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Nanaimo, The Google Capital of the World

Zonk posted more than 6 years ago | from the when-will-you-be-googlefied dept.

Google 227

eldavojohn writes "Time.com has up a story on Nanaimo, a British Columbia coal mining town of about 78,000 that has had everything conceivable mapped into a Google database. Citizens can track fire trucks real time. The results also include Google Earth data for Nanaimo. 'The Google fire service allows people to avoid accident sites by tuning electronic devices to automatic updates from the city's RSS news feed, says fire captain Dean Ford. Eventually, Nanaimo plans to equip its grass-cutting machines with GPS devices, so residents piqued by the apparent shabbiness of a particular park or grass verge can use Google to find out when last it was groomed by the city's gardening staff. And the city's cemeteries will soon be mapped to allow Internet users to find out who is buried in each plot, says Kristensen. A new multi-million-dollar conference center, opening in June, will have 72 wireless access points to allow out-of-towners to use their laptops to navigate the Google Earth version of the city.'"

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And I suppose next (5, Funny)

FlyingSquidStudios (1031284) | more than 6 years ago | (#22716584)

they'll plant RFID tags in every citizen so you can track THEM on Google Earth...

Goatse is boring (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22716708)

This sucks [twofo.co.uk]

Re:And I suppose next (5, Funny)

lucabrasi999 (585141) | more than 6 years ago | (#22716850)

they'll plant RFID tags in every citizen so you can track THEM on Google Earth...

Let's start with the elected officials. How about using Eliot Spitzer as our first test case? I know. He isn't Canadian, but I bet the results would be interesting.

Re:And I suppose next (5, Insightful)

Quiet_Desperation (858215) | more than 6 years ago | (#22718160)

How about using Eliot Spitzer as our first test case?
I have a better idea.

Let's get rid of laws that proscribe when, where and under what conditions consenting adults in a free society can have sex.

I'm just sayin'.

Re:And I suppose next (1)

iknownuttin (1099999) | more than 6 years ago | (#22716876)

they'll plant RFID tags in every citizen so you can track THEM on Google Earth.

OK. It may be a good thing. See, let's say there are abuses. If they happen, then the World can say "See, this Big Brother shit is no good!"

OTOH, if there are no abuses, it just might help me take off my aluminum hat and be a little less: paranoid, concerned, whatever... about all of this electronic monitoring. I'm not saying that I'll ever be completely OK with it; just that I may not be as angry as I am when I see shit like this. I'm a little tired at raging against the machine and fighting windmills.

Re:And I suppose next (1)

Jon_E (148226) | more than 6 years ago | (#22717864)

no .. just the sex offenders

Re: And I suppose next (cometh the Matrix) (1)

A1rmanCha1rman (885378) | more than 6 years ago | (#22718100)

"wireless access points to allow out-of-towners to use their laptops to navigate the Google Earth version of the city"

Slowly but surely, and we'll recall with hindsight that it started in an obscure mining town in British Columbia...

Anything to avoid rush hour in downtown Nanaimo (1)

wsanders (114993) | more than 6 years ago | (#22718184)

People will do anything to avoid rush hour.

Next thing you know, they can use this tracking information to let me know when the next train arrives on the Nanaimo Metro so I can get to Nanaimo International Airport in time for my flight to Prince George.

I knew that coal prices were rising... (2, Insightful)

Overzeetop (214511) | more than 6 years ago | (#22716598)

but I didn't realize how much.

How long before they start building man-made islands in cute shapes?

Re:I knew that coal prices were rising... (1)

garett_spencley (193892) | more than 6 years ago | (#22717106)

"How long before they start building man-made islands in cute shapes?"

Soon, I hope. I've always wanted my own Tux-shaped island.

Re:I knew that coal prices were rising... (1)

jandoedel (1149947) | more than 6 years ago | (#22717588)

The Dutchies are considering to build this thing: http://www.nancarrow-webdesk.com/warehouse/storage2/2007-w49/img.87491.html [nancarrow-webdesk.com]

Re:I knew that coal prices were rising... (1)

Machine9 (627913) | more than 6 years ago | (#22717634)

I'd rather they spent the money (and labour) on raising the dykes a wee bit higher, to be honest.

This makes me happy (1, Flamebait)

Quattro Vezina (714892) | more than 6 years ago | (#22716618)

I _love_ this. This is awesome. I think we're finally seeing the realization of the Internet's potential.

And fuck the radical privacy activists who will inevitably whine and cry about this.

Re:This makes me happy (1, Insightful)

Knuckles (8964) | more than 6 years ago | (#22716798)

Yeah, finally anal people can bitch about the length of the grass with the help of Google. Jeeez, get a life.

Re:This makes me happy (1)

Thanshin (1188877) | more than 6 years ago | (#22717678)

Yeah, finally anal people can bitch about the length of the grass with the help of Google. Jeeez, get a life.
Not length, but apparent shabbiness. There's quite a difference.

Re:This makes me happy (1, Interesting)

Knuckles (8964) | more than 6 years ago | (#22718144)

Yeah, shabby spots in public places. OH THE HORROR!

