NOAA, World War I, Reddit, More: Saturday Buzz, March 1, 2014


Have EXIF data in your images? Google may use it in its search rankings.

The NOAA is trying to figure out how to free more of its data. “NOAA on Monday issued a request for information aimed at soliciting ideas from the private sector to help the federal agency free up much of the 20 terabytes of information that it gathers daily on the land, sea and air. In doing so, NOAA would provide a data bonanza to researchers, and enable private companies to develop new weather and climate tools.”

A huge new World War I collection is now available (British Library press release.) “Europeana 1914-1918 is the most important pan-European collection of original First World War source material. It is the result of three years of work by 20 European countries and will include: 400,000 rare documents digitised by 10 state libraries in Europe…660 hours of unique film material digitised by audiovisual archives…the personal papers and memorabilia of some 8,000 people involved in the war, held by their families and digitised at special events in 12 countries.”

Is this the new Google smartwatch?

A new search engine delivers results based on student ability. “Complexity Engine uses a sophisticated algorithm to search websites for content and delivers free, customized and age-appropriate reading materials to a user’s computer. It promises to give teachers, parents and students an efficient, affordable way to promote reading. Teachers and administrators can set parameters for the search results, and the reading experience can be either student self-directed or guided by the teacher.”

Handy! A roundup of tools for making audio- and video- based tests.

Now available: a database of independent living programs (press release). This database is not free and requires a subscription. “This online database has over 800 entries of independent living programs, service providers and special needs organizations from across the United States – and in addition to this, also contains other important resources related to housing, such as news articles, journal studies, research and financial information.”

Interesting: Reddit now has a live reporting feature. “The feature, which is still in beta, is currently being tested on two very different Reddit threads or topics: one is a kind of stereotypical Reddit discussion about a fascinating game-based sociological experiment known as “Twitch Plays Pokemon,” which involves tens of thousands of people simultaneously playing an old-fashioned Pokemon game via real-time chat.”

More Google search results — this time marquee style. IT IS SO 1998 UP IN HERE! Good morning, Internet…

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NOAA Creates Collection of Civil War Nautical Charts

The NOAA announced last week the release of “Charting a More Perfect Union,” a collection of over 400 documents including Civil War-era maps and nautical charts, and annual summaries of the US Coast Survey. It’s available at

You can browse this collection a variety of ways, including keyword, state or region, and year. I did a search for charts in Alabama and got 7 results. The results don’t provide a lot of detail (title, year, links to download in SID or JPG format.) There’s a preview link that brings up the chart in a Flash viewer that’s very nice.

I called up a map of Mobile from 1863 and was able to quickly zoom down so far that I could read the gun count on the noted coastal battery and see where the obstructions and shallow water canal were placed.

In addition to the images, you can also review the Notes on the Coast of the United States. This is a series of eight documents written in 1861, fascinating handwritten items analyzing various state coastlines. (North Carolina, for example, takes up one entire document; 69 pages of analysis and charts.)

There’s also the coastal survey documents for 1861, 1862, 1863, 1864, and 1865, available as individual PDF documents.

Nice collection here.