The cartography kinda sucks, but this map on Jalopnik.com is pretty cool. It details the most popular new cars by state. As you can see, most of the US is fond of their F-150′s. Toyota is big in the South East. Subaru has Washington state locked up (not a huge surprise there). I was moderately surprised the Accord took Pennsylvania. Where does your state stack up on new car sales?
We’re getting all the bits and pieces together for our VerySpatial Road Trip out west. We’ll be taking a direct (ish) route out, stopping in the great states of Missouri, Kansas, Colorado, New Mexico, and finally to California. Ok, so not Oregon and hopefully no dysentery If you want to see the route, check out this Google Map! Don’t forget to follow our path with daily blog posts, Tweets, Videos, Instagrams, Photos, Yelps, and any other method we can think to show you our trip. Don’t be afraid to comment, email, Tweet, or any other method you chose back to us for places we should see along the way!
I love cars. I’m a proper gear head, or petrol head if you’re in the UK. Each and every year, I eagerly gobble up all the new cars news from the various car shows from around the world. Designers and engineers are always tweaking this and playing with that, trying to eek out more power, better fuel economy, and prettier designs to get the public to buy. And I can’t get enough of every little change, every little evolution, every revolution of car design and technology. It isn’t just the supercars that cost 80 bagillion dollars and I couldn’t hope of buying sans a really lucky lottery ticket. I dig the small cars that designed for the intro market (current object of fascination – Fiat 500 now available in the States). I dig the cheap rear wheel drive sports cars for the people under a tight budget (I lust after the new BRZ/FR-S/GT86). Even the idea of a returned Ford Ranger pickup gets my heart a racing. I just love all cars.
As much as I love all these new cars and their ever greater technology, my real car passion is in the classics. Every year for the last three years, you’ll see my ESRI User’s Conference badge reads, “Ask me about classic cars”.I especially have a weakness for classic British cars, particularly the roadsters. I can talk for hours about the average MGB roadster (heaven help you if you get around ESRI’s Elvin Slavik and myself when the subject of MG’s come up). I’d almost give a toe for the chance to own an old Mini at a decent price. That doesn’t keep me from loving other cars from other countries. The Camaro is clearly a thing of beauty. The People’s Car, despite it’s questionable heritage, is a marvel of engineering. Honestly, how can you not be impressed by a car you can remove the engine in under 2 minutes with no power tools? For that matter, I’ll always lust after a VW GTI Mk1, the originator of the ‘hot hatchback’. If there’s someone that isn’t just blown away by the sheer beauty of the Ferrari California GT Spyder, I’m not sure I want to meet them. The ‘49 Shoebox Ford is just such the definition of classic it practically screams to be in a parade or at least on a long Sunday drive. Is there anything more American than the classic Ford F100 truck? Or anything more British than the Land Rover Series I, II, and II (except, of course, the sexist car that ever existed)?
Howdy everyone! We’re beginning the hard planning push for A Very Spatial Road Trip: Across the US! Barb and I are excited to take our road trip across the US on our way to the ESRI User’s Conference. We’ve got our big virtual paper map with our big virtual ‘paper’ pins and we’re ready to stick’em in the board. We’ll be taking videos, photos, and journal logs along the way and updating the road trip as we go so you can chart our progress. We’ll want to hit exciting and interesting stops along the way and we want you, dear listeners/readers, to give us suggestions. We’ve already been invited to visit a GIS shop in Oklahoma City! If you have any good ideas for places we should see, whether it be a natural wonder, a local point of interest, a decent bar-bq joint (shhhh! don’t tell Barb, but the sub-subtitle to our journey is a Bar-BQ Bash Across America) or your GIS shop, then either email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or post a comment to any posts titled: A Very Spatial Road Trip.
We’re off in just under a month, so get those suggestions in. We look forward to seeing you America!
Image courtesy of the Library of Congress Photo Collection
Today’s XKCD coincides with today’s podcast!
It’s all well and good you can rattle off that most of the worlds population is in Southeast Asia. However, conceptualizing that is sometimes really challenging. It’s almost too abstract. That’s why this graphic is so amazing – more than half the world’s population lives inside this ‘circle’. That’s AMAZING! That tiny little circle encompasses the majority of the human population. The visual is just staggering.
Who says Geography isn’t cool?
In honor of March Madness, Gizmodo has a series of NCAA college basketball affiliation as measured by Facebook likes. So if you’re into college basketball and into maps, you’ll really dig that link (note I fit only one of these criteria, and I kinda dig’em). Note on the bottom for Sue…. most people hate Duke
New Hampshire has a new bill circulating through its legislature that would ban aerial photography by anyone who isn’t the government. They’ve apparently amended the ban in committee that changes some of the major concerns, but a lot still remain. The original bill include kite cams or any other form of aerial photography collection, but the amended ban has scaled that back. The focus seems to be upon drones and, oddly enough, arming drones. If the ban goes into effect, flying a drone would be a misdemeanor, with certain licensed exceptions. The bill also specifies that drones can only be used by law enforcement to collect data if they’ve received a warrant, and even then the information needs to be destroyed within 24 hours.
