Thursday, February 28, 2013

Drone Pushback

As the clock ticks toward September 1, 2015, the date when U.S. airspace will be fully open to Drone, Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS), and Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) operations, Emergency Services Sector entities who have already been operating these platforms under special FAA  authorizations are encountering significant pushback from the public. And, it's a development that's not limited to one region of the country. Recently, major publications have offered stories about ongoing developments in California, New York, Virginia, and Florida. In addition, in late January 2013 the Congressional Research Office offered a major report on drone related privacy issues. Details below:

(New York Times, February 16, 2013)

(LA Times, February 15, 2013)

(U.S. News and World Report, February 5, 2013)

(Congressional Research Office, January 30, 2013)

(Orlando Sentinel, January 5, 2013) 

Comment: Little doubt, the issues are huge, and the nation is behind the 8-ball on this one.

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Remote Sensing and Incident Support at DHS

Last week, the National Alliance of Public Safety GIS (NAPSG) hosted a webinar given by Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Remote Sensing Advisor Chris Barnard, and FEMA Geospatial Information Officer Chris Vaughan.  Stated goals for the event were:
  • Familiarize participants with the principles of remote sensing,
  • Solicit thoughts and recommendations from participants on ways to expand the use of remote sensing for incident response, and
  • Provide participants with information where Federal partners publish remote sensing data during emergency incidents.
NAPSG has graciously made the event slides available for download/viewing.  Use the link below:

(DHS, February 22, 2013 - PDF - 3.29 MB)

Comment: From all appearances, a very nice effort by these gentlemen and NAPSG. Although the nation still has a long way to go, progress is clearly being made.

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Putting GPS in Perspective: Galileo Gets $8,266,230,000.00

The European Union (EU) recently approved an austerity budget that preserved full funding for only a handful of programs. One such program is Galileo, Europe's plan to create its own Global Navigation Satellite System (GNSS). Although the effort which is meant to reduce reliance on the American Global Positioning System (GPS) is years behind schedule, significantly over budget, and is asking for money at a time when Europe is in the midst of a financial crisis, European leaders allocated 6.3 billion Euros to have a fully operational system in place by 2019.  For more about events leading up to the February 8, 2013, vote to fund, see below: 

(New York Times, February 6, 2013)

Comment:  Why should you care about this development? Two thoughts:

  1. GPS has been around for long enough that many in the United States take the system for granted. Given the dire financial circumstances that Europe is in, committing 6.3 billion Euros to any project, let alone one that largely duplicates a system that already exists, is a commentary about the importance of that capability. A point reinforced by the fact that Russia, China, India and Japan are also working to have their own GNSS or regional systems.
  2. For the response community, the completed Galileo system will offer an important new Search And Rescue (SAR) feature. Units operating on the system will be able to transmit a distress signal, and then receive indication the signal has been received and help is on the way.

Lead graphic credit: European Space Agency

Monday, February 25, 2013

Sex Offenders Remove GPS

Faced with over crowded jails, many units of government in California have turned to using GPS tracking devices to facilitate the early release of violent criminals. Now, a new study of these types of programs by the LA Times has raised serious doubt about the practice. The crux of the matter is that parolees are using various techniques to cripple the units and the legal implications are minimal. More below:

(LA Times, February 23, 2013

Comment: Here's a clear example of the importance of understanding what the Geospatial Revolution is capable of delivering. GPS tracking devices are appropriate for use with individuals who have been released on schedule, but are not appropriate for use as an electronic jail. 

Photo credit:

Friday, February 22, 2013

Flying Fast Friday: Future Garb, London View, Killer Swarm, Behemoth Airship, and Landmark GPS

Even crazy people need a break now and then. That would be "Gone Skiing" for me. So, you're going to get the Schuss-Bomb treatment from me this Friday. Just the title will have to be good enough.

(LA Times, February 21, 2013)

(MailOnline, February 21, 2013)

(MailOnline, February 19, 2013)

(LA Times, January 4, 2013)

(New York Times, February 15, 2013)

Have a fun-filled and enjoyable weekend!

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Awareness About Awareness

Yesterday, the Minneapolis Star Tribune offered two stories about cities that are in the process of implementing Common Operating Picture approaches for maintaining operational awareness in their jurisdictions. First comes an update on a topic previously reported on this site - New York City's Domain Awareness effort. Second is a story about an upgraded and tailored version IBM's Intelligent Operations Platform (see also: A Picture Is Worth a Thousand Words: Rio's New City Operations Centerthat will soon be employed by Minneapolis. The links below, tell the stories.