You know, when I was at school I once worked for the municipal utility's public gardening service during summer. Whenever we had some downtime, regardless of whether it was to have a smoke or because we were waiting for the tractor to come back (so that we had something to throw the cut grass onto) we had to hide behind some bushes, because some jerk of other from the surrounding apartments would always immediately call the company to complain. Jackasses like this will have a field day with this new service.

Re:This makes me happy (2, Interesting)

cromar (1103585) | more than 6 years ago | (#22716932)

I am a bit of a privacy nut, but I am all for more transparency in government. This story is somewhat interesting; it's neat this sort of thing is getting off the ground (finally). At some point, though, too much transparency isn't really worthwhile (like knowing when the ruddy green was mown last).

Re:This makes me happy (1)

lucabrasi999 (585141) | more than 6 years ago | (#22717064)

I think we're finally seeing the realization of the Internet's potential.

Are you actually telling me that this is the end result? After years of listening to tech evangelists preach about the future, we find out that the future means we can instantly find out where our local fire truck is? Forgive me if I don't jump for joy.

Re:This makes me happy (1)

MightyMartian (840721) | more than 6 years ago | (#22717762)

Are you actually telling me that this is the end result? After years of listening to tech evangelists preach about the future, we find out that the future means we can instantly find out where our local fire truck is? Forgive me if I don't jump for joy.


No kidding. I'd be much more interested in knowing where Eliot Spitzer's been.

Re:This makes me happy (1)

Intron (870560) | more than 6 years ago | (#22717142)

It would be nice if they could get rid of road signs. All of the information would be available to your PDA amd vehicle nav. system, and the scenery would be better for it.

Re:This makes me happy (2, Insightful)

geoffspear (692508) | more than 6 years ago | (#22717394)

Yeah, and screw the people who can't afford a vehicle with a nav system; who cares if they get hopelessly lost?

Re:This makes me happy (1)

simcop2387 (703011) | more than 6 years ago | (#22717830)

and how exactly am i supposed to know when i just ran a virtual stop sign when i don't have a nav system?

Re:This makes me happy (1)

InvisblePinkUnicorn (1126837) | more than 6 years ago | (#22717166)

Let's see how much you love it when your potential employer brings up a list of the local strip clubs you've visited in the last year, or informs you of the number of times you've exceeded the speed limit in the city (besides the number of times you've actually been stopped by the police), and then asks you to "explain again why we should hire you."

Re:This makes me happy (4, Interesting)

CastrTroy (595695) | more than 6 years ago | (#22717340)

I've always wanted to be able to see where the city buses are in real time. In Ottawa, they all (well, most anyway) have GPS units on board, so it probably wouldn't take much to have them transmit their location every 5 minutes. It really sucks when you end up waiting in the cold for 20 minutes because the bus is late. If I could see ahead of that it was going to be late, I would just stay inside until I knew the bus was close.

Re:This makes me happy (4, Interesting)

Quattro Vezina (714892) | more than 6 years ago | (#22717434)

Yeah, that sounds awesome.

As someone who takes the bus to and from work every day, I'd love this.

You know what's the only thing worse than the bus being late? The bus being early. Nothing like standing out in the cold for 20 minutes past the time the bus is supposed to arrive only to realize it must have passed your stop 15 minutes early.

Re:This makes me happy (3, Insightful)

GlitchCog (1016986) | more than 6 years ago | (#22717406)

I don't think any privacy activists will mind greater transparency in government. Privacy for the government isn't a privacy that should be promoted or protected in any free society.

You have two groups:
1) The government - has the monopoly on the legitimate use of force
2) The people - controlled by that government, but, hopefully, with enough of a democracy to keep the government from beating the liberty out of them with the police, military, judicial system, etc.

One of the most important tools in keeping that democracy working is knowing what the government is doing. Getting this level of information about the government and using the internet to dole it out to this degree is fantastic for the people.

Heil Slashdot Gruppendenken! (-1, Flamebait)

Quattro Vezina (714892) | more than 6 years ago | (#22717596)

I see the usual groupthink hivemind still controls Slashdot.

Good to see that the usual "privacy at any and all cost" dogma is still rigidly enforced by the moderators. Not.

I see how it is: criticize the fallacy that anything that goes against absolute privacy is always a bad thing, and get modded down to -1 Flamebait. Heil Slashdot Gruppendenken!

ok... see SC2 Zerg gameplay instaed :) (0, Offtopic)

majorme (515104) | more than 6 years ago | (#22716632)

Not very interesting. You guys better take a look at StarCraft 2 Zerg gameplay video instead.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-WvGzpj5pbA/ [youtube.com]

Oh no, not again! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22716684)

I misread this as "NaNoWriMo," and thought I'd have to stop reading livejournals for another damn month.

City corruption (2, Interesting)

darjen (879890) | more than 6 years ago | (#22716710)

I just have to wonder how much resistance city officials will put into something like this. Would any of the corrupt city councils here in the states ever allow Google to do that? If they catch cities that are bad about updating their infrastructure, there could be a backlash against the local government. It could be a whole new way of holding them accountable...

Boon for the Ambulance Chasers (1)

_xeno_ (155264) | more than 6 years ago | (#22716726)

Citizens can track fire trucks real time.

Ambulance chasers [wikipedia.org] rejoice!

