Monday, July 31, 2006

HostGIS Linux

Good morning! I need a weekend from my weekend. We were in Dallas this weekend visiting the girlfriends sister. We stayed up a bit too late both Friday and Saturday night. We also had basically every Asian food possible. Dim-Sum (Chinese if you didn't know), Phillipino, Korean and Japanese. Yummm! This afternoon at work we will proceed with our GIS Day plans and have a meeting to discuss were we are. Have a good day!

"HostGIS Linux is a Linux/GNU distribution specifically made for handling GIS information. HostGIS Linux saves hours or days of installing MapServer and its components, and will have you serving GIS maps in minutes. It includes: All the usual amenities of a Linux distribution (compilers, Perl, etc.); Apache webserver, with PHP; MapServer, and MapScript for PHP, Perl, and Python; PDFlib, with support built in to PHP, Perl, Python, and MapServer; PostGIS-enabled Postgres database server; MapServer Web Client (MWC) to display great interactive maps without designing any HTML or JavaScript; Example maps already installed: shapefiles, ECW raster, PostGIS, MyGIS, WMS server and client, and Flash output; Webmin, phpMyAdmin, and phpPgAdmin for easy system administration." I'm not a Linux user, but it sounds like a good deal to me. Check it out at

Friday, July 28, 2006


Happy Friday! I had an excellent meeting yesterday to plan a two day conference here in East Texas. It should be an great event, so stayed tuned for more details. Today, I've got to get over to our library to make sure the computers are ready for my Intro to ArcGIS class next week. This weekend the girlfriend and I are off to the Dallas area to visit family. We will most definitely take in some sushi and some cold beverages. Have a great weekend!

"Space-Time Analysis of Regional Systems (STARS) is an open source package designed for the analysis of areal data measured over time. STARS brings together a number of recently developed methods of space-time analysis into a user-friendly graphical environment offering an array of dynamically linked graphical views. It is intended to be used as an exploratory data analysis tool. STARS can also be used from the command line to support more flexible and specialized types of analyses by advanced users. As such STARS should appeal to a wide array of users. Written entirely in Python, STARS is crossplatform and easy to install (and expand). " Check it out at

Thursday, July 27, 2006


Good day! I've got to go to Stephen F. Austin State University this morning for a meeting to discuss having a one day GIS conference for the East Texas GIS & GPS User Group. We are looking at some time in early November. It should be a good event. Also, if you haven't planned your agenda for the ESRI UC your time is running out. You can plan everything out and save it on the ESRI site. Don't forget to attend your user group meeting on Tuesday evening. I know SCAUG has some big things planned.

GMapEZ helps you put a Google map on your web page? "With GMapEZ there's no JavaScript to write and nothing to download". It's pretty cool because it walks you through each piece of the Google API. Everything from the intial map to adding markers to info windows. Check it out at

Wednesday, July 26, 2006


Good morning! I'm at the office early getting ready for a couple of meetings this morning. We have a budget review meeting where our City Manager practices his presentation to our City Council. We usually find out about raises at this one. Keep your fingers crossed for us poor City employees. Afterwards, I have a meeting with our economic development corporation to discuss a joint ArcIMS site. My hopes are not too high on this one. They seem to be leaning towards doing their own thing, which may be a bad idea, since no one there has any GIS experience. On the home front, I will be dominating folks on the tennis court again tonight. Bring it suckerz!

"DIVA-GIS is a free mapping program that can be used for many different purposes. It is particularly useful for mapping and analyzing biodiversity data, such as the distribution of species, or other 'point-distributions'. With DIVA-GIS you can: Make maps of the world or of a very small place, integrating, for example, state boundaries, rivers, a satellite image, and the locations of sites where an animal species was observed; Make grid maps of the distribution of biological diversity, to identify “hotspots” and areas that have complementary levels of diversity; Map and query climate data; Predict species distributions using the BIOCLIM or DOMAIN models; Create ESRI shapefiles; import and export grid data; and much more!
You can also download AVID-GIS (version 0.3), the command line version of DIVA-GIS or have a look at a simple implementation of Google Maps; expect more on-line DIVA soon..." Check it out at

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

((Echo)) MyPlace

Good evening! I've been trying to get a post out all day! Meetings, meetings and more meetings is the story right now. We have been trying to get the 911 addressing squared away since we took it over a few weeks ago. What fun! Have a good night!

