Tuesday, October 10, 2006

GPS Integration - Samples

Here are a couple apps/code sources for programmatically utilizing a GPS data source:

GPS Google Maps Mash-up in 42 lines of code
MetaWrap TimeConverter
Lassen IQ GPS Datalogger

Monday, September 11, 2006

Fix for Access MDE Create Failure

Microsoft Office Access was unable to create an MDE database: "Re: Microsoft Office Access was unable to create an MDE databasehttp://www.blogger.com/img/gl.link.gif

It is a bit tedious but it worked for me and it might work for you…
-You have to start in the same Office version as the one that it was created in, or converted into
-Open your database (the one you want to convert to ‘.mde’), using the bypass key (shift)
-Open the VB Editor and choose from the menu: Debug – Compile . Correct all the bugs in your code (if any), close VB Editor.
-Run the ‘Compact and repair database’ utility, and close the database
-Create a shortcut to your database on your desktop. In the target of the shortcut type in after the database path the switch: /decompile
-Open the database using the shortcut and convert your database to .mde

Good luck… ;-) "

Friday, September 08, 2006

Shaded Relief

Shaded Relief

Tom Patterson, at the US National Park Service, has an excellent site full of great articles, links, software, and other resources focusing on map presentation, with an emphasis on relief.
The goal of this site is to assist practicing cartographers with the presentation of shaded relief and related raster art on maps. I developed the techniques to support my work as a cartographer for the US National Park Service, Harpers Ferry Center. Attractively presented shaded relief has long been a hallmark of Park Service maps—a tradition that I attempt to continue.

National Park Service Map Symbol Set

Harpers Ferry Center: NPS Maps

The US National Park Service has made available a very nice set of map symbols and patterns, which are used on NPS maps.

The symbol sets are available to download on the linked site in both PDF and Illustrator format.

Sunday, August 13, 2006

Train Crash Visible in 2005 FSA Photo - Richland County, ND

Train Crash Visible in 2005 FSA Photo
Here is a link to aerial photos of a train crash I spotted in Richland County, ND.
Details on obtaining the imagery and location of the crash are provided at the link location.

Friday, June 23, 2006

Introducing Google's Geocoding Service

Introducing Google's Geocoding Service

Open Source Templates | Nautica Series

Open Source Templates | Nautica Series

Open Source Web design templates.

Thursday, June 22, 2006

Comprehensive Algorithm Reference


Javascript _Box Libraries

A couple interesting Javascript libraries related to Lightbox.

iBox Test Page

Thursday, May 11, 2006

Google Trends: MapServer vs. ArcIMS

Google Trends: mapserver vs. arcims (MapServer wins)

Google Trends is new feature that allows you to compare the history of different searches.

Google Fight does something a bit more basic by comparing keyword search total results.

Friday, May 05, 2006

Updated "Blue Marble" Satellite Images

Visible Earth: The Blue Marble

NASA released a revised, more "true color" set of single satellite images of the Earth.
This spectacular “blue marble” image is the most detailed true-color image of the entire Earth to date. Using a collection of satellite-based observations, scientists and visualizers stitched together months of observations of the land surface, oceans, sea ice, and clouds into a seamless, true-color mosaic of every square kilometer (.386 square mile) of our planet. These images are freely available to educators, scientists, museums, and the public. This record includes preview images and links to full resolution versions up to 21,600 pixels across.

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Handy programs to put on a USB stick. at SnapFiles.com

Handy programs to put on a USB stick. at SnapFiles.com

US Wind Resource Maps by State

US Wind Maps

Minnesota has updated, higher-resolution wind maps and includes GIS files for download (30, 80, and 100 meter)

Additional Links:
Database of State Incentives for Renewable Energy (DSIRE)
Wind Resource Atlas of the United States
Example Wind Resource GIS Analysis Methodology

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Web Mapping Services Comparison

TechCrunch � Comparing the Mapping Services

Techcrunch has put together a quick comparison between the following web mapping services:
- Google Maps
- Mapquest
- Windows Live Local
- Yahoo Maps
- Ask Maps

Thursday, April 06, 2006

Oracle vs. PostgreSQL: Users speak out

Oracle vs. PostgreSQL: Users speak out:

A recent interview has DBAs talking about the merits of the open source PostgreSQL database management system (DBMS) as compared to Oracle – and their opinions truly run the gamut.

via Slashdot

MN Bill To Require Open Formats

MN H.F. No. 3971

A bill was introduced in the Minnesota House of Representatives that would make "open data format usage by state agencies required". (H.F. No. 3971 introduced 3/27/06)

It only allows for the use of what it defines as "restricted formats" in situations where it is "technically impossible".

I think this is very encouraging and simply common sense. Governments deal in historical information. What is a common, closed format today is very likely going to be obsolete in 10+ years. Without an open, documented format, how can the government ensure continued accessibility to its data?

My impression is that this will have little actual impact on state agencies and government units. If anything I would expect the burden to quickly fall on the software providers to either fully open their data formats or risk the chance of another provider filling their "industry leader" positions with alternative, open formats.

