Saturday, June 03, 2006

USGS: Open Goverment

Just coming back from Menlo Park where Western Region USGS workers and their families and friends are given a really cool display of active governance. Very productive and instructive. I realized how little I knew about a fantastic example of goverment work.

Earthquakes sure. But there is so much more. And the people and their attitudes towards themselves and the focus of their work showed how dedicated their are to a cause. Earth.

I could have spent most of the day at their Map Store, if you do check for the 3D relief map of whole US, item #114587 and a topographic map from Yosemite Valley. Just those are worth the trip.

GPS is tracking earth's crust movement. In millimeters, according to Karen. Ground stations using differential GPS and L1 signals make that possible. Plus software post processing.

Old examples of benchmarks are displayed at Bob's cube where he uses GlobalMapper to create 3D reliefs by combining even 6 different images to make a single one. Pattern recognition makes the rest.

Alicia is testing new offers of online maps, like the project of the San Francisquito Creek. Still beta so take note of what might not be there yet and mail to the appropriate contact info: http://mapsonline.wr.usgs.gov/.

Try also the National Map Viewer and the National Atlas.

If you got a feeling of what you might be missing, check it out tomorrow. Here is the map, parking extends all the way to Ravenswood. Walk away from it a good block and half. Sunday 4th. From 10 to 4 pm. It is great kid program. Take yours.

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