Mar
11
2009

Links: Astrotagging, Astrometry bots and LookUP (oh my)

  • Astrotagging and Astrometry.net: Wow: Astrometry.net has built a web-based tool that takes your astronomical image and returns the coordinates of the image plus a list of astronomical objects in its field of view. The result: “We hope this will help organize, annotate and make searchable all the world’s astronomical information.” Sounds like a familiar goal:-)

    It must be quite a challenge to pull this off, but here’s an explanation of how it’s done. There is a working Astrometry.net bot trawling Flickr.com, where it volunteers “astro:” metadata tags to posted astronomical imagery, like this, with links on to the location in World Wide Telescope.

    Now Jim over at Eat your greens! has started to play with this metadata using Yahoo Query Language (YQL), which can access Flickr.com programmatically. One example of his work: Placing a Flickr image side by side in a web browser with the same view in Google Sky (web plugin).

    Here’s a primer on astrotagging, courtesy of the Royal Observatory at Greenwich, with an aside for developers.

  • LookUP: Astronomy Blog’s Stuart had a problem:
    I often find myself needing to get coordinates for various astronomical objects by name. There are several services out there to do this sort of thing already but all have different interfaces and cover specific types of astronomical objects.

    So he made LookUP, with a simple, Google-esque interface and generous through-linkage on the results page. For example, here’s what LookingUP the pinwheel galaxy gets you:

    I love how astrotagging makes it possible for LookUP to return images from Flickr, if there are any.

  • Satellite imagery in games: While Microsoft Flight Simulator’s most recent incarnations used satellite imagery to add realism to the game, Ubisoft seems to have taken this practice to the next level for their H.A.W.X. jet fighter game, using GeoEye’s stereo satellite imagery archive. Nice video:

    (Via The Fiducial Mark)

  • Panorama making-of: 360Cities’s Jeffrey and David Martin write a great how-to on getting panoramas online and/or into Google Earth.
  • Imagery Update list: Google’s complete list of regions updated during the last imagery update. Microsoft Virtual Earth also had a massive update, but as its update list shows, Microsoft continues to focus almost exclusively on the first world. I continue to want imagery of the places I haven’t been to, can’t go to, or dream of. This is also the reason why Google Earth is a global brand — because even tourist guides in Yemen want to see their 4WD parked in front of their mud-brick compound.
  • Bhuvan update: Livemin.com has new information on India’s upcoming satellite image-based mapping product, Bhuvan. In short: It won’t be ready in March 2009 as originally announced but will take a while to get launched, it “will comply with India’s remote sensing data policy, which does not allow online mapping services to show sensitive locations such as military and nuclear installations”, it will be browser-based, and it will not allow web users to annotate or add information. No word as to whether the view will be 3D, like the Google Earth browser plugin, or 2D, like Google Maps. (Via Spatial Sustain)

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