[ Ø ] Harsh Prakash – GIS Blog

Quiet Musings On Applied Spatial (Health, Disaster, Technology, Planning et al.)

Archive for the ‘Mashup’ Category

Conference Presentation: GIS TECH 201 – Mapping Mashups

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Mashup on iPad

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OK, so tested Google, Bing, Yahoo, ESRI, Openlayers and MapServer mashups on the iPad, and much like on the iPhone, the slippy drag-and-droll interface doesn’t work. Except for one mashup. Take a guess?

Related:
* Safari
* WebKit

Written by Harsh

April 15th, 2010 at 10:50 pm

Webinar Series: GIS TECH 101 – Mapping Mashups

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Follow Up [1]: A Touch of Play

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Nearly 6 months after starting work on a Touch mapping project for kiosk deployment running Windows 7 RC on a HP TouchSmart, it sure is good to see touch taking-off. Slowly but surely:

* Gateway One ZX6810-01

* Sony next with Windows 7 multitouch all-in-one

And yes, I used 3rd-party x64 drivers to turn it from single-touch to double-touch.

So any of you guys working with touch?

Written by Harsh

November 17th, 2009 at 9:44 pm

Swine Flu

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Written by Harsh

May 3rd, 2009 at 2:57 pm

Posted in Mashup,Social

Tagged with , , , , , , ,

Technology Division of the American Planning Association (APA) Webinar Series – TECH 101: Mashups for Planning

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Written by Harsh

February 18th, 2009 at 7:30 am

Mash-ups as Planning Tools

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Planning departments, especially those of smaller cities, have long hesitated because of technology, budgetary and other constraints to engage their constituents through web-based mapping tools. Part of the reason is simply an uneasiness with Web 2.0-esque mapping technologies.

Well, these days they have less to worry about. That is, if they don’t mind piggy-backing on corporate giants.

Pi: Quite MusingRecently, the BurbankLeader reported on how the City of Burbank, Los Angeles County, California, the not-so-undisputed “Media Capital of the World” with a comfortable population of 104,317 (2006), has trusted some online service providers and their armies of 24/7 network-support staff to host part of its mapping data. Not a mash-up feat by today’s standards, but the City has invited public input by publishing its planning project status using Google Maps‘s free Application Programming Interface (API).

According to the City’s Principal Planner Michael Forbes, AICP, “the planning projects map, run by Google, is an interactive list of all residential, commercial and industrial projects throughout Burbank that are being processed or have been recently approved or denied. Each project icon on the map includes information about the project and a link to its current status.”

Pi: Quite Musing

Pre-computed KMLs load faster than dynamic KMLs for obvious reasons, but even with clusters, loading a lot of data can sometimes stretch mash-ups beyond their user's patienceA note of caution for the impatient GIS Planner: While nowadays, a mash-up is more than a hack, most public map APIs are still constrained by their ask-coordinates-get-flat-tile design, albeit smart, when it comes to geometry-aware mapping that requires ‘queriable geometry’.
Pi: Quite Musing
Consequently, despite the established familiarity of mash-ups, the appropriateness of such mash-ups to enterprise GIS for large-scale custom mapping is still debated.

Pi: Quite MusingThen there is that question of commercial advertisements on publicly-funded maps. Note that there are ways around it: Google Maps for Enterprise, for one, allows the option to disable location-based advertising for an annual fee. The free Google Maps also requires map and custom data to be publicly-accessible. But as far as the cause of community’s access to information is concerned, it is well-served by such mash-ups.

So nearly two years after chicagocrime.org– the seminal Google mash-up that won the 2005 Batten Award for Innovations in Journalism and was named by the New York Times as one of 2005’s best ideas (“It turns out that the best way to organize much of the information online is geographically.” – Do-It-Yourself Cartography, NYT), arrived at the mapping scene followed by hordes of Google Earth KMLs; At a time when some Elite Systems Research Institutes have already tried similar approaches and not quite succeeded; At a time when companies have been successfully built from mash-ups; At a time when real-estate mash-ups have become stale and foreclosure mash-ups have become hot; ‘smallish’ planning departments are warming up to the idea of neogeographic mash-ups as planning tools. Finally.

