I got an interesting e-mail the other day informing me about the “Roads to Rome” project. I don’t normally write items that arrive in my inbox, but this had two major hooks for me. First, I used to do a lot of routing analysis earlier in my career. Second, I am a Roman history buff. With these two factors in play, I couldn’t resist.
I’ve found myself using desktop GIS more and more lately. While I don’t tend to think of myself as an analyst and I’ll never be confused with a cartographer, it is simply not possible to perform GIS software development without making occasional use of desktop GIS. My typical use cases involve data preparation or query verification or similar such tasks to prove out some logic before I commit it to my application code. The screenshot below depicts my default desktop GIS configuration:
Yes, I have come full circle back to command-line GIS. After years of fiddling with the latest Arc/Q-GUI-du-jour, I find myself spending most of my time working with a flashing cursor.
I spent June 24th at the 2015 GEOINT Symposium. Despite having worked in the field and related areas for years, this was my first time attending this event and I was only able to attend for one day. It was a bit of a whirlwind and my impressions were somewhat superficial. I got to catch up with many old friends and meet some people that I had been wanting to meet.
There’s the old adage that, when building a house, the lot gets cleared and in a very short time, there are walls and a roof. After that, nothing much seems to be happening. In reality, the plumbing and the wiring and all of the internals that make the building useful are being installed. There is progress, but it is less dramatic. That is the feeling I came away with from the GEOINT symposium.
When was the last time you bought a CD? Come to think of it, when was the last time you plugged an iPod into your computer and synced music from iTunes?
That’s what I thought.
The fact that HERE may be for sale (publicly, which is somewhat unusual in the world of acquisitions) and that it languishes is really no surprise. (“Reviewing strategic options” is a vaguebooking/subtweeting way of saying “Make us an offer.”) HERE is the CD of navigation. Many years ago, I supported a customer that did a lot of multi-modal transportation analysis. In the pre-OSM world, you had TIGER and a handful of commercial data providers. (Remember ETAK?) This was around the time that in-vehicle navigation was becoming commonplace in personal vehicles. The data in those systems, NavTech, was highly sought after but unavailable in standard GIS formats at the time. After a while, NavTech entered the GIS data realm, and its US product became the flagship commercial data set in the HSIP Gold database; a status it holds to this day. In some government circles, users clamored to get NavTech/Navteq/HERE data for their analysis. The rest of the world, however, has moved on.
It’s been rather quiet on the blog for a while. Sometimes the posts have to take a back seat to work and other things. This time of year tends to be busy anyway due to the end of the school year and its related activities, but this year has also included one move, construction of a house, and preparations for a second (final) move. In December we sold our house, which I had lived in for nearly 40 years, and moved into temporary quarters while the next house was being built. The sale of the old place was a pretty smooth experience as all of us, especially me, were ready for a change.
It’s been a quiet month-and-a-half here on the blog, mostly owing to an abundance of project tasks. I recently started a short-term project to help one of my Federal customers extend data source support for an application they have been developing. This customer is technically a new one but the project team is made up of government developers that I have worked with on a few other projects so there is a great deal of familiarity.
The application, which has been under development for some time, is written in .Net and make use of the open-source (MIT) GMap.NET mapping library. The application features a desktop version running in Windows and a mobile version running on Android tablets. The .Net back end works seamlessly on both through the use of Xamarin, although I have not had the chance to get my hands dirty with that yet due to limits on Xamarin licenses and available Android devices. To its credit, GMap.NET seems to work fairly well in both environments.
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.
Things have been kind of quiet on the blog lately due to things being busy at work. I call that a good problem to have. Since the beginning of the year, I’ve written a a lot of proposals for a mixture of potential customers. Interestingly, I’m seeing a lot more call for “GIS Analyst” work. One trend I’ve noticed, at least in the Federal sector, is that the time between proposal due dates and award announcements seems to be lengthening. That may be an indication of the ongoing flux in funding and organizations try to figure out how to fund their requirements. It will be interesting to see how it shakes out. Of course, it’s good that the opportunities are there in the first place.
One the technical side of things, I’ve been involved in a smattering of things that’s made it hard to roll up one good post. I’m pretty heavily involved in the PIM efforts that my colleague, Barry Schimpf, has been blogging about over on the Zekiah blog.