Come Work With Us

I could drop a link to weather.gov1 and say living in Phoenix is simply wonderful. I could mention that we’re hiring developers with PostGIS experience2. I could mention we’re working in Node.js3. I could mention we’re working only in Leaflet.js4. Actually I could mention a lot of things but the bottom line is if you want to work with PostGIS/Node.js/Leaflet on projects around the world and enjoy 85 degree days in February, apply here.

I’m looking for entry level developers and those with more experience. Apply away if you want to work in Phoenix with PostGIS/Node.js/Leaflet.

  1. Sadly if you click this link in August it won’t be so special

  2. You need not touch Esri software at all

  3. Maybe everyone mentions this these days

  4. Everyone should be

LAS, LAZ, LasZip, zLAS and You

Paul Ramsey sums up the situation very well:

Rather than avoiding a lengthy LIDAR format war, we are now entering one. In some respects, this will be healthy: the open LAS community now has to come up to feature parity faster than it might otherwise. But in most ways, it’s unhealthy: users will have data interchange issues, they’ll have to understand and install format translation software, and add extra steps to their processing chains.

Yuck right?  LAS is still niche so it isn’t like FGDB where you have to convert it to old shapefiles to make it useful but working outside the community is not good for users.  I’m glad I don’t work for a data marketplace anymore, these file formats are springing up like weeds1.

As a user, I don’t leave LIDAR data in LAS  but convert it into other formats to use it.  But it’s that interchange issue that keeps us stuck with old formats such as the shapefile.   Sharing LAS is difficult to to huge file sizes.  Binary point clouds with some sort of compression makes complete sense.  Now you’ve got multiple file types to deal with.  Enjoy…


  1. Hard to keep track of them all

Mobile GIS – 2014 Edition

Windows_CE_logoIf there is one area “professional GIS” has failed it is in the mobile arena.  Crazy Windows CE, Java and other solutions just confuse and frustrate users.  Heck after coming back into the GIS consulting world I’ve picked up these handheld ArcPad GPS units and failed to be able to get them to work1.  There are some great Smartphone/Tablet solutions such as my favorite Fulcrum but they really fail on battery life2.

I’m always on the look out for better solutions to solve mobile GIS and the latest seems to be Windows Surface devices running Windows 8.  I’ve been getting a lot of requests internally to test the devices for data collection.  Most of it comes from the wish that users can run ArcGIS Desktop in the field.  We’ve been fighting this on the mobile side for years, but maybe we should just sit back and let them have their day with a hacked up Surface Pro 2 with USB GPS and a checked out ArcGIS Desktop Basic3 and be done with.

QGis_LogoThen again, what about standardizing on a PostGIS/QGIS field tool?  This solves a couple of issues for me including the licensing implications of having floating licenses in the field for days at a time.  I’m personally trying to reduce software licensing costs to a practical level and the unknown of who will check out extensions throws a wrench in it.  The beauty of a PostGIS/QGIS solution is in the freedom to send people in the field for data collection and not have licensing bite us in the rear.  I’m going to try to secure a Surface Pro 2 test-bed and see what such a PostGIS/QGIS field collection tool can do.

Plus once they get back into the office, sync the PostGIS data up and the GIS analysts can use it with their ArcGIS Desktop projects.  Win/win, right?

  1. To be fair, the older I get, the more confused I get with technology

  2. If you can’t tweet all day with your smartphone, how can you use the GPS?

  3. ArcView was so much easier to say

The Shapefile

So antiquated, so limiting, so dangerous…

Yet so important to our daily workflows.  It’s the pinch-point on every project.  Every year we make statements saying this is the year the shapefile goes away.  Yet here in 2014 I’m dealing with the limitations of DBF 1 yet again.  Shapefile, you drive me nuts yet I can’t quit you just yet.  Here is to another “wonderful” year of .shp, .shx, .shp, .prj, .sbn, .sbx, .fbn, .fbx, .ain, .aih, .ixs, .mxs, .atx, .cpg and of course .shp.xml.

Here’s to another year of the shapefile!

  1. I know so much about DBF reserve words, sadly…

Get the PostGIS Cookbook eBook for $5

8666OS_mockupcover_cbPackt has an eBook sale going on. All eBooks are $5 including lost of the spatial books including the new PostGIS Cookbook that comes out next month.  Other spatial books of note include:

The sale ends January 3rd so you have some time.

Apple Didn’t Aquire Broadmap

Update:  Well here you go…

broadmapWe had heard months ago that some BroadMap staff had moved on to Apple but today things have “exploded”.

Based on evidence and chatter from sources, Apple seemingly acquired mapping firm BroadMap in the first half of this year…

It’s complicated what has actually happened.  Many people are claiming different things, but from what I’ve been told:

  1. Apple bought the intellectual property of BroadMap and licensed it back to them.
  2. Management of BroadMap and many key staff have joined Apple.  I’ve gotten many different explanations as to “the how” of this but they’re at Apple
  3. BroadMap is still servicing existing clients.  They may be doing this with “legacy staff” or have been using a 3rd party for support.

BroadMap has tweeted that they’re still around as well.

Given the uncertantity of it all, I’m guessing there isn’t much marketing staff left at BroadMap to deal with all these questions.  Thus the ambiguity of it all.

Now what I’m interested in is Apple now has many old GDT1 staff on board.  I’m assuming they’re going to be working to replace TomTom with their own mapping data.  That’s more interesting that who owns what shell company anymore.

  1. Which was acquired by TeleAtlas and then TomTom

Using PostGIS on Amazon RDS with OpenGeo Suite

Paul Ramsey on using PostGIS on Amazon RDS:

With Amazon Web Services, I had a backed-up and replication-ready database up and running in under an hour, and OpenGeo Suite tied into it in another hour. With the knowledge I’ve gained, next time will take only a few minutes.

Think about that for a moment, a few minutes and you can deploy an enterprise GIS solution.  Life is easier when you don’t have licensing constraints.

Patents Are Awesome:: Apple Files Patent for GIS

So over coffee I read this:

Apple’s “Interactive Map” patent filing details a mapping program that enables users to dynamically adjust and view different “layers” of content pulled from the Internet. Examples include commuting, tourism and weather map layers, among others.

Layers of content, brilliant!  Why did we not think of this before?  The patent filing is a road map for GIS.  But I see huge problems with their method, look at this:



Where is the north arrow?   Not only that Apple’s map data for Washington DC is cartoonish.  No wonder people hate Apple Maps.  I can tell you the maps of Phoenix look much better.  Looking over the other supporting images is depressing.  Breaking down what I do into flow charts, gawd we suck.



I look forward to licensing Apple’s patent to do my work.