Saturday, October 29, 2005


Symbology. It's pretty important to cartography, and in these days of competing geographic information systems, viewers, and digital mapping data it is even more so. My question now is, how will AX [my new pet name for ArcGIS Explorer] handle symbology? Will it be the same ol' ESRI-like output, or, will AX automatically "smooth" vectors and use an appealing symbol sheet for the "general population?"

For Those Of You Looking For An AE Screen Shot...

... Here you go. (Image courtesy of ESRI)

Friday, October 28, 2005

Bloggers In Other Countries

As a geographer tethered to a desk these days it's hard to get out and see the world. Fortunately, there are bloggers in other countries who write a pretty good description of what is going on where they are. Personal insight to the daily grind in another country is good stuff. So, today's featured blog is from Adam & Val, Peace Corps volunteers in Mauritania. In their recent post they tell it how it is during Ramadan in an Islamic country. Again, good stuff.

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

Where ArcExplorer 9.2 Data May Come From

James and Ed are wondering where the data for ArcExplorer 9.2 will come from. Answer: The public offerings from ArcWeb Services. Although, ESRI is trying to figure out how to make moolah off of it. And ads don't work for ESRI either. I thought of this the night I saw AE: I would suggest open the API, which someone noted they might do. Then ESRI and commercial partners could liscense/sell custom-built tools for AE 9.2. Either a company buys the services of an ESRI person to build them an AE tool, or the singular geo-programmer writes one. Brian? Just imagine a MetaCarta plug-in with a digital Chinese phonebook and NavTeq data from AWS for AE. You'll finally know where all of those chins are in 3-D!

I Saw; Warsaw

When I praised Smogtown, this is what I was talking about. ArcExplorer 9.2. We all saw something at the UC planary, but that's not what I saw. And probably not what users saw in Warsaw. Ha ha. Anyway, this is my original note to James: Anyway, I saw a working pre-alpha version of AE 9.2. I guess it's not what was demo'd at the UC Planary. This thing is pretty slick. The epitomy of 'GIS Lite'. One question popped up when I heard that it has to take the 2D data and throw it into a 'globe cache' for it to get its 3D on. Otherwise, it rocks. Comes standard with an IP locator like VE, telephone location lookup, some kind of search, bookmarking, OGC compliant web service, AWS, IMS, GeoDB's. It takes it all in. I asked about KML/KMZ. They didn't know what the propriatary issues are, but ArcGIS Server can serve KML now. I wouldn't think that it would be an issue with AE. I did point out to the developers there the notion of hashing out GeoRSS readability too. So, the boys 'n' girls in Smogtown are doing some good. Of course, it won't be out until "1st Qtr CY06." Almost one full year after GE's release. Which makes me wonder about the "Google folks" and eveyone who has lined up for Arc2Earth tools and enterprise implementations.

Thursday, October 20, 2005

Pre-Alpha Goodies

Woo-hoo-hoo! Smogtown, you rock! Now, talk to the GeoRSS guys. That's an order. And that's all I'm leagally allowed to say.


Yawn. Oh, hello. Sorry about that. I just spent a day working on developing/reviewing some standards for GIS data... ...zzzzzz... Actually, developing standards are hard work. Almost like trying to predict the future with the Way-Back Machine and an angry anti-social Keebler Elf with a drinking problem. ...zzzzz... ...Wake me when I'm done.

Monday, October 17, 2005


"Sweet nectar of life!" From the folks at VerySpatial: After all of my complaining someone finally has put together GeoRSS.

Sunday, October 16, 2005


I finished reading Why Geography Matters earlier this week and Harm seemed to comment on irredentism quite often. Especially in this trying time religious and nationalist extremisim around the world. So, I thought I would do a quick Google search on the word. So far, I have found the Wikipedia entry the most interesting. They actually list current situations of irredentism, which is pretty cool. (For a geographer.)

Thinking 'Bout A New Career

This blogging stuff is starting to wear on me. I'm not diggin' up the goods to get the readership that I want. Therefore, I'm thinking about a career change. In my pursuit of looking for really cool geography jobs I came across this. I hear they're hiring. Of course, since I'm not producing here, why should they hire me? I can't spell and certainly can't roll a map right.

