The Daily Render


A Digital Scrapbook for the Past, Present, and Future


note about screenshots
|| 5/29/2005 || 3:24 pm || Comments Off on note about screenshots || ||

When I was looking over my last post, I realized that embedded in that screenshot was the weather outside. By using WeatherPop in my menu, the time (2:18:12pm, Sunday, May 29th), space (Weather was partly cloudy, 75 degrees), and place (Washington, DC) were recorded.

(geography is the study of space & place- time merely adds a temporal dimension)

Ask Jeeves….
|| || 1:38 pm || Comments Off on Ask Jeeves…. || ||

Via CNN:

Ask Jeeves unveils ‘Web Answer’ feature
Friday, May 27, 2005 Posted: 10:17 AM EDT (1417 GMT)

SAN FRANCISCO, California (AP) — Question: What well-known Internet search engine continues to lag industry leaders no matter how smart it becomes?

Answer: Ask Jeeves Inc.

The Oakland-based company on Thursday is launching its latest effort to win more fans. The hook: A new feature designed to provide more immediate answers to inquiries.

With the change, Ask Jeeves will display a “Web Answer” to many of the requests its search engine processes. For instance, if someone enters “world’s largest lake” into’s search box, the top result will include a snippet listing the Caspian Sea, including its size and location.

…but not an aerial or satellite image of the location.

Google has that already……or does it?

(to get this screen shot, I first went to, selected “satellite,” then panned over to the Caspian Sea, then I put “caspian sea” in the search box, and hit search)

I expect that in the near future Google will integrate this feature…

CSNA revisited
|| 5/27/2005 || 12:30 pm || Comments Off on CSNA revisited || ||

After churning through the IP addresses of those folks who downloaded the imagery I posted yesterday to the U Street News Listerv, I was VERY suprised to see SO MANY downloads from the military. I have got to wonder if these are in relation to their “Internet War Games“?

Here is a sampling of people from who downloaded the imagery:


|| 5/26/2005 || 10:58 pm || Comments Off on CSNA || ||

Today I read this DCist post and finally discovered what the listserv was for my hood…. So this evening I cropped one of my hi-res aerial photographs, and I posted the links (different resolutions need different links) in a nice post to the list. I hope the imagery is used to help the area!

Working the community mapping projects with the USDA and My Community, Our Earth programs made me want to give the imagery, which has just been sitting on my computer for months, out to a broader audience. I’d really like to see (or hear of) people using the imagery to show where street lights are out, where the best place to buy food is, where recent crime has taken place, etc etc. An aerial photograph can show a lot, but what it doesn’t show is what is going on in the area. I sincerely feel that an image (like the one above) can actually empower someone because they see the context of their surroundings in a different form.

S. Capitol or RFK
|| 5/23/2005 || 11:58 am || Comments Off on S. Capitol or RFK || ||

RFK stadium


South Capitol Street

Although this issue is really dead in the water, I can’t help but to think that the area around RFK stadium could use some redevelopment just as much as the area they are planning on tearing down to build the new stadium. There are 3 parking lots around RFK Stadium that could be modified to become multi-level parking garages and there are currently no businesses that will need to be destroyed to do so. Talk about savings!!! The DC City Government could knock the overall price down a few hundred million if they just decided to refurbish RFK stadium and redevelop the area around it. Yet I think the deal with the MLB was to construct a new stadium, which is total BS.

This same hoodwink happened in Saint Louis a few years back, and now they are building a new stadium for the Cardinals, even though Busch Stadium is one of the nicest stadiums in the country (in my opinion). This happened in Saint Louis so the city could host an All Star Game! The MLB said “Build a new stadium, you get to host the All Star Game,” and the fat cats in Saint Louis city government rolled over backwards (just like Mayor Williams). The parallel here is that it was Saint Louis City (300 thousand people) that had to pay the bulk of the stadium instead of the Saint Louis County(1.5 million people), just in the same context that the DC residents will have to pay for the bulk of stadium when its going to be primarily used by people from Maryland and Virginia. Although a new team is nice, the pricetag for the new stadium as well as the fact that they’ve decided to redevelop an area that is already populated with businesses just doesn’t make fiscal sense.

from DCist via

Third Public Meeting for South Capitol Street Corridor and Baseball Master Plan Announced

(Washington, DC) On May 24, 2005, The Anacostia Waterfront Corporation (AWC), the DC Office of Planning, and the DC Department of Transportation, invite you to a Planning Meeting for the South Capitol Street Corridor and the area around the planned baseball stadium.

