June 17, 2011

New data-portal and georabble

Posted by josediacono @ 10:32 am under Uncategorized

The City of Baltimore has made  a really usable and welcoming portal for open government data – especially if you are interested in parking fines, violations and repeat offenders.


We had a talk at Georabble last night about these from Lach McCabe : Using geo to reveal the story at the Sydney Morning Herald. He is using something called Google refine to cleanse his data. I’d not come across this before and its worth a look.

Standout presentation for me was Jacqui Kennedy : In Their Honour – Mapping our Anzacs – showing where all our servicemen and women are buried and linking to their records. This was because she told us the story behind this competition winning mashup – how her four uncles headed off to fight for king and country in the first world war and how the debacle at Anzac Cove was due to woeful maps which didn’t even have contours to show the steep slopes and ravines. When I was 15 I went on an exchange to Corbie in France and we visited the VILLERS-BRETONNEUX MEMORIAL cemetery. It was a very moving experience even for a self absorbed teenager.

June 9, 2011

Waze and Foursquare

Posted by josediacono @ 7:06 pm under Uncategorized

Are they games, community services, social media or all three? I’d heard of Waze and Foursquare from my social media guru friend Yvonne Thompson but havn’t used them. While browsing on the where 2.0 conference website I found two great videos

http://where2conf.com/where2011/public/schedule/detail/17800 how to motivate the crowd to source navigation and traffic data

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TpTDGeLiFnc&feature=player_embedded#at=11 interview with foursquare founder

They are a real eye opener on the creativity and drive of these incredibly young looking location aware entrepreneurs.

More interesting chat about where 2.o on Maurice Van der Vlugt’s blog

April 19, 2011

bread-and-butter-mashups for surveyors (and everyone)

Posted by josediacono @ 4:26 pm under Uncategorized

Make your own Mashup with Google Fusion. The Mashup and Ad Hoc mapping seminar we (SSSI) ran for the Institution of Surveyors NSW last week was very well received. Over 50 surveyors at this twilight seminar at Surry Hills to learn what are mashups, why should I be doing them and how do I get started?

I spoke about mashups in general and my favourites, why they are so valuable for business as well as fun, community stuff. Cameron Shorter spoke about selecting data and how to make sure it is fast and easy to use, Matt Robinson walked us through some step by step examples. We were keen to hear how surveyors might use a mashup. One suggestion was to plot all survey jobs on a Google Map. Andrew Harvey at Lagen Spatial has put together a very simple step by step guide of  how to do this with Google Fusion – taking a spreadsheet and visualising it on a Google Map. Check it out on their blog

March 31, 2011

Introduction to Mashups and ad hoc mapping 13th April

Posted by josediacono @ 8:36 pm under Uncategorized

On Wednesday 13th April at the Institute of NSW office in Surry Hills, Sydney 5.30-7.30 pm. A joint SSSI – IS-NSW event.

Click for more info

Click for more info

What are Mashups?

Why should I be creating them? 

How do I get started?

An entertaining and educational evening specially designed for surveyors and spatial professionals. Absolutely no prior web development knowledge needed.

Lots of lively examples, step by step guide and tips for creating good mashups. I’m really looking forward to  co-presenting with Matt Robinson of Lagen Spatial and Cameron Shorter of Lisasoft.

Seminar information Mashups with SSSI 13 April 2011

Download Registration Form (ISNSW don’t have online registration yet)

new data.gov.au and library hack competition

Posted by josediacono @ 10:04 am under Uncategorized

The production version of Data.gov.au is live. It provides an easy (my emphasis because  easy  is crucial) way to find, access and reuse public datasets from the Australian Government and state and territory governments. What is really exciting is they will help hackers and mashers to stand on each others’ shoulders.

“We encourage all users to improve government information by using it to develop tools and applications which benefit all Australians. Submitting links to these new applications will enable their promotion through data.gov.au in future enhancements to the site”

Libraryhack is a mashup and apps competition using data from Australian and New Zealand libraries. Starting in February for ideas and May for apswith hackfests around the country.  Get busy!



March 28, 2011

Good news – victorian mashups not lost

Posted by josediacono @ 11:20 am under Uncategorized

After the election, the the whole appmystate web presence disappeared from the Victorian premier’s website. But they just told me it has been moved to an archive so I’ve fixed all the links in favourite mashups. There are no concrete plans to run followup activities at the moment but I’ll keep checking.

March 26, 2011

where were the NSW election maps?

Posted by josediacono @ 9:40 pm under Uncategorized

I can only sadly conclude at the end of election night that this was another missed opportunity for the mapping and spatial fraternity and I am kicking myself for not doing something about it.

A quick google search of “nsw election results map” found this

which linked through to this…

NSW election results

Heaven help the average punter who just wants to find out where all these electorates they are talking about on the TV and radio are.  A bit further down the search results,  the Sydney Morning Herald came to the rescue with its interactive map. A good start but it could have been so much more.

It colour coded the electorates as results came in and gave a thumbnail description of the demographics of each electorate. Rather than a textual description it would oh-so- feasible to include census graphics from the ABS from Brad Spencers Demographic Drapes or the new online Atlas of NSW – wouldn’t that have been so powerful in the hands of the  TV election commentators?

They could have walked us through the key characteristics of the electorate they are talking about as Stephen Lead did for Bondi in this short video of the online Atlas of NSW.   Instead the only map to be seen on the ABC was a black NSW state outline with a dot for the electorate in question which doesn’t exactly help you understand where Marrickville is in relation to Mulgoa?

So why didn’t the media use maps? (I have to admit I didn’t look at every channel so if the others did a better job, please tell me).My guess they havn’t got their heads around how to do it yet. So whose job is it to educate them or, in the case of the ABC who are getting into it, lend them a hand? It has to be the spatial people, because we know where to get the data they need.

But we have to think about it well ahead of time – its no use railing on election night! Who exactly do I mean by ‘spatial people’. I think it falls to our associations – SSSI, SIBA, GITA and other bodies such as the CRC-SI. Do they have staff whose job this is – or should they create the positions? Or just co-fund one person to do it on behalf of the industry as a whole?  I suspect a lot of people have it as a small part of their role but it really isn’t anyone’s priority. It takes time to build a relationship with a journalist and this process would have needed to start months before the election so that websites were up and running, commentators trained in how to use them and Google ranking them in searches.

Getting the media to use maps and getting them to write stories about them are two sides of the same coin.We criticise the media for pouncing on bad news stories like the poor public servant who releases data that turns out to be wrong (myschools in Tasmania). We can hardly expect government departments to fall over themselves to publish the data we are clamouring for if they risk a media furore. Can ‘someone’ start feeding journalists good news stories like this one in the Sunday Observer?  The ABCs Futuretense has run several excellent mapping stories so they are clearly interested. But again which ‘someone’?

p.s. I just found this map of sausage sizzles and other election day activities



March 21, 2011

Georabble and bus apps

Posted by josediacono @ 9:23 pm under Uncategorized
Ross Johnson wonders if this is the queue for Georabble

Ross Johnson wonders if this is the queue for Georabble

Georabble was definitely a huge hit. The upstairs room at the Occidental hotel in York street, Sydney  (great location) was packed with spatial people, journalists, a lawyer (who introduced me to a top iphone app called Tripview which I downloaded for $2.50 on the way home).

Two especially interesting talks were Monique Potts of the ABC on Queensland Flood Mapping and Chris Broadfoot, joint winner of the recent apps4nsw comp who explained next-bus, a website app that uses RTA realtime bus info to let you stay in bed a couple of extra minutes. See all the buses approaching your stop. As always, much of the challenges involve getting the data. The live bus feed seems to be still intermittent but Tripview which uses static timetable data tells you what bus is coming in theory, is a good second.  Tripview allows you to choose your bus stop from a google map rather than having to guess the non-obvious stop description you have to select on the 131500 website. Thanks to the ‘rabble’ of organisers. Great job guys.


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March 7, 2011

apps4nsw hackfest

Posted by josediacono @ 9:56 pm under Uncategorized

From 8am on Saturday 19th February, 160 website designers, developers and government people got together at the Powerhouse Museum for an apps4nsw development day. Their challenge was to build an app in about 8 hours, using data from the NSW Government.

Find out what happened next… apps4nsw hackfest 2011

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February 16, 2011

more geo-socialising

Posted by josediacono @ 9:05 am under Uncategorized

have you heard of GeoRabble (http://georabble.org) yet?

GeoRabble is an open and inclusive forum for GeoGeeks to share, inspire and have fun. The first GeoRabble evening will be held on Wednesday 16 March 2011, in Sydney.

Come join us at the Occidental Hotel for an evening of geo-fun and networking, where you will hear about Crowdsourcing the Queensland Floods, Geo-Interactions with Mr. Men, and anything to do with GeoTech, GeoDev, GeoBusiness, GeoTrends, and GeoFutures!

It’s free, but you’ll need to register at http://georabble.eventbrite.com/

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