Tuesday, October 31, 2006

ATI Driver Updates - Catalyst 6.10 and Theater 550/660 drivers

ATI released updated drivers for its Radeon 9500 and higher video cards and tv tuner cards based on the Theater 550/660 chipset.

For those of you using Windows XP Media Center 2005, these drivers should be useful to you.

Direct links to the download pages are available here.

Among the main features of the Catalyst 6.10 drivers include

  • New Product Software Driver Support (Radeon x1300XT, x1650 Pro, x1950XTX
  • HDR + Anti-Aliasing support for The Elder Scrolls Oblivion
  • Performance Increases - In this release of Catalyst® Intel 965 Crossfire performance increases due to improvements of the Crossfire D3D driver in handling large vertex meshes. Gains of 6.7-15.8% can be seen in 3DMark2006, 9.7-10.5% in 3DMark2005 and 3DMark2003 performance improves as much as 7.1%.

One Media Center related fix is the following:

Display corruption is no longer noticed when switching between normal screen and full screen mode when viewing either a video or a picture slide show under the Windows Media Center Edition operating system using the Media Center application.

Additional updates can be found at the release notes link at the above Driver download link.


Technorati Tags:
, , ,

Windows Live Messenger Issues with Add Contacts

Over the last few days, some people have encountered an issue with Windows Live Messenger where they are unable to properly Add Contacts to their contact list.

You would be able to goto the Add Contacts area of Windows Live Messenger, and fill in the appropriate Windows Live ID contact and then see the added contact in the Contacts list; however, when you open the Conversation Window, you'd see a prompt similar to below where you are told to click on a link within the Information bar to add the contact to your Contact List.

The problem is that you try clicking that link, absolutely nothing happens!

I contacted Jonathan Kay, a Windows Live Messenger MVP, who is the best source of Messenger-related issues that I know of, about this issue and he said it unfortunately has been an issue that has been plaguing a lot of Windows Live Messenger users lately. Apparently, he believes that something has run amuck in the contact store that Windows Live Messenger uses.

Fortunately, being the resource that he is, he had a solution to fix this issue.

  1. Shut down Messenger entirely by right-clicking on its icon in the system notification area and choose 'Exit'
  2. Download and run the following .reg file - http://messenger.jonathankay.com/downloads/remove_wlmpolicies.reg
  3. Sign back into the Messenger network.

It may take 30-40 seconds after signing in before you see any changes.

What does this fix do? It basically compels Windows Live Messenger to rebuild your contact store. For those of you who don't want to run the above .reg file, you can achieve the same result by deleting the Policies key under the following Registry branch HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\MSNMessenger\ (make sure you close Windows Live Messenger first, prior to deleting the key).

Unfortunately, this is the kind of issue that you that you are suffering from until you actually try adding someone, but hopefully, this information will prove useful if you do run into this issue.

Many thanks to Jonathan for helping me out with this issue.

Update: November 15, 2006 - If you are having problems signing into the Windows Live Messenger network, or you are having issues seeing your contact list, the abovementioned fix can resolve some of the causes of those issues as well. If you are having trouble with signing in, or your contact list is missing, try the above fix. Even if it doesn't work, no harm will come from deleting the key, as it will be re-populated as/when necessary.


Technorati Tags:
, ,

Monday, October 30, 2006

HDTV Antenna Update

Here's an update on my HDTV Antenna install (see the first part here). Stuck the antenna to the chimney of my house using antenna straps. It survived an extremely windy Sunday, so I'm confident it was a good install. I must admit, I should have put the antenna on the another corner of the chimney (I was trying to beat the incoming rain on Friday, so I didn't think things through as much as I should have).

What's next? I've purchased a DViCO Fusion HDTV5 USB Gold tv tuner which should be arranging tomorrow. I'll be able to watch off-the-air HDTV on my computer (either within Media Center or with DViCO's supplied programs), and I'll be able to figure out the signal strength of each station (my current Viewsonic N3252W LCD TV does not have such a meter). With this data, I'll know if a pre-amp will be useful for me, at which time I'll go back up on the roof and fix my mistake.

Here's a picture of the antenna on the chimney.

IMG_3471

Technorati Tags:
, , ,

Media Center Turned 4 Years Old yesterday

Yesterday, Chris Lanier posted about Media Center celebrating its fourth year of existence as a retail product.

It's hard to believe time has gone by so fast. I was at the product launch in New York City's Bryant Park four years ago with my fellow Media Center MVPs.

