News Roundup - Free Esri Tiles (sorta), Satellites KML, Languages for Sailors

First up in this month’s news roundup are a couple of stories out of Redmond Redlands. Esri has released ArcGIS Online basemap data to everyone free of charge, including for commercial use. The base maps available are high quality and include aerial photography and relief maps. There is one catch:

These free map services can be used with ArcGIS 9.3 Service Pack 1, ArcGIS 9.3.1, ArcGIS 10, and ArcGIS Web Mapping.
But if you're using Esri clients, it's a great resource. Also this month, Esri released the second file geodatabase API, and now it's available for Linux. That merits an unqualified woo hoo in my book.

Remember those scenes from Wall-e where Earth was surrounded by a hazy halo of satellites and space junk? Well, it wasn’t too far from the truth. Somebody has made a KML file with over 13,000 real-time satellite positions.

And yet there's still nothing to watch on TV.

There are lots of ways to judge programming languages, but Andrew Vos had a particularly good idea. He grabbed one million commit messages from Github and scanned them for swear words, grabbing an equal number of messages from each language to make sure the results were fair. The languages most likely to make you cuss like a sailor: C++, Ruby, and JavaScript. PHP and Python evoke the least amount of profanity from developers by a wide margin.

And now for a few quick hitters:

  • IE usage share is down to 56% according to Ars.
  • The Google Art Project will let you travel inside art galleries with Street View.
  • Microsoft's Bing got busted for copying Google search results. Some Google engineers set up fake results pages (i.e. search for "hiybbpqrqag" and get a seating chart for the Wiltern Theatre), and sure enough it started coming up on Bing.
  • In the first actual productive use of LBS, for iPhone uses check-in data from Foursquare to generate a large compass that points to where the ladies are at, giving both a distance and a head count. Genius. The next step would be an augmented reality layer where you could wave your camera around the room and see which one will leave you bleeding and unconscious with no wallet in an alley in Tijuana.