GDAL/OGR 1.7.0 Released

Good news from the gdal-announce email list:

The GDAL/OGR Project is pleased to announce the release of GDAL/OGR 1.7.0.

Yep, you can stop there and get your GDAL/OGR on. Or maybe you want to know what is new, copied directly from Frank’s email:

  • New Raster Drivers: BAG, EPSILON, Northwood/VerticalMapper, R, Rasterlite, SAGA GIS Binary, SRP (USRP/ASRP), EarthWatch .TIL, WKT Raster
  • GDAL PCIDSK driver using the new PCIDSK SDK by default
  • New Vector drivers : DXF, GeoRSS, GTM, PCIDSK and VFK
  • New utilities: gdaldem, gdalbuildvrt now compiled by default
  • Add support for Python 3.X. Compatibility with Python 2.X preserved
  • Remove old-generation Python bindings.
  • Significantly improved raster drivers: GeoRaster, GeoTIFF, HFA, JPEG2000 JasPer, JPEG2000 Kakadu, NITF
  • Significantly improved vector drivers: CSV, KML, SQLite/SpataiLite, VRT

I did a little highlighting up there to list what I think is noteworthy at least for me. You can either build it yourself or keep an eye out for an update of FWTools.


Rolling Your Mapping Apps on the iPad (or the iPhone)

One thing that has become crystal clear is the preferred method of having a mapping application on the iPhone and by extension the new iPad is to create a native iPhone/iPad app. That said, the noise sometimes causes people to miss some great web mapping app (as native web apps). I’ve looked into using SVG and even OpenLayers in the past for mapping in the iPhone, but who is rolling their own web apps out there to accomplish what until 2 years ago required a browser on a laptop or desktop? I know there will most likely be a session at the ESRI DevSummit using OpenLayers, but is there a framework people are working with?

Can anyone find me some mobile web mapping applications to love?


Government Open Data Updates

Despite some speed humps, many cities and governments are going full speed ahead with opening their data. One of the biggest is the City of Vancouver’s Open Data Catalogue (note the copy and paste spelling of catalog, those wacky Canadians). Well they’ve launched a new update that simplifies the process of navigating the data. Every time I stop by I see more and more data available in more formats. I think the city should be commended for their embracing open data sharing with citizens.

The other open data update is the website. The search is less than useful as you can’t perform advanced searches. Sean Gorman did a quick look and didn’t find any specific geo datasets, but I’m sure we’ll start seeing them. One thing that didn’t surprise me was the presence of SPARQL. Why would put such an annoying query language front and center is beyond me. But with Sir Tim Berners-Lee as and advisor I can only imagine that he pushed hard for its placement. (note I’m not a big fan of RDF so take that as you will). Still it is good to see the UK start working hard at sharing public data with everyone.

I wasn’t in Britain for the announcement of, but I can only imagine it went something like this….


Voting is Open for the 2010 DevSummit User Presentations

One big change from the 2009 ESRI DevSummit is that users will now vote on which presentations they wish to see at the 2010 DevSummit. Go here to pick which ones you think would be valuable to the community. Normally I wouldn’t promote a talk myself (and I’m not giving one this year), but I think “Ruby-fu: Using ArcGIS Server with Rails” by Dave Bouwman is something people should be voting for. Ruby is here to stay and there are many of us working on projects that use Rails at the backend. ESRI of course already has a wonderful API to use with Rails so there is no excuse not to look at a quicker, more robust framework.

Oh, Ruby!


Safe FME 2010

So yea I’m a little late with this as I’ve been really busy this week. Still I wanted to get out the word (assuming that you pay zero attention elsewhere) that Safe has released FME 2010. Now I’ve got no scientific data to back this up, but I’ve imagined that they were done with FME 2010 for a couple weeks now, but had to wait until the new year arrived before they could release it officially. I of course can understand given they probably had everything printed up beforehand and who wants to be they guy telling the accountants that they have to reprint all their material because they wanted to release in 2009.

Or maybe not…

OK so some really great things in 2010 that I’m looking forward to using in production is the improved metadata support and of course the engine that drives WeoGeo, FME Server. Oh Canada!

We hope you enjoy the beer, oh, like I mean the ETL, eh.


Community Geospatial Links to Haiti – Updated

USGS Shake Map for Haiti

Update Monday Jan 18th: Another update in an attempt to keep the links valid.

Update Friday Jan 15th: The team has gone back and updated some of the mapping links so check them out at the bottom of this post. Dead links have been removed and new ones added. Keep in mind much of this is fluid so sorry if the links don’t work when you try them out.

