Engadget passes on a Federal Aviation Administration advisory (PDF) that, due to Defense Department testing, GPS signals may be “unreliable or unavailable” within several hundred miles of a point off the coast of Florida and Georgia for brief periods between January 20 and February 22, 2011. The advisory is aimed at pilots, but we can surmise that terrestrial GPS usage — admittedly less a matter of life or death than aviation — might be affected as well. The radius affected increases with altitude: 370 nautical miles (685 km) at 40,000 feet (FL400, 12,200 m), falling to 215 nautical miles (398 km) at 4,000 feet (1,220 m).
With support from Google, the Waitt Foundation, Hope Spots LLC and the National Geographic Society, Sylvia Earle and Mission Blue
are embarking on an expedition to the Gulf of Mexico that will take a deep look at how the region is recovering from the five million gallons of oil spilled from the BP Deep Horizon Oil Spill last year. Follow along with the expedition by checking back daily and clicking on the blue ship icon in Google Earth
located off of the US coast near Pensacola, Florida, where the expedition begins (make sure the Places layer is turned on). The science team will share updates and media from the expedition, including photographs, videos and links to Google maps on the National Geographic News Watch blog here
“Our goal is to identify areas with potential for Gulf ecosystem recovery,” said Dr. Earle, founder of SEAlliance and recipient of the 2009 TED Prize that developed into Mission Blue, an international ocean conservation movement. “That is going to require protection of places healthy enough to replenish and rebuild populations. What’s happened here is far from over for the clams and oysters and other sea life critical to a healthy Gulf of Mexico.”
The fate and impact of the spilled oil, gas and dispersants applied following the blowout into the Gulf are the subject of intense discussion by experts. The expedition team, assembled under the broad banner of the Mission Blue initiative, seeks answers to questions about the current status of key species and ecosystems.
Other research participants include: Dr. Thomas Shirley, Larry McKinney, Douglas Weaver and Harriet Nash from the Harte Research Institute at Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi; Edith Widder and Brandy Nelson, Ocean Research & Conservation Association and Carl Safina, Blue Ocean Institute. Research dives are planned using a Dual Deepworker submersible made available to the expedition by the Waitt Institute.
You can also experience the expedition for yourself by downloading this KML for viewing in Google Earth.
I’ve been in Tallahassee, FL on the campus of Florida State University this week for the 2010 edition of Seven Hills1 Regional User Group (SHRUG) GIS Workshop. They were nice enough to invite me for to speak during the keynote which I focused on the disruptive nature of GIS. I was also able to sit on a panel that talked about the struggles that local government is dealing with working with the cloud, data sharing and cost recovery. Some of the SHRUG leadership team was also kind enough to take me on a walking tour of Tallahassee at night through the Kudzu. Fun times, fun times.
There is quite the vibrant GIS community in the Tallahassee area. I had a really good time meeting everyone and look forward to coming back in the future. Now I’m off to Denver for a little WhereCamp 5280 debauchery. I sure hope I packed a jacket!
1: And here I thought Florida was completely flat, there are at least 7 hills in this state and I jogged up them in the morning.