Sunday 5 December 2010

An excellent GIS repository

This summer I followed the ESRI User conference via twitter, which put me onto their excellent video resource page. That was great as it has not been easy, even after 25 years, to tell friends and family what I “spend just all hours of the day and days of the seasons and years”. That sound bite is from this video, which I found the best intro for “the rest of the world”.

Tuesday 30 November 2010

Google Fusion Coffee Table

[Update: I noted on many of my Google Fusion Table posts that, while the data are still on Google Drive for you to view, GFT no longer offers a polygon or heatmap option, only geocoding by country centroid in its new version. Not sure why, but on this, this, this and another example posted as Iframes not Scripts preserved the old GFT maps.]

Geocurrents posted this interesting dataset from Worldbank's Ease of Doing Business website. James Fee waxed rhapsodic over Google Fusion Tables after WhereCamp5280. So I decided to see how easy it really was to map their Ease of doing Business Rank.

Saturday 27 November 2010

Not work not geo: photo edits

As I started posting more photos on Flickr! in Kuwait, I toyed with simple improvements that adjust color and contrast. It helps mitigate over-exposure bright desert sunlight, and remove 'haze' in difficult lighting such as high altitude flying or mountains, or add virtual fill-in flash enhancing dark foregrounds. I cannot however help with the original pixel count - my phone camera has a decent 3.2 mpels @ 300dpi, but lower-res scans of JPEG settings cannot be helped much especially in sharpening due to their low pixel count.

Monday 22 November 2010

Back home again

TS Eliot's header quote indicates that I'm back home again: to bridge geoscience and GIS in petroleum I've done for a while now - see on my LinkedIn how long - it isn't hard to believe then, that I dusted off a master data management diagram from over a decade ago:

Wednesday 10 November 2010

Global Poetry System

This is a totally geo poetry project out of the London Southbank Centre! It allows you to post poetry in its largest sense - poems, photos, videos, any multimedia - on this website and tag it by its location.

Friday 29 October 2010

Monday 25 October 2010

Trending, part VI

Last week I posted to relevant Linkedin Groups, a two-page extract on Slideshare of my article in the June Digital Energy Journal - the full source of Better Metadata for GIS can be found in my previous blogpost. I also updated slide 10 of my presentation on same.

Thursday 21 October 2010

"Better metadata for GIS"

Just posted my two-page extract from the June issue of Digital Energy Journal:
We are going to see much more improved "metadata" system for geo-graphical data - which will help integrate it much more closely with bigger information management systems, writes Andrew Zolnai, sales and marketing director, Interactive Net Mapping Ltd.

Wednesday 20 October 2010

What's in a name, Part II

A sure sign of succesful map, is when it blends into the application and serves an unobtrusive yet key role. I noted earlier in What's in a name? two such examples that make a mappliance (map + appliance). I found last week during 13 October English Day a fun project asking the same question - Location Lingo joined the English Project to the Ordnance Survey, and allows the man in the street to enter anecdotal names they know to share with the rest of the world - isn't this yet another form of crowdsourcing?

Monday 11 October 2010

Trending London petroleum shows

Compiling petroleum shows I attended in London in the last five years, from small data management under 100 attendees to international geoscience over 2000, shows a few things:

Tuesday 5 October 2010

Trending, part V

Quarterly traffic figures to show a pickup after the traditional summer lull. Of interest is the increase mostly due to visits outside my blog-twitter-web trio in slide 4 below. While next quarter may give us more details on this trend, it does suggest that readership is spreading across the web. Is this a new form of syndication that occurs naturally, like plants seeded in a garden without the garderner's intervention? If this is a form of crowdsourcing, then the twitter logo may be serendipitous... as birds are a main carrying agent of garden volunteers!

Tuesday 28 September 2010

Of business and blogging

A few months ago I signed up for Area 51 Satck Exchange for GIS, and it has impressive statistics indeed. Soon after, however, short holidays then family emergencies and continuing oilelefant meant that I hardly participated at all. Nor have I blogged much this month, and that situation will continue... And I missed today's AGI w3g!

