Mapdiva: Design Software for OS X

Mapdiva LLC is a partnership among Graham Cox and Jill Saligoe-Simmel to develop Ortelius™ – powerful map design software for the Mac OS X.

Mapdiva is about is enabling your creativity without breaking the bank. It is about keeping drawing as simple and direct as possible so you can focus your creative energy on content and design. It’s about always asking “how could we do that better/simpler/more direct?“ It’s about doing the expected so the app works like you expect it to — and the unexpected to surprise and delight.

We’re dedicated to making powerful, intuitive software so you can focus your creative energy on content & design.

Ortelius

Ortelius is software for cartography and map design, made exclusively for Mac OS X.

It features specialized drawing tools that ease the tedious tasks of manual map making, with attention to high quality graphics presentation. Unique features include the ability to create automatic junctions at road intersections, a rich selection of built-in cartographic styles and symbols, and style creation tools that enable intricate design.

Artboard

Artboard is graphics design software made exclusively for Mac OS X.

It features smart drawing tools and over 1700 built-in styles and editable vector clipart. Unique features include high-powered style creation tools, advanced object editing, and simple image editing tools. Vector drawings are composed of editable stacked objects and are infinitely scalable.

Jill Saligoe-Simmel is co-founder of Mapdiva. She is responsible for content, education, and business development. Jill works alongside Graham Cox, Mapdiva co-founder and lead developer, on product design.

Nora Alliance

An alliance of neighbors, businesses, and community leaders in the community of Nora in Indianapolis, IN, promoting and enhancing livability, community engagement and thriving local economy.

Jill Saligoe-Simmel volunteers with others to spearhead the Nora Alliance. She authors content for NoraIndy.org.

Special topics include:

National GIS Inventory

The GIS Inventory is a system maintained by the National States Geographic Information Council (NSGIC) as a tool for the entire GIS Community. It allows users to quickly search for GIS data to meet their business requirements. It also helps government agencies to effectively coordinate and build Spatial Data Infrastructures.

Its primary purpose is to track data availability and the status of geographic information system (GIS) implementation in state and local governments to aid the planning and building of statewide spatial data infrastructures (SSDI). The system moves its FGDC-compliant metadata (CSDGM Standard) for each data layer to a web folder and a Catalog Service for the Web (CSW) that can be harvested by Federal programs and others. This provides far greater opportunities for discovery of your information.

The GIS Inventory (a.k.a. “Ramona”) was originally created in 2006 by NSGIC under award NA04NOS4730011 from the Coastal Services Center, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, U.S. Department of Commerce. The Department of Homeland Security has been the principal funding source since 2008 and they have supported the development of subsequent versions. Currently, funding is being provided through DHS contract HSHQDC-12-00104. The Federal Emergency Management Agency and National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration have provided additional resources to maintain and improve the GIS Inventory.

The GIS Inventory is maintained by individual users that document their own organizational information and data holdings. The National Cadastral Inventory is maintained by key cadastral contacts in each state to support their unique business requirements. The long-term goal is to merge both systems to provide even better services and features for their users.

As a former Board Member of the National States Geographic Information Council, Jill Saligoe-Simmel helped conceptualize this nationwide project and secure initial grant funding. Project design, requirements assessment and management at various stages by BurGIS LLC, Saligoe-Simmel LLC, A.J. Wortley and Fairview Industries. Jill continues to provide technical assistance to the project. GIS Inventory website, system, and database design by RunSkip, LLC.

Finger Math Chisenbop

How to be a Human Abacus

Do you believe your fingers can out perform a calculator in both speed and accuracy?

When I stumbled upon this youtube video of a super cute 5-year old demonstrating his Chisenbop finger math skills, I was hooked. It happened at the time I was also learning how to create iOS apps in a non-programming GUI / Rapid Prototype environment, using GameSalad. (This type of programming environment lets non-programmers gain a better understanding of iOS technology, logic, and game design. Perhaps most importantly, I gained an increased appreciation for technical complexities that programmers deal with every day.)

FingerMath Chisenbop for iPad is a unique educational game where you find out how to become a human abacus.

FingerMath uses an abacus-like finger counting method called Chisenbop, a method for which it is possible to display all numbers from 0 to 99 with both hands. FingerMath works on the iPad by detecting the “touch” position of all 10 fingers. The fingers are pressed onto the iPad to indicate value. Only iPad’s multi-touch interface makes this remarkable app possible.

Oh, and here is that smart little kid in action…

 

Natural Earth Data: Worldwide GIS Maps

If you’ve ever tried to find good, authoritative sources of free, public domain small-scale world map data you know it can be a daunting task. But not for long.