Here's a picture of most of us near the end of that event.

mcemvplaunch

Post updated to reflect the fact that Media Center is four years old, and not five years old as I had originally posted


Technorati Tags:
, , ,

V2 Media Center Extender Announcment from Linksys

It appears as though Linksys has announced the future availability of a V2 Media Center Extender (aka Pika). In addition to acting as an Extender in Vista, it is also a networked DiVX and DVD player, able to play DivX-, XviD-, Nero-Digital-, MPEG-1/-2-/4- and WMV9 encoded video, as well as MP3 files and audio CD's.

For more information, see the following link - [ Hardware.Info ] - Linksys announces network ready DiVX/DVD player


Technorati Tags:
, , , , , ,

Windows Media Player 11 released

Microsoft has released Windows Media Player 11 for computers running Windows XP (32 bit and 64 bit versions).

Microsoft states the following about Windows Media Player 11:

Windows Media Player 11 for Windows XP offers great new ways to store and enjoy all your digital media. It's easier than ever to access all of your music, videos, pictures, and recorded TV on your computer. Play it, view it, organize it, or sync it to a portable device for enjoying on the go, or share with devices around your home—all from one place.

Items that Microsoft has focused on with this release include the following:

Windows Media Player 11 is designed to work with all versions of Windows XP with Service Pack 2, including Windows XP Home Edition N and Windows XP Professional N. Here is the Readme for Windows Media Player 11 for Windows XP and a direct download link for 32 bit and 64 bit versions.

For Media Center 2005 users, there is one item that you need to be aware of.

From the Readme, the following is stated:

Installing the Player on Windows XP Media Center Edition
Windows Media Player 11 for Windows XP supports Windows XP Media Center Edition 2005 with KB900325 (Update Rollup 2 for Windows XP Media Center Edition 2005) and KB925766 (the October 2006 Update Rollup); however, it does not support previous releases of Windows XP Media Center Edition.

If you have Windows XP Media Center Edition 2005, but have not installed the Update Rollup 2, in the Microsoft Knowledge Base, see article 900325, "Update Rollup 2 for Windows XP Media Center Edition 2005." You must download and install it before you can install Windows Media Player 11. The October 2006 Update Rollup is installed with Windows Media Player 11 (provided that your computer is connected to the Internet when the Player is first installed). For more information, in the Microsoft Knowledge Base, see article 925766, "October 2006 Update Rollup for Windows XP Media Center Edition 2005."

Windows Media Player 11 for Windows XP cannot be installed on computers running Windows XP Media Center Edition 2002 or Windows XP Media Center Edition 2004.

Enjoy the new release!


Technorati Tags:
, , ,

What version of Media Center do you have?

Due to the way Media Center is implemented (i.e. it's underlying operating system is Windows XP Professional, with additional Media Center specific items), there is sometimes confusion as to what version of Media Center is installed on your computer.

For example, here are some places that may display to a misleading Media Center version.

System Control Panel

Help and Support Center

The best way to check what version of Media Center that is correct all the time is to follow the instructions found in KB837707 - How to determine the version of Media Center that you are running. Essentially, this consists of the following steps:

  1. Start Media Center.
  2. On the Settings menu, click General.
  3. Scroll down, and then click About Media Center,
  4. For Media Center 2005, you will have to also further click Software Version.

The first three lines will be important to most people. The first line will identify the version of Media Center that you have (either no number which means you have 2002, 2004 or 2005) and the third line will identify the Update Rollup version that is installed. The second line is the specific version number of the ehshell.exe in the \Windows\ehome directory. This can be important in determining which updates you have installed.

Mark Salloway, a fellow Media Center MVP, has compiled a listing of versions and corresponding build information for each version.

Media Center also uses the 'Ident' value to identify the version of Media Center that is installed. Microsoft has recommended that programs check this value to ensure that the version of Media Center that is installed is appropriate for the needs of their program (it is easier than updating a list of version numbers after each update is released). However, there are times that the number could be changed mistakenly, leading to undesired results . This often comes up when during Update Rollup 2 for Media Center 2005 installation, or Xbox 360 Extender software installation. I'll discuss this further in a later blog posting.


Technorati Tags:
, ,

Thursday, October 26, 2006

New Hauppauge PVR 150/500 drivers for Vista

For those of you having issues with the Hauppauge PVR 150/500 (aka Amity based) tv tuner cards, there is a new set of drivers you can try, especially if you are beta testing Windows Vista (but it'll also work with Windows XP and even Windows 2000 if you are using the tuner cards on those operating systems). This product, which is a popular choice for those who use Media Center, is now up to version 2.0.48.24258.

