Archive for September, 2006

FOSS4G to Ibiza, an intense 10 days. Links to presentation materials.

FOSS4G was a great time. OSGeo is about the best community out there. And this was my first trip to Switzerland, lovely. Just about how I envisioned it, ultramodern buildings in sheep grazed green pastures, above lakes and below mountains. The boat trip on Lake Geneva with tour and dinner in Château de Chillon was such a highlight. I found my way around Lausanne with only my GPS, yea OpenStreetMap.

I gave two presentations, back to back in the last hour of the last day. It’s About Time for Time surveyed experiments, widely and my own, in integrating time into GIS, and advocates GeoRSS and WMS Time to do the “Simplest Possible Thing That Works”. Google choose to release time navigation to coincide with my talk, thanks guys, so I hope the OSGeo community hooks into the coming upswing in temporal GIS. What’s Next, GeoRSS is one half hype ala Where 2.0, one half critical examination of issues with the GeoRSS format and processes. The presentation materials are posted to the FOSS4G info pages.

GeoRSS 1.0 was released. After a couple minor changes, this means that work on the format itself has frozen. We can now focus on supporting implementations and moving things forward through the OGC Lightweight Standards process and the W3C Incubator Activity. FOSS4G saw a large physical gathering of GeoRSS participants .. Allan Doyle, Raj Singh, Josh Lieberman, Andrew Turner, Patrice Cappelaere, Schuyler Erle, Jo Walsh, and myself. Many people mentioned GeoRSS as an inspirational process for the development of more lightweight, usable standards.

Andrew Turner, Guilhem Vellut, and myself all finally got to meet face to face. We’ve been working together on Mapufacture, Mapstraction, and GeoPress, three projects which are rapidly growing together. GeoPress 2.0 was released, with an announcement by Brady on the OReilly Radar. And I spoke with Allan Doyle about including GeoPress in his proposed Geospatial Appliance for Civil Society, How to fit 5 Kilos of Software into a 1.3 Kilo Box.

FOSS4G Castle

The WMS Tile Caching Scheme made big progress. And though I missed the session Tuesday night, it all looks cool and I intend to support the scheme in worldKit. I did make the Web Mapping Client BOF, though it all stayed AJAX rather than embracing Actionscript as ECMAScript brethren. That’s fine, since the intention of WMS-T and WMS-C is to have at least two different implementations, and with all the Ajax clients converging on OpenLayers, I’m happy to keep worldKit going.

In fact, I want to pursue a similar convergence/code sharing in Flash Mapping, from various bits of open source flash out there; attending this presentation which delved into a quality WFS Flash Client. Similarly, a group us of Ruby/Rails developers (basically us Mapufacture people and the guys from NomadLabs) met on Friday, and resolved to push forward Ruby support of Geo at various levels (recipes, adaptors, libraries, apps), something I think could really take off. And I spoke to Frank Warmerdam and Chris Holmes about starting the OSGeo Incubation process for worldKit .. I’m going to apply asap!

There were more interesting looking presentations that I missed than actually attended (frantically finishing my slides). Pat presented GeoBliki (OGC Sensor Web Enabled Data Node), a very cool community oriented (blog/wiki/GeoRSS) project for Sensors, which I’m going to watch closely. Sensors were also on discussion in Sensor Web Enablement: The 52north SWE Suite. Raj opened up the OGC’s Lightweight Standards Initiatives, discussing WFS Basic (outputformat=GeoRSS), WMS-T, WFS-T, and Individual OGC Membership. Steve Ottens spoke on Creating a high performance webmapping site, which further reinforced my belief that OpenStreetMap has about the most difficult problems around in GIS. Implementation of Synchronous, Spatially-Referenced Discussions Between Multiple Users with Open-Source Web GIS and Database Tools was interesting to get the thoughts flowing on how to better encourage collaboration in OpenStreetMap. Finally, the Conservation GeoPortal spawned an interesting debate on how to approach GIS in the developing world, where it matters most.

For more lucid thoughts and imagery on FOSS4G, Nick Black posted frequently, especially on how OSGeo and OpenStreetMap can work together. Jo wrote on her Have a Nice Metadata session, with plenty of choice phrases like “implement first, think later”, “the pursuit of the Simplest, Least Useless Thing”, “favourite OpenStreetmap tags – horse=’yes’”. Tom Kralidis has pretty good coverage of the entire event. Brady posted several FOSS4G entries on Radar. Photos here, here, and here.


