Posts tagged add-ons

How to create your own background tiler.

A few weeks back I posted how a German fire department was using Depiction.  He had discovered a way to take maps and make them into background tiles.  He has written a paper on how he did that and has graciously allowed me to share it. You can find it here.

April 22nd Webinar – Michael Craig and the Big Game

Please join us on Tuesday April 22nd, 2014 at Noon PST/3pm EST for another informative Depiction 101 webinar.

The webinar will be how Michael Craig, Owner of PEMSTAR was asked to be the GIS Technical Specialist for the MACC (multi-agency coordination system) for SuperbOwl 48. The MACC is the fusion center for all emergency medical and health service. It was assigned to monitor, support and coordinate all incidents within New Jersey and New York. Michael Craig used Depiction as his primary GIS mapping software. Michael used almost all the assets that Depiction has to offer, publish to web, live reports, customizable elements creation and more. The Department of Health and Human Services, FDNY, New Jersey EMS task force, FEMA and the New Jersey Department of Health were just some of the event participants. During the week of the SuperbOwl, Michael Craig not only had to coordinate the SuperbOwl events but a quarantined cruise ship, and a large number of white powder incidents.

If there is time available we will also be available to answer general questions.

You can register here.

Publish-to-Web add-on is now available

The Publish-to-Web (PTW) add-on for Depiction Mapping software is now available for sale and download on the Depiction website.  The normal price is going to be $124.95 but we are offering an introductory price of $99.95 through June 30, 2013.

The PTW offers a whole new way to share your depiction stories.  You can see a sample of what a Publish-to-Web story would look like here.  So anybody with a web browser and Microsoft silverlight installed can view your PTW.  They will be able zoom in and out and pan; open, hide, move and resize revealers; mouse over icons and show hovertext.

Some of the things you could do:

  • A police department could show crime incident locations in their city.
  • A neighborhood wide garage sale could show the location of all the homes that are participating.
  • A city government could show information about a new project in the city.
  • A Red Cross chapter could show the location of all of their volunteers and shelters.
  • Show the impact of Tsunami on your community.
  • Show  what areas of your community would be flooded based on floods of various sizes.

Send me your idea on what you want to show with PTW to and I will send you a coupon code for another $25 off the PTW add-on.

Put PTW Idea in the subject line.

New Webinar replay posted – An Introduction to Depiction

In our monthly Depiction Webinar on January 23rd, 2013, Russell Deffner gave a great presentation covering the following topics:

  • What is Depicton?
  • Navigting the Website
  • Exploring the application
  • Building your first depiction
  • Simulation and collaboration

It was a great introduction to Depiction and so if you missed it please check it out.  If you are new to Depiction it is a great basic overview.

You can view it here.

Fire Station Locations VS Home Locations Can Change Insurance Premiums

An interesting article telling how insurance companies, using new mapping technologies, can tell how far way clients are from fire stations, which can impact how much their insurances costs.

With Depiction, our new OSM add-on and our routing capability you can find out quickly how far away you are from the nearest fire station.  Insurance agents could use it to check on all of their customer locations.

New OpenStreetMap Add-on now available – only $9.95

The new OSM add-on adds five quick start data sources to your quick start list. The cost is only $9.95 and you can buy it here. You will need to have Depiction version 1.4 or later installed to use this addon.

Here is a screen shot  of the results for a section of Los Angeles

The various elements will only be brought in to your Depiction if the point of interest is in the OSM data base.  You can determine which ones will be brought in for your area by  using the OSM street map as your background tiling source and zooming in to an area.  If the POI is there then it should come in as an element icon when you use the Quick Start. Below I have highlighted in yellow the POI’s that would be brought in for this area of Los Angeles.

It should also be noted that when people enter Points of Interest into Openstreemap they can enter them as a point or as polygon to show a building or property footprint.  Depiction will bring both in, one as a point and one as a polygon.  See the example below.

So what happens if the POI’s for police, fire, schools, hospitals or places of worship aren’t there?  You can go to the OSM website and add them yourself.  This is pretty easy.  You go to If you don’t have an account you will need to create one.  Log in.  Go to your area of interest. Choose edit from the drop down menu.

In the example below, I know there is a fire station at the point highlighted in yellow below.

So I drag a fire station icon to that location. Enter the fire station name and click save.

Now the next time I do an import using the OSM add-on that fire station will be brought in.  So by adding points of interest to your town or community you will be contributing to the OSM community effort and other Depiction users in your area will also benefit from your work.

The place of worship element is a new element and will be included in the upcoming version 1.4.2 release of Depiction.  In the meantime a place of worship icon is included with the add-on. We hope you find this add-on useful and if there are other OSM points of interest that you would like to be able to be brought in to Depiction, let us know and we will develop additional add-ons.

What’s Happening at Depiction?

We have been busy behind the scenes for the last few months. Below are some of the things we have been working on.

Laying groundwork for Version 2.0

Our dev team is busy laying out the groundwork for our next version.  In the next few months we hope to have a list of potential features and hope to get your input on what you would like to see.  But you can always give us that feedback via the Depiction get satisfaction site.

Some of the major features we are considering are:

  • Increased number of file formats for import and export
  • More sophisticated printing
  • Custom initial boundaries ie irregular polygons
  • Resize boundaries
  • A custom tiler – allow user to enter api info for a custom tiler like google
  • Local Source tiler – allow the use of local tiling sources ie streets and trips
  • Being able to view many more elements ie 100,000s
  • Categorized elements ie elements with behaviors and other categories
  • Improved EID handling – ie ability to change existing property name to EID or to designate a property as the EID property.
  • General simplification and user friendliness enhancements

We have scores of other minor changes on the list as well.

