]

Read more:

Organizational Facets of GIS


This book seeks to illuminate the organizational and social dimensions of Global Information Systems. It provides a broad and historical perspective on the developments of the geographic information society and on its connection to the information technology field, so as to better understand the issues and problems associated with the implementation, the diffusion, and the social use of GIS in organizations. Then, the reader is invited to explore various organizational and social contexts of GIS implementation from a thematic perspective of consultation and participation, related to different geographic and cultural fields in Europe, the United States, and Canada.


Introducing a new OSM editor… Potlatch 2




OpenStreetMap users will know all about Potlatch, the online editor that appears when you click the ‘Edit’ tab on the site. Well, there’s a whole new version coming soon!

Potlatch 2 is a complete rewrite still with the same principle in mind: an editor which hits the right balance between speed, ease-of-use, and flexibility. It’s under very active development at the moment and I’ll include a link at the end of this post where you can have a look.

But there are four big new features – and one behind-the-scenes change – to tell you about first.

New feature – friendly tagging system

Potlatch 2 has a friendly, intuitive tagging system. The mapper can use graphical menus, dedicated fields, and icons to get the tagging just right – without the need to remember tag names and values.

For example, you can choose highway types from a set of icons, then add a speed limit by selecting the appropriate restriction sign.

Potlatch 2 tag editor

All this is fully customisable using a straightforward presets file. Using this, you can create your own favourite tag combinations.

New feature – WYSIWYG rendering

Potlatch 2 has an all-new rendering engine far in advance of the current one.

With road names, patterned fills, rotated icons, and much more, the editing experience can be like working live on the familiar Mapnik rendering, the cyclemap, Osmarender, or anything you like -making it much more approachable for the beginner.

The Halcyon renderer used in Potlatch 2

Just like the tagging, the rendering is easy to customise. It uses a special form of CSS, called MapCSS, which lets you create wonderful-looking maps with just a few lines of text. The tagging and rendering together make Potlatch 2 ideal for ‘vertical’ mapping applications, such as a cycle-specific editor or a building/addressing editor. Stylesheets aren’t just about making the map look pretty: you can create stylesheets to help your mapping, such as one that highlights roads without names.

The rendering engine (Halcyon) is available as a compact (<100k)>

Read more:

World file calculator

Følg linket til en kørende version af world calculator ...

Follow the link to get to a working calculator ;-)


Enter the coordinates of opposing corners of the image. Geographic coordinates should be positive with N/S and E/W chosen for direction from the equator and the prime meridian. For UTM enter either positive or negative numbers for northing and easting, and leave the selectors on N and W. The results can be copied and pasted into your world file. Rotations are not handled in this implementation, so the second and third values will always be zero.

Calculate Worldfile

Use “N” and “W” if entering northing and easting
instead of latitude and longitude.

First corner:

Second corner:

Image size:

px height:

To use, worldfile name should
match image basename with
proper one of these for the suffix:


Read more:


Skab din egen tidszone ...

Get your own time zone ...


Read more:

Microsoft Demos Augmented Vision

Microsoft udvider horisonten ...

Microsoft to augment the horizon ...


Better computer-vision algorithms overlay digital information on the real world.

Today, Microsoft researchers will demonstrate software that can, in real time, superimpose computer-generated information on top of a digitized view of the real world.

Altered vision: This laptop is running augmented-reality software developed by Microsoft engineers. It can recognize a person’s location using the built-in camera. In this demonstration, virtual bubbles lead to a virtual pot of gold.
Credit: Microsoft

Adding additional visual data to a video display is a technique known as augmented reality. Michael Cohen, principal researcher at Microsoft Research, in Redmond, WA, says that the approach could add another dimension to future smart phones. "You could be out on the street, hold the device up, and it could recognize a restaurant and deliver ratings and the menu," he says. A smart phone featuring an augmented-reality display could also overlay a bus route and an estimate of when the next bus is due on top of a particular street. "It essentially becomes your portal to information," Cohen says.

Cohen and his colleagues will demo the augmented-reality technology at TechFest, an annual showcase of Microsoft's research projects, in Redmond. Their software, which runs on a small portable computer, analyzes scenes from a camera, matches to those stored in a database, and overlays supplementary information on the display. The researchers note that a smart phone with augmented reality could help allow engineers to "see" the pipes or electrical cables below a street. In the demonstration given at TechFest, the software will be used to lead people on a treasure hunt to a hidden prize of a (virtual) pot of gold. [...]