Natural Earth is a public domain map dataset available at 1:10m, 1:50m, and 1:110 million scales. Featuring tightly integrated vector and raster data, with Natural Earth you can make a variety of visually pleasing, well-crafted maps with cartography or GIS software. It is a boon for geographers, cartographers, and GIS folks working from regional to world scales (small scale). I’ll predict it will also have tremendous impact in the geography education arena, where it is much needed.

This dataset allows you to make beautiful and authoritative political and physical world maps quickly – from the large wall map variety down to postcard size. Instead of spending time looking for data, you will be able to focus on using the map to tell your geographic story. You are able to map at the continent and country levels (including showing provinces and some local cities, regional, and “world” cities).

Tom Patterson and Nathaniel Kelso collaborated on the precursor to his first Natural Earth Raster project several years ago and they now preview Natural Earth Raster + Vector, a new free product that complements and expands on the previous work by providing detailed GIS linework at the 1:15,000,000 (1:15 million) scale and new versions of the raster product (including cross-blended hyspometric tints). The project was unveiled at the 2009 North American Cartographic Information Society (NACIS) annual meeting on October 7th.

From “First Look at Natural Earth Vector.” This is a NACIS and mapgiving co-branded product with assistance from the University of Wisconsin-Madison cartography lab, Florida State University, and others. You can read more updates on the project at Kelso’s Corner.

Making Natural Earth is a collaboration involving many volunteer NACIS members and cartographers around the globe. Jill Saligoe-Simmel, Mapdiva LLC, volunteered her time as a Research + Production Cartographer collaborating with the team managing the first release of worldwide country administrative units.

Communicating Value of GIS to Policy-Makers

Over the past several years, I have been involved in leading the Indiana Geographic Information Council and developing a statewide spatial data infrastructure, known today as the IndianaMap. Let’s face it, GIS is a complex technology, and that can be intimidating.  A statewide (or national for that matter) spatial data infrastructure requires adherence to data and technology standards, strong collaborations, coordinated funding, and more.

In 2006, the IndianaMap Return on Investment (RIO) Study proved the value of the IndianaMap as an investment in Indiana.

The challenge was, how best to communicate those results? The report was presented in an unconventional “newspaper” format directed at the target audience – primarily legislators and other elected officials. The format provided the advantages of attention-grabbing headlines; topical organization (for example, transportation, economic development, and environment), and photo-documented case studies. The paper was printed on full-sized news-stock and folded like a traditional newspaper, with room for a mailing address on the reverse 1/2 fold.

IndianaMapNews-singlepagelayout

The ROI analysis identified current GIS spending, duplication of effort, needs, benefits, financial and non-financial return. The objective of the project was to substantiate adequate funding (or establish cost sharing mechanisms) to support and enable the operation. The results of the ROI demonstrate that over $1.7 billion in Indiana projects and programs are supported by the IndianaMap, with 90% of respondents indicating that the IndianaMap was essential to their project. A 34:1 ROI in less than three years was documented. The entire study was supplemented by additional qualitative use-benefits, testimonials, and case studies.

The Economic Benefits of the IndianaMap return on investment study was conducted by Saligoe-Simmel, LLC and the Indiana Geographic Information Council (IGIC). The study was supported by a grant from the Federal Geographic Data Committee Cooperative Agreements Program Grant Agreement Number: 07HQAG0042. Download the PDF.

Designed & Illustrated by Matt Kelm

Indiana Statewide Orthophotography Program

In 2005, Indiana introduced an ambitious Statewide Orthophotography Program provided a “common operating picture” through a seamless, current, accurate photographic base and control network that “ties” all other framework (base map) and critical infrastructure GIS data sets together. It was the foundation of today’s IndianaMap – a statewide, seamless, highly accurate, locally built and publicly available geographic data infrastructure.

Problem: For homeland security, GIS data need to be accurate, seamless statewide, current, and accessible.
  • The scale of the data must meet the demands of its most demanding users – local government.
  • The Access to Public Records law exception for GIS data presents significant challenges for getting and compiling local GIS data.
  • Differing local government business models present severe challenges for getting and compiling local GIS data.
  • High accuracies are required to support mapping of other framework and critical infrastructure data.
  • A lack of standards, consistency and lack of interoperability present significant technical limitations to integrating disparate data sets to gain seamlessness.
Solution

The 2005 Statewide Orthophotography Project modernized a critical component of the state’s information infrastructure through a high accuracy base map that is seamless statewide, current, and accessible.

The project supports the strategy of the National Spatial Data Infrastructure (http://www.fgdc.gov/nsdi/nsdi.html). The same framework data are available to cross-cutting applications (homeland security, emergency management, economic development, environmental, e-911, Flood Insurance Rate Map modernization, Census data modernization, GASB-34, etc.).

