Collaborating in geospatial context since 2000!

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Twitter and Emergency Response

I realized today that my mobile carrier (who will forever remain nameless) dropped Twitter as a service regardless of what plan you are under. Naturally this p1$$ed me off enough to Google for a reason as to why this happened. I came across another blog whose main commenter was an official with the Los Angeles Fire Department. After reading his comments I realized that the LAFD uses this social network website to broadcast what is happening in Los Angeles. This means that anyone who goes to the LAFD Twitter page can see what the LAFD "Twitters" are contributing to their network!

Imagine the possibilites with this! With more and more phones and intelligent location services being offered for free, I would think that this would catch on in the main stream for more than just telling your buddies what you are eating for dinner.

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Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Anaglyphic GeoPDF

Anaglyphs are used to provide a stereoscopic or 3-D effect to an otherwise 2-D display. The idea is to trick the eyes in to thinking that the image is 3-D by offsetting the red and blue/green/cyan bands just enough to cause the depth effect. The result when viewed with special anaglyph glasses is an image that appears to be in 3-D. Download the full file from here.

Use the overview tool in Reader:

These images can be produced out of remote sensing software applications like ERDAS IMAGINE or manually like this and then import to the GeoPDF format so that anyone, anywhere can view them. This is an awesome application for the GeoPDF and I can't wait to hear form the field on how folks are using it.

Remember to use your Red and Blue anaglyph glasses.

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Thursday, August 21, 2008

Photosynth is finally available!

Microsoft finally released Photosynth to the general public. This is a long awaited release for this very cool 3-D panorama creation solution. I have fooled around with OpenPhotoVR but did not have the time or patience to get it working properly. Photosynth will "synth" your world for you! Check out the Photosynth gallery to see all the cool scenes already in the archive. Be careful when you create your own...your photos will be publicly available.

Read Photosynth updates on their blog. Well done, Microsoft!

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Wednesday, August 20, 2008

GeoPDF Round-trip

In previous versions of Map2PDF for ArcGIS there was no way to view the GeoPDF back in ArcGIS. The latest release of this application allows you to do this! We are now able to bring in all the PDF map frames and layers then toggle them on and off just as you would a standard ArcGIS layer. Because it is treated as a standard ArcGIS layer, you can also export the content back out as a GeoPDF. Create GeoPDF --> work with GeoPDF in Reader --> View GeoPDF and annotations back in ArcGIS for further analysis. Sounds kinda like a round trip to me..

The following VBA code is for those hackers out there who already have Map2PDF for ArcGIS version 4.0 and would like to wrap their heads around the GeoPDF View COM Interface. Note that first the “Map2PDF for ArcGIS View” type library must be added to the project from the VBA editor's Tools->Reference command. This Interface will allow the developer to control view state, annotations, scale, etc...


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Tuesday, August 19, 2008

More on Multispectral GeoPDFs

For more than 3 decades the Landsat program has been collecting data all over the globe. Uses for these data are vast and can include support for modeling of carbon fluxes to the atmosphere, marine protection, and of course terrestrial disaster relief. Check out the application matrix for this sensor...These data can be downloaded very inexpensively and processed in a variety of different ways. Why not export all bands as a completely dynamic GeoPDF? I used the pre-alpha release for Map2PDF for Raster to export all 7 bands from a Landsat scene and then set up the document to display 10 different band combinations on the fly. Let me demonstrate how I did this.

1. I first created the GeoPDF by choosing all the available bands from the input data set. My default display mode is "true color" or band combination 3, 2, 1. This was a 127 meg TIFF file that was exported to a 25 meg GeoPDF! I was actually able to get it down to less than 5 megs but of course there is resolution loss when doing this...

2. Open the Layers tab on the left-hand side of your Acrobat Reader and note how the layers are being handled. We can now adjust the band combinations by assigning a single image band to display as red, green or blue in the PDF space. Each group is treated as a radio button and will allow you to only choose one at a time!

