Collaborating in geospatial context since 2000!

Friday, September 26, 2008

Why Open GeoPDF Now?

I've been asked here and elsewhere, "what is the link between the submission of GeoPDF to OGC and Adobe's geospatial extensions in Acrobat and Reader 9.0?" There is a link, to be sure, but the primary reason that TerraGo has submitted its legacy georegistration technique to OGC is our customers demanded it. There are terabytes (petabytes?) of GeoPDF files out there that use the technique and they wanted to be confident that their investment was secure. That's quite reasonable by any measure. It would be one thing to just post a specification for the technique, a la ESRI's shape file spec [PDF], but wouldn't carry the imprimatur of a standards organization that our customers demand.

So, where does that leave folks who want to make geospatial PDF files? That depends. If you have PDFs that you want to make geospatial, you can use Acrobat Pro Extended 9.0 (APEX) or Map2PDF for Acrobat installed in some flavor of Acrobat. The benefit of using Map2PDF is that you gain access to the geospatial functionality available in the free GeoPDF Toolbar. This is an important point: GeoPDF is *not* about a georegistration technique -- we'll be using ISO32000 under-the-hood going forward as well as supporting the legacy format. GeoPDF can use either. GeoPDF is all about configuring maps and data to be used by the free Toolbar to actually do something.

If you have ArcGIS 9.3 and the Adobe's functionality is sufficient, you can get ESRI's geospatial PDF extension. If you want to access GeoPDF Toolbar functionality and finer control over the PDF creation process, then you'll need Map2PDF. In principle, you could use ESRI's extension with Map2PDF for Acrobat to create GeoPDF files that use the proposed ISO extensions for georegistration...

For the ambitious, you can get the PDF spec, er purchase ISO 32000, snarf Adobe's proposed extensions to ISO 32000 and roll your own. These could be used by Map2PDF for Acrobat to create GeoPDF files suitable for use by the GeoPDF toolbar, just like files created by APEX, or files created by ESRI 9.3...

The question remains, why didn't we do this sooner? That's a question best answered over a cold beer. Personally, I'm delighted to see georegistration open, published, and free to use in PDF files. It's what I've been working toward for many years, and Adobe and ESRI have vindicated this effort.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Mapping with Mathematica

I received an unholy ration of *you know what* when I used the words "kurtosis" and "Mathematica" in a mapping context... Um... Analyzing U.S. 2008 Elections with Mathematica, anyone?

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

TerraGo Submits GeoPDF Spec. to OGC

From a current press release:
“Today’s announcement further demonstrates our commitment to meeting the needs of our customers who require software solutions that leverage open standards,” said Patrick Graves, chief software architect at TerraGo Technologies. “By opening the GeoPDF specification through the OGC, the large number of maps and images that have been published in GeoPDF format by our customers can now be accessed by the entire geospatial community.”

TerraGo software solutions enable peer-to-peer and enterprise collaboration among non GIS-professionals who need geospatial information to make better decisions, respond faster and be more productive. TerraGo customers can extend map, imagery and attribute data to virtually any user, making geospatial application available via the Web, mobile device or desktop. More than 250,000 users leverage the TerraGo Toolbar, and hundreds of terabytes of data are available in GeoPDF format.
Click Here for more articles...

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Wednesday, September 17, 2008

SpatiaLite 2.2 Release Update

In light of some recent comments on this blog about the direction TerraGo is heading with its product line, I thought it would only be fitting to announce the latest release of SpatiaLite.  I have posted about SpatiaLite before and it was very well received which makes it apparent that this is a highly desirable database technology in our industry.  
2.2 is the current stable release supporting:
  • full UTF-8 SQLite internal data storage and locale charsets for input and output
  • a GUI tool supporting DB management in an user friendly way
  • PROJ.4 latest version (4.6.1), this including an updated EPSG dataset
  • SQLite's latest version (3.6.2) implementing the definitive R*Tree Spatial Index
  • an alternative Spatial Index implementation using MBR caching
  • added the new Virtual Table module VirtualText supporting direct SQL access to CSV and TxtTab files
There is a Google Group that has been been created to use for public support and announcements related to this project.  You can find this group here and I encourage everyone to participate...

What can this technology do for you?  We've seen basic attribute queries in other software applications but imagine taking enterprise-level spatial query capabilities to your desktop in a completely redistributable package (aka. single GeoPDF).  Given the nature of the SQLite engine, the data publisher (YOU!) will be able to package multi-source data layers in a single file and then import/export as needed.  

Thanks again to Alessandro for continuing development on the SpatiaLite project...

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My first Fire Eagle badge!

I have not messed with Fire Eagle that much since it was officially released a couple months ago so I figured it was my time.  In the App Gallery, I decided to go with a website that uses your Yahoo account info to create a badge that can be embedded anywhere on the web...Fire Eagle Badge for more info.  When I update my location in Fire Eagle all my FE Apps should update too!  How useful is this?  How are other folks using this technology?

Update... Fire Eagle Badge does not work in IE so it had to be removed.

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Monday, September 15, 2008

Mapping with Adobe PDF Bookmarks (Part 1)

There are quite a few very useful tasks that can be accomplished using Javascripts in a PDF file but not everyone is familiar with how to go about implementing them.  The two most popular ways are: 
  1. The folder-level script that will work with any PDF file open on your desktop and
  2. An embedded script that is distributed with each individual PDF file
It is my preference work with the folder-level scripts because they tend to be easier to edit in my favorite text editor (rather than in Adobe's) but if I were going to create a mapping application to send to a wide audience, I would definitely embed my scripts in the the PDF itself.  The following example is a script that parses the contents of a form and then updates a database through ODBC.  This particular example looks for a web service flag in a form field and if one is not available, it will insert the contents to a SQLite database.  

var geo = TGO.PDFPointGetGeo(gti.mapFrame, gti.pdfPoint);
var lAppName = this.getField("").value;
var lAppTask = this.getField("app.task").value;
var lAppLat = this.getField("").value;
var lAppLong = this.getField("app.long").value;

var lWeb = this.getField("web").value;

if (lWeb == "Yes") // we are submitting via a web server
var fieldsToSubmit = new Array ("","app.task","","gti.long");
var con = ADBC.newConnection("fieldform");
var statement = con.newStatement();
var query = "INSERT INTO jobs ( name, task, lat, long) values ('" + lAppName + "','" + lAppTask + "','" + lAppLat + "','" + lAppLong + "');";


Keep in mind that this example does use GeoJavascript which is installed with the free TerraGo Toolbar.  This allows us to get map information from the GeoPDF file for use in the form...

What about implementing this as a custom Bookmark?  Look in the Bookmarks tab in the Acrobat Navigation Panel.  Create a new Bookmark and then choose the option to "Run a Javascript".  

When you select the "Add" option, you will be prompted to copy and paste your script in to the Adobe Javascript Editor.  Select to "Save" the file and then test your changes.  You can debug your script by selecting "ctrl J".

This functionality is incredibally useful for working with forms like in this example but you can also use it to send and recieve information to web services like Google Maps and Yahoo.  Download the Javascript example GeoPDF from here and test the Bookmarks for yourself. To access Adobe's Guide to Javascripting click here.  Happy programming!

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Wednesday, September 03, 2008

Intelligence Operations with LiveCycle and GeoPDF

Adobe on Intelligence gathering with the GeoPDF...
Department of Defense and Intelligence

Nowhere is the accurate and timely sharing of information more important than within the agencies that run defense and intelligence operations. From military strategic plans to training programs for deployed troops to top secret dossiers on potential threats, information is the cornerstone of citizen protection. With lives literally at stake, these agencies need to collect, analyze, and disseminate information as quickly as possible, while preventing it from falling into the wrong hands.
Bobby Caudill, a solution architect from Adobe, has created an excellent example of how the GeoPDF can be used as part of a powerful intelligence-gathering “GeoApp.” His demo includes several different applications that are just now catching on in the geospatial community. Click here to view Bobby’s short video description of how Adobe applications work in harmony as a stream-lined geospatial mashup.  The technology used here is as follows...
  • GeoPDF
  • Flex / Flash ( time-line scrubber bar tool & patrol activity report)
  • Adobe Connect for real-time collaboration
  • LiveCycle Reader Extension
  • LiveCycle Rights Management 
  • Flex & Adobe AIR ( Document Search & Report builder )
How do you envision an Adobe/TerraGo solution working in your organization?

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Tuesday, September 02, 2008

Google Chrome (Google's answer to the Web Browser)

Looks like Google is going to release their own web browser sometime today! Click here for their blog post... Google has also put together a "comic book" explanation of what Chrome is. If you have the time, go through the ~30 pages to learn more.

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