VW with Google Earth navigation demonstration

OK, I watched the video and it is impressive. The navigation seems much better than I would have thought, though the examples he showed I can already do on my wife’s Acura TL GPS navigation (well all except the satellite photos). But that brings me to a big stumbling block that I can’t figure out how they will address it. How do you handle the satellite images outside of big cities or where the images are completely out of date?

When visiting my wife’s parents, I know Google Earth has the roads around their ranch (near Austin, TX), but the imagery is horrible. You can barely make out their house on it let along the large tank out front. I’d hope one could turn off the satellite image so it doesn’t distract from the road data. Also what will they do with areas of fast growth such as Phoenix or Las Vegas? A friend has been in his house for almost 3 years and their house still isn’t showing up on the imagery. Sure you could overlay the vector roads (which at least on my wife’s Acura are current), but that would be very confusing to many people.

Something as simple as the little “Map”/”Satellite” buttons on Google Maps probably would solve the problem, but I’m wondering if this Google Earth Navigation tool is still to much of a distraction for drivers rather than the systems designed for such a purpose. Can’t fault VW for hooking up with Google on this though.

Google Earth Navigation

Developing vs Coding

VS.NET 2003I just wrote a small .NET application to display some database queries and I didn’t write one bit of code while doing it. I’m wondering how far we are from the “code behind” being hidden from the developer. Of course my little app didn’t do much so I was able to “avoid” having to jump into the back-end, but there seems to be a real movement toward developing applications using the WYSIWYG method rather than the old “notepad” method. ESRI demoed quite a bit of the .NET ADF where no code was written, but the results were as good as anything our little shop has created. It seems ever few years developers begin to wonder if they are working themselves out of a job, but I guess something new always comes along that requires us to dive into the code behind.

Of course I can always jump into Baseball Hacks and remember what using BBEdit (yea I do love BBEdit) is all about.

Not everyone uses .NET or Java

Looks like some ESRI developers aren’t sure where they fit within the new ESRI developer community.

…but those of us who are straight ArcObjects programmers for in-house applications didn’t have much choice. There were very few sessions geared to helping us RIGHT NOW, and I think that ESRI needs to understand that.

I’m sure not everyone has plans to migrate to .NET or Java in the next year so any new site should probably still cater to those who want to develop with VB, VBA or C++. At the very least there probably needs to be more migration examples and best practices to help those who want to move to .NET or Java. Like it or not, there are tons of VBA and VB6 applications being developed using ArcObjects and these folks can’t be ignored.

Avian flu map updated

Declan Butler has updated his avian flu map and made some changes. First he’s changed the KML to a network link so you don’t have to download any new files to see the weekly updates, second he’s refined the datasets to help better understand the outbreak (Human cases, Outbreaks in poultry, Gridded poultry density of the world, Bird breeding and overwintering distributions) and third he’s gone ahead and is now using ESRI ArcGIS with Arc2Earth to generate the Google Earth KML. What a great example of using ArcGIS for analysis and Google Earth for distribution.

Update – Brian Flood has a great writeup on how simple it is to use Arc2Earth to make very professional Google Earth presentations of your GIS analysis. It is also a great look at how complete Arc2Earth is with its Google Earth integration.

Avian Flu Outbreak

Handling AJAX timeouts gracefully

We’ve been struggling to figure out how to handle an AJAX application when one of its web services becomes unavailable. The problem at least for me was how to check with JavaScript to see if a web service is down. After hitting a roadblock with JavaScript, I found this post today on using Prototype to return a “network down” message if the web service is not available. Simple, clean and slick…

via Ajaxian

MapGuide Open Source Live Application Gallery

Want to see what the new MapGuide Open Source AJAX and DWF viewers look like? The Open Source Geospatial Foundation has a webpage with a couple examples for you to check out. Maybe Digg or Slashdot have linked to them because at least on my end they are pretty slow. I was talking about how ESRI could sell (or give away) the Web ADF so developers could use it in other applications, but maybe MapGuide Open Source could fit that bill also.

MapGuide Open Source AJAX Viewer