Tuesday 21 September 2010

"The proof of the pudding is in the making"

The FOSS4G conference early this month in Barcelona raised a host of issues as usual. One picked up by James Fee and Jo Cook's blogs among others, is the role of SpatialLite in particular and exchange file formats in general? My main takeway is Jim's point, that while file exchange formats are important, efforts should be focused on internet exchange formats. We all agree that it's usage eventually that will dictate future formats, rather than vendors or standards bodies...

Saturday 28 August 2010

5 Ws for citizens-as-sensors

Des Kilfoil at the CBC in Calgary, Canada introduced me 20-odd years ago to the 5Ws, the basic tenets of any investigative reporting, from journalists to police, from Wikipedia:
  • Who? Who was involved?
  • What? What happened (what's the story)?
  • Where? Where did it take place?
  • When? When did it take place?
  • Why? Why did it happen?
  • How? How did it happen?

Sunday 22 August 2010

Anniversary blog

Even though I registered my blog in September 2005, I started blogging on 18 August 2009, no small thanks to my blog friend Hussein Nasser and the blogging geocommunity in London and elsewhere. I recently twittered these stats, and thank all for your help along the line:
azolnai: 1st anniversary blogging math: (72 blog posts + 797 tweets + RSS feed) * output = (100 Twitter+ 501 LinkedIn + 95 Facebook) * followers

Monday 16 August 2010

Thursday 5 August 2010

SAGE: Syndication, AGgregation & Entitlement

For-free vs. for-fee is an issue that won't go away any time soon. I discussed this here before, and it came up recently with the adoption of OpenStreetMap on Bing Maps and In a macro sense it's about data, systems and traffic control, as evidenced by the lock-down of Google search and Blackberry access in China and parts of the Middle East, respectively. At a micro scale it came up in a discussion group on LinkedIn: who owns map symbology derived from public sources?

Monday 26 July 2010

Trending, Part IV

Slideshare traffic figures show the same trend as web traffic figures posted before: monthly readership (calculated as total reads over months posted) increase from my previous papers, through Interactive Net Mapping business processes, to those on the web and social media.

Friday 23 July 2010

The power of context, Part V

The tropical storm threatening the Gulf of Mexico (GoM) oilspill cleanup shows up very well in Google Earth (download GE here) by simply using:

Saturday 17 July 2010

The power of context, Part IV

Two anecdotes on remote sensing and environmental monitoring highlight some issues in measuring and predicting the current Gulf of Mexico oil rupture.

Monday 12 July 2010

A bit of GIS history

As I watch ESRI's 2010 User Conference remotely via social media and my favorite bloggers like spatialsustain and spatiallyadjusted, this entry from allpointsblog caught my eye:

Thursday 8 July 2010

The power of context, Part III

[Update: I noted on many of my Google Fusion Table posts that, while the data are still on Google Drive for you to view, GFT no longer offers a polygon or heatmap option, only geocoding by country centroid in its new version. Not sure why, but on thisthisthis and another example posted as Iframes not Scripts preserved the old GFT maps.]

Ruth Lang created this excellent mashup for the 2010 FIFA World Cup - which coloured all the countries at the beginning and gradually greys them out as they are eliminated - only Spain and the Netherlands are left as at today. This was a labour of love, needing for example some tweeking to work in the Firefox browser, and a testament to SVG.

Thursday 1 July 2010

Trending, Part III

The effect of trade shows and publications as well as social media can clearly be seen in the web traffic figures through June 2010.

Sunday 27 June 2010

The power of context, Part II

In preparation for tomorrow's TEDxOilSpill meet-up in Cambridge UK, let me highlight two among the many, many postings on the Gulf of Mexico oil spill (I also wrote about here and here).

Saturday 26 June 2010

The power of context...

... can be seen in a simple weekend exercise: look up your favourite area on your handy 3D online maps, and you just might get a slew of features, some of it unwanted...

Thursday 17 June 2010

bp oil rupture

News swirling around the incident in the Gulf of Mexico (GoM) compels me to draw out some salient facts and gather them here to help the uninitiated (I did this yesterday for my in-laws). This blog title is from the last slide of the video in my last blogpost.