(Minneapolis Star Tribune, February 20, 2013)

(Minneapolis Star Tribune, February 20, 2013)

Comment: When a major newspaper runs two stories on the same geospatial subject on the same day, you know a topic has arrived. Hooray!

Lead graphic: Minneapolis Star Tribune

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Front Line of the Next War

If your title, or reality of your job, connects terms like GIS, geospatial, SCADA, or planning, with a word that has something to do with infrastructure - look around - you are on the front line of the next war. Earlier this month, the Obama administration, began the process of setting down policy that defines how the Department of Defense will respond to defend, or retaliate, against a major cyberattak. On February 18, 2013, a major New York Times article and an accompanying report offered some insight about one of the "whys" behind this increasing level of discussion about the potential for cyber warfare - and what it will attack. Here's an excerpt:

But the most troubling attack to date, security experts say, was a successful invasion of the Canadian arm of Telvent. The company, now owned by Schneider Electric, designs software that gives oil and gas pipeline companies and power grid operators remote access to valves, switches and security systems.

Telvent keeps detailed blueprints on more than half of all the oil and gas pipelines in North and South America, and has access to their systems. In September, Telvent Canada told customers that attackers had broken into its systems and taken project files. That access was immediately cut, so that the intruders could not take command of the systems.
Martin Hanna, a Schneider Electric spokesman, did not return requests for comment, but security researchers who studied the malware used in the attack, including Mr. Stewart at Dell SecureWorks and Mr. Blasco at AlienVault, confirmed that the perpetrators were the Comment Crew.

“This is terrifying because — forget about the country — if someone hired me and told me they wanted to have the offensive capability to take out as many critical systems as possible, I would be going after the vendors and do things like what happened to Telvent,“ Mr. Peterson of Digital Bond said. “It’s the holy grail.”

 For more, go here:

(New York Times, February 18, 2013)

Comment: Also worthy of your consideration is the most popular post on this blog during 2011.  Go here:

(EPC Updates, November 21, 2011)

Lead photo: Sgt. Christopher Zahn, USMC

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Weather Sensor in Your Pocket

Readers of this blog are probably aware a theme that occasionally gets brought forward on this site is one belonging to Dr. Carl Reed of the Open Geospatial Consortium (OGC). Dr. Reed likes to point out that a smartphone is not a phone - but "a sensor package." Proof of that point can be found in today's post about pressureNET, an open source software project sponsored by the University of Washington and Microsoft with a goal of leveraging smartphone technology to improve weather prediction. As envisioned, after the pressureNET software has been downloaded and installed on a smartphone, that phone will become part of what will be an ever expanding real-time pressure sensing network that can be used by meteorologists and researchers to better understand the weather.  You can find out more below:

(Homeland Security Newswire, February 8, 2013)

Comment: Very cool.  Another piece of a national Common Operating Picture falls into place.

Monday, February 18, 2013

Wisdom From the Top

It's "their" day, so in honor of all the men who have led the American nation since inception, we pause to reflect on some of their tidbits of wisdom from across the ages:

"To be prepared for war is one of the most effectual means of preserving peace."
~George Washington~

"The price of freedom is eternal vigilance."
~Thomas Jefferson~

"One man with courage is a majority."
~Andrew Jackson~

"It is easier to do a job right than to explain why you didn't."
~Martin Van Buren~

"You can fool all of the people some of the time, and some of the people all of the time, but you can not fool all of the people all of the time."
~Abraham Lincoln~

"Nothing brings out the lower traits of human nature like office seeking."
~Rutherford Birchard Hayes~

"If it were not for the reporters, I would tell you the truth."
~Chester Alan Arthur~

"The only man who makes no mistake is the man who does nothing."
~Theodore Roosevelt~

"If you want to make enemies, try to change something."
~Thomas Woodrow Wilson~

"I have never been hurt by anything I didn't say."
~John Calvin Coolidge~

"The only thing we have to fear is fear itself."
~Franklin Delano Roosevelt~

"A pessimist is one who makes difficulties of his opportunities and an optimist is one who makes opportunities of his difficulties."
~Harry S. Truman~

"There is nothing wrong with America that the faith, love of freedom, intelligence and energy of her citizens cannot cure."
~Dwight David Eisenhower~

