Merging Data From Multiple Sources Is Hard

Remember this from a couple weeks ago? I exposed it as hogwash, but one of the statements rings true, but not in the way Google intended during that interview.
Says Brian McClendon;

“Merging data from multiple sources of truth is hard,” he said, “and mapping is the best example of that.”

Now he was digging at OpenStreetMap and the millions of “multiple sources” that that community has. But take that quote out of context and apply it to Apple. Rings a bit true, doesn’t it?



The One Where Paul Ramsey Says Spatial Is Special

Paul, Madeline and I talk about the origins of PostGIS, why databases have spatial extensions, PostSQL and Paul saying Spatial is Special!

UPDATE: Sadly this video has gone missing.  Google deleted it and it’s been lost to the world.  Bad Google!

IRC Log is on the WeoGeo Video page.


This Week’s Hangout with Paul Ramsey:: PostArcQGIS

This week’s Hangout guest is Paul Ramsey of OpenGeo and chair of the PostGIS steering committee. We’ll be talking about PostGIS (surprise, right?), why spatial databases are treated as special and why OpenGeo has been successful providing solutions using open source software when clearly anyone can download all the software for free.

We’ll be talking on the IRC channel again so either show up to the Hangout page on WeoGeo or better yet, point your IRC client to #hwjf on I’ve you’ve got a question you’d like Paul, Madeline or myself to answer, please post it on the Google Moderator page and we’ll be sure to address it.

We’ll see you Wednesday at 10am PDT!



Apple’s Maps Anger Hipsters and MapBox Wins Knight News Challenge

Apparently Apple thought they could release their own version of a mapping solution where it integrates Yelp and other 3rd part services into something that helps people find the best coffee shop near them and then navigate there. Humans, used to how Google does things, were very unhappy. I used the new to find the new Togo’s (yes they finally came back to Phoenix) and then navigate there. Worked awesome, but clearly YMMV. I’m sure you as I are already sick of the Apple Maps “news”, but read Marc Prioleau’s article on Apple. Well worth your time.

Well, welcome to the mapping world, Apple. I wish them the best of luck, as an iPhone user but also as someone who really wants them to succeed. We need more options, not fewer. But today’s debut performance wasn’t the result of that team not trying. If Apple wants to be one of the Big Three map platforms, they’re going to need to get serious.

The big news though is MapBox winning the Knight News Challenge, half a million dollars worth! They are going to work on “core tools” and improve the community site. Says Eric:

It’s not about the maps, it’s about the data

Yea, tell that to Apple.


Apple fans are not sure what to do about the poor Apple Maps app. Fire, Fire, Fire, Fire, Fire….


The One Where Steve is Surprised James Would go to a Professional GIS Conference

Steve and I talk about deCarta/Google patents, NoSQL, the shapefile being awesome, and why you need to know more than just being a GIS professional. Plus Steve fell out of his chair when I said I was going to URISA.

IRC Log is available on the WeoGeo page.


TileMill 0.10.0 Changes Everything

So this just happened:

We just released TileMill 0.10.0, the latest version of our open source map design studio. This release redefines the creative possibilities for web cartography with its new support for compositing layers and features, achieving photoshop-like clipping, masking, blurring, or highlighting. This powerful set of compositing operations can be used seamlessly across vector and raster layers all using pure CartoCSS. The compositing now possible in TileMill, in combination with image patterns or raster hillshades, can enable effects of uniqueness and beauty that go beyond was has previously been possible.

Think for a minute all you had to do to get your maps to look as good as TileMill can make them out of the box. I said last week on my hangout that after Python, Javascript was what people needed to learn to be good at GIS. I’ve changed my mind, learn CSS, there is no other way to create cartography for printed or web maps after TileMill 0.10.0.

Someone needs to create a CartoCSS importer for ArcGIS to free their users from those crazy tabbed cartography preference windows. Actually, I can only imagine the headache to create such a tool, just move to TileMill for your cartography.


