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Monday, August 10, 2009

Ajay Shah asks that question in an article in the Financial Express. Here’s that state of things and a suggestion on how to proceed:

Thus, three strategies are now in play in India: a high quality solution which is a public goods effort (Openstreetmap), a good solution which is owned by a corporation (Google) and a poor solution which acts like a corporation (Survey of India). The users of maps are flocking to Google, Nokia and Openstreetmap.

From the viewpoint of the government, the first best strategy is to shift Survey of India into the mode of uncompromisingly releasing maps data in the public domain, matching the release strategy of the US government on openness.

by Adena Schutzberg on 08/10 at 08:46 AM | Comments | Bookmark and Share

I don’t believe I’ve seen (or know I’d seen) an Exponare local government app in recent memory. But an article in GCN highlights the use of GIS in Cumberland County, NC and notes it’s in use. So I had a look.

The app offers quite a lot and if you’ve seen MapInfo it’s a very familiar interface. There are three columns in the legend for visible, selectable and labelled, for example, that you don’t see too often in desktop or online apps, for example.

One particular item that struck me - across the top of the map window are buttons labelled “Virtual Maps,” “Outlook” and “Word…” which allow viewing the data in Google Maps/Bing Maps (note to developers: need to update that from Virtual Earth in the mouseover text), and pasting the map in Outlook or Word respectively. I can’t be sure what these do as I don’t have those apps on my Mac.

I also like the print options which included different layouts (with and without the map) and the opportunity to title the map/report as you like. (My students just finished an exercise on Web map printing and were not too happy with the sites they explored.)

I did find two disappointments. First, the app window fully refreshed far more often that I would have liked. And, second, I could find no “help” or “tutorial”. After some poking around I did find a tutorial: it is noted on the main mapping page for the county - but the link is not highlighted. Suggestion: make that link more obvious and include a link to it from the mapping app itself. The tutorial includes several Quicktime movies that I was unable to run - but that could be because I was using an unsupported browser (Safari).

by Adena Schutzberg on 08/10 at 07:04 AM | Comments | Bookmark and Share

Florida is among the first states to use GPS, digital photography and cell technology to insure that case workers responsible for the state’s challenged children are doing their jobs.

The Florida Department of Children and Families new Blackberry app upload information directly to the state database in Tallahassee at each home visit. Social workers snap the child’s picture which is sent on to the database stamped with a date, time and GPS coordinates. That helps document visits and keep workers safe in rough neighborhoods. It may also prevent some false records that led to children being lost forever.

For now the app is in use in Miami-Dade and Monroe counties now, with a rollout to the entire data planned for October.

- Miami Herald

by Adena Schutzberg on 08/10 at 06:46 AM | Comments | Bookmark and Share

To celebrate the recent addition of Boston’s MBTA (Mass Bay Transportation Authority, aka public transit org) to Google Transit, (that’s the Boston Globe website) offers and article about how a local was involved in Google Transit’s creation.

I’ve always been a fan of the MBTA’s own Google Maps mashup, so I’ll have to remember to use Google Transit.

And if you want more transit mapping news: the Philadelphia Inquirer profiles how HopStop (can’t get that right without much effort!) is now in Philly offer its brand of public transportation routing.

by Adena Schutzberg on 08/10 at 06:33 AM | Comments | Bookmark and Share

“We’re definitely seeing an upsurge in implementations, but I think that the bulk of the demand for these applications is yet to come. When mainstream solution partners have fully adopted GIS solutions as part of their offering, I think we’ll see the market surge in this area.”

That’s the word from Kevin Ackhurst, managing director of Microsoft New Zealand in Reseller News article touting MapIt, the enterprise app introduced at the Microsoft Worldwide Partner Conference and the ESRI International User Conference. As for the uptake of MapIt by developers? “Ackhurst won’t say which local developers, other than [ESRI NZ Distributor] Eagle, are developing on top of Mapit and won’t provide numbers, saying it’s ‘commercially sensitive.’”

The last sentence of the article, which I believe is sourced to Gartner (and maybe this research note?), seems to need some corrections as MapInfo has not been mentioned thus far and one would be hard pressed to compare Bentley’s Geographics to MapInfo’s products or MapIt:

While Google Maps continues to dominate the consumer end of GIS, current commercial competitors for MapInfo include Bentley Systems’ GeoGraphics, Smallworld Spatial Intelligence, Spatial Insights’ TrendMap, alongside open source GIS systems such as GRASS and a vast range of free products indexed by organisations such as OpenSourceGIS.


by Adena Schutzberg on 08/10 at 06:00 AM | Comments | Bookmark and Share
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