Archive for July, 2009
Jeff Thurston at the Vector One blog downloaded Depiction last night and tried it out–you can read his review here. It’s a great overview of some of the things Depiction can do. Here’s the key paragraph:
There are thousands of interesting uses for this program. The key points, I think, are that it integrates lots of data across a network into on visual interface (Depictions). No one really needs to know technology to use this product. They only need to know what they want to display. That simplicity leads to efficiency for integrating real-time data from networks or sensors into one place for others to access and communicate.
Go ahead and read the whole thing.
In talking with a customer recently, he commented, “I really like your background maps. They look very European.” It turns out that though he now works for an insurance agency developing its business continuity plan, he was a cartography major.
We are excited to bring our users OpenStreetMap as one of our Quickstart and background tiling data sources. To quote their website, “OpenStreetMap is a free editable map of the whole world. It is made by people like you.” This allows us to bring our users high quality maps of the world for free. And, if you find an error on a map, you can change OpenStreetMap: see their Beginner’s Guide for more (you do have to create a login on the OpenStreetMap site and their wiki site).
My local volunteer fire department purchased a copy of Depiction asked me to help them with a project. The fire chief had several things he wanted to do with the software but the first one was to create a map of all of the parcels in the district and then add to it the ownership information. He had received two files from the local county GIS department: a shape file of all of the parcel boundaries and a database file of the ownership information from the assessor.
The challenge was to get the shape file data loaded and then geo-code the address data.
The first challenge was to get the shape file loaded. The main issue here was because of the shape of the fire district in order to get the entire district in one story also meant getting non-district territory included. This wouldn’t have been a problem but the file from the county was of the entire county and not just the district, so when the shape file was loaded it included the shapes for the non-district territory as well. Unfortunately this added about 2000 more shapes to the file which of course would have had an performance impact. So I ended up cutting the district in half and having two files. I still had non-district shapes but an acceptable number.