2_12 Maps and Drones Broadcast (Google Maps, Drones for Good and More)

Hello, and welcome to GeoSpatial Stream. I’m your host, Todd Danielson, and today’s Lead Sponsor is Trimble Geospatial Division.

Today’s Top Story is Google Maps, which just celebrated its 10th anniversary. While researching this story, it seems that Google wants us to forget that there were other online maps available before Google Maps and Google Earth, such as MapQuest, Multimap and Yahoo! Maps. Just as there were other search engines before Google—I started on AltaVista myself—and there are still many others out there today. Bing!

It often feels like we’re living in a Google World, and that nothing really existed until Google did it. But given the company’s track record and how it has repeatedly moved fringe technologies into the most mainstream of mainstreams, the anniversary of Google Maps is well worth mentioning.

According to Gary Cale, Ordnance Survey’s head of APIs, “It wasn’t the first out there, but the role of Google Maps in transforming digital maps, making them popular and bringing them from a tech niche into the public consciousness cannot be underplayed.”

The list of technological advancements that have arisen from Google Maps and Earth is extensive, and the anniversary has spurred many articles describing them. But I’m going to finish with my favorite Google Maps innovation: those of us in the geospatial and mapping industries worldwide went from long, boring and futile explanations of what we do for a living, to simply saying, “you know, like Google Maps or Google Earth” and finally seeing people understand, sort of…

That was today’s Top Story. I’ll be back with more news after this brief message.

Flyability from Switzerland won a $1 million dollar grant as part of the UAE Drones for Good program. Here’s a video clip describing its new drone:

And if you want to know why they had to name the contest “Drones for Good,” here’s an article on the Sensors & Systems Web site that explores the issues of drones and privacy, and why many people just see “Drones for Bad.”


In industry headlines, Esri launched a new site to help citizens discover organizations worldwide that share open data as well as provide direct access to thousands of open government datasets. Citizens can search, download, filter and visualize the data through Web browsers or mobile devices.

Essex County Fire and Rescue Service added specialized Cadcorp desktop GIS software for resource planning and performance reporting.

And LizardTech introduced GeoViewer Apps for iOS, allowing users to view, pan and zoom MrSID and JPEG 2000 images on an iPad using familiar iOS touch gestures.

For today’s Final Thought, here’s an unintentionally funny video from Ordnance Survey in 1965. You’ll find the full version on GeoSpatial Stream. It reminds me a lot of what I do—making little movies, not maps—and I hope someone will replay some of my work 50 years from now and have a good laugh on me …

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I’m Todd Danielson, and this … was your GeoSpatial Stream.