Surveying, Mapping and GIS

Exploring all aspects of mapping and geography, from field data collection, to mapping and analysis, to integration, applications development and enterprise architecture...

  • Geospatial Technology, End to End...

    Exploring all aspects of mapping and geography, from field data collection, to mapping and analysis, to integration, applications development, enterprise architecture and policy

Microsoft AJAX Roadmap

Posted by Dave Smith On 9/28/2006 09:31:00 PM 0 comments

Scott Guthrie discusses the planned Microsoft AJAX roadmap, for providing improved "ATLAS" support for developers who want to pursue robust Asynchronous JavaScript and XML in their ASP.NET applications - it comes with multiple pieces, which have now been officially named:

  • Client-side support - Microsoft AJAX Library - consisting of JavaScript components to support any browser, and any backend system.
  • Server-side support - ASP.NET 2.0 AJAX Extensions
  • And a Controls toolbox - ASP.NET AJAX Control Toolkit - these are free, shared source controls and components.
These pieces are anticipated to be released before the holiday season, and will be followed by updates to Visual Studio which will provide many enhancements, including IntelliSense support for JavaScript, debugging and WYSIWYG support for these components.

We anticipate developing quite a few more AJAX-oriented applications, and are excited to see more tools to enable us in these pursuits...

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Measure tool in ArcGIS Desktop 9.2

Posted by Dave Smith On 9/26/2006 08:59:00 PM 0 comments

I am loving some of the new additions to ArcGIS Desktop 9.2, and as a longtime user of packages like AutoCAD, I was frankly wondering why some of these enhancements didn't come along much sooner. With this, I tend to draw parallels - for example, the measuring pallette, though with welcome enhancements, still fell slightly short for me - the "measure area" tool doesn't provide much feedback with regard to which polygon was just measured. If there are multiple overlapping layers, there is no highlight to show the selected polygon, and no output to the results panel where the resultant area is displayed. Either of those would be a great touch for the ArcGIS Desktop team to add. Being able to selectively render the output as acres, hectares, and other units - very cool.

Linear / Polygon measuring - being able to snap to features is great - but again, what are we snapping to? In AutoCAD, the user can define his OSNAPs - for example endpoint, midpoint, intersection, perpendicular to, et cetera... These would be another great enhancement to the tool. Some of this is already implemented and supported when editing, why not latch onto that same functionality and leverage it for other tools?

Hopefully the ArcGIS Desktop team is listening, and hopefully many of those little technical usability enhancements like these, that have been in the CAD world for years will begin to make it into the ESRI fold as well.

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An hour and a half?

Posted by Dave Smith On 9/26/2006 08:29:00 PM 0 comments

I downloaded a copy of Solaris 10 the other day - I usually just got the CD images, but this time I selected the DVD image. Download went fine... but my surprise:

90 minutes to reconstitute the .iso image on a 3GHz P4, due to the compression algorithm used by Sun?


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Alaska Photos

Posted by Dave Smith On 9/20/2006 02:54:00 PM 0 comments

After the last post, where I was venting some frustrations as I was trying to get the trip underway, one might not know what to expect from me regarding the remainder of the trip. Aside from having very limited internet connectivity - I did manage to break away from the NCEES Annual Meeting to take in some of the excellent scenery - here the only issue was my digital camera, which is getting to be 6 years old, and through various travels is showing signs of wear. I can't complain at all, though - I managed to capture over 200 photos, most of which I was able to upload to Flickr.

Some highlights:

Anchorage - Mt. McKinley - P1010037
Actually being able to see Denali from Anchorage - over 130 miles away!

Iditarod Monument - P1010207
Iditarod monument in downtown Anchorage

Glacial Stream - P1010234
Incredible fall colors in the Kenai Peninsula

Hungry Bull Moose - P1010258
Great wildlife... Bull Moose near Portage

Siberian Yupik Dancers - P1010140
Siberian Yupik dancers from the towns of Savoonga and Gambell, on St. Lawrence Island in the Bering Sea

Sleepy Whale - P1010084
Juvenile Grey Whale Skeleton

Whale Petroglyphs - P1010085
Alutiiq Petroglyphs

Athabaskan Food Store - P1010055
Athabaskan Food Store - this would be up on stilts, with the posts coated with bear grease to make it difficult for animals and other interlopers. The scent of bear grease would also keep the bear away.

Kenai River - P1010246
Campsite with tipi along Kenai Lake - near Cooper Landing

There are plenty more photos in my Alaska 2006 collection on Flickr - click here for my "Alaska 2006" photoset.

Some of the places I went - the Alaska Native Heritage Center, on the Glenn Highway north of Anchorage, the Alaska Wildlife Conservation Center, near Portage, Moose Pass, Sterling, Soldotna...

Some of the other highlights - the food was excellent - I had plenty of native halibut and salmon - grilled, smoked, and prepared many other ways, I did partake in the reindeer sausage and sampled many excellent local beers like Alaskan Amber. On the flight in, one of the bonuses was the incredible view of over a dozen glaciers along the coast, and on the flight out, we were presented with a spectacular view of the Northern Lights.

