I was happy to read to day that CartoDB closed a $23 million Series B financing round. I’ve been impressed with CartoDB since I first saw it in action at FOSS4G in Denver in 2011. I’ve done a few posts on using the platform, which are starting to get long in the tooth but are still valid. I still find it one of the easiest post-GeoIQ ways to quickly host spatial data and build mapping applications. I probably need to spend a little time getting re-acqainted with the platform.
Today’s news follows the announcement over the summer of additional funding received by Mapbox. Both platforms attempt to tackle the problem of hosting large amounts of geospatial data and making it available for visualization and integration using means that are consistent with modern web technologies and techniques. If one were to draw a functional Venn diagram, it would probably show a lot of overlap, though each platform’s technical implementation is unique.
While it is valid for one to question whether the tech market in general is entering another “bubble” phase, both of these investments and the previous rounds that preceded them for both Mapbox and CartoDB, indicate to me that the tech market still has an interest in location, and perhaps even advanced, GIS-like location analytics, that has not been fully met.
I have often stated that I think industry generally recognizes the value of location, while the value of GIS is not as readily apparent. The continued investment in modern location platforms, despite the existence and availability of mature GIS platforms, does nothing to dissuade me from this observation. For whatever reason, tech industry investors continue to look at what is currently available and opt to continue building something new.
For various reasons, I can’t attend today’s inaugural FedGeoDay at the Woolly Mammoth Theatre in Washington, DC, though I’ll be watching the hashtag with great interest. Jack Flood of Arc2Earth, however, has already posted his slides to SlideShare:
While neither ArcMap nor Arc2Earth are open-source themselves, Jack points out that Arc2Earth acts as a bridge between ArcMap and several geospatial hosting platforms that are built on open-source technology but, also just as important, are successful at making data more openly available. These platforms include CartoDB and MapBox, among many others.
A while back, I posted about some experimentation I did with Leaflet and CartoDB in the wake of FOSS4G in Denver. I recently had the chance to go back and update that sample with some spatial queries. At the time of the original post, CartoDB was still in beta and spatial queries didn’t seem to work, despite the fact that the back-end was driven by PostGIS.
It’s rather fitting that the second plenary talk on Wednesday had to do with “firehose” applications since the FOSS4G North America (FOSS4GNA) conference was something of a firehose in itself. Despite the fact that the event was smaller than the worldwide event in Denver back in October, I came away with the same “full brain” feeling.
Of course, given the recent production release of PostGIS 2.0, that was kind of the big story for this event. I attended a number of PostGIS/PostgreSQL-related sessions and came away with lots of new information. I especially enjoyed Paul Ramsey’s “what’s new” talk on Wednesday. One thing I enjoy about his talks (here and in Denver) is that he’s not afraid to throw sample SQL up on the screen. It’s one thing to hear about a new feature but it’s another thing entirely to see a concrete example. Some may find the idea of raw SQL in a presentation abhorrent but it worked for me. Continue reading “FOSS4G North America”
3 April 2012 was a busy day for releases/announcements in the geospatial field:
PostGIS 2.0 – This long-anticipated major version of PostGIS was announced with advanced features such as raster, topology, and 3D/4D indexing. Many have been using 2.0 for a while but the official release gives top-cover to organizations, such as some government agencies, that are not allowed to take systems “production” using software that is technically in beta.
CartoDB v1 – I’ve blogged about CartoDB before and it’s an intriguing platform for hosting geospatial data and applications. It uses PostGIS 2.0 as its storage engine and exposes a lot of PostGIS capability through its API. It’s a pretty elegant way to build interactive mapping applications. It’s support of GeoJSON makes it easy to integrate with a number of mapping libraries
GraffitiMapper – This is a location-based application built by Spatial Networks on their Fulcrum platform. It’s a great example of a specialized crowd-sourcing application. In this case, capturing graffiti using location as a potential indicator of other activity. It also really showcases the flexibility of Fulcrum. The app is currently only available for iOS but rumor has it Android is in the works.
All-in-all, it was pretty exciting day. Congratulations to everyone involved in all of these releases.
Well, my toy box is now overflowing so it’s time to start playing.
Over on Google+ (and also on Twitter), Brian Flood announced the impending availability of Arc2Earth Sync Beta to existing Arc2Earth users. This has been brewing for for a while and Brian says it best:
“What makes Sync really cool is the live edit synchronization and the ability to publish online to different formats. It’s a great way to provide integration between ArcGIS desktops/online and the other Cloud database providers like Google.”