Among the fixes since its last general release (2.0.43.24103 or the pre-release 2.0.43.24108 versions) are the following:

Driver Release 2.0.48.24258 (09/15/06)

  • Fixed possible bluescreen on PNP Stress Tests.
  • Passes Vista RC1 DTM.

Driver Release 2.0.48.24227.PreRelease (08/15/06)

  • Fixed potential muted FM audio issue introduced in 24201.

Driver Release 2.0.48.24205.PreRelease (07/24/06)

  • Fixed bluescreen on S3 (and possibly shutdown) introduced in 24201.

Driver Release 2.0.48.24201.PreRelease (07/20/06)

  • CCInDVD Support.
  • Optional firmware load delays.
  • Fixed obscure, unlikely (and unreported) but potential bluescreen issue.

Driver Release 2.0.43.24108.PreRelease (04/18/06)

  • The joyous return of Win2k support!
  • Improved DMA support for 64bit Operating Systems.

This latest version of drivers is available from Hauppauge enthuasist site ftp.shspvr.com. Here is a direct link to the latest version of drivers for the PVR 150/500.


Technorati Tags:
, , , ,

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Oct 2006 Update Rollup for Media Center Released

Microsoft released the October 2006 Update Rollup for Windows XP Media Center Edition today.

This is a cumulative update rollup. This update rollup replaces the following updates:

  • 919803 July 2006 Update Rollup for Windows XP Media Center Edition 2005
  • 914548 April 2006 Update Rollup for Windows XP Media Center Edition 2005
  • 908250 Update Rollup 908250 is available for computers that are running Update Rollup 2 for Microsoft Windows XP Media Center Edition 2005
  • 912067 January 2006 Update Rollup for Windows XP Media Center Edition 2005
  • 913437 HTML programs do not support non-English keyboard characters on a computer that is running the Korean version of Windows XP Media Center Edition 2005
In addition, this update resolves the following issues: :
  • When you scan for services in Windows XP Media Center Edition 2005, a connected Italian (Rome) 810 megahertz (MHz) version of MUX is not found.
  • Windows XP Media Center may not be compatible with certain third-party audio stream plug-ins.
  • A race condition may occur after you install Microsoft Windows Media Player 11. Because of this problem, licenses are not saved for TV programs that are recorded and protected. For example, TV programs that are recorded from a provider such as HBO or Showtime will only play for up to three days.

In order to install this update, you must be running Windows XP Media Center Edition 2005 with Update Rollup 2.

You can download this update through Windows Update or from this direct link. More information about this update can be found here.


Technorati Tags:
, ,

First Foray into HDTV

I met up with a few Canadian based MVPs yesterday at the Canadian Regional MVP summit event yesterday. Among these people was Peter Near, a fellow Media Center MVP who has recently delved into the HDTV world (you can read about his experiences here). He planted into my mind the idea of using the ATSC tuner in my new HDTV to receive the wide variety of free off-air HDTV programming is available in the Greater Toronto.

So how does this work? First, lets start off with a little primer on this technology.

The FCC has notified U.S. television broadcasters that the standard for transmitting TV over-the-air shall change from analog to digital. Analog NTSC transmissions have been mandated to cease in the United States by by February 17, 2009. Canada's equivilant to the FCC, the CTRC, will also have an analog transmission shutdown date in the future, although the date has not been determined yet. Peter notes that it is to Canadian broadcaster's advantage to make the switch sooner rather than later, so that they can simulcast shows that US stations broadcast (as long as it is the same content). Simply put, if the Canadian broadcaster can't broadcast in HD, they can't substitute their own ads from the US HDTV channels, and as a result, the Canadian broadcaster would loose out on ad revenue.

Note that while digital signal does not imply high definition, with the many shows that are shot in high definition, broadcasters have the option of transmitting the high definition content when it is available.

See the following table to see the differences between analog television, digital television and high definition television.

AnalogSDTVHDTV
Pixel count253,000+/-<480,000920,000 @ 720p
2,000,000 + @ 1080i
Horizontal(scanning lines)480i (336 visible)480i / 480p720p or 1080i
Aspect Ratio4x3 4x3 or 16x916x9
Progressive ScanNoYesYes
Interlaced ScanYesYesYes
Audio2 Channel2 channel digitalDolby Digital
Broadcast Format1 analog12 Digital6 Digital

So now that the broadcasters are sending these signals over the air, what do you need to receive these signals?

