Friday, May 26, 2006

Satellite Tracking Mashup

Howdy! I'm rushing around trying to get some projects in line before my departure at noon. I've got an action packed week and a half. I leave for the Galveston area at lunch to spend the Memorial Day weekend with my family. We have plans for plenty of fishing, food and barley intake. Monday morning I'm off to Mexico to see my girlfriend! We have plans to visit the Mayan ruins of Chichen Itza, the capital of the Yucatan state, Merida, and lay on the beach at Isla Mujeres. It should be a great trip! When I return on Sunday night I hop on another flight to New Orleans. We are visiting a hotel to determine if they are the winner for the SCAUG conference next year. I'm curious to see how this great City is progressing. So, long story short, I won't be updating the blog for over a week. Shortly, after I return I hope to get some pictures added to the slideshow on the bottom of the page. Have a great week!!

The Satellite Tracking Google mashup is awesome. You can see and track the current location of every satellite that are zooming around the Globe. This is too cool!! You can switch between the International Space Station, weather satellites and GPS satellites. Their is not alot of information about the creators of this site, but it has a ton of info on the satellites. If you use some of the help provided in the FAQ's you can even see some of these satellites as they pass overhead (at night of course). Check it out at Viva Mexico!!!

Thursday, May 25, 2006


Hola! Another day and half to go before vacation begins. Before I can go, I've three meetings today and one tomorrow morning. Bummer! In our Emergency GIS Team meeting this afternoon we will officially kick off our pilot project for site address field verification. I am a little nervous on how this will go. Hopefully it will go faster than I anticipate. If you have ever attempted such a huge task please let me know about it.

"Spatial ecology is the study of the interrelationship between organisms and their environment, with particular emphasis on the spatial nature of these interactions. Spatial analysis commonly requires the use of large, complex databases using software that is not specifically designed for ecological applications. The purpose of this site is to help bridge the gap between software, data, and the sophisticated spatial analyses that are needed in modern ecological research." One really cool thing about this site is Hawth's Analysis Tools. "Hawth's Analysis Tools is an extension for ESRI's ArcGIS (specifically ArcMap). It is designed to perform spatial analysis and functions that cannot be conveniently accomplished with out-of-the-box ArcGIS. Most of these analysis tools have been written within the context of the ecological applications I am involved in (movement analysis, resource selection, predator prey interactions and trophic cascades). However, they have been created in such a way as to be as broadly applicable as possible such that I hope people from many disciplines will find use in this set of tools. There are three types of tools in this kit. First, there are simple tools that automate mundane tasks (e.g. deleting many fields at once from a table). These will likely be useful to anyone. Second, there are tools that are designed to be part of an analysis workflow. For instance, random point (or stratified random point) generation, minimum convex polygon delineation, summarizing raster layers in various ways, etc. These too are likely to be useful to many people. Finally, there are tools that target specific, ecology related analyses (for instance, various movement model applications). These will likely only be of interest to ecologists. Hawth's Tools is FREE. You are free to distribute it and install it anywhere you choose." How cool is that? Valuable tools that are FREE! Check it out at 3 Days!!!

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Geospatial Industry Workforce Information System

Good Morning! It's good to be back in the office for the day and only have one meeting to discuss our grant funded tree inventory. I hope to get caught up on some other things before I leave town on Friday. Have a great day!

"A Pilot, Experimental and Demonstration Program for the High-Growth Geospatial Technologies Industry: "Defining and Communicating Industry Workforce Demand" is the result of a grant from the U.S. Department of Labor’s High Growth Job Training Initiative, a collaborative effort to help team people with the jobs that are needed. The initiative is a strategic effort to prepare workers to take advantage of new and increasing job opportunities in high-growth, high-demand, and economically vital sectors of the American economy. The High Growth Job Training Initiative has identified the geospatial sector as one of 12 that is projected to have far-reaching impact on the U.S. economy. GITA/AAG will partner with universities, geospatial vendor and user organizations, and other nonprofit, trade, and educational associations to build the needed education, employment, and economic development capacity to meet the geospatial industry workforce needs." This is great news for those of that already work in the geospatial industry. The draft Phase I report is available online and has some interesting information about titles used in the geospatial industry. Check it out at 4 Days!!