Read more:

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Noxious mystery substance released into the third ventricle is the cause of depression!

The Ventricles of the Brain (Ross & Wilson)

You can always count on the journal Medical Hypotheses (published by Elsevier) for a good laugh. The Editor-in-Chief (Bruce G. Charlton) accepts all sorts of completely speculative crackpot articles. Who can forget the classic, Is there an association between the use of heeled footwear and schizophrenia? [see The Journal of Truly, Truly Outrageous Medical Hypotheses.] Or the crowd favorite, Ejaculation as a potential treatment of nasal congestion in mature males? [see More Truly, Truly Outrageous Medical Hypotheses.]

The latest masterwork (Hendrie & Pickles, 2009) contends that major depression is an evolutionary adaptation triggered by damage to one's reproductive potential, which in turn causes the release of a yet-to-be-discovered nasty substance into the third ventricle:
...depression is an evolutionary adaptation that emerged where displaced dominants needed to make a transition to lower social status and that is now triggered, in those individuals that have this adaptation, by damage to reproductive potential from any source. The behavioural cluster associated with depression includes adoption of a hunched posture, avoidance of eye contact, loss of appetite for food and sex and sleep disruption. This behavioural cluster serves to reduce an individuals’ attack provoking stimuli and so facilitates this social change. When viewed in this context, it becomes clear that many of the brain areas that mediate these behaviours (e.g. the pineal, hypothalamus and amygdala, whose main output, the stria terminalis passes through) all lie in close physical proximity to the third ventricle. In consequence, it is proposed that depression has its origins within this ventricle. Disruption of circadian rhythms, appetite for sex and food and fear/defence responses would all ensue if structures that border the third ventricle, or whose main connections pass through it, were damaged. Therefore, it is hypothesised that the behavioural expression of this adaptation is mediated by a single or pulsatile release of a yet to be identified noxious factor into the ventricular space.
Where did these ideas come from?? Like most everyone else, Hendrie and Pickles (2009) are not satisfied with the current crop of antidepressants or with the monoamine hypothesis of depression (Hirschfeld, 2000), which is incomplete at best. Then they take a giant leap and make up one of those evo psych just-so stories:
...damage to reproductive potential is now the key stimulus that triggers depression in those modern humans that have this adaptation, rather than loss of status per se.This analysis accounts for why it is life events such as the death of a spouse or a child that are major causes of depression.
How about the death of a sister or a grandmother or an uncle? Or a beloved pet? Do these tragic events damage the reproductive potential of those who are prone to depression in such circumstances?

And why is the third ventricle so important?
...many of the brain areas mediating the behavioural cluster associated with depression are in close physical proximity to the third ventricle. For example, the pineal is involved with the regulation of sleep/wake cycles, the hypothalamus regulates appetite for food and sex and the amygdala, whose main output, the stria terminalis passes through the third ventricle has an influence on social affiliation as well as fear and defensive behaviours. Hence, it is proposed that this may well be the site where the behavioural expressions of depression are initiated.

Fig. 3 (Hendrie & Pickles, 2009). Functions of structures closely associated with the third ventricle. The table shows those structures that directly border the third ventricle and those that are connected to it via structures that pass through. The function of the behavioural cluster associated with depression is to reduce the emission of attack provoking stimuli. This is achieved through increased defensiveness, decreased motivation to engage in consummatory behaviours and sleep disturbance, so that there are activity peaks at times when other individuals are inactive. The damage produced by the release of a noxious substance into the CSF [cerebrospinal fluid] is not under precise control...

Uh huh. And how are we supposed to identify this unknown toxin released into the CSF in order to develop new treatments? They come up with two ideas:
The first is to try and identify the proposed substance that is causing the damage with a view to blocking its action or preventing its’ release. This would however be technically difficult as it relies on obtaining samples of CSF from the third ventricle at a precise time, to catch the pulse or pulses. As this would probably not be possible in humans, animal models will be of importance...

