Wednesday, 20 May 2015

A tale of two cities, or Bauhaus for maps

I attended two shows back-to-back in London yesterday. Esri(UK) Annual Conference was daytime at the QE2 Centre in Westminster a stone's throw from the Parliament. London Geomob was that evening in Shoreditch, the swanky London digital hub where Ordnance Survey just opened the Geovation Hub.
If the 20 min tube ride in between might have been through a wormhole, such was the contrast, both meetups strove to do the same thing, substituting maps for arts as the Bauhaus movement"founded with the idea of creating a 'total' work of art in which all arts, including architecture, would eventually be brought together".

QE2 Centre, click to enlarge

Esri(UK) presented a clear vision of where everything geospatial is going -  my highlight was a 3D real-time collector and geo-fencing Marauders Map demonstration - yes that of Harry Potter fame, only right here right now - I'll post an image if they release one. In the meantime this was eerily presaged by Tom Coolidge's posting on same in Esri Insider, their blog on what's up&coming. And the closing Road Ahead session focused on Smart Maps - how to make maps that only do what users need and want - that is bringing GIS to the masses by keeping tech under the hood, only presenting what means something to the users.

Other Marauder Map, click to enlarge
The plenary followed the pattern of the Petroleum GIS Conference (no relation) I presented at recently: a brief technical overview followed by customer demonstrations. Then followed some user presentations in the telecom, water, housing, energy, healthcare, transportation and insurance. There were so many attendees (almost 3000) that he entire QE2 venue was used... that meant we each could have used a Marauders Map to find our way around! New this year were a Developer Track one floor up and an Education Track one floor down. As every there were ample room and time for vendor interaction and networking. This was very much a business-oriented show equaling suits and smart casual. At the risk of unearthing old war hatcheets, this is classic GIS, or paleo-geo, slowly moving the way its user base has been demanding for years.

Seckford Street, click to enlarge
Geomobs on the other hand are "un-conferences", this one dubbed "for fun and profit". Meeting host Ordnance Survey set up a Innovation Centre to support start-ups and individuals. The avowed intent to get more traction for their own digital map products. This meeting reflected that indeed, with apps demonstrating OS Open Data or Open Street Map data. What struck me however, is that they were all mobile apps promoting ease of use. One speaker clearly stated that hew delivered "what users wanted, when they wanted and how they wanted it": he leveraged tech to customise products to the max. Another speaker highlighted the fact he minimised the battery use on smartphones by managing the fetches to the web. Other topics were admittedly on the funky end of things, but the innovative uses of data were the local heroes. This was most definitely a more relaxed venue where suits were left at the door. Again this was the neo-geo crowd in old parlance, best followed on twitter where else.
from @geomob, click to enlarge

What struck me however that both looked to achieve the same:
  • Esri's Smart Maps and the Geomob mobile apps truly move towards what I call Trekism, as in Star Trek where machines just provide services with hardly any user interaction
  • Amber Case now head of mobile research sees a key differentiator that Esri apps manage battery power consumption a lot better... which is exactly what one geomobber mentioned
  • not present, but Giscloud and Mapbox  sang the praises of vector mapping on the web - posting vectors used resources an order of magnitude or two less - and guess what? Esri showed that in its Road Ahead session

Sunday, 10 May 2015

Wikimedia European History Map over almost 2500 years

[Update: Posted a "how-to" on the companion  map blog for longer pieces, enjoy...]

Stumbled across this really cool Wikimedia Atlas of European maps. Downloaded the images that seem to come from one Atlas, or are similarly styled and in Lambert Conformable Conical projection. I rubber sheeted them in Esri ArcMap and composited each map sheet in YouTube - if you squint you'll see the four red dots I used as projection reference.

Tuesday, 14 April 2015

Releasing data really works, Part VII

And now for something completely different - the original posts until Part VI are listed below - I ran across a nice map of Steve Feldman's: He also tried out free data and software to map UK flood maps, an up-scaled version not for professional re-use.

Saturday, 4 April 2015

New business, renewed website

[Update: find on my map blog the full story on how the video below was created]

Since www.zolnai.ca will be the landing page for my new business, I spruced it up to reflect my new brand.  zolnai.ca is indeed now registered in England as a Sole Trader.

The banner has been changed to show some example web maps created since 2006, a topic will be renewed at center page, and the navigation has been improved.

Tuesday, 24 March 2015

A day in the life of a petroleum professional - shorthand

[Update: to be presented to central Europe Student Chapters as AAPG Visiting Geo-scientist program]

This is Part II of a A day in the life of posts, to introduc Basic petroleum data manipulation for professionals who aren't data managers. This is however a much simpler workflow that lends itself more to rapid project start-ups for petroleum rather than data professionals.

Wednesday, 4 February 2015

Esri, Google and if the shoe fits...

[Update: a Google business partner's view of things, 3 mo. after the fracas]

[Here is a further update based on input from other people on what is surely a timely topic. Originally posted on LinkedIn Pulse as The (Geo) Internet of Things, it's posted there for a wider audience.]

Friday, 30 January 2015

Professional portfolio of Esri maps

As I went solo in the new year, I collected my previous works also seen in the banner map gallery, and posted the Esri maps as a map story. Go here if it's too slow to load.

Monday, 22 December 2014

A day in the life of a petro-data manager - shorthand

[Update: a simpler workflow that uses  for-fee & for-free software is posted here]

After intoducing the process to extract, transform & load  (ETL) www.boem.gov well data into a www.ppdm.org database, here is the short version expanded over on my sister blog.

Sunday, 23 November 2014

Web Maps on Steroids, Part II

I showed a couple of months ago ways to post mega-datasets online without choking the system. This month OSGeoUK gave me the opportunity to present the same on PostGIS Day 2014, as postGIS was the backbone of two of these examples on GIScloud and GeoCloud2. Thanks to OSGeoUK and British Computer Society for hosting this.