Jill Saligoe-Simmel provided overall project design and management from conceptualization through delivery.

  • conceptualized and developed detailed program to support the Indiana Spatial Data Infrastructure and requirements of the Indiana Department of Homeland Security
  • maintained commitments as open public domain imagery, while meeting homeland security requirements
  • garnered community and partner support
  • secured cooperative local, state and federal investment of over $5.5 million for project implementation
  • outreach to funders and policy makers through written and oral presentations
  • provided regular communications with a community of over 350 stakeholders, including local, regional, state and federal government, private sector, universities, utilities, and non-profits through email, website, newsletters, presentations and group meetings
  • recruited and coordinated expert technical advisory team to develop specifications and write the request for proposal (RFP)
  • coordinated expert advisory panel / selection committee
  • reviewed and approved contractor work and deliverables in partnership with IMAGIS Program Director, Jim Stout
  • coordinated the “buy-up” to higher resolution data by individual county emergency management directors
  • coordinated team of experts through Indiana University and Purdue University to support mass data storage archival services and public data delivery, including integration through the IndianaMap portal
  • negotiated inclusion and delivery of the IndianaMap as authoritative imagery in GoogleMaps and Microsoft TeraServer

The Economic Benefits of the IndianaMap

From transportation to public safety to economic development, the IndianaMap supports hundreds of local, regional and statewide projects each year. The IndianaMap was used for response and recovery during this year’s major flooding, tornado, and earthquake events, Honda’s selection of Indiana for its new facility, and much more.

$1.7 Billion Supported by the IndianaMap

Stories documenting how the IndianaMap is used are presented throughout this report, IndianaMap Return on Investment. Phase one of the IndianaMap is complete and the results are in—the initial investment of $8.5 million in the IndianaMap supports over 200-times its value in projects and operations—with 90% of users indicating they could not do their projects without it. As is evident from this study, the IndianaMap proves a good investment by saving taxpayer dollars and providing an information infrastructure that benefits all Hoosiers.

86% indicated that IndianaMap orthophotography was essential to their operations.

Still there are many challenges to completing and maintaining the IndianaMap. Conflicting interpretations of the meaning of “electronic map” as set forth in Indiana Code 5-14-3-2(d) and confusion surrounding the validity of copyrighting factual data result in inconsistent access to electronic map data. Non-standard maps present technical obstacles to data integration. The importance of multi-jurisdictional data providers (local, region, state and federal) is not well recognized. But perhaps most significantly, Indiana’s Legislature has not allocated funding specifically for support and maintenance of the IndianaMap. To help address these issues and justify future financing of the IndianaMap, IGIC answers the question “What are the economic and use-benefits of the IndianaMap?” ‘Economic value’ is taken to mean the contribution that the IndianaMap makes to Indiana’s economy as a provider of geographic information.

untitled-image-3Like roads and bridges, the IndianaMap is part of a public infrastructure that is a longterm investment in Indiana’s future. There are hundreds, potentially thousands of IndianaMap users. Truly a public good, anyone can access it, anonymously, through a web viewer (e.g., www.indianamap.org and www.maps.google.com), through data download websites, off-line at public libraries, and other public access points. Because the users are widespread, it is difficult to estimate the total user base. All Hoosiers benefit through the money it saves taxpayers, as well as improved quality of life through better-managed resources, transportation, and business. For this study, input was sought from a known user base (those who are registered with the IndianaMap download sites and email distribution lists) through an appropriately designed questionnaire with the following objectives:

  • Discover what types of projects are utilizing the IndianaMap.
  • Identify the priority placed on the different types of IndianaMap framework data by the users.
  • Assess the importance of the IndianaMap in projects and operations by the users.
  • Determine how the IndianaMap contributes to the quality and cost of the user’s work.
  • Estimate the dollar value of the IndianaMap to end users.

The results of the survey clearly indicate that over $1.7 billion in Indiana projects and government operations are supported by the IndianaMap. Meeting these objectives will help plan for future mapping projects and assess the IndianaMap in qualitative as well as monetary terms.

METHODOLOGY

The questionnaire had nine questions implemented through an online survey tool. The response rate to the survey was encouraging and exceeded commonly accepted response rates in marketing surveys. For the purposes of this study we make an estimation of total users based on a sample of 1521 registered users on the University Information Technology Services at Indiana University’s download site for the IndianaMap Orthophotography. These users download and use IndianaMap data on their own systems. They include government regulators, engineers, utilities, realtors, appraisers, mining companies, researchers, planning officials, and teachers. Three hundred fourteen (314) responses were received from May to July of 2008. This is a 20% response rate (approximately +/- 6% margin of error3) and is nearly four times the rate [slider title=”considered acceptable”]Van Bennekom, F. (2003) www.greatbrook.com[/slider] in the marketing industry.