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Virtual Earth MapCruncher

The second day of training is going well so far. I am thinking I should be outta here by three. The benefits of a small class. After today I've only got 2.5 days of work before I am off to the Texas Gulf Coast for Memorial Day with my family. Then it's off to Mexico to visit my girlfriend. I cannot wait to see her! There we plan on visting Chichen Itza and Isla Mujeres. When I return I immediately get on another flight to New Orleans for a site visit for next years SCAUG conference. It should be an action packed week and a half.

"Have you ever looked at satellite photos of a building in Virtual Earth -- and wished you could zoom right in and see its floorplan? Have you ever used VE to plan a trip across town -- and wanted to seamlessly switch from its road maps to maps of bicycle trails, bus routes, or carpool lanes? Have you ever wanted to create and publish your own map mashups -- and wished you had a tool to make it easy to integrate a map you care about into Virtual Earth? Microsoft Research has made this a reality! The Virtual Earth API allows web developers to supplement Virtual Earth's maps with pushpins and lines. MapCruncher brings mashups to a whole new level by allowing developers to import entire maps to supplement the existing road and aerial imagery with detailed, application-specific information. The possibilities are endless: bicycle maps, transit maps, national park maps, university maps, antique city maps, or whatever scale maps you personally find interesting." Check it out at 5 Days!!!

Monday, May 22, 2006

Imagery for the Nation

Good afternoon! I've been negelcting the blog lately. Sorry to those that read daily. Today, I've been teaching an Intro to ArcGIS class. It has gone rather quickly because the group is so small. Day two is tomorrow and should go just as fast.

"The National States Geographic Information Council (NSGIC) is working with the National Digital Orthophoto Program Committee (NDOP) and the Federal Geographic Data Committee
(FGDC) to create a new nationwide aerial imagery program that will collect and disseminate standardized multi-resolution products on “set” schedules. Local, state, regional, tribal, and federal partners will be able to exercise “buyup” options for enhancements that are required by their organizations. The imagery acquired through this program will remain in the public domain and archived to secure its availability for posterity." If this program makes it, it will be a big help for smaller communities that can't really afford quality imagery. I know we are working with three year old black and white aerials. It would be really nice to have 6" color photos on a four year rotation with an option to buyup if funds are available. Keep your fingers croassed. Learn more at 6 Days!!

Wednesday, May 17, 2006


Howdy! I've got to install ArcGIS on ten computers in the Library this afternoon for a training class next week. Somehow when we held an ESRI live webinar we killed all of the computers in the Library. It had something to do with the player that the live webinar uses. Anyway, our Library IT lady was not too pleased. So, long story short, we have to reinstall all of the software and data. What fun!

I've got a treat today!! Schmap! What's a Schmap? Well, "three years ago..."Wouldn't it be great if travel guides had searchable, customizable, updatable content? What if we could bookmark and custom print only those places of interest to us? What if a guide had maps that could interact dynamically with reviews and pictures for sites and attractions, hotels, restaurants, bars, parks, theatres, galleries, museums... and came with links to even more content and travel resources on the Internet? How about adding virtual tours for a city or even an island destination - tours that could be played, paused and fast-forwarded, just as easily as using a media player? You're a software engineer – you could make something like that..." "Umm, good idea - can't imagine why anybody hasn't done it before! Should be able to knock something up quite easily in a couple of weeks." Three years later...The Schmap Player is now a work in progress beta, while our series of Schmap Guides sees new destinations added every week - all thanks to the support of great content partners, your superb photos and valuable feedback, plus inspiration and perspiration from Schmap team members. Every Schmap Guide comes with dynamic maps, useful links, playable tours, top picks, plus photos and reviews for 100s of sights and attractions, hotels, restaurants, bars, parks, theaters, galleries, museums..." Too cool! I installed the Austin Schamp and I love it! Check it out at 11 Days!!

