Online mapping Articles

VerySpatial makes the case for Interactive Maps

There's a great article from VerySpatial making the case that the use of "analog" maps in cases where differential information is being compared might night be the best way to display data online. We've been looking into this space recently and already have excellent KML Export in Cartographica, which can be easily paired with online tools like Google Layers and Leaflet. The original article from The Washington Post is an interesting piece about use of time across the US.

National Atlas and National Map changes

The USGS has announced that the National Atlas will be taken out of service as of September 30, 2014. According to the detailed product availability information, much of the data will be available via the to-be-enhanced National Map system, or as data downloads "at no cost" from Earth Explorer". This transition appears to be mostly a resource realignment (basically reducing the number of sources and web sites they need to maintain. In addition, the USGS has also announced that "[L]ater this year we will deliver these new framework datasets at one million-scale: networked hydrography, updated streams and water bodies …

Growing use of OpenStreetMap in Government

We at ClueTrust integrated support for OpenStreetMap into both Cartographica and CartoMobile some time ago because it provides an avenue for public updating and curation that is unequaled and also provides data licensing that allows liberal reuse. We are happy to see the wide range of OpenStreetMap in Government outlined on the OpenStreetMap.US blog. There are lots of opportunities to improve the data set and make your mark on open data, while improving available map data for everyone. For those with little background with the organization, it didn't start in the US, but in Europe, where most Geospatial data …

Google releases Google Earth for iPhone

Google, this morning, announced that Google Earth is available for the iPhone via the iTunes AppStore. There doesn't appear to be any way to use your own layers, but maybe that's a feature that we'll have to do a bit more searching for or will come in a future release...hopefully. Having downloaded and tried out the application, I can say it certainly is a slick piece of work. The options dialog seems to be a bit quirky (I can't tell whether it's crashing or just running afoul of the iPhone guard timer), but the zooming, panning and search functions …

First shot from GeoEye-1 posted

GeoEye has posted the initial picture taken from the new GeoEye-1 satellite. This is the high-resolution satellite co-sponsored by Google and the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency. Thanks to Gizmodo and Wired for noting this.

Patents and advancing art in geographic coordinates

There are a lot of things about algorithmic patents that just seem wrong, and I'm not going to sit here and debate the obviousness of the work in patent application 10/631611 by Bryan Kendall Beatty via Microsoft, however I think there is an interesting lesson in how innovation helps us defeat patent lockout. I'm making a series of assumptions here on how the patent rulings are actually going to come down, but we'll see how this goes. There are really 3 algorithms and two patents at play in this story (assuming for the moment that none of the patents …

GoogleEarth comes to the browser

Just in time for Memorial Day, Google announced (using the LatLong blog) a new Google Earth Browser Plug-in, which "[brings] the full power of Google Earth to the web." Unfortunately, it works under Windows only, so those of us on Macs will presumedly have to wait a while.

ESRI to export KML Naturally?

My brother Derek pointed me at this article from CNet about a move by ESRI to more directly and easily support export from ESRI formats to "the geoweb." Now, considering that this is mostly KML, I'm not particularly surprised, since KML is basically a presentation and not analysis format. Would that they were adding more support for WFS!

State of the Map goes to Limerick in July

The folks who keep Open Street Map thriving are having a conference in Limerick, Ireland in July to discuss the State of the Map. If you aren't familiar with Open Street Map, I'd encourage you to check it out, and then to get out your GPS and digital camera and get some data on the map! Most of the current US data is from the TIGER/Lines data set, and in my area of DC is pretty out of date.

Google Maps adds hCard support

In the Google Maps blog yesterday, they carried an announcement that Google Maps will be adding support for the hCard microformat in Google Maps. What does this mean for you and I? More machine-usable data in Google Maps. The hCard microformat is a way of taking normal HTML (or XHTML) and putting additional contextual information into it so that software looking at the codes will be able to recognize the information for what it is. An example of this would be the following: Gaige Bradley Paulsen ClueTrust 11654 Plaza America Drive Reston , VA , 20190 USA This hCard created with the …

Latest release of Google Earth Pro opens up GIS features

The latest release of Google Earth Pro version (additional $400 per year, subscription only) now includes the GIS import module, the movie making module, and the premium printing module, each of which were paid extras before this week. These modules increase the amount of data manipulation that can be done directly inside of Google Earth, although they don't change the data visible in the application. Although the GIS Import module is interesting, it appears that its free inclusion is just and admission that the features in it have been available in free add-on and web based software for months now …

Google adds features for maps

Google, as part of a recent set of announcements about their geospatial products, has announced that Google Maps can now speak KML for overlaying data and that they will be providing commercial support for the APIs as part of their product portfolio. First, and foremost, you can now use KML files to overlay your Google Maps. Check out the developer documentation for details, but basically you can put a KML file out on your server and it will be rendered as part of the Google Maps page that you provide. Next, the API has been extended to provide geocoding, whittling …

Metacarta Labs announces availability of Text parsing API

Metacarta today announced at the Where 2.0 conference that they have made available through Metacarta Labs a set of APIs that provide approximation of location from blocks of text. The APIs are pretty straightforward and interesting. If you just want to play around, check out Trinity and try typing in some search keywords that will then be search on and then will be represented on the map to the right. Applications are mostly in keyword location or search result location, so it could be used as a mapping element in a web site news feed or for location of …

Google readies for Where 2.0

Right as Carol and I were readying for a flight yesterday, Google made two announcements just ahead of Where 2.0, a new version of Google Earth (4.0—beta, of course) and the availability of Sketchup for the Mac. The latest Google Earth is quite a bit slicker than the 3.x version, and for Macintosh users, it hosts a series of nice new additions including: Intel native performance Ability to sign-up for the Plus (and possibly Pro versions) It appears that some of the GPS features have been activated (although my USB cable is bent, so I won't …

AA New Zealand puts Kiwi maps online

AA New Zealand has now launched a service called AA Smartmaps which provides an online mapping service for the far away nation. The service is provided by New Zealand company GeoSmart, that makes a wide range of digital map data services, including GIS data, driving data, and satellite images for New Zealand.

Risk-style game using Google Maps

An enterprising developer has used Google Maps as the basis for an implementation of Risk (a game originally from Hasbro). Play right now is limited to person vs. computer, but the author is working on a PvP version (person versus person).

Yahoo Maps! fires back at Google

With all of the talk about Google Maps, you'd think they were the only game in town. On the contrary, Yahoo! on Wednesday, put into beta a new version of Yahoo! Maps that has some new and nifty features for users, especially in the area of viewing. More after the Jump. Since Google's made a name for itself with cool satellite data, the folks at Yahoo! are betting that you'll enjoy more up-to-the minute information on their maps. As with their previous mapping solution, they will provide overlays of restaurants, ATM's, schools, and what-have-you from their "yellow pages" database. They …

Review of online mapping sites

Fellow all-things-spatial obsessed blog Cartography has a review of all the major web mapping applications (Google Maps, Map24, Maporama, Mapquest, MSN Maps, Rand McNally, and Yahoo Maps). Categories reviewed in this 9 part series include: types of searches, map display, data layers, directions and overall use. Overall this is quite a nice review including tables to help make it all that much easier to get the high points.

Drop the map, comrade!

Apparently Google Maps isn't the only the only service to run into trouble with a foreign government, having a large scale map will do it as well. has an article about how Russia considers large scale maps to be state secrets. While Google Maps has recently drawn the ire of several countries, including India and the the Netherlands for its maps of sensitive areas, Russia is going old school and suspending BP's operations over the handling of large scale maps. Apparently, in Russia maps with a 1:25,000 scale are too detailed for the eyes of foreigners …