Friday, September 30, 2005

MapPoint Web Service, Version 4.0 Features

I thought I would give Chandu some coverage for the new MapPoint Web Service version that he has just posted about. Via Chandu Thota's Weblog: MapPoint Web Service, Version 4.0 Features On September 12th we have released MapPoint Web Service, V4.0 with tons of new features and I totally missed on blogging this (been slammed with work - lame excuse!) So here is an overview of features:

  • Polygon Find and RenderNow you can perform powerful point-in-poly, poly-in-area, and property-query finds on user defined polygonal data such as their Sales Territories, Delivery Areas, Property Boundaries, etc.
  • Traffic IncidentsYou can find accidents, road closures, construction projects, and traffic-relevant incidents for over 70 US metro regions.
  • New Map OptionsNow you can render Line-Drive maps and Night style maps
  • Extended International CoverageNow you can find addresses in - New Zealand - Hong Kong - Singapore
  • Language ExpansionNewly supported languages include - Czech - Danish - Norwegian - Finnish
  • Find-related EnhancementsExtended match properties can help detect addresses much more accurately than earlier Score numbers and time-zone information
  • You can find the new SDK online at MapPoint Developer Center. You can also read the "What's new" section from the SDK for more details.
Finally, this release of the MapPoint Web Service is fully backward-compatible with previous version of the MapPoint Web Service (V3.5); so, your existing applications should continue to function as expected without changing or re-compiling the source code. Cheers!

Sunday, September 25, 2005

Sustainable Corruption

My friend Tim recently posted:

"Certainly, one of the major challenges that the world will face in my lifetime is that of development. Perhaps it is time to develop a new model, or at least re-assess the models that we have been using."

A friend of a friend is currently living in the province of Enga in Papua New Guinea and has been blogging for some time now. Both of these guys offer some opinions on the development models used for developing nations. What they both recognize is the fallibility of humanity in underdeveloped places where resources are stolen from those who need it.

Although both are not geographers, check out both of their blogs. It should provide you with some aspect of the things good people are doing in the world today and extend your geographic knowledge of lesser known places.

Assumption: Gulf Coast Geography Jobs

Assumption: There will probably be a boom for geographers in areas recently affected by hurricanes Rita & Katrina. Reason: There are geographers out there with skills to assist in the recovery effort for the entire region, such as geographers with urban & regional planning and environmental backgrounds, to name a few. Yet, across the country I can see transportation engineers and regional planners becoming more important in their roles to create evacuation and emergency plans for states, counties, and cities across the United States. Imagine trying to evacuate Washington D.C. Actually, right now, you probably couldn't very effectively. Have you seen the normal traffic around here? Would you trust the expertise of your Mayor or a city council member to do it? Probably not. So, to modify a line from Jack at a past UC, "Geography. Managing Our World." Which it really does and it's something that more people should take note of.

Friday, September 23, 2005

Sleeping Beauty


Sleeping Beauty
Originally uploaded by Fantom Planet.
Like I said in the "Internship" post, I have "stuff" to take care of.

Well, "stuff" has clearly changed into my beautiful baby daughter who was born on Monday. Clearly the first inhabitant born on The PLANET, she'll make for a good ruler someday. For now, she's daddy's little girl.

Sunday, September 18, 2005

Death Star Closes on FANTOM PLANET

"14:59 until in range of the PLANET, sir." Said the targeting officer on the Death Star. Odd thing happened today when I checked my freakin' FeedBurner stats today... "How the hell did I get nearly one thousand hits on Friday? And why have I been receiving over one hundred hits per day for a week now?" FYI: The band, Phantom Planet, has their website here. I'm sorry for the inconvenience. Unless someone caught wind of my GEOINT gripe. Or, folks out there were looking for hardwood floor. Or, some folks were interested in an internship. Otherwise, I don't have a clue who would be reading this fecal matter. There is the possibility that the work I have been doing at the office could be a factor. I created a GeoBlog portlet as resource. It consists primarily of all the blogs that are on the PLANET's blogroll. So, for those of you from my blogroll who are reading this and looking at your stats from Friday, my office could be a reason. Still, almost one thousand readers?... Time to get AdSense. "Fire at will, Commander."