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

My Wonderful World

Good day! Not alot of news on my end. I've got my Supervisors Network meeting today where we are discussing hiring practices. That should be a fun one. You may also notice my new "Kinky" banner at the top of the page. This is for Kinky Friedman that has made the ballot here in Texas for govenor by getting almost 170,000 petition signatures. Kinky is a singer/songwriter as well as a mystery novelist. He is also the first Jew to ever make the Grand Ole Opry. Since Kinky has no party affiliation his motto is, "My only special interest is the people of Texas".

"Geography is more than places on a map. It's global connections and incredible creatures. It's people and cultures, economics and politics. And it's essential to understanding our interconnected world. But sadly, our kids aren't getting enough of it. A new National Geographic-Roper survey shows half of young Americans can't locate world powers like Japan and India. Twenty percent can't even find the Pacific Ocean. (More about the survey.) Without geography, our children aren't ready for the world. That's why we started My Wonderful World. It's a National Geographic-led campaign—backed by a coalition of major national partners—to expand geographic learning in school, at home, and in the community. We want to give our kids the power of global knowledge." Check it out at 12 Days!!

Monday, May 15, 2006

Anything Geospatial

Good morning! Another week's going to be another busy one. I spent most of my weekend working (and sleeping, cleaning, riding my bike and consuming adult beverages). I'm tired of the budget!! Anyway, I spoke with my girlfriend and the fires continue to burn in the Yucatan. She is fine, but she can't do any field research because of the smoke (it makes her sick). I sure hope this will clear up so she can get the data she needs adn come home. I would hate for her to have to work on another thesis.

Anything Geospatial is the blog of Glenn Letham from the great "Glenn is the founder & Managing Editor, of, & SymbianOne. Having more than 15 years of experience with Geospatial technologies & GIS, Glenn is well known as the founder and publisher of the first popular daily GIS/geospatial news publication. Glenn is Internationally recognized as a leading media analyst for geospatial & mobile technologies and is well connected throughout the industry. He has worked as a GIS consultant on numerous projects, authored many articles and publications which can be found in numerous popular GIS and related industry online and print publications." If you haven't taken a look at his blog please do so. His blog and are both resources I use to find content for my blog. You can also get a daily email from Anything Geospatial (similar to the one found on the bottom right of my page). You can also get the daily newsletter from Check it out at 13 Days!

Friday, May 12, 2006

Good Morning! It looks like the fires in the Yucatan have died down a bit. Whew! Finally. I've got a meeting this morning with a division to explain why they need GIS and more importantly why they need to pay into my budget. Ahhh budget time, the fun never stops!!

" tells you how much homes have sold for in your area by integrating Home Price Sales with Google Maps, thus the term Home Price Maps. They don't do estimates nor "market assessed values". They tell you how much homes have sold for in your area by integrating data found in municipal databases with Google Maps. It all got started sometime during 2005 founders Abe and Jess noticed that the Google Maps technology was getting real hot and that people were bringing data to the masses using the Google Maps technology. The two sites that really got them thinking were which integrates crime data with Google Maps, and which integrates rental listings and sales with the Google Maps API.
After watching numerous family members buy and sell homes, and try and figure out what those homes were worth, the idea struck us: Why not help people by giving them access to Home Price sales so that they know how much homes in that same zipcode or even block sold for. Better yet, why not give the consumer the power of knowing how much homes sold for when thinking about making a purchase themselves? Finally, now that we see that the former founders of Expedia have entered the market and started up they know they are onto something good AND as Lou Holtz once said "How you respond to the challenge in the second half will determine what you become after the game, whether you are a winner or a loser"." Check it out at 16 Days!!