Drones and the legalities surrounding them are likely to dominate a lot of remote sensing legalese over the next few years. This may be the first such attempt at banning for non-governmental use, but I’m willing to almost bet real money it won’t be the last.
For the last few years, I’ve been doing all my interactive mapping development using ESRI’s Flex API. If you know me really well, you’d realize that’s a pretty big deal. No, wait, that’s the mother of all big deals. Now I should give a little background – no less than five years ago, I once declared that anyone who develops in Flash should be punched in the head, kicked down a hill, and be required to write Assembly for the rest of their professional lives using nothing more than an ZX81 Sinclair Computer. You’d be hard pressed to find a bigger Flash hater than me. Yet a couple of years ago, I found myself turning to the thing I hated most to get my day to day job done. The transition wasn’t easy. I sneered and drug my heals the whole time I was learning it. I said all sorts of bad things about Adobe, about Adobe’s developers, about ESRI’s choices in business partners, even about myself. I took long showers in the morning to attempt to keep the ‘Flash stink’ off of me. I even started avoiding Jesse in the halls because he would just sigh sadly and shake his head (Sue was ok to talk to because she was doing C#, so she knew all about programming in languages nobody likes or uses . Honestly, it was a mess.
Here’s the thing that really took me by surprise – I found out I kinda like Flex. Strike that – I actually really like Flex. Once I got used to its particularities, the code was actually fairly elegant and simple. Skinning is really cool. I love the theoretical ability to separate form from function. I say ‘theoretical’ because in practice I’ve noticed people tend to just bundle the two together. I like the mix of XML based approaches and actual scripting. The modularization is rather nice. The ability to ‘draw’ my components on the screen is unlike anything I’ve ever used before in web development. I really like the fact there are multiple ways to do things. If I can’t get the skinning to work, I can turn to CSS to get the job done. Don’t get me wrong, there’s a bunch that annoys me about Flex. For instance, datagrids just suck. They’re ugly and annoying and I hate them. And who’s bright idea was it make it impossible to access a pure database via Flex directly? I gotta drop to another language to pull it off? Annoying. But that’s not really the point of this piece. The point is that I found out Flex was actually really powerful and allowed me to quickly create Rich Internet Applications with little to no cross browser testing.
Allow me to digress for a minute and underscore that last point – little to no cross browser testing. Anyone who has developed for the web will tell you the biggest pain in the rear is getting it to work the same way on different browsers. For whatever reasons, the browser people can’t come together and agree on one rendering engine. Really, that’s all we ask as developers – make the thing work the same in all browsers. Is that too much to ask? Every minute of time I spend trying to get things to work the same in four different browsers makes me want to send a bill for my time to Microsoft, Google, Mozilla Foundation, and Apple. I’m doing their work and I’m not happy about it. But as I said, I digress.
Where am I going with all of this? The point I’m trying to make is that we developers have to remain flexible in our approaches. Right now, the whole area of Rich Internet Applications is in turmoil. Silverlight looks abandoned, Flex has been pretty much tossed aside by its creator, Adobe, and HTML 5 isn’t even technically approved as a standard until 2014. We are kind of caught jumping from one cliff to the other. A whole lot of people are talking about HTML 5 as the future, but we aren’t there right now. As of this writing, I have three browsers on my computer. When I do an HTML 5 test (http://html5test.com/), Chrome version 21 gets 437 points out of 500 for HTML 5 compatability. Firefox 15.0 gets 346 points. Internet Explorer 9 gets a depressing 138 points. You can easily see how developers are going to have to fall back into cross browser testing hell fairly quickly. That saps development time and resources that are in scarce supply. My ultimate point is that HTML 5 still isn’t prime time.
Muddying the waters even further is the whole issue of mobile. I’m not sure I’ve been in a development meeting anytime in the last year and mobile wasn’t brought up at least once. It’s out there and it’s something with which we have to contend, like it or not. Do you go HTML 5 on a mobile browser so it works everywhere (in theory)? Do you go native? Do you sink the resources to do Android AND iOS, never mind leaving people like Sue running Windows Phone out in the dark?
What they do is underscore the importance of responsiveness in current and future Internet Mapping projects, and by ‘responsive’, I’m referring to developers and developing environments. We have to remain ever responsive because the world in which we work is ever changing, perhaps more so than ever before. The skills we learn today may serve us little beyond the abstract tomorrow. And that’s pretty darn scary. But it’s also pretty exciting. It’s a lot of work keeping up, remaining flexible, and responding to changes. It’s also kinda rewarding.