Wednesday, October 12, 2005

Google & Bird Flu Basics

The Google Blog & the Googleplex's Staff Doctor comment on the basics of the avian flu. Interesting. Ain't it? When Google starts talking abouy the avian flu, boy, watch out. This is gonna get bad. No wonder why the mail carrier who delivers the mail to my mother leaves notes in her mailbox for reqesting doses of the anti-viral Tamiflu? (My mom works for Roche, maker of Tamiflu.)

A Dark Blog

Wikipedia defines a 'Dark Blog' as:

"A non-public blog, such as one behind a firewall or specifically hidden to all but a defined group of friends.
"The Dark Blog design allows for the frank exchange of ideas although there may be some corporate discomfort with the views expressed. As with most electronic communications blog space may be subject to Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy legislation and regulation."
Well, today I have entered the realm of corporate blogging about geography. "Tie my hands and call me 'dry white toast.'" Which explains my crotchety remarks in the last post.

An Official Statement From The FANTOM PLANET Press Office

Official Statement From The FANTOM PLANET Press Office: Regarding the recent string of geoblogs who have commented about web mapping apps and their data providers; The FANTOM PLANET would like to note: I have told you all this before! Geez? Data wins in the end. I bet before all of this hoo-plah is over, Google, Microsoft, and ESRI are NavTeq and TeleAtlas' bi-otches.

Monday, October 10, 2005

Applied Geography Conference

Hmm? GEOINT, or, Applied Geography? Hmm? A great bit of thanks goes out to the folks over at VerySpatial, they noted that the Applied Geography Conference, November 2-5 in Washington, DC, was coming up. Hey! That's the same week as GEOINT in San Antonio! I would obviously tell you which one to go to: Applied Geography. Why? If you didn't read my gripe about GEOINT already, I suggest that you do. If you're a serious geographer, want to schmooze with real geographers, and learn something other than the status of NGA's pot-o-cash for the toolmakers (SAIC, Grumman, GD, Lockheed, ESRI, and any other company on the governments satellite information system payroll), then I suggest that you go to Applied Geography (AG). There at AG, you'll get a keynote from the State Department's director of Geography & Global Issues, you'll get to meet international dignitaries, some good topical sessions that actually relate to geography, and a field trip to the Library of Congress Map & Geography Division. All great stuff. So, if you're trying to decide what to do, I would definitely recommend AG. If you're going to GEOINT, pick me up a light up pen from Digital Globe, maybe another duck from the guys at SANZ, and please say hello to the keynote speaker for me and tell him he's in the wrong place.

TeleAtlas & Garmin Make New Acquisitions

Directions Magazine is hosting press releases noting that TeleAtlas and Garmin made some new acquisitions this week. TeleAtlas announced that it purchased PPWK GeoInvent, which develops a mobile mapping system that captures still and motion imagery for a 360-degree view of the road. Meanwhile Garmin acquired MotionBased Technologies, which allows athletes to monitor their travels, trails, and GPS tracks via ArcWeb Services. The TeleAtlas purchase is interesting due to the all-around view capability that it will more than likely bring to in-car navigation systems in the future. While, the Garmin acquisition will offer a worthwhile web-based mapping service to its customers who want to monitor their performance. Although, it will be interesting to see what the experts say.

Sunday, October 09, 2005

When Jeff Gets Home He Gets Hot

Jeff Thurston, the blogger of Vector One, went on a blogging spree when he returned from Dusseldorf last weekend. Jeff interestingly talks about a 100 Euro bet about 'spatial' and 'aspatial' data, which he is dead on about and is something I deal with extensively. Then he gets going in a post about what a GIS really is and a number of issues that spun up this thinking. Sound familiar? Head on over to Vector One and check out Jeff's thoughts. Not so far off from, probably, much of our own, eh?

We Have A Winner! (I Think?)

If you have been keeping tabs on the DARPA Grand Challenge then you know that four robot-controlled autonomous vehicles actually finished the 132.2 mile course on October 8 in Fontana, CA. From the looks of it, the Stanford Racing Team's modified VW Toureg had a best time of nine hours and fifty-five minutes, with both of Red Team Racing's vehicles finishing just minutes behind Stanford. Congratulations everyone! Now is there a need for NavTeq if SkyNet now has wheels?

Think The Gulf Is Has It Bad? Try Kashmir

If you didn't catch the news on Saturday between college football games and mowing the lawn, there was a 7.6 magnitude earthquake near the Pakistan/India border. The AP is reporting that Pakistani officials have made estimates that 20,000 to 30,000 people have be killed in the earthquake. I think due to the location of this event, geographers and others may want to keep an eye on how geographic and political temperature of this area. As we know, poverty and natural disasters don't make for good person-to-person situations. Although, I would hope for some optimism that neighbors would band together to get through this and repair or eradicate any cultural animosity that they would have in this region.

Friday, October 07, 2005

Saw Red Spider, Scratched My Head

I was the recipient of an Ionic RedSpider pitch & demo today. Sounds good. OGC. Web services. Data registry and discovery. Works with portals. Federated. Price? Mucho. And satisfaction from a complete enterprise installation and integration? We'll find out. Otherwise, a good pitch. Just need to figure it out if it meets my needs. If I'm not mistaken, Mapping Hacks also has comments about RedSpider in it. Although, I think what they have written about has changed?

Correction: StreetHive Not AWS

I was recently corrected about the notes I took on StreetHive from the ArcWeb Services session at the ESRI UC earlier this year. I guess it was not. A recent comment by someone said tht it was from scratch. However, the URL that the demonstrators gave linked to StreetHive, discussed StreetHive, and to my memory linked AWS to StreetHive. Oh, well? That will teach you to trust the reporting from the blogosphere.

So, It Starts Once Again

Again today I had the GIS purists and my ESRI rep in my office tell me "Google Earth is not GIS." Then what is ArcExplorer 9.2? By the very definition of "Geographic Information System" one would think that it would be "a system that manages geographic information." Now, I claim not to be a genius, but aren't place names, NavTeq data, and the NaturalView dataset geographic information managed by a system? Guess we'll have to go to the Google Lobby in Washington for a ruling. Uff da.

Thursday, October 06, 2005

Me Amo Redmond (I Love Redmond)

Just kidding! Although, seriously: When is Redmond going to come out with a 3D mapping viewer? Or, did I miss it somewhere in a past release of 'Encarta Atlas' or whatever they have out there? Just surprise me. Or, come up with something that includes a business partnership that will make a small commune called 'Redmondlands, Oregon.'


If you go to you're going to see a pretty cool implementation of VE and how it can be used to map the news. The more I see VE the more interested I am becoming; and with a Virtual Earth Shapefile Viewer out there, there's some real potential for it's use in my office. Steve Lombardi! Where are you!?!

Wednesday, October 05, 2005

Being Hard On My ESRI Rep

Today I reversed James' stance in his post about ESRI's marketing strategy for ArcExplorer 9.2... I asked my ESRI rep for a demo and they replied with, "What are you up to?" I apologize off the bat, I don't usually post these conversations, but here's what I laid out: "On the down-low: Getting the whole office in the Way-Back Machine and going back to 2005. You don't understand the impact that Google has made. Either you pull all of your advanced R&D out to curb this, or, ESRI is going to be Google's bi-otch. If ESRI can super-wham-a-dize ArcWeb and AE 9.2 to do all of the Google things people like (including cartographic display, which is what's killing you too) you will keep the Office as a full-fledged ESRI shop. Otherwise... Like I said, you're going to be holding hands with Google until Jack is gone and they buy you out. It's the non-geographer who will ultimately make this happen as Google, taking Harm de Blij's advice, re-invigorates America's geographic literacy of the world." Yes, harsh. But honest. I think they need to hear it sometimes. I did get the demo.

The Risk Of Sounding Like A Microsoft VE Geek

I recently forwarded the VE mashup the poy9 boys did to some co-workers this week and, boy, did I get a favorable response. Since I'm somewhat in the media biz, news mashups hit home hard with my peeps. Now that I have the attention of those who have now seen the GeoWeb's potential, I think I can get the Office to start looking at adding something like this for our users. Whether it's VE, GM/GE, or AWS/AE-based... ... I dunno? I'm trying to develop some healthy competition. Isn't that the way it should be?