Best of the Blogs, 11 March 2014

By on 11 March, 2014

Titan Aerospace drone

TechCrunch has the seemingly surprising news that Facebook is looking to buy UAV/drone maker Titan Aerospace. Why would Facebook want such a thing? Well, Titan makes drones that can fly continuously for 5 years (years!), which makes them idea to bring wireless internet to remote destinations, such as Africa. And where there’s internet, there’s money to be made.

 

What Facebook probably won’t use the drones for is to smuggle drugs into prisons, which is what a man in Melbourne is being questioned for by Police. You can view the video over at Yahoo! News.

 

Strange Maps has the news that the surprisingly accurate Portolan Charts – which emerged in Pisa around 1290 – weren’t compiled from the knowledge of medieval European sailors, or from older knowledge from Byzantine or Arab sources, as previously thought, but it looks like they may have pre-dated Mercator’s work by almost three centuries.

 

According to SpaceNews, the US Air Force is proposing to scale back its planned procurement of rockets and GPS navigation satellites in 2015, while beginning long-deferred work on a new weather satellite system.

 

Between the Poles tells readers of a Wall Street Journal article that asserts that the recent FAA ban on flying commercial UAVs in the US is not legally binding.

 

DigitalGlobe has announced that it has set its crowdsourcing platform, Tomnod, to work on finding the missing Malaysia Airlines MH370 jet, more info on which is available from the ABC.

 

The GIS User blog has a collection of 7 free and recommended e-book downloads for any GIS users out there, with a link to many thousands more.

 

Esri has created a beautiful wind-visualisation JS, Windy-JS, which re-purposes the weather data from earth.nullschool.net’s gorgeous animated globe, so that it can be overlaid in a canvas element on top of a variety of mapping APIs.

 

And, to round it all off, Google Maps Mania has a very naughty, NSFW map that reads aloud all the placenames in the world that have naughty (English) words in them. Shhh! Don’t tell your mother that I showed you this!

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