The purpose of the meeting is to update the public regarding the planning process, take in further community feedback from area residents, and present preliminary options and recommendations for addressing key planning issues.

The meeting will be held:

Date Tuesday, May 24, 2005
Time 6:00 pm to 8:30 pm

King Greenleaf Recreation Center
201 N Street SW
Washington, DC 20024

I think I might actually attend this…

Careers Day at Overlook Elementary School
|| 5/19/2005 || 10:56 am || Comments Off on Careers Day at Overlook Elementary School || ||

a look over Overlook Elementary School

Yesterday I had the opportunity to go to the Overlook Elementary School in Temple Hills, MD. I was invited by the guidance counselor to speak to the students about “Careers in Geography” for their annual Careers Day celebration. This was my first time in Prince George’s County and I must say that it was very interesting. First off, I rode the Green Line as far as I ever have before- all the way to the Naylor Road Metro Stop. Once at the school (thankfully only a short walk) I realized that aside from 2 teachers, and 3 of the careers guests, the entire student body was African American. I’m not a person who brings up the race card often, but I was just surprised that there wasn’t any racial balance. I expected some sort of desegregation program to be in place in the area, and this realization surprised me.

Regardless of that observation, I had a blast! I brought a few maps to show the kids (a satellite image of Washington, DC and surface map of the United States) as well as my computer with World Wind loaded. The kids were SO enthralled by the program! What I did was locate their school, then before they arrived, I would use the scroll wheel on my mouse and zoom out to the globe, and when I was ready for that portion of the talk, I’d slowly zoom in to the school. The kids would push and shove each other to get a better view of it all! Next year I am definitely going bring a projector so they can see everything in better and larger detail. This is the kind of educational outreach I love and I sincerely hope that I get more chances to visit schools around the DC area. I am itching to volunteer some of my time to help students.

The biggest environmental problem I realized when I was at the school, was that every student was served their lunch on a styrofoam tray. I’d love to graphically show the principal (who was super nice!) how much waste that piles up to be in 1 year, 5 years, etc… I hate styrofoam!

World Wind of change
|| 5/13/2005 || 9:15 am || Comments Off on World Wind of change || ||

Screen shots from World Wind

You can alter the elevation of the earth via an embedded digital elevation map, and you can get some rather interesting results.
If you look closely, the Washington Monument is looking a bit limp!

The winds of change are blowing and they have blown a new piece of software my way that I absolutely love. The intelligent folks over at NASA have brought geovisualization to a new level with their release of World Wind. It’s free, open source, and for a geography nerd, the most fun I’ve had in a long time playing with a globe. I only wish it was available for Mac OS X.

Currently on the geovisualization market is Keyhole and ESRI’s Arc Globe. I already have Arc Globe, which works nicely, but I haven’t spent very much time getting geospatial data to line up properly on the globe. On the other hand, Keyhole gives you very high resolution imagery for the entire planet from Digital Globe’s Quickbird satellite, but it costs you $30. I am not about to pay for something like this when I can get roughly the same imagery for free.

What I like most about World Wind is how the imagery is downloaded on the fly and the way that all the data is geocached for later use. After spending a few hours with World Wind, I obtained the entire DC area in .3m resolution; the same 2002 USGS imagery I have been using for most of my renderings (I nearly have the entire DC area in high resolution tiffs, it takes a long time to acquire the imagery!). I also like how World Wind has a great user community, which has quite a few user created add-ons that give World Wind more customization.

I have a date at a grade school next week to talk about careers in geography, and I am really hoping I get to show some of the students the fun that can be had learning about the area they live in through aerial & satellite imagery! I think they’ll jaws will drop, or maybe mine still hasn’t been picked up from the floor. Maybe the World Wind blow will you over ;-)

geographic dimensions of spam
|| 5/11/2005 || 11:00 am || Comments Off on geographic dimensions of spam || ||

The Postini Resource Center monitors spam and virus statistics around the world wide web. On their website they have some maps that show the geographic origins of viruses, spam, and directory harvest attacks. I found the location of where the highest concentrations of viral activity the most intriguing as well as where spam is being generated (above). I’m such a map nerd…

GPS nabs another one…
|| 5/6/2005 || 10:39 am || Comments Off on GPS nabs another one… || ||

Those nifty 24 satellites rotating around the earth got another person

GPS Device Finds Robbery Suspect
POSTED: 8:55 am EDT May 6, 2005
CINCINNATI — Police say modern technology foiled an old-fashioned bank robbery.

