bring on the geode

A few teaser posts have appeared over the last few days about this new Firefox add-on called “Geode”, which promises to “understand location, enabling enriched, personalized, and localized content”. There has been a slightly muted reaction to this, possibly due to the fact that it’s supposed to be available today and yet there’s no sign of it in the labs. Some people think these features are now common-place and therefore not that exciting at all.

post hols round up

After a week away on the Isle of Skye in Scotland (with no computers, no phones, great weather and gorgeous landscape, but more midges than any sane person really needs) I had over 1000 rss feed items to read, most of which appeared to be about google (photos of the olympic site or streetview), but a few little gems did stand out: For the historians and literary types amongst you, the diaries of Samuel Pepys and George Orwell are being syndicated, one entry a day.

why i love open source

A couple of people have remarked to me that one reason that they are not prepared to make the open source jump is the lack of support. Well, last week I wrote about a mastermap importer that I had found. I said I would like to be able to merge the huge numbers of shapefiles produced into more manageable chunks. I got a lot of good advice as to ways I might be able to do that using gdal, which is really handy, BUT I also emailed the developer about the same problem.

sunday tip day convert a shapefile to text with linux

Never apologise for delayed posts… this is a Sunday Tip Day post, not a Thursday! Anyhow… I just found a super little cross-platform utility that takes shapefiles and dumps them to a variety of text-based formats. Download it here, and simply unzip it to use it. There isn’t much documentation, but basically your options are to download to gpx or spreadsheet. The following gives you a simple delimited text file with the coordinates and values from your attribute table:


Just as we are settling down with the transition to open source, it would seem that a lot of other people are at least considering their options along the same lines, for whatever reason. This thread on the osgeo_discuss list, started off as a question about the value of open source to individual’s careers, but rapidly morphed into a discussion about replacing the ESRI packages. This seems to have lead to a general consensus about the areas where the open source packages do well and do badly.

some good news at last

Just what we needed- some good news- the AHRC are to continue funding the ADS. There isn’t any information publicly available yet as to how long the funding will last, and there is an intimation that charges for use will have to change, but all in all this is a good thing!

thursday tip day converting os grid squares for gis

After last week’s post I was asked in the comments to explain how to convert British Ordnance Survey Grid Squares to sensible Eastings and Northings, for use in a GIS. So here goes… Firstly- to quote from the Ordnance Survey website: The National Grid, like its military predecessors, consists of a systematic breakdown of the Grid area into progressively smaller squares identified first by letters and then numbers. The largest unit of the grid is 500km squares each designated by a prefix letter alphabetically from A-Z omitting I - the first letter to be quoted in today’s National Grid Reference.

thursday tip day creating an access 97 compatible geodatabase in arcgis 92

Access 97 is still a popular choice for databases (especially in archaeology!) but the default ArcGIS 9.2 geodatabase is in Access 2000 format and cannot be opened in earlier versions of Microsoft Access. It is possible to create a geodatabase that can be used by both programmes. Create a blank database in Microsoft Access 97 and save it to the location where you want your geodatabase to be stored. Close Access

foss4g the first day

Well that’s the first official day of FOSS4G 2007 over and done with. A good time was had by all I believe. We kicked off with the opening sessions- of which the highlight for me was the lightning talks. Just like last yearabout the acquisition of Mentor and the planned open sourcing of their projection and transformation tools. I wish that meant more to me, but I don’t know much about it…

foss4g the zeroth day

Greetings from Victoria, on the day before the official commencement of FOSS4G 2007. I’ve actually been in Victoria since Friday, but William Gibson was right when he said that jetlag is like waiting for your soul to catch up with the rest of your body, as that’s exactly what I’ve felt like. So- in brief- the flight from the UK was superb- the weather was clear over Iceland and Greenland so I had fantastic views of both.