Seriously, there's something about this idea that seems kind of silly. I don't know - tracking public services does make some sort of sense, I guess. I wouldn't want to pay for the cost, but if Google's willing to foot the bill, I guess I'd have no problem with it were it done locally. It's not something I'd like the local government to spend money on though - too little benefit for the cost.

I guarantee that this will never happen in the US, though, over concerns that knowing where fire trucks are could potentially allow terr'ists to strike areas where the firefighters are all busy elsewhere or something silly like that.

Re:Boon for the Ambulance Chasers (1)

phillips321 (955784) | more than 6 years ago | (#22716918)

If you had cared to http://www.rtfa.co.uk/ [rtfa.co.uk] before commenting you would have realized there's much more than just tracking fire trucks.

Please take the time to RTFA then come back and comment.

Re:Boon for the Ambulance Chasers (1)

_xeno_ (155264) | more than 6 years ago | (#22717346)

You mean the part where they take existing maps and, here's the exciting part, display them in Google Earth?

The only really interesting part is updating the position of public service vehicles in real time. The other stuff is just presenting existing data via Google Earth. Things like being able to look up the trash collection schedule by Google Earth is "kinda neat" but really no more useful than a simple table. I can get that information for my town online - just not via Google Earth.

I haven't looked through the data to check to see if I can get all the same data online already but it looks like I can already get the majority of it. Just not through Google Earth.

Re:Boon for the Ambulance Chasers (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22717504)

You're a complete fucking retard, you know that?

Dipshit: DID YOUR TOWN MAKE THE DATA AVAILABLE TO GOOGLE?

Because that's the important part here. Nanaimo actively HELPED Google present the data they already had a new and accessible way.

Yes, I'm sure that the data for your city is already available in the cellar of the city hall, in a locked filing cabinet in a disued lavatory, behind a door with a sign that said "beware of the leopard".

But that's not publically available online, is it, and it certainly isn't accessible via a tool like Google Earth.

Re:Boon for the Ambulance Chasers NOT! (1)

kanweg (771128) | more than 6 years ago | (#22717496)

No, it is bad for their business. Surrounded by a dozen of them, you can negotiate a bargain while being carried away to the hospital just before you lose consciousness. Their profit margins will drop.

Bert

Re:Boon for the Ambulance Chasers (1)

robertjw (728654) | more than 6 years ago | (#22717656)

I guarantee that this will never happen in the US, though, over concerns that knowing where fire trucks are could potentially allow terr'ists to strike areas where the firefighters are all busy elsewhere or something silly like that.


Probably, but there is already a nifty little device to do this. It's called a police scanner. People have been using them for years to find out where public service vehicles are. Google earth doesn't help terrorists as much as a handy portable police radio would.

Police tracking... (1)

Dzimas (547818) | more than 6 years ago | (#22716736)

Just imagine how useful it would be to have the real time location of the city's police force as well. ;) The $64,000 dollar question is, of course, whether public funds should be invested in building Google's infrastructure. Yes, cloud computing is more cost effective that rolling your own systems, it's convenient, outsourced, on a common platform, etc. On the other hand, will this result in the city losing control of their data? Will the city share in any revenue that Google earns from their investment in Google Earth(TM)(R)(PDQ)? And, honestly, does knowing where the city's fire trucks are in real time provide any meaningful benefit to the citizens? I suspect there downfall of the system will be that city staff will begin to put more emphasis on demonstrating that a green space was mowed instead of actually picking weeds and focusing on quality of service.

Re:Police tracking... (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22717202)

Just imagine how useful it would be to have the real time location of the city's police force as well

I can tell you the answer to that question without Google technology. They are at the Dunkin Donut Shop.

Re:Police tracking... (1)

flight_master (867426) | more than 6 years ago | (#22717768)

Correction:
They are at Tim Hortons.

Re:Police tracking... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22718220)

Blech. I've never had coffee as bad as coffee from a Tim Hortons.

Until I found a Dunkin Donuts. Apparently they roast their beans until anything that might be called "coffee" is removed from them and serve a black liquid that contains mostly ash.

But I suppose it explains the difference between Canada and the US. If I drank Dunkin Donuts coffee all the time, I'd want to go to war with the world too.

GPS on lawnmowers? (3, Interesting)

stoofa (524247) | more than 6 years ago | (#22716748)

So where as you used to just cheekily shout "You've missed a bit!" - now you get to email them with co-ordinates and a satellite photo as proof... and then blog it all.

You Take The Good, You Take the Bad (1)

webword (82711) | more than 6 years ago | (#22716774)

Here's the upside: Exploitation of existing technology. Shows real potential for the future of the internet. Further, these are services that would not have been possible for free (or cheap) even 3-4 years ago. This is building on what I call The Google Platform. Great PR for Google, right? ;-)

Here's the downside: Since most of this is built on Google, these folks are building on an infrastructure that is mostly free. When you don't pay, you have no control. Further, there's no SLA's (service level agreements) in place, I bet. Imagine depending on these services then having an issue -- Google might say, "We're sorry that you are depending on our FREE services, they are not 100% reliable you know."

(Notice I didn't even get into the privacy issues? That's an entirely different dog.)
 

