Tag Archives: open data

Handy Maps

Bloggage update:  With the European elections coming up, I canvass my neighbourhood for my French party. This is a classic traveling salesman problem: where are my compatriots and how can I best reach them? The electoral list I received  is confidential, so I carry around on my smartphone to canvass a map showing local compatriots in my loaded on arcgis but only seen from my login. 

In order to share the same, I strip the file I geocoded in arcgis of non-geo identifiers, and repost the data with OS Vectormap TL for the street network. Et voila! DIY maps are as easy as... 
  1. load a spreadsheet to geocode quickly&easily on arcgis
  2. read it on my smartphone to help me canvass my neighbourhood
  3. clean it and strip it of any secure info to share publicly 
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Esri Launches ‘ArcGIS Open Data’ in Beta

Last Thursday Esri announced the launch of the 'ArcGIS Open Data' initiative in beta. Having this major player enhancing access, in their own way, to open geospatial data can only help.

From their announcement: "Starting today any ArcGIS Online organization can enable open data, specify open data groups and create and publicize their open data through a simple, hosted and best practices web application. [...] For you Data Providers, you can participate in open data in a few ways. Foremost you can specify open data groups and items in your organization. By doing so, you indicate to the community that this data is open to be shared, downloaded, and reused in other open data sites and applications. You don’t need to actually host your own site for your data to be valuable to others. [...] On the other side, Data Consumers such as citizens, businesses and developers can begin using their local open data sites to quickly access and download data in a variety of common formats: KML, Spreadsheet (CSV), Shapefile, GeoJSON and GeoServices. As the US Open Data Institute recently noted suggested the impact to opening government data if software had ‘Export as JSON’ by default. That’s what you now have. Users can also subscribe to the RSS feed of updates and comments about any dataset in order to keep up with new releases or relevant supporting information."

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FOSS4G-Europe Welcoming Contributions

Independent software developers, scientists, industry experts, and agency representatives will come to meet at the FOSS4-Europe conference held in Bremen, Germany from July 15 to 17. Contributions can now be submitted on the conference website until April 15.

Under this year’s motto “Independent Innovation for INSPIRE, Big Data and citizen participation” the conference series FOSS4G-Europe (Free and Open Source Software for Geospatial - Europe) is uniting the GIS community from a broad spectrum of fields like geodesy, geo information, land management, and remote sensing. Industry and public authorities are expressly invited as they increasingly realize value and economic potential of free and open source products.

Several additional events make the FOSS4G-Europe in Bremen a unique event. A public viewing of the soccer World Championship final will kick off a week packed with events. The week will open with a workshop “Big Geo Data & INSPIRE” especially targeted at public authorities. INSPIRE Annex II and III will be discussed in relation to the pertaining standards of the Open Geospatial Consortium. Canadian Jeff McKenna, President of the OSGEO Foundation, will open the event with his keynote talk. As a charter member McKenna has got involved with spreading and usage of open-source software for geo information systems for many years. In a plenary, the winners of the international academic NASA World Wind Challenge Europe programming contest will be announced and honored at the conference.

Being in the tradition of the worldwide FOSS4G conference series, this event will bring together open-source experts and enthusiasts from all over Europe and beyond creating a unique, visionary atmosphere.

Conference Dates:

General presentations and workshops:

  • Abstract submission: apr-15
  • Review notification: apr-30
  • Conference: jul-13

Scientific Track:

  • Abstract submission: apr-15
  • Full paper submission: apr-22
  • Review notification: may-15
  • Camera ready version: jun-15
  • Conference: jul-13

Early bird registration deadline: may-22


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Batch Geonews: Esri’s FileGDB Reversed-Engineered, China to Rent 5% of Ukraine, U.S. Government Shutdown Map, and much more

The recent geonews in batch mode:

From the open source / open data front:

  • At the beginning of the month, followers of Slashgeo's Twitter feed learned right away about the announcement by the City of Montreal that they'll make their textured 3D buildings publicly available in OGC's CityGML format later this Fall - this was announced at the Geomatics event - I'm waiting for a link to share for a full story (they showed impressive fly-troughs), and as far as I'm aware, that's the first major city to provide detailed textured 3D building to the public, is that right?
  • The 20-minutes video of Paul Ramsey's closing session of FOSS4G, on Being an open source citizen, well worth watching
  • Using a drone and open source software to make an image mosaic of mountains
  • Users of the R open source statistics software, mapmap 0.7 released: "Import, plot and analyze bathymetric and topographic" data
  • Here's about using CSS instead of the SLD standard to style layers in GeoServer

From the Esri front:

  • There has been a GDAL/OGR driver for the Esri File Geodatabase since January, but what's new is that the FileGDB format is being reversed-engineered, which opens the door for deeper support than what the API provides
  • Updated, Esri Maps for SharePoint 3.0.1 Released and why not, Esri Maps for Office 2.1.1 Released

From the Google front:

  • Google offers a New Google Maps preview, which includes directions for multiple destinations, your reservations, upcoming events and more
  • This may interest some of you, A Google Earth Exercise for Biblical Geography

In the miscellaneous category:

  • Interesting, James Fee on remaining relevant as a GIS professional
  • Via VerySpatial, I learned about the article named China 'to rent five per cent of Ukraine'
  • We mentioned Semantic Mediawiki since, here's a fresh article named Semantic MediaWiki: A promising platform for the development of web geospatial crowdsourcing applications
  • Can you believe them? NSA Abandoned Project To Track Cell Phone Locations
  • Location tracking is getting more insidious with an accuracy of 10cm through walls without any transmitter, MIT Develops "Kinect of the Future"
  • Yes, you can even do that, Satellite Maps Reveal Who’s to Blame for the Sinking of Venice
  • A reminder, What four things do map projections distort?
  • Locating things matter, The Internet of Things will be a $1.9 Trillion business by
  • With all the NSA / spying / privacy stories, not surprising to hear Germany Announces Rules on Sale of Commercial High Resolution Imagery

In the maps category:

  • A former colleague shared an interesting collection of 40 Maps That Will Help You Make Sense of the World
  • A Map By Nokia Shows All Windows Phones With Language Set To “Chinese” In Asia And Europe
  • A map named Roads of Death, mapping road accident deaths per country
  • For the U.S., a New York Times “Immigration Explorer” Interactive Map
  • In New York? Lower Manhattan Growth Animation (1840-2020)
  • Oh, but you might currently be more interested by the Government Shutdown Map by the Washington Post
  • Still U.S.-related, via APB, BitLy's Media Map
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Batch Geonews: New Google Maps App, 3D Printing in Windows 8.1, GeoServer Enterprise, MapBox Real-time Satellite Imagery, and much more

Here's the geonews in batch mode. Some of them may have deserved their own entry.

On the open source / open data front:

  • OpenLayers 2.13.1 has been released, but arguably more exciting is OpenLayers 3.0 - alpha.2, they're getting closer
  • W3C is Launching the Open Data Directory
  • Introducing GeoServer Enterprise, it's GeoServer with long term support releases and more
  • Here's the FOSS4G-CEE Bucharest, Romania final thoughts
  • Montreal's public transport organization adopted OpenStreetMap for their maps, another example of how mature enough OSM has become
  • Nokia uses the open source CartoDB to show off traffic data
  • Good news, California Supreme Court Says GIS Data are Public Data

On the Esri front:

  • It was the Esri User Conference this week, you can read Geoff's 3D and other themes of this year's conference entry
  • Jack Dangermond explaining How Esri Hit $912 Million in Sales, very interesting, including: "One thing that has made us so successful is that we've never taken outside investment. That means we can concentrate on what our customers want--not what the stockholders or the VCs want. That's a strategic advantage."
  • You'll find a lot lot more on the Esri blog for the International User Conference
  • New imagery for Esri tools, DigitalGlobe and community imagery added to the World Imagery map
  • ArcGIS Online just got more advantageous, Get More with ArcGIS Online – Announcing Subscription Savings

On the Google front:

  • Google announced their new Google Maps app for smartphones and tablets
  • Also over Slashdot, Google Updates Maps, Makes First Stable Chrome Release Using WebKit Fork
  • Rest reassured, the iOS Enhanced Google Maps App with iPad Support 'Coming Soon'
  • Unsurprisingly, there was New Google Earth Imagery – July 8

Geo-related news discussed over Slashdot:

  • Microsoft Reveals Its 3D Printing Strategy For Windows 8.1
  • 3 GLONASS-M GNSS satellites destroyed, Russian Rocket Proton-M Crashes At Launch
  • MapBox is aiming at nothing less than Real Time Imagery via MapBox Satellite Live
  • But that's clearly the beginning, read APB's entry named Real-Time Data is Really Here ... Kind of, Almost
  • Again, City-Sized Ice Shelf Breaks Free Of Antarctica
  • New Zealand ISP Offers "Global Mode" So Users Can Circumvent Geo-Restrictions
  • Something we discussed before, Automated Plate Readers Let Police Collect Millions of Records On Drivers
  • UCSD Lecturer Releases Geotagging Application For "Dangerous Guns and Owners"

In the miscellaneous category:

  • Interesting, O'Reilly shares news about Sifted, a 7-minutes animation set in a cloud points world, geo-geeky
  • A Newly Published Apple Mapping Patent Details Route Feedback System, Real-Time Accident Reporting
  • O'Reilly mentions Cricket, an indoor location system from MIT, but the latest news appear to be from
  • If you're into Minecraft, you'll like Hangouts with James Fee:: Professional Minecraft GIS
  • Here's starting points regarding Cross Platform Development with Bing Maps and PhoneGap
  • In the U.S., Round-the-clock GPS tracking of state worker ‘unreasonable’ (via SL)

In the maps category:

  • A series of maps on Who Serves in the U.S. Military? Mapping Enlisted Troops and Officers
  • Here's Midtown Manhattan Growth Animation (1850-2015) and Toronto Growth Animation (1834-2013) and San Francisco Growth Animation (1877-2015) and Calgary Growth Animation (1892-2016)
  • Now available, a New global ESA Vegetation Map
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The OpenStreetMap Data Report

A week ago MapBox released the excellent and nicely designed OpenStreetMap Data Report. Here's the blog entry about the report. Really worth looking at the report, even if it's just for appreciating its superb presentation.

From the entry: "We've looked back on the project's 10 years in the making, the skyrocket growth to over 1 million users, 21 million miles, and 78 million buildings, and tried for the first time to tell the story of OpenStreetMap as a whole in data. We have traced through OpenStreetMap's 67,629,368 roads and tallied up the incredible sum of 21 million miles - that's 40 years of driving at 60 miles per hour."

Other OSM-related news:

  • The beta version of iD 1.1, tuning OpenStreetMap editing
  • Here's a scientific article named Towards generating highly detailed 3D CityGML models from OpenStreetMap

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OpenStreetMap Launches iD: All-new Easy Map Editor

Two days ago the new open source iD editor we mentioned a few times has been officially launched, here's the official announcement OpenStreetMap launches all-new easy map editor and announces funding appeal.

From the announcement: "The new editor, codenamed ‘iD’, boasts an intuitive interface and clear walk-throughs that make editing much easier for new mappers. By lowering the barrier to contributions, we believe that more people can contribute their local knowledge to the map – the crucial factor that sets OSM apart from closed-source commercial maps. [...] The new iD editor is a pure HTML5 experience, using the cutting-edge D3 visualisation library. Behind the clear design and intuitive interface is a sophisticated back-end that automatically recommends the most popular ‘tagging’ conventions used by the OSM community."

Numerous sources discussed the new iD editor, you'll find more technical details on iD on the MapBox blog, MapBox built iD, including multiple links to media coverage. Slashdot also discussed two stories, OpenStreetMap Launches a New Easy To Use HTML5 Editor and OpenStreetMap Adds Easier Reporting of Map Problems.

