Hangouts with James Fee: Special Guest Steve Pousty

Hangouts with James Fee Season 4 starts soon.  We’re going to continue as a podcast so make sure you stay tuned for the guests.  I figure it is fitting that the last video hangout I had with Steve be posted as the “first” podcast.  Enjoy and I’ll see you all after my honeymoon.


CartoDB is the Next Spatial Startup to Get Funding

Back in June, Mapbox received their Series B round of $52.55M.  With that, Mapbox has turned up their development on just about everything and had a grand old-time at the Esri UC buying just about every advertising space outside the San Diego Convention Center.  At the time Eric said:

We’re creating the building blocks for a complete mapping stack. This extends way beyond a map.

Today CartoDB has announced their Series B:

We are excited to announce the close of $23 million in Series B financing to expand CartoDB’s mission, enabling anyone to map their world’s data and leverage the power of location.

This moment is truly important because it sends a strong message about the location intelligence revolution as renowned investors validate our position and direction in this growing market. I would like to acknowledge the hard work done by many people in the company in the process — you guys rock!

Spatial IT is hot stuff right now.  That’s about $75M in Series B funding in little over 2 months.  Bubble?  Probably not as you can’t really say either company hasn’t developed a business and has important clients.  5 years ago there were much more spatial startups running around trying to get money, from GeoIQ and SimpleGeo to WeoGeo1 and Geoloqi all received some funding but ended up being acquired mostly for staff or client lists.  CartoDB and Mapbox are of a different beast and their sustainability has been rewarded by large investments.

So what’s going on with CartoDB now?  It appears they’re going to continue investing in the core product and make it bigger and easier to work with.  I’m excited for them, the elephant is going for a ride!


  1. good times

10 Years Ago on Spatially Adjusted – “Ron Lake – What is KML?”

10 years ago, Google Earth was still somewhat unknown.  It had its big coming out party with a natural disaster1 and people started doing amazing things with it.  If there was one person back in 2005 that knew XML spatial formats, it was Ron Lake.  He wrote a commentary on KML 10 years ago this week.  I for one read his article with 10 years of time to think about they implications of KML and see why from his perspective KML was not able to handle his needs.

Back then we all thought KML was the future and there wasn’t much that couldn’t be done.  I think now we all realize that KML is the new PDF except we knew that 10 years ago.  XML of course is never the answer…

  1. Katrina

The Death of GeoGig Has Been Greatly Exaggerated

GeoGig is not dead.

In light of some recent questions, I would like to take to a moment to discuss what the GeoGig team is up to and what additional steps are being taken to prepare for GeoGig 1.0. To frame this discussion I will highlight two steps (rebase and tag) that are used to prepare a data product for release in GeoGig.

I wrote this article last week about version control and GIS and noted that I thought that GeoGig is not dead.  Clearly that isn’t the case and it appears that development is ongoing, just not on GitHub directly which I believe is some of the confusion.  We’ll all keep an eye out.

The GIS Superhero Meme

Who can go to a spatial conference and not see the GIS superhero t-shirts, the presentations with superhero references and job ads claiming that if you work for them, you’ll be a GIS superhero.  It’s awkward right?


But where did this superhero meme come from?  I’ve been trying to determine what set this all off and I think the first modern1 reference to a GIS superhero was Safe Software back in 2011.
spatialsuperheroesI’m guessing this showed up because of the FME 2011 beta screen.


If you search FME mailing lists you’ll find references to “FME Superhero” back as far as 2007.  It was all in jest or at least had the feeling that it was a bit of a joke.

But this all turned crazy when in 2012 at the ESRI UC, MapMan arrived apparently created by Daniel Gill.  After that moment, Esri conferences and meetups all had MapMan/MapGirl swag to buy or give away.  And with that GIS people started referring to themselves as superheros, hiring superheros and the rest.  I would have though this meme would die a quick death because it’s a bit ridiculous but if there is one thing GIS people love to do is oversell themselves.  Just use hashtag #mapman to see it all on your favorite social media network.

The GeoMonkey never had a meme. You left him behind.
The GeoMonkey never had a meme. You left him behind.


  1. I’m sounding like a history professor here

Waze sued for allegedly stealing data from another navigation app

phantomalert_demoWell I’m not sure how much this had to do with Waze being owned by Google or not but PhantomAlert is suing Waze.

Before the advent of GPS and navigation apps, cartographers sneaked “paper towns” and “trap streets” into their maps—fake points of interest that they used to detect plagiarism. If someone copied their map, it would be easily identifiable through the inclusion of those locations. That same trick has found its way into modern-day mapping systems: A new lawsuit brought against Google and its traffic app Waze cites sham points of interest as evidence that the Google-owned service copied from a competitor’s database.

Apparently these two companies tried to make a deal before Google snapped up Waze and PhantomAlert is alleging that Waze used their database to “boost its profile”.  One of the biggest concerns in the OpenStreetMap community is allowing these intentional mistakes into their database.  Copyright Easter Eggs is well documented on the OSM website.

Copyright Easter Egg, in terms of mapping, is a feature that is drawn in a distinctive way in order to help identify its original author. It may be a nonexistent, or slightly or heavily distorted, map feature, or its name may be wrongly or unusually spelt.

The supposed main purpose of such a feature is to strengthen the author’s case in a copyright dispute. If he can show that his own unique feature appears in the defendant’s work, it is easier to prove that the defendant’s work is a copy of his.

Hey look, I got to use the new Google logo already!

Yea so if this is true, PhantomAlert has a pretty good idea that Waze stole their data and it could mean big trouble for Google.  Having a closed database like this opens Waze up to these kinds of lawsuits because they are unable to have the community police the data.  The big question is was this data imported into Waze intentionally or by accident.  I don’t think the latter will get them off the hook but if there was intent it could be costly.  We’ll have to see.  The Waze byline about “outsmarting traffic, together” might not be too smart.