"((Echo))MyPlace™ lets you share and find location-based information about your neighborhood and connect directly with friends and neighbors. You can create your own digital real estate and travel guides, ads, lost and found notes, event flyers, surveying tools and more. You can also add your pictures and link them to your places – and then instantly share them with CarbonCloud. Also, form your own CarbonCloud neighborhood to spread your message. Once your neighborhood is online it connects people who want to get connected, and grows as notes and pictures are shared from one person to another - the more people share, the more your message spreads. Build your network - CarbonCloud neighborhoods complement city WiFi projects – you can even create your own CarbonCloud neighborhoods and establish a local digital community in a meeting room, office site, household or the next door neighbors.
Grow your business - Businesses can communicate directly with customers and provide them with the information they need about the latest events, products and services." Check it out at

Monday, July 24, 2006

Conservation Geoportal

Happy Monday! I had a great weekend. After my marathon trip to San Antonio for the SCAUG board meeting (which was very productive), we went to Shreveport on Saturday afternoon. We spent the day losing money in the casino, shopping and enjoying drinks with friends. I hope yours was as enjoyable.

"The Conservation Geoportal is a collaborative effort by and for the conservation community to facilitate the discovery and publishing of geographic information systems (GIS) data and maps, to support conservation decisionmaking and education. It is primarily a data catalog, intended to provide a comprehensive listing of GIS data sets and map services relevant to biodiversity conservation. The Conservation Geoportal does not actually store maps and data, but rather the descriptions and links to those resources, known as "metadata." It includes the following capabilities: Search for data and maps by keyword, category, geography, or time period; Save your search queries for future use; Use the built-in Map Viewer to display, manipulate, and combine live map services; Create, save, and email custom maps using data from various map services; Publish metadata for your maps and data so others can find them. The Conservation Geoportal is designed to make it quick and easy for conservation practitioners to find, and if possible, preview and download GIS data and maps. Similarly, it is easy for conservation data publishers to post metadata describing the data and maps they want to share, how to access them, and under what terms. This is a free tool for all conservation practitioners and supporters to use and contribute content. We hope that it will minimize the proliferation of geospatial data catalogs and reduce duplication of effort in building and maintaining metadata catalogs and map viewers." Check it out at

Thursday, July 20, 2006

National Geographic World Music

Good day! I'm working feverishly to get some things out of the way before I leave for Austin this afternoon. I'm going to see the family tonight and then it's off to San Antonio in the morning for a South Central Arc User Group board meeting. We have a full agenda so it will be a long day, especially since I'm driving back to Longview tomorrow night. I'm not sure if I will have internet access so you may not see a post tomorrow. Have a good day and a good weekend!

"World music is Israeli reggae and Japanese klezmer. It's rock and roll from the Sahara and flamenco with a hip-hop breakbeat; it's digital bossa nova and Irish sean nos with an African pulse. It's downhome country music from someone else's country and smooth, urban R&B from the mega-cities of the Southern Hemisphere. It's cowboy music from Venezuela and Persian classical music from L.A. It's music that transcends borders. In our interconnected world a great song can come out of anywhere: crossing oceans and continents, and leveling barriers of race, religion, nationality, class and even language. Worldwide hits can emerge as easily from Lagos or New Delhi as London or New York. This is the essence of what's become known as world music: it's the soundtrack of globalization, and the sound of the world we live in today. Music transcends categories, too, and there's no fixed definition for world music. It's a slippery term - as changeable and varied as the music it attempts to describe. To some, world music is field recordings and ethnographic music, for others it's simply pop music from somewhere else. Many consider world music a marketing concept and a catchall for the various international sounds that aren't easily categorized; while many more consider it an alternative to the mainstream. All of these definitions are correct: World music contains multitudes. World music is the sound of human genius and creativity, constantly renewing and reinventing itself as old sounds mutate into new and young talent preserves and reinvigorates tradition. World music is the sound of humanity singing to itself. It's the natural sound our planet makes when you tune in to the right frequency. And it's quite possibly the sound of your next favorite song." Check it out at

Wednesday, July 19, 2006


Hola! Hump day begins ...... no meetings this morning, but I have three this afternoon. They range from discussing sex offenders, installing software and looking at work order management software. Hopefully, I can get caught up on some work this morning. Have a great day!

