WhereCampPHX Update and Hack the Map

WhereCampPHX Logo

WhereCampPHX is getting close to being filled up so if you are still on the fence, now is the time to secure your spot. Saturday October 1st will be something special at the Cronkite School at Arizona State University. Don’t miss it!

Hack the Map

For those who want to continue the hacking, Hack the Map will be held October 2nd at Co+Hoots also in downtown Phoenix.


Geospatial Data and Content Management for School Projects

It has been a long time since I was matriculating at my alma mater but clearly I can tell that school is starting up for a lot of people. My inbox is full of emails from students asking where they can find data for their projects (I like students who are proactive and not reactive to their school work).

WeoGeo has over 8 terabytes of free and inexpensive data available in the WeoGeo Market for inclusion in your analysis. Just this week we uploaded some great data from the State of Hawaii on Hawaiian Natural Areas and data from the Center for Disease Control and Prevention on U.S. Diabetes and Risk Factor Prevalence.

Hawaiian Natural Areas

We’ve also have the complete USGS National Hydragraphy Dataset and USGS Earthquake, Fault and Seismic Hazard data available for customization. Bonus points for using the WeoGeo Tools for ArcGIS to import these datasets into your ArcMap projects.

Another great option for students is our WeoGeo Library. Generally after the end of the school year, students need to archive off their projects to some personal stoarge device. Students using WeoGeo Library know their projects are available semester after semester no matter where they are. Since WeoGeo Library is a system of record, you’ll always have them at hand. My masters thesis was stored on a Brother Word Processor which meant that the minute I lost access to that hardware device, I lost all my hard work (At least I remember it as hard work, ‘twas a long time ago). That’s why a real geospatial content management system like WeoGeo is the best way to manage your school work. Plus you can get started today, for free.

Browsing WeoGeo


Updated — You Can’t Edit Spatial RDBMS with ArcGIS for Desktop without SDS

So the answer is? No.

via Bill Dollins

From the Esri Support Forums: Edit spatial data with “ArcGIS for Desktop 10.1” in non-SDE RDBMS systems?

ArcGIS Server 10.1 will include a new technology component called Spatial Data Server (SDS). It is a separate installation from ArcGIS Server and will be included with all editions of ArcGIS Server. SDS is a low-memory footprint application that enables you to publish feature services of your vector data stored in a database or geodatabase. SDS will allow you to edit spatial data in a standard database and does not require ArcSDE technology. Editing for SDS is done via the REST API only which ArcMap does not support at this time [editors note: see below].

Oh snap, not only can you not edit spatial data in other RDBMS without Esri’s Spatial Data Server, you can’t even do it via ArcGIS for Desktop. [editors note: see below] To be fair though, Esri’s business model is built on being the middle man to everything.

‘I don’t know how this whole business started
Of me thinkin’ that I could edit PostGIS
But if you think that we’d be better parted
It’s gonna hurt me but I’ll break away from you`

The latest:

Craig Williams clarifies a key point:

Derek’s comments about ArcGIS for Desktop 10.1 not being able to edit SDS are incorrect. ArcGIS for Desktop 10.1 can edit SDS and all other types of ArcGIS feature services. These edits are performed via the REST API for SDS and hosted feature services.

So what does that mean? Says Craig

you connect to SDS, drag the service into the map and it draws via REST calls. To edit you check out / check in

So the final word on this is that you still need middleware to get this done, but you don’t need ArcSDE anymore. Esri views editing spatial databases differently that many of us do, I don’t fault their thinking too much on this, but 99.9% of the time in the real world no one cares about deltas. So to fix my thoughts from above:

Oh, snap, you can’t edit spatial data in other RDBMSs without Esri’s Spatial Data Server.


Weather in Google Maps? Natch!

Is there nothing Google Maps can’t do?

Google Maps with Weather

Now we’ve got a weather layer in Google Maps that will probably end up replacing the need for things like or even NOAA.

Given the budget issues in Washington, why not outsource the Weather Service to Google? While they are at it, why not the Postal Service (Why does every U.S. government entitity end in “service”?) to Google Mail?

Seriously though, after the coffee shop example, is there a better GIS mapping demo than weather?


Oh Boy, Maybe You Can’t Edit Spatial Databases Without ArcGIS for SDE

So the Esri UC Q&A seemed to show that you could not only direct connect to just about any spatial RDBMS, but edit as well. In that spirit, we started to think tools such as zigGIS were no longer needed. Well Bill Dollins asks Esri for some clarification on the matter because the scuttlebutt is that you may still need SDE for editing of spatial databases.

