Friday the 13th

So what a week, am I right? I’m trying to put everything into perspective but I can’t. I just went down to the Safeway to get some beer and it was like end of days. Apparently I should be stocking up on beans and tuna fish by looking at the isles. Top it all off, we’ve had more rain in this past week than I can recall, thanks California.

Since there is nothing to do anymore and I probably don’t want to be around people right now, I think I’m going to work on cleaning up my old blog entries and fix deal Google links this weekend. I’ve moved this blog so many times and so many different blogging engines, that many entries go 404. I think I’m also going to try and relink dead links using Archive.org so the context of what I was linking to still works. This is a daunting task of course, I have almost 2400 blog posts to go through.

Stay safe everyone!

The Story Behind Earthgoogle

If you search my blog you’ll find an interesting post titled earthgoogle. Well it really isn’t that interesting, it just has a link to download Google Earth and a link to my blog. So what is this thing and why does it have such a weird title?

For those that might not remember, 2005 was a crazy time for GIS blogs. Katrina brought satellite imagery to everyone and people searched the internet for ways to find out more. Google Earth was probably the easiest and best way for the average person to learn more about satellite imagery and get some really helpful tools to mark up the area.

This was about as amazing as anything anyone had seen outside of our industry.

About this time in September 2005, I noticed a lot of people arriving to my blog due to the search term “earthgoogle”. So as most people who blogged back then, I loved to talk about blogging. I created a simple blog post asking what was this all about.

To all those reaching this site using MSN search with the term “earthgoogle” hello. You’ve been filling up my server logs with this request. I’m curious why you’ve typed this in to only MSN search and not Google/Yahoo/other search engines.

So obvious, right? MSN users, not typing a URL correctly? Anyway, what this blog post of mine actually did was make this page the number one result in Google for the search term “earthgoogle”. I got so much traffic by being the way most people, who didn’t understand how URLs work, find Google Earth. Eventually I changed the page to what you see now.

I put Google AdSense on that page too. I mean everywhere (really wished I took a screen shot because it was so tacky). The result from that tacky was that I was making over $1,000 a month in ad revenue from that blog post alone. People who wanted to find “earthgoogle” apparently also like to click on ads.

Eventually the page died down, people stopped being directed to my blog via search for “earthgoogle”. I probably pulled ads off the blog in 2006 and couldn’t care less. But the page remains, a reminder of how crazy Google Earth was back in 2005.

Moving the Home Office

Moving the home office is always interesting, you find so much that you’ve done over the past years and just stuck in a drawer or a shelf. Companies you worked for, RaspberryPis that never were used. Keys to a safety deposit box you don’t recall its location. But that is what makes moving therapeutic, cleaning out the old, unused parts of your life and focusing on the ones that make you happy. Do I need a puppet of Andrew Turner1 in my desk, nope. But I do need the things that make me happy. So now that I’ve boxed up everything but the work MacBookP Pro, I feel strangely at rest2.

  1. I still love Andrew, just haven’t had the need for his head on a stick. 

  2. At least until I have to unpack and realize that if I had only kept that RaspberryPi, my life would be so much better. 

WordPress to Jekyll again

About 4 years ago I moved my blog from WordPress to Octopress. That process was a total hack and eventually I moved back to WordPress because I had just too many blog posts and Jekyll took 10 minutes to build the site before publishing. Since then I’ve dealt with WordPress and it’s issues but generally it has gotten much better. But I’ve grown tired of hosting my own blog and the security updates so I had two choices. Move to WordPress.com or move to Github Pages. Clearly you can see I took the latter route. The migration is a piece of cake, just used a simple python script and converted all my WordPress XML to markdown. Then just push to Github. The results as you see them?

  • Blog looks bare, I haven’t themed it yet
  • 404 errors galore
  • Feed probably spammed you
  • Killed comments1
  1. Not coming back 

What’s Next? Matrix New World Engineering

So you may have seen last week that I resigned from AECOM.

Well I’ve ended up at Matrix New World Engineering as the National Practice Leader for GIS and Geospatial Services.  I’m going to miss the guys at AECOM and working as Project Manager on the BLM Navigator1 data sharing portal but the opportunity with Matrix is something I could not pass up.  In a twist, I will be working more closely with Esri technology.  That means you’ll see me blogging more about Esri again.  That said the first program I bought at Matrix was Safe FME Desktop so you can see my overall goals aren’t changing.

Tied in with this is ArcGIS for Server on Azure.  I’m jumping in with two feet it appears.  But don’t worry, you won’t be seeing any ArcObjects or Dojo posts from me.  It’s interesting to try to get back on where Esri server software has gone over the past 5 years I’ve ignored it.  Google searches of course make me laugh a bit.

The bottom goals don’t change though.  Sharing data and liberating data from silos.  Making smart choices with open source technology and embracing Python and JavaScript over Java and .NET.  My Esri account is locked out of ArcGIS Online (who even knows how to get that fixed) so step one is cleaning out the garage2 in my mind.

Now I had promised Hangouts with James Fee starting back mid-October.  Well given my job change it was difficult to get that started back up.  It’s being pushed back to November and my first guest will be the always interesting Ian White.  Stay tuned for the schedule.

  1. Replacing the busted old BLM Communicator 

  2. Or is that gutter? 

10 Years Ago on Spatially Adjusted – “Ron Lake – What is KML?”

10 years ago, Google Earth was still somewhat unknown.  It had its big coming out party with a natural disaster1 and people started doing amazing things with it.  If there was one person back in 2005 that knew XML spatial formats, it was Ron Lake.  He wrote a commentary on KML 10 years ago this week.  I for one read his article with 10 years of time to think about they implications of KML and see why from his perspective KML was not able to handle his needs.

Back then we all thought KML was the future and there wasn’t much that couldn’t be done.  I think now we all realize that KML is the new PDF except we knew that 10 years ago.  XML of course is never the answer…

  1. Katrina 

10 Years Ago on Spatially Adjusted – “Being Open Doesn’t Guarantee Success”

I never “celebrated” 10 years of Spatially Adjusted mostly because I forgot about it.  I was cleaning up the site earlier this week and noticed there was some good content back then, it definitely had a different tone but hey, I’m 10 years older now.  I’m going to post a “best of” link every week to a 10-year-old article for the rest of the year.  Some of it will be thought-provoking[footnote]disclaimer: probably not[/footnote] and some of it will be laughable.  At any rate 10 years ago this week there were a couple posts about hurricane tracking that were interesting given that it was about Katrina, but this one caught my eye.

Being Open Doesn’t Guarantee Success

All the openness in the world won’t make any product successful, but listening to your customers will. The feeling that I’ve gotten from ESRI over the past year is that they have finally begun to realize that their road to continued success is supporting users like us. Don’t confuse the hype surrounding Google Maps/Earth with them being open and listening to their customers. There is no company that likes to hide behind their logo more than Google and they will do whatever it takes to not have to be open. There is a reason people are beginning to realize that Google is the next Microsoft (while Microsoft seems to have becomethe next IBM). Believe me, ESRI has a LONG WAY TO GO before they are as open as we’d all like them to be, but they do listen to their customers and that is a start.

Well the whole post is sort of like that, me claiming that Esri has been more open than Google or others.  The context with this is they started allowing their employees to blog and contact people directly, it was a big shift from the traditional call a phone number support.  So we were all so excited to see Esri employees blogging and responding to our articles.  Well eventually it all collapsed into a corporate marketing blog cycle but at that moment it looks like we felt like Esri was changing.