Evening geekery - Multitouch touchscreen working under OS X

Apple doesn't support multitouch touchscreen input on the Mac.  Their philosophy is that the Magic Pad, keyboard, and mouse are the best input methods for Desktop computing.  In general that's probably true, but where's the fun in that?  Tonight I had the urge to directly manipulate a map to explore the world.. so I plugged my 23" Acer Multitouch Monitor into my Macbook and set out to get it working.

After spending some quality time with Google I found and  It looked promising.  I dropped the money for the driver, downloaded and installed it, then gave it a try.  Nothing.  After a few hours in their documentation I found a companion "gestures" app that was the secret sauce. (

In the end, it's a pretty clean solution that allows the multitouch input to come through as OS X gestures.  This means that any software written to support standard gestures will work (and there is software out that allows you to specify new gestures).  This is fantastic because it means I can write my own software using standard Cocoa Multitouch input gestures rather than rolling my own.  And that means it will work happily on everyone's computers whether they do or don't have the awesome multitouch HID input device.


OS X multitouch touchscreen input from Craig Miller on Vimeo.


Bluescape Promo

A fun video showing off some of the cool features in the Bluescape Project I've been contributing to as a part of my work with the Qt Company.



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.



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