Thursday, May 11, 2006


Hola! I just got off the phone with my girlfriend and they are all well. Although, the fires are still all around them. She thinks she took in a little too much smoke yesterday and is going to take it easy today. We are still not sure what this does to her research. We are going to wait a few days to see if all the birds left the area. If they did, she will probably be coming home soon. That's good news/bad news. Good she get's to come home and be with me, but bad that she will have to start her research over for the THIRD time. Oh well, we will figure it out!

Here is another pre-Google Earth company. They have a similar product, but no one new about it. I guess it is not what you know, but who knows you. "GeoFusion, Inc. was founded in 2001 and is a self-funded 3D visualization technology company dedicated to putting the earth on everybody’s desktop. This vision is being implemented through licensing of its GeoMatrix® Toolkit, strategic partner product developments, and custom application and rendering services. Primary markets for GeoFusion are GIS, navigation, government, defense, gaming, entertainment, and consumer. Check it out at 17 Days!!

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Gmaps 101 - An Introduction to Google Maps & The Google Maps API (Part 2)

Sorry that I've been ignoring the blog. As I've mentioned in previous posts, my girlfriend is on the Yucatan Peninsula in Mexico working on her thesis research for her Masters (that's what the countdown is for). Anyway, they are having major forest fires there right now and half of the rancho where she is burned yesterday. All of the structures and people are OK, but the forest is not. So, needless to say, I've been a little pre-occupied trying to keep up with that. I found an interested ArcIMS site that uses remote sensing to spot the fire locations. Using the Lat/Long I got for the rancho on Google Earth, I've been able to track the fires in the area. Unfortunately, they don't have access to information like this at the ranch because they don't have interent access. Keep your fingers crossed for all that live in that area.

Today, I'm passing on the second installment of Gmaps 101 - An Introduction to Google Maps & The Google Maps API from the GISUser. The second part takes you into the different tools and features of the Google Maps API. You will learn about the most commonly used classes such as GMap2, GMarker, GLatLng and many others. You will also explore the various map controls that can be placed on a Google Map including panning, zooming, and overview controls. Check it out at 18 Days!!

Monday, May 08, 2006


Good evening! Today was busy as normal. I had a 3.5 hour demo on the transit routing software we are going to buy. That's a tough way to start a Monday morning. The afternoon didn't slow down much from there, phone calls, email, etc. I only hope for some time tomorrow to work!

"GeoTango GlobeView™ delivers a 3D digital earth allowing you to interactively explore the world. Smoothly maneuver from the global to local level while GeoTango GlobeView™ instantly presents you with high quality image and location-based information streamed from anywhere on the internet. Unlike other systems GeoTango GlobeView™ offers a truly open and web services-oriented solution." Check it out at 20 Days!!

Friday, May 05, 2006


Good Evening! What a day. I left home at about 5:15 to go to Dallas for a SCAUG meeting and just returned about an hour ago. Although the meeting was great. We have started to finalize our plans for our big conference in New Orleans. It is going to be a great event. Now, I'm going to bed.

"GlobalPetFinder introduces the latest in proven gps and 2-way wireless technology to help you keep track of your beloved pet. Members can build a virtual fence of ANY size within which your pet can freely roam simply by logging into the command center and following the instructions for ‘create a fence’. The command center will prompt you to enter a name , address and size for your fence. That’s it! Your fence is automatically downloaded to the memory of your globalpetfinder. Up to 5 fence locations can be stored at once. If your pet wanders outside the boundary you have determined, you will be alerted immediately and sent the continuously updated location of your pet, to the 2-way wireless device of your choice; cell phone, pda, computer ,etc. In ‘walk mode’ owners can walk and travel with their pet outside of fenced areas undisturbed. Should you and your pet become separated, tracking may be initialized remotely simply by dialing F-O-U-N-D from your cell phone or PDA." Check it out at 23 Days!

