Planet GIS

March 13, 2006


New MapGuide Open Source Released

GISCafé shares the press release about Autodesk's announcement of MapGuide Open Source availability. From the PR: "It enables users to quickly develop and distribute spatial and design data over the web, as well as reduces their total cost of ownership for a web mapping solution. The company plans to offer a commercial version called Autodesk MapGuide Enterprise 2007 later this year. Moving forward, MapGuide Open Source will be an Open Source Geospatial Foundation project."

by Satri at March 13, 2006 01:45 PM

Demos of ArcGIS Explorer in Action

Spatially Adjusted linked to ESRI's demos of ArcGIS Explorer. ArcGIS Explorer is expected and the wait should be over soon. It will be interesting to see how the competition will evolve between ArcGIS Explorer, Google Earth, Windows Live, NASA Worldwind (including Punt) and the other contenders. I must admit, comments on Spatially Adjusted's story page are worthed. Very Spatial also has an interesting account of ArcGIS Explorer's demo at the AAG.

by Satri at March 13, 2006 12:33 PM

Mapping Hacks

Blatant Plug

Pre-order our book from Amazon through and we get an extra cut! Thanks for your support!

March 13, 2006 09:00 AM

grids for cartography and calculation

i recall talking years ago to paul at state51 about creating a free grid system, a free national or international reference system.

the British National Grid, as defined by the Ordnance Survey, is a transverse mercator projection. The convenience of this projection is that units of it correspond to distances in metres. The Geography::NationalGrid module for perl talks about a grid:

Conceptually each object represents a point on the ground, although you some grid systems may take that point to be a cor- ner of a defined area. E.g. a 6-figure OS National Grid reference may be thought of as the point at the south-west of a 100m by 100m square.

Tragically enough, as a city person who does not really visit the country i am not really familiar with the landranger-style larger-scale streetmaps; i am used to the bartholomews style streetmaps as in the A-Z, and A-Zs for other cities. I imagine people 'read off' the X and Y coordinates on their paper maps, and find this useful for bearings.

The A-Z has a different kind of grid system which works with its index, a street gazetteer contained in the back of the book, taking up almost half of it. Each street has one or more references to a page with a square - F4 or D6, etc. the letters run across the fold onto both pages.

With web mapping, we've rather lost the concept of pages, instead just having a pane, through which we can zoom and pan; the 'godseye' fantasy through a small window. When we can overlay markers and highlight features on screens, why do we need a grid system to help you reference between things in the map and things in the world?

A grid system does have other, more conceptual usefulness though. Looking at a map, and judging the length of a walk on a journey: "oh, it's only three squares on the A-Z, that's not too far", or the constrained walk, north to south within one square of the A-Z grid.

I wonder what features an ideal grid would have, how its segments would be measured. Whether inventing another Transverse Mercator based grid system just like the National Grid would have any point. How we could reproject this putative grid system and extend it to other areas...

March 13, 2006 09:00 AM

living with mapscript

Number one in a series of some: a perl mapscript recipe. The rough aim is to present more of these during the ascent of the mapserver learning curve.

March 13, 2006 09:00 AM

mapeditor from navsys

Since meeting on the openstreetmap list, we've been talking to the maintainer of navsys mapeditor on irc. From the mailing list:

due to the amount of requests, mapeditor now features a gpx loader (you don't even need to decompress the files)

grab it from cvs while it's hot

Hopefully, out of all the pieces being put in the pile on that mailing list, we'll have a really nice set of free mapping tools. A Locative Media Toolkit allowing you to do simple geoannotation of media and plotting on arbitrary maps, is approaching some sort of release; it definitely runs on Linux and Windows, and hopefully on Mac too.

March 13, 2006 09:00 AM

regeneration fatigue

There's a lot of talk, in this part of London, of various regeneration projects which will drastically alter the area. In the shorter term, they propose to have an "Olympic Park" which will replace a fairly run-down, light industrial part of Hackney Wick and Tower Hamlets.

I found this article, on how local businesses are being forced out of 'regenerated' areas, fascinating and pertinent reading.

Local merchants "are being priced out by the very inner city renaissance they are helping to create", it claims. In our area of Limehouse, local business has never really hada chance to rgenerate; vast estates of exciting modern wharf developments are bereft of even corner shops, even tesco metro; a residential ghetto punctuated by packs of joggers.

From New York, a correspondant writes of "New York's own Olympic Bid (and it sounds like on the upper west side and in queens it will be as devastating for the local working class population as in Hackney)". This is not so much a question of regeneration, as replacement.

The Masterplans for the replacement of this area promise a glittering future. We're planning a GPS and hoto annotate walk around the are soon, and try and build a better picture of the present reality...

March 13, 2006 09:00 AM


New ESRI Press Book Shows How to Use GIS to Think Globally, Act Regionally

Redlands, California—A new book from ESRI Press illustrates how to use spatial analysis as a tool to...

March 13, 2006 04:00 AM

Report on Geospatial Digital Rights Management Is Now Available

Denver, Colo. -- March 10, 2006 -- The GeoData Alliance announces publication of Geospatial Digital ...

