Google has unveiled the beta version of its online map program. It has the usual Google niceties — no ads and astonishingly fast. One of the coolest features is that you can drag the map to move it making it even easier to use than even disk based maps. It doesn’t publicize it but you can also get longitude/latitude maps simply by searching latitude/longitude pairs. For instance to find Cheaha you would enter the pairs.
Slashdot has got tongues wagging over what it considers in essence an attempt by Micosoft to patent latitude/longitude over the presentation of data. The problem Microsoft says is that latitude/longitude in URL’s can take up too many digits. In the example in its patent application it notes to get one meter accuracy, the URL would have to be 19 charcters (e.g., 122.12926,47.64932). As I understand it, Microsoft is proposing to shorten the notation to base-30 notations so that alphabetic characters could be used thus shortening the URL. Comments on slashdot note that Microsoft would have been better off to using base-60 notations (e.g., 60 minutes in a degree, etc.) to comments that if this was implemented Microsoft would have a proprietary method of interacting with maps.
The New York Times and other newspapers have released dramatic photos of the Nuclear Submarine USS San Francisco which collided head on at top speed (30 knots) with an uncharted undersea mountain 500 feet below the surface 360 miles southeast of of Guam on January 8. The crashed killed one and injured 60. Still it survived thanks to its inner hall. Authorities say the mountain was on Russian charts for five years. It noted the U.S. had not updated its chart since 1989 even though satellite photos had shown the mountain. The photos of the sub show a destroyed front end of the sub with hull peeled backed to the inner hull. Authorities say the fiberglass front dome which has sonar gear was designed with flooded water and that cushioned the blow. The Navy has reassigned the sub’s captain while they investigate. The sub was built in 1981 and overhauled in 2002.
Mytopo.com is about to get the highest attention I’ve ever seen for a topo mapmaker. Their maps are to be used immediately prior to the NFC Championship game on Sunday between Philadelphia and Atlanta during CBS Coverage of the Subaru Primal Quest adventure race. You can download .pdf maps at the mytopo web site. They are the actual maps you buy. I have always said mytopo maps are the coolest of all mapping options given their waterproof quality and ability to combine quads to your specific needs. We have links to the Mytopo maps for highpoints on americasroof guide page. At topozone.com you always have the option to print mytopo maps.