Wednesday, October 20, 2010

World Bank mashup competition

A new mashup competition has been just announced by the World Bank, with prizes ranging from U$15,000 for the winning submission to U$2,000 for honourable mention. All entries must be submitted by 10 January 2011 and winners will be announced in April, 2011.

One of the preconditions of participation is use of World Bank’s free data, launched under its Open Data Initiative in April, 2010. “The Apps for Development Competition aims to bring together the best ideas from both the software developer and the development practitioner communities to create innovative apps using World Bank data… All entrants will retain all intellectual property ownership in their submissions.”

Google Map creators get recognition

Brothers Lars and Jens Rasmussen, the creators of technology behind Google Maps, have been formally recognised for their role in developing and launching this popular world-wide service. This week they were named NSW's Entrepreneurs of the Year in the information and communications technology (ICT) field.

Sometimes it takes outsiders to shake out things in stagnated industries, as GIS once used to be. Pitching the idea to Google was a brilliant move (and reportedly very profitable). Otherwise who know where we would be today…

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Free GIS Tools - Google Map

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Sutherland Shire Map's a winner

Earlier this week, coinciding with Spatial@gov conference in Canberra, industry associations representing spatial professionals in Australia announced their annual Asia Pacific Spatial Excellence Awards. Amongst many categories there was one that caught my particular attention: People and Community Award. The winner in this category was Sutherland Shire Council with its Online Shire Maps application. It is indeed quite impressive application, well deserving to be a winner. Built with ESRI's ArcGIS server as a backbone and Flex (Flash) front end it is very responsive and quite attractive in design. Developers took advantage of Flash vector and animation capabilities well utilising a wide range of visual effects.

The map comes with a comprehensive set of data and aerial photography layers. In particular, available data layers include simple "white base" map, ideal for drawing objects and annotating text (relevant tools are accessible with a single click on a menu panel), terrain map with hill shading effects, but also a whole range of colour coded thematic maps showing planning and zoning areas, accessibility indexes for public transport on various days of the week or environmental information. Imagery layers include early aerial photos dating back to 1930 through to the latest high resolution snaps from archive. Full set of points of interests and boundary overlays, such as wards or suburbs, is also available from a drop down menu.

The map has a comprehensive legend for all data themes as well as location search function with a range of search options, including latitude/ longitude. Created maps can be easily printed or saved in PDF format. Access to the application does not require login so, the only downside is that user annotated maps cannot be saved as a "work in progress".

Congratulations to the development team at Sutherland Shire!