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mingle extracts and publishes almost 8 million POIs from OpenStreetMap

by Julius Chrobak,
May 6

mingle made available almost 8 million points of interest from OpenStreetMap through their query API. Developers can use a flexible query language to get the POIs they need into their applications in sub-seconds. All the major OSM tags are included to provided detailed information about the points.

The dataset contains hotels, camps, restaurants, bars, public transportation stops, places for sport or leisure activities and more. It has been extracted from the generic OpenStreetMap structure into a straightforward tabular form. This means developers do not need to figure out what are the relations among various OSM tags in order to retrieve just the points of interest. The company believes this is a huge time saver and will make the OSM data appealing to a larger audience of developers.

About mingle

mingle GmbH is a Swiss IT start up  which helps companies and developers to access variety of large volume Open Data on demand through their flexible query API. mingle takes care of all the mundane data management, adminsitration, and synchronization tasks and allows developers to quickly enriching their applications with the information they need. The API documentation as well as an interactive interface to explore available datasets is available

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OpenWLANMap: Open Database of WLAN Locations

Slashdot discusses a story named OpenWLANMap: Free WLAN-Based GPS Replacement. I don't think we mentioned OpenWLANMap before, but we did mention MAC address mapping. Here's the OpenWLANMap website.

The Slashdot summary: "There are a couple of commercial products which can tell you where you are by the MAC addresses of access points in your neighbourhood. E.g. the iphone uses a system like this. There's now an open offering for this: OpenWLANMap. With this website, you can enter your access point mac address with your GPS location and then others can use that to navigate. There is also an app for your mobile which automatically enters this data, and you can upload data from e.g. Airomap and other wardriving applications."

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Open Source Geonews: OpenStreetMap iD Map Editor Beta 1, EuroGlobalMap, GeoServer Beginner’s Guide, and much more

Here's the recent open source / open data geonews in batch mode.


  • On the iD Map Editor, the new OpenStreetMap editor, reached the Beta 1 state, if you want to see it in action, here's a nice 1-minute video
  • It was mentioned in our press release section, but deserves additional attention, "GeoServer Beginner's Guide is a new book from Packt that teaches the readers to build custom maps using the dynamic real-time geospatial information. With the help of this book, readers will learn sharing of real-time maps quickly" Here's Jody's review of the book
  • Via OR I learned about the release of Titan 0.3 which supports georeferenced data: "Titan is a highly scalable graph database optimized for storing and querying large graphs with billions of vertices and edges distributed across a multi-machine cluster. Titan is a transactional database that can support thousands of concurrent users."
  • Here's about Scribe - A tool to facilitate the creation of Maps with MapServer
  • Via OR, here's the code for WebGL Heatmap "a JavaScript library for high performance heatmap display"
  • An open source Desktop GIS we never mentioned before, VSceneGIS Desktop v0.9.5, which seems to have only Spanish documentation
  • Interested by the desktop GIS uDig? Here's a course on geographic scripting in uDig
  • Amongst other updates, New final version of i3Geo available: i3Geo 4.7 and deegree 3.2.0 webservices released
  • You can't wait? Here's Some cool new features in the upcoming QGIS 2.0
  • And yes, OpenLayers 3 is getting closer to reality, the latest code sprint summary

Open data:

  • Related to OpenStreetMap, the LearnOSM website got a major facelift and there's OSM PLUS - the OpenStreetMap Commercial Users Summit, the first meeting to occur on June 10th in San Francisco... with Garmin being another of the major companies diving into OpenStreetMap
  • Geoff tells us about EuroGlobalMap, a free and open authoritative European geospatial data site
  • The City of Chicago now offers its data on GitHub, most of it being georeferenced: "This is a new experiment, where we can see if it’s possible to crowdsource better data. GitHub provides the necessary functionality."
  • On the topic of open data, you can read the new entry named The Flawed Economics of Closed Government Data by Brian Timoney

Everything else:

  • Here's an entry on Map overlays with WebGL: affine, polynomial, TPS transformations in JavaScript with GLSL
  • There's a new Open Source Geospatial Laboratory established at the University of Warwick, UK
  • Here's the Keynote speakers at FOSS4G-CEE