"And so my fellow Americans, ask not what your country can do for you; ask what you can do for your country."
~John Fitzgerald Kennedy~

"You ain't learnin' nothin' when you're talkin'."
~Lyndon Baines Johnson~

"Always give your best, never get discouraged, never be petty; always remember, others may hate you. Those who hate you don't win unless you hate them. And then you destroy yourself."
~Richard Milhous Nixon~

"A government big enough to give you everything you want is a government big enough to take from you everything you have."
~Gerald Rudolph Ford~

"We are a nation that has a government—not the other way around. And that makes us special among the nations of the earth."
~Ronald Wilson Reagan~

"If anyone tells you that America's best days are behind her, they're looking the wrong way."
~George Herbert Walker Bush~

"There is nothing wrong in America that can't be fixed with what is right in America."
~William Jefferson Clinton~

Photo Credit: National Park Service
QuotesInfo Please Presidential Quotes

Friday, February 15, 2013

Fooled Friday: Google Murder?, No Missiles, The Pack, Ghost Calls, and Secret Airbase

After giving consideration to the quality of reading material I've been perusing to dredge up the stuff I post here on Fridays - I came to the conclusion that some of it might be a bit suspect. In fact, I might even go so far as to say believing what you read here on Fridays without doing some fact checking, could quickly lead to you being "fooled".  And with fact established, off we go..... 

Lie Number 1: This first story is certain to prove my point. Somebody is telling the truth, and somebody is lying. Smack dab in the middle, Google Maps is being blamed for a murder. Who is getting fooled in the story below? 

(Huffington Post, February 11, 2013)

Lie Number 2: OK, I've heard this one before. No more do I say there will never be armed drones flying over the U.S., and then some Texas law man announces that is exactly what his department is planning to do. Now, the FAA is saying there will never be armed drones flying over the U.S. Since one of my favorite bands is The Who, I've got a certain tune rolling around in my head (for you youngsters who have no clue about the British Invasion, the song would be: "I Won't Get Fooled Again").  More below:

(Washington Times, February 13, 2013)

Lie Number 3: After growing up 95 miles from Green Bay, Wisconsin, when I saw this story's title, I just knew what it had to be about. But darn, I got fooled:

(New York Times, February 3, 2013)

Lie Number 4: Where is Whoopie Goldberg when you need her? If her character in the movie Ghost had any validity whatsoever, she could tell us if these calls were coming from beyond the grave, or are just a case of "swatting". Since Whoopie isn't anywhere to be seen, I guess I'll just have to leave it up to you to figure out if Katie is getting fooled:

(New York Daily News, February 13, 2013)

Lie Number 5: Oh, gees, folks who know how to use Google Maps, Bing, OSM, etc. can get so carried away with their perceived photo interpretation skills. Now we have some aerial imagery hobbyist who is claiming he has found a TOP SECRET American drone base by using Bing. Seriously, could that be right?  It's him versus a bunch of guys in black suits trying to hush the story. Ding - time's up, you have to decide who is telling the truth and who is twisting the facts - and let's hope you don't get fooled: 

(Mail Online, February 8, 2013)

I Honestly Hope You Have a Great Presidents Day Weekend - Where You Always Tell the Truth!

Thursday, February 14, 2013

The "Minnesota Marker"

Yesterday, at the Minnesota Governor's Homeland Security and Emergency Management Conference in Brooklyn Center, Minnesota, an innovative way of marking recreational trails for emergency response was formally revealed for the first time to the state's greater Emergency Management community. Developed by the Twin Cities geospatial nonprofit SharedGeo under a research grant from the University of Minnesota, the nearly four-year project included ongoing review by a team of Federal and State geospatial and first response experts. Additionally, as the way to ensure end user utility and adoption of the final product, SharedGeo relied heavliy on the input and ideas of an expansive collaborative community focus group in Minnesota's Arrowhead Region. Out of this process has come the nation's first trail marker that conforms to Federal and State signage design standards, is locationally unique no matter where it is installed in the United States (or world), and provides a way for responders to quickly navigate to an incident site by doing nothing more than entering the sign's reporting identifier directly into a GPS unit or hand-held app. Best of all, the sign's format is based on the U.S. National Grid - the National Search and Rescue Committee (NSARC) standard for all land based Search And Rescue (SAR). Find below a link to the draft informational brochure that is being distributed to the general public during the final phase of testing, as well as a link to fast facts about the sign's features. Over the coming months, SharedGeo plans to release additional documentation and technology that was developed to support the project.