Re:You Take The Good, You Take the Bad (4, Insightful)

QuantumRiff (120817) | more than 6 years ago | (#22717208)

Actually, most of the cool features are built on the KML file format and RSS. If MS would support it, it would work on Virtual Earth. You could create a tool to do it. They are not loading up google with data, they are publishing the data in a very easy to read XML format, and suggest you use google earth to view it, since it is currently the best tool out there.

Not that the SLAs buy you anything (1)

peccary (161168) | more than 6 years ago | (#22717436)

I can't remember the last time I saw an SLA that had any kind of meaningful penalty clauses in it. The best thing you can get is a rebate on your fees, but nothing that can come close to compensating you for lost revenues.

Given the huge disparity between my risk and the tiny insurance that the common SLAs provide, I just don't care about those SLAs at all.

I wish I could find a provider who was willing to put some real skin in the game, but alas I am sure I couldn't get my PHB's to accept the necessarily higher rates that provider would have to charge.

This is cool (5, Interesting)

blhack (921171) | more than 6 years ago | (#22716780)

This is one of my favorite things I've seen google do so far.
It really is neat to see how google has gone from a company that indexes web pages, to a company that stores and indexes your email, to a company that stores and indexes maps of the world, to a company that will literally tell you ANY available information about an area on the map.
As much as the privacy advocates are going to hate this (and please, somebody tell me WHY without using a slippery slope argument), this is really where I would like to see mapping go. Maps hadn't really improved in the past couple of hundred years, but now we're starting to see just what mapping can do.

Should be an exciting next few years.

Re:This is cool (1)

seifried (12921) | more than 6 years ago | (#22717018)

Because you can figure out someone's maiden name using cemetery data potentially? Guess what, losing privacy IS a slipper slope. Maiden names. Your home address. Your phone number. Where you work. Start putting this together and it becomes intrusive as heck. And then one day "oops, we just lost some cd/tapes/laptops/whatever that contain sensitive data on some/most/all of our citizens/consumers/whatever".

Re:This is cool (1)

Archangel Michael (180766) | more than 6 years ago | (#22717310)

If someone wants to pretend to be me, fine. They can't get away with it for very long. I don't use credit, so any debts incurred wouldn't be my problem. I got nothing anyone would want to have. I have a boring life, with three great kids (most of the time), a great wife, a job I can deal with, and sometimes love/hate. And a cat. I like puttering around the house fixing things.

I don't play WoW, don't own a Wii, nor Xbox, Nintendo DS. My kids have a Game Cube I got dumpster diving. Hey it works. I don't drive new cars every three years, my van I bought new 1996, the car was bought used with 72K on it (two years old), all highway miles.

Boring life. Not worth much, except to me. Its mine. Oh, and I don't have to worry about people getting my name off a stolen backup tape from a credit company.

Not having to worry .... priceless.
For everything else ... MasterCard.

Re:This is cool (1)

kannibal_klown (531544) | more than 6 years ago | (#22717742)

If someone wants to pretend to be me, fine. They can't get away with it for very long. I don't use credit, so any debts incurred wouldn't be my problem

You do realize that not having a credit card doesn't protect you. In fact, you might be more vulnerable. If they start charging on your credit card you can notice it in time, inform the company, and not be bothered by debt collectors.

The bad thing is when someone assumes your identity and gets a credit card issued to them in your name, or worse yet takes out a loan in your name (it happens). Then when they start generating huge bills and debt or neglect to pay back the loan, the credit card company thinks it's you and start pestering you. And sometimes they set it up so YOU don't get notified so you have no way of knowing that you owe a $100k mortgage until they repo your house.

The annoying thing about being a victim of identity theft is
a) you are who you say you are
b) convincing the debt collectors it wasn't YOU but someone else on a spending spree
c) catching it in time

Just because you think you're safe, that doesn't mean you are. I'm not fear mongering, it's just something everyone should watch out for, whether-or-not they currently have credit cards, debt, loans, etc.

Re:This is cool (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22718088)

Can someone please tell me why we rely upon "Mother's Maiden Name" as a secure question? I mean, in a larger percent of cases it's a matter of public record at the local town clerk's office. It's your maternal grandparent's last name. This is not secure. The rest of that stuff should not be public info, but...c'mon, it's genealogy. It should not be kept secret.

Re:This is cool (4, Funny)

garett_spencley (193892) | more than 6 years ago | (#22717054)

"As much as the privacy advocates are going to hate this (and please, somebody tell me WHY without using a slippery slope argument),"

Agreed. That slippery slope argument really pisses me off. A few months back I was hiking in the woods and, thanks to my GPS device, I was alerted moments before stepping onto a slippery slope and sliding to my doom.

The more people we can save from slippery slopes the better. Surely any privacy advocates who say that such technology is a slippery slope simply have never had a near-death-from-slippery-slope experience themselves. They really need to STFU.

Re:This is cool (2, Funny)

stoofa (524247) | more than 6 years ago | (#22717104)

Ah yes, but have you tried out some of them slippery slopes recently? Some of them are really, really slippery.

Perhaps we need to be told WHY this is so cool without being told it's new and shiny.

Scientist: We can now graft a human ear onto a mouse.
Concerned public: Pardon?
Scientist: Well, at least the mouse heard me.