— π

Related:
Online Tool Spotlight: Mash-Ups as Planning Tools (Summary)
Planning and Technology Today: Technology in Public Participation (Issue 90, Fall 2007) – A Publication of the Technology Division of the American Planning Association
Neogeography 101: Word Association
Google Earth [GE] @ Work
Follow Up [1]: ESRI Ketchup!
Follow Up [4]: Graphic Software
Follow Up [2]: Map Viewer and Google
Virtual Earth For Government
ESRI ArcWeb Services: Pricing Guide
* Find sample region by geometry – $0.02
* Get map of region – $0.02
* Zoom in/out of above map – $0.02
* Find places – $0.02
* Measure distance on map – $0.00
� Other Examples: OpenLayers – Web Processing and Routing

Written by Harsh

December 4th, 2007 at 11:39 pm

Posted in Mashup,Planning,Service

Tagged with ,

Elite Systems Research Institute, Inc. [ESRI] et al

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This GCN article titled ‘Geospatial and the elite: Old-school geographic information systems still dig deep on mapping and analyses’ points to a tortuous debate within the traditional GIS industry, and the new industry push to remodel itself as solely an “enterprise class” industry while it continues to loose ground to an increasing domestication or democratization of GIS services.

Pi: Quiet Musing
ESRI: Elitist or Commonplace?

But this new industry push is not without some strategy confusion as old-school GIS faces its mid-life identity crisis without the “cool factor” spouse.

–π

Related:
• More

Written by Harsh

April 22nd, 2007 at 8:49 pm

Posted in GIS,Mashup

Tagged with ,

Follow Up [2]: Katrina Links

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Former senator Stafford of Robert T. Stafford Disaster Relief and Emergency Assistance Act, familiar to anyone requesting, managing and mapping disaster grants under the Hazard Mitigation Grant Program [HMGP] AKA Buyout Program, dies at 93.

Related:
“FEMA Told to Resume Storm Aid”
• Blogs about this article
• “Katrina Victims in Limbo as FEMA Appeals Aid Order”
• Government Accountability Office [GAO] Report: Abstract– Hurricanes Katrina and Rita Disaster Relief. Continued Findings of Fraud, Waste and Abuse. GAO-07-252T. December 6, 2006
• Video: Reactions from the Grassroots– Effects of Flood Map Modernization [Map Mod] Program’s Digital Flood Insurance Rate Maps [DFIRMs] on National Flood Insurance Program’s [NFIP’s] Ordinance Updates
• Pre-Disaster Mitigation [PDM] Grant Program

Written by Harsh

December 23rd, 2006 at 1:30 pm

Follow Up [1]: ESRI Ketchup!

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Following on the heels of E2, Google recently consolidated GE’s usergroups through some interesting collaborations with Wikipedia and Panoramio. These follow earlier deals with UNEP, NASA, USGS, ESA, Discovery, National Geographic et al.

These steps slowly push one other software- ESRI’s ArcGlobe, part of the ArcGIS 3D Analyst extension, further away from all that is important. ArcGlobe was useful in that it eventually led to E2, but ESRI had much bigger plans- it was promoted to become widely adopted for 3D data mapping and visualization.

Then Google came along, and ArcGlobe and all the shabby flyby animations and painstaking multipatches in ArcScene, also part of 3D Analyst, suddenly became embarrassing.

That leads me to my prediction of the week: all this will force ESRI to either lower the inflation-adjusted cost of its pricey 3D Analyst- currently marked at $2500, or absorb some of it into E2 or the desktop. Note that Google Earth Pro today costs a fraction at $400.

