And back again after 3 months of hard work on the Geoviu Beta version!
First of all, as you might have noticed since July 23rd, you can find Geoviu at the following address: www.geoviu.com. Geoviu is currently fully operational considering only its basic possibilities for now: showing the daily news from 4 sources (CNN, BBC, New York Times and France 24), auto updated every hour for the Hot News (star icons) and every 6 hours for the daily news (divided in 8 categories: politics, economy, sustainability, science, technology, society, culture and sports). Furthermore, you can use the Weekly Report (still developing it), showing the Hot News from the past 7 days.
Since Geoviu’s official launch 12 days ago, we started to advertize it by registering to many startup/entrepreneur/technological websites such as Dotopen (www.dotopen.com), Vator.tv (http://vator.tv), You Noodle (http://younoodle.com), Digg (http://digg.com) and social websites such as Twitter (www.twitter.com) and Facebook (www.facebook.com) with a Facebook Fan page on which we currently have 81 fans.
This led to 3 articles written on Geoviu, one German: http://www.buzinkay.net/blog-de/2009/07/geoviu-news-auf-der-weltkarte/ and two Italians : http://jacopofarina.wordpress.com/2009/07/27/geoviu-visualizzare-informazioni-e-news-su-una-mappa/ ; http://www.geekissimo.com/2009/08/01/visualizza-le-notizie-su-una-mappa-con-geoviu/, and Geoviu has now about 1320 references on Google.
What we are working on right now:
a-finding a way to avoid having markers on top of each other;
b-pictures in infowindows;
c-a new widget with all the information in a grid format;
d-interactivity with our community (login, react to information, star the most important information to you).
a-adding new sources;
b-improving the Weekly Report;
c-working on the Monthly Report;
d-improving the categorization/prioritization/geolocation of the information.
a-adding Geoviu to more startup/entrepreneur/technological websites;
b-making 1 or 2 videos about Geoviu.
If you have any comments (good or bad) or wishes for future improvements on Geoviu, do not hesitate to comment on the Feedback option (bottom right on www.geoviu.com), or on our Facebook Fan page (http://www.facebook.com/pages/Geoviu/96081356905?ref=ts) and we will answer you as soon as possible!
Thank you all for your support!
Apple just recently announced the iPhone 3.0 Operating System – although users can’t upgrade to the new OS yet, developers already have the opportunity to start working with the new SDK (Software Development Kit). Apple presented an impressive list of no less than 100 new features, and we already have our favorites: support for MMS, landscape keyboard, cut/copy/paste, notes sync etc. Being avid iPhone power-users ourselves, it goes without saying that we are very excited by this upgrade, both from a user and a developer point of view.
I guess the iPhone really appeals to developers because:
- The device itself is awesome and very user-friendly. I think this compels developers to try to create applications that are in line with the iPhone culture: clean design, ease-of-use…
- The SDK looks nice! Yes, although we haven’t started developing anything on the iPhone SDK yet, what I’ve heard, what I’ve read and the few screenshots I saw of the SDK gives me the impression that the kit is very object-oriented and that code is easy to test and debug (we’ll confirm that later).
- And the Appstore, of course, which has become a huge market place for mobile applications. The store hit 100 million downloads and 3000 apps in September 2008. Now in March 2009, Apple reports 800 million downloads and 25000 apps.
We’ve heard a lot of success stories from iPhone developers. I read an article on the developer of iShoot, who earned $800,000 in just five months after putting his game on the appstore. TechCrunch recently poster an article on the frenzy of developing apps for the iPhone: Let’s all quit our jobs and become iPhone App developers! Fair enough, but remember that 25,000 apps are out there, and that very few of them are big hits.
So if we come back to geoviu, what’s in for us? As far as maps are concerned, Apple reports that “You can now embed maps within your applications using the new Map Kit framework. Map Kit works with the Google Mobile Maps Service and features panning and zooming, custom annotations, current location and geocoding”. So they’ve improved their support for maps in the new SDK, I’m sure that’s good news for us. We’ll keep you posted on how we manage to port our concept to the iPhone!
