A Trio of Tips for Bing, Google, and Wolfram|Alpha

Search engines continue to evolve, changing the content they offer, the way they dish it up, and the options for searching.  This month Information Update looks at new capabilities of three popular search engines.

Bing Maps

Key WestBing Maps already offers a solid collection of areial and satellite imagery, but they recently added bathymetry data (ocean floor shading) from Scripps Institution of Oceanography to their images. This picture from the Florida Keys provides a view of how this looks in search results.  I’m not sure if this will help identify the good surfing beaches or snorkeling spots. What say ye, readers?

Google Maps

Google earthengineGoogle Maps (can you tell I was a geography major?) has also launched a new map feature.  They’ve partnered with TIME magazine, the United States Geological Survey, and NASA to deliver a timelapse feature.  TIME offers a detailed overview of how this works, along with stark examples of changes over time.  Watch Las Vegas expand from 1984 to 2012 or the Columbia Glacier shrink.

Wolfram|Alpha Superlative Search

WA superlatives

WolframAlpha (WA) calls itself a computational knowledge engine. In addition to crunching numbers, it now has the ability to identify superlatives.  According to WA, the tallest mountain near Colorado Springs is Mount Elbert at 14,439 feet.  The computational knowledge engine also dishes up an image of the mountain, the distance from Colorado Springs, east-west and north-south profiles, and a list of nearby mountains.  Sounds like a great tool for anyone seeking to bag a few fourteeners over vacation. WolframAlpha also “understands” tallest, closest, higher, most, and biggest.  For more on superlative searching check out the WA blog.

Connecting the Dots of Creative Innovation

On October 4 the San Diego Chapter of the specialized librarians association will hold its annual Fall professional development seminar.  Cindy Shamel will be there presenting a program titled “Beyond the Needs Assessment: How a Knowledge Audit Informs Strategic Planning”.  Register to attend, or contact Shamel Information Services for more on the value of a knowledge audit.