Pi: Quiet Musing
Fortius One‘s GeoIQ: A free simple Spatial Analyst?

–π

Related:
• ArcGIS Extensions
• More via Google Earth Links
• More

Written by Harsh

December 16th, 2006 at 10:01 pm

Posted in GIS,Mashup

Tagged with ,

ESRI Ketchup!

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After months of wild speculations and foot-dragging, ESRI finally released ArcGIS Explorer– twice as big as Google Earth and a shade shy. Here is why:

Google Earth [googleearth.exe]
+ Searches better
– Does not offer native support for popular spatial data types

ESRI ArcGIS Explorer [E2.exe]
+ Offers native support for popular spatial data types
– Clunkier navigation and interface

• Both show comparable spatial data displays and memory usages. I am pleasantly surprised by how consenting NASA of World Wind fame, has been to all such uses, given the murky legal waters of the future when others start using this precedent to demand equal treatment.

Pi: Quiet Musing
ESRI ArcGIS Explorer: Adding content

Being true to the misplaced compulsions of most commercial companies, ESRI only lets you export your layers in E2’s markup language [*.nmf]. However, to piggy-back on the growing user community around GE and because ESRI has no current alternative to Google SketchUp, E2 allows you to import *.kml and *.kmz files. GE, on the other hand, also imports *.gpz and *.loc GPS files in its commerical flavor.

E2 can also create geoprocessing tasks, and styles and symbologies; export identification results; display attribute tables.

So what is the bottom-line: GE is better suited for consumers of spatial data, while E2 is targeted more at the creators and editors. And how close does E2 come to following the “if you are late, you better be better” mantra? Not quite, but then again, it is just a beta.

Now the waiting game begins for arguably the most innovative internet company in recent times, notwithstanding the acquired nature of GE and SketchUp- Google, to hit back after losing ground to Yahoo Maps– better driving directions planning, and Microsoft Virtual Earth– ability to add and save shapes, and browser-based GE-esque 3D and street level views.

–π

PS:
•
I wonder how the good folks at Arc2Earth and Shape2Earth would maintain their rates of innovation in response?

Related:
• ArcGIS Explorer Overview Podcast
• ArcGIS Online Services
• Server Object Manager [SOM] Setup
• Sample *.nmf containing 1 point feature derived from feature class [e2.shp] in GCS_North_American_1983 coordinate system
• TerrainView
• Follow Up [4]: Graphic Software
• Follow Up [2]: Map Viewer and Google

Written by Harsh

November 29th, 2006 at 10:04 pm

Posted in GIS,Mashup

Tagged with ,

Follow Up [1]: Katrina Links

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Written by Harsh

August 16th, 2006 at 10:11 pm

Follow Up [4]: Graphic Software

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Yet more evidence of acceptance of Google Maps and through it, of spatial relevance, by established publications:

• A Guide to Commuting and Readers’ Stories
• How Much Is Gas In Jersey?

In a related development, Microsoft continues to play catch-up with Google by acquiring GeoTango. However, with its “3D Internet Visualization- a truly open and web services-oriented solution”, GeoTango may just be the partner Microsoft needs for a tango.

–π

Related:
• ESRI ArcWeb Services
• NASA World Wind

Written by Harsh

December 28th, 2005 at 6:00 pm

Posted in GIS,Mashup

Tagged with , ,

Follow Up [3]: Graphic Software

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This week Yahoo released its own take on online mapping. Its new service includes both Flash and AJAX APIs coupled with the ability to geocode.

If you think about it, sooner or later this had to happen- developers finally mustering the courage to embrace arty Macromedia Flash for distributing spatial information in a big way, like Geocentric. Actually, Google has been using Flash for a different distribution for quite some time now. But this release by Yahoo and its under-1000 dollar price-tag should help Flash emerge as a more visible player in the online mapping game.

Did the earlier musings portend this?

