The Consultants – Sweco

While I was in Sweden at the Sweco developer conference, a really awesome video was shown that was done in house (clearly) by the Sweco team. Anyone who’s done any consulting will get an absolute kick out of it. Glad to see it was finally available on YouTube. Enjoy!


GIS on the Blackberry Playbook

Now I’ll be the first one to admit, I’m a total Apple fanboy (That said, I’m still rolling around with an old iPhone 3GS), but I love looking at other platforms. The webOS platform from HP is one that I’m very interested but Blackberry is one that is sort of a wildcard. Blackberry has taken its lumps from Apple and Android, but it seems to be holding its own in market share. The Blackberry Playbook has gotten some mixed reviews, but given that Blackberry is very enterprise, I have to expect them to sell quite a bit of the Playbooks. has posted a couple of examples of some BlackBerry Playbook geospatial applications. First off they’ve got an OpenScales demo application running on the Playbook. If you are a Flex/AIR application developer it is a good overview of how one can leverage these technologies on non-iOS tablets running Adobe technology.

The second demo is yet another AIR application, though this one running ArcGIS Mobile. Looks early one, but clearly has an extensible AIR application running on a tablet that integrates with either open source technology or proprietary GIS systems.

Could it be that Adobe Air and the Blackberry Playbook are about to score a basket?


ArcPy + Visual Studio 2010

Yea so maybe you like Visual Studio 2010 (It isn’t that I dislike it, I just use a Mac these days…) and want to write some ArcPy goodness. You’ve installed PythonTools for Visual Studio, but where is the ArcPy Intellisense? Right here my friends!

Update: David Howes has a detailed walkthrough on how to accomplish this.

Clearly, Visual Studio and Python are teaming up in 2011. I just want to know which one is the octopus and which one is the ice unicycle…


Yahoo! Maps, Bing and Google… Oh My!

This gem was shared by Marc Prioleau.

Internet firm Yahoo (NASDAQ: YHOO) may replace its Geo-Platform with Google’s (NASDAQ:GOOG), a move that could reduce its operating costs by about 2 percent to 5 percent, according to an analyst at Global Equities Research.

“Yahoo Geo-platform is lagging behind both Google and Microsoft Geo-Platform,” analyst Trip Chowdhry wrote in a note to clients.

Adena Schutzberg cuts to the chase:

There are so many errors in the IB Times article discussing the note, errors I fear are from the original note, I am very skeptical.

My Grandmother, bless her heart, always told me; “If you don’t know what you are talking about, keep your mouth shut!”. Clearly that doesn’t apply to “analysts”. To be fair, he did call a “modern day Visi-Calc”. Wait, that wasn’t right…


Bing Maps to be Powered by Nokia – Huh?

Update: A birdie told me that there is nothing new here that we didn’t know about before. Move along…

Anytime a blogger uses the word vague “above the fold” on their blog, you pretty much can be assured they don’t know anything about anything (I’m thinking of watermarking my blog with “vague”). Greg Sterling sat down with someone close to Nokia and says:

However my lunch companion argued unequivocally that Nokia Maps would effectively replace almost everything that Microsoft had developed over the past several years in terms of the Bing Maps infrastructure. This was shocking because Microsoft has invested hundreds of millions of dollars (if not billions) in creating a viable competitor to Google Maps. Most recently the company has been promoting its roll out of new hi-resolution aerial imagery on a global basis.

So what does this mean? Well first Microsoft already uses Nokia/Navteq for most of their mapping, no big change there. Microsoft has already what might be the best aerial photography in the business, so why would you replace something that is awesome with something that isn’t? What about their API? Could be, I’ve never been a fan of the Bing Maps APIs, so maybe this is Microsoft taking their aerials and Bird’s Eye to the Nokia Maps API and branding it as Bing Maps. That would be a good mix because Nokia Maps is actually a good API, just one that doesn’t get used by anyone.Problem solved!

But wait right?!?!?! Nokia Maps? Wasn’t that called Ovi? Not anymore, the marketing team at Nokia has gotten their sanity back and killed the Ovi (What does Ovi mean in Finnish? So Ovi means door in Finnish.Replace door with Windows, awesome marketing guys!) name. This means that Nokia has decided their name actually has value and they’ll use it in their products. Now if Microsoft would just realize that Bing means zip and brand their stuff as Microsoft, everything will be back to normal. Or better yet, they could just rename the product “Not Google Maps” which is really how most people know it anyway.