It’s About Time For Time. Google Earth launches Timenav.

Tomorrow I give my presentation at FOSS4G, It’s About Time for Time. Time at a GIS Conference? Just about every topic and data set amenable to spatial analysis and visualization also has significant change and temporal aspects. It’s a complex topic, we don’t have all the answers, which has stalled wider experimentation in time in GIS. I don’t think we should be afraid to hack and make mistakes, and I’m going to suggest a few simple, iterative ideas for dealing with time.

Google Earth has chosen to announce its new version, with simple time support (!), to coincide with my talk ;). If you load up this KML conversion of a GPX trace of a walk we took in Baharona, Dominican Republic, you can play around with the new time slider UI widget. Pretty awesome!


Brighton OpenStreetMap Workshop Followup

Fun day Saturday, and great progress on OpenStreetMap in Brighton.

A good mix of dConstruct attendees (who weren’t nursing a hangover 😉 ) .. Colin Schlueter, Maria Schaake .. OpenStreetMap veterans .. Dean Earley, Robert .. and interested locals .. Kathryn Hall, Ed Griffiths-Jones, (GI Policy Expert) Chris Corbin, (Councillor) Roy Pennington, Tim Small, Richard Vahrman.

Great portions of Hove, the North Laines, the Deans and Kemp Town are covered, with good starts on Preston Park and Seven Dials. Remarkably most everything went smoothly technology wise. Our collected traces. With a little push through the soggy winter, we’re aiming for a complete Brighton map by Spring.

Thanks to Richard for the beautiful venue, Ed for the press release, and Jeremy Keith for publicity around dContstruct.

Stay tuned to the wiki for notes on our progress, from out of copyright map..

.. to whiteboard planning ..

Whiteboard Brighton

.. to collected GPS traces of the day ..

brighton in josm

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Brighton Mapping Workshop

This Saturday, we’re running an OpenStreetMap Workshop in Brighton. It’s the day after the dConstruct webdev conference. If you are a Brighton local, dConstruct attendee, or interested person from distant places, you’re welcome to take part — it’s shaping up to be a fun day. Details on the wiki.


OpenStreetMap Caribbean

It was my tough chore to introduce several Caribbean islands to OpenStreetMap this summer. Mainly Dominican Republic, but also the Isle of St. Lucia, and Anna forayed to Cuba. Finding digital mapping data for the region is difficult, and nothing detailed is available in the G-Y-M apis. Yet many of these places are sized on the order of the Isle of Wight, and with the huge tourist industry in the region, this map data is valuable.
Perla Marina, Original Map

Our first venture outside Santo Domingo was to Cabarete, a few hours drive on the north coast of DR, one of the top kiteboarding spots in the world. We arranged to stay at a really cool beach bungalow, in a small area called Perla Marina (there’s no marina actually).

The map above was our guide to our destination. We got lost.

It appears to be drawn in Microsoft Paint. It contains several missing streets, drawn in with pen. What appears to be the beach front is actually just a crossroads. There’s no landmarks, and the geographical scale is completely off. Obviously MSFT Paint is not the right tool to make maps .. but it shouldn’t be at all harder to make maps than to draw I think.
Perla Marina GPS traces in JOSM

We spent about a half hour driving around the neighborhood with the GPS, and got the track above (loaded into the JOSM editor). The line running across the bottom is State Highway 2. There are streets missing, due to out of control security concerns; there’s a guard & gate at the main entrance, but apparently some streets don’t trust that, and they have another guard & gate at the street entrance (and each house has its own security as well, .. and the heart of each occupant is locked away, locks within locks within locks *sniff*). I marked waypoints at each guard house, generating incredible suspicion in the process.

There’s also a huge tree along the main road of the neighborhood, an excellent landmark.

Perla Marina in osmarender

After making segments and ways in JOSM, I downloaded the data from OSM and ran it through osmarender, which is responsible for producing some very professional looking maps. I didn’t have a lot of time to tweak the output, but this map of Perla Marina is really taking shape. The red dots are gates, the green dot marks the distinctive tree, and the blue dot is the beach house.

See, it’s not so tough being a mapper.