Category: Software



We never really talk about GE Energy’s Geospatial Asset Management solution Smallworld. This mostly has to do with the fact that we have never had a chance to see it in action (other than a few still photos). One of the reasons it has always kept my interest piqued, however, is the fact that it is an object-oriented GIS. While you can create object oriented databases in Oracle, 1Spatial’s Gothic, and a couple of other database apps, we (as an industry at large) generally still use relational or object-relational databases.

I can only talk about OOGIS from a reading knowledge but it is a technology that I think may start moving more into the mainstream as a bridging technology since an object can store, and be represented by, multiple geometries. So as we move toward 2D and 3D representations and analyses with current and future geospatial technologies, OODB/OOGIS can act as a bridging technology that will allow us to store our spatial primitives while at the same time storing a 3D version of the same information.

So…if you are using Smallworld or another OOGIS solution in your work, send me an email. I would love to get a deeper understanding of how OOGIS works in a real world implementation, and if you are interested we could even do a podcast on how you are utilizing your OOGIS solution.

Synthin’ with Photosynth

As I’m sure many of you remember, I have been a fan of Microsoft Research’s Photosynth since we saw the first tech previews back in July 2006. Today I finally got some time to sit down and try it out myself. After setting up my profile on the Photosynth site and downloading and installing Photosynth, I checked out the Photosynth Guide and headed out to Woodburn Circle, a focal point on the WVU downtown campus. I took about 200 photos and brought them into the Photosynth dialog to pare the collection down to about 190 photos. I clicked the magic button to start the synth, and about 40 minutes later (it was a pretty big collection!) my synth was done and uploaded. The viewer shows the aligned photos as well as the point cloud Photosynth generates (It can be difficult to see the cloud at some angles).

When I saw the finished synth, I have to say I was even more impressed than I was after seeing all the examples already out there. Check it out below and see what you think!

ScapeToad – free cartogram generating software

The use of cartograms as representational tools for the US election results got a lot of attention last week, with links to a number of sites such as Mark Newman’s .

Cartograms are powerful cartographic visualizations, but are not necessarily easy to produce. I remember having to run a very tempermental ArcView script to generate some cartograms for a Digital Cartography class project. Our reader Ed sent me a link to a great free Java software tool developed by the Choros Laboratory of Ecole Polytechnique Federale de Lausanne in Switzerland, ScapeToad, that you can use to generate your own cartograms.

Mobile Millennium Project – cell phone-based traffic monitoring network

UC Berkeley, partnering with Nokia and Navteq, have been working on a project to use GPS data from cell phones to create a traffic monitoring network that will allow users to get real-time traffic conditions, as well as relay their own information to the network. Dubbed the Mobile Millennium Project, a public beta will be launching on Monday in the San Francisco Bay area and, if you live in the area, you can participate by signing up at the project’s website. If not, they’ll be streaming live video of the launch starting at 8:30am PST on Monday, so you won’t missing a single exciting minute!

Via Gizmodo

ERDAS moves to annual release cycle

Today ERDAS sent out a press release that states that they are moving to an annual release cycle with a major release in the fall and a minor release in the spring. This is fairly ambitious with so many applications in their basket. Today’s announcement also included the roll out of 9.3 versions of Imagine and LPS, 2009 versions of APOLLO, TITAN and Image Web Server as well as new versions of ER Mapper and ADE. Once we get some hands-on time we will let you know what we think of the new apps and the updates.

EarthScape for iPhone/iPod Touch

I am supposed to be posting another interview right now, but I just bought and started playing with EarthScape Basic, a virtual globe program that runs on the iPhone and iPod Touch (and apparently som other mobiles as well). While there are quite a few features missing for a $9.99 app in my opinion (such as place name search and remembering layer preferences between uses) this app is simply impressive…I used the word WOW in my Tweet at least twice. The imagery and terrain streams and renders fairly quickly compared to what I expected and the touch navigation has already ruined desktop virtual globes for me in just a few minutes. The integration of town names and wikipedia links, even in this first version, make me hopeful for what is to come in future updates. Take a look at this YouTube video to see the interface and touch navigation.

Linux Across the World

For you open source geographers out there, I’m sure you’ve always been curious exactly what the adoption rate of Linux might be world wide. Luckily, you can now see your answer. They start with an agreegate of Linux in general, and then break it down by distribution. You can certainly argue with their statistics, as its based upon searches in Google. However, that might not be too terrible a metric to use, as it would be hard to get good numbers any other way. I don’t think it’s any huge suprise that places like India and Russia are heavily interested in Linux. However, there are a few countries that strike me as odd. Apparently Italy really digs Ubuntu. Who knew?

UK government wants you to show them a better way

If you live in the UK (or are just interested in improving their access to data), you can now add your idea to a growing movement to make more public information available to the public. A competition called Show Us A Better Way, from the UK government’s Power of Information Taskforce, has just been announced which offers prizes of up to 20,000 pounds for ideas for new products that utilize public information. One of the examples of data sources that can be used are the Ordnance Survey maps available through the OpenSpace beta . Many of the other data sets available, such as Carbon Footprint data or are also crying out for spatial solutions, so if you have an idea, be sure and submit it before the competition ends at the end of September. According to the FAQs, you do not have to reside in the UK, but all solutions would be implemented for use in the UK.

Via The Guardian

DiRT is good

As a one time field archaeologist I can say whole heartedly that dirt (known to some as soil) is good. But this post is about the Digital Research Tools (DiRT) wiki that has been garnering some attention over in the Digital Humanities circuit, but it is a great site for anyone who is doing research whether digital or not. The description of the wiki is:

This wiki collects information about tools and resources that can help scholars (particularly in the humanities and social sciences) conduct research more efficiently or creatively. Whether you need software to help you manage citations, author a multimedia work, or analyze texts, Digital Research Tools will help you find what you’re looking for.

In some cases there are reviews of the sites and software listed, other times it is still just a link, but since the wiki is still new expect to see more content coming on-line in the future. It is a great resource, one that definitely outstrips our own (out of date) attempt at collate desktop GIS applications as it covers a wealth of areas from text analysis, to dynamic maps, to data visualization. Head over to check it out.

Stonehenge gets the Photosynth treatment

You know I just love Photosynth (although I wish Microsoft would finally make it available in some form other than a technology preview), so I had to check out the video National Geographic has posted of Stonehenge as seen through Photosynth technology and photos by Rebecca Hale. Even in the short video, the virtual tour of Stonehenge is pretty cool and I’d really like to see the Stonehenge collection added to the Photosynth page so you can explore the collection on your own.

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