GIS Day 2016
Tomorrow is GIS Day! Latitude will be taking part in events with our customers and celebrating the hard work they do with GIS to make a difference in our society.
If you’re in any of the cities below on Wednesday, November 16 and want to join us, we’d love to see you.
- Cobb County GIS Day: 8:00 AM – Noon, Senior Wellness Center, 1150 Powder Springs St., Marietta, GA
- Connecticut GIS Day: 8:45 AM – 4:00 PM, Southern Connecticut State University, 501 Crescent St., New Haven, CT
- LA County GIS Day: 9:00 AM – 3:00 PM, Los Angeles County Grand Park, Olive Court, 200 N. Grand Ave., Los Angeles, CA
Registration now open for 2009 Geocortex User Conference
Like years past, we'll combine two days of core conference seminars (three tracks: business, Geocortex Essentials fundamentals and advanced IMF/Essentials) with optional pre and post conference training. Look for a new advanced course around Geocortex Essentials customization.
New seminar topics this year include content related to transitioning from Geocortex IMF to Geocortex Essentials, Geocortex Essentials 2.0 and the Geocortex REST API, an introduction to Geocortex Optimizer and advanced Geocortex Essentials configuration. As always, there will be lots of user presentations and a look ahead at what we’re working on for future releases.
Some might notice we’ve dropped the “IMF” off the historic conference title. Though there will be sessions regarding Internet Mapping Framework, emphasis will be on topics related to Geocortex Essentials and the ArcGIS Server platform (including both Web ADF and the new/emerging APIs).
We hope to see you in Victoria in April 2009!
Picking a CMS
We're Internet Geographers, but sometimes our customers ask us questions like, "What Content Management System works best with your software?". They can be complicated questions to answer because it really depends on what your needs are. Do you need multiple authentication methods? What's your budget? Who will be managing the content, are they web-savvy? What are your privacy needs?
Last April, we faced similar questions when we decided to build a Support Site that would focus on our ArcGIS-generation software. After much deliberation, we decided to use Microsoft’s Sharepoint.
Some of the reasons we selected Sharepoint:
- offers integration with existing systems
- can handle multiple authentication types
- written using a language we work with every day
- has several levels of authentication
- has easy WYSIWYG windows for text input
- can handle file management
As it turns out, it does all of these things in varying degrees, out-of-the-box. I’ll be posting several blog entries over the coming months, describing some of the ways we’ve found to accomplish our business goals using Sharepoint.
As a cartographer, I have a thing for maps. I especially like maps that are out of the ordinary, and this one falls into that category. “All Streets” by Ben Fry is entirely comprised of streets data. There are no other boundary lines or features, but you can still make out mountain ranges and cities because of the varying density of the lines.
Click on the image below for a more detailed look.
2009 Geocortex User Conference
It’s getting announced more extensively next week, but I thought I’d give blog readers a heads-up. The 4th Annual Geocortex User Conference will take place April 26-28, 2009 at the Delta Ocean Point Resort & Spa in Victoria, BC.
I know, I know. It was supposed to move to the fall because we thought it would be better after the ESRI International User Conference in San Diego. However, folks overwhelmingly told us they didn’t want us moving our annual user from our usual April/May timeslot conference to October because there are already so many conferences in the fall. So we listened.
We even managed to get the last weekend that shoulder-season rates are in effect, which makes things less expensive (not to mention the recent and significant drop in the Canadian dollar relative to the US dollar).
Registration opens next week.
The Breakthrough Company
It's been a few months since our last book review, so I thought I'd summarize some recent prose making its way around the office I had the opportunity to curl up with...
"The Breakthrough Company", by Keith Mcfarland, is business non-fiction, written in a style and approach not unlike "Good to Great" and "Built to Last" (themselves, classic business fodder for entrepeneurs and managers). Keith's book, in an effort to determine what makes small companies grow into large ones, summarizes several years worth of tireless research into 7 central tenets; common attributes that define these "breakthrough" companies. Certainly not one to ruin a movie's ending, I'll leave it to the reader to decide for themselves if these tenets seem plausible.
Overall, I'm a sucker for business case studies, and the book doesn't dissapoint in this arena. Intuit (TurboTax and Quickbooks) and Polaris (ATVs) are profiled (amongst many others), and it is fascinating to review the "story" behind their success. What I found difficult to accept as part of the book's premise was the seemingly tight correlation between success and the attributes these companies held - this seemed like classic attribution bias to me. Couple this with the outsized success we would expect a handful of companies to experience during the course of their growth, and all of a sudden analysts are seeing patterns in random events, from which they're drawing inaccurate conclusions. Overall, I think the tenets presented in the book are valid business advice, but fuel for breakthrough companies alone? No. Timeless food for thought for managers bent on delighting their customers and scaling new heights?
Weekend Update Megapixel Giant Touch Map
As GIS geeks, we love "cool stuff" in a map. Sometimes we love it too much, wanting to throw in features that contribute little to overall usability. I don't know how many of you saw it, but there was a fantastic parody of form-over-function in GIS from none other than the folks at Saturday Night Live (starting at about 2 minutes in).
And of course, my immediate reaction as a GIS geek was "wow, that's a cool map".
Royalty Free Charting
We've been really busy getting Optimizer ready for its first beta release. All things considered, the final few weeks of development went pretty smoothly. We managed to release the Beta in time for the EMEA user conference with a pretty good collection of features and there were not many surprises. For those not familiar with Optimizer, it is an application that assists with the management of ArcGIS installations and related infrastructure. A key component of Optimizer is its reports. Most of Optimizer's reports display at least one chart to help visualize the data Optimizer collects. Below is an example of one of those charts.
We use line, pie and bar charts and a few combinations of bar and line charts - nothing out of the ordinary. What was surprising was the amount of time I had to spend looking for an easy to use, reliable, aesthetically pleasing chart control. There just did not seem to be very many good quality candidates. A few products I evaluated looked promising until I saw their licensing terms. Many products required royalty payments for every Optimizer license we sold. I was surprised because we're talking about a chart control, not some complicated piece of intellectual property that implements a proprietary algorithm. Other candidates were full-featured and buggy or reliable and stylistically awful. In the end, I settled on XtraCharts by DevExpress. XtraCharts are easy to use, reasonably priced ($295 including source code), look awesome and are royalty free. If you need to display charts in an ASP.NET web page or WinForms application, check out DevExpress. You will be glad you did.
From the article: "So they placed a mobile phone SIM card in Kimani's collar, then set up a virtual "geofence" using a global positioning system that mirrored the conservatory's boundaries. Whenever Kimani approaches the virtual fence, his collar texts rangers."
California Geocortex User Group
Wow. At the outset, we weren't really sure what kind of response we'd see for our first Geocortex User Group. I was hopeful we could get 10 enthusiastic users to sit around a table and talk about web-GIS, share their experiences and learn what we're working on for the future. Nope. Instead, we had 47 join us in Los Angeles last week! Even my own optimistic estimates (30) meant we ran out of feedback forms and refreshments far too early.
Bulging numbers aside, we had a productive meeting thanks to the generosity of Los Angeles County for hosting and managing the event. We spent some time having everyone introduce themselves, I spoke for close to an hour regarding company and technology direction, but most importantly, we had 3 user presentations, sharing diverse implementations of Geocortex IMF and Essentials.
Based on the feedback we received, the event was a success, and the user group is looking at scheduling the next meeting for spring of next year. User groups in Toronto, Seattle, Texas and Wisconsin are getting off the ground soon, so look for one in your area!