Month: April 2012


Zombie Survival Map

Zombies are cool. Period. That’s a non-debatable, empirical fact of current pop culture. Like any good citizen, it helps to know what to do in the case of a zombie outbreak. Lucky for us all, one of the more geographic minded of us has released the Zombie Survival Map. The map shows location where zombies are likely to exist in red (in other words, population centers) and places that are likely to be zombie free in black/grey. On top of that, the map overlays locations for supplies such as food, shelter, hospitals, and oddly liquor stores. Although the map is obviously kinda silly (never mind the Zombie Outbreak Response Vehicle I have on my truck), it does highly some important base information for any sort of widespread emergency response issues. Similar things are being done by state and local governments to help detail routes for evacuation and emergency response. The map hopes to incorporate user generated data and some point, which will make it even more useful in the case of a natural or man made emergency…. or if the zombies ever do rise up and attack…. whichever 🙂

Via Wired

A VerySpatial Podcast – Episode 351

A VerySpatial Podcast
Shownotes – Episode 351
April 9, 2012

Our conversation on Earth Day 2012 and Earth Day every day

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    Google’s Augmented Reality Glasses are HERE…. ish.

    Google has begun field tests on their new augmented reality glasses.  I have to say, they’re pretty snazzy lookin’ all things considered, especially if you dig the Geordi LaForge look.  The link includes a demo video to show what life is like with the glasses and it’s AWESOME for nerdy folks like myself (and maybe not even no so nerdy folks).  The demo features a sort of combination of Siri, LBS, IM, Foursquare, Google+, phone, augmented reality and the aforementioned all around awesomeness 🙂  Google has even started a Google+ group for it so you can keep on top of the information.  What I haven’t seen much of as of yet is these things on people with glasses.  The beautiful models look fantastic wearing them, but they kinda have to, don’t they 🙂

    Focusing on the New GIS End-User

    We’ve talked in this blog about how mapping in the cloud has gone mainstream. How cloud computing has turned the world of GIS on its head, bringing a flood of new users who don’t even know what GIS stands for, to our websites and desktop applications. It’s more critical than ever to pay attention to these end users and their needs, because they’re dramatically different from the traditional GIS user, and if we don’t understand how our customers are changing, we run the risk of losing them, just as they’re getting to know the virtues of mapping.

    A decade ago, the typical GIS user worked in a fairly large organization that had specially trained GIS staff to service the organization’s spatial requests. All this began to change as more and more industries saw the power of spatial technology and innovated by making intuitive mapping technology widely available to their organization. Then, when GIS moved to the cloud a few years ago, another huge shift took place – GIS moved beyond corporations and into our everyday lives with Google Earth™, Bing© Maps and Google Maps mashups. People were suddenly interacting with maps everywhere: on their mobile phones, iPads and other devices.

    This is incredibly exciting for the GIS world, but these new users bring a whole new set of expectations that geo-developers and GIS companies need to heed.

  • While the new user likes maps, he couldn’t care less about GIS. These users know how to navigate and interact with consumer maps and expect all their interactions with spatial technology to be this simple. They don’t, in any way, want to “see” GIS or have to learn a new vocabulary of terms like vectors, georeference, buffer, and shapefile. They don’t want to wait, even a few seconds, for a map to load. Basically, they want to get to the information they’re seeking in a few clicks and without any training.
  • They are hungry for new apps. The new user expects a constant stream of new functionality. They spend copious amounts of time on their tablets or smartphones searching for new apps and app updates. If you are not delivering regular new features and data, they might go elsewhere.
  • Listen to your user, not other GIS experts. The paradox in GIS technology today is, as developers have made great strides in advanced geo-features and data, the end users’ needs have become more basic. Not only does your user not want to have to figure out how to use an application, he or she is increasingly accessing your app via a smartphone or tablet. Leave off the bells and whistles; keep the interface as simple as possible.
  • Focus your energy on the user interface. The user interface is where you will find the biggest bang for the buck in satisfying these new users. Traditionally, GIS developers have not spent that much time thinking about the user interface. It was hard enough to get GIS working and by the time it was humming along smoothly, there was little time left for the UI. The bar for easy to use applications has been raised and investing in the interface will pay off handsomely.
  • Be obsessed with performance: Your spatial application can never be fast enough. Perhaps more important than building in new features is doing all you can to keep things running smoothly and quickly. That means using every trick in the book to optimize data display and performance.
  • Pay attention to visualization. Today’s end users like pretty, well-designed spatial technology. Using an intuitive color scheme like this one will help users immediately grasp what is going on with the data. And stick to a reasonable number of classes when you are summarizing your data. Once again, sleek and simple is the key.
  • We’ve put a lot of emphasis on map performance and regular updates in the observations above, but don’t be intimidated. Spatial technology is actually getting easier to use every day, and more and more niche companies have come on the scene to help you with continuously updated data streams, speedy mapping functions, and robust and reliable spatial infrastructures. That frees you up to concentrate on those end users in a bigger way than ever before.

    Learn More:
    Webinar: The New Rules for GIS Success

    Think Spatial With Us: Digital Map Products Blog

    About Digital Map Products

    A VerySpatial Podcast – Episode 350

    A VerySpatial Podcast
    Shownotes – Episode 350
    April 1, 2012

    Our conversation reflecting on 350 episodes of A VerySpatial Podcast!

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