Open Street Maps (OSM) State of the Map - Portland

Over the weekend I had the opportunity to attend Open Street Map's "State of the Map" conference in Portland, OR.  It's been a while since I've really done any work with OSM and I found the conference to be both a reminder and an inspiration.  It reminded me that this really is the only project out there that will make it possible for the "little guy", like me, to roll out  stand alone Location Based Services applications.  Honestly, this effort in the US should be funded by the taxpayers as a common good.  This data should be available to everyone for free as it is so essential to studying just about anything with place.  In the meantime, it's absolutely amazing to see how far this effort has come with crowd sourced data.  By the people for the people.

Politics aside, it was an inspirational conference.  There are some very beautiful maps being made with Open StreetMap data these days.  The tools for handling the data has improved tremendously over the past few years, and there is more and more commercial support for the project.  For me, the inspiration was the cartography.  This isn't an Open Streetmap thing per se, but it's what affected me the most.  I started out my career as a GIS Analyst where I had the opportunity to make many maps.  At the time, everyone was always saying, "GIS is more than just maps".  I got sucked up into this and went on to grad school to learn Spatial Statistics, geospatial data structures, geospatial database design, and geospatial application architecture…. on to Autodesk to become a professional geospatial software developer.  Somewhere along the line, I lost that pure love of creating beautiful maps.  Sure, I've been involved in projects to improve the capabilities of our software in support of beautiful cartography, done all sorts of geospatial scientific visualization projects, and spent weeks creating software user interfaces that make map interaction easier, but I lost the "I love to make maps" somewhere along the lines.  SOTM re-ignited that flame for me.

Good conferences leave you inspired; changed.  I left SOTM and WhereCamp PDX with enthusiasm and a clarity of professional purpose.  Simply put...

I want to help my customers by making beautiful software with beautiful maps:


- OS X, iPhone, and iPad Software Development

- Geospatial Open Source Software Integration

- Cartography

This isn't a radical shift in what I've been doing.  What it does do is to remove many of the other areas where I often spend my time so I can focus on what I really love; what I'm best at.


Cascadia Users of Geospatial Open Source (CUGOS) - Spring Fling!

Come join Spatial Minds and the rest of the CUGOS gang at this years Spring Fling (free) where you'll have an opportunity to learn about Open Source GIS/LBS software.  Register via EventBrite

At last years event we saw Roger Andre's face turned into a DEM w/ imagery of Seattle superimposed on top of it,  some great new open source projects revealed, and hands on sessions w/ Mapnik.  This years line-up includes:

Complete details on this years event are in the CUGOS Wiki



LinuxFest Northwest!



This weekend, April 28th and 29th Spatial Minds will be at LinuxFest NW in Bellingham, WA.  As a co-founder of the Seattle Qt User Group, we'll be sharing our love for Qt with lot's of Linux-heads, showing off cross-platform mapping software, and geeking out!  Swing by and say hello.

 More details about the project can be found at and on github.



Screen Shot 2012 04 24 at 8 19 02 AM








Overland Navigator 3.0 - Development Environment

With the target hardware decided I picked up a new iPad w/ the Retina display and fine tuned my iOS development environment.  Ready to start design work in the morning.




Overland Navigator 3.0 - OS Selection

Overland Navigator 3.0 will be developed for iOS (iPhone/iPad).  There was some discussion about this on Facebook, ExpeditionPortal, and the Northwest Overland Society websites.  It is a decision based on a watershed of many ideas  including quality, demand, support costs, distribution costs, and  the Objective-C/Cocoa Touch/XCode development environment.  I can't wait to see Overland Navigator's maps on the latest iPads Retina display!

Overview bucket retina

For me, this is a really cool direction to be going in.  The first computer I ever programmed on was an Apple ][e and my first *big* app featured a map of the fictitious Piers Anthony's "Xanth".  I should see if I can get a screenshot of that.  As the son of a University of Washington Professor my Dad always brought home the latest Apple hardware including the ][e, Lisa, the original Macintosh, Mac Plus, Mac SE, etc.  I used them through college where I learned ANSI C programming and the fundamentals of Geographic Information Systems (GIS) on a Mac running "Map II - Map Processor".  As a professional I left the Mac/System 7 for Unix because GIS software required it.  Since then I've used FreeBSD (the core of OSX and iOS) extensively on my servers and started doing all my Windows/Linux programming in VMs on my Macbook Pro.  It's great to be back to my roots.  I'm looking forward to developing Overland Navigator exclusively for Apple hardware and using Apple technology, such as iCloud, to create a unified navigation system that works the Apple way.


My goal is to create an application that is elegant and simple. How many times have you heard that phrase only to find that the application is horribly difficult to use?  I mean it.  Even on Windows, Overland Navigator has always followed the design philosophy of "Everything you need, nothing you don't; and only require user input if you have to."  I guard the UI from clutter like my life depends on it.  If I can't figure out how to add a feature in a clean, easy to understand, way I'll leave it out until I can.  These design ideals are a natural fit for the Apple ecosystem; in fact they are so well matched that many people have asked me "What took you so long?".  :)  I'm glad to be developing Overland Navigator for a user community that appreciates design.  I can't wait to get started!



**Existing Windows users will all be offered a free upgrade to the new software and maps.  Overland Navigator 2.0 will continue to have technical support and map-packs sold through the webstore.  At this time there are no plans to update the Windows version of the software.