"SERVIR is a regional visualization and monitoring system for Mesoamerica that integrates satellite and other geospatial data for improved scientific knowledge and decision making by managers, researchers, students, and the general public. SERVIR addresses the nine societal benefit areas of the Global Earth Observation System of Systems (GEOSS): disasters, ecosystems, biodiversity, weather, water, climate, oceans, health, agriculture, and energy. For example, SERVIR can be used to monitor and forecast ecological changes and severe events such as forest fires, red tides, and tropical storms. SERVIR headquarters are located at the Water Center for the Humid Tropics of Latin America and the Caribbean (CATHALAC) in the Republic of Panama. A test bed and rapid prototyping SERVIR facility is managed by the NASA Marshall Space Flight Center at the National Space Science and Technology Center in Huntsville, Alabama." Check it out at

Tuesday, July 18, 2006


Howdy! As you can see I didn't post at a reasonable time again. We had a user committee meeting this morning that went well. We had a great presentation exposing our users to different types of analysis. Then it was off to the supervisors network where we discussed performance reviews. Yawn! In the afternoon I met with several water utility managers to discuss ways that GIS can help them in their jobs. All in all it was productive and tiring. I'll sleep well tonight.

"GeoServer is an Open Source server that connects your information to the Geospatial Web. With GeoServer you can publish and edit data using open standards. Your information is made available in a large variety of formats as maps/images or actual geospatial data. GeoServer's transactional capabilities offer robust support for shared editing. GeoServer's focus is ease of use and support for standards, in order to serve as 'glue' for the geospatial web, connecting from legacy databases to many diverse clients. GeoServer supports WFS-T and WMS open protocols from the OGC to produce JPEG, PNG, SVG, KML/KMZ, GML, PDF, Shapefiles and more. Geoserver is built on Geotools, the same Java toolkit that udig uses. GeoServer is a truly open community, with a well documented and modular codebase, so don't hesitate to get involved." Check it out at

Monday, July 17, 2006

Active Volcanoes

Good evening! I just don't have enough time lately. I only had three meetings, but I felt like I wasn't in my office at all and I didn't even take a lunch. My meeting this morning was with our appraisal district and it looks like we will be sharing a single geodatabase for all of our data and creating a ArcIMS site for both entities. That's exciting news!! This afternoon we met with our Planning department and we are officially taking over 911 addressing as of this afternoon. More exciting news (and a little scary)! On the personal side of life we had an excellent weekend. We visited the balloon race on Friday night and it was an amazing experience. Look for a couple pics on Frappr soon. We also had time to catch a movie, go for a swim, and had a very hot bike ride. Peace!

Active Volcanoes (spelled wrong on the site) is a Google mashup that shows "volcano activity Reports available from the Smithsonian Institute (USGS Weekly Volcanic Activity Report)and the VOLCANO mailing list. Database and additional information from:Smithsonian Institution, Global Volcanism Program." Check it out at

Friday, July 14, 2006


No meetings today, but I couldn't even find time to update the blog!! We have many projects going on and it's been a long day. Anyway, enough crying. The girlfriend and I are off to the Great Texas Balloon Race here in Longview. That is the largest hot air balloon event in Texas and it should be a good time. When it gets dark tonight they do what they call the balloon glow which is supposed to be beautiful. Have a great weekend!!!

"SAGA – System for Automated Geoscientific Analyses- is a hybrid GIS software. The first objective of SAGA is to give (geo-)scientists an effective but easy learnable platform for the implementation of geoscientific methods, which is achieved by SAGA's unique Application Programming Interface (API). The second is to make these methods accessible in a user friendly way. This is mainly done by the Graphical User Interface (GUI). Together this results in SAGA's true strength: a fast growing set of geoscientifc methods, bundled in exchangeable Module Libraries.The figure shows SAGA's system architecture. SAGA is written in the widespread and powerful C++ programming language and follows an object oriented approach. Moreover it relies on the GNU Public License, which means it is an open source project. All this designates SAGA to be a first choice tool for everybody who works in the field of geosciences, in particular for those who want transparent state of the art methods." Check it out at

Thursday, July 13, 2006

The Tour de France in 3D

Good morning! Not much news again today. We continue to press forward on our field verification of addresses and addressing standards. I'm also working on scheduling another Introduction to ArcGIS I course. Other than that it is business as usual. Have a great day!

I'm excited about todays post because if you have taken a look at my profile I enjoy riding the bike on occasion. Although, the Tour is not too exciting now that Lance is not destroying the other rider. "Tour de France and Google team up to offer you the full 3D route of the Tour de France in Google Earth. You will no longer miss anything: reliefs, stage cities, results, departures or arrival lines… Rediscover the Tour with Google Earth. Never miss a stageSave the Tour de France Route in your “favorites” and enjoy an automatic update of course information." Check it out at

Wednesday, July 12, 2006


Howdy! Another day in paradise begins. I've got a lunch meeting that is sponsored by our economic development corporation that focuses on economic development in the community. It's called the community roundtable and we go around the room and discuss items that we are working on that effect economic development. Anyway, I can't beleive I only have one meeting. Sweeet!!!

"Geotagthings is a simple way to assign any web resource — anything with a URL - a location in the normal, human physical world. Why would anyone want to assign a geographic location to a web page? The simple reason is that people are already doing various projects that fell within the scope of making web data also geographic data and we felt that there was a need for a low-impact, easy to use tool to help in our own little way. The more involved reason is that the Internet and other networks are very rapidly spilling out into the physical world. Whether you call it pervasive networks, ubiquitous computing or the geospatial web, one can easily anticipate that the networks need geographic semantics. In the physical world, location means more than a uniform resource locators (URLs). In the physical world, the data that is sluicing around also needs to know where it is according to an additional set of geographic information, such as latitude/longitude, or relative location to canonical landmarks, or simply the town or city in which that previously non- geotagged data has relevance. We feel that Geotagthings is an important component of the larger toolkit of collaborative mapping projects. It provides a bottom-up resource for networked public contributions to mapping the web and making web resources "findable" and relevant to activities in the physical world. We also felt the need for an additional, lightweight, open tagging mechanic for adding geographic semantics to things to go along with all of the other wonderful geo and location-based networking services already out there. Geotagthings is just one more arrow in the quiver." Unfortunately, you can only use geotagthings if you use Mac (OS X) - Camino, all versions or Firefox, all versions; On the PC - Firefox, all versions (not extensively tested, though). This knocks me out of the game so I couldn't really get a feel for it. Check it out at

Tuesday, July 11, 2006


Good day! Not much new for today. No meetings, which is a minor miracle. We are still fighting the Chechem at home. We also got our fill on some decent sushi last night. The girlfriend hasn't had any sushi in three months and needed some bad. It's nice not having many meetings and no plans for the week. I should try this more often.

