Collaborating in geospatial context since 2000!

Monday, May 17, 2010

IETF releases "Requirements for a Location-by-Reference Mechanism"

The Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF) released Requirements for a Location-by-Reference Mechanism, or RFC 5808. Place, or unambiguous identification of location, can get complicated quickly, especially when things like security and context come creeping into the equation.

Being able to identify a place in space and time in a (mostly) context free form seems to be of value to me. If I leave my Namiki M90 in my desk at the office, I can ascribe several locations descriptions to it: where I left it, in my drawer, at the office, etc. It's actual location could be used equally well to describe other things: where I left it, my drawer, the office, etc. Time is important, too, since I am prone to pick it up, move it around, write letters, etc. Also, what if an earthquake shifts my desk 3 meters to the West Southwest? What about reuse? Expiry? Confidentiality? Interesting stuff!

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Publisher for GeoMedia 5.0 Released

It's been a long time coming, but I'm happy to say that we've pushed Publisher for GeoMedia 5.0 out the door. Hot dang! I won't here repeat what's in the press release. One of the cool things about the product doesn't have anything to do with geo, but rather printing. We've had a provision for mapping RGB values to CMYK for color separation, but we've added some tweaks. Before you had to hack an XML file and do some acrobatics to encode the numerical values, but now there is a editor that does that for you, along with a simplified syntax in the XML for the Emacs set.

GeoMedia is a suite of products for doing all things geo from the friendly people of Intergraph. Back when I was still slinging code for TerraGo, I wrote a low-level library for munging PostScript that was integrated into what was at the time called Map2PDF for GeoMedia and Map2PDF for Digital Cartographic Studio (DCS). We announced those products in April 2006... Anyway, I mention the PostScript to point out that Publisher for GeoMedia uses Adobe Distiller to create the ultimate GeoPDF file. Distiller can be tweaked to produce optimized PDF files with different properties and features. Distiller is a utility for converting PostScript to PDF and ships with Acrobat. This peek behind the scenes offers insight to my round-about methods for demonstrating what we do, but my love affair with PostScript goes back long, long before GeoPDF.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

GeoPDF is not a Format

The name of this blog is GeoPDF. The word GeoPDF has its roots in PDF which is itself is an acronym for Portable Document Format. PDF is defined by an ISO specification. Words like "format" and "specification" might make one think that GeoPDF is a malamanteau of sorts or a perverse play on GeoTIFF. In some sense, the latter is partially correct. GeoPDF has its history in application delivery whereas GeoTIFF has a background in data interoperability. What is GeoPDF? With all due respect to Magritte:
The Treachery of GeoPDF
I like to think of an aspect of GeoPDF -- and PDF -- as an application delivery platform. GeoPDF is the platform on which to build GeoApps. There will be a day when the CamelCased suffixing of Geo to everything will be so redundant as to make no sense, but that day has not arrived. So, on we go with the suffixing. A GeoApp is an application that treats geospatial information as first-class citizens and co-equals of all of the business logic components. But that is for a different post...

Today, GeoPDF is a registered trademark of TerraGo. It's used to brand the mapping products (and GeoApps!) created by TerraGo software. Whether the GeoPDF trademark can withstand xeroxification or genericide of the marketplace remains to be seen. If everybody on the planet uses the word GeoPDF 11 times a day to refer to the geospatial file they mucking with at the time, my job is done and I really won't care if it's generic or not. I imagine a lot of other wonderful things would have had to have happened for that to go down as well.

Today, if a file is created by TerraGo software, it is a GeoPDF file. If it is not created by TerraGo software, it is not a GeoPDF file. This is definitional and the position of TerraGo. I'm not going to defend or debate the rightness or the good-ideaness of the situation in this post, although I welcome comment and debate. GeoPDF encompasses a variety of geospatial encoding flavors, including that described by the OGC best practice as well as Adobe's supplement to ISO 32000. If the georegistration is encoded using OGC, that file is not necessarily GeoPDF. If the georegistration is encoded using Adobe's encoding, that file is not necessarily not GeoPDF. Encoding is irrelevant to GeoPDFness.

GeoPDF is not a format, but it is based on publicly documented format standards and industry best practices. GeoPDF is not defined by its georegistration, but GeoPDF necessarily requires georegistration. GeoPDF is not a data interop or exchange technology, but it certainly can be used for interop if care is taken for those purposes. More on this latter point in a subsequent post.

GeoPDF® is a trademark, but that is of (almost) least interest to me.

As always, the stuff I write here is not the official word-o-TerraGo, but my opinion. I have attempted to describe the official position, but this is not an official position document. Just trying to fill in between the lines...

Thursday, May 06, 2010

Links Restored!

We recently upgraded the TerraGo website, and in the process lost a file cache to which we linked from this site. The links are now restored. LMK if you find things differently.

Wednesday, May 05, 2010

Origins of GeoPDF: Getting the Data Out There

Many, many moons ago, I worked on a project where we worked to get data out of the engineering groups into the hands of the maintenance groups within and across a conglomerate of telcos. I'm not sure that I can name names even to this day, so I won't. The secrecy never made a lick of sense to me even having considered it from a variety of perspectives, but a customer's confidence is inviolable. ANYWAY, I came across A Room with a Viewer by John Audley that illustrates the environment in which we were working and how people were approaching the problem and the remarkable efforts folks took to whittle away at the problem. We went with normalizing all of the engineering content to PDF and constructing map books by hyperlinking adjacencies, bookmarking street intersections, etc. We even "productized" what we did into somehting called LGIView, as mentioned in a previous post. It wasn't long before people were asking, "Hey! Wouldn't it be neat if we could read out coordinates?" As the picture shows, coordinates made it into LGIView...

Arcane trivia: MPLR = Mechanized Plant Location Records. If you knew that, LMK!