A teller placed an electronic Global Positioning System device in a bag of stolen money, allowing police to track down a suspect in just 42 minutes Thursday.

“Around here (GPS) is still relatively rare,” Hamilton County sheriff’s office spokesman Steve Barnett said. “But with the advancement in technology and the continued success of catching bank robbers, soon I would hope that other financial institutions would jump on board.”

Authorities said that after William Ingram, 46, left a U.S. Bank in suburban Colerain Township, the GPS device tracked him to a car dealership in Hartwell, where he was returning a Honda that he had borrowed for a test drive but actually used as a getaway car.

When Ingram was confronted, money began spilling from his pockets, officials said.

One year ago, I remember reading this news item:

Nowhere to hide for Dutch bike thieves

By Wendel Broere in Amsterdam
March 13, 2004

Police plan to bait thieves with bicycles equipped with hidden global positioning transmitters in the latest effort to stamp out Amsterdam’s rampant bicycle theft.

The Netherlands has more bicycles than its 16 million inhabitants, but in the capital alone an estimated 80,000-150,000 bicycles – more than one tenth of the total – are stolen every year.

“It would be great to get hold of the organised bicycle thieves, to track the whereabouts of stolen bikes and see if any end up in an official bicycle shops,” a police spokesman said.

“We just want to do everything we can to combat bicycle theft and are going to use new GPS technology.”

Police plan to chain up bicycles with the GPS emitters in parts of the city notorious for bicycle theft. GPS, the worldwide radio-navigation system used for shipping and military purposes, enables users to pinpoint the position, speed and time to locate themselves or an object.

Bicycle theft is so widespread in Amsterdam that rental shops will not let customers leave without giving them a crash course on bike locking – attaching both wheels to the frame, and chaining the bicycle to a fixed object, such as a bicycle stand.

Police said they were targeting professional bicycle thieves. This group makes a substantial profit from rebirthing and is known for scouring the city at night and lifting several bicycles at a time, putting them in vans or trailers.

Campaigners against bicycle theft say the majority of bicycle thieves, 40 per cent, are professionals while 30 per cent are drug addicts looking for a quick and easy way to get cash for their next fix. The remainder are usually impulsive thieves, sometimes students or youths – and very often drunk – who steal a bike to get home after their own was stolen.

Something most people don’t realize is that the new cars that come with OnStar allow you & your car to be tracked 24/7. Granted some people do not mind this safety aspect of OnStar, but if you were really interested in “getting away from it all,” and decided to cruise somewhere to not be found, those 24 nifty satellites will be on your ass no matter what. I wonder if there is some way to switch OnStar off & on when you want some geospatial privacy. I sincerely doubt it though. Otherwise those car thieves would turn it off once they commandeer the car. Regardless, I have issues with notion that my movements can be traced at all times. I already think about this every time I use my debit card and even when I use my cell phone.

remotely seeing old documents (again!)
|| 4/17/2005 || 9:01 pm || Comments Off on remotely seeing old documents (again!) || ||

interesting news

Eureka! Extraordinary discovery unlocks secrets of the ancients
By David Keys and Nicholas Pyke
17 April 2005

Thousands of previously illegible manuscripts containing work by some of the greats of classical literature are being read for the first time using technology which experts believe will unlock the secrets of the ancient world.

Among treasures already discovered by a team from Oxford University are previously unseen writings by classical giants including Sophocles, Euripides and Hesiod. Invisible under ordinary light, the faded ink comes clearly into view when placed under infra-red light, using techniques developed from satellite imaging.

The Oxford documents form part of the great papyrus hoard salvaged from an ancient rubbish dump in the Graeco-Egyptian town of Oxyrhynchus more than a century ago. The thousands of remaining documents, which will be analysed over the next decade, are expected to include works by Ovid and Aeschylus, plus a series of Christian gospels which have been lost for up to 2,000 years.

The line I like the best is “…using techniques developed from satellite imaging.”
The technique probably being the quantization of the spectral bands of light reflected from the document.

I look forward to reading the translations of these manuscripts.

The Daily Render By
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Nikolas Schiller is a second-class American citizen living in America's last colony, Washington, DC. This blog is my on-line repository of what I have created or found on-line since May of 2004. If you have any questions or comments, please contact:

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