ConsortiumInfo.org has a blog entry with an analysis of the proposed legislation and its impacts.

The bill amends existing statute by adding the following text in the stated sections:

[DEFINITIONS] Minnesota Statutes 2005 Supplement, sections 16E.03, subdivision 1:
(f) "Open standards" means specifications for the encoding and transfer of computer data that:
--- (1) is free for all to implement and use in perpetuity, with no royalty or fee;
--- (2) has no restrictions on the use of data stored in the format;
--- (3) has no restrictions on the creation of software that stores, transmits, receives, or accesses data codified in such way;
--- (4) has a specification available for all to read, in a human-readable format, written in commonly accepted technical language;
--- (5) is documented, so that anyone can write software that can read and interpret the complete semantics of any data file stored in the data format;
--- (6) if it allows extensions, ensures that all extensions of the data format are themselves documented and have the other characteristics of an open data format;
--- (7) allows any file written in that format to be identified as adhering or not adhering to the format;
--- (8 ) if it includes any use of encryption, provides that the encryption algorithm is usable on a royalty-free, nondiscriminatory manner in perpetuity, and is documented so that anyone in possession of the appropriate encryption key or keys is able to write software to unencrypt the data.
(g) "Restricted format" means any data format that is accessed, stored, or transferred and is not open standards compliant.

[RESPONSIBILITIES] Minnesota Statutes 2005 Supplement, sections 16E.03, subdivision 2:
(g) The office shall assist state agencies to avoid the purchase or creation of data processing devices or systems that do not comply with open standards for the accessing, storing, or transferring of data. The office shall:
--- (1) ensure any new data standards which the state of Minnesota defines and to which it owns all rights are open standards compliant;
--- (2) use open standards in situations where the other requirements of a project do not make it technically impossible to do this. For a particular project involving the access, storage, or transfer of data, a restricted data format may be chosen when satisfaction of essential project requirements precludes the use of an open data format. Neither the current storage format of previously collected data, nor current utilization of specific software products, is a sufficient reason, in absence of other specific overriding functional requirements, to use a restricted format;
--- (3) reexamine existing data stored in a restricted format, to which the state of Minnesota does not own the rights, every four years to determine if the format has become open and, if not, whether an appropriate open standard exists;
--- (4) make readily accessible, from a central location on the Internet, documentation on open data formats used by the state of Minnesota. When data in open format is made available through the state's Web site, a link shall be provided to the corresponding data format documentation.

Tuesday, April 04, 2006

Password Recovery Speeds

Password Recovery Speeds

This site provides an estimation for the amount of time it takes for an automated process to crack passwords of various complexity.

Creepy Photoshop - Animals + Fruit

Creepy But Creative � BLEARGH

What happens when you combine animals, fruit and talented photoshop artists? Check out these images...they are quite unnerving.

Thursday, March 09, 2006

UK GIS Data Practices Hit the Fan

Guardian | Technology | Give us back our crown jewels

A detailed and pointed article in the Guardian (big UK paper) is making a big stink over the way UK tightly controls access to what the US classifies as "public" GIS data (ie. everyone pays big for publicly funded data). The paper is launching a campaign call "Free Our Data", against the current policies.

The article is definately worth a read for US GIS folk as it cites US data practices as a major foundation for all the arguments against the UK policies. If you want a case study in GIS data practices, this is a good place to start.
Pira pointed out that the US's approach brings enormous economic benefits. The US and EU are comparable in size and population; but while the EU spent €9.5bn (£6.51bn) on gathering public sector data, and collected €68bn selling and licensing it, the US spent €19bn - twice as much - and realised €750bn - over 10 times more. Weiss pointed out: "Governments realise two kinds of financial gain when they drop charges: higher indirect tax revenue from higher sales of the products that incorporate the ... information; and higher income tax revenue and lower social welfare payments from net gains in employment."

Wednesday, March 08, 2006

MapQuest Releases API

MapQuest: Features

MapQuest has released an API (MapQuest OpenAPI) so you can create your own maps using MapQuest maps.
The MapQuest OpenAPI is a free service that allows you to use JavaScript to easily integrate routing, geocoding and mapping into your website. With this feature-rich API you can create dynamic routing and mapping applications for personal or community use.

(Thanks Google for forcing MapQuest to be competitive and release their own API. Competition is a good thing.)

Monday, March 06, 2006

Better than Quicksort

Critticall home page

A site claims to have invented a better mousetrap - a sort algorithm that is faster than Quicksort. It is optimized for arrays that are somewhat structured with unique records.

In any case, it is a fun little read and something to try out.

Saturday, February 11, 2006

DB Entry & Design Error Causes $8M County Shortfall

Ind. House Wrongly Valued at $400 Million:

The following story emphasises the need for proper database normalization, data entry validation, and security. My guess is that the county uses an AS400, they started implementing offsite live access as a revenue source, and never bothered to ensure their current implementation could handle it. A problem like this wouldn't have occurred if they had properly implemented their DB, security, and had reviewed their data.