Look, there are times when organizations need SDE. But there are times when SDE is a middle man that has no purpose other than to drive revenues for a company. Let’s not screw this up Esri, let ArcGIS for Desktop and ArcGIS for Server 10.1 edit spatial RDBMSs directly. The proletariat is restless, you don’t need a revolution on your hands.


Planet Geospatial and the DNS

UPDATE: Nothing fixes the DNS like a good night sleep. Planet Geospatial is up and running. Let me know on Twitter if you notice any issues.

In the spirit of no good deed goes unpunished, the internet is giving me the preverbal middle finger on my move of Planet Geospatial to a new host and a new backend. Some of you may see the old website built on WordPress and some of you may see the new (Well Planet Geospatial used to be based on Venus, but my old host screwed up Python and I had to migrate it to WordPress. That was a big mistake and I’ve regretted it ever since. This is to make up for thinking PHP is a good choice for any website scripting language.) website built on Venus.

I picked the wrong week to quit PHP!

The Wrong Week

So for now Planet Geospatial goes 404, 500 or works perfectly and you’re wondering why I’m complaining.

Use this backdoor into Planet Geospatial until gets updated on the interwebs.


You Can Go Home — Planet Geospatial Edition

So about a year ago, something happened with my old hosting service. They made some backend change where they switched out the version of Python that worked with all my websites, to a weird flavor that basically broke everything. So I had a decision to make, I had to move Planet Geospatial to a new host and get everything set up again. The only mistake I made back then was thinking I was smarter than I am. Rather than just migrate the code of Planet Geospatial, I’d convert the service into a WordPress site using FeedWordPress. I exported the feeds and easily got Wodpress working as well as the plugin. Everything looked great…


You many have noticed a couple things about Planet Geospatial in the past year. First off the site was slow as a dog, basically PHP ran every time you accessed the site and checked to see if any of the hundreds of feeds needed to be updated. If so it updated the feed in the database which by itself wasn’t too slow, but coupled with people accessing the site, things were very pokey. On top of it, the entries in Planet Geospatial sometimes pointed to the Planet Geospatial website itself and not the actual blog location. This meant that you couldn’t get to whatever article you wanted to read. The feed parser choked on a couple feeds and generally these were the ones that were updated often.

Last week I decided I couldn’t take it more. The WordPress version of Planet Geospatial had been under my skin for months and people started noticing that it wasn’t working right. Clearly something had to be done. So I did what I should have done a year ago, moved Planet Geospatial back to running on the Planet Venus aggregator. As of this morning, the DNS has been updated[ref]I would appear I brought down both Planet Geospatial and the NY Times last night[/ref] and things appear to be running perfectly.

This all taught me a lesson. Never use a CMS for anything that is important to you. WordPress, Drupal, SharePoint, etc will do nothing but disappoint you. That’s why I’m going to convert my blog here in the next month or two away from WordPress to a flat file Markdown formatted system built using either Blosxom[ref]Going back to my roots with Perl[/ref] or Marco’s Second Crack if he ever releases it. Blogging will be nothing but zen…

Update: @tooshel points out that Octopress might just be what I’m looking for.


AutoCAD LT 2012 for Mac

Unlike the other “large” proprietary vector editing program in our space, AutoCAD now has a version in the Mac App Store.

The new AutoCAD LT for Mac software brings powerhouse drafting tools to the Mac. Providing native support for DWG file format, AutoCAD LT for Mac helps you efficiently document and share designs. With the powerhouse tools you expect from AutoCAD LT software along with an intuitive Mac OS X interface it’s now easier than ever to create design documentation on your platform of choice.

In a past life I would have been all over that. Today though I don’t use DWG enough to justify paying $900 for AutoCAD LT. Too bad though, it looks very nice.

AutoCAD LT 2012 for Mac in the App Stor



Now SEXTANTE is one of those projects that not only has some really useful tools but also has a wonderful name. I love bragging to my friends that I was working with SEXTANTE (said with a Latin accent) all day. Seriously though, if you work outside of ArcGIS for Desktop, you probably already use SEXTANTE for your geoprocessing. But what about the idea of using SEXTANTE in ArcGIS itself?

Here is a first video of SEXTANTE for ArcGIS, so you can see what it is like to access the power of SEXTANTE from the popular ESRI product.

Still, a bit of work to get done before it can be released, but I have to admit, I like the idea of using SEXTANTE in all my GIS apps.


Esri ArcGIS Flex API to iPad App

I’m the first to admit I’m not a huge Flex supporter, but maybe this is interesting to all those who tell me Flex is where the magic is happening. seems to be working with ArcGIS Flex 2.4 and Flex Builder 4.5 and ported them to AIR for mobile devices. For those organizations that are locked into Flex, this might be a simple solution to get their apps on mobile devices.