Because the IndianaMap has many different users, as well as emerging and unknown new uses and repeated uses over time, placing a quantitative valuation on it is an extremely complex problem. Our approach is similar to that taken by mineral economists’ [slider title=”Bhagwat and Ipe”]Bhagwat, S.B., and Ipe, V.C. 2000. The economic benefits of detailed geologic mapping to Kentucky. Illinois State Geological Survey Special Report 3, 39 p.[/slider] in their pioneering report “Economic Benefits of Detailed Geologic Mapping to Kentucky.” Their approach is a retrospective study to first estimate the value to an individual map user and then to extend that value to all the possible map users over time to get an estimate of the aggregate
benefits of a mapping program. This approach is applicable to the IndianaMap as we can conduct a retrospective study based on currently available maps and the 2005 Statewide Orthophotography Project. Slightly modifying Bhagwat and Ipe’s method to our purpose, we developed a study of the economic benefits of the IndianaMap to demonstrate the value of statewide map data, period of return, and a positive business case for funding the
ongoing creation and maintenance of statewide framework data.

First, input was sought on the total costs of projects and/or operations that are supported by the IndianaMap. Of 314 responses, 69% (216 responses) provided information on the total cost of their projects and/or operations. Of those responses, some indicated a range in the cost of projects and operations. To maintain a conservative perspective, we consistently used the lesser values in cases where a range in costs The IndianaMap was indicated. Many of those not responding indicated that total costs were difficult for them to estimate. The respondents identify $1,751,000,145 in Indiana projects and government operations that are supported by the IndianaMap. In addition, of those providing project cost information, 90% indicated that IndianaMap orthophotography was essential to their operations (defined as “project requires high resolution/accuracy data, maybe supplemented with other data; couldn’t do project without it”) and 6% indicated orthophotography was of secondary necessity (defined as “project requires other data that depend on high resolution/ accuracy imagery to create, align, verify, and/or maintain those data”). These projects range from statewide to discrete area projects.

CONCLUSION

The results of the survey clearly indicate that over $1.7 billion in Indiana projects and government operations are supported by the IndianaMap. In short, this means that an initial investment of $8.5 million in the IndianaMap supports over 200-times its value in projects and operations—with 90% of users indicating they could not do their projects without it.

The IndianaMap is by definition a public good— those goods that, once they have been produced, are available to all, without exclusion. While the IndianaMap has many of the characteristics of a resource, a commodity, a capital asset andinfrastructure, it does not fit neatly into any of these categories. The difficulty in assigning a particular role to the IndianaMap reflects, to a large extent, the diffuse, and hence extensive, impact that it has on the economy. The gains from the IndianaMap can be categorized into three types:

  • Increases in efficiency, so that the same task can be performed with fewer, often significantly fewer, resources.
  • Increases in effectiveness, so that the same task can be performed with greater accuracy and fewer mistakes.
  • New products and services, which could not have been produced without this new
    technology.

These tangible, measurable, economic impacts only partially reflect the contribution of the IndianaMap. Consideration must also be given to the social gains resulting from the use of the IndianaMap products. Such an analysis is, by its very nature, largely of a qualitative nature, but it is important to ensure that the monetary estimate deduced in this study does not detract the reader from the wider importance of the IndianaMap.

The Economic Benefits of the IndianaMap return on investment study was conducted by Saligoe-Simmel, LLC and the Indiana Geographic Information Council (IGIC). The study was supported by a grant from the Federal Geographic Data Committee Cooperative Agreements Program Grant Agreement Number: 07HQAG0042.

Huck Finn Project

In concert with the 2005 Indiana Orthophotography Project, an education and outreach project was established inviting schools, communities, and youth organizations to create large outdoor artworks to be captured in photographs as planes flew overhead mapping the state.

The Huck Finn Project celebrated youth though fun and creative learning experiences that kids can really “own”. Through a series of lesson plans and activities, Indiana schools were invited to learn about art, geography, literature, math, science and government, history and their community while developing creative artworks to be captured in the IndianaMap.

  • Art – schools participate in art design competitions to develop artwork to be transferred onto outdoor surfaces to be captured in the Spring 2005 orthophotography. Through the “Paint Your Playground” students learn about color, composition, and scale. When the new orthophotography is available in the late fall of 2005 / early winter of 2006, art work will be displayed on the web in a specially designed mapping application. Selected art works will be formally exhibited at a number of forums through the state and nationally.
  • Geography – learn the basics of aerial imagery and map making and how maps are made and used in the 21st century. Grade-appropriate lesson plans focus on location, measurement, cartography, electronic map navigation, weather, and more!
  • Literature – advanced grades can learn more about one of America’s most noted author, Mark Twain, by retracing the steps of Tom Sawyer and Huck Finn down the Mississippi River.
  • Math – use math skills as you learn the geometry of correcting the flat surfaces of photography to the round, hilly surfaces of the earth.
  • Science and Government – advanced lessons introduce students to geographic information systems – a technology that is emerging as an essential toolset for scientific discovery and the business of government – Why is the State orthophotography being flown? What is the IndianaMap?
  • History – learn about the evolution of “remote sensing” and aerial photography from the use of hot air balloons through satellite imagery.
  • Community – each school’s artwork can reflect a theme about their community.

Partners: Indiana Geographic Information Council, Inc. Geography Educators’ Network of Indiana, Inc. IndianaView at Purdue University Indiana Geological Survey at Indiana University Access Indiana Information Network
Funded by: Alliance for Indiana

Jill Saligoe-Simmel conceptualized the projects over cocktails with

  • Designed project and secured grant funding
  • Coordinated project team
  • Developed educational materials and supporting website

Top 10 Sectors Using GIS in Indiana

This study was conducted to determine how mapping departments within local and state government, education, non-profits and private industry use geographic information systems map data every day. In 2008, 312 respondents told how they use GIS.

Here are the top ten use-areas among the public and private sector:

01 Transportation

For trains, planes and automobiles there are numerous government agencies, surveying and engineering firms, and community organizations who use the IndianaMap for proposed transportation routes, environmental assessments, infrastructure management, airport and roadway improvements, maintenance, accident locations, new facilities, emergency response and evacuation, state and federal reporting requirements, and system-wide transportation management

02 Utilities

Public and private utilities use the IndianaMap in their customer billing systems, routing meter-reading and inspections, load-testing, infrastructure planning and improvement, “call before you dig” locations, and emergency response

03 Natural Resources

Public, private, and non-profit organizations use the IndianaMap on a daily basis to protect endangered species and habitat, manage natural resource exploration and exploitation, protect the public from natural hazards such as flooding and earthquakes, manage wildlife for hunting and fishing, maintain parks and facilities, and manage forests, fish and wildlife for the benefit of all Hoosiers

04 Economic Development

We may not know when the next major corporation is looking at Indiana for their new home, but with the IndianaMap they can quickly see why the Hoosier state stands out; Indiana’s economic developers use the IndianaMap to locate sites for potential development, plan tax incentive zones, clear regulatory requirements, help existing businesses, and attract new business for a growing economy

05 Engineering/Surveying

Whether used for preliminary survey work, evaluating impacts to home owners, or managing construction phases, the IndianaMap saves hundreds of thousands of dollars when new developments are planned, bridges built, levees are constructed, pipelines are routed, and much, much more

06 Planning/Land Use

Communities and planning organizations use the IndianaMap to visualize land use patterns and trends, zoning, plan developments, acquire state and federal grants, and improve quality of life factors as part of “smart growth” initiatives; developers, assessors, and real estate professionals use it to look at current the landscape and changes over time

07 Infrastructure

From bridges to telecommunications, communities use the IndianaMap to assess and maintain their infrastructure, including Governmental Accounting Standards Board (GASB) reporting requirements

08 Environmental

Government agencies entrusted with the responsibility of protecting our environment use the IndianaMap to track and manage regulated facilities and on-the-ground hazards, improve the environment through remediation, conservation, and preservation, and to communicate with citizens; private and non-profit organizations use the same consistent map information for conservation and preservation, and to assure environmental compliance within areas of new development, existing sites, and areas of concern

09 Wastewater/Stormwater

From flooding, to community growth, to modernizing outdated sewer overflows and protecting public health, utilities and communities use the IndianaMap to see where the water goes and manage the impact of that flow

10 Public Safety

The IndianaMap saves lives—it helps quickly get emergency responders to where they need to go; as an interoperable communications tool it is used for community preparedness, examining locations of shelters, warning sirens, population concentrations, critical infrastructure, and local resources; it is used by police, fire, hospital, health departments, Indiana National Guard, homeland security, Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), Civil Air Patrol, the Red Cross, and others for all phases of disaster response and recovery; it is used daily as police patrol our streets and fight crime; it is used by corrections personnel to track geographic-restrictions and compliance of sex and violent offenders.

For more information, view the complete report (3.4MB PDF).