On Tuesday, January 12 a 7.0 magnitude earthquake struck about 10 miles southwest of the capital of Port-au-Prince, Haiti. The earthquake was the worst in the region in more than 200 years. With many poor residents living in tin-roof shacks that sit precariously on steep ravines and with much of the construction in Port-au-Prince and elsewhere in the country of questionable quality, the expectation was that the quake caused major damage to buildings and significant loss of life, according to The New York Times.

Many companies are using this disaster to showcase their products and I think we need to try and share this open data outside of these silos. Content below is organized by section:

  • Quick facts about Haiti
  • Haiti – Related Links
    • US Government
    • Non-Profit, Non-Governmental Organizations
    • New Media – Social Networking Sites
  • GIS – Data – Maps – Geospatial Information – GeoRSS
  • GIS Volunteers & Humanitarian Volunteer Sites

Quick facts about Haiti

On Tuesday, January 12 a 7.0 magnitude earthquake struck about 10 miles southwest of the capital of Port-au-Prince, Haiti. The earthquake was the worst in the region in more than 200 years. With many poor residents living in tin-roof shacks that sit precariously on steep ravines and with much of the construction in Port-au-Prince and elsewhere in the country of questionable quality, the expectation was that the quake caused major damage to buildings and significant loss of life, according to The New York Times.

Quick facts about Haiti Population: 9, 035,536 Languages: French and Creole Economy: Haiti is the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere with 80% of the population living under the poverty line and 54% in abject poverty. Capital: Port-au-Prince Size: Slightly smaller than Maryland Life expectancy at birth: 60.78 years Median age: 20.2 years Location: Caribbean, western one-third of the island of Hispaniola, between the Caribbean Sea and the North Atlantic Ocean, west of the Dominican Republic

Haiti – Related Links US Government

U.S. Department of State @dipnote U.S. Department of State Facebook State Department Ops Center 1-888-407-4747 For Americans seeking information about family members in #Haiti

Non-Profit, Non-Governmental Organizations

American Red Cross @RedCross American Red Cross Facebook American Red Cross Other Text “HAITI” to 90999 to donate $10 to @RedCross relief efforts in #Haiti. Learn more:

Mercy Corps Mercy Corps @mercycorps Mercy Corps Facebook Mercy Corps Other Mercy Corps Create A Personal Fundraising Page on source=9840


Partners In Health Partners In Health Twitter @PIH_org

ONE ONE Twitter @onecampaign ONE Facebook ONE Blog ONE RSS

United States Fund for UNICEF United States Fund for UNICEF Twitter @unicefusa United States Fund for UNICEF Facebook

New Media – Social Networking

_ _ Twitter & Twitter Lists

NPR News @nprnews

Los Angeles Times @latimes/haiti-quake

New York Times @nytimes/haiti-earthquake

CNN @CNN/haiti

Wyclef Jean @wyclef

Troy Livesay Location Port Au Prince, Haiti @troylivesay

GIS – Maps – Geospatial Information – GeoRSS


ReliefWeb Haiti: Earthquakes – Jan 2010 OpenForm&emid=EQ-2010-000009-HTI&rc=2 RSS: @reliefweb

MapAction Haiti Map Catalogue @mapaction

ESRI Flex Map Viewer Shows Haiti Earthquake Locations zoom to Haiti and select the georss earthquake feed @esri

ITHACA – Information Technology for Humanitarian Assistance, Cooperation and Action Maps Archive Damage assessment maps based on satellite image visual interpretation. ITHACA is a non-profit association which is located in the Politecnico of Torino campus that partners with the UN World Food Programme (WFP).

United Nations Spatial Data Infrastructure (UNSDI) extended=on&remote=off&attrset=geo&any=haiti&hitsPerPage=10 (Search: Haiti) @UN & @Refugees

GeoNetwork opensource: FAO, WFP,& UNEP (Maps, Metadata, some Data) (Where : Haiti) GeoNetwork opensource provides Internet access to interactive maps, satellite imagery and related spatial databases. It s purpose is to improve access to and integrated use of spatial data and information. GeoNetwork opensource allows to easily share spatial data among different users

USGS Estimated Population Exposed to Earthquake Shaking @USGS

Centro del Agua del Tr pico H medo para Am rica Latina y El Caribe (CATHALAC) @CATHALAC

GIS Data

China Earthquake Geospatial Research Portal Haiti Earthquake Data RSS: q=feed/new_posts