–π

Related:
• Yahoo Developer Network
• GeoCool! Tutorial
• Google Local, MSN Virtual Earth, Amazon A9, AOL MapQuest
• Application: Google Earth
• Discussion Forum

Written by Harsh

November 3rd, 2005 at 6:32 pm

Posted in GIS,Mashup

Tagged with , ,

Katrina Links

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Rethinking Flood Insurance” [09/21/2005]: A timely but poorly-researched editorial in The Washington Post on the levee problems plaguing the National Flood Insurance Program.

As much as some may cringe to what they see as their tax-dollars being spent on bail out, the often-omitted fact remains that many New Orleanians were not required by the National Flood Insurance Program to purchase flood insurance because they enjoyed the protection of levees. So the federal government through the Corps of Engineers is at least partly responsible for creating a false sense of security by failing to repair levees in a timely manner. Bear in mind that the State of California has been asked by its court to shoulder responsibility for damages from failure of levees for which it is a sponsor. And if we did not cry “welfare state” when the federal government stepped in to ease out the airline industry after 2001, surely we can hush our moans now.

For more discussion points, refer to this white paper by the Association of State Floodplain Managers.

While on this disaster as one watches events unfold, it becomes clear that an infuriating management style marked by a “hands-off” approach that is prone to making excuses for ignored red flags can only get rewarded for ideological and rhetorical reasons rather than merit. And such a management style finds a willing bed-partner in a “let’s-eat-at-steakhouse-since-the-proceeds-go-towards-relief-efforts” empathy-response. In itself, such a response cannot be right all the time for it is primarily detached and “feel good”.

The Disaster Mitigation Act of 2000 had laid down clear requirements to plan for such events. And as I understand, the National Incident Management System laid down a similar framework with regards to response-coordination. But no amount of planning [State of Louisiana Hazard Mitigation Plan, State of Alabama Hazard Mitigation Plan] could prevent the failure from happening.

Having observed this breakdown in leadership and with some benefit of experience, I cannot stress enough how planners should restrict their impulse to pen a plan for every problem and how they should also focus on becoming “political actors” for one cannot write a plan that accounts for the failure in carrying out the plan itself.

On another note, many of the residents of New Orleans were not required by the National Flood Insurance Program to purchase flood insurance since they were protected by levees. Although non-discriminatory exceptions can always be made, this further complicates relief efforts as it currently limits the amount of disaster assistance available through certain agencies.

Related:
• Blogs about this editorial
• Katrina
• Craigslist: Lost and Found- New Orleans LA, Baton Rouge LA
• WIKI
• Red Cross: Family Links Registry
• Lycos: Missing Persons Search
• Housing Information Gateway
• Shelter Map
• Information Map
• ESRI: Katrina Disaster Viewer
• Google Earth: Imagery
• NYT: Draining New Orleans Map
• Contact: Mitigation Planners and Substantial Damage Assessors

Written by Harsh

September 21st, 2005 at 7:09 pm

Follow Up [2]: Map Viewer and Google

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Written by Harsh

May 27th, 2005 at 6:40 pm

Posted in GIS,Mashup

Tagged with ,

Follow Up [1]: Graphic Software

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It is good to know that some professionals concur with the views expressed in my earlier post on the potential for graphic software, like Macromedia Flash. One comment links to an impressive demonstration of this largely untapped potential.

Anyway, two companies whose product GUI I enjoy interfacing with- Adobe and Macromedia, announced their merger earlier this month.

Both their flagship products have become industry-standards in exchanging documents and creating experience-rich applications across platforms. The largely unused spatial potential within Macromedia Flash combined with the increasingly widespread use of Adobe PDF/SVG maps and the sprouting of some exciting derivatives like geoPDF, pstoedit and GSview, make this merger important to how spatial information is exchanged in the near future.

