If you are running a version of Depiction before 1.4.2 or a version of 1.4.2 with a build number of 12450 or earlier then you are probably getting can’t geo-code errors when you try to start a new Depiction. Our geo-coding service changed their API and so prior versions of the software no longer will geo-code. You can find out what version you are running by going to the help menu and choosing about. You can still start new depictions by entering a starting latitude and longitude.
A new build (12522) is available on the website and can be found here.
Have you visited our Get Satisfaction forum lately? Those in the know use the forum on a regular basis to ask questions, give answers, and participate in great conversations with other Depiction users and the Depiction team! Are you frustrated because you can’t get something to work or you know there is a way to do what you want but you can’t figure it out, well this is the place to ask the question.
Or maybe you are a Depiction user with unique skills — the forum needs you to help newcomers! We welcome your opinions, tips, and recommendations on best practices using Depiction. Maybe you have used Depiction in a unique way. It might be just the thing that someone else is looking to do. Want to ask a question or start a discussion? The forum is a great place to do that, too.
So come on, dig in! If the Depiction team spots you being particularly helpful in the forum, we’ll even make you an official Depiction Champion! We’ll add a sweet badge to your avatar but that’s not all – you’ll also be invited to beta new depiction versions, and if you participate a lot you will be offered free add-ons or discounts on products.
Being helpful could consist of answering someone’s question before the Depiction Team has a chance to, starting a topic to give people great ideas on different uses of Depiction – or anything else that we consider spectacular.
We really do think of Depiction as a community, and we strive every day to make this a great place for all of our map makers. The GetSatisfaction forum is a big part of that, and we’d love to hang out there with you too!
Recently we worked with a German fire department to work through some of the issues using Depiction outside of the USA. Frank Ruegner of the Dornstetten fire department did a very thorough analysis of how Depiction could meet their department’s needs. The paper can be found here.
We continue to restore the missing quickstart sources. Now state, county and congressional boundaries are working again.
The quickstart data source water bodies has now been restored. We are continuing to try and get the others restored.
We have restored our Geoserver and have the Elevation Quickstart working again. The other quickstart data sources we provide from our server still aren’t available but we are working to get them restored.
We have added a new product to the Depiction line-up of products and services – Depiction Tutor. You can purchase 1 hour blocks of one on one time with Depiction experts for $50 per hour. This one hour can be used all at once or in two sessions. They can be via a telephone call or as a goto meeting session where the Tutor can see your screen and help you solve the problem you are facing. This can also just be used as a tutoring session giving you one on one help. The tutor will either be a member of the Depiction staff or a Depiction Preferred Consultant. Once you purchase the time then we will assign a tutor and set a mutually agreeable time to meet and help you with your problem. You can purchase these blocks of time at www.depiction.com/tutor.
Problems seem to happen in threes. First our geo-server went down, then USGS changed the location of their elevation data and now Yahoo has changed their API which is what we used for geo-coding the starting location for new Depictions. Existing long time users may not notice either of these problems if they are creating new depictions in their home areas because the data may still be in their cache. However, new users and trial users will definitely notice this as will new DepictionPrep users. We have a fix for both problems and the current download on the website is an interim build 12522 which fixes these issues. We will be coming out with an official build next week but if you are experiencing these issues then you can download the new version from the website. We have noticed that the new USGS elevation source is very slow. Apparently they are now returning 1 degree tiles that are 250mb in size and if your boundary happens to cover more than one tile then you could have to download multiple tiles. We hope to have our geo-server up and running next week and so we can have reasonable elevation download times.
It appears that all of our data sources are changing. Now the initial location geo-coding has ceased to function. We use Yahoo and they recently changed their API (application program interface) which caused our malfunction. We hope to have a fix for this in the next day or two. We have actually fixed the problem and are in the process of testing the build to make sure it is OK. We have also fixed the Elevation Quickstart data source. Unfortunately they changed how they are serving out the data and give it out in 250mb chunks and so it takes much longer for it to download. Existing users won’t notice much of a change if your elevation data is in your cache for your area but new users will certainly experience this. We are working to find a solution to this problem as well. We are sorry for any inconvenience these problems cause you.
James is currently the Emergency Services Officer (ESO) for the United States Air Force Auxiliary Civil Air Patrol: Shelby North Carolina Composite Squadron MER050
He is responsible for all Emergency Services Operations, Training and Instruction to all personnel. Qualified Trainer/Evaluator in Communications, Ground Team Operations, Urban Search and Rescue, Advanced Land Navigation, Survival Training and NIMS operations. Coordinate large scale Operational Readiness Inspections (ORIs) utilizing the National Incident Management system, Multi-Agency and Multi-Jurisdictional exercise coordination for disaster response.
How long have you been using Depiction?
I have been using depiction for over 3 years for Emergency Services and Business applications.
I was searching for mapping software for use in simulated exercises for the business I was working for at the time. The drills were required due to the fact that I was the Facility Security Officer at a classified facility in Cary, North Carolina.
I hadn’t tried other mapping software, but I was using Microsoft PowerPoint, using images from mapquest, then having to manual place static content on the document.
I am the Emergency Services Officer at Shelby Composite Squadron MERNC-050 (USAF Auxiliary-Civil Air Patrol) in Shelby North Carolina. I am responsible for coordinating drills and working with other agencies on developing emergency plans for the Squadron. I apply the tools in depiction both at work and at CAP.
At Civil Air Patrol I run depiction for drills associated with natural disasters, aircraft crashes, coordinated search and rescue efforts (APRS Module) and mapping emergency service resources in the area (Fire Dept’s, Police Dept’s and Hospitals)
The integration of data to find resources, the ability to integrate weather patterns within the depiction and revealers to control content.
Civil Air Patrol had an exercise on the weekend of January 18th to conduct a search and rescue training on my 50 acre property which required 4 teams of varying skill levels (referred to as Ground Team Members [GTM] and Ground Team Leaders [GTL]). We used depiction on an overhead projector in the mobile incident command post and as reports came in over the radio we updated the depiction to reflect the search. The exercise was for the recovery of a downed aircraft with unkown injuries. The depiction software allowed the IC team to keep track of GTM/GTL movements, incident responses and resource allocations. At the end of the exercise we used the collected data to conduct the NIMS debrief to all the teams.
If you were to recommend Depiction to someone else how would you explain why you think they should buy it?
I would tell them about all of the features and the flexibility of the software, and I would go the distance and show them actual exercises I have set up and used. I strongly believe that no exercise or live incident would be complete without Depiction, the software streamlines management of the NIMS process, provides real time updates and provides the Incident Commander with an edge not available from drawn maps. The weather integration, APRS add-on and the ability to take real time updates via email keeps everyone in constant communication. It is my responsibility at the Squadron to ensure accurate reporting of the incident, maintain the safety of the ground and air personnel and coordinate with other agencies to respond to life threatening events. I would not trust any other software but Depiction to ensure I can execute all of the aforementioned.