CMU Students Star in Google Sky Map Collaboration

Plus, a WVU team develops a solar-powered log cabin and a Pitt degree is named one of the best values in higher education.


CMU Students Star in Google Sky Map Collaboration
Smartphone users walk around with a lot in their pocket. From gigabytes of Web content to hours of video and (of course) photos, smartphones enable us to carry a lot on the go. While most people may not realize it, more than 20,000,000 people worldwide are also walking around with a little piece of the 'Burgh in their pockets.

That piece, the Sky Map app for Android, was created by Google Pittsburgh back in 2009 and has been a smash-hit ever since. Now, Google is hoping to build on that success by opening up the app to another group of innovative Pittsburghers: The online giant recently announced that it will be collaborating with CMU students to improve the app, which makes use of various sensors to give users a window into the astronomical wonders right above their heads (assuming it's nighttime).

This collaboration will involve open-sourcing the app. This will allow students to augment, alter and experiment with the code as they wish with Google engineers taking on an advisory role.

New features and functions are sure to come, but in the mean time the app remains available for free download through the Android market.
—Rob McCoy, PM Assistant Editor


Solar log cabins. Probably not something most would expect to see, but that's exactly what a team of West Virginia University students will be showing off when they compete in the Department of Energy's Solar 2013 Decathlon.

The interdisciplinary team, one of only 20 selected for the competition, will design a home that combines smart-home technologies with traditional Appalachian log cabins. The project, titled "Preserving Energy with Appalachian Knowledge" (PEAK), is being overseen by a group from various programs and schools across the WVU campus.

The team will receive a $100,000 grant from the Department of Energy and will have a maximum budget of $250,000 for the house. The entrants will be judged on various criteria, but above all, the project home must produce more energy than it consumes.

The project also includes an international component, as the WVU team will collaborate with students from the University of Rome, Tor Vergata.

Although specifics for the upcoming competition have not been detailed, homes have been built and displayed in the national mall in Washington D.C. in previous years.


University of Pittsburgh Named a Top Value by Kiplinger
After paying countless dollars for higher education, students will find it comforting that a local institution offers of one the best values. Pitt has just been named one of the top value colleges in the nation. The Kiplinger 100: Best Values in Public Colleges, 2011-12 ranks the best values in public colleges annually in Kiplinger’s Personal Finance.

This year, Pitt was one of only three colleges in Pennsylvania to make the list—and was ranked as the best value in the state. The process for choosing which schools have the best value begins with data from 500 schools before it's narrowed down. The school rankings are based on a number of academic qualities, including graduation rates and student-faculty ratios.
—Shane Bliss, PM Editorial Intern
 

Renowned author and instructor Azar Nafisi is known for her best-seller Reading Lolita in Tehran. Catch her at Heinz Hall Feb. 29 by scoring a pair of tickets, courtesy of Robert Morris University, which presents the Pittsburgh Speaker Series. We'll select the winner Feb. 22, so be sure to enter before then. Good luck!
 

For a chance to win two tickets to see Azar Nafisi as part of the Pittsburgh Speaker Series on Wed., Feb. 29, please complete the following:
 

First Name
Last Name
Address
City
State
Zipcode
Phone Number
E-mail Address

 

Winner will be drawn on Wednesday, Feb. 22.

Yes, I would like to receive email offers and updates from Pittsburgh Magazine.

Edit ModuleShow Tags

Sign Up for the 412 e-Newsletter

 

Our daily e-newsletter is curated by the editors of Pittsburgh Magazine and is designed to give you the very best Pittsburgh has to offer -- delivered directly to your inbox.

Sign me up!
* Email
 First Name
 Last Name
  * = Required Field
 
Edit ModuleShow Tags Edit ModuleShow Tags

On the Blogs


ReplayFX Turns Convention Center Into Giant Arcade

ReplayFX Turns Convention Center Into Giant Arcade

The second annual gaming festival at the David L. Lawrence Convention Center brings 8-bits of weekend fun.

Comments


Pittsburgh, only cooler
PittGirl: How You Should Grade A Squishy Tongue

PittGirl: How You Should Grade A Squishy Tongue

Kennywood Park opens soon and new this season is the return of the famed whale at the entrance of Noah’s Ark. In the name of science, PittGirl paid an early visit to test the squishiness quotient of the whale's all-important tongue.

Comments


All the foodie news that's fit to blog
Eat, Drink and Learn: The Three Day Blow is Coming

Eat, Drink and Learn: The Three Day Blow is Coming

“A food and drink festival that’s deeply rooted in place — in this case Pittsburgh and the Rust Belt" is coming to Pittsburgh at the end of August.

Comments


Not just good stuff. Great stuff.
The Best 7 Spots in Pittsburgh to Watch the 2016 Euro Cup

The Best 7 Spots in Pittsburgh to Watch the 2016 Euro Cup

Grab your kits, scarfs and get ready to watch the Euro 2016 Pittsburgh-style. We'll show you where to go to get your fan on.

Comments


Garfield Bar Mixtape Is a Great Hangout (And a Good Bar, Too)

Garfield Bar Mixtape Is a Great Hangout (And a Good Bar, Too)

Part craft-cocktail joint and part coffee bar, the welcoming spot wants you to stay a while.

Comments


Mike Prisuta's Sports Section

A weekly look at the games people are playing and the people who are playing them.
Optimism With An Asterisk As Good As It Gets In Steelers Training Camp

Optimism With An Asterisk As Good As It Gets In Steelers Training Camp

Although NFL teams never simply pick up where they left off the previous season, there’s reason to believe the 2016 Steelers could resemble the team that came agonizingly close to knocking off the eventual Super Bowl Champion Broncos in Denver last January.

Comments


Style. Design. Goods. Hide your credit card.
Namaste! Sandals Made from Yoga Mats

Namaste! Sandals Made from Yoga Mats

Sanuk’s Yoga Sling Sandal are super comfy yet chic.

Comments


Sean Collier's Popcorn for Dinner

The movies that are playing in Pittsburgh –– and, more importantly, whether or not they're worth your time.
"Bad Moms" and a Bad "Bourne" Make For a Rough Weekend

"Bad Moms" and a Bad "Bourne" Make For a Rough Weekend

Reviews of "Jason Bourne" and "Bad Moms," plus local movie news and notes.

Comments


Everything you need to know about getting married in Pittsburgh today.
A Whimsical Wedding in Wonderland

A Whimsical Wedding in Wonderland

This Pittsburgh bride brought all the details together for a flawless “Alice in Wonderland”-themed wedding.

Comments


The latest tips and trends to refresh your home.
Coming Soon: Historic Lawrenceville Building Ready for Makeover

Coming Soon: Historic Lawrenceville Building Ready for Makeover

Real estate crowd-funding platform Small Change Pittsburgh is raising funds to transform the Butler Street building.

Comments


The hottest topics in higher education
Online Education at Edinboro University Nationally Ranked

Online Education at Edinboro University Nationally Ranked

The university landed in the top 10 schools for disabled students seeking an online education.

Comments