Archive for the ‘GIS’ Category

Sometimes I’m embarrassed to be a GIS professional

2009/11/15 Comments off

mostly because of garbage like this:

Ugh. (via)

I guess it’s not totally their fault; ESRI certainly has a lot to answer for in the whole design process. But still, who in their right mind thinks the ‘ribbon’ is a good bit of UI design? Or that it is an appropriate solution on every web mapping site? No one. Between this and the magical, just transparent enough so that you can’t read the legend floaty box deal on web 2.0 maps, it’s just embarrassing. And what the hell is up with those tabs? Oy.


Categories: Design, GIS Tags: , ,

ModelBuilder fun

2009/10/07 Comments off

Quick tip – when ModelBuilder (ESRI ArcGIS) starts pulling the whole invalid input/input tables don’t match rigamarole, it doesn’t seem to help to just  run the validator or restart ArcMap. At least for my last model marathon, it actually wouldn’t run until the computer was rebooted. And now, no problems. Just another bit of wacky weirdness for ArcGIS.

Categories: Coding, GIS Tags: ,

Real-time twitter trends map

2009/09/22 1 comment


A new web app that displays the trending topics by location in near real-time. When you select one of the tags, the Introduction box displays a little sparkline for the region and the world as well as recent tweets with the topic. It’s pretty basic—all of the map tools are related to zooming. My main issue is with the info box on the right. That thing doesn’t move (although it does resize if the rending topic doesn’t have much to it) and it obscures part of the map. Why not just make it a column in its own right and not interfere with the map?

Anyway, it gives you an idea of the inanity of twitter without having to actually go to twitter, so there’s that.

Categories: GIS, Technology Tags: , ,

Quickly, quickly

2009/09/16 Comments off

Small rant.

Knowing that there is a button or menu (or even where the button or menu is) to do something in a GIS package does not actually mean that you how to do something in GIS. Adding the default compass image to a map does not make you a cartographer. Being able to make a surface with kriging doesn’t mean you know what that means or if it’s appropriate or why maybe the defaults aren’t the best idea for the task at hand. It’s something that is spoken about pretty often in graphic design circles—the democratization of design because the tools are so accessible leads to a whole lot of people doing a whole lot of really bad work and a whole lot of attitude. And it certainly doesn’t qualify you for an actual paying job. If you are one of those people with the one class, here’s some advice—shut up and listen to the people with more experience. Do not think that doing an assignment in a lab has really prepared you to say “I know how to do that” and not follow instructions. And don’t think that with no experience you should be running around at your job or your grad office refusing to do what you’ve assigned to do because it doesn’t interest you. You have to earn that and you earn that by doing and by making an effort to learn. Checking out one out of date book doesn’t cut it. Do something. Do it again (it probably had problems the first time around). Make it better. Don’t just keep doing something the same way that you did once over and over again (unless of course the task is spelled out for you in detail, then do that). Why exactly would you think that anyone would let you near anything more interesting to do if you haven’t shown them that you can do anything at all?

Sometimes I see kids I know have only had one mediocre class running around with chips on their shoulders and the attitude that they are GIS experts and I just picture them as the robot in Lost in Space with the arms flailing and the repetitive “Danger! Danger!” And then I think that really the world would be well served if they did in fact run around shouting “Danger! Danger!”  so that everyone understands that they in fact know just enough to be dangerous. And with limited logic so growth is unlikely.

Categories: GIS Tags:

German Election Stats web map with SVG

2009/08/31 3 comments
Election Atlas for Germany

Election Atlas for Germany

I really don’t have much to say about this web map (I think it’s more a proof of concept for SVG since there’s not much explanatory text or anything yet). Just one little niggling thing—you can roll over the Value Distribution chart  (bottom right) and it highlights the country for the bar. So, nice, here’s me on the chart and, hey, there’s me on the map. But when you roll over the map, the associated value distribution bar isn’t highlighted. Why not? Everything else updates the same way. Anyway, it’s too bad SVG isn’t developed or being used more. The Redlands may strike me down (or maybe even Adobe) but sometimes you just don’t need that much infrastructure to make your point with a map. And there’s really no getting away from the Googlefication of the map if you go that route.

View the map here.

Categories: GIS Tags: , ,


2009/08/26 Comments off

This is not Nessie:

Image of Loch Ness

Image of Loch Ness (Latitude 57°12'52.13"N, Longitude 4°34'14.16"W)

This is a boat. Obviously moving at a pretty good tick since there’s also a wake. The images in Google Earth do not have the resolution to identify large sea creature, especially mythical sea creatures. If it were Nessie, then Nessie would be ultra-ginormous and really, really hungry since Loch Ness is not the most fertile water body in the world. So we would know about Nessie since it would have rampaged through the quaint Scottish villages along the coast.

Story at The Daily Mail

Categories: GIS, Science Tags: ,

NYC Subway Ridership Simplified

2009/07/01 Comments off
MTA Ridership through time (via feltron)

MTA Ridership through time (via feltron)

This is excellent. It is exactly what it says it is—the visualization of MTA ridership by station over time. Not having been to New York, but having seen the graphic ‘brand’ of the subway floating around the internet, I’d say that the colors and certainly the design of the identify window is pretty spot on. But mostly, look!, there’s no chart junk! You get a couple of display options (absolute/relative numbers and lines/dots), a nice little timeline slider and the minimum navigation required. Because really, you don’t need the whole world to display the NYC subway system. The greyed out background gives you context without overwhelming the data points.

Mostly, though, the colored dots just make me happy.