ArcGIS Online owner=esri_event&title=Haiti%20Earthquake ArcGIS Online is a data discovery, sharing, and use platform for all ArcGIS Users. There are many free data sets there including global ones. @ESRI & @ESRI_France & @GISPublicSafety &@esriportugal

OpenStreetMap Extracts for Haiti Files are generated every 5 minutes. Available formats: OpenStreetMap source files, Garmin GMAPSUPP.IMG files, and ESRI shapefiles @openstreetmap

USGS Latest Earthquakes: Feeds & Data @USGS & @USGSNews

NGA GEOnet Names Server (GNS)

The USNG National Implementation Center (TUNIC) at Delta State University Haiti Maps and Data id=482&type=1 Delta State University, Cleveland, MS USNG grid datasets are produced by Delta State’s Center for Interdisciplinary Geospatial Information Technologies in partnership with the US Geological Survey with a focus upon the application of USNG in emergency and disaster management. @deltastate

GIS Resources

ESRI Disaster Response and Assistance @ESRI

Google Earth Data

Google Embedded KML Viewer synd=open&url=

Google LatLon Blog @googlemaps

Google Earth Outreach @earthoutreach

Google Earth Library Haiti Earthquake Maps and Data


The National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency Haiti Earthquake Crisis Relief Public Site The National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency (NGA) is supporting the State Department, the U.S. Agency for International Development, the U.S. Southern Command and the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) with analysis, unclassified commercial satellite imagery and geospatial intelligence products of the Haitian areas devastated by the recent earthquake.

DigitalGlobe buffer=1.0&catalogId=10300100035AF200&imageHeight=natres&imageWidth=natres buffer=1.0&catalogId=1030010003D32000&imageHeight=natres&imageWidth=natres The crisis event service has been activated in response to a 7.0 earthquake centered approximately 10 miles SW of Port-au-Prince. These are links to a series of WV02 collects from January 7 over Port-au-Prince. @DigitalGlobe

GeoEye iid=287&gid=20 @GeoEye

Additional Resources

Google Voice & Free calling to Haiti through Google Voice for the next two weeks. To place a call using Google Voice, use the Click2Call button on the website, the Google Voice mobile app, or dial your own Google Voice number and press 2 to place an outbound call. If you don’t have a Google Voice account, you can request an invitation at @googlevoice


ArcGIS 9.4 is now ArcGIS 10

ArcGIS 9.4 is now going to be ArcGIS 10. Jack announced this in a podcast today. I didn’t hear much new than we’ve hard before about 9.4 so it appears it is a name change right now. I’m wondering if there isn’t more out there we don’t know about yet that will make it into the ArcGIS 10 release, but Jack says the name change is the smallest thing about this ArcGIS 10 release. I guess we’ll learn at the FedUC and the Business Partner/DevSummit and it is still scheduled to release before the User Conference.

ArcGIS 10 in ‘10


Thoughts on the GeoDesign Summit

I’m sure many of you have been following #geodesign on Twitter, but I thought I’d add some of my deeper thoughts. First off, yes everyone in attendance realizes that we’ve all been doing this since the beginning of time. GeoDesign wasn’t invented by anyone in particular, that was clear to everyone.

So I guess the next question what is GeoDesign and why do we need to even define it, especially if we’ve been doing this for years anyway Since we’ve all be already been doing this for years shouldn’t this be easy to define since we already have an understanding of it A Wikipedia entry has been started and I’d encourage everyone to take a look at it and refine it based upon your experiences.

I think a couple things helped bring so many people together from so many different disciplines. With Architects, Planners, Engineers, Technologists, Researchers, Professors, Graduate Students and “other”; there was academia, government and private industry. The one person in our industry that has the pull to get this done is of course Jack Dangermond. He was also gracious enough to allow the organizers to use the new ESRI Q Building which was perfectly set up for a conference of this size.

Adena Schutzberg and Matt Ball both did a great job diving deep into the conference and it would be a good idea to read up on what was discussed and what needs to be done to move forward. What I’m going to talk about is what I think came out of the Summit and what should be the next steps.

First off, there was a little push-back that was acknowledged at the Summit which seemed to revolve around the fact that some small group of people seemed to think they could take ownership of something everyone has been doing for years, GeoDesign. I was also a little on edge about what might have come out from this Summit, but in the end it was unfounded. The group of folks from Michael Goodchild to Carl Steinitz all where very pragmatic about GeoDesign, how we involve more in the process of design (how crowdsourcing can be involved), to even deeper issues such as how we must fundamentally change how we as humans impact our environment.