Lead photo credit: Kevin Johnson, Minnesota DNR

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

DHS Active Shooter Preparedness Website

It's starting to seem like not a day goes by without the press reporting a gunman somewhere has randomly killed others for no apparent reason. On Monday, that issue came calling on Minnesota when a 9-year-old boy was fatally wounded by bullets fired indiscriminately at vehicles in an east central Twin Cities suburb. Because incidents like these are becoming more common place, and usually play out in confined spaces, for some time now the Emergency Management Institute (EMI) has had available an online course that teaches strategies for dealing with an "active shooter" incident (IS-907 - Active Shooter: What You Can Do). Following the Sandy Hook shootings, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) expanded upon those prior efforts by developing a website that serves as a hub for available training on the subject. The link below goes to that website:

Comment: Doesn't matter much what profession or place in life you are in, the randomness of these active shooter events mean you could find yourself a potential target at any given moment. What you learn from these free learning opportunities could potentially save your life and the lives of your family members. The FEMA sponsored course noted above is particularly effective - it only takes about 45 minutes to complete.

Lead graphic: DHS

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Landsat 8 Now in Orbit

The story is straight forward. As I mentioned earlier this year, the NASA/USGS earth observation team brought the longest satellite mission in history, Landsat 5, to an end in the closing days of 2012. Yesterday, its replacement, Landsat 8 was placed into orbit. For details, use the link below:

(Jalopnik, February 11, 2013)

Comment: Godspeed - Landsat.

Lead photo: NASA

Monday, February 11, 2013

Awash in Drone Stories

It's been an interesting couple of weeks for drone watchers. In late January, PBS's NOVA program aired a comprehensive review of drone developments in a story titled "Rise of the Drones". (Darn it - I should have copyrighted that phrase when I used it back on December 31st.)  Then, last week started out with the much ballyhooed release of a Department of Justice White Paper which is purportedly the basis for Obama Administration decisions to use drones to kill American members of Al Qaeda without due process. A few days later, after the outlay of $80,000 in Department of Homeland Security grant money by the Seattle Police Department to purchase two Draganflyer X6 Helicopter Tech drones, the public push-back to the department's drone program had grown to the point where Seattle Mayor Mike McGinn and Police Chief John Diaz decided to permanently ground the machines. So naturally, like a whole host of national news programs, CBS's Sunday Morning couldn't stay away from topic and made the expanding scope of the drone debate its lead piece. Oddly enough, today, the topic comes full circle on the cover story of Time magazine: "Rise of the Drones".

(video - 52:52)
(PBS NOVA, January 23, 2013)

(The Seattle Times, February 7, 2013) 

(video - 9:16)
(CBS Sunday Morning, February 10, 2013)

(Time, February 11, 2013)

Comment: How sad is all this. As a result of the overseas war time use of remotely controlled aviation assets, the outcome of those efforts have become intermixed with the average American's concerns about privacy and government overreach back here at home. Although there is plenty of room for concern, it should be far less with structured elements of society like police departments who typically have strong chains of command and accountability, and far more with the impending commercialization and use by private citizens where elements of supervision are less robust. Unfortunately, the heart of the matter is that the preponderance of decision makers at all levels of government have been asleep at the switch when it comes to the Geospatial Revolution. Consequently, laws and policies have substantially lagged what technology can now deliver. And without that guidance in place to shape the introduction of starling technologies like drones, public opinion is certain to undermine the incredible range of positives that could be made possible through their use by the Emergency Services Sector.

Lead graphic: Time

Friday, February 8, 2013

Furious Friday: Taxes, Drones, Sextortion, Scanners, and General Quarters!

