Archive for the ‘Google Map Mashup’ Category

On Locational Privacy, and How to Avoid Losing it Forever (EFF)

Thursday, February 25th, 2010

[Editor’s note: It’s possible to enjoy pervasive GPS and enjoy privacy, too. A congressional subcommittee held a joint hearing titled, “The Collection and Use of Location Information for Commercial Purposes” on Wednesday. Learn more in this white paper from the Electronic Frontier Foundation. Thanks GIS User!]

Republished from the Electronic Frontier Foundation.
By Andrew J. Blumberg and Peter Eckersley, August 2009

PDF file

Also available as a PDF
in English and Bulgarian.

Over the next decade, systems which create and store digital records of people’s movements through public space will be woven inextricably into the fabric of everyday life. We are already starting to see such systems now, and there will be many more in the near future.

Here are some examples you might already have used or read about:

  • Monthly transit swipe-cards
  • Electronic tolling devices (FastTrak, EZpass, congestion pricing)
  • Cellphones
  • Services telling you when your friends are nearby
  • Searches on your PDA for services and businesses near your current location
  • Free Wi-Fi with ads for businesses near the network access point you’re using
  • Electronic swipe cards for doors
  • Parking meters you can call to add money to, and which send you a text message when your time is running out

These systems are marvellously innovative, and they promise benefits ranging from increased convenience to transformative new kinds of social interaction.

Unfortunately, these systems pose a dramatic threat to locational privacy.

What is “locational privacy”?

Locational privacy (also known as “location privacy”) is the ability of an individual to move in public space with the expectation that under normal circumstances their location will not be systematically and secretly recorded for later use. The systems discusssed above have the potential to strip away locational privacy from individuals, making it possible for others to ask (and answer) the following sorts of questions by consulting the location databases:

  • Did you go to an anti-war rally on Tuesday?
  • A small meeting to plan the rally the week before?
  • At the house of one “Bob Jackson”?
  • Did you walk into an abortion clinic?
  • Did you see an AIDS counselor?
  • Have you been checking into a motel at lunchtimes?
  • Why was your secretary with you?
  • Did you skip lunch to pitch a new invention to a VC? Which one?
  • Were you the person who anonymously tipped off safety regulators about the rusty machines?
  • Did you and your VP for sales meet with ACME Ltd on Monday?
  • Which church do you attend? Which mosque? Which gay bars?
  • Who is my ex-girlfriend going to dinner with?

Of course, when you leave your home you sacrifice some privacy. Someone might see you enter the clinic on Market Street, or notice that you and your secretary left the Hilton Gardens Inn together. Furthermore, in the world of ten years ago, all of this information could be obtained by people who didn’t like you or didn’t trust you.

But obtaining this information used to be expensive. Your enemies could hire a guy in a trench coat to follow you around,but they had to pay him. Moreover, it was hard to keep the surveillance secret — you had a good chance of noticing your tail ducking into an alley.

In the world of today and tomorrow, this information is quietly collected by ubiquitous devices and applications, and available for analysis to many parties who can query, buy or subpeona it. Or pay a hacker to steal a copy of everyone’s location history.

It is this transformation to a regime in which information about your location is collected pervasively, silently, and cheaply that we’re worried about.

Continue reading at Electronic Frontier Foundation . . .

Services, Resources and Tools for Mapping Data (Sunlight Foundation)

Wednesday, February 24th, 2010

[Editor's note: Listing of several dozen free web apps and tutorials, including GeoCommons Maker!, Modest Maps, Color Brewer, Open Layers, and Batch GeoCoder.]

Republished from the Sunlight Foundation.
By Kerry Mitchell on 02/19/10

Services, Resources and Tools for Mapping DataLong ago, putting together a map of data points would be the sole domain of a skilled GIS practitioner employing an application like ArcView. These days, particularly with the advent of Google Maps, Yahoo Maps and OpenStreetMap, et al., there are a multitude of options for an individual to employ in displaying data geographically. Of course, there are, and will always be, technical options that require some level of programming chops. Fortunately, the pool of drop dead easy implementations that anyone can throw together with ease has grown a lot over the last few years. Then, there is the growing middle ground, lying somewhere between easy but rigid and difficult but flexible. Personally, I tend to hover in this netherworld, leveraging existing code, services or tutorials when possible but occasionally finding myself diving into the more technical areas when necessary and learning a lot in the process.

For those of you out there who might be interested in mapping data, I’ve put together a collection of links to a variety of services, code samples, resources and tutorials I’ve found useful in the past. These links range from new services that barely require anything more than a spreadsheet to complicated frameworks that require a great deal of technical knowledge. This is by no means all encompassing and if you happen to have additional links you’d like to share, feel free to leave them in the comments.

Continue reading at the Sunlight Foundation . . .

Better Know a GeoCommons Feature – GeoJoin (Fortius One)

Tuesday, February 23rd, 2010

[Editor's note: Easy technique for joining a table of thematic data to geographic shapes in GeoCommons Maker! web app.]

Republished from Fortius One.
February 9th, 2010 by Kevin Burke

Often I have had various GeoCommons users ask me, “How do I turn my excel spreadsheet data into proportional shapes like the map below?”

proport map

Before now I would have told these users that they would have to use complicated and expensive mapping software. This would allow users to combine spreadsheet data with the desired shapes that they want to view on their map.

I am now happy to announce that with GeoCommons you no longer have to rely on the ways of the past. Now FortiusOne has created the new feature of GeoJoin which allows you to move beyond points and easily visualize regions. Below is a walk-through of the process or click this link to view a video that will visually assist you.

Continue reading at Fortius One . . .

Going Native: Using the Google Maps API v3 in Smartphone applications (Killingsworth via Google)

Monday, February 22nd, 2010

[Editor's note: Cut down on development time using the new Google Maps API v3 but creating a single mobile version of your map that can also be wrapped inside a native application for the iPhone or Android.]

Republished from Google Geo Developers Blog.
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Over the last couple of years, my office has been working on using the Google Maps API to display the Missouri State University campus map. The map is used by campus faculty, staff, students, and visitors and includes buildings, parking and transit system information. Beginning this summer, we started work on incorporating live GPS tracking of our campus buses into the map. Both the idea and GPS application on the buses came from one of our computer science students who wanted more information on the campus transit system.

Using the Google Maps API v3, I was able to create a mobile version of our map for use on smartphones. After showing it to my users, one of the first responses I got was, “Are you going to make this available as an application?”. After spending many hours developing a feature-rich mobile web version, the thought of investing a large amount of time to code the same experience on multiple platforms was overwhelming. Then I began thinking of the maintenance headaches; even simple changes, such as adding a new sets of icons for custom markers, would be time consuming. All of a sudden the idea sounded much less appealing. I’d spent all this time on the mobile web version of my map, why couldn’t I just use that?

All Wrapped Up

So instead of writing the maps application using the SDK of each phone platform, I wrapped my v3 Maps API site into a WebView inside a stub application. Now all the work spent on the web version automatically applies to the “native” application and my users never even know the difference. The Google Maps API team have even provided some great reference articles for Android and iPhone which help get the process started.

Continue reading at Google Geo Developers Blog. . . .

The Google Map Envelope (Unplggd)

Thursday, February 18th, 2010

[Editor’s note: Netflix can’t save the USPS alone! Use a Google Maps map envelope to update your grandparents and save snail mail! Thanks Sebastian.]

Republished from Unplgged.

It seems like 99 percent of the mail we send is electronic these days. The other 1 percent is letters and postcards that we want to postmark with our (usually enviable) location for the recipient. That’s why we dig these uber-accurate Google Maps envelopes. Now we can say Hello from 100 Holomoana Street, Honolulu, HI, 96815!

State of Salmon Interactive Data Graphic (Periscopic)

Wednesday, February 17th, 2010

[Editor’s note: This Flash-based info graphic / report from Periscopic is a delight. They are based in Portland, Oregon and have an impressive client list. The company tag line of “Living in a world of data – and offering  a better view” is evident thru the project’s sophisticated quantitative analysis tools, accessed thru the Hydrography, Clusters, Historical, and List tabs. Thanks Wilson!]

Republished from Periscopic.

Salmon are a cultural and biological keystone of life around the Pacific Rim, uniquely linking freshwater and marine ecosystems. They form an irreplaceable mosaic of populations across land and water. This assessment, the first in a series on Pacific salmon, focuses on loss of biodiversity in one species – sockeye salmon.

Interact with the original at Periscopic . . .

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Introduction: Flash Google Maps API and Multi-touch

Thursday, February 11th, 2010

[Editor's note: From last year but multi-touch is still getting rolling.]

Republished from Cyna C Design Ideas blog.

There are many APIs out there to work with. If you start searching around Google, there are many people dedicated to helping people like you and me tie in different information and resources into Flash. It can take quite a long time just understanding a full API and be able to use ALL of it’s capabilities. But that idea is way down the road. If you are like me, it’s nice to find something to help you get off the ground.

Today I came across Emanuele Feronato‘s website, Italian geek and PROgrammer. He has a tutorial to get you started using the GoogleMaps API, so here is your first task in this tutorial:

1. Read Emanuele Feronato‘s tutorial and get Google Maps running in Flash.

Got it yet? Not yet? Don’t worry I took me a little while to get everything downloaded, hooked in and sorted out.

Got it now? Awesome! Set your API key and everything? Great. This tutorial I’m going to try something different. Last time, I built up to the final code step by step. This one, I’ll show you the final version of the code, and we’ll step through it. Let me know which type of tutorial you like better and in the future, I’ll try to keep a consistent style.

Continue reading at Cyna C Design . . .

Meet Map Practical, a new carto blog

Tuesday, February 9th, 2010

Kevin McManigal (also of Adventure Cycling) is teaching intro to cartography in Montana and has a new blog focused on getting into mapping. First posts focus on Google My Maps, Vector versus Raster, and Purpose and Audience.

Welcome to Map Practical, where the cartography gets done. These are the cartographic trenches, the domain of greasy hands, busted knuckles, and sore mouse fingers. This is the home of techniques, tutorials, and tricks of all things map. Here’s how we do it; your job is to make it look good!

Are you a cartographer or studying to be one? How many tricks have you found that slipped your memory and had to be re-learned? How many hours have you spent on Google looking for that long lost tutorial? Thinking back on my first mapping class, there were so many things that I figured out by trial and error, blindly groping for the right keywords in “Help.” There has to be a better way!

So, here I am teaching cartography now and thought, “What if all those tips could be in one convenient place?” Well here it is, Map Practical! This will be an ongoing process; a tip a week, a link here, a comment there, and a video tutorial when I find the time. After a semester or two it should be a good resource.

Please contribute, and it will only get better.

Thanks, Kevin

Check out Map Practical . . .

Volunteered Geographic Information Workshop Notes

Tuesday, February 9th, 2010

This conference, organized by the USGS, happened last month here in DC, thanks Martin! Special import for crises like Haiti.

Also check out: O’Reilly’s Rethinking Open Data: Lessons learned from the Open Data front lines. Read more »

Lots of online presentations and notes, some listed here:

The main site has full listing and notes from breakout sessions . . .

OpenStreetMap leveraged for bikes: Ride the City – DC Metro

Monday, February 8th, 2010

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[Editor’s note: This routing tool considers bike paths and trails and supports drag and drop start and stop icons (rather than just address entree). It’s available for several major metro areas across the US and just came to Washington, DC. How can you get it in your town? Yet another reason to contribute to OpenStreetMap.org, the backend behind the tool. Thanks Jaime!]

Republished from Ride the City.

Washington D.C. is a great city for bicycling: its greenway network is extensive and it’s relatively flat. D.C. is also home to Smartbike DC, a public bike rental program.

We’re happy to announce that today bicycling in the nation’s capital just got easier: Welcome Ride the City – DC Metro! This newest addition includes Washington D.C., Arlington, Alexandria, all of Fairfax, and the Maryland suburbs within the Capital Beltway. We’re hopeful that by making it easier to ride bikes around the epicenter of U.S. political power that we may inspire more action to bring about improved bicycle facilities everywhere, especially in cities where biking is a sensible alternative to driving.

Ride the City – DC Metro was probably our biggest challenge to date. It was tricky because of the many jurisdictions (six counties) and various data sources that had to be organized, not to mention the 1,148 square miles of area and over 450 miles of separated (i.e. Class 1) bike ways that had to be manually edited. We’re happy to have had help from many good people in the bicycling world. Among those who helped, we’d like to thank Chantal Buchser (Washington Area Bicyclist Association), Bruce Wright (Fairfax Advocates for Better Bicycling), and Jeff Hermann (Fairfax County DOT) for helping us with data, troubleshooting, and leveraging volunteers to test routes early on.

(For those of you who are new to Ride the City, keep in mind that the Cloudmade basemap that we use is based on Open Street Map, the volunteer effort to map the world. If you notice discrepancies on the map, you can edit Open Street Map yourself or tell us about it and we’ll edit Open Street Map for you. To learn more about Open Street Map, click here.)

Try it out at Ride the City . . .