Software, web programs, even business processes all require documentation for the best user experience and long-term project value. I’ve been using ScreenSteps for the past couple years and I recommend it. Lately, I’ve used ScreenSteps to create an Apple Help Book for Ortelius. This isn’t a traditional way to use ScreenSteps and involved a few tricks and a bit of support from the good folks at Blue Mango. It has been so valuable I wanted to share the experience.
I’m looking forward seeing the first mapping application using virtual digital holograms. What is a virtual digital hologram you ask? It is very cool technology that creates a 3-d image you can move around via tracking from your webcam. The best place to check it out is GE’s fantastic implementation Plug Into the Smart Grid.
Think of the pieces that might be used for a mapping implementation – it may be aerial photography, digital elevation models, Sketchup and other 3-d models of buildings and cities. And now FLARToolkit is available as a free non-commercial license to pull those pieces together to create virtual digital holograms viewable by anyone with a webcam, printer, and Internet connection. Due to the novelty aspect of the technology, its biggest potential may be its use for marketing, communication, and education campaigns. If you’ve seen mapping or other fun uses of this technology, please share them!
Exciting times. At Mapdiva, we are getting prepared for the initial release of Ortelius map illustration software. On our new blog we’ll be posting news about Ortelius, as well as tips, tricks, and tutorials on cartographic techniques. There are some topics (such as map font basics) that I’ll be continuing on the Mapdiva blog rather than here, so I’ve added Mapdiva’s postings to the sidebar for a quick glimpse of what’s there. Enjoy!
I’ve been very interested in the news stories I’ve read about neighborhood boundary data and its usefulness. About a year ago Adena Schutzberg, Directions Magazine, wrote about neighborhood data offereings and the announcement by Zillow.com that they would provide their neighborhood GIS shapefile data freely through a Creative Commons license. First of all, I am very interested to see the CC licensing being applied to geospatial data – this alone is worth following. And I applaud Zillow.com (which I love) for making their data available in this way. So I was really interested when I came across another very excellent site providing my home’s walkability score (which alas is moderately low) and my office (which is very highly walkable).
Walkscore.com is a site worth visiting. “Walk Score helps people find walkable places to live. Walk Score calculates the walkability of an address by locating nearby stores, restaurants, schools, parks, etc. Walk Score measures how easy it is to live a car-lite lifestyle—not how pretty the area is for walking.” The Walk Score algorithm awards points based on distances to the closest amenity in a number of categories. I especially love the heat maps showing the most walkable neighborhoods in the top 40 U.S. cities. And certainly turn around is fair play… Zillow is already leveraging the benefits of having made its neighborhood data available (in February, Zillow.com added WalkScore to each of their 87 million properties).
I’m pleased to announce the launch of Mapdiva, LLC, a partnership among Graham Cox and Jill Saligoe-Simmel, to develop Ortelius™ – powerful map illustration software for the MacOS. Ortelius™ is characterized by its ease of use and beautiful graphics capabilities for which Macs are known. Our new company anticipates the release Ortelius™ (Standard Edition) in the first quarter of 2009. A Professional Edition will be released a bit later with some sweet higher-end functionality.