Thursday, May 04, 2006

Skyline TerraExplorer

Good morning! The meeting yesterday concerning all the software used at the City was exhausting. I only took five pages of notes! Although, it should prove extremely beneficial as we get to the integration phase of our enterprise GIS implementation. Today we have another GIS Day planning committee meeting. We are going to tour the facility where the event will take place. I failed to mention that yesterday some of the guys and myself took off to Shreveport after work to loose some hard earned money in the casino. It was a good time, but costly :)

Another Google Earth like product is available. Although I'm not sure which was first. "TerraExplorer opens the door to the digital planet. With Skyline's TerraExplorer, users can freely navigate over high resolution 3D world environments created with Skyline's Terra products. TerraExplorer is able to display highly realistic detailed scenes, from any angle or point of view, and allows extremely close views of an area with excellent clarity. In addition, all the terrain overlay information. The user can also activate "Hot Links" placed on the terrain to automatically access specific Web Sites, search a database or invoke an external PC application. TerraExplorer's Internet capability allows users access to 3D terrain visualizations from around the globe, thus creating business opportunities for a variety of commercial and professional uses. The ease-of-use and flexibility of TerraExplorer make it suitable for applications such as live sporting events, real estate, travel and tourism, education, entertainment, commercial planning and tracking, as well as military, aviation and simulation." Check it out at 24 Days!

Wednesday, May 03, 2006


Good morning! I've got training this morning on some new Emergency Operations Center software that our regional council of government purchased. The EOC is one place in our City that GIS has been fully recognized as being beneficial. They love us there! I also have a meeting this afternoon to discuss all the different software that is used in the City and how it can be useful to others. It should be interesting!

"Tagzania is about tags and places. If you register and log in, you can add places, points, to create and document your maps. When you add a point, you may tag it with keywords. That way, Tagzania is not only a place to build and keep your own maps, shared territories are created as well." Check it out at 25 Days!

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

Google Sketchup

Another day down! Although I had some success today! We have been working on a way for another entity in our area to be able to edit data in our geodatabase so that we can share one for the entire county. It looks like Terminal Services is going to work for us. For those that don't know, basically you VPN in to a server and use ArcMap on that server. That way all that is sent across the pipe is screenshots. This was a succerss, but now we have to figure out things like printing and replicating the data onto their server for backup. If anyone has experience I would love to hear about it. We also had a conference call with the company that provides our permitting software. They want $6K to write a script that uploads data into an existing Access table!!! Wow! Looks like the GIS Division will be writing that script.

Sketchup is FREE! Sketchup wasn't very expensive before Google announced this, but this is great. Although, a professional version is available for the hefty users. "Google SketchUp (free) is an easy-to-learn 3D modeling program whose few simple tools enable you to create 3D models of houses, sheds, decks, home additions, woodworking projects – even space ships. You can add details, textures and glass to your models, design with dimensional accuracy, and place your finished models in Google Earth, share them with others by posting them to the 3D Warehouse, or print hard copies. Google SketchUp (free) is a great way to discover if 3D modeling is right for you." Check it out at 26 Days!

Monday, May 01, 2006

SINTEF Virtual Globe

Good evening! The budget is almost complete. I think I asked for everything I could and still got it $100, 000 less than last year. That's what happens when you are working on a major project and it is the last funding year. Now I just need to start working on all the other paperwork that goes with the budget. What fun!

The SINTEF 3D globe viewer with elevations and satellite images is another Geographic Exploration System. "You can even configure the Virtual Globe to use your own data. Try the Viewpoints page to start the Globe and jump directly to exciting viewpoints! The program is developed by Rune Aasgaard at SINTEF Applied Mathematics. In short this is a client-server application for displaying very large (=global scale) terrain models. The terrain database is stored on a server, and the client program only fetches the data required for generating an image on your screen with the wanted resolution. As you moves around the program loads and throws out data as needed. The program requires a Java v1.4 or v1.5 (5.0) runtime environment (select a JRE for your system)." Check it out at 27 Days!

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