Bottom line is that Microsoft loves drama, feeds on drama and wouldn’t know what to do unless there was screaming and people running around crazy. Thus Bing Maps powered by Nokia is just something to get us through the next 3 months until the marketing dorks in Redmond get crazy again and start thinking of new ideas to waste time and money on.

Cartoon by: Hugh MacLeod


OpenLayers 2.10 – A Beginner’s Guide Book Review

Beginners Guide to OL

I was excited to be able to review a book on what I think is one of my favorite javascript libraries out there. OpenLayers 2.10 Beginner’s Guide has some really good parts and is going to be a good resource for those who want to get started with OpenLayers. There are some major typos and other formatting issues with the ePub version I have that may not be present in the print version (I’m so over killing trees), but prepare to be frustrated if you go the ePub route.

One section of the book that I did think was very valuable was the one on Firebug. It is a good reminder that developing JavaScript applications with only your web browser and notepad is not generally going to be enough.

If you have any experience, this book is probably going to not be of much value as it really is a beginners guide. Developers can probably get up and running quicker using the online docs and examples than this book. That said, it could be a good introduction to anyone wanting to get started with online mapping APIs. A sample chapter is available if you’d like to see if this book is for you.

If there is one thing you can say about the Geo/LI space is that we’ve got a great selection of books to pick from lately. This OpenLayers book is probably no exception to those wanting an integration to OpenLayers. People always ask me what technology should they learn (Should I learn ArcObjects?? – Er no!) and I usually say OpenLayers. If you are the type that likes a book to help them learn how to do something, I’m going to say OpenLayers 2.10 – A Beginner?s Guide is a good choice to get your head around OpenLayers.


Latest Version of Arc2Earth Allows Google Earth Imagery in ArcMap — Legally

So now you can stop using that old busted Bing Maps Aerial Imagery that Esri “provides” you and use some beautiful Google Maps Aerial Imagery as well as their other geo-web services:

Data Services is a new product for use with Arc2Earth Desktop. It allows you to display Google Maps Street and Imagery data directly in ArcMap (legally, A2E is now an OEM of the Google Maps API). It also includes access to other Google Maps services like Geocoding, Routing and Elevation.

Arc2Earth and Google seem to be taking on Esri and their stagnant offering (seriously, does anyone actually enjoy using Ballsy move if you ask me and clearly Google is going after Esri and their “cloud” offerings.


Much like you don’t want to mess with Bolo Yeung, you don’t want to mess with Google. Best of luck Esri…


Sweden, Sweco, and Falling into a River – All Good Times

Last week I was lucky enough to be invited by Sweco to give a talk in Sweden at one of their developer retreats. I’ve never been to Sweden before so I boned up on my Swedish by visiting Ikea and having some meatballs (Didn’t work). Let me first say that Sweden is awesome. It is sort of like the coast of Oregon or maybe upstate New York (the good part, not Utica).

I was also able to spend the day at GIS-Vast where is saw some interesting talks by Microsoft, Google, MapInfo and Sweco. Dinner was at the Stock Exchange in Gothenburg which was completely amazing. Plus the Swedes know how to make coffee. Nice, dark and rich. It was bad when I landed in Philadelphia and grabbed a watered down Dunkin’ Donuts coffee.

The Sweco conference was up at Baldersnas which yet again blew me away. The hotel was beautiful as well and yes there was more great coffee. Getting out of town and into the country was a great way to get focused on location intelligence and development. I talked a bit about trends in our space (location/geo) as well as where I saw technology going in the next couple years. Ted Neward was also there talking about developers and managers as well as architects. Very good stuff! Dinner was great and we played a little table hockey (set up for Finland vs Sweden) but alas I didn’t represent very well for Sweden and got rocked by the Finns.

The last day I was there the Sweco team went to an adventure camp where we did all kinds of outdoor sports. Being from the desert, I wanted to stay on the water (to be fair, I do have a swimming pool). Kayaking was fun but I did fall in the water (Swedish water is as cold as you’d think). Canoeing was much safer and I got to see one of the large lakes in the area.

James in a SWECO Jacket

Looking dry after falling into the river in my Sweco jacket!

I’d like to thank everyone at Sweco for showing me a great time. I learned quite a bit about how western Sweden is using geospatial technology to solve problems similar to what we have in the states as well. Hopefully I’ll get a chance to show some great WeoGeo hospitality to Sweco really soon. Thanks so much for the great time guys!


Python Tools for Visual Studio Beta 2 Released

Microsoft really wants YOU to know that they just released Beta 2 of Python Tools for Visual Studio. To be fair, Python Tools for Visual Studio is about as awesome sauce as you can get considering it is at the crossroads of Python and Visual Studio.