The Governor’s office announced an exciting new partnership between Google Earth, Carnegie Mellon University, NASA, the Pennsylvania Tourism Office, and the National Civil War museum that will allow virtual tourists from all over the world to experience Pennsylvania’s Civil War trails first hand. The partnership will be creating Gigapixel Panoramas (Gigapans), enabling users to visualize these destinations with a great degree of detail.
On October 4, 2006, the Pennsylvania State Capitol Building celebrates the centennial anniversary of its dedication. In honor of this special event, I have created a GeoCast for the Capitol building, its art, and some surrounding points of interest. This GeoCast can be downloaded or streamed in MP3 format by clicking the link below or by going to the Pennsylvania category on GeoGlue.com.
Three Mile Island, the nuclear power plant which, at least figuratively speaking, is located right in my back yard, was the site of the nation’s worst nuclear disaster in March of 1979. What better site to select for my first custom Geocast then something so near and dear to the locals’ hearts.
The first, albeit very rudimentary, version of GeoGlue is now available online. As described in previous posts, this release is really nothing more than a soundseeing mashup with Google maps. The functionality is very basic, allowing the user to browse for soundseeing tours graphically using maps and a menu system or to search for tours using a combination of keywords. All tours are provided via MP3 streaming audio, either from the site that created the tour or from GeoGlue.com directly.
A couple of weeks ago, I was asked to describe what GeoGlue was. Although, we have a far-reaching strategic vision for GeoGlue, I can describe the functionality in the initial release using two words – “Soundseeing Mashup”. Now both of these words are fairly new additions to the English language. The mashup concept has gained a good deal of traction through all of the Web 2.0 writeups. Soundseeing, on the other hand, was a term that even I had not heard until just a couple of weeks ago.
With Suzanne and the kids away for a week, I’ve been holding up my end of the bargain and working to make some significant progress with GeoGlue. After getting hung up quite a while on the nuances of Google and Yahoo maps – not to mention Flash encoding – I chose to take a more lightweight approach to getting a first-cut working product out to production. I’ve revamped the user interface pretty significantly but still many of the tried and true styles still manage to show through.
I’ve been experimenting quite a bit with Web-based video for GeoGlue as of late. I knew very little about the medium out of the gate but with a bunch of reading and prototyping over the past couple of weeks, I’ve learned quite a bit. The first revelation to me was that the majority of professional-grade video sites such as YouTube and Google video encode their video as Flash. A bit of further research found claims of 98% pervasiveness of the Flash plugin, as opposed to much lower rates for Real, Quicktime, and Windows Media. Scott Persinger’s post on the video format wars proved to be quite interesting reading in this respect.