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Thursday, October 1, 2015

On 30 September 2015, I gave a talk to the Southern Maryland GIS User Group titled "Interactive Maps Without Map Servers." This post consists of the slides from that presentation interspersed with my "talk track" in order to provide context.

Today, I’m going to discuss publishing interactive maps without using a map server. I’m going to do this by focusing on a specific case study for one of our customers, the US Commission on Civil Rights. This example is fairly simple and I chose it for its ease of illustration for today’s talk. Before I get started, I think it’s necessary to clear up some terminology.

Thursday, February 5, 2015

Managing a team of Geospatial Analysts, and all their ongoing projects, requires a decent bit of effort for the Project Manager on one of our current contracts. At the onset, the PM would ask each GA what they were working on, obtain it verbally or via email, and manually enter the information into an excel spreadsheet. He would then discuss the spreadsheet with the client each week, noting any task updates or closures. The importance of the spreadsheet and the weekly client meetings cannot be understated; however, I believed that the amount of labor associated with tracking tasks could be greatly reduced.

I originally got the idea for semi-automating our task-tracking system during a seminar at the ESRI International User’s Conference in San Diego. A presenter in one of the technical sessions showed how he and his team built a project tracking system using python code and an open source GUI. I took some notes, and knew that any similar workflow I created would have to be built off IDLE, because downloading any new programs to my government machine often proves to be prohibitively difficult.

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

While working with geospatial information, it is often advantageous to find out how close one particular piece of data is to other pieces of data. This leads to a greater understanding of the area of study. The knowledge of how things relate to one another spatially is articulated in Waldo Tobler’s First Law of Geography. It states that “everything is related to everything else, but near things are more related than distant things.”

Friday, April 4, 2014

Over the past decade, GIS professionals who can manipulate the software both manually and automatically are becoming increasingly more marketable within the industry. Automating mundane/repetitive tasks frees up time to focus on more advanced analyses and other GIS processes.  

On one of our current contracts, we are required to create map products in response to “breaking news” events. These maps provide situational awareness to our client regarding the status of assets within their area of jurisdiction. Time is of the essence during these events, and the faster a map product can go out, the better.

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Esri CityEngine lets you create, as the name implies, cities, quite easily. As a bonus, it lets you export these creations in various formats including FBX files which can be imported into 3D game engines including Unity. You can very easily add VR support for the Oculus Rift to Unity 4 Pro.

To follow along with this tutorial we will need a few things:

  • Esri CityEngine 2013: 30 day trial license may be available

  • Unity 4 Pro: for Oculus Rift Support, 30 day trial license is available. You should be able to get away with the free version if you only want to add a traditional FPS camera.

  • Oculus Rift SDK: free but will need to sign up for a developer's account

  • Oculus Rift Developer's Kit: Needed to view in virtual reality though you can still follow this tutorial and navigate the city via a regular monitor.