To anyone who ever has the opportunity to travel to Alaska, I highly recommend it. As with my last trip to Alaska, this one will have a lasting and rewarding memory. As the Inupiaq would do, to Alaska I say quyanaq!

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Enroute to Alaska...

Posted by Dave Smith On 9/12/2006 01:33:00 PM 0 comments

Not quite the ordeal that Jeff Thurston had in travel, but some hiccups nonetheless…

Some frustrations of the flight – at the last minute they cancelled the first leg of my flight to message doesn’t provide any information on how to remedy things, just “SOL”.

Reasons cited: Weather. However, the weather in both Scranton and Philadelphia, are fine. So I check the airport site, and they still show it on schedule. I then check US Airways, and they show it cancelled… After calling them, I end up working my way through the automated system until I finally reach a human, and then end up getting transferred to someone else, because I’m beyond the contiguous 48 states – “International Flight”…

Anyways, I need to fly to Pittsburgh instead. The backstory here is that, although Wilkes-Barre/Scranton is called an “International” airport, the reality is that you still need to take a prop plane to a “real” airport like Pittsburgh…

Anyways, this seems sorted out. So I arrive at the airport well over an hour in advance – but have to wait quite a while at the check-in counter, for all the other folks who didn’t get the news about their Philly flight cancellation. Things go slooowly. Finally, I get to the counter, and my check-in process involves five minutes of tapping on the computer… thought that was already worked out.

So on to TSA. As a humorous note, I saw on the TSA website that while gels and liquids are prohibited, they say gel bras worn are OK. Must have had a few issues there, to get to the point… Anyways, I have some ornery jerk just ahead of me who refuses to take off his shoes… after some back-and-forth, they whisk him aside, he finally whips the shoes off for their X-ray machine. Slip-on penny loafers, no big deal. Meanwhile they are going over some 80-year-old woman and her 60-year-old daughter with Downs syndrome… Guys, I don’t think we have to worry about these two characters hijacking any planes.

Finally, by the time I get to the gate, they are already boarding. I don’t usually have delays anything like this. Who knew there could be such silly drama in little ole’ Scranton, PA.

Anyways, as I write this I am in Pittsburgh – finally some coffee, a bite to eat, and a little less grumpy. However, they don’t have WiFi… So now I am posting this from McCarran, Las Vegas.


Posted by Dave Smith On 9/03/2006 10:37:00 PM 0 comments

I am looking forward to next week - I am traveling to Alaska for the week, to attend a conference as a Pennsylvania Delegate to the National Council of Examiners of Engineering and Surveying (NCEES).

This is their annual meeting - where among other things, the proposal of "B+30" for engineering licensure will be discussed. B+30 essentially describes an academic foundation of an accredited Bachelors' degree in Engineering, plus 30 additional credits or a Masters' degree.

I am looking forward to the trip - it has been several years since I was last in Alaska, and I enjoyed it greatly last time.

Last time, I flew into Fairbanks, and traveled the length of the Parks Highway to Anchorage and back, went jetskiing on Nancy Lake, explored Denali, burning rolls of film capturing the National Geographic scenes of Grizzlies, Dall Sheep, Caribou and other flora and fauna... Also took an enjoyable riverboat trip on the Chena and Tanana rivers, (a memorable image is still the lazy swirling together of the white Tanana - with glacial silt from the Wrangell Mountains and Alaska Range to the north, next to the black Chena, stained from the peaty permafrost to the south)... I also got to meet Susan Butcher (Iditarod winner) at her homestead and see her dogs and quite a few other amazing things on that trip... This time, I will be staying in Anchorage and hope to see some of the sights, and perhaps get down into Kenai briefly.

Of course I plan to enjoy the local fare - in Fairbanks there was a salmon bake that I still remember quite fondly... 20 feet of massive salmon fillets, grilled outdoors over alder fires. And Alaska has some excellent local brews as well...

Though I am disappointed that the Fly By Night Club in Anchorage is closing... "Sleaziest Bar in Spenard" - They had an excellent blues band there last time - Maurice John Vaughn - and who could forget the various Spam delicacies and Budweiser surcharge.

Though it's partly a working trip, it will be fun, to say the least.

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2006 ArcWeb APIs

Posted by Dave Smith On 9/03/2006 10:08:00 AM 0 comments

The scrappad blog posts about a matrix of ArcWeb APIs that was recently published by ESRI - unfortunately the original link posted on scrappad is broken, but I was able to locate the document here:

The table lists functionalities, and if they are currently supported by SOAP, REST, OpenLS, J2ME, and JavaScript APIs. It is interesting to note that virtually everything is supported by SOAP, followed by JavaScript, with REST, OpenLS and J2ME bringing up the rear.

As things move forward, it will be interesting to see how these geospatial web services play with regard to BPEL, orchestration and other emerging SOA efforts.

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