While on the subject of spacial analysis, I’m sure there are archaeologists and geographers here who would have useful suggestions for what we can do with the hi-res 3-D images of the Earth that the NASA SRTM project has made available. There’s a nice overview of the imagery and some of the uses to which it’s already been put in this post, “Reading the world in Braille” at Integrity-Logic (coincidence that it’s International Braille Day today?).
So we’ve discussed what to do with a million books; now what do we do with quadrillions of bytes of geodata? Answers on the back of a postcard (or in a comment) please.
Some low-hanging fruit I can see would be for someone to mash it up with Pleiades (http://pleiades.stoa.org/), which is already providing modern coordinates and other metadata for ancient place names. Beyond the “gee-whiz” factor, this could actually be quite useful for performing statistical analysis of the modern topographical features of certain classes of ancient locations (e.g. ancient bridges) which may have been selected for or had an impact upon their environment. One can then imagine reversing the analysis to look at the SRTM data to classify other regions which have those features.
Similar to the SRTM data, the USGS also makes some of its Lidar data freely available (mostly US datasets): http://lidar.cr.usgs.gov/