3. Bookmarks are generally considered to be a way to define an action like zooming to a particular location on a certain page in your PDF. That is absolutely true BUT you can also use them to maintain view state, run a script, etc... I used bookmarks to "define" 10 different band combinations in a single PDF. This is the equivalent of viewing 10 different images or changing the view state in an expensive Desktop Remote Sensing application. Note that I was able to add a pretty long description for each band combination to help explain what is actually being displayed. Very cool...

4. Finally, we can utilize all the options on the TerraGo Toolbar in addition to what Adobe has to offer with their core functionality. I find the Pan & Zoom window especially useful as it provides a quick overview of your image.

When I finished working on my GeoPDF, I published it to my free account so that other folks can use my file. I find that this is the easiest way to disseminate files that are larger than 5 megs. On, download the file to gain access to everything mentioned above. This website in our geospatial domain is only good for previewing the data not for making use of everything that the GeoPDF has to offer. I also strongly recommend downloading Acrobat Reader 9.0 because of its beefed up rendering speeds and advanced analysis tools.

Map2PDF for Raster is not limited to any one particular sensor type or even input format type...This example is simply another way to get Landsat data to the general public. Enjoy!

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Monday, August 11, 2008

Map2PDF Advanced Features

As per last week's Press Release, the GeoPDF can now be imported back in to ArcGIS! This functionality is in addition to the advanced Export Configuration options and the new global Preference Editor.
  • Dynamically select which layers are going to be exported and then choose what Feature Attributes are going to be converted in to PDF Object Data.
  • Configure the Properties for the GeoPDF in ArcGIS for use as a base map for raster data or as an addition to your vector data set. Annotations created in the GeoPDF can also be imported and inspected in ArcGIS.
Refer to an earlier post about how to maintain full resolution for your raster data out of ArcGIS. Additional functionality in this release of Map2PDF for ArcGIS includes preserving hyperlinks, scale dependent rendering and better compression than in previous versions.

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Thursday, August 07, 2008

Photogrammetry and KML

Ryan Strynatka over at the Fiducial Mark blog announced today that the latest version of LPS will support a KML export to quickly preview the extents of your block file.

This is the first Photogrammetric application that I have seen to support any kind of KML integration. Pretty cool stuff, Ryan...If you want to view the KML directly in Google Earth, download it from here.

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Wednesday, August 06, 2008

Google 411 Service

Google 411 is a free service (around since January 2007) that allows anyone, anywhere to call the 1-800 number for an instant connection to a specific business in the Google directory. What is really cool about this is that it will send you access to a Google Map if you choose the "Map it!" option so I assume it's using the exact same directory listings that they use for the entire Google Maps archive. This works out really well for those of us who claim to always know where we are going...I personally still get lost in the city that I have lived in for almost 18 years.

This is especially useful for those of us who still use an old-school cell phone with poor internet access...(1-800-466-4411)

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Tuesday, August 05, 2008

Properly Printing Portable Documents

Those of you who know and use GeoPDF technology for producing high-quality maps from ArcGIS have probably ended up with low resolution background imagery at some point or another. This happens even though you have 1 foot pixel or better aerial photography that you would otherwise expect to see someone sitting on a park bench. Why is that? ArcGIS uses a print driver to produce PDFs which means that you have to account for dots per inch (DPI) rather than the actual spatial resolution (GSD) of your input data. Hopfully these next few steps will help you produce better GeoPDFs...
  1. In ArcGIS, select File --> Page and Print Setup
  2. Find the total rows and total columns for your input image and divide each by your default DPI. For example, my NAIP image for Cobb County GA is 10000 x 15000 pixels. (10000/300 DPI and 15000/300 DPI) == 33.33 inches x 50 inches.

  3. Save the settings and export your data from Map2PDF for ArcGIS and you will see a GeoPDF that is pretty close to the resolution of your input data set...

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Friday, August 01, 2008

SpatiaLite Google Group

I posted something on SpatiaLite earlier this week and the web traffic specific to this technology has been huge. This made it very apparent that there is a lot of interest (from around the world) for a light weight, multi-platform spatial database engine. After a bit of investigating I came to the conclusion that there is no mailing list or forum group specifically for SpatiaLite so I started one using Google Groups.

Hopefully this will spark more community response to this cool database technology! I would love to see it become more popular and maybe even as a rudimentary exchange format for vector data????

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