This Week’s Hangout:: HERE with Nokia

This week’s hangout is going to be great. Gary Gale of Nokia. Gary is a Director at Nokia and ex-Yahoo! Geo team member. Nokia has been in the news quite a bit the last few months with Amazon, Yahoo!, Microsoft, and others using their maps to power their applications. And just last week Nokia released Here Maps for iOS so there is surely something to talk about. We’ll also get into how Nokia views OpenStreetMap, developers, and maybe why people continue to favor Google Maps over some great competition. The fun starts at 10am PST over at WeoGeo Video.

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


Planet Geospatial:: The Way Forward

Please Read

OK, so we talked it over and I think we’ve got a plan of action.

  1. Planet Geospatial is going nowhere. I’m going to keep it running because so many people have told me how much they use it. The stats clearly showed this, but sometimes you just need to hear it from users.
  2. Please send me additional feeds for the service. I’ve added probably 20 new blogs since last week and I’d love to add more. Curating good content requires the community to help. So email me what you enjoy reading so others can to.
  3. I mentioned the CSS needed to be updated. You all see it as I do, these feeds are dirty and cause problems with the page formatting when it renders. I’m clearly not a CSS guru so I’d like to hire someone to make it much better. Some people have volunteered and I appreciate it, but I think we require some kick ass help. Thus I’m going to be smart and pay for a CSS stud to fix things the right way.
  4. One of my concerns with spending time on improving Planet Geospatial was that I wasn’t sure how many people really valued it. I’ve gotten a ton of feedback on this but I think we should both put “skin in the game”. I’m going to set up a PayPal donation link here this week and whatever people donate will be put to improving Planet Geospatial. Based on feedback, there will be two options, a bulk donation option and a subscription option. There is no expectation that everyone donates. Clearly you need to determine if Planet Geospatial is of value to you and if so you still may not feel like donating. That’s ok, just keep reading and that’s enough. I only expect anyone to donate because they want to improve the service and keep it free and clean.

Thanks for the feedback everyone!

Thinking About the Future of Planet Geospatial

Planet Geospatial has been around for over 7 years. It started on Planet Planet, moved to WordPress, then back to Planet Venus plaforms. I’ll be honest, it really doesn’t cost me much in time or hosting fees. It runs as it always has, a hourly CRON job that builds the simple HTML page. Formatting gets wacky sometimes because most GIS bloggers can’t bother to close all their HTML tags, but that’s another story.

So even though I spend almost no time running it, I still think about it. I get about an email a week from someone who wants their blog added, wants to know why their blog isn’t updating (spoiler: stop using Feedburner) or even that they’d rather get their Esri news elsewhere.


I’ve enjoyed working with Planet Geospatial and I still have it as a tab on all my browsers. But what to do, what to do?

I’ve decided there are three ways to go:

  1. Sell
  2. Take donations to fund a new resource that has more value
  3. Let Planet Geospatial die a quiet death in peace

Sell Out


I’ve gotten an offer from someone who wants the domain to probably throw ads all over place place and probably destroy it for most users. They know that this is the case, but they don’t really care. I’m not emotional about it, if selling make sense, I’ll do it. I would have rather had someone else offer money for the site and continue it as a GIS resource. But I’m not sure anyone really wants to do that.

Let It Die


This is easy, I just keep doing what I’m doing. Add/remove blog feeds as emails come it. Honestly, if I spend 1 hour a year doing this I’d be surprised. Since this is how I’ve been running Planet Geospatial for the past couple year so you can tell I don’t find it rewarding.

Fund a New Planet Geospatial


The last option as I see it is to get some donations from readers to give me funds to hire a developer to create a new aggregator built for how we use the Internet in 2012. I thought about taking people’s time donated (GitHub style) to create something, but I think if I went this route I would want to pay someone to get it done. This seems possible as I don’t think I need that much money to get it done, but do people even donate money to niche web projects anymore? I know I do, but my gut tells me I wouldn’t get more than $10 bucks.

Why Not Just Sell Ads?

Well ads suck these days, they don’t get enough revenue to justify their existence (note to self, remove that stupid Google ad on the right). Plus, the core of Planet Geospatial is not my work. I don’t like the idea of selling ads around other people’s work. Plus, 99% of them would just be for the 2013 Esri UC, right?


So what is next? I’m not sure, I’m not going to make a rash decision here. The offer for the domain is still valid so that’s got at least another month of life left. For every person who says they’d donate, 10 tell me that I’m crazy (but they don’t say if they’d give a buck or two). I’m curious what you guys think?

This Week’s Hangout:: Talking Shop Part 2

Quick programming note! Luc can’t make today’s hangout, but we’ll still have tons of fun. I’ll also be talking about the future of Planet Geospatial.

This week is going to be a great hangout. Luc Anselin, Director of the GeoDa Center for Geospatial Analysis and Computation at Arizona State University, joins Madeline and James for a Hangout. We’ll talk about using Python to perform GIS Analysis, open source tools, open source in Education and why the Arizona State Sun Devil football team will destroy that stupid UofA team on Friday. Arizona State’s GeoDa Center is a great resource for GIS analytical tools such as OpenGeoDa, PySAL, R-Geo and others.

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


Dont Be That Guy Gis Day Edition

– esri

For some reason the GeoHipsters were all up in arms yesterday that Esri has a trademark on “GIS Day”. I’ve not seen Esri defend that trademark at all against even the crazy stuff I do with it.

Companies trademark things all the time to protect them from people who would destroy a brand. If anything Jack is the kind of guy to take one for the team and trademark GIS Day so anyone can use it to promote GIS without fear that it will be used by porn sites (think about it). Sure Esri promotes their software in their presentations, but that’s what we all do on that day. The core concepts work anywhere so don’t get stuck in the weeds.

GIS Day is nothing to be afraid of. Plus Jack was hipster well before you were born.

Jack Hipster