You'll need:

  1. An antenna to receive the signal
  2. An off-air receiver (these are essentially built into all modern HDTV's that you can buy nowadays)

The most difficult part for most people will be setting up the antenna. When I first tested this, I used an FM Antenna mounted upon a contraption on top of my parent's clothes hanger. Basically, this contraption is a tomato plant cage with a bamboo pole across the top where the FM Antenna is stretched out upon. This whole thing rests on top of the clothes hanger.

See here for a couple of pictures.

Obviously, this ghetto setup won't do, so we purchased a Channel Master 4228 antenna, and a pipe to attach the antenna to. I choose this antenna over a smaller one because I figured since it was going to be ugly anyways, it might as well be a bit bigger and ugly. You can see the antenna in the following picture (it is temporarily driven into the middle of my dad's garden).

IMG_3361

After this, all that is needed is to plug the cable into the television.

What's the payoff? Basically, I receive CBC, CBC French, CityTV, CTV, SunTV, OMNI1 and OMNI2 digital signals for free. Many of the primetime shows are shown in High Definition (think all three CSI series, ER, Lost, Grey's Anatomy, Hockey Night in Canada etc, etc).

The next step for me is to mount this antenna onto the chimney (and set up a ground block). This should allow me to receive digital signals from Buffalo (i.e. the local ABC, NBC and CBS affiliates among others) based on this list of all the stations from the Toronto, Ontario & Buffalo, New York HDTV Channel Map.

Receiving these signals is free, and could potentially have even better quality than Digital TV offerings from Rogers or Bell, due to the fact that these off the air signals are less compressed (unlike Rogers or Bell who have to compress the signal). The only downside to this is that stations that don't broadcast off-the-air are unavailable, such as Sportsnet, TSN or other speciality channels.

If you are willing, you should give this a try. With most people already having digital tv capable televisions, the missing piece of the puzzle is likely the antenna. Depending on your location, you may be in prime position to take advantage of this. If you are concerned about your choices in antennas, there are other 'less-ugly' options that you can choose from.

Also keep in mind that the receiver does not have to be a TV per se. You could pump the antenna into an HDTV card for your computer, and then do stuff like record HDTV within Media Center or some other software. I'll go into this topic in a later blog posting.

I'll post back once I finish this whole project with my results.


Technorati Tags:
, , ,

Windows Defender Final RTW

Microsoft taken Windows Defender out of beta and released it to the general public (i.e. Release to Web).

From the Windows Defender website, it is stated that:

Windows Defender is a free program that helps protect your computer against pop-ups, slow performance, and security threats caused by spyware and other unwanted software. It features Real-Time Protection, a monitoring system that recommends actions against spyware when it's detected and minimizes interruptions and helps you stay productive.

This release includes enhanced features that reflect ongoing input from customers, as well as Microsoft’s growing understanding of the malicious software landscape. Microsoft states that specific features of Windows Defender include:

  • A redesigned and simplified user interface - Incorporating feedback from our customers, the Windows Defender UI has been redesigned to make common tasks easier to accomplish with a warning system that adapts alert levels according to the severity of a threat so that it is less intrusive overall, but still ensures the user does not miss the most urgent alerts.
  • Improved detection and removal - Based on a new engine, Windows Defender is able to detect and remove more threats posed by spyware and other potentially unwanted software. Real Time Protection has also been enhanced to better monitor key points in the operating system for changes.
  • Protection for all users - Windows Defender can be run by all users on a computer with or without administrative privileges. This ensures that all users on a computer are protected by Windows Defender.
  • Support for 64-bit platforms, accessibility and localization - Windows Defender supports accessibility and 64-bit platforms. Microsoft will release localized versions including German and Japanese soon after the availability of the English versions.
  • Delta definition updates - Windows Defender now downloads smaller delta definition updates when possible which reduces the time required to download and install definition updates. Customers can expect shorter download times when updating their definition updates.
  • Free Limited Support - As a part of our commitment to the security of our customers, free support for installation, configuration, definition update, detection and removal errors will be available for a limited time after download and installation.

Windows Defender is available in both 32 bit and 64 bit editions, and further information can be found at the Windows Defender homepage.