Theory: "Tools 'n' Data; Guns 'n' Bullets"

Jesse at Very Spatial posted an article by Frank, which is exactly what I have at one point or another have tried to post before. The only reason I haven't posted my same feelings is because of the office. Most often after re-reading my drafts, I felt like I was sounding mucho bitter and angry. So, I tended to delete them. To sum up what Frank points out in an outstanding way is that data builders or collectors and tool builders need to freakin' talk to one another. I tell tool builders in my corporation that we need to work together all of the time. Also, I tell them about what I see and read about the GeoWeb and most of your great advancements in web mapping and geography. Yet, it gets rather frustrating when no one takes you seriously or they're too busy or too egotistical to listen. Ugg! It's making me frustrated as we speak. I have a theory about data and tools:

"Tools 'n' data are like guns 'n' bullets.

You could have a pretty nice gun. It may have taken you all your resources to buy the gun. Yet, once you finally get that gun, you need bullets for it to be a working gun. If you spent all of your resources to buy your gun and didn't have anything left, you couldn't buy any bullets for your fancy new gun. Or, you had a limited amount of bullets for your gun, but you're about to run out of bullets for your gun. Or, you keep spending additional unexpected resources over the life of your gun.

Eventually, the bullets become more expensive than the gun originally was.

Finally, after running out of bullets or never having any, what do you end up with? A hunk of metal. Otherwise known as a club.

Now how effective is your gun for your original purpose at that point? Answer: It's not."

This is the situation some organizations find themselves in when they commit to creating a "killer app" or "the best tool ever." They tend to forget 1) about the data, and, 2) the cost of the data over the lifetime of the tool or app. And people wonder why they're always complaining about not having data? Please, take my advice: "Invest in data." Otherwise, you'll find yourself up a creek without a paddle. So, take a good look at what Frank says and ask yourself, "Who is building tools for my data?" Or, "Who has data for my tools?" Then go and work closer with those people. Have lunch. Move into a nearby cube. Date the PM's daughter, or, son. Or, both. Only so: yourself, the tool builder and/or data builder, can live in harmony. It may keep your butt out of a sling and me sane.

Wednesday, September 14, 2005

Internship Available

I'm going to be busy in the next few weeks with some "stuff", so I thought I would place the "Interns Wanted" sign on the PLANET. If you're geographer, interested in blogging, in the 22 to 35 and 60+ 55+ demographic, I would be interested in your application. I would like some credentials such as a note from your mom, a picture of you and a rare returned artifact, or, furlow papers from a Turkish prison. Sarcasm and God-honest thought a plus. GIS and Remote Sensing place you at the low-end of the totem pole unless you have sarcasm or God-honest thought. Spelling will be checked, but malapropisms allowed... Only if beauteous. Send your inquiries to the email address provided on the webpage.

Tuesday, September 13, 2005

Mapping Hardwood... Floors?

This past weekend I installed some new hardwood floors. Engineered hardwood. Which means that it has to be glued down on top of the cement floor that is the main level of my home. A funny thing about engineered hardwood, it can have soft spots that can crack and pop. Driving me somewhat crazier than I already am. So, to remedy the problem I am having the installers return to inject more glue. They came earlier this week and missed most of the soft spots. So, taking a cue from my archeologist buddies I used a little trick to find the rest of the soft spots. I got down on my hands and knees, and started knocking with my knuckles. The doppler effect takes affect here. Where the more solid sounding knock means there is adequate glue beneath the planks and the more hollow sounding knocks are where there needs to be more glue. I used Post-it Note flags to outline the areas where there needs to be more glue. You should see my floor! Just before I did take photos of my floor to orthorectify and start generating a GIS of the soft spots my wife stopped me. Noting that I wasn't at work and that I was geeking out. Holy crap! As always she's right. At least now, my floor people will know how to do their job.

GEOINT 2005

Whew! Good thing I checked my junk mail. I just received my reminder to sign up for "The Nation's premier Geospatial Intelligence Event:" [Under my breath] GEOINT 2005 I always laugh when I hear that abomination of a term the US Intelligence Community uses to describe what they think they do with geography. My personal feelings are that they seem to be missing the boat somewhere. I'm also not sure this is the greatest place for geographers in general. It's intelligence policy and numerous vendor demonstrations. If you look at the keynotes, you will notice that there's a disconnect. Of course there's the head of the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency (NGA), the deputy director for national intelligence, a former director of CIA, and numerous others from industry. "Numerous others from industry?" Hmm? Sounds like a sales convention. But there is a workshop! Ah, yes. The Advanced Geospatial Intelligence workshop. Pssst... That's remote sensing for you guys in the intelligence community. The fine purveyors of the conference ask you to, "Come participate in this two-hour workshop to hear about the USGIF Academy and NGA requirement for an Advanced Geospatial Intelligence Certificate. We are asking for academia input and participation in these activities and initiative." That was an actual quote from their webpage and not my bad grammar. If you graduated from a decent photogrammetery or remote sensing program, odds are... You're gonna have one of these already. So, um, I guess GEOINT isn't an entire bust, because... THERE'S THE GEOWALK EVENT! Which sports the finest open bar from our industry partners! Then again, I guess GEOINT is pretty awesome. [Scoff] Geography? Ha!

Monday, September 12, 2005

Notes on Native Vegetation of The Planet: Malapropism

I thought I would highlight some of the wonderful things found on the FANTOM PLANET. Dictionary.com/malapropism:

mal-a-prop-ism (ml-prp-zm) n. 1. Ludicrous misuse of a word, especially by confusion with one of similar sound. 2. An example of such misuse.

Sunday, September 11, 2005

More Harm de Blij

Harm de Blij on the Web:

Author, professor and television personality Harm de Blij (pronounced duh Blay) for seven years was the popular Geography Editor on ABC's "Good Morning America". In 1996 he joined NBC News as Geography Analyst, appearing mostly on MSNBC. His series "The Power of Place" continues to air on PBS stations.
How does one exactly become a "Geography Editor" and what kind of benefits does it have? Of course, I doubt that I would ever get a job like that. Then again, I do have a face for radio. Technorati tags: , ,

Saturday, September 10, 2005

"Damn You C-SPAN; You Ruined Halftime"

Flipping channels at halftime while watching the Notre Dame/Michigan football game this weekend, I came across a program on C-SPAN2 with Harm de Blij speaking to the World Affairs Council about "Why Geography Matters." I've never met de Blij, but I think he's doing a good job trying to get geography as a discipline back on the map, per se. de Blij is reaching out to the 'general population' with his book and his speeches to help hit home why geography does matter, but by just talking about the discipline I think he has a long road ahead of him. If de Blij could just get in cahoots with Vinton Cerf, "Father of the Internet" now at Google, to really drive home the importance of why geography is important to Americans (or anyone else). As you probably have read, Cerf sounds excited about geospatial information. I think that interest could help de Blij get his point across, because the population (Google apps) need geographic information to make money...er, run. Google is going to need a ton of geographers in the future to put things into context and show the relationships between people, places, and time. Or at least need geographers to help their users understand what the heck are the patterns or places. That was probably all wrong. Anyway, a better answer why the de Blij and Cerf need to meet up is because of something probably called the GeoWeb. With more and more people erroneously thinking that geography is all about maps and Google Earth these days, some serious outreach and educations is needed. Right, Jack?

Friday, September 09, 2005

Geographers 'n' Kickball; Just Like Beer 'n' Chicken

Something happened at the ESRI UC that I hoped would happen afterwards... Brian over at Spatially Enabled took me seriously when I told him that I was the captain of a kickball team in DC. So, Brian and his good friend Erik went off and created the CA Smogtown division of the World Adult Kickball Association in Redlands for ESRI employees and their community. Good job guys! Bunt often. Now, will ESRI take my UC feedback seriously about establishing a kickball tournament as one of next year's extracurricular events? I hope so. I'm not running a marathon soon.

Monday, September 05, 2005

The First Katrina-related Post

It's impressive with all of the hazards programs out there getting a little press for their contributions to modeling the effects of Hurricane Katrina. There are the Natural Hazards Center at the University of Colorado, Penn State Natural Hazards Center, University of South Carolina Hazards Research Lab, and the various hazards research at USGS. The hazards sub-discipline of geography has to be one of the lesser known knowledge areas to most americans. Except for insurance companines. Hazards researchers conduct field work in/near volcanoes and in other less desirable locations. Of course, advancements in GIS and computer mapping over the past decade has really helped those hazards geographes in their work. Good thing it's helping these days to help keep people safe and to allow for local authorities to warn their populations prior to a event. Or, at least mitigate the effects of potential hazards. My past experience with hazards was when I once built a post-destruction IMS site at NASA. At first most of the bean-counters would say to me, "Why are you building that?" My answer once I was finished was the interactive map located presurized storage vessels and their potential destructive patters. Some of the patterns overlapped the bean-counters' homes just adjacent to the fenceline of the research facility. I think one guy was planning on moving? Once again, pictures say a thousand words, but a map makes it mean something. Like this map from Trollprincess.

When Research and Blogs Meet

I was reading up recently on the Avian Flu outbreak in Russia when it dawned on me that Sprol.com wrote a post on one of the flu-affected areas, Chelyabinsk. After reading the Sprol article on the region and the mass contamination from the Soviet-era nuclear industry, I began to wonder how anything actually could have survived there. Then I found it really interesting when I was reading news articles about infected H5N1 -- that's the avian flu strain -- poultry farms in the region and seeing on maps that a major Eurasian flyway goes directly through that part of the West Siberian Plain, which is flat wetlands that the Ob River goes through west of the Ural Mountains and between the Yenisei River. One would begin to suspect other happenings in this environmentally challenged area, but I'm not a epidemiologist or a Geiger counter.

Thursday, September 01, 2005

Responses When You Complain About Google Earth

Yesterday's reporting from the Republic of Korea indicates a new phase in international relations for geography has began. With the ROK officially concerned about Google Earth and their president planning on bringing it up with US officials, most likely with the ambassador.

I have only this obvious prediction about what is going to happen in that meeting between the ROK and the US:

[In my best Adam Sandler voice.] "They're all going to laugh at you!"

Seriously. It's not the US's fault that they have given your enemy satellite imagery of your president's house. That's Google and the commercial imagery providers. Heck, everyone knows where your president's house is. It's probably in the phonebook or on a tourist map too? Plus, I wouldn't underestimate that a sworn enemy who probably has already cased the joint has put the location (and photos) in their own version of Google Earth called a GIS.

Anyway, get some tin foil, hunker down. Google Earth will soon bring the destruction of governments as we know them.

FYI, that was sarcasm.


Google Earth Mapping Service Draws Complaint from Seoul Wednesday, August 31, 2005

ASSOCIATED PRESS -- South Korea will raise its concerns with the U.S. government about a service offered by Google, the Internet company, that displays satellite photos of sites across the globe, the president's office said on Wednesday. South Korean newspaper reports in recent days have pointed out that the Google Earth service provides images of the presidential Blue House in Seoul and military bases around the country, which remains technically at war with North Korea. North Korean sites like the nuclear research facility at Yongbyon are also displayed on the service, which was introduced in June. Without providing further details, the office of Kim Man Soo, the presidential spokesman, confirmed that Seoul would discuss its concerns with U.S. authorities.