Tuesday 15 June 2010

Friday 11 June 2010

The drummer and the dancer

[Update: thanks for the corrected FEMA NIMS web link below from Atlantic Training, who provide "online emergency planning training course [that is ] inexpensive and has helped thousands of businesses train their employees".]

Drums closing the FIFA World Cup kick-off celebration brought back my African drumming days in N Texas and S California:

Wednesday 9 June 2010

The stunning beauty of maps, Part II

The beauty of maps is topical not only thanks to British Library's show Maginificent Maps. Gary Gale waxed rhapsodic on map as art, and Thierry Gregorius mused on what a map might look like after visiting the same exhibit.

Monday 7 June 2010

Trending, Part II

Recent web hit statisitics show the power of press releases (PR) in Oilvoice and FindingPetroleum (née Digital Energy Journal) to push traffic to The occasion was the new release of a secure trial area - try before you buy - to show on the internet what it will look like on the intranet.

Sunday 23 May 2010

Gathering clouds over the horizon, Part IV

Slotting straight into my previous post, ESRI just released ArcGIS Explorer (AGX) online and as the new ArcGIS Online (AGO). I cannot, however, see my old AGO postings on the new, neither will the new AGX online consume it - not even posted as a web mapping service (WMS)!

Saturday 22 May 2010

Gathering clouds over the horizon, Part III

Eyjafjallajoekull volcanic ash blown southeastward caused air traffic disruption last week over the northern British Isles again. I post the North Atlantic section of NOAA's free web mapping services of global cloud and chemical composition:

Saturday 15 May 2010

Gathering clouds over the horizon, Part II

I posted earlier an example of a simple Google Map reading a list of Olympic cities - this was part of a list of Google and OpenLayer maps I built over the years on my old website - I also posted a nifty display of plate boundaries in Google Earth here. Following on the discussion of new web mappping (Part I of this post), I recreated both on to see how the two implementations compared.

Saturday 8 May 2010

UK electoral boundary changes

New UK Ordnance Survey OpenData Bounday Lines released this month, show changes compared with the original public release in April of October 2009 data. Both Electoral Division and Westminster Consituency boundaries are what you see in the BBC News or many other UK election maps on TV or online. Following yesterday's parliamentary and county council election results, one might ask:

Saturday 1 May 2010

Historic Fenlands Mashup

[See updates at bottom, and predecessors Medieval Fenlands GIS and Post-medieval Fenlands GIS]

Here is a mashup on of the geographic history of land cover and surface geology of East Anglia since Domesday based on:

Thursday 29 April 2010

Show me the money

That was my response to Peter Batty's call for comment on his GITA panel this week:

Saturday 24 April 2010

Post-medieval Fenlands GIS

Let's look at the geographic history of land cover and surface geology of East Anglia after the Civil War , based on Ordnance Survey OpenData and British Geological Survey web mapping services (WMS). My previous posting discussed H.C. Darby's historic & geographic economics of East Anglia Fenlands between the Domesday census and the Civil War.

Thursday 22 April 2010

Happy Earth Day, in a British roundabout way

A recent twittersation with @rollohome had me pull out these screen shots from Google Maps - it doesn't appear to give proper driving directions around complex British roundabouts - I thought this was a curious counterpoint for Earth Day, as we go round&round...

Saturday 17 April 2010

Medieval Fenlands GIS

[Update 5: see its latest reboot on a new community engagement project here
Update 4: Data on ShareGeoOpen is now on successor Edinburgh Datashare
Update 3: see subsequent story with Ordnance Survey and 1SpatialOnline validation
Update 2: see web mashup with later historic data  and more on data repositories
Update 1: see companion Post-medieval drainage of the Fens from same source]

The recent release of UK Ordnance Survey OpenData opened the opportunity to post H.C. Darby's data from The Medieval Fenland and The Drainage of the Fens of East Anglia in the eastern UK. And parishes are the geographic unit that remained constant since the Middle Ages.

Thursday 1 April 2010

No such thing as a free lunch

To great press and technocrati fanfare, the UK Ordnance Survey freed up its data... somewhat! This was promptly announced on mapperz and Ernest Maples blogs. And commented on as far away as the US west coast by Ed Parsons and Geoff Zeiss currently in America - does location matter?