Windows Defender About Screen
Technorati Tags:
, , ,

Sunday, October 22, 2006

Extender functionality in Vista Betas vs Xbox Live

As some of you observed during the Xbox Live maintenance downtime earlier this week, it would seem that Xbox 360 extender functionality would not work while Xbox Live was down.

From the Extender release notes ever since this functionality was made available, the following is noted about the need for Xbox Live connectivity:

Media Center Extender requires connectivity to Xbox Live

Description: For the length of the beta program the Media Center Extender will required the Xbox 360 to have a connection to Xbox Live. An Xbox Live user account is not required to connect to Xbox Live servers. Users who do not have an active connection will experience the following error message on the Xbox 360 when attempting to launch Media Center. "The Xbox 360 is not able to connect to Xbox Live. Use the Xbox Live Troubleshooter from Network Settings."

Solution: Connect Xbox 360 Console to Xbox Live.

  1. From the System section of the Xbox dashboard, Select Network Settings
  2. Select Test Xbox Live Connection
  3. Allow the Test to be conducted
  4. Resolve any failures
  5. Restart the Add Extender task from the Media Center.

NOTE: When connecting to Xbox live for the first time, you may need a memory card or hard drive on the Xbox 360 for temporarily cache of console updates. Xbox Live connectivity will not be required for the final release of Vista.

This dependence on the Xbox 360 Extender bits on Xbox Live connectivity was needed so that 'not-so-RTM'ed' code could be tested on retail machines. The alternative to this would have been to test the Xbox 360 Extender bits only on debug machines, which would have greatly reduced the number of testers that could test out this feature. It is important to note that the need for Xbox Live connectivity will not be required when Vista is finalized, so Xbox 360 Extender usage won't be affected by future Xbox Live maintenance.


Technorati Tags:
, , , ,

Thursday, October 19, 2006

X'06 Canada Recap

As promised in a previous blog entry, here is a recap of the X'06 event.

Held at the Brant House, all the invitees to the invite received a nice gift bag consisting of a custom Xbox 360 faceplate (got mine autographed by Larry Hryb a.k.a. Major Nelson), a Gears of War poster and a 360 Prophecy Comic Strip Print. There was large display of upcoming Xbox 360 games were shown, including games from EA, Sega, Astivision, Epic, Ubisoft and Microsoft. In addition, some of the newest Xbox 360 hardware was showed/demoed, including the Xbox 360 HD DVD Player, Xbox Live Vision Camera, Xbox 360 Wireless Racing Wheel and the Xbox 360 Wireless Headset. There was also a demo of the XNA development platform.

Perhaps the game with the most buzz was the upcoming Epic Game, Gears of War. A teamplay demonstration was set up, so 2 teams of 4 players could play against each other.

I got to meet up with quite a few people in the Xbox Live scene, including Larry Hryb, a few Microsoft MVPs, Jerry O'Flaherty and Mark Rein from Epic Games and my Canadian MVP lead, Sasha Krsmanovic.

Peter, Gary and I were also interviewed as part of Jean-Luc David's soon to be released podcast.

At the end of this event, there was a draw for special Gears of War faceplates and the upcoming Xbox 360 HD DVD Player. Peter Near, a fellow Media Center MVP, won one of these Gears of War faceplates, and my brother, Gary Tsang, another Media Center MVP, won the big prize of the night, a Xbox 360 HD DVD Player. I must say, my brother has won way too many things through random draws for it to be statistically 'random'.

Here are some pictures from the event.

IMG_3348

IMG_3348

IMG_3348

IMG_3348

IMG_3348

IMG_3348

IMG_3348

IMG_3348

IMG_3348

When I took this picture of Gary, little did he know that that would soon be his Xbox 360 HD DVD Player.

To see the rest of the pictures, check out my X'06 Canada smartset over at Zooomr.

All in all, it was a fun event, even if I left without prizes. Thanks Microsoft and all the other companies that helped to make this event a success.


Technorati Tags:
, , ,

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

New WPA2 Update for Windows XP

Microsoft released a new update (KB917021) to enhance the Windows XP support for Wi-Fi Protected Access 2 (WPA2) options in Wireless Group Policy (WGP), and to help prevent the Windows wireless client from advertising the wireless networks in its preferred networks list. Download this update here.

Among the enhancements added by this software include the following:

  • WPA2 support in wireless Group Policy settings
  • Changes for nonbroadcast networks
  • Changes in parking behavior
  • Changes for ad hoc networks

This update supercedes the first WPA2 update found in KB893357.

For further information about this update, please take a look at its associated KB article (KB917021).