The second approach is to develop treatments that target the damage and so reverse its effects. Given that for purely statistical reasons, it is mostly glial cells that are affected, as may also be reflected in alterations to peripheral measures, growth factors such as BDNF and GDNF could be of benefit. ... Nonetheless, treatment using this approach will always be vulnerable to a second or subsequent release of the causative agent and hence the identification of that remains the real prize.
Any takers? What a wonderful project for a graduate student!


Hendrie, C., & Pickles, A. (2009). Depression as an evolutionary adaptation: Anatomical organisation around the third ventricle. Medical Hypotheses DOI: 10.1016/j.mehy.2009.10.026

Hirschfeld RM. (2000). History and evolution of the monoamine hypothesis of depression. J Clin Psychiatry 61 Suppl 6:4-6.

Friday, November 27, 2009

Class 3 Outbreak

Zombie Sims ...

Zombie Outbreak Sim ...


Zombie Outbreak Sim is a sandbox game where you can witness 100's and 1000's of zombies sweeping across Washington DC on Google Maps. This particular map is close to the Catholic University of America, north of the Pentagon. Players can modify various settings such as zombie numbers, speed, infection times and so on, and then watch the results unfold. [...]

Read more:

Does "Internet Addiction" Really Shrink Your Brain?

Internet addiction is a murky and controversial disorder that is the subject of intense debate over whether it should be included in the new DSM-V. Here are the proposed diagnostic criteria as developed by Dr. Kimberly Young:
  1. Do you feel preoccupied with the Internet (think about previous online activity or anticipate next online session)?

  2. Do you feel the need to use the Internet with increasing amounts of time in order to achieve satisfaction?

  3. Have you repeatedly made unsuccessful efforts to control, cut back, or stop Internet use?

  4. Do you feel restless, moody, depressed, or irritable when attempting to cut down or stop Internet use?

  5. Do you stay on-line longer than originally intended?

  6. Have you jeopardized or risked the loss of significant relationship, job, educational or career opportunity because of the Internet?

  7. Have you lied to family members, therapist, or others to conceal the extent of involvement with the Internet?

  8. Do you use the Internet as a way of escaping from problems or of relieving a dysphoric mood (e.g., feelings of helplessness, guilt, anxiety, depression)?

Answering "yes" to five or more questions may mean you suffer from Internet addiction over a six month period and when not better accounted for by a manic episode.
You can rate your own level of addiction by taking the Internet Addiction Test (sponsored by The Center for Internet Addiction, of course).

Dr. Young was featured in a recent article, along with Dr. Vaughan Bell (of Mind Hacks fame) taking the contrary position:
Internet addiction: New-age diagnosis or symptom of age-old problem?

. . .

Kimberly Young, director of the online resource The Center for Internet Addiction, says that internet addiction may not yet be clearly defined, but you know it when you see it.

. . .

Young: “The internet has inherent value and utility, and there are many good things about it, but there is this dark side.”

Or is there? Not according to Vaughan Bell, a visiting research fellow with the Department of Clinical Neuroscience, Institute of Psychiatry at King's College London in the United Kingdom. Bell has argued that the internet is not an activity, and therefore internet addiction is a flawed idea (J Ment Health 2007;16[4]:445-57).

“Fundamentally, the internet is a medium of communication,” says Bell, who claims that one can no more be addicted to the internet than to radio waves. “The concept itself doesn’t make sense.”

Bell acknowledges that some people use the internet and other technologies to excess, but believes they do so to avoid dealing with underlying problems, such as depression or social anxiety disorder, which have well-established treatments.
Other prolific bloggers who are noted opponents of the IA diagnosis include Dr. Shock and Dr. John Grohol.1

On the other hand, internet addiction is accepted as a major a problem in several Asian countries, including China and South Korea. Some of you might be familiar with the stories of [alleged] abusive and illegal clinics in China. With this as background, it was inevitable that someone would do a neuroimaging study of individuals with IA, and it was a group in Shanghai that was the first to do so (Zhou et al., 2009).