This from CSS, just awesome!


This Week’s Hangout: NoNodeGIS

This week I have Steve Citron-Pousty on where we’ll talk about deCarta patents, NoSQL, why GIS pros think they are smarter than they are and much more. We’ll be talking on the IRC channel again so either show up to the Hangout page on WeoGeo or better yet, point your IRC client to #hwjf on IRC works well because you can join the conversation live and ask me what the San Francisco Giants Magic Number is.

The Google Moderator worked well last week for questions, so if you’ve got something you’d like Steve and I to talk about, add it here and we’ll make sure to hit it.



Amazon Maps API — Because in 2012 Everyone Needs Their Own Mapping API

UPDATE: Yes it has been confirmed, Nokia is providing the mapping platform to Amazon.

As nice as chocolate and peanut butter turned out, sometimes you just don’t want someone else’s API putting raisins in your oatmeal cookies (yes raisins are the work of the devil). Amazon, who has their own mobile platform, has made sure the shriveled up Google Maps API does not have to be used by their developers.

You may have noticed a new API on the Amazon Mobile App SDK tab in the developer portal. When we announced Kindle Fire HD, we also made the Amazon Maps API available to our developer community. The Amazon Maps API makes it easy for you to integrate mapping functionality into apps that run on the all-new Kindle Fire and Kindle Fire HD. These new devices will also support location-based services through the android.location API.

I’m not going to apply to see their beta because I have zero use for yet another mapping API. That said as the Amazon Mobile platform becomes larger, developers are going to be looking for these APIs. We can expect this to look like Nokia’s mapping API given that Amazon chose Nokia to provide their mapping technology. Nook aside, every mobile phone/tablet platform has their own mapping API now. Amazon has been on fire (pun intended) lately and I can assure you the moment that Amazon gives these Kindle Fire devices free to Amazon Prime customers, I’ll go ahead and take it.

I don’t see this having much impact on Apple/Android given they both have pretty much solidified themselves as the top two platforms. The “also-rans” of Microsoft, Nook, Blackberry, and possibly whatever is left of PalmOS are now going to have to battle a 3rd platform (Kindle) that is well supported by it’s owner and is innovating at a great pace. I’d suspect Nokia will make more money off providing mapping to the Kindle platform than they will selling their own phones.

Spatial isn’t special, but it sure has it’s own API.

Man with no name nod

You see in this world there’s two kinds of mobile platforms, my friend. Those with mapping APIs, and those who dig. You dig.


The One Where James Talks About GIS Baseball

There were a couple of new features to this week’s hangout.

  1. No guest – We’ll be going “guest free” about every 4-6 weeks to just have a hangout.
  2. IRC – The IRC discussion was great and added to the conversation. Plus the after-show continued discussions on JavaScript, hosted GIS companies, and baseball. Don’t bail next time after the show ends.
  3. Google Moderator – It actually was a great way to get questions beforehand. We’ll continue to use it in the future.

The show is up for those who missed it and we’ll have the IRC log on the show page very soon.


This Week’s Hangout: Talking Shop

There is a small change this week to the hangout. First off the commenting has bothered all of us since day one. YouTube comments are almost worthless and Disqus has issues. So from today forward, we are going to use IRC to manage the discussion. When you visit the Hangout page 15 minutes before the show, you’ll see the web IRC client appear. This will allow you to join the new Hangout IRC channel, #hwjf. Of course you can also just add this to your own IRC client. Just point it to and join the room #hwjf. This should make it much easier to have a discussion with everyone.

The second change is we have no guest this week. I thought it might be fun to take a week off and just talk shop, hence the “clever” title. As there is no set topic this week, we set up a Google Moderator thread where you can propose and vote on topics. I encourage you to post a question and vote up. Feel free to vote up this one!

Next week we are back to a guest and I’ve got some really great ones lined up. See you guys tomorrow at 10am PDT.