Technorati Tags:
, , , , ,

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

X'06 Canada - Xbox 360 Event hosted by Microsoft

On October 18, 2006, Microsoft will host the X'06 Canada event at an undisclosed location in downtown Toronto. Microsoft has dubbed this to be 'the Hottest Video Game Event of the Season'. Front and centre to this event will be the Xbox 360 and all its associated products, including Xbox Live, the Xbox Live Marketplace, Xbox 360 hardware (the Vision Camera and perhaps even the HD-DVD add-in) and Xbox 360 games. From the exclusive invitation that I received, the following is stated that:

You are up for one wild ride, X’06 promises to be the most exciting event to come north of the border yet. Get your hands on all those games on your pre-order list weeks before they will be available in stores. Meet industry visionaries and some of the most brilliant minds behind your beloved Xbox Live gameplay sessions. And connect all your favourite Xbox gamers in the flesh. We have a whack of good stuff in store for you.

At least one of the people attending will be Larry Hyrb, a.k.a. Major Nelson, the director of programming for Xbox Live. There are other Microsoft MVPs at this event as well. I'll have my camera, so hopefully I'll be able to take a few pictures at this event for all to see.


Technorati Tags:
, , ,

Monday, October 16, 2006

New GPS Receiver included with Streets & Trips 2007

Microsoft has announced the availability of Streets & Trips 2007 with GPS Locator.

The GPS Locator that is included with Streets & Trips 2007 is newer than the locator that was included with the 2005 and 2006 versions of Streets & Trips. Previous versions of Streets & Trips came with what is the equivalent of a Pharos iGPS-360 receiver, which is based on the SiRFstarIIe/LP chipset, while the latest version of Streets and Trips come with the equivalent of a Pharos iGPS-500 receiver based on the SiRFstarIII chipset.

There are a few immediate benefits with this change. The new GPS receiver is far more sensitive than the older model. The above Microsoft press release states the new receiver to be:

10 times more sensitive than the previous GPS locator and provides a strong signal whether the user is in the city or mountains

According to the chipset manufacturer, SiRF, this extra sensitivity makes real-time navigation practical, including in many indoor environments, through urban canyons, and under dense foliage. Unlike the lengthy sequential search process of traditional GPS architectures, the SiRFstarIII architecture, with the equivalent of more than 200,000 correlators, enables fast and deep GPS signal search capabilities, resulting in significant improvement over today’s architectures that contain a few hundred to a few thousand correlators.

Another immediate benefit that customers should notice immediately is the size difference between the old and new models. Here is a picture comparing the two.

Microsoft Streets & Trips 2007 with GPS Locator is available for an estimated retail price of $129 USD. See the Streets and Trips 2007 website for more information.


Technorati Tags:
, , ,

Thursday, October 05, 2006

Hope for us Planners!

A friend of mine forwarded the Ontario Job Futures link for Urban and Land Use Planners.

What are Urban and Land Use Planners?

Urban and land use planners design and develop plans, and recommend policies for managing the utilization of land, physical facilities and associated services for urban and rural areas and communities. They are employed by all levels of government, land developers, engineering and other consulting companies or may work as private consultants.

As a result, the following dutues may be performed by Urban and Land Use Planners:

  • Compile and analyse data on demographic, economic, legal, political, cultural, sociological, physical and other factors affecting land use;
  • Confer with municipal, provincial and federal authorities, civic leaders, social scientists, lawyers, land developers, the public and special interest groups to formulate and develop land use or community plans;
  • Prepare and recommend land development concepts and plans for zoning, subdivisions, transportation, public utilities, community facilities, parks, agricultural and other land uses;
  • Prepare plans for environmental protection, such as wildlife preserves, national and provincial parks, and protection of watersheds;
  • Present plans to civic, rural and regional authorities and hold public meetings to present plans, proposals or planning studies to the general public and special interest groups;
  • Review and evaluate proposals for land use and development plans and prepare recommendations;
  • Process applications for land development permits and administer land use plans and zoning by-laws;
  • Formulate long-range objectives and policies relative to future land use and the protection of the environment;
  • Supervise and co-ordinate work of urban planning technicians and technologists.

Employment prospects over the next five years are listed as "average", with growth forecasted to be as fast as the average for all occupations. Two out of every three urban and land use planners work in the public sector. However, there has been some mobility from the public sector to private firms in the development industry. Increasingly, urban planners work with computerized mapping systems, which require continuous skill upgrading.


Technorati Tags:
,