Lost GPS?

I know I packed my GPS unit when I moved to the new house, but for the life of me I can’t find it anywhere. The family is going out camping this weekend for Labor Day near Jerome, AZ and I really need it. Guess I’m heading out tonight to buy a new GPS unit. It is probably for the best as I never liked that old Magellan unit I had.

Have a great Labor Day weekend folks!

MapsForUs.org to the rescue

All U.S. Americans took it on the chin when Miss South Carolina tried to answer a question about U.S. American’s mapping abilities, but a new website has stepped in to being U.S. American’s children the maps they need.

The children of the US America are in deep trouble. Because some people out there don’t have maps. Such as South Africa. Therefore, you must email us maps to make it better. EMAIL: maps AT mapsforus.org. Our views of Attack of the Show’s webpage will encourage our children to believe that there is a future outside of Asia. A future with maps. And such. South Africa.

The comments section is wonderful and this type of grassroots effort might actually help U.S. American’s mapping deficiencies.

The website is back up!

Update: No sooner than I post this, but the website has gone down. The Google cache gives you a little insight into what you are missing.

At least Miss South Carolina did with with Matt Lauer asking the questions.

Manifold Release 8.00 is available to purchase

Well there you go, Manifold continues to push the envelope on their product. A couple folks have emailed me the news that Release 8.00 is available for sale (no demo available) on their website. I see lots of references to speed and spatial database connectivity in that press prerelease and to be honest I think that is a great thing to focus on in 2007. Tucked down low is something that might get a few ArcGIS Desktop users to add Manifold to their workflow, ESRI Geodatabase support:

Spatial DBMS support for ESRI SDE geodatabases and ESRI Personal geodatabases – Manifold can now connect to SDE (also known as “ArcGIS”) data stores using any DBMS supported by ESRI or to so-called “Personal” geodatabases, most frequently encountered within Access .mdb files. Manifold can import drawings from such geodatabases or link to drawings for read/write/edit dynamic compatibility with such linked drawings to add/delete/edit objects in such drawings, even changing their assigned projections.

Some other “highlights” that caught my eye were NVIDIA CUDA support (about time someone took advantage of video card support), Spatial DBMS support for Microsoft SQL Server 2008 Spatial and PostgreSQL, IronPython scripting (would have liked to see “regular” Python support, but this is still welcomed) and User Interface Scripting (kinda makes me think back to how folks used the old ArcView 3.x). I’m sure we’ll see some more as the Manifold users start blogging about how it all works, but this is a pretty smart upgrade for those who use Manifold. Compatibility with ESRI geodatabase is huge in my opinion as it will allow companies that have invested greatly in ArcSDE to use Manifold without having to export out to shapefiles first.

ESRI Data & Maps and StreetMap USA 2007 Data Update

ESRI has a web page set up where users of ArcGIS can request a 2007 update to Data & Maps and StreetMap USA. The update DVDs include updates to more than 80 datasets and all of the U.S. Tele Atlas and European basemap data. Also included is StreetMap Pro which provides 2003 Tele Atlas streets from North America. You’ll need to have your maintenance paid up to get the update, but it is free.

I filled out this form late last week and received the update a couple days ago.

How Popular is SharpMap?

I had a reader email me asking about SharpMap asking how “viable” it is? Well that is always a hard question to answer, but if you look over on CodePlex, SharpMap is the third most popular project. I know a few people who are developing with SharpMap and many more that are actively looking toward doing so. I’d say if you are looking for a lightweight library for mapping using .NET, SharpMap is probably one of the best choices out there.

**Update – **check out Bill Dollins’ post on SharpMap’s viability.

What is important about ArcGIS Explorer Build 410

Keith Fraley says:

I really think there are two notable points with this release, that aren’t prehaps getting that much attention in the blogosphere

You know what, he’s got a great point. Subsurface navigation is a huge deal because that is one of the biggest complaints I’ve heard about Google Earth from some clients. Of course keep in mind that ArcGIS Explorer doesn’t have anything subsurface to look at by default so you’ll need to get some data layers to play with to actually see something other than blue once you go underground.

Going a different direction

We’ve implemented more ArcIMS sites than I can recall over the past few years. The chief developer on my team has probably as much AXL experience as anyone I know. But times change and clients have different expectations than they did in 1999 or even 2006.

The Oracle
“Because you didn’t come here to make the choice, you’ve already made it. You’re here to try to understand why you made it.”

On one our latest projects, we are developing a site using SharePoint and what would have been ArcIMS. The difficulty we’ve had getting the WebADF to work the way we want has put a damper on our excitement that we had when it first showed up. It is just way too difficult for the “simple” and “quick” development that we have to do. Plus, as nice as the WebADF is, clients still are expecting a Google Maps type interface and the WebADF is not that (nor does it try to be). With the new licensing of Virtual Earth, we’ve decided that MapDotNet Server 2007 connecting to ArcSDE is the way to go. The front end will be based on Virtual Earth so folks will feel comfortable with the interface (it seems every ArcIMS web mapping site is different and that causes usability issues) and they’ll be able to work with the data rather than fighting the interface.

Now this isn’t to say that we are abandoning ESRI server products because that isn’t the case. We will continue to develop ArcIMS sites for clients who want them (I still say it makes sense to leverage existing licenses of ArcIMS or move over to ArcGIS Server Standard) than dump all that work and start new and ArcGIS Server applications for clients whose requirements need Geoprocessing. But for quick and simple web mapping I think MapDotNet and Virtual Earth will be the killer combination for ESRI .NET developers who are already familiar with the tools. The simple fact that folks won’t have to abandon any of their existing ESRI servers (ArcSDE is still there) and desktop clients, the ease of which we can develop applications and the speed of MapDotNet will give our clients that quick, easy to use, great looking web mapping tool that they have been clamoring for.

Maybe the ESRI REST API will change things for us (I wasn’t at the 2007 UC so I have no idea how it looks or works), but for now we are going in this direction. We’ll see what the 2008 Developer Summit brings for the REST API and rapid development of ESRI web mapping applications.

I find it interesting to see another ESRI developer look outside the ESRI stable for a replacement to MapObjects. There was some concern among many developers at the 2007 Dev Summit that ESRI was abandoning the smaller developers and focusing on enterprise level GIS tools. Steve, who posted on his blog about .NET SIG at the Developer Summit wrote:

Damian [Spangrud] talking ‘ discussion about pricing ‘ tension between large enterprise customers who expect it to cost more and smaller shops that think it is too much (like me).

That just scares me working with ESRI server software. I feel like I’m being priced out of the marketplace with their new tools. The days of writing simple and cheap Avenue or MapObjects application are over. Now you need superstars who know ArcObjects in and out and clients where price is no option. Maybe the RESI API will change this (or maybe not), but if you look around there are tons of tools available for you to use that won’t mess with your workflows and might just allow you to improve you output without spending tens of thousands of dollars.

So we’ll see where this all leads. We still may decide that MapDotNet isn’t for us and go back to trying to figure out the WebADF and its task framework.