Using Google Earth as an Emergency Response Viewer

Google EarthTim Beermann, a blogger working for CH2MHill at the US Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs writes about how he’s using Google Earth to as a viewer during emergencies. He’s taken an existing application and enabled it to send information to Google Earth clients.

My first test on the system used CH2M HILL’s iCIT emergency management application. As iCIT managed the application, the GE extension would publish the data for viewing in a command center in GE. The KML files were securely sent to the GE client machine using a secure Instant Messenger type of technology. Once the files were update on the client machine, a web service was used to reload the altered file in Google Earth.

The results are impressive and I can imagine very useful to the Academy. It is so easy to visualize in tools like Google Earth and using ArcGIS on the backend just enables Google Earth to be so much more valuable.

Help clean up ArcScripts

Looks like ESRI is trying to get a handle on the ArcScripts disaster.

ArcScripts is intended for the free exchange of scripts and tools related to ESRI software products. Please alert the moderator if this script is a demo, trial-version, or an advertisement for a retail product.

Get cracking and remove all those commercial ArcScripts.

**Update – ** Brian Goldin has an insider’s update to the status of ArcScripts. I’m glad to hear about the plans for the future of ArcScripts. Many of us programmers have talked about somethink along the lines of GotDotNet or The Code Project (I prefer The Code Project), but you do worry about overkill for something like this.

ArcScripts Alert

Boy my son really got me sick today. I finally was able to crawl out of bed at 4pm. I’m not a trooper about being sick so I probably need to go out and buy some flowers for my wife.

Cartography and ArcMap

Right out of ArcMapMost of our work in my office is related to facility planning for the U.S. Navy. Years ago, one of the first things we’d try and get when we started a project was General Development Maps (GDM) for the installation which were usually in CAD and usually tiled. We’d usually have to develop GIS from this CAD and it was much work anyone who’s ever had to import hundreds of CAD layers into SDSFIE can attest to. As time has gone on, more of these installations have invested in their GIS and now have some great looking datasets for us to use with our projects.

What I have noticed lately is the quality of the mapping from our clients. These “basemaps” replace the old GDM maps that were used in the past (or NIMA) and they look very professional. What is even more amazing is that they are done without any of the old tricks we had to use in the past (export to Illustrator, etc). I also think we are at the cusp of a cartography revolution with the new cartographic features of ArcGIS Desktop 9.2 (I blogged about them back at the UC). I’m looking forward to see what maps are produced using the new powerful cartography tools.

While there is a great resource for Cartographers on the web, there isn’t much on the ESRI site. Maybe if the ArcScripts gets cleaned up and organized better, we’ll be able to find more nuggets on the site. What would be really good is if there could be the equivalent to EDN for cartographers on the ESRI site. I think the trend is to have more communities out there rather than one big support site. I mean wouldn’t it be cool to see a Geoprocessing community go up, rather than the static download page that is currently up?

Changes to Planet Geospatial

RSS FeedsI’ve been letting Planet Geospatial (PGS) sit for the past month just to see how its doing. There was an issue with some WordPress blogs not showing up, but that seems to have passed and everything is smooth. One issue I’ve started to notice is that there are way too many blogs in it. This is probably a good thing as it proves that the Geospatial blogging community has grown to the point that moderation is required.

I’ve been clearing out blogs that don’t post so all the ones in there right have have at least one post in the past month (or are important enough to be included for other reasons). There are 75 blogs in the aggregator right now and I’d like to cut that in half (I think too much noise hurts the value of PGS).

Without going into specifics, what blogs do you guys think should be included and which ones might be best left off? You don’t need to point to a specific blog that should or shouldn’t be included, but I’d like to know what makes PGS valuable to you.

GIS in your pocket

Give me a GIS on a USB Memory StickNow that USB flash memory drives are so large and so cheap, we can start running programs off of them. We’ve seen that you can run Firefox and Thunderbird (among many others) on these drives, but many don’t know you can also run desktop GIS software on it. Head over to QGIS, download the latest version and install it. Then navigate to the QGIS folder (on windows this would be c:/Program Files/Quantum GIS) and copy it to your flash drive (You’ll need about 80 MB free). Anytime you need GIS, you’ll only have to whip out your memory stick and plug it in. Then just browse for the “qgis.exe” and you’ll be set.

Start Registering for Where 2.0

Where 2.0Looks like the Where 2.0 Conference is open for registration. The early bird price is quite a discount over the “normal” price so you probably won’t want to procrastinate too much if you want to go. If you look at the graphic on the left side of the page, you can just make out the word “ESRI”. Good to see ESRI get some press at this conference. I’m sure we’ll see plenty of Flash/SVG mapping which I’m really begin to see gain traction in this space.

It’s that time of year again

Baseball Hacks CoverIt wouldn’t be February in Tempe unless we knew Spring Training and the Cactus League was starting up. In the spirit of the season, I walked down to the local Borders bookstore to take a look at the new Baseball Hacks book from O’Reilly. I just can’t get enough baseball stats and this book really gets into it with MySQL and even Perl examples. One part that is missing is mapping. I thumbed through the index looking for any examples and all I found were two references to Google Maps and Google Earth on how to get pictures of your favorite stadiums out of both. I ended up not buying it, but I’ll probably head back down later this week and pick it up after I find any Borders or Barnes & Noble coupons. OK, someone just burnt popcorn in our office and I can’t stand the smell. I took the opportunity to go out and buy a copy of Baseball Hacks. 🙂

Still I wish I had some time because I think this would be a great opportunity to try out some of the new web mapping APIs out there, specifically the new Yahoo! Maps beta or most likely ArcWeb 2006. I’d love to plot baseball statistics on a map and I have been looking for a reason to get involved with ArcWeb 2006.

SharpMap 0.9 Beta 1 Released

SharpMap 0.9 beta 1 is out and available to download. The SharpMap engine is written in C# on the .NET 2.0 framework and is released under the GNU Lesser General Public License. I’ve looked at SharpMap before, but I’ve never really had any opportunity to really play with it as I wasn’t running .NET 2.0 yet (I had my reasons). Anyway, now that I am using .NET 2.0, I will probably give SharpMap a shot and see what it can do for us. Check out the forums to catch up on SharpMap or read Morten Nielsen’s article on The Code Project about how to create a ASP.NET 2.0 map yourself. I’m always glad to see some great .NET solutions to mapping out there.