A home in Valparaiso, Indiana saw its tax valuation jump from $121,900 in 2005 to $400,000,000 in 2006. The auditor is blaming an outside user. (Why does an outside user have edit permission on the data? If this happened by accident, image what someone could do if they wanted to hack the DB and really screw things up.)

It appears that someone caught the error when tax assessments were printed and noticed the home's tax increase from $1,500 to $8,000,000. However when the data entry mistake was corrected the error wasn't corrected in all places within the database. As a result, 2006 tax rates and budgets were calculated using the erroneous $8,000,000 as expected revenue. Now the county is scrambling to cut spending. (How unnormalized is their DB that you would need to enter the same value twice?! It must be an AS400 if they haven't corrected that simple normalization problem over all these years.)

Porter County, Indiana - website

Monday, February 06, 2006

Map of Undersea Telecommunications Cables

Image: Undersea cables | CNET News.com

CNET News has a very rough map/image of undersea cable and relative traffic.

Sunday, February 05, 2006

Cops Fight Car Chases With GPS Devices

LA Cops Fight Car Chases With GPS Devices:
The Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD) will become the first law enforcement agency to outfit cars with a device that propels and sticks a Global Positioning System (GPS) onto a fleeing car.

The department will mount the StarChase LLC device in the grill of some squad cars in the fall. 'Officers in the car would control a green lazar light, similar to an aiming device that fixes on your target,' said LAPD Lieutenant Paul Vernon on Friday. 'A small dart-like device is propelled from the officer's car.'

Saturday, January 21, 2006

Live Track Any UK GSM Cellphone

World Tracker turns anyone into a cellphone spy - Engadget

A UK service called World Tracker apparently uses cell tower data (or GPS, when available) to track the location of just about any GSM cellphone. Just enter the number you want to track into the service's handy Google Maps-based interface, and you'll be able to zoom in on the device's location, with accuracy somewhere between 50 and 500 meters.

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

Geocaches New AntiTerrorism Target

CNN.com - Geocaching�puts authorities on edge - Jan 17, 2006

Well, geocachers, you know the country has changed when you have to start watching out for snipers as you place or hunt for caches.

CNN has an article (above link) on how geocaches and "suspicious" folks with GPS units are being tagged as possible terrorists planting suspicious packages. The article cites several incidents where geocachers were met with police and caches blown up because of their suspiciousness.

To be fair, some of these cited locations were at or near airports, bridges and other locations where most folks up the on news might logically shy away from.

Geocaching.com does have a small notice in their guide to placing caches that reminds folks to keep their caches out of areas that might be suspicious.
Please use common sense when choosing a location for your cache. Do not place your cache in any location where it might be confused with something more dangerous.

Happy hunting! And, I guess, don't find yourself being hunted ;)

Monday, January 16, 2006

How To Set Up Database Replication In MySQL

How To Set Up Database Replication In MySQL | HowtoForge - Linux Howtos and Tutorials

This tutorial describes how to set up database replication in MySQL. MySQL replication allows you to have an exact copy of a database from a master server on another server (slave), and all updates to the database on the master server are immediately replicated to the database on the slave server so that both databases are in sync.

I'm A Programmer, Not A Computer Guy

Blogcritics.org: I'm A Programmer, Not A Computer Guy

A hilarious little rant from a programmer...not a computer quy. If you're in the field, you'll appreciate this litle tale.

World’s Smallest GPS Receiver

:: World’s Smallest GPS Receiver ::

Rakon, a 39-year-old New Zealand-based company, has developed the world’s smallest GPS receiver. Claimed to be as tiny as the size of a baby’s fingernail, the GPS receiver chip is small enough to be fitted into devices such as watches and cellphones. As GPS becomes commonplace in our everyday gadgets, we can be sure that things will get a little more interesting.

Brent Robinson, Rakon’s Managing Director, also mentioned that the GPS receiver will have sensitivity good enough to pick up weak signals, perfect for urban environments with high interference.

Rakon's Press Release

Tuesday, January 10, 2006

600 Free Computer eBooks

...Planet Books: 600 On-line Collections

Lightbox JS

Lightbox JS:

Lightbox JS is a simple, unobtrusive script used to to overlay images on the current page. It's a snap to setup and works on all modern browsers.

6500 Tutorials in 500 Categories

Photoshop Tutorials and Flash Tutorials

Tutorials for: 3DS MAX, AutoCAD, Blender 3d, Bryce 3d, Cinema 4D, Database, Dreamweaver, Fireworks, Flash, Illustrator, Lightwave 3D, Maya, MM Fusion, MS Office, P2P File Sharing, Paint Shop Pro, Photoshop(a lot), Premiere, QuarkXpress, CSS, HTML, Web Designing, Web Hosting, Java, PHP, Python, Visual Basic, Visual C, and many more.

How to add a Google Map to a web page

How to add a Google Map to any web page in less than 10 minutes

Walk through - step by step.

Most people really like the embedded Google Maps, but don't know how easy it is to add them to