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Call triple zero; you expect the ambulance to get there promptly. Move into a new house; you expect to be able to get connected to gas and electricity etc. Many vital life transactions depend on reliable geospatial data for property addresses. In Victoria, the custodian for provision of most address data is your local government.

Many local councils currently face challenges maintaining this and other geospatial data, often due to easily preventable organisational issues. A key flaw with many councils’ is the lack of appreciation of the importance of geospatial data among the organisation’s upper tiers.

Given up on strategic plans because no one pays them any attention?
Can’t get the decision makers to read them, let alone fund them?

Too often I see strategic plans that describe implementing lots of technology but fail to demonstrate successfully how they will benefit the organisation or customers.

Effective strategic plans lay out a vision and a common set of organisational goals (describing how to get there and measure progress along the way). If the plan is going to be successful, it needs to be accepted across an organisation: people need to understand what the plan will deliver and how it is to be achieved.

Previously I've posted about TileMill and how much I've enjoyed using it and how impressed I am with its cartographic results. Since then I've been delving deeper into creating topographic maps from locally sourced data, and trying to replicate map designs that have been created in Adobe Illustrator and porting them to TileMill. Now this hasn't been a simple process and has taken much gnashing of teeth and pulling of hair to get the TileMill designs to as close as possible replicate the Illustrator design. 

Most people look at a map as merely a tool, an instrument of information which they can use to gain a better understanding about the world around them.

However, in reality maps are much more than that; maps are a unique combination of art and science, bringing together beauty and colour with fact and detail.

 

Anyone can sketch out a rough outline of a map, but it takes true talent and determination to create a map that is both factually accurate and beautiful to look at - this is where a custom cartographic service comes in.

TileMill is fast gaining traction in the web mapping community as the tool of choice, not just because it is a free and open-source alternative, but because it can create stunning multi-scale seamless maps and offers you an affordable hosting alternative to Google and Amazon.

Follow this link to discover more about the process of designing and producing web maps using TileMill.

Many years ago I had an idea to create a map without lines, polygons or symbols…just using purely text. I could never quite get it to work effectively; however with modern illustration software and GIS data, the workflow has became much simpler.

Typographic maps have become quite popular at present. There are some excellent examples by some well known cartographers and artists, such as Axis maps, Paula Scher maps, Ursula Hitz, Stephen Walter and Golden Section Graphics, to name but a few.

If you have ever seen Robert Hoddle's 1837 survey of the town of Melbourne, you instantly recognise the genius of Murray Walker’s tapestry, Melbourne. The huge tapestry hanging in the foyer of Bourke Place captures the grid plan for Melbourne as drawn up by the Surveyor Hoddle. The tapestry also includes the original topographic features of Batman Hill, the natural alignment of the Yarra River and the surrounding tea tree scrub as drawn by Hoddle on the map. The tapestry details include the ink spills that you can also see on the original. If you love maps, you will be delighted to see this work.

Every year around June, Apple holds a conference in San Francisco called the World Wide Developers Conference. I have wanted to go to this conference since starting to develop for Apple platforms back when I was at University

Getting to meet the engineers who make the platforms I work on and being one of the first learn about all the new technologies is something that I hoped to get the chance to do some day. This year I got that chance.

On the 8th of June I left Melbourne for sunny California. I hadn’t been on an overseas trip in a really long time so it was a great adventure for me.

The demand for smartphones continued to grow at an astounding 42% in the past year, according to IDC’s Worldwide Mobile Phone Tracker, with 154 million units shipped worldwide in Q2 2012.   Not surprisingly, the corporate world is increasingly seeing the value of the mobile platform for delivery of their business systems and for communication with their clients. Recently we have seen an increasing number of tenders across Australia requiring mobile delivery as either the main platform or at least an important component.

Spatial Vision has had extensive experience in building mobile apps using smart phones and tablets. We would like to share our experience with you. ‘Navigating the Mobile Maze’ is the latest in our popular series of Under-the-Hood workshops.

We have successfully run various workshops to share and demonstrate our findings including the ‘Navigating the Mobile Maze’ workshop last November that received positive feedback.

Report from the Association for Geographic Information (AGI) GeoCommunity '11 conference in Nottingham, UK

So you know what GIS (Geographic Information System) and CAD (Computer Aided Design) stand for, what about BIM? It was new to me. Building information modelling is defined as the process of generating and managing building data during its life cycle. The Building Information Models encompass building geometry and quantities and properties of building components. Pieces can carry attributes for selecting and ordering them automatically, providing cost estimates and well as material tracking and ordering (Wikipedia 2011).

If you are into mapping emergencies, you will be interested to know that the Canadians have developed a national approach to Emergency Management Symbology (EMS)*.

The EMS is designed to be used by individual and multi-agency emergency mapping applications to facilitate interoperability and situational awareness.

Successful emergency response often starts with a map. The question of “where” is fundamental to instigating an effective response to an incident, the deployment of resources, the assessment of risks and the safety of the community. The symbols used to represent the location and type of incident or resources are critical to communication. The more recognizable the symbol, the faster its interpretation and the ability to make decisions based on it.  Critically, there may be dire consequences if symbols are misinterpreted.

Madison, the capital of Wisconsin, was the site for the North American Cartographic Information Society (NACIS http://bit.ly/10FIw6) annual conference for 2011. Madison is home to the University of Wisconsin-Madison campus, home of some of the great cartographers and geographers of the 20th century http://bit.ly/8Y3Szd , such as Arthur Robinson and Yi-Fu Tuan http://bit.ly/92NX3u. One of the great experiences of the conference was the closing address at the banquet by Yi-Fu Tuan "On the Relationship Between Cartography and Humanism". His talk covered topics as diverse as representations of cities on medieval maps and landscapes in Chinese art, to our sense of place when one feels homesick.

How does design makes a difference?

The NACIS (North American Cartographic Information Society) conference 2011 is being held in Madison, Wisconsin, a beautiful city situated between lakes Mendota and Monona. The first day of the conference kicked off with a Practical Cartography Day, which consisted of 13 speakers presenting short presentations about matters as diverse as working with LIDAR to thematic cartography using Javascript.

Recently Spatial Vision's Application Services Division have been busy developing ICE (Integrated Catch & Effort) system for Fisheries Victoria. A large part of the ICE application revolves around operators entering data from paper forms which record the fish caught by each commercial fisher on a trip. This enables Fisheries Victoria to monitor fish stocks. Getting the data entry part of the application right was absolutely essential. Even small insufficiencies would add up, leading to hours wasted and endless frustration.

When the signs on the freeway and at train stations are directing you to a conference, then it must be big, and Intergeo certainly is. Intergeo is billed as the world’s biggest trade fair for geodesy, geoinformation and land management and is the premier geospatial conference for Germany. There were over 500 exhibitors at the trade show with over 17,500 visitors. Now that’s big. In addition, 1,500 people attended the conference.

I came to see what 500 exhibitors of geospatial related services and technologies would look like and was impressed by the variety of offerings. There were three themes that stood out to me: 3D visualisation, data collection vehicles and open GIS.

When I look at a map of London, I not only see a monopoly board with places like Euston Station, Mayfair, Kings Cross, Marylebone etc; I also see my city, Melbourne in a parallel universe. Here are Camberwell, Kensington, Sydenham and Epping, suburbs of Melbourne. Obviously, there are many parallels in the UK and Australia, no less in the spatial industry.

I am attending the Association for Geographic Information (AGI) GeoCommunity '11 conference in Nottingham. That’s right, place of the Sheriff of Nottingham and Robin Hood fame. AGI is the UK equivalent of the Survey & Spatial Sciences Institute (SSSI), and the annual conference is the largest independent GI conference in the UK. GI refers to Geographic Information, however as one speaker pointed today, across the industry there are a range of terms used: Spatial Information, Geospatial, GIS pronounced various ways, and Location intelligence etc. And we wonder why people are confused about our industry...

In 2002, Spatial Vision completed the first GIS Benchmark Survey of Water Authorities in Victoria. Spatial Vision has since followed this up with national surveys in 2006 and 2009. The purpose for the surveys is to enable each authority to benchmark their operational deployment of this technology against their industry counterparts.

Water authorities first started using GIS or spatial information technologies in the early 1980s. However, as evident by Google Earth, the technology has rapidly evolved in recent years and become far more accessible. By 2009, 100% of authorities surveyed operated web-based spatial systems available enterprise-wide, a huge shift from 40% in 2002.

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