For those who haven’t yet heard about it, Google Street View is a service that provides panoramic views (360°) taken from the streets of many big cities in the world. The service was launched in May 2007, and orginally only featured cities in the US. Now the platform has expanded to include some of these countries (amongst others): France, Italy, Netherlands, Spain, the UK, Japan, Australia…
We were very excited to see that most of France’s major cities are now covered: Paris, Lyon, Marseille, Toulouse, Lille, Rennes, Montpellier, Nantes and Strasbourg are just a few. A good way of finding out which cities and countries are mapped, is to unzoom a bit (check out the picture on the left of this blog post), and then drag that little orange fellow on the map. All areas covered by street view will then be colored in blue.
You can find quite a few interesting ways of using this service. It can come in handy if you want to locate a specific shop / restaurant in a street you haven’t been to before. Another fun thing to do is to roam the streets of cities you’ve never been to: feel like walking in Tokyo or Sydney? Although it doesn’t seem that google is monetizing this service yet (no ads are displayed on the street view), we can imagine quite a few business perspectives for the future: imagine a platform where you could virtually walk the streets of Paris, enter a shop, and start buying things during your virtual tour of that specific boutique. Hey… is street view the future of e-commerce and online shopping? Let’s not get too excited now…
It’s now time for a brief overview on the new greentechs !
As written on the previous post, nowadays important firms are developping technologies which are more and more respectfull to the environment. This week, let’s take a look at Apple’s new orientation with the new ‘green’ MacBook Air.
Its main eco-friendly keypoints are the following:
-recyclable aluminum case,
-mercury -and arsenic- free display,
-all of the Apple-designed circuit boards -which are the vast majority of the circuit boards in the unit- are free of brominated flame retardants (BFRs) and polyvinyl chloride (PVC) plastic.
This new product apparently did not entirely convince Rick Hind, the legislative director of Greenpeace’s toxics campaign. “Apple is getting greener, but not green enough” he said.
For Steve Jobs, many other industries could be targeted by Greenpeace, but for Rick Hind, Apple is the perfect target as it is a leader and precursor in new technologies. It could therefore show the way to other competitors such as Dell and HP.
Anyway, the main idea to be remembered here is that things are changing…slowly, but surely!
Thematic mapping really appeals to us because it aims at displaying global data, as opposed to specific locations. An excellent application of this idea can be found at thematicmapping.org, which offers an engine that plots statistical data on a map. The primary data source of the website is UNdata, and the map used for final display is Google Earth.
Country-based statistics are clearly easier to understand when displayed on a map. Here are some of the few indicators that the engine is able to render: CO2 emissions, GDP per capita, children under five mortality rate, internet users, life expectancy, patent applications, population etc. For each of these indicators, the engine is able to generate 3D objects which vary in color and scale to offer a very visual approach of the statistics. What is also interesting is that the engine can fetch historical data, going back to the 60’s for some indicators.
The person behind this project is Bjørn Sandvik, working as a project manager at United Nations Association (UNA) of Norway. One of his KML visualisations recently won a prize from Google’s KML in research contest.
The idea started in summer 2008
The “green planet” concept being taken more and more seriously all around the globe, we were thinking of a new way to inform people on the actual world status, in real time. This is how the Geoviu concept was born.
It took almost a year to really start working on the project, principally because of programing issues. Hopefully, as well as for many other new websites, the Google API, now in OpenSource, allowed us to make this move.
It’s been only two weeks now and we are still getting impressed by all the possibilities we will be able to include in Geoviu’s final version.
So stay tuned, we are working on it full time to bring you the most developed geo-macro-environment tool of the web 2.0 !
Geoviu is a website currently in beta. Our goal is to provide an innovative way of skimming through news articles and acquiring a general feel of what is happening around the world. We allow users to view information & news on an interactive map: articles are organized in categories and switching from global to local events is made easy with our map zoom levels. Stay tuned for future developments!