Version 1.4.2

I had indicated in an earlier post that 1.4.1 might be the last free update.  I think I was overly optimistic. The reality is that the service providers that we get the free data from have a tendency to change how they serve out their data which in many cases requires us to change our program.  USC geo-coder is the service we use to geo-code addresses and they are changing their API and so we will have to come out with a new version. So we might still have have several minor releases before Version 2.0 comes out.

New Web Site

I don’t know if all of you have been as frustrated by our front page as I have been and finally we are doing something about it.  Hopefully by mid to late July we will have a new website with a navigation bar.  The front page is going to be very different but most of the inner pages will have pretty much the same content.  Below is a shot of the new front page.

This is a screen shot of our new front page.

New Add-on

We have a new add-on in development.  This add-on will let you draw on the data that exists within OpenStreeMap.  OpenStreetMap has many data elements such as police stations, fire stations, schools, hospitals etc.  With this add-on it, will add specific quickstart data sources to your list.  The one down side of this source is that since it is crowd sourced it may not contain all of the data for your area.  One solution of course if for you to go in to openstreetmap and enter all of the data and then it would show up.  We will have more on this later as we figure out exactly how it will work.


So that is just a brief summary of what is going on at Depiction.  We want to thank all of you for continuing to be loyal Depiction users.

Some feedback from a customer in Maine

Our ARES/CERT Communications group used the Depiction software this past weekend for the first time. It is amazing. The ability to go from topographical, street and satellite imagery is amazing. We were able to track our groups along tree lines and in fields as they did their search. In Maine we had a girl about 20 months old that disappeared during the night. Her father says that someone took her but there was no evidence to support that. The police have done multiple searches for her but have had no luck. There was someone in the home town where the girl disappeared that had seen a car at a business that was closed and he had reported it to the police. They did not search the area where he saw the car. He asked for our help and we responded to his needs. We spent about 5 hours searching an area about 100 to 150 acres. The software along with our Byonics  All in One Trackers was a great mix to allow for accurate viewing of the search and the ability to post positions of interest that we came across. We used Depiction along with APRS Live to accomplish this. There are a few things I would like to see changed for search and rescue use but it is way better than anything that we have had until now.

Thought you might like to hear about our use of your software. Keep up the good work.

Thank you

Bob Gould

Oxford County ARES/CERT Communications

Oxford County IMAT

Maine Communications Unit Leader

Two New Depiction Add-ons Available Now!

Created as accompaniments to the Recreation Add-on software both Add-ons are related to recreation.  The Aquatic Recreation Add-on software comes with new point elements, which allow you to quickly map locations like kayak/canoe launches and diving points.  You can easily draw vehicle ferry routes yourself or import them from a file.  Of course areas can also be imported as swimming areas or drawn with the user drawn shape – freeform polygon tool.  One element has a behavior; the Lighthouse.  This element additionally requires an interaction (included) to simulate a potential line-of-site zone for safely traveling the waters. Use the Aquatic Recreation Add-on to create a simple map of your visit, or to plan and track the operations of a marina.

The Winter Recreation Add-on software also includes new point elements allowing you to map locations like warming huts and back country access points.  Import various modes of transportation line data, such as snowshoe and cross-country ski trails or quickly draw them yourself; including elements based on the North American Trail Rating System for colorizing difficulty.  Of course areas can also be imported as terrain parks and tubing hills or drawn with the user drawn shape – freeform polygon tool.  Two elements have behavior; the first is the Avalauncher Site.  This element additionally requires an interaction (included) to simulate a potential target zone for conducting avalanche control operations.  The Snowmaking Equipment element can be used to show the intended coverage from a snowgun or general area of snowmaking operations by entering properties for a simple arc calculation (direction, distance, and angle).  Use the Winter Recreation Add-on to create a simple map of your visit, or to plan the year round operations of a resort.  Both of these add-on are now available for $12.95 each in the Depiction Store.

APRS Live now available!

We’re excited to announce today our first third party add-on–APRS Live. APRS Live is an add-on for Depiction that enables amateur radio users take real time data received by a radio using the Automatic Packet Reporting System (APRS), and bring it in to Depiction, combining it with all the maps, data, simulations and imagery you have combined there. Because the APRS data is all being received by radio, this can all be done offline!

Here are a few key paragraphs from our news release this morning:

“Depiction is a powerful tool for the integration of multiple types of data, including images, spreadsheets and GIS files,” noted the add-on’s creator, Brian Smucker. “The ability to receive APRS data in real time via radio, and to visualize it using the advanced tools that Depiction provides is a powerful new capability. Now hams can do things that used to only be available to big corporations and large government agencies.”

APRS Live is the first Depiction add-on built by a third party. “We are very excited about APRS Live, both because it provides our customers with exciting new capabilities, and because it is the beginning of what we expect to be a wide range of third-party products that work with Depiction,” said Depiction, Inc. President and founder Mike Geertsen.

APRS is a digital communications protocol for exchanging data between multiple radio stations across a region, including position information, telemetry, weather data, short text messages and more. APRS is used by amateur radio users for position tracking, gaining situational awareness during emergencies, coordinating large-scale public service events such as bike races and marathons and more.

The add-on allows APRS packet information received by a radio and transmitted to a computer using a terminal node controller (TNC) connected to a serial port to be displayed within Depiction as simulation elements. For example, search and rescue workers can be tracked alongside a simulation of an eight-foot storm surge, or bike race volunteers can be tracked along race maps. APRS Live also enables the sending of short APRS messages from within Depiction.

APRS Live data within Depiction