Wednesday 24 March 2010

A tale of two approaches, part II

Things have moved since my previous post: even though ESRI doesn't want to be geodesign, that is high on their agenda in their business partner conference this week. And since where 2.0 among many others hail location services as the next big thing, it's no surprise Wired quotes Jack Dangermond as pushing handhelds for onsite design as I imagine it:

Saturday 20 March 2010

2D or not 2D, part deux

There's a comprehesive move toward fairly generic realtime 3D, beyond the many, many traditional implementations. Satish Pai said at a Schlumberger Forum over five years ago that video gaming consoles would drive 3D visualisation in petroleum. Steve Ballmer recently asked at Microsoft's Global Energy Forum if X-Box might be the next console (below)? Google Earth uses movie industry techniques to speed up visualisation. And military techniques used in seismic visualisation were presented at FindingPetroleum's seminar Advances in Geophysics & Sub-surface Description this week.

Saturday 13 March 2010

Another take on climate change

[ 2021 update: full twitter thread why "plume push" theory may be flawed
  2010 update: See follow-on Part II here ]

If the 8.8 magnitude Chilean quake may have shortened days by an infenitisimal amount late last month, it highlights the lesser-know fact that the earth wobbles on it axis, and that mass plate-tectonic movements are the result as well as the cause of earth tremors along plate boundaries below (may need to install Google Earth plug-in as indicated).

Friday 5 March 2010

Gathering clouds over the horizon...

... intermittent sunshine and showers predicted tomorrow. No this is not a meteo prediction, but a metaphor for opportunities and confusion that cloud computing creates. I see it as a pressure-release valve, where the constant demand to deliver more for less is pushing both sectors, for-profit and not-for-profit.

Sunday 28 February 2010

The stunning beauty of maps

Current affairs bring such beauty on the web in the form of maps! The exhilerating is what makes the news, and that can be both joyful and sad.

Wednesday 17 February 2010

Rebranding Conferences - Part II

The Finding Petroleum (FP) January Conference at Inmarsat in London was the first topic on rebranding conferences. Yesterday's Forum on collaborative technologies at the Geological Society, London was a second type of offering. According to FP founder David Bamford, forums are:

Wednesday 10 February 2010

Standards & Metadata - Part VII

Facebook/twitter diary excerpt from an information manager:
Vast majority of information is not held on computers but in people's heads
If Information is Communication, then what is Metadata?
Data, data everywhere. Hidden. [...] High value. Low awareness
Would like to take a broom to the data management techniques used

Tuesday 2 February 2010

Web 2.0 in action

The recent announcement of under none other than Tim Berners-Lee is a great step towards freeing UK data to the public - I won't reiterate the arguments going back and forth between for-free (tax-paid) and for-fee (cost recovery) - and such availability has raised eyebrows even in the land of the free - namely, how useful is it to the end-user ranging from guv contractor, thru spatial business to end-users, perhaps in decreasing order of patience &/or savvy?

Monday 1 February 2010

Rebranding conferences

Last week I presented at the PPDM London User Group Meeting, and the week prior at Finding Petroleum's (FP) January Conference.

Sunday 24 January 2010

DIY UK Webmaps

The UK OS OpenSpace Mapbuilder application helps registrants make a local map, add localised information (links, pictures etc.), save the code and post it on the web. Anyone must be qualified, however, because the output is HTML code... that relies on user knowledge to post the webmap! Here is my favorite walk in the village outside Cottenham, north of Cambridge UK, with a mix of my own pictures and those found on the web.

Tuesday 12 January 2010

A tale of two approaches

Continuing on my "tale of two" series - conferences, cities and systems - here are current affairs promised in my previous blog. Two events displayed contrasting approaches in finding novel ways to solve old problems.

Friday 8 January 2010

Standards & Metadata - Part VI

A fable by Paolo Coelho inspired this post, a follow-on to Part V. Here is an excerpt from his e-book Stories for Parents, Children and Grandchildren - Volume 1.