Waze valued at $1B

So Waze may be part of Facebook for a cool “One Billion Dollars”.

After spending $1 billion on Instagram last year to keep pace with the mobile photo explosion, Facebook is now reportedly ready to spend a similar amount on popular social driving app Waze.

Waze is considered the second most popular navigation map in the USA so it’s not too much of a surprise. I do find it interesting though that Facebook would spend this money on the data. They don’t need the users, that’s for sure and they can buy engineers to solve the problem. I can only think it is better to own Waze than use OpenStreetMap data that you have to share. Are we seeing problems with the license? I hope this is a huge discussion at OSM PLUS next month.

UPDATEMarc Prioleau has some great insight on his blog. His kicker at the end?

Why OSM isn’t a better option is another whole discussion. I suspect it revolves around ownership and data rights.


Esri and an OGC Standard

So there is a ton of talk about Esri’s REST API trying to become an OGC standard on Twitter. We mentioned it on my hangout yesterday and it’s still a hot topic. Here are some bullet points.

  • OGC exists to help software vendors, open source projects, contractors market to the federal government. There is no altruistic goal other than to make money.
  • OGC standards are standard only in the world of contracts. Just because Esri gets their REST API “blessed” doesn’t make it worth using any more than it was before.
  • Esri submitted their REST API to OGC so they could use it in federal contracts instead of existing OGC standards which nobody uses.
  • Esri REST API won’t be used outside of Esri software so it really doesn’t matter.
  • Esri’s consulting arm is competing with all of us. Beware as they’ll squeeze you out the minute they can.
  • OGC standards suck so that’s why people are always proposing new ones. By next year there will be another “standard” coming up that will replace Esri’s.
  • The simple fact that there is a proposal for “OGCJSON” should tell you all you need to know about these standards.
  • Esri exists to make money, that’s OK as I work for the same reasons. Just don’t wrap their business model up with saving the world.
  • KML is the only OGC Standard people actually use. The rest are check boxes on a form.

Don’t get emotional about OGC standards. That’s what they want, people to actually start caring.

Mission Accomplished


Hangouts with James Fee:: Live from the Airport

Steve Citron-Pousty joined me to talk about some of the latest trends in the spatial world. We hit on Google Glass, Esri, Frameworks, housing prices, travel, iD and OSM, naming stadiums, and of course being in an airport. The IRC log is here.


This Week’s Hangout with Steve Citron-Pousty

This week’s hangout should be fun. Steve C-P joins me to talk about the latest trends in the spatial world. We’re going to have fun and crowdsource the topics. If there is something you’d like to see talked about tomorrow, just add it to this Gist.

As always, we go live at 11am PDT and the video will stream live here on this blog.


MapBox’s OpenStreetMap editor

Go to right now and click the edit tab. Select the “Edit with iD” and check it out.

iD for OSM

It’s like nothing you’ve seen before. This is the tool that OSM needs to finish the map as Steve Coast said on my Hangout last week. All this is because of the Knight Foundation grant to MapBox which finally gives users tools they need to edit the map. As I said back then:

I’ve always felt OSM was held back by it’s editing tools. They are designed by nerds for geeks.

Well no longer, the editor is live and it’s gorgeous! Check out how you add a road:

Add road with iD

Or add a park:

Add park with iD

That’s not some crazy Potlach (now I did love that tool but it isn’t mainstream) method that only OSM users know. These are simple methods that everyone will understand. I do hope that it will also improve OSM’s biggest weakness, addressing. But in the meantime we should see lots of people start improving the map all around the world.

I have to be honest, when I first heard MapBox got a grant to improve OSM editing I thought it was a waste of time. There were already tools available, why not spend that money on something worthwhile. Well seeing iD in action, I feel like I need to take that all back. I no longer have to install Flash to edit OSM, that’s worth it’s weight in gold. I can imagine how this might look if another company did it, probably build in Silverlight with some crazy proprietary APIs. We should all be thankful MapBox took this on.

Update The OSM Blog has much more.


ArcGIS Cloud is in Your Future

Nobody likes to complain more about software than Adobe Creative Suite users. But then this happened:

Adobe is pointing all of its energy towards Creative Cloud, eliminating the familiar retail box in the process. Like last year, the company is releasing an updated suite of applications this June, newly branded as “CC” apps. This includes: Photoshop CC, InDesign CC, Illustrator CC, Dreamweaver CC and Premiere Pro CC.

The key here is per user, per month. No more stupid buying a new copy of Photoshop every year and complaining about how there is no new value. Now you get the new version no matter what new features are added. Microsoft is trying to do with with Office 365 but most of us realize it is just a awful implementation of SharePoint. That said they realize that people just don’t upgrade anymore and in fact I’d wager they’d rather not anyway.

So Esri has lived on maintenance agreements and the wacky ELA agreements for revenue so they are practically halfway there anyway. I think the ELA tries to capture “per user/per month” but it’s not a 1 to 1 relationship. Adobe is showing the way and I think we GIS folks need to expect that Esri will transition everyone to such a model (at least those not on ELA) in a couple years. Autodesk is probably much closer to this reality so keep an eye on your AutoCAD users down the hall and see how their do when their 100% on Autodesk 360.

Now in the rush to get on the cloud, be careful slipping on those stairs in your Salvatore Ferragamo shoes.

Pete Campbell Fall


WxS Say What Now?

So the requirements doc says the application must support WMS, WFS, WCS and WTS. I hate the first three, but the four one confused me. I was unaware of WTS and Wikipedia is zero help. A phone call into the contracts person (who has no idea what GIS is in the first place) was zero help. She did say that she’d get back to me later today to find out.


WTS means “Web Tile Service”. It’s not WMTS but something they just made up. There is some sort of 900913 awesome in that. I’m just a bit afraid to ask the XYZ order…


What’s a Title?

Someone asked me today what their title should be. Now of course I asked what they did and they said “GIS Manager”. So of course who really cares right? Is GIS Manager a bad thing? I’ve been a GIS Manager in the past and I’m not sure it has affected my ability to get work. Heck I’ve been a “Chief Evangelist” and if that doesn’t kill your job marketability then I’m not sure what does.

So after some back and forth the meat of the argument is do we want to be known as GIS “people”? Is there some negative connotation to GIS that causes us to fear it appearing on our business cards? I look at mine right now and it says “Founder”. Now that should be the death sentence to getting any work. I mean what does a “Founder” do other than talk about being a “Founder”?

My recommendation was just stick to being a GIS Manager, no one really cares and if they do, they probably aren’t a client anyway. Job titles are funny in that we all pretend to not care, but once you see it on your business card, you become self conscious. Does changing GIS into “Geo” or “Spatial” improve your outlook or attractiveness? The real focus on improving your marketability is to make sure your CV/GitHub/Website/Blog is filled with the things that you care about in your career. Maybe it’s Python, JavaScript, .NET, Silverlight (snicker), C++, ObjectiveC, Java, PostGIS, etc. These are all things that will matter to your peers and your clients more than if your title is VP of Awesome or Chief Python scrubber.

Esri Salesman

Even the Esri Salesman seems to realize his title doesn’t matter. “How many ArcGIS Servers can I put you down for?”


Hangouts with James Fee:: GPS is Just a Bunch of Lines

Steve Coast joined me to talk about his Kickstarter project, GPS Art Poster. Selling GPS data as art to the general public can only mean lots of fun for Steve as he tries to convert locations people email him into extent boxes to clip the GPS data. We also caught up on OSM news, the OSM Plus conference in a couple of months, and other interesting projects he is working on. The IRC log is here.