OK, it's been one of those weeks, so I'm mad...blind crazy mad. In fact, I would go so far as to say I'm furious about some things that have gone on in the last week or so. Turns out, I'm not the only one - there's plenty to go around. From mildly upset, to blind crazy angry can be found in descending order below:

WHAT DO YOU MEAN MY TAXES ARE GOING UP?  It's bad enough that units of government are looking for ways to raise taxes, but this latest ploy is just about the sneakiest thing I have ever seen (if I'm a tax cheat, that is).  To top it off, it involves Google Street View.  At the heart of the matter are the crafty and ingenious public servants of the beautiful Baltic state of Lithuania who have invented a tax collection scheme certain to show up in a neighborhood near you. If you ask me, they took all that preaching I've been doing about governments getting on board with the Geospatial Revolution - one step too far. Tax dodgers can get mad by reading below: 

(AFP, February 7, 2013)

WE DON'T WANT NO STINKING DRONES! Although you have to give this Texas legislator credit for trying to anticipate the trouble ahead when it comes to drones, here's another one that went a wee bit too far if you ask me. It's certain to make the boys and girls of the UT flying circus hopping mad.  Come to think of it, maybe we should all be that mad if there are no drones in the sky:

(1200,WAOI New Radio, February 7, 2013)

ARE YOU KIDDING ME??????  Sometimes a story is sooooooo far out there, I get mad at the press for even running it. So that's why I'm repeating it here - just so you can see what I mean....... Somehow I don't think I'm going to be able to talk my way out of this one except by saying my concern lies in the future - just like in the story above. Because if the manipulative low life who is this story's centerpiece could figure out how to finagle the remote sensing package known as the Internet, a webcam and some social networking tools to pull off what he did, we are in for some REAL trouble in the years ahead with advent of cheap satcom and drones. That makes me really mad:

(LA Times, January 29, 2013)

NO, I'M NOT TAKING OFF MY CLOTHES SO YOU CAN CHECK FOR GUNS! It's bad enough that I'm poked and prodded every time I pass through an airport security checkpoint; something that happens at least a couple 100 times a year.  Now, it turns out, that in no time at all I will be able to get the same treatment without giving my consent, taking off any clothes, or being in a place where I could reasonably expect I might get stopped and searched.  I'm just going to get searched for the heck of it - and not even know it.  But, hey, if you are looking for guns, I guess anything goes.  However, when it comes to my right to privacy, that makes me very, very MAD:   

(New York Daily News, January 29, 2013)

HELLOooOOooooo..... This one drove me over the cliff on mad. In fact, I can't think of anything that sets me off quite like this topic. To the detriment of our national best interests, commercialization is attempting to move into a space where there already exists a clearly defined Federal cartographic standard.  A standard that is meant to reduce suffering, save lives, and do everything and more than what is being promoted in the name of a dollar. So, as you will see in the coming weeks, it's time to get serious about push back. To find out what has made me that crazy mad, click the link below: 

(Directions, February 6, 2013)

Truly hope you have a great weekend - while I attend my anger management class!

Lead photo credit: BNN

Thursday, February 7, 2013

USGS's Unmanned Aircraft System Program

The U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) has long been known for its mapping efforts which have produced such classic products as the "topo" map. However, few know that over the past couple of years the agency has become increasingly involved with Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS). And oddly enough, one of the areas being given consideration for these expanding efforts is natural disaster response; with events ranging from slow moving bank erosion to fast paced wildfires. Information about the USGS UAS program can be found primarily in two places: (1) a vision document released in May of 2011, and (2) a website.  Links for both are provided below:

(Department of the Interior, May 2011)

(USGS Website)

Comment: You've got to wonder what John Wesley Powell would think about this development?  Hard to believe we are  a mere 140 some years from his expedition down the Colorado River in a wooden boat.

Lead photos: USGS archive

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

USNG in the Florida Field Operations Guide

In October 2012, Florida released what is probably the most substantial discussion in an official publication by any state about how the U.S. National Grid is be to used to support disaster response efforts. Incorporated as the core of the Florida Field Operations Guide (FOG), Chapter 10 - Tools, Resources and Information Management, this operational guide is intended to "provide guidance and serve as a next step for coordination and command personnel being assigned to a response." Given this document owes its origin to what is arguably the most experienced and advanced Emergency Management organization in the United States, this is an important follow through on a statewide mandate dating back to 2005. Link below to read:

(Florida Division of Emergency Management, October 2012)

Comment: Darn - just when I think Minnesota is starting to close the gap, Florida puts the pedal to the medal.... Which leads me to ask: "What's in your wallet?" (That's not an ad punch line, but something only a true advocate of the U.S. National Grid can answer correctly.)