Re:This is cool (1)

bhima (46039) | more than 6 years ago | (#22717118)

Because Governments and Corporations have demonstrated themselves to incompetent in the management of private and / or sensitive data. Moreover they have shown a callous disregard towards the negative consequences borne by consumers & citizens in events of identity fraud that the security breaches enable..

Additionally surprising methods have been demonstrated which tease identities out of what was thought to be anonymous data.

Also just because be some ass hasn't figured out something annoying or illegal to do with such data now, doesn't mean that when faced with a flood of it they won't ( does this qualify as slippery slope? Perhaps it does...)

Moving on to the slippery slope: Both governments & corporations have demonstrated a complete inability to not seek other uses for data once they have it... even if those uses are unethical, illegal, or unconstitutional. They simply can't resist the temptations of Assholerly.

And for what it's worth. This idea was on the cover of Scientific American at least 15 years ago.

"Cool" isn't a good enough justification though... (1)

King_TJ (85913) | more than 6 years ago | (#22718072)

I agree with you that many things can be mapped using modern technology that just weren't feasible or possible to map before. That *ability* is a great option to have at our disposal. But how many of these things make financial sense to do? Which ones have minimal privacy implications? At the very least, I'd be concerned whenever I heard a city was "trying to make everything accessible via the Internet", because it sounds like they're too caught up in the "big picture" to be carefully analyzing the specifics.

Over 10 years ago, I used to work with a guy who developed software for cemeteries to track plot locations and family data associated with them. With his program, someone could visit a cemetery, ask where they could locate a certain person, and get a little map printed out that showed exactly which grave marker was theirs. It wasn't Internet-capable or anything, but realistically, this is public information. Putting it online just saves people a physical trip to the cemetery to get the same info. So this is a case where, sure, I have no big "privacy concern" about putting it on Google Earth.

On the other hand, real-time tracking of emergency personnel and their locations? Not so sure that's wise. What about situations where someone wants to disrupt emergency service for whatever reason? You're just handing them free tools to make it easier to cause problems. What about the fire-truck/ambulance chasers out there who may have good intentions, but ultimately just get in the way at accident scenes - because they make a hobby out of taking pictures at the scenes, or get a thrill out of seeing these events in real life? You're just helping "enable" their behavior.

So much easier to visit your dead relatives (4, Interesting)

ozamosi (615254) | more than 6 years ago | (#22716800)

Adding all graves will make it so much easier to visit the graves of your relatives. It's already possible to visit the cemetery through Google Earth/Maps, but it can be hard to locate your passed loved ones.

However, I feel there's a need for an additional service to be developed: put flowers and candles on the grave. As soon as that's implemented, you'll never have to go to the cemetery again!

Re:So much easier to visit your dead relatives (1)

fyoder (857358) | more than 6 years ago | (#22718094)

Except that google maps are often off by a half a block with regard to addresses. I'm not sure what that translates to in grave plots, but you will likely be virtually venerating the wrong dead person.

Coal Mining?? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22716896)

FWIW, they mined coal here in the last century, but AFAIK their isn't any being mined now. Nanaimo is now a high tech and tourist spot. That's why I moved here.

Retarded (0, Flamebait)

drsmall17 (1240792) | more than 6 years ago | (#22716908)

This is utterly retarded. Google apparently wants to know everything, I wonder why...

Re:Retarded (1)

TheAngryIntern (785323) | more than 6 years ago | (#22717200)

your comment is utterly retarded. Google didn't request or take the information, it was GIVEN to them by the city.

ugh (1)

427_ci_505 (1009677) | more than 6 years ago | (#22716914)

So we can now grep through real life. Awesome.

Hope they don't start tagging people though. Not so awesome.

Nanaimo Bars (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22717036)

they are also the source of a yummy dessert!

Coal Mining??? (5, Informative)

rueger (210566) | more than 6 years ago | (#22717078)

Surely with all of that intense technology eldavojohn or Time could have figured out that coal mining stopped back in 1938 in Nanaimo. Since then it is primarily known for being one of the finest examples of really bad urban planning, for at one time having more square feet of shopping mall per capita than any place else on earth, and of course for theNanaimo International Bathtub Race. [island.net]

To quote Ember Swift: "This is the city that Engineers enter to demonstrate just how not to build a city centre This is the city used as a symbol of haste. "

Re:Coal Mining??? (1)

dcobbler (553566) | more than 6 years ago | (#22717546)

In a funny turn of luck, the mall developers ignored little old downtown Nanaimo and it's now full of hip-ish bookstores, cafes, comic shops, etc. Now that the planners have discovered that they still have a downtown [nanaimo.ca] , Let's hope they don't wreck it [gov.bc.ca] , too. Rueger is right on: Coal Mining? Here's a link that took, oh, 38secs. to find: http://www.nanaimo-info.com/gpage.html7.html/ [nanaimo-info.com]

Re:Coal Mining??? (1)

dleifm (724671) | more than 6 years ago | (#22717784)

The urban sprawl here is phenomenally bad. Particularly up in the North end. On the other hand, if you want to live/work downtown in the old part of the city (as I do), you can do so without every going up to the North End. More importantly it seems like the people from the North End stay up in their end of the city. I'm not sure if they're scared of the downtown or what, but it doesn't bother me at all. ... As for the line in TFA about how nobody in Nanaimo actually knows about the extent of the Google-age of our town, I can confirm this. I work in a 35-person tech company here in Nanaimo and I'll bet that no one in my office knows about this. It's pretty funny to learn about it by reading it on Slashdot.

Some more useful things Nanaimo could track. (1)

bastard formula (1053804) | more than 6 years ago | (#22718020)

We are the Hell's Angels Capital of Canada (though the government recently seized their clubhouse complete with huge Hell's Angels logo). For those of you not familiar with the Angels imagine if in your city the local organized crime lords had a big banner above where they met saying "Mafia" or "Triads" and a store which sold merchandise (closed for a while now.) I suggest we track the crackhouses, grow-ops and hooker corners.

Weird... (1)

commisaro (1007549) | more than 6 years ago | (#22717080)

Haha, my parents live in Nanaimo. Never saw it as a technological hub :P I'll tell you what it is good for though: Summer work. All you have to do is work for one of the 87% (estimated) retired people there. Once you work for one, they will tell 3 friends, and you can work for them, and your workload grow exponentially. It is glorious. I worked full-time for an entire month without sending out a single resume.

maybe (1)

niloroth (462586) | more than 6 years ago | (#22717086)

i was standing in the supermarket about a week ago, looking over my shopping list on my palm phone, and as i read the next item i had to get, i wondered why everything in the supermarket couldn't be available to my phone, such as where it is, if it is on sale, if it has been moved from it's regular spot in the isle to the end of the isle to attempt to make it more visible when on sale. It would make shopping more easy, but that is just one tiny way the world could be organized, i am not going to say that as i wandered around looking for the crushed tomatoes isle i thought off uses like this town is using, but it did get me longing for a more organized world. Of course those hopes were dashed when i thought of all the groups and companies that would have to come together to agree on one easy format, or at least formats that would mesh with each other. In the end i figured it was just either not going to happen, or a long way off. Shame i never thought about google being the driving force behind something like this.

Re:maybe (1)

HeyBob! (111243) | more than 6 years ago | (#22717362)

Stores want you wander through them and buy the items on the ends of the isle and by the check-out.
Next time you go to the store with your list, note where they are so that you next visit can be more efficient

Urban Planning 2.0 (1)

f00Dave (251755) | more than 6 years ago | (#22717100)

There was a time when cities just grew out of towns, streets went anywhere, etcetera; complexity grew organically, with the odd extreme here and there. In newer developments, streets started getting laid out in grids years ahead of need ... cue cookie-cutter houses, the 1950s, etcetera again. Now I'm no urban planner, so I shouldn't comment on it (-grin-), but this urban-information-integration prototype sure seems like a Good Thing, to me (in the sense that it's a prototype/trial of a planned information infrastructure).

Just because something doesn't make (business/economic/monopolist/technological/political/social) sense now, doesn't mean it won't later, and having infrastructure in place, however crude or preliminary, is better than nothing. So here's an exercise: imagine this sort of thing has already happened where you live, and that everyone has an Android-friendly iPhone-whatever that talks to anything nearby ... what do you think would really change things? What would an open-access, high-bandwidth information utility be used for? (Assume funding is whatever mix of private, government, and donation/subscription makes sense.)

And now, the $64,000 question: what exactly is information? ;-)

why they chose nanaimo (1)

circletimessquare (444983) | more than 6 years ago | (#22717126)

because the city already sounds like a futuristic sci fi japanese anime city, or a place in a videogame, so why not have everything mapped that way too?

furthermore, "google maps nanaimo" is exactly the kind of nonsensical phrase from the future no one would have predicted in 1978

Re:why they chose nanaimo (2, Funny)

Kitsune (8349) | more than 6 years ago | (#22717934)

If it's a futuristic japanese city, it'd be a gag on the rest of us. Nanaimo is a homonym for "seven potatos" in japanese. "Google maps seven potatos" FTW ;)

I really like this idea (1)

nowhere.elysium (924845) | more than 6 years ago | (#22717140)

Although I really, really lament the fact that Ordnance Survey decided that they didn't like the work that had been done for the 3D London. I was really hoping to be able to check out what me flat looked like in 3D. The only alternative is to go outside, and that doesn't bear thinking about... It'd also be really good for plotting trajectories so I can pick off the local chavs with my soon-to-be-complete trebuchet.

This save me a trip (1)

krygny (473134) | more than 6 years ago | (#22717228)

" ... will have 72 wireless access points to allow out-of-towners to use their laptops to navigate the Google Earth version of the city."

Now, I don't have to go there at all. WHEW!!

Re:This save me a trip (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22718030)

Trust me, you don't want to go there...

In A Word (1)

Nom du Keyboard (633989) | more than 6 years ago | (#22717250)

All I can say is: neat!

Tag the babies!1! (1)

tetrahedrassface (675645) | more than 6 years ago | (#22717280)

My new tag the babies song..

Words/Lyrics: dusty
Music: TheDataminersJugBand

Tag the babies, tag the pets.
Tag the children, tag the rest.

We want to watch the little dots.. That are people!
We want to watch the little dots.. That are people!
On our screens!

Tag the old ones, tag the cold ones.
The cold ones don't move too much.
Naw lord, the cold ones don't move too much.

We want to watch the little dots.. That are people!
We want to watch the lttle dots.. That are people!
On our screens!

So tag the babies, the dogs with rabies.
Just dont tag me, no sirree. Just don't tag me.
But i want to watch, the little dots on my screen.

Tag the babies (chants lead into guitar solo-- pyrotechnics --fade to black)

Where's John Connor? (1)

pizzim13 (1254490) | more than 6 years ago | (#22717302)

Google, the eyes and ears of Skynet.

Ain't no mining town... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22717306)

Who wrote that up? Nanaimo ain't no coal mining town, at least not any more if it ever was.
It's a wonderful place to visit and if you check out nearby Cowichan Valley, I dare say it's a better place to have fun than Napa Valley. (So yes, there are plenty of vineyards and good food along the way).

What's going on here, really? (1)

stratjakt (596332) | more than 6 years ago | (#22717316)

Nanaimo will be the host to the 2010 Olympic games. [vancouver2010.com]

It's just outside of Vancouver, and will host [gov.bc.ca] many of the events. It's snowboarder mecca, etc.

That has a lot to do with where all the funding for this kind of stuff came from.

My 2 cents (1)

B3ryllium (571199) | more than 6 years ago | (#22717352)

Google should put the recipe for Nanaimo Bars on their front page :) It's a very tasty dessert ...

What about the bars? (2, Informative)

Jupiter Jones (584946) | more than 6 years ago | (#22717356)

I'll tell you what Nanaimo is the real capital of: Yummyness [wikipedia.org]

JJ

Re:What about the bars? (1)

Hawthorne01 (575586) | more than 6 years ago | (#22717604)

Fudge, chocolate, custard.

What's not to love? It's the Holy Trinity of yummy goodness, all in one delicious snack.

And, of course, my Mom's are the best.

So there.

Re:What about the bars? (2, Funny)

rumblin'rabbit (711865) | more than 6 years ago | (#22717676)

Goddamn things out to be outlawed as food porn.

Do you know what's in a Nanaimo bar? (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22717818)

Drunk loggers.

Cool! A Sarah Connor/Summer Glau Love Scene! (1)

Impy the Impiuos Imp (442658) | more than 6 years ago | (#22717400)

"The Google fire service allows people to avoid accident sites by tuning electronic devices to automatic updates from the city's RSS news feed, says fire captain Dean Ford. Eventually, Nanaimo plans to equip its grass-cutting machines with GPS devices, so residents piqued by the apparent shabbiness of a particular park or grass verge can use Google to find out when last it was groomed by the city's gardening staff. And the city's cemeteries will soon be mapped to allow Internet users to find out who is buried in each plot."


OH YOU IDIOTS!

I want you guys to scan for topless housewives sunning themselves, sorted and categorized by areola diameter and areola darkness. You can use fuzzy logic to guestimate and thus normalize areola size, uncontracted, on a contracted nipple.

Secondary benefits (1)

Fuji Kitakyusho (847520) | more than 6 years ago | (#22717424)

I like the idea of mapping the cemeteries. Now, when I need a brain for an evil science experiment, I can figure out exactly which plot to target, and can even send a screwup like Igor to dig it up.

I am Disgusted with Slashdot (-1, Offtopic)

Nom du Keyboard (633989) | more than 6 years ago | (#22717432)

I am disgusted that someone at Slashdot tampered with my .sig line, changing it from:

It's time for another Democratic administration-just so that we can remember why we voted them out the last time.

to

It's time for another Democratic administration./i>

Is it a lack of controls -- or ethics -- at Slashdot these days?

Everyone here ought to check their own sigs to determine of what you meant to say is what you ended up saying.

Re:I am Disgusted with Slashdot (1)

rueger (210566) | more than 6 years ago | (#22717896)

Must be you - the whole things shows in my browser (Opwera/Mac) - both times.

It's my dad! (1)

nickull (943338) | more than 6 years ago | (#22717654)

I was born there. Nanaimo, BC has huge problems but is a very ingenious city. It survived the crash of the mines and subsequently the crash of the logging industry by continually re-inventing itself. My dad and others are huge techolnogy users. In fact, my great uncle, Kenneth MacKenzie (developer of Astitine on the periodic table of elements, part of the Manhattan project, UCLA professor Emeritus) was from there too. There are tons of tech geeks in this city and real estate is really cheap.

I'm Shocked No One Already Mentioned This... (1)

windside (112784) | more than 6 years ago | (#22717670)

Nanaimo is also the WEED Capital of the World [thehammer.ca] . Think about it: they came up with Nanaimo bars for a reason. As they say, if you've been in Nanaimo for 20 minutes and you find someone to sell you pot, you're already baked. Wait, maybe that's Nelson. Hold on... what?

Re:I'm Shocked No One Already Mentioned This... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22718034)

When I was growing up in the Nanaimo area, I came across actual, hand-made signs notifying people going by that there was weed in the woods nearby. Just in case.