March 13, 2006 04:00 AM

The Unofficial ArcBlog

Trackback Spam

So I get my first trackback today, and it's spam. For VOIP. Whoever did this must not realize that I am about the last person in the world to support VOIP. We have it at work, and I only have one thing to say about it: it SUCKS! Seriously. My office-mate & I's phones keep hanging up on people or only allow us to talk using speaker phone. The phones need to be constantly rebooted and the voice mail system is the slowest in the world. Not only that but it requires pressing two buttons for everything (76 to delete, how did they come up with that?). We long for rotary phones. Those never broke and certainly never required us to reboot our phones. I already do that enough with my computer.

by Marianne Cardwell at March 13, 2006 12:17 AM

March 12, 2006


First Images from Goodrich Optical System on Japan's Advanced Earth Remote Sensing Satellite

CHARLOTTE, N.C., March 9 - The Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) has released the first imag...

March 12, 2006 04:00 AM

Demand from Consumers and the Security Industry Will Hasten Civilian Adoption of GPS

Demand from Consumers and the Security Industry Will Hasten Civilian Adoption of GPS and Other Track...

March 12, 2006 04:00 AM

March 11, 2006


USDA Agriculture Site Map Functionalities

Jeff Thurston at Vector One shares his impressions of the make over of the USDA Agriculture Statistics Mapping Site. He says: "I found this site easy to use, speedy and containing a wealth of information and data. The latest agriculture statistics are for 2002 (I am not sure how often USDA updates their statistics). The site is worth a look if you are interested in US agricultural information."

by dct at March 11, 2006 05:12 PM

Solar Storm Disrupt GPS

GeoCarta writes: "The next solar storm cycle should be significantly stronger than the current one, which may mean problems for power grids and GPS systems and other satellite-enabled technology, scientists announced today. In a report in the National Geographic News, scientists say that the next 11-year cycle of solar storms could start as early as this year or as late as 2008 and should peak around 2012."

by dct at March 11, 2006 03:08 PM

Hollywood Star Mapping

Cartography has a story of the mapping of Hollywood Stars. From the post: "Classic cartography it might not be, but these maps to the residences of Hollywood stars sell. One star map maker sells 10,000 maps a year, a map that is regularly updated to reflect who’s hot and who’s not. The New York Times has a lengthy story on the making and selling of these star maps."

by dct at March 11, 2006 01:28 PM

March 10, 2006

Mapping Hacks

Translation is a challenge

Anselm Hook wrote several hacks for both Mapping Hacks and Google Maps Hacks. He just got an email of note:

Dear Sirs,

I am one of the translators of Google Maps Hacks by Gibson & Erie (O'Reilly) and now translating Credits into Japanese.

Would you please help me by telling how I should interpret "reformed game developer" and "social cartographer" of the following?

Anselm Hook is a reformed games developer and social cartographer. He's currently leading the engineering team.

Thank you in advance. And I am waiting for your reply.

Aside from the fun fact that I didn't know we were being translated into japanese (and I wonder how the phrase 'reality is a commodity like any other' will translate), this is amusing...

Being a nice guy, Andy suggested some alternatives

Anselm used to write games but now is doing something much more interesting and intends to change the real world, not just worlds inside of computers.


Anselm wants to go travelling and hiking in Japan, if you have tatami mat that he can sleep on when visiting japan please send him email right away!
I am not sure how he expects to get a reply without an address, so for all of you it is

March 10, 2006 09:00 PM


Guardian Attacks UK Data Practices

MJuvrud writes "A detailed and pointed article in the Guardian is making a big stink over the way the UK tightly controls access to public GIS data (ie. everyone pays big for publicly funded data). The paper is launching a campaign call "Free Our Data", against the current policies."

by Satri at March 10, 2006 07:35 PM

Mapping Hacks

Open Geodata Newsburst

I'm always thrilled to see mainstream coverage of open geodata issues, and yesterday's article in the Guardian, Give us back our crown jewels, is a good read. It talks a lot about the Ordnance Survey's holdings of geographic data being held back from the public via the archaic mechanism of Crown Copyright.

The article quotes a couple of the same research studies that are being used as support material for the Public Geodata campaign to raise awareness of what's wrong with the INSPIRE Directive on european spatial data infrastructure, which in its current form threatens to entrench the short-termist monopoly pricing policy over geographic information collected by the public sector. The Guardian article points at the classic Peter Weiss paper, Borders in Cyberspace, comparing the positive economic effects of US policy of providing free or very low cost access to public data to the public, to the more protectionist European policy.

It's great to see more agitation against Crown Copyright and the way it is used to guarantee short-term profit at the expense of future economic value, coming from different sources. The open geodata scene in the UK is making a lot of noise, and projects that have originated there quickly gather a lot of pan-European traction. The publicgeodata petition provides an interesting overview of which European states' citizens are really hurting as a result of proprietary, copyright oriented policies over public geographic data; a lot of signatories based in Italy, in Spain and in Germany. In order to convince MEPs that state collected geodata is public property, and that it can create exponentially more economic and social value if provided openly, than when restricted by a monopoly pricing and licensing policy, we need to get more pan-European signups, and to get more people writing to their MEPs, explaining the strong arguments in favour of open geodata policy.