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Tracking the Flu Through Twitter

Researchers at John Hopkins University have determined that Twitter can be used to track flu outbreaks across the U.S. Although others have tried to gain insight from mapped tweets before and had mixed results, the John Hopkins team was able to create a near perfect correlation between the information flow from Twitter and the reality of what was taking place. To achieve this result, they developed a language modeling program that filters out word combinations that approximate those used to report the illness, but are unrelated. The team believes this discovery may fundamentally change the way future pathogenic outbreaks are tracked and manged by the public health community. More below (the embedded 1:40 You Tube video is well done):

(John Hopkins News Network, January 24, 2013)

CommentNICE!  Hopefully, the efforts by these gentlemen will lead to developments that provide better granularity for pandemic outbreaks than is currently the case for the majority of the nation - state or regional level (e.g. map above from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention).

Monday, February 4, 2013

Open Data Comes to Madison, Wisconsin

Last month, the City of Madison, Wisconsin, finalized plans to make all data owned by the City publicly available. In doing so, it became only the second city in the nation to have such a policy; the other being New York City. Driving these efforts is the thought that free and easy access to the City's data will encourage development of applications that promote a variety of benefits for the common good, and ultimately save money for Madison. A web site has recently been opened to support the effort. More below:

(The Badger Herald, January 22, 2013)

Comment: Wow!  A quick review of the data on the website finds about 50% of the sets have already been mapped and big part of the remainder are begging for the same attention. Furthermore, many have real value to the Emergency Services Sector. 

Beyond the realization that "everything is somewhere", Madison's efforts are a pardigm shift - City leaders are seeing the real monetary value of data as what comes from putting it to use in as many ways as possible, not from charging users to "recover costs". Huge kudos to Madison, New York City, and any other municipality that has grasped this concept and is doing something about it.

Friday, February 1, 2013

Far Away Friday: PI, Georgia, Chicago, Brazil, and North Korea

I never run out of stuff for Friday because the absurd is always right behind the next step into the future. And, you can't stop the clock. So, strap in for an irreverent trip through some very far away stories.

Destination One - Republic of the Philippines: What ya say we start out where we left off last week?  You know, the U.S. Navy minesweeper that ran aground in the Philippines because a navigation chart mis-plotted a reef by eight or nine miles. After a week of big-wig pondering, the decision came down - cut up the ship. $61 million down the drain for the ship, plus undoubtedly millions more in fines.  That would have bought a LOT of GIS. Point that one out next time some budget ax wielding admin wonk tries to tell you maps aren't THAT IMPORTANT.....  More below (the waterline):

(CNN, January 31, 2013)

Destination Two - Planet Georgia: When it comes to a whacked out story title to go with a whacked out and truly unfortunate story, this one is right up there. Is the editor trying to create a "brewing controversy" which results in GPS control laws - only trained geospatial professionals can be trusted with them?  Your call on that point - below for details:

(C|NET, January 29, 2013)

Destination Three - Blow Hard Central (aka "The Windy City"): Speaking of controlling something, what do you say we check in on the non-stop national debate - guns. Apparently, a Chicago City Councilman has the answer - GPS.  Hey, wasn't that the exact mix in the story above?  But wait, there's a twist, as there always is.  The plan would be to install a tracking chip on every gun in the City so a weapon could be tracked if stolen.  What, exactly, would keep criminals from removing those chips, wasn't addressed in the story. It's a GREAT day for wind surfing! Yee....Ha. More below:

(CBS Chicago, Janaury 17, 2013)

Destination Four - BRAZIL!!!!!: I am not exactly sure what type of tourist is out cruising around admiring the Brazilian sidewalks when they could be at the beach admiring a very different scenery. But, that issue to the side, you have to give the innovators to the South big credit for thinking outside of the box on this one.  Look down for more: 

(AP, January 25, 2013)

Destination Five - North "Let them eat bark while we build WMD" Korea: Talk about one extreme to the other.  One minute you are in lush, bright, warm, booming, free-spirited Brazil, and the next you are in stark, drab, cold, stagnant, rigid North Korea.  Up until recently, only one of the two was worthy of being on Google Maps - I'll let you guess which one. That changed after Google Chairman Eric Schmidt recently returned from a trip to North Korea.  Circumstances which give me concern he might have been slipped a dose of mind controlling kimchi. You know, the programmed double agent thing - the double agent does something that clearly demonstrates his/her allegiances like publishing the first detailed public map of North Korea, while the whole time actually plotting takeover of the world at behest of the insanity north of the DMZ.  More below, if you dare:

(MailOnline, January 29, 2013) 

And with that, hope you find your way to a "Super" Weekend

Lead photo: