Monday, August 31, 2009

Mono more popular than Java on Linux

For a long time the Linux desktop and Java were like Starbucks and coffee. But according to SDTimes last month, "Mono—the open-source runtime for .NET applications—is stealing some of the thunder from Java applications for the Linux desktop. Recent Linux distros have featured new .NET consumer applications that run under Mono. Part of the reason is that the distributions contain up-to-date Mono development tools, while their Java tools are obsolete."

When it comes to desktop Linux applications, "Mono is clearly more popular than Java," said RedMonk analyst Stephen O'Grady. For those that don't know - Mono is a cross platform, open source .NET development framework.

- Jeff

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Gaia 3.4 Release Provides Powerful Platform for SDI Users and Developers

The Carbon Project today announced the release of Gaia 3.4, a powerful free platform designed to support Spatial Data Infrastructure (SDI) users and developers. The Gaia 3.4 platform release includes new SDI tools, an open API for software developers and support for OGC data and services, ESRI ArcGIS Server, Bing Maps and OpenStreetMap.

You can visit to download the free Gaia 3.4 today. A suite of free Extenders and API documentation are also available. Technical information and forums for the Gaia 3.4 platform and its Extenders are available at

Gaia 3.4 is a geospatial network platform that provides seamless synergy between Microsoft Bing Maps, Yahoo! Maps, OpenStreetMap, ESRI ArcGIS Server, Open Geospatial Consortium (OGC) KML, GML, GMLsf, WMS, WMTS, WFS, Filters, WCS, ESRI Shape, Autodesk and MapInfo formats, and more. Gaia 3.4 is part of our commitment to help SDI users and developers meet tomorrow's infrastructure, transportation, environmental and national security challenges.

The Gaia 3.4 platform is built with the latest CarbonTools PRO assemblies and complete source code is available to CarbonTools PRO developers. Gaia 3.4 also provides a robust, open API that allows any programmer to develop Gaia Extenders with or without a CarbonTools PRO license. Gaia Extenders are light, easy to deploy and can enhance Gaia's functionality for simple and complex GIS and SDI tasks.

Initial Gaia development was sponsored by the National Spatial Data Infrastructure (NSDI) Cooperative Agreements Program (CAP).

For more information please contact

Monday, August 24, 2009

Dashboard Brings Transparency, Syndication to NSDI Services

This week The Carbon Project announced the availability of an open source dashboard for, the federal government’s information service for maps and data. The free application enables “at-a-glance” visualization of geospatial assets and monitoring of Geospatial One-Stop (GOS) search from desktop PCs.

The GOS Dashboard is available as a free download - and a video preview is available at our website and YouTube.

“The GOS Dashboard is designed to integrate search and access functions into enterprise users desktops, and make geospatial data and services more open and transparent,” says Doug Nebert, Senior Advisor for Geospatial Technology at the Federal Geographic Data Committee (FGDC).

“The GOS Dashboard is powered by GeoRSS and builds on our experience developing applications for SDI,” said Nuke Goldstein, The Carbon Project's CTO. “It's based on Microsoft Gadgets and enhances common RSS functions with the ability to configure searches, view geodata footprints on mini-maps, and access desktop GIS applications from ESRI and other vendors directly with the data people find.”

But Nuke's last comment above really doesn't do justice to the power of Service-Feed-App syndication. By that I mean the GOS Dashboard is not just reading feeds with 'dead' data - it's reading feeds with 'live' services so WMS/WFS become new dynamic connections permanently maintained in apps like Gaia (you may never want to go back to boring KML, CSV, and Shapefiles data downloads). An example of this kind of syndication is shown above with MassGIS

The GOS Dashboard is part of the 2009 National Spatial Data Infrastructure (NSDI) Cooperative Agreement Program (CAP) - and we'll be hosting an initial online workshop on August 31, 2009 to promote community dialog on the functions with NSDI users and developers. If you want to participate please contact

Gaia supports Bing Maps WMS testing

Bing Maps WMS from OnTerra Systems. Photo copyright OnTerra Systems

In a move sure to blur the line between "SDI" and "neogeo" Gaia is now being used to support testing of a beta Web Map Service (WMS) version of Bing Maps. Bing Maps WMS is provided by the experts at OnTerra Systems - it allows you to access Bing Maps such as ortho imagery, road data and hybrid layers (road + ortho) in OGC WMS form.

- Jeff

Friday, August 21, 2009

Geolocation Coming to Twitter - Pretty Cool and a Little Creepy

Twitter just announced it's "gearing up to launch a new feature which makes Twitter truly location-aware. A new API will allow developers to add latitude and longitude to any tweet. Folks will need to activate this new feature by choice because it will be off by default and the exact location data won't be stored for an extended period of time. However, if people do opt-in to sharing location on a tweet-by-tweet basis, compelling context will be added to each burst of information," wrote Twitter cofounder Biz Stone.

A developer preview indicates the API will use GeoRSS and work by enabling a point location for a user. Pretty cool and will likely work well at concerts and community events, and a little creepy since the implications for geolocation privacy are immense.

- Jeff

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Gaia, GOS Dashboard and MassGIS WFS

Initial testing with, Gaia, GOS Dashboard , Bing and WFS from MassGIS yielding some very interesting results - near instant access to the SDI services. By the way, the new version of the free Gaia 3.4 viewer is now available online at The Carbon Portal.
- Jeff and Nuke

SDI "Cloud" Publishing - Feature-level Access Control

This new YouTube video highlights the CubeWerx Identity Management Server (IMS) and secure publishing using an SDI service. Secure SDI provides unprecedented functionality including role-based access control, security by geographic area, security by OGC operations, and security down to specific geospatial features. This video follows “Bill” as an SDI manager grants him feature-level access and highlights the creation of access control rules for several OGC SDI services in the real internet "cloud".

- Jeff

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Using Tile-based Map Services in Gaia 3.4

In Gaia 3.4 (due for release this week) two commercial mapping services are supported: Microsoft Bing Maps (formally known as Virtual Earth) and Yahoo! Maps. In addition, Gaia 3.4 supports the Tiles @ Home system from OpenStreetMap (

To use these maps in the free Gaia geospatial viewer all you have to do is select the map type (Roads, Aerial etc.) to generate a preview and enable the addition of the layer to the map. After adding the tile-service to the map you can change the map-type by right clicking on the layer name in the layers collection in the main application view (but remember only "Roads" maps are available from OpenStreetMap).

Notice that you may change the number of cached tiles - Remember that a lower amount of cached tiles will increase the number of Web service calls, while a higher value will increase memory consumption and thus the potential size of saved geospatial sessions (GSF).

- Jeff

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Which Ottawa map is better - Bing, Yahoo! or OpenStreetMap?

Which is better - Bing, Yahoo! or OpenStreetMap?
Maps from Gaia 3.4. Google Maps not provided because their lawyers frighten us.

Which Tehran map is better - Bing, Yahoo! or OpenStreetMap?

Which is better - Bing, Yahoo! or OpenStreetMap?
Maps from Gaia 3.4. Google Maps not provided because their lawyers frighten us.

Massachusetts Enhances SDI Services for Ocean Management

Massachusetts waters are rich with natural resources and busy with human activity. This marine environment supports recreation and tourism, fishing and shellfishing, shipping and trade, and scientific research. The Commonwealth’s marine waters also harbor infrastructure that supports the well-being and standard of living of Massachusetts citizens, such as offshore liquefied natural gas facilities, fiber optic and electrical cables, and natural gas pipelines. In addition, new activities in the marine environment are emerging, including deepwater aquaculture and wave, tidal, and wind energy.

Given this array of activity and the need to protect and enhance the marine environment Massachusetts has developed a draft Ocean Management Plan that addresses a fundamental issue - the ocean is a public trust resource and the Commonwealth must effectively manage the protection and use of its waters on behalf of the public for the benefit of current and future generations.

To support the Ocean Management Plan about 85 layers are being added this week to web mapping services (WMS) from MassGIS. The layers include wind speed data, imagery, NOAA navigational charts, coastal land cover, sea floor topography and more. The WMS may be used in geospatial viewers such as Gaia and other SDI tools. With this addition MassGIS is charting its path forward with a standards-based information infrastructure of geospatial and environmental data - maintained locally, closest to the people that know it.

- Jeff

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

GOS Dashboard NSDI CAP Project - Now on Slideshare

Earlier this year The Carbon Project announced it had been selected by the 2009 National Spatial Data Infrastructure (NSDI) Cooperative Agreement Program (CAP) to develop an open source desktop dashboard for, the federal government service for maps and data.

The overview briefing is now on slideshare - so please take a moment to review and send us your thoughts. As discussed, the goal of the project is to develop a free application to enable "at-a-glance" visualization of geospatial assets and monitoring of Geospatial One-Stop (GOS) Portal search functions.

A video preview of the "GOS Dashboard" is also available at

and on YouTube at

The software will be jointly developed in support of governmental activities by The Carbon Project, the US Army Corps of Engineers and other FGDC representatives and based on key business requirements - and we hope to announce the first community workshop soon.

If you have any questions or would like information please contact us at

- Jeff

NSDI CAP 2008 Brief Now on Slideshare

We've (finally) posted the NSDI CAP 2008 project overview on Slideshare. This is the briefing we gave at the recent Geospatial SOA and Cloud Computing Workshop in Washington, DC.

- Jeff

Monday, August 10, 2009

Government of Canada Sets WMS as Standard for Geospatial Data Sharing

Canada has recently established a new geospatial standard - designed to help users across all government departments locate, understand, use and share geospatial data. A news release by GeoConnections Canada states:

“The Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat has established the Standard on Geospatial Data for the Government of Canada. The Standard will facilitate interoperability across institutions and increase their ability to identify, understand, use, and share geospatial data. This standard also allows institutions to maximize the reuse of existing mapping and related products.

The scope of the standard currently comprises two ISO standards: ISO 19115 Geographic information - metadata and ISO 19128 Geographic information - Web Map Server interface [also known as OGC WMS]. Both standards have been previously endorsed by the national GeoConnections program for use in the Canadian Geospatial Data Infrastructure (CGDI). "

The standard came into effect June 1, 2009 - but departments have until May 31, 2014 to fully implement it.

The WMS-based Standard on Geospatial Data for the Government of Canada is another sign of growing global interest in sharing geospatial data across Web-based service interfaces that aren't controlled by any one organization or group.

- Jeff

Wednesday, August 05, 2009

OGC Seeks Participants for Authentication Interoperability Experiment

The OGC will launch an Authentication Interoperability Experiment on 2 October, 2009. The initiators of the experiment seek participation by other organizations interested in developing standard ways of implementing authentication and related security capabilities in applications involving OGC Web Services standards.

The Authentication Interoperability Experiment will test standard ways of transferring authentication information between OGC clients and OGC services using existing mechanisms such as HTTP Authentication, HTTP Cookies, SSL/X509, SAML, OpenID and WS-Security.

The purpose of this experiment is to develop a candidate OGC Best Practices document that documents standard ways of performing authentication in applications that implement OGC Web Services standards. The goal is to provide guidance about authentication to implementers of solutions and to organizations that seek to deploy such solutions. It is the belief of the initiators that if such a document is made available more OGC compliant commercial products that natively support authentication will be offered by vendors.

The OGC members that are acting as initiators of the Interoperability Experiment are CubeWerx, Sierra Systems Group, Inc.and others.

The planned start date for the Authentication Interoperability Experiment is 2 October, 2009. Applications for participation are due by 4 September, 2009. Contact Carl Reed ( for further details or to register as a participant.

Monday, August 03, 2009

Geospatial AI for Air Turbulence Prediction

In the future, Electronic Flight Bags like the one above from The Carbon Project may integrate the results of AI to reduce the danger from air turbulence

According to InformationWeek, "NASA is funding a project run by the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR) in Boulder, Colorado, to identify areas of rapidly developing turbulence and storms over remote areas of the ocean.

The system concept is to guide pilots around these areas and avoid a disaster like the one that killed 228 people in June 2009 when an Air France flight hit a storm and crashed into the Atlantic Ocean. It is not apparent whether the techniques will help guide aircraft around zones of "clear air turbulence" like the one today that bounced Continental Airlines passengers off the ceiling injuring dozens.

According to the article, "Scientists are working to predict areas of turbulence, both in clear skies and within storms, by applying artificial intelligence to satellite data and computer generated models of weather, NCAR scientists said." Scientists analyzing the data use an artificial intelligence technique called "random forests which creates series of yes-or-no votes on how elements of a storm may behave." In the future the information output from these models may become part of online services using spatio-temporal AIXM, WXXM and other Next Generation information.
- Jeff