Many showed examples of GeoDesign projects that they are currently work on to ones that were completed decades ago. Also despite the Summit occurring on ESRI’s campus, there were many examples showed that included non-ESRI technology such as GRASS, Google Earth and SketchUp. Jack also stood up on stage and hoped next year the organizers could include other software platforms and technologies that weren’t on stage this year.

So this brings up what to do next. Where do we go from here. Jack asked everyone in attendance if they thought we should move forward with the GeoDesign concept and everyone agreed we should. The details on how were to do so was what we discussed Friday morning. There will be a GeoDesign Summit next year. Tom Fisher the Dean for the College of Design at University of Minnesota offered to host it there. Given the warm weather though many though Redlands would be a great location to hold it again (Mid 70s in January is hard to beat). Jack said that if the committee wanted to hold it at ESRI again he would offer up the facilities again. Jack also said he wanted to unbrand the summit from ESRI and have it stand alone. To do this the Summit will be moving off of the ESRI servers on to its own and engage other potential stakeholders.

Since there was so much content created and organized there was a discussion on how to best disseminate the data out to everyone. This was probably the most contensious discussion. On one had you have those who wanted to write books (grey hairs) and on the other there were those who wanted to set up a wiki and get more community involvement. In the end it appears we will have both, a GeoDesign book you can get signed by your favorite GeoDesigner and a wiki the community can showcase their ideas and collaborate.

One problem is how to get this information out to the community at large. Organizations such as the APA have the tools in place (and not ESRI branded) to facilitate getting the word out to their members. Since there were many researchers present, there was also questions about how we can get funding in place from NSF or possibly even the World Bank since better planning and design is critical to helping reverse the destruction of the planet.

So bottom line I admit I’m not one with too much patience for “University think” and there was plenty at the first GeoDesign Summit. But at the same time there was so much practicality shown that it isn’t hard to want to get Design and GIS more interconnected. One group that I think was underrepresented at the Summit was Technologists (I can’t say Architects or Designers because in this crowd that means something else). The gap between “GeoDesigners” and the public needs to be bridged with our work and our expertise. Making sure that this is represented in this GeoDesign initiative is important and we are those who need to make sure this is grounded in reality and not locked up in University research.

So lets see what happens. Will there be continued push back to “GeoDesign” from the geospatial community or will people want to be involved on the ground floor defining and encouraging GeoDesign I think we all realize powerful things happen when there is a marriage of design and GIS.


5 predictions Geo for 2010 and 5 things that won’t happen

Here are 5 predictions for Twenty Ten.

  1. The shapefile dies: SpatiaLite + ESRI’s File Geodatabase API finally put a dagger in the shapefile.
  2. GIS on iPhone/iSlate (Apple Tablet) and Android/Chrome OS: With Apple and Google owning the mobile space, we’ll see more proprietary and open source projects being ported to these platforms. Microsoft Tablet PCs and Windows Mobile/CE begin to die off.
  3. 64-bit: There will be some holdouts (cough ESRI), but most of us will be running native 64-bit code on our desktops and servers. Now to just get more RAM in this laptop.
  4. Mobile: If you aren’t running on the iPhone/Android/Blackberry you aren’t relevant. Web mapping apps become mobile browser aware. Those that aren’t were probably irrelevant anyway.
  5. Google: Google’s APIs continue to push the envelope and they continue to be the standard for everyone mapping on the interweb. Google is able to throw so much money and manpower at “problems” and their solutions are coming faster than anyone else can match.

Here are 5 things that won’t happen:

  1. Augmented Reality: Much like the Nintendo Virtual Boy, it sounds great until you try and use it.
  2. OpenStreetMap Dominates: Between Google’s quick improving of their database and continued licensing issues OSM plateaus. Companies will continue to try and figure out how to monetize OSM, but fail.
  3. ESRI + Microsoft: This was on the top 10 lists for many people in 2009, but I don’t think we’ll be seeing deeper integration. ESRI will continue to support multiple platforms (Google, OSM, Microsoft, “other”) and not become a Microsoft shop. As Google continues to erode away at SharePoint and Bing Maps, ESRI will make sure that they don’t get caught in Microsoft’s blind spot.
  4. Geolocation other than Twitter, Apple and Google (TAG): Foursquare, Brightkite, and others will fade as TAG rolls out new APIs and ensure their mobile devices are tagging everything you do.
  5. MySQL falls apart: Despite the dire predictions of Oracle or Monty destroying the project, too many people have too much invested in the project to let it fail. MySQL will be fine and LAMP will continue to power Badgers.

Hey, don’t worry… It’s gonna be a bright, sun-shiny day!