Backpack Indoor Mapping at UC-Berkeley

Imagine the possibilities. What if Alice had one of these in Wonderland? Then she would have known where she had been. Still wouldn't have known where she was going.

While we may be a few years away from seeing this in the mainstream, we're there already with the same concept on the back of a truck. Go over to my friends Adam Arrington and John Dudley's site at Earl Dudley. Watch the video here.

This is the same technology (and brand) that are used by over 30 mappers who work for Google Maps that travel all over the U.S. and map the streets and surrounding buildings.  If you've not seen the "street-level" view, go here to my site for a glimpse. Look over on the right side of the page for the photo. If you click on it, you'll be taken to the Google Maps for my office. Enjoy.

WARNING – First time I saw this I moved around for over an hour looking at different places.

Try this location in Google Maps = 27°59'17.62"N 86°55'30.42"E  Let me know when you find out where you are.  I just hope you come back 'ALIVE"! (Link for those who want it.) Oh, and you'll want to click on EARTH to get the 3-D effect.

Judge’s Order Tossing Expert Witness Grabs Attention in Asbestos Case

Law.ComIn the article “Order Tossing Expert Grabs Attention in Asbestos Case” it is reiterated that an expert witness must not “advocate” for a particular side but must be a “dispassionate scientist/witness.”

    “For the reasons stated in the defendant’s brief, the court finds that Dr. Maddox easily qualifies as such a ‘quintessential expert for hire’ not only for the length, frequency and apparent lucrativeness, but also the litigation orientation he exhibited in attempting to add a proper empirical basis for his opinion after he had originally stated his sworn opinion and the court first found that it was inadmissible.

This transgressed the scientific rule that the empirical data should lead to the theory, not vice versa. Although no person probably enjoys seeing their testimony discounted, during his live testimony at the hearing on this motion, Dr. Maddox’s behavior seemed much more consistent with an advocate than a dispassionate scientist/witness,” Parrott said in the order.

This opinion was formed during the “Daubert hearing” that lasted the whole day.

In addition to the 1993 Supreme Court’s decision in Daubert v. Merrell Dow Pharma, the judge also cited a 1996 decision from the 7th U.S. Court of Appeals saying “the courtroom is not the place for scientific guesswork, even on the inspired sort,” and the 2005 Georgia Law governing the use of expert witnesses saying the opinion “is not practically testable and has not been tested.”

The judge also speaks to the “expert for hire” issue. A full-time expert witness seems to always carry this stigma. A professional practitioner who also serves as an expert in a few cases, and who draws only a portion of his fees from expert testimony seems to be more acceptable to judges and juries.

What percentage I guess is based on the opinion of the judge. But, you can bet, that the Daubert hearings will increase because of this and other cases of late.

Expert Witness – Georgia Supreme Court rules against family of Glynn crash victim

By Teresa Stepzinski

BRUNSWICK – The Georgia Supreme Court has reversed a Court of Appeals decision and ruled in favor of two companies that a Savannah woman sued over her brother’s death in a crash on Interstate 95 in Glynn County.

At issue was whether the woman’s expert witness was qualified to testify in the matter under standards set by state law and a precedent-setting 1993 U.S. Supreme Court case.

In an unanimous opinion Monday, the state Supreme Court said Superior Court Judge Stephen Scarlett was right and the appeals court was wrong.

Scarlett ruled correctly when he determined the family’s witness was not an expert in the matter. Therefore, Scarlett was right to grant the companies’ motion for a summary judgment in their favor, the justices said.

Johnny Hamilton, 19, of Garden City was killed and his brother, Justin Hamilton, and their sister, Lakeisha Hamilton-King, were injured when a van struck them in a chain-reaction collision April 8, 2003, on I-95 at the Little Satilla River Bridge, which was being widened.

The three had gotten out of their car after it struck a concrete bridge guardrail when Hamilton-King attempted to avoid another car that drifted into her lane. There was no shoulder. As they stood close to the bridge barrier, the three were hit by the van.

The surviving siblings sued the HNTB Georgia Inc., the designer of the bridge-widening project. They also sued Plant Improvement Co., also known as Seaboard Construction Co., which was the prime contractor for the widening of nearly 7 miles of I-95 including the bridge.

They claimed the companies were negligent in designing the traffic control plan for the construction work, and in failing to provide proper lighting and signs in the work area. The siblings offered a civil engineer, Jerome Thomas, as an expert witness, to testify in support of their claim.

The companies asserted Thomas was not an expert under the qualifications set by state law and federal precedent. His testimony was inadmissible, they argued, because he did not present any evidence that bridge construction projects without shoulders and lighting were “inherently defective,” the companies argued.

Scarlett agreed, and excluded the testimony. Without admissible expert testimony, “there was no issue of fact to be decided by a jury,” Scarlett said in ruling for the companies.

The siblings appealed Scarlett’s decision, and won a reversal from the Court of Appeals. The companies then appealed it to the Supreme Court, which reversed the lower court.

Reposted to Pro17 Engineering at