August 2006


James posted that he hadn’t seen any new “must see” hardware this year such as the touch tables and 3D printers that have wowed people in the past. Well I think the 3D video camera demonstrated in this video of a presentation given to Google might be a contender for next year!

It uses a laser array to capture a 3D image up to 5km away like lidar but a whole frame at a time and combines this with a standard 2D visible or IR image to create a 3D model of each frame, it can capture up to 30 frames a second, which means it can capture moving objects, or can be mounted to moving platforms such as an aircraft or car. It can also see through windows to capture the inside of buildings in 3D, or through particulates such as smoke or fog. There must be so many applications for this camera, from performing detailed 3D and visual surveys of streets and towns, for mapping hazardous areas, or just quickly collecting data that would make great content in a 3D earth browser application!

Whenever I saw a movie where the intelligence services took a cctv image then enhanced it and started flying around it in 3D it always made me laugh at the unfeasibility of this, well with this camera you can actually do this, and they demonstrate doing exactly that around the Google campus.

I’m putting one of these on my Christmas shopping list, though I’m still waiting for my 3D touch screen “coffee table”.

Well they always say that if you write a blog, it doesn’t matter what subject you theoretically focus on you will invariably just end up blogging about other blogs. So in the best traditions of blogging this blog is all about blogs.

Reading peoples reports of the geoblogger meetup at the UC this year and at where 2.0 got me wondering what would happen if you tried to do the same in the UK. The basic conclusion I came to was that there probably wouldnt be very many people turning up. Not because there are no blogs at all, but the few that there are cover an amazing diversity of subjects with not much overlap, and it would be hard to think of a UK event that would have more than a couple of people at. I guess the biggest traditional GI event would be the AGI conference in september but even then i’m not sure there would be many bloggers, there may be more at some of the opengeodata events, which seems to have a pretty vibrant community building up around it.

Its perfectly possible that I’m just not paying attention and there are hundreds of UK based geoblogs out there that i haven’t yet found. It may also be that blogs are not so popular in the UK, perhaps we prefer keeping ourselves to ourselves here. However there are a number of popular mail lists here that have quite vocal people on but not so many blogs.

Does it matter where bloggers are based? It seems like the majority of things that people talk about are technology based and have broad international appeal, so some of the blogs I’ve listed below you’d be hard pressed to know they were UK based, and I’m sure there are others that are UK based but no-one knows. I did find which has a good list of european blogs in many languages.

I’m sure there are plenty of subjects that are of interest to the UK only, both technology such as working with UK projections or UK specific Data and organisational or even just events information, but not many people post about these. Maybe there are not many people in the UK who read blogs for local GI news, I have to say that most of the comments I have had left or emailed on my blog have not been from the UK.

Anyway below is a short list of blogs that are uk based (i think) that could be called geoblogs. I’m sure people will point me at hundreds more, but this is a start.

Well I haven’t blogged anything for ages, as I’ve been a little busy finishing up my current project, and pretty much onsite most of July, but hopefully things will calm down a bit now. I’ve just been trawling through the UC Q&A pages seeing what all the lucky people who are off to the user conference will get to see. (Not that I’m jealous or anything!). Everyone seems to be focusing on the new licensing/tiering of ArcGIS Server. I think the change is a good thing, though it will take a while to get used to thinking about 1 product “ArcGIS Server” with multiple levels rather than all the different individual products (ArcSDE, ArcGIS, ArcIMS etc) as we do at the moment. Some people have complained that its now even more complex, but i think once you get used to it its actually simpler, and its going to be a lot easier and more consistent when trying to explain to potential customers.

Anyway to the point: I discovered this little gem in the Q and A section that seems to have been overlooked in all the Server discussion. It seems that ESRI will be supporting an open source DBMS in the form of PostGreSQL, this support is currently in testing and due for release sometime after the initial 9.2 release. You can read about it at the Q&A section under the Geodatabase and ArcSDE section (Q11).

I’d heard rumours of this, and noticed a few bugs logged in the 9.2 system that mentioned Postgres, which pointed to something happening, but its nice to see something public about this, It will be interesting to see whether people actually choose this platform to run an enterprise Spatial database with ESRI technology, or whether organisations that adopt an open source database will be less inclined to use it with commercial software.

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