In their study, 18 teenagers (2 females and 16 males, mean age = 17.23 ± 2.6) with IA were compared to 15 age-matched control participants. Structural MRIs were performed and quantified using voxel-based morphometry (VBM):
VBM is a neuroimaging analysis technique that allows investigation of focal differences in brain anatomy, using the statistical approach of so-called statistical parametric mapping. ... VBM registers every brain to a template, which gets rid of most of the large differences in brain anatomy among people. Then the brain images are smoothed so that each voxel represents the average of itself and its neighbors. Finally, the image volume is compared across brains at every voxel.
The paper was very light on analytic methods and mum on important details about possible co-morbid psychiatric diagnoses in the kids with IA. As noted by Vaughan, depression and social phobia -- along with bipolar disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder, various addictions, and other impulse control disorders -- could compel one to spend more time on the internet for gambling, gaming, chatting, porn-watching, etc.

With all these caveats in mind, the results are shown below.
...the VBM of the MRI data illustrated that the IA group had lower GMD [gray matter density] in the left anterior cingulate cortex (ACC), left posterior cingulate cortex (PCC), left insula, and left lingulate gyrus. No significant difference was found in the white matter change between the two groups.

Fig. 1 (Zhou et al., 2009). Regions of decreased GM shown on the template in the left anterior cingulate cortex (A), left posterior cingulate cortex (B), left insula (C), and left lingual gyrus (D) in IA subjects compared with the controls.

Most of the changes look pretty small, so it's hard to know what to make of them. On top of that, some of the regions seem mislabeled (the posterior cingulate in particular looks way off). And the findings only demonstrate correlation, not causation.

So in the end we have no idea if "internet addiction" shrinks your brain...


1 Blogging and social media are not addictive at all. Right?


Zhou, Y., Lin, F., Du, Y., Qin, L., Zhao, Z., Xu, J., & Lei, H. (2009). Gray matter abnormalities in Internet addiction: A voxel-based morphometry study. European Journal of Radiology DOI: 10.1016/j.ejrad.2009.10.025

xkcd - Bored With the Internet

Bringing the map to life through social gaming

Kortbaserede spil er en berusende cocktail ...

Maps and gaming ... a dynamic duo ...


Imagine having the whole world at your fingertips, literally. That’s what BattleCell, an innovative new web-based game that combines Google Maps and social gaming, has to offer.

Following in the spirit of Risk, players aim to gain as many of the 55 million cells overlaid on the map as possible while interacting with other gamers around the globe.

It goes beyond the traditional online game and the scope of many social networks as it introduces novel features and transcends cultural and language barriers. For example, its in-game instant messaging system automatically translates 30+ languages, which allows participants to seamlessly interact. Designed for millions of players, BattleCell provides gamers around the world a reason to collaborate, communicate and get past social and political limitations. [... ]

Read more:

Molly reports on augmented reality

På vej, men langt hjem ...

So far and so little ...


Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Wiki of GIS terms.

Hvad er? Se her ...

Great source ...


The mission of is to ensure your success. Whether you’re a GIS expert or have just recently started using GIS, we deeply appreciate the opportunity to serve you. is a knowledge sharing platform that will enable users to share their knowledge with the community. will be useful in enhancing our knowledge of GIS, and will help geographers better understand GIS concepts and quickly ramp up their GIS skills to be more productive. is a community-generated GIS-centric encyclopedia that serves as a repository for factual, unbiased GIS will seek to involve the GIS community in an ongoing process of creation and collaboration of conceptual GIS information. will use the passion and knowledge each one of you has, in order to offer another resource for users to help others. All content ownership will be shared by the GIS community. The success of depends on the contributions of GIS professionals, students, and the GIS community-at-large. We invite all the people who share a common interest in sharing GIS knowledge and ideas to to create a login account on wikiGIScom and then begin editing existing pages or adding their own GIS-related content to the wiki.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Create KML Range Circles, Arrows And Wedges With An Excel Macro






Read more:

Create KML Range Circles, Arrows And Wedges With An Excel Macro

Selv Commodore 64 burde være i stand til at skrive KML ....

Even Commodore 64 should be capable of writing KML ...





En række værktøjer som vil gøre udviklingen af applikationer baseret på Google maps endnu lettere ...

Tools to make your Google Map even better ...


Repository of utility libraries that can be used with the Google Maps JavaScript API v2.

Important: There are both development versions and released versions for each library. We recommend using the JS from the released versions (and optionally saving to your server) for maximal stability.

Current released libraries are shown below. For more info, check out Libraries.















Read more: