When retrieving data from a database into an object oriented language such as Java, we often find it easier to convert the SQL data into our own object based structures. In the Java world, Latitude has been using Hibernate for this purpose for years. It’s a great piece of software that has helped tremendously in project work. As we get into more and more .NET projects, the same data challenges exist. Although Hibernate is available in a .NET flavour, I’m more excited about Microsoft’s new LINQ technology. It’s the same idea as Hibernate, but is more tightly integrated into C#, Visual Basic, and Visual Studio.
Archive for August, 2007
I was reviewing the list of upcoming conferences with the team yesterday, and I can’t believe how many events are happening in September/October. Even with four digital projectors, numerous exhibit configurations, and half a dozen staff who attend these events, there is so much happening simultaneously we simply can’t attend everything. At one point, Steve Maddison will have about three hours at home between returning from Europe and hitting the road for New York.
I thought I’d give a quick update on Geocortex IMF-related product releases.
We’re coding away for a 5.2 release of Geocortex IMF, scheduled for late September/early October. This is a minor release in the IMF 5.x line; separate from the IMF 6.0 project which Moxi is still working on. We’ve also got a new version of Editing Suite for Geocortex IMF coming in September.
Stay tuned for more updates.
Steven Myhill-Jones and I are similar enough in appearance to have actually fooled people into mistaking one for the other. My daughter once famously mistook Steve for daddy. At the 2005 ESRI User Conference in San Diego people openly teased Steve for featuring a big picture of himself on the full-page Geocortex ad located on the back outside cover of the conference agenda (it was actually a photo of me).
Despite the mistaken identities, I don’t actually resemble Steve enough to begin entertaining thoughts of “separated at birth” suspicions. Enter the guy fixing the roof outside Latitude’s main office this week:
That’s me on the left. The fellow on the right was around long enough for me to grab a picture, but not long enough for me to ask his name (or more importantly, ask him what his parents’ names are).
Once you delve into the ArcXML Programmer’s Reference Guide you notice that the cartographic capabilities of ArcIMS are increased, when compared with those offered in through ArcIMS Author – ArcMAP provides a solid UI to define your map service symbology, whereas to take advantage of the symbology options not available in ArcIMS Author, you must update the ArcXML code directly (using a program like TextPad).
As ArcIMS also supports raster marker symbols, which aren’t available in ArcIMS Author, I have found the following script to be infinitely useful:
This script outputs an AXL file based on an MXD. Note I have found that some of the symbology does not carry across entirely, so if using this utility you will likely have to do some tweaks (sometimes polygons receive polyline symbols…) – I find that this tool is especially great for theming different classes of polygons and symbolizing point layers with the ArcGIS symbols.
By the number of downloads recorded, I am not the only one who finds this script invaluable – thanks Jeroen!
People googling other people to learn more about them has become part of modern life. A few months ago I was debating the best way to ship something to a company, so I brought up their location on Google Maps. On a whim, I switched to imagery and saw “head office” was a rural farm (incongruous).
It is common knowledge that lots of businesses (particularly small ones) hope to make themselves look bigger/different than they are. While I’ve always used a consumer mapping engine to figure out directions to a place I’m about to visit, I’ve recently started using aerial imagery to scout the location of some firms prior to doing business with them.
Because I made a decision from Victoria, I depended heavily on aerial imagery during the selection of the location for our new office in Toronto. And yes, I absolutely considered how people might read into possible office addresses based on a bird’s eye spatial query.
If I’m visiting from above, then I imagine lots of other people are doing it too. I wonder if we’re entering an era in which location as seen from above will become increasingly relevant for businesses (especially for small/online businesses that may never have a customer visit their premises). Will growing birds-eye visits fundamentally change site-selection criteria? Might lower-quality premises in a quality area be superior to a nice office in a lower-quality area? Might appearance from above be more relevant than appearance from ground level when determining “quality” and making decisions about where to establish an office?
Here’s the link to photos from the Geocortex Picnic at the 2007 ESRI International User Conference in San Diego: http://www.flickr.com/photos/geocortexblog/sets/72157601028331067/detail/
We host this free annual picnic for clients and guests so everyone can socialize, get some fresh air/sunshine in the park, and avoid 10,000 other people hunting for lunch over ten square city blocks. We had about 250 folks join us, and it seemed like people enjoyed themselves.
We’ve got Embarcadero Marina Park South (see map) booked for next years’ conference, and the caterer has suggested barbequed ribs. Too messy? Maybe…
We’ve been working with ESRI software for more than 7 years now. From a pure business perspective, there are many reasons Latitude has focused mostly on ESRI products. But it’s not the business side that excites me — it’s the technology. Here are a few reasons I like ESRI technology:
Web ADF – I recall last summer sitting down with Steve to discuss some of the technology I played with while down at Redlands participating in holistic testing. We started chatting about Web ADF and, as I always do, I tried to think of a meaningful analogy to communicate what I thought the signficance of Web ADF was – it went something like “ADF is to ESRI server technology what .NET is to Microsoft technology.” You could sit down and write all of the code necessary to incorporate ArcIMS, ArcGIS Server, OGC, and others and build a framework for map navigation, tools, querying, etc, or you could build on top of Web ADF, leap frog all the up front development and focus on your real business challenges. It’s relatively new technology and has some wrinkles to iron out, but I believe it will become a core asset for ESRI. And based on discusionss I’ve had with Redlands, they seem on top of emerging .NET technologies for the .NET verion of Web ADF. We’re putting our money on the .NET ADF.
ArcObjects – ArcObjects is perhaps the largest COM implementation in the world and has to be the most feature rich GIS library available. Put that into a server context and you’ve got the makings of a pretty powerful web GIS engine. Now, ArcObjects isn’t the easiest, most intuitive library to program with, and it wasn’t originally designed to run in a server context, but it is certainly stabilizing and we should see big performance jumps with the 9.3 release. Also, having ArcGIS Server powered by ArcObjects means that as the desktop GIS functionality matures due to technological and user driven innovations, so will ArcGIS Server.
Supporting Technology – It always amazes me how much effort ESRI goes to to support their products on so many different platforms. Windows, Solaris, Linux, Java, .NET, ColdFusion. Sometimes you get the feeling that they bite off more than they can chew – but I would rather have the option to run on my platform of choice than not run at all.
User Community – All it takes is one trip to the ESRI International User Conference or even the Developer Summit in Palm Springs to realize how many like-minded developers there are out there trying to build the same stuff you are. Or do a Google search for some Java or .NET technology only to find a bunch of hits pointing to GIS developer problems. Bottom line is that if you’re struggling with an ESRI programming challenge, someone has probably solved and posted about it.