The Launch of Cityzenith

As I mentioned in my last post, Cityzenith launched last week in Chicago. Thanks to everyone who turned out to see us move out of beta and into a full blown data platform for BIM and GIS. We were lucky enough to have many special guests speaking including State of Illinois CIO Hardik Bhatt, City of Chicago Chief Data Officer Tom Schenk, John Kizior of AECOM, Tom Coleman of WSP-USA, and Gordon Feller of Meeting of the Minds. Michael Jansen, our CEO, lead the discussion and talked about the road to where we are today and how we’re going to change how things are done.

A warm thanks to attendees from Arup, HOK, HKS, CannonDesign, Foursquare, Perkins+Will, SOM, AECOM , Gensler, DeWalt, CallisonRTKL, WSP USA, BuiltWorlds, the University of Illinois at Chicago, the Illinois Institute of Technology, Argonne National Laboratory and many more who attended. The hard work has begun for us and we’re looking forward to helping companies connect with each other around the world.

If you’d like to give Cityzenith a spin free of change, sign up now. Let us know if you’d like to see a demo first. There is so much more to come, stay tuned!

The Command Line Revisited

I’ve talked repeatedly about GIS command line tools being powerful. During the launch last week of Cityzenith, I was describing our Asq query tool to the audience and described it as the command line of Cityzenith.

Presenting Cityzenith Smart World to the world…

Asq is simple, a query tool to search through our indexed data stores in Elastic. But is also much more, a way to manipulate what you see in your view. Using the GUI to add and work with files and layers is of course how must people will work with the product but being able to stack together commands to perform the same action is where the power is. Much like Automator on Mac OS X or similar scripting tools, the idea is to batch functions together in building blocks.

Back in the 90s I used AutoCAD for much of my data creation because it made it simple to model the built environment. Before the madness of AutoCAD 13, the DOS based approach of having a command line at the bottom of the window made its use so much better than having to navigate toolbars and menus. Windows 95 and Mac OS destroyed the command line tools to the point we have things like Ribbon Interfaces and stackable toolbars. Its so much at this point that I try and do most of my GIS processes in the command line using Python or Javascript.

I don’t want users of Cityzenith to feel constrained by buttons, dialogs and options. Start typing and autocomplete takes care of your next decision. In showing our development team how you perform a Definition Query on ArcGIS Desktop, they were speachless at how many right clicks, OKs and other UI madness one must complete before getting something as simple as [PARK_NAME] = “Grant”. I want to type:

SHOW -> FILE -> PARK -> WHERE -> PARK_NAME -> IS -> “Grant”

That’s not even including all the spatial query functions we can do.

We just launched so this is the beginning of command line City Information Modeling (CIM). Cityzenith can help manage the built environment but taking control of all the aggregated data is critical. Hence Asq being the command line of Cityzenith.

If you’re interested in signing up, we’ve got a page to do that.

HWJF 04: Steve Pousty and “Hey Dingus”

Yet another weekly edition of HWJF is out. Steve Pousty joins me to talk about JS.geo, big data in the cloud, esports, OpenShift, Alexa and Wolfram Alpha with GIS, serverless, fly fishing and traveling.

New this week are podcast chapters. If you have a modern podcast client, you’ll be able to skip between topics.

https://fireside.fm/s/MlF0_TPS+qL39fjIe/iframe

You can subscribe either on the show homepage or in iTunes or Google Play.

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Google shuts down Google Maps’ editing tools

I mean I wasn’t a big editor in Google Maps but I know people did use it. Over the weekend this appeared, sadly not a April Fools joke.

Google Map Maker officially closed on March 31, 2017, and many of its features are being integrated into Google Maps.
Now you might think this is cool, integrated in to Google Maps natively. Unfortunately there is a huge functionality difference between Google Map Maker and Google Maps editing.

I think this is a reflection on the type of editing being done. It’s mostly POI editing rather than actual mapping. So it’s up to OSM to continue the open mapping platform which is how it should be in the first place. Google Maps Maker is probably best known for this image that was removed about 2 years ago.

Google Maps Android Apple

HWJF 02: Bill Dollins and Career Changes

So we’ve got another weekly edition of HWJF. Bill Dollins joined me to talk about his transition to Spatial Networks and away from Fed GIS work (just like me). We also go into the state of GIS conferences, hiring GIS specialists (if there is even a thing anymore) and GIS as a database.

https://fireside.fm/s/MlF0_TPS+97_mWuUq/iframe

You can subscribe either on the show homepage or in iTunes or Google Play.

Next week Brian Timoney joins so stay tuned.

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HWJF 01: Ian White and Where are they now?

Well Hangouts with James Fee is back in Podcast form. As is typical, Ian White is my first guest and we get into many things from his transition from Urban Mapping to the business of spatial and a new segment called “Where are they now?” where we remember all those leaders who have moved on to new jobs in 2017. You can listen below or subscribe in iTunes or Google Play. I hope you enjoy the new format and if you have any suggestions please email me.

https://fireside.fm/s/MlF0_TPS+hGNgh4Gx/iframe

Next week Bill Dollins joins so stay tuned.

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