Written by Harsh

April 28th, 2005 at 6:01 pm

Posted in GIS,Mashup

Tagged with , ,

Follow Up [1]: Map Viewer and Google

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A quick note on the happenings at Google: Yesterday, Google added satellite imagery to its mapping. For speedy displays, 256px*256px JPEG image-tiles scanned at different zoom-levels and each weighing around 30 KB, coupled with some nifty AJAX come handy.

Such a drag-and-drool tiling paradigm, although practised for some time now by website developers to load large images, when applied to internet mapping represents a refreshing out-of-the-box approach. The GET HTTP request method uses a cryptic naming convention to fetch these image-tiles from a preexisting pallette, like so:

http://kh.google.com/kh?v=1&t=TILE…

WHERE in one instance, TILE zooms closer from [tqtsqr] to [tqtsqrtssssrq] and still closer to [tqtsqrtssssrtrttr].

Unlike for its regular mapping where Google predictably uses GIF image-tiles each sized at 128px*128px, for its satellite imagery, Google’s preference for JPEG over another competitive format PNG, is worthy of a second glance: As is common knowledge, JPEG supports millions of colors, but is infamous for its lossy compression. PNG on the other hand, is lossless while supporting millions of colors. However, PNG is currently not supported by all browsers and depending on compression settings, may end-up weighing more.

–π

Written by Harsh

April 5th, 2005 at 7:29 pm

Posted in GIS,Mashup

Tagged with ,

Tsunami Links

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Written by Harsh

January 5th, 2005 at 6:10 pm

Graphic Software

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The discussion “So …How About That Election Coverage?” at Directions Magazine makes you think about graphic software, like Macromedia Flash, that cater to small-time spatial needs.

Such graphic software, minus the topology and advanced query benefits, function well as basic spatial tools and comfortably serve data over the web with a “fair” amount of interactivity.

Does this make your overpriced IMS overhyped and overblown too?

[my comment]
“Macromedia Flash fills this niche quite well as demonstrated [here]. And as the market seems to indicate, it does that [while] satisfying more customers than what an overly fancy GIS would. [This] reminds me of the MapQuest survey when polled customers had expressed great contentment with their level of map detail, whereas cartographers were red with indignation. Akin to using an atomic clock to serve your wake-up call- not needed!”
[/my comment]

So is the complexity in Geospatial, better still Spatial, Information System or SIS overblown too? Much of SIS requires common-sense logic arranged linearly. If a person can drive her car in rush-hour traffic as she deciphers vague directions off a schematic map while trying to make sense of rain-washed road signs and maintain a semblance of conversation with her passenger, and still manage to engage the kid in the back-seat [read “multi-linear tasking”]; she can achieve a sound understanding of spatial databases with little persistence, except for the eye-for-details that comes with practice.

My point: SIS is non-complex and not at the cutting-edge of technological change, and there is ample room for non-traditional spatial software!

PS:
• This rise of non-traditional spatial software challenges the accepted definition of SIS. If you were to follow the modernist’s approach to design where in the end you remove everything you can without taking away from the essence of your creation and apply it to defining a SIS, you wonder what such a conceptual SIS would be in its simplest stark-naked Spartan form?

Written by Harsh

November 11th, 2004 at 7:35 pm

Posted in GIS,Mashup

Tagged with , ,

Map Viewer and Google

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Interesting web-based map viewer– very snazzy. Now only if the download was quicker.

In related news, Google acquires Keyhole: a company promising a similar 3D interface. Right now, if you google an address, Google provides links to its 2D maps from Yahoo!Maps and MapQuest. Google also provides possible address matches and map links if you type in a name, akin to what Switchboard does.

It would be better if you could click and drag on a map to limit the spatial extent for your search. Although that would clutter the clean interface of Google Local, which by the way, does show maps.

Note to self- invest in Google.

PS:
Pi: Quiet Musing
• Google acquires gbrowser.com, and moves into video search. And here‘s the Google Blog.

Written by Harsh

October 27th, 2004 at 6:15 pm

Posted in GIS,Mashup,Service

Tagged with ,