Back in the UK, Steve Coast of openstreetmap recently started an open geodata blog where he's writing about efforts to build open licensed geographic data from the ground up, a crucial parallel effort to lobbying our representatives who are working from the top down. New web-based technologies that allow citizens and enterprises to contribute to the maintenance of national mapping data are just starting to look viable; the efforts can meet in the middle, producing more accurate, more meaningful, more timely and accessible data for everyone. It would be a rosy picture, if the INSPIRE directive wasn't threatening to entrench a monopoly pricing and data access restriction policy from such a great height.

March 10, 2006 06:00 PM


Green Maps

Geoblog writes: "The Green Map System (GMS) is a locally adaptable, globally shared framework for environmental mapmaking. It invites design teams of all ages and backgrounds to illuminate the connections between natural and human environments by mapping their local urban or rural community. Using GMS's shared visual language --a collaboratively designed set of Icons representing the different kinds of green sites and cultural resources --Mapmakers are independently producing unique, regionally flavored images that fulfill local needs, yet are globally connected."

by dct at March 10, 2006 05:35 PM


Intelligent Addressing up to full strength

London, March 2006 – Two more personnel have recently joined the Intelligent Addressing Team as part...

March 10, 2006 05:00 PM

GeoDecisions to Present GIS Topics at GIS-T Symposium

(March 10, 2006/Harrisburg, Pa.) GeoDecisions, an award-winning leader in the information technology...

March 10, 2006 05:00 PM


People, Science and Data: the OBIS-SEAMAP Project

Ogle Earth runs a story on the OBIS-SEAMAP project initiative to provide the general public with spatially referenced information. From the story: "OBIS-SEAMAP is not the only project of this kind that endeavors to just dump the data and see what the public does with it — A whale shark was tracked live last summer, and the Global Biodiversity Information Facility exposes its database to Google Earth as well. I hope this amounts to the leading edge of a trend, one that shows off scientists as open, collaborative people, deserving of public support." Reference: Connotea

by dct at March 10, 2006 04:34 PM

GPS Built In: Smart Clothing

All Points Blog has a story on Interactive Ware AG offer of smart clothing. From the story: "In this way – together with our technology partners – we optimize, for instance, sensors, keypads, MP3 players, video cameras, GPS systems, speakers, microphones, power supplies and many other components to meet the special requirements of textile integration." For those interested in smart fabric/clothing more can be read here, here, here, here and here. Though it may not be of interest for most of us, applications for people living with some disability (e.g. Alzheimer's disease) may be interesting.

by dct at March 10, 2006 03:15 PM

Road Maps in India: Bangalore, Delhi and Mumbai

An anonymous voxel writes "Interactive Map based on GoogleAPI is created for India by eGovernments Foundation, Bangalore. Maps can be viewed at .The site contain road maps for Bangalore, Mumbai and Delhi with driving directions and location searching capabilities."

by Satri at March 10, 2006 01:55 PM


A Virtual Tour of the Hayward Fault including information viewable using the Google Earth

The U.S. Geological Survey has a new website that offers a virtual tour of the Hayward fault....

March 10, 2006 06:00 AM

Geospatial news from Ames, Iowa

OSGeo Communication Overload

As a participant in the bootstrapping of OSGeo, I offer some of my observations about communication overload in the process.

by hobu at March 10, 2006 02:40 AM

March 09, 2006


IAEGS students attend 1st Google Workshop for Women Engineers

Two Grad Students Attend First Google Workshop for Women Engineers...

March 09, 2006 11:00 PM

import cartography

Sprint Day 2

The second day of our code sprint has been going well. I'll write more about the technical details later, all I can manage now is to show some pictures and introduce our hosts. [more ...]

by Sean at March 09, 2006 09:40 PM

March 08, 2006

import cartography

Sprint Day 1

Kai arrived yesterday afternoon, and we spent some time on strategery, but today was the first full day of programming. [more ...]

by Sean at March 08, 2006 11:19 PM

The Unofficial ArcBlog

Not Much to Say

I really don't have much to say. Work is a little boring right now. I can only work on the VB6 to VB.NET conversion so many hours a week, and the other stuff I'm working on isn't really keeping my attention. And I can't really talk about it anyway (which is probably a good thing for all of you since I'd just be venting).

Oh, I did have to use IGeometryBridge for the first time this week (thanks to Brian Flood for pointing this out a little while back). It took me a little while before I figured out I had to use it (I was trying to get IPointCollection::ReplacePoints to work, it wasn't), but without Brian's comment it probably would have taken me much longer. I just wish the ArcObjects .NET help would say in the IPointCollection::ReplacePoints help entry that you should use IGeometryBridge::ReplacePoints. But I guess that's asking for too much. Otherwise, not much else. I need to remember to call the garbage collector whenever I use a IFeatureCursor. I was debugging this code this morning and it kept erroring out. I had added GC.Collect, just not in the right place. Argh! I eventually figured that one out too.

I really sound bitter lately. I'm gonna have to change my attitude!

by Marianne Cardwell at March 08, 2006 01:47 AM