Adding touch control to OpenLayers

whit has written a blog post on what he’s been working on getting OpenLayers to work with Mobile Safari on the iPhone (and iTouch).

A major part of my recent investigations for mobile and opengeo have focused on getting OpenLayers to do a basic version of it’s thing on the iphone.? I’ve had limited success, but maybe these demos will help someone else get a little further or perhaps help crystallize a more effective approach than mine, since I’m pretty green with OL.

He’s also created a couple demos for the iPhone/iTouch using some of the touch controls. The bottom line is that moving from mouse control to finger touch is as hard as you’d expect. I think it is great to see OpenLayers take on this effort because being able to move mapping to mobile devices will be key with the iPhone and Android taking off here in the next year.

OpenLayers iPhone Support

I come to praise the Web ADF, not to bury it

I was just talking to someone today about web applications for ArcGIS Server 9.3 and they were surprised that I was using the Web ADF to create an application after my post earlier this week on the JavaScript API. I feel like I need to clarify some things about that post. It wasn’t so much a?desertion of the Web ADF, but point that one should be looking toward the JavaScript API (and I suppose the Flex API) for most mapping situation and use the Web ADF (Java and .NET) when it best makes sense. I’m using the Web ADF on this project because the requirements of the end user is best met with the Web ADF. The great thing about the JavaScript API, the Flex API, the .NET Web ADF, the Java Web ADF and even the JavaScript extenders for the JavaScript API is that they all can be called on if needed. Of course the Web ADF does have licensing issues that ESRI needs to address that limit its appeal even when it is the best choice for the solution.

ESRI has given their developers choices that we aren’t accustom to and in turn ESRI developers should be looking at the choices when making a decision of what SDK to use. Also just because you use the JavaScript API or the Flex API doesn’t mean you’ll end up with a great application. So much more goes into it and there isn’t any reason why the Java Web ADF can’t give you a great application anymore than the Flex API can.

Et tu, James?

Et tu, James?

MapQuest for iPhone — Interesting if there is an API

I see that MapQuest now has an optimized iPhone site (HT APB) for all those people who still use MapQuest (though I’d guess most iPhone users would just assume use the built in Google Maps app). Since MapQuest is not using the iPhone App SDK I wonder if there is an API available for developers to create iPhone mapping applications using the MapQuest API for the iPhone? MapQuest’s API has been hit hard by Google and Microsoft and I would think a smartphone API (Android and iPhone both use WebKit) would help them get out of their niche.

Damn! We’re in a tight spot!

Damn! Were in a tight spot!

The ESRI Flex API vs the JavaScript API

OK, I’ll come clean. While Flex is a great tool, I can’t see how you’d not use the JavaScript API instead. Flex is still not available on every platform (I’m an iPhone elitist) and isn’t easily picked up by everyone. But more than one person said in last weeks thread on the JavaScript API that Flex was the way they are going. I’m curious is there a rising groundswell in Flex or are ESRI developers just an outlier to the overarching movement toward JavaScript?? FlexBuilder 3 is at least $250 (Pro is almost $700) and I just can’t see people bothering to buy an

What part of the Flex API makes you choose it over the JavaScript API?? If people are willing to block Flash, don’t you limit your marketplace by going that route over JavaScript?

Flex…..Savior of the Universe

Flex.....Savior of the Universe

2009 ESRI User Conference Abstract Submission Deadline Extended

If you were like me today and were working hard at getting your abstract in this is probably not too much of a big deal to you, but if you were unable to get your submission done, you’ll have some extra time to get those ducks in a row for your 2009 abstract submission.

Professionals across industries and with all levels of GIS experience are encouraged to submit an abstract for possible presentation at the 2009 gathering. The deadline for submissions has been extended to November 14, 2008.

You still have time to get that submission in!

You still have time to get that submission in!

The ESRI WebADF and the ArcGIS JavaScript API

I find it interesting that most work I’m seeing these days is with the JavaScript API that ESRI released at ArcGIS 9.3. I assumed a couple months ago that people would really be looking at moving off of the WebADF (.NET or Java) for the JavaScript API and it appears that this trend is beginning to happen. Now before you think that I’m really sticking a fork in the WebADF, think again. The WebADF will continue to grow and be used where it makes sense, but probably not as the “default” mapping front end for ESRI web servers. The simplicity of the JavaScript API and the way it works, makes the classic WebADF and HTML viewers obsolete for most users (I’m still waiting to see what ESRI does with Silverlight, but that discussion is for another day).

Also, coupled with the JavaScript Extenders for Google Maps and Virtual Earth, there is probably very good reasons to be looking this way instead of deploying the WebADF. I’ve also seen people abandoning third party “helpers” for the WebADF such as Geocortex Essentials (I guess we’ll see JavaScript API tools from these companies soon, eh?) to move back to simpler JavaScript front ends. There are times and places for .NET or Java server solutions, but what the JavaScript API has done is allow ESRI customers and implementors to go with a more lightweight solution and in turn brings them to more cutting edge RESTful and JavaScript technologies that can be leveraged outside of the ESRI silo.

I’ve really started to try and point my clients (and anyone else who asks) away from the Java and .NET WebADF and toward the lightweight ESRI JavaScript API. Everyone who has moved in that direction has really been satisfied and given the 9.2 release of ArcGIS Server, that is really turning things around.

James seems to be pushing ArcGIS Server again

James seems to be pushing ArcGIS Server again

GeoCommons Maker! – the next day

Well kudos for FortiusOne for getting the word out on Maker! especially since the launch was delayed from the original PR blitz. As with most GeoBloggers, I’ve had access to Maker! since last week and have really been impress with its output. Sean has been teasing us for months it seems with the cartographic output of Maker! in his blog posts, so I was glad to finally get my? hands on Maker!. (side note, do you put a period after a product name that ends in a punctuation mark?)

Maker! is the map production portion of GeoCommons and Finder! is the search engine for geospatial data. Together they allow users to create web maps that can be shared with the world. So to get information in Maker!, you first upload your data to Finder! and then add it to your map. The byproduct of this workflow is more data gets added to Finder! and in turn more data is available to the community at large. Freely sharing data is one the core components of GeoCommons (compared to WeoGeo which is more of a marketplace).

Stefan Geens does a good job of showing how the map is created and how you set what we usually refer to the symbology of layers. What I like about this approach is you can bring to light the data in ways that before Maker!, required custom programming to achieve good looking results (if even possible). FortiusOne, according to Sean, worked with cartographic professionals to create the rich (I’m sorry) map production tools. These tools are so good in fact that I’ve heard a couple GIS professionals lament that they’ll be out of a job soon (of course we all know that Maker! will only increase our workloads to produce data for public consumption). What we have here are two really simple tools that allow anyone to upload geospatial content, combine that information with other datasets and then create a wonderful looking map that visually tells a story.

You can argue all day and night about what the GeoWeb is or isn’t, but I think we have an excellent example of what the GeoWeb should be right here. Finder! has discoverable web services of data (with metadata to boot) and Maker! allows you to leverage those services together to create derivative value content to share with the world. Moving forward, the data of GeoCommons should support more OGC services (beyond KML) for those who need that support and the maps created with Maker! should be more easily shared beyond just an web map. But the groundwork is there for sharing data with the world.

Despite the lack of monkey maps, the GeoMonkey approves of Maker!

Despite the lack of monkey maps, the GeoMonkey approves of Maker!

Amazon brings Windows (and SQL Server) to the cloud

The Amazon Web Services Blog says that Amazon will be bringing Microsoft Windows to EC2 this fall.

The 32 and 64 bit versions of Windows Server will be available and will be able to use all existing EC2 features such as Elastic IP Addresses, Availability Zones, and the Elastic Block Store. You’ll be able to call any of the other Amazon Web Services from your application. You will, for example, be able to use the Amazon Simple Queue Service to glue cross-platform applications together.

This is on the heels of the Oracle/Amazon EC2 release from a couple weeks ago. Now that the tools are here, we’ll have to see how well they are adopted by corporate IT administrators who aren’t always open to giving up control of their servers to others.

Mr. Gates saw the value of the cloud early on

Mr. Gates saw the value of the cloud early on