Urban Airship Shuts Down SimpleGeo

The crazy ride is over:

In order to deliver on this aggressive vision in the shortest amount of time possible, we need to focus our product development efforts. So, after lots of internal discussion and customer conversations, we will wind down the availability of the current versions of Places, Context, and Storage over the next few months. We will do everything we can to minimize the impact to customers as we look to end the availability of these services on March 31, 2012.

And just like that, SimpleGeo API is headed out to the dead zone.

What a World

What a world! (side note: I didn’t know the GeoMonkey could fly)

Goodbye Google Maps? A Trend Appears

Good bye, Google Maps thanks for all the fish:

We at StreetEasy decided to build our own maps using, among other tools, OpenStreetMap, TileMill, MapBox and Leaflet, instead of paying hundreds of thousands of dollars per year to Google. And yes, the money pushed us into doing it, but we’re happier with the result because we now control the contents of our maps.

The free ride had to end for most companies. But what is surprising is how easy it is to change your tile map service. Plus see a theme here? OpenStreetMap, TileMill, MapBox and Leaflet is a trend. Giddy up!

Google Maps – The Game

In about a month, Google is going to release a game on Google+ based on Google Maps and built using WebGL (Sorry IE users).

…there’s a video preview of a new Google Maps for Google+ app shown below which uses WebGL and apparently user-location to collect points as you travel around floorplan maps. Full details haven’t been shared, but the game will apparently arrive in February.

Now the video doesn’t show much about the details for the game but navigating a 3d mapping world (using the Google Maps API) in a WebGL application in a browser is pretty awesome. Plus going inside and outside the buildng? Sign me up!

Google Maps WebGL Game

Looks like fun to me, but we’ll have to wait a month.

It is a shame about WebGL support not being exactly cross-platform, but with a little work you can get it enabled on any browser. Cools stuff is on the horizon with 3D web mapping applications.

GDAL 1.9 Brings Esri FGDB and Google Fusion Tables Support

Good news for users of GDAL/OGR:

The GDAL/OGR team is pleased to announce the release of GDAL/OGR 1.9.0.
This is a major new release including the following major new features:

  • New GDAL drivers: ACE2, CTG, E00GRID, ECRGTOC, GRASSASCIIGrid,
    GTA, NGSGEOID, SNODAS, WebP, ZMap
  • New OGR drivers: ARCGEN, CouchDB, DWG, EDIGEO, ESRI FileGDB, Geomedia,
    Google Fusion Tables, IDRISI, MDB, SEGUKOOA, SEGY, SVG, XLS
  • Significantly improved drivers: NetCDF
  • Encoding support for shapefile/dbf (#882)
  • RFC 35: Delete, reorder and alter field definitions of OGR layers
  • RFC 37: Add mechanism to provide user data to CPLErrorHandler (#4295)
  • gdalsrsinfo: new supported utility to report SRS in various form
    (supercedes testepsg)

Some nice new formats in there. How does it all work? Paolo Corti takes a look and says, “Brilliant!”.

Pitney Bowes and Autodesk get “Strategic”

So out of the blue, this just rolls out:

Autodesk, Inc., a world leader in 3D design, engineering and entertainment software, and Pitney Bowes Software, Inc., a global leader in customer data, location intelligence, analytics and communication software and services, today announced they have entered into a strategic alliance agreement. The new agreement will serve as a framework for both companies to provide resources, services and solutions to help infrastructure owners and architecture, engineering and construction (AEC) organizations make more informed decisions and drive greater efficiencies across the plan, design, build, manage lifecycle of infrastructure.

As with others, I’m not sure what this means for the geospatial space moving forward. As Joe Francica points out, unless both companies have “skin in the game”, there is no real incentive to work together. What is clear though is both companies are going on the offensive which might make 2012 very interesting. Hopefully both companies will spell out in greater detail what this means in the next month so we can all figure out where we might want to align our efforts moving forward.

Wonder Twins Powers

Wonder Twin powers activate! Shape of ‘?!!!! Form of ‘?!!!!w

GeoDesign Summit 2012 — A New Direction

In all fairness to my previous post, I want to share some GeoDesign links. The feedback I’m getting from those who attended is that it has become an education type initiative, rather than working toward changing how we actually do work. I guess bottom up change works sometimes, but these kids graduating with “GeoDesign emphasis” have no chance at changing how established companies are doing business. So here you go if you want to try to figure out what was discussed:

GeoDesign Little Red Book

The GeoDesign Little Red Book is ready to teach a generation of students what won’t work in the commercial sector.

OpenStreetMap Has Momentum, Apparently

All joking aside, this is great news for the project.

Nestoria is one of those companies that was told it would have to start paying real money for Google Maps. When Google couldn?t tell it exactly how much, Nestoria?kicked Mountain View to the curb and switched to OpenStreetMap, a free, collaborative effort to map the globe.

A couple of thoughts about this article and OSM/Google Maps. 1. Google has to tell people how much they are going to charge for their maps sooner rather than later. No one can run a company without a clear idea of costs (well at least run a company for longer than 6 months). While Nestoria could have done better due diligence before banking on Google, clearly it is easy enough to move platforms. Lock-in is something that online mapping APIs do not have. 2. Freyfogle is completely wrong:

… Freyfogle says, and they must render what Google wants them render a criticism Google did not address when we asked the company for clarification. You can make your maps look however you want. Rivers can be red instead of blue if you wanted. With Google you’re not getting any data. You just get a map on your page.

You can make the Google Maps look anyway you want dynamically. That’s pretty awesome because you don’t have to create your own tiles. He says Google didn’t respond to his questions, but I would assume someone using an API would know what it does (seriously, how can you not research an API that is critical to your app?). 1. Steve Coast is still alive. Hey Steve! 2. OpenStreetMap is growing and will continue grow if Google fails to address the customer service aspects of the Google Maps API. Leaflet is the key to gaining control over your applications (Nestoria uses it). Learn it, use it, love it.The Gorillas keep taking my maps

One by one, the Gorillas are choosing OSM.