The first time, my friends and I laughed...till we took a look. Sure enough, a nice large patch of just-about-ready weed was literally (and conveniently) just 15 feet or so off the road. Same situation the second time.

It's a good climate to grow by ditching a few seeds.

Who says people don't like to share? :)

But that was 10-15 years ago. Course, these days the city is bigger, the cops are less small-town friendly, and there are a *lot* more stores taking commercial advantage of Nanaimo as a central hub location on the island (more money means more economy problems).

"I Knew a girl and her name was Joe...." (1)

Bobzibub (20561) | more than 6 years ago | (#22717702)

"She waits for me in Nanaimo...."
Those lines have been in my head for many many years now.... = )

Nanaimo used to be quite the dump--and rough, but they've been doing a lot to fix it up since the 90s. Wonder if that hot pink Mexican restaurant on the hill is still open....

Nice to see that they are continuing their efforts.

Re:"I Knew a girl and her name was Joe...." (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22717756)

Yes the Mexican Place is still there. I had lunch there a couple of weeks ago.

Warning; sardonic reply (1)

BigJClark (1226554) | more than 6 years ago | (#22717708)


Yeah, I have family friends who live in Nanaimo and from what they tell me, this definitely helps the gangbangers shoot eachother more effectively, y'know, without getting lost on the way. I could also make mention of the fact that they all seem to be under the age of 14, but, that would be hijacking this thread ;)

/Sardonic reply>

ex-Nanaimo person (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22717770)

I'm from Nanaimo, though not living there the last few years. Family's still there.

I gotta say, the waterfront pictures make it look way bigger and nicer than it looks to me, even with all the new development. But maybe it's just me.

Even though I knew the current crop of city politicians were really pushing to improve touristy knowledge and the economic health of downtown since the new island highway bypasses the downtown core, I had no idea all that information was online. Either they didn't advertise this enough to locals or I wasn't paying enough attention (and I'm a geek by profession - which I why I moved away).

Forcing geeks to become Luddite-Lites (1)

eepok (545733) | more than 6 years ago | (#22717816)

I used to love this idea of making everything internet capable. Everything electronic. Sensors everywhere! But then I got a little older and figured out that, (wow!), Earth is pretty neat and no monitor can really do justice to its genuine brightness, contrast, and overall realism.

I used to want a cell phone that did everything. I used to want to wear a computer on my sleeve. I thought it would be great for my refrigerator to tell me I'm low on mustard... but it's things like this complete Googling of a city that make me yearn more and more for a job that requires muscle strain more than brain drain and life in a small town that will never be cached in Google's infinite storage space.

Indexing a cemetery? Seriously... what happened to walking row by row and seeing names you think are familiar? Or finding that someone was buried with his/her dog. Or reading a beautiful epitaph and thinking "Wow, I hope someone loves me enough to think of something so beautiful to mark my resting place."? -- all on the way to see Nana because you need to talk and she has been and always will be there to listen. I'm sure I'm not alone in this sentiment.

I am very well known in my department and my prior places of work to be the super-geek. I hide it well, initially, but it always shows eventually. So when people propose, "Let's get the students laptops" and I say, "No way in hell!", they stutter in shock. I tell them "No" because I understand that computers are a great tool, but they're also the great distractor (ask any professor who has had his/her TA stand in the back of the lecture hall to see which one of the 85 laptop-users is actually taking notes).

But still, the lay yearn to have ubiquitous technologies and strive to make everything computer accessible to the point to where they will have to do little else than sit down, flip on, and nod off. I guess we could have seen this coming with television. Who is this benefiting? At what cost? To what ends?

Who else thinks that we've peaked in acceptable technological immersion? Who else turns their cell phones to silent when they're not expecting a call? Goes out on Saturdays just to 'get away' from the computer? Scoffs at the idea of being globally traceable even if we lived within the confines of a genuinely benevolent global government?

I know I've peaked. I'll always love to tinker with new hardware and software, but beyond simple information acquisition, entertainment, and person-to-person communication, you can count me out.

This just in... (5, Funny)

Quiet_Desperation (858215) | more than 6 years ago | (#22718082)

The town of Nanaimo has completely vanished, leaving behind only a flat and barren landscape where there was once a thriving, interconnected community. One relative of a Nanaimo resident reported receiving a phone call from the town shortly before it vanished.

"I got a call from my brother Earl in Nanaimo," said Harry Wacker of Fresno, California. "He was babbling on about how they may have gone too far in connecting the town up to the intertoobs, and some sort of hogs pizzle about a 'singularity' or something. Utter nonsense, but that's Earl- loonier than a sack of weasels. You'd have to be to move to gol-damned Canada. Broke his mother's heart, he did."

Other relatives and friends have reported hearing the voices of former Nanaimo residents coming from their game consoles, computers and other Internet connected devices, but these reports are unconfirmed.

Terrorist bait (1)

Bovius (1243040) | more than 6 years ago | (#22718154)

It's a good thing this isn't in the US, because all of that publicly available tracking is clearly a threat to national security. That would never fly here. Radical extremist groups could use data on the locations of fire trucks to attack them before they reach critical destinations. They could analyze grass mowing patterns and put too much fertilizer on lawns right after they're mowed, and the grass would be burned beyond recognition before someone checks again.
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