BoatingSF has a cool mashup that shows the recent positions of boats in the San Francisco Bay area. "The ship tracks shown on our San Francisco Bay ship tracking page come from a system called AIS (Automatic Identification System). Starting in 2002, all new commercial ships over 300 gross tons, and all new passenger vessels, are required to include AIS transponders. The AIS system transmits information encoded on two VHF channels, at 161.975 MHz 162.025 MHz. Transmissions use 9600 bit per second GMSK FM modulation and HDLC packet protocols. Each ship transmits during one of 2,250 time slots, so all ships can share the two channels. The two channels provide redundancy and some level of protection from interference. Transmission range is basically line-of-sight, like VHF voice traffic. Typical range is 20 nautical miles. The AIS transponder receives information from the ship's other navigational instruments. Position, course, and speed over ground information is typically provided by a GPS receiver. The ship's officers must enter information such as ship name, ship type, ship dimensions, and estimated time of arrival. This information is not always entered correctly and is sometimes out of date, which accounts for the peculiar information occasionally seen in the ship information panel on our ship tracking page. Ships that are moored or at anchor are required to transmit their position information at least every 3 minutes. Ships moving at up to 14 kts must transmit their position every seconds; at up to 23 kts, every 6 seconds; and at faster speeds, every 2 seconds. In addition, static information (such as the ship's name, destination, and estimated time of arrival) is transmitted separately every 6 minutes.'s San Francisco Bay ship tracking page displays information received from a SR161 receiver, supplied by Milltech Marine. The receiver is located in the Berkeley Hills. It connects to a serial device server, which converts the RS-232 signal to Ethernet and acts as a TCP/IP server. Our Web server maintains a TCP/IP socket connection to the serial device server and processes the data stream. Custom PHP software on our Web server decodes the messages and stores the AIS reports in a MySQL database. Every five minutes, software running on the Web server analyzes the last hour of AIS reports and creates an XML file that summarizes these reports. When you load our San Francisco Bay ship tracking page, a Flash program reads this XML file from the server and displays the animated ship positions. To reduce the amount of data that must be sent, the server provides position reports on a one-minute interval, and the Flash program interpolates from these positions." Too cool!!!!!! They make it sound so simple. Check it out at

Monday, July 10, 2006


Happy Monday! I had an excellent weekend with the girlfriend back home. Unfortunately, she is back to teaching summer school labs today. Not much rest! Also, if you ever go trouncing through the jungle in the Yucatan beware of the Chechem tree (aka Mayan Jungle Rot). It's like Poison Ivy on steroids and it hurts. We have tried numerous cures for the girlfriend throughout the weekend from Calamine lotion, antibitoic cream, swimming pool chlorine and salt paste. We are thinking the salt paste and chlorine is helping. Wish us luck with that!! On a work related note, I have a meeting this morning with the Citizens on Patrol (aka COPs). We want them to help with our field verification of addresses. The idea is to field verify every address in the City. Have any of you taken on such an endeavor? If so, what are the do's and don'ts? Have a good one!!

"Globe4D is a four dimensional direct manipulation device for globe viewing. ConceptGlobe4D is an interactive installation that consists of a physical sphere whereupon three dimensional images are projected. The projection can be controlled by the user. Unlike conventional globes, Globe4D shows dynamic images which can be viewed from all angles. This is a new way of displaying and interacting with geographical data over time. The user can interact with the globe in two ways. First: rotation of the sphere itself. Second: turning a ring around the sphere. By rotating the sphere the projected image rotates along with the input movement. Turning the ring controls time as the 4th dimension of the globe. In our installation the user experiences a time-shift of more than 750.000.000 years. You can perfectly see the continental drift during this time-travel! Of course Globe4D limitation boundaries are not fixed to the earth alone. Live weather images and daylight changes can be projected on the globe as well as climate changes, earthquakes and hurricanes. You can even think of going to the middle of the earth by zooming in on its crust peeling of the earth as if it is an onion. Of course Globe4D is not limited to the earth alone. The moon, the sun, mars and any other spherical object can be projected as well. The Globe4D concept consists of three parts: the Hardware, the Software and the Data Model. Check it out more at

Friday, July 07, 2006


Happy Friday! Today is the big day when my girlfriend returns from three months in Mexico. I'm leaving early from work at three to go to Dallas and bring her home. We have a big weekend planned of doing absolutely nothing. It will be good for both of us. On a GIS related note I caught this story from MySpace (beleive it or not). It looks like ESRI has some legal issues going on and has been subpoenaed in a probe of a lobbying firm. Read more at Have a great weekend!!!

"MapGameDay is the place for football fans to create online sharable maps of their favorite college football stadium. Create Maps to your secret tailgate locations, your seats, or the aftergame party." As the creators put it, "MapGameDay has been the combination of several things that we really like- namely not getting lost at College Football Games. A game from last year is a perfect example. The game was in the afternoon, and I was meeting friends from out of town. The equation: Campus they were not familiar with +Poor cell phone reception +Tons of people wearing the same color shirt=2 extra miles of walking on a muggy September day
Determined not to let this happen to anyone again, we started our mission of not letting football fans down, especially when you travel to opponents stadiums. After quickly determining that our spare change would not be enough to build out decent cell towers across the country, and that nasty little incident with Kip's "time travel" machine, we decided why not a map. We hope you enjoy our little creation, and will tell lots of people." Check it out at Today is the Day!

Thursday, July 06, 2006

Stick It To Em'

Hola! It's already been a busy one. I've already been out to an elevated water storage tank to help point an antenna at another tank using GPS. Now, I only have three more meetings today. Whew!! Holiday weeks are horrible because everyone tries to cram a week of work into three days. Tomorrow is the big day when my girlfriend returns! Have a great one!

Here is a cool article from Popular Science. "The StarChase system, which the Los Angeles Police Department will test this fall, consists of a laser-guided launcher and a miniaturized GPS tag complete with a radio transmitter and a blob of gummy adhesive. Once stuck to its target, the tag begins transmitting coordinates to a server through an encrypted cellular network. Computers superimpose the GPS data over a map that allows dispatchers to track the vehicle’s every move." What a great idea! No more car chases. Let the guy think he has gotten away and bust him while he is in line at the Taco Bell. Beautiful! Check it out at
. 0 Days!!

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

Military Deaths in Iraq, Afghanistan

Well, we are back at it after the Holiday! I hope everyone enjoyed their time off. I've got a meeting today about the creation of our external ArcIMS site. We are trying to decide if it will be better to have our consultant host it or to host it ourselves. Any thoughts? Have a good one!

Here is an interesting one that the GISuser mentioned. This mashup developed by a staff writer at the Palm Beach Post maps deaths of military personnel in Iraq and Afghanistan. Individual records and information are provided including the name of the soldier and military operation that the casualty resulted from. "These maps are based on casualty information from the U.S. Department of Defense. The map is a static snapshot of military deaths as of Sunday, June 25. It includes information on 2,797 service members killed in Iraq and Afghanistan. Information on 18 additional service members from other countries and U.S. territories are not reflected in the maps." This really puts things in perspective. Hopefully, some of these names are not from your hometown. Check it out at
. 1 Day!!

Tuesday, July 04, 2006


Happy 4th of July for those of you from the U.S.! I enjoyed some fireworks at a local lake last night with some friends. It's awesome to watch fireworks over the water because of the reflection they create. I'm going to a cookout this afternoon at a co-workers house. Then it is back to the grind tomorrow. Have a good one!

I've got a treat today!! Quickmaps lets you "draw pictures and label things on a google map using simple clicks and drags. Easily move the map to anywhere in the world. Quikmaps is perfect for: drawing a map to your house, sketching out a cycling or hiking route, or telling everyone where you saw the grizzly bear. When you're done...Blog it!; Email it!; Change it! Quikmaps hosts your maps, so you can come back and edit them whenever you want. After you save your changes, your maps will update themselves. You can even Google Earth it!" Check it out at 2 Days!!

Monday, July 03, 2006

If the Earth Were a Sandwich

Happy Monday! The week has finally arrived that my girlfriend returns to the country and civilization. She arrives Friday evening and we have a fun filled weekend planned of doing absolutely nothing. With the Holiday this week it should move along relatively quickly. I'm going to enjoy some fireworks tonight and possibly a cookout tomorrow. I will do my best to post tomorrow (even on the holiday, what dedication!).

Here's a fun one! If the Earth Were a Sandwich challenges you to make the Earth into a sandwich. It states, "Never before have two slices of bread been simultaneously placed on the ground directly opposite each other on the globe, this making an EARTH SANDWICH. The fact that the Earth has never been a sandwich is probably why things are so screwed up. The first team to successfully document and prove that they have made an Earth sandwich will get a Leauge of Awesomeness certificate and.........something else." So, what does any of this have to do with mapping or GIS? They have a nice Google mashup that shows the location of folks bread around the World. They also have a tool that shows you the exact opposite spot from your location on the Earth. Check out one of my pics on my slideshow at the bottom of the page. Unfortunately, my half of the sandwich falls in the middle of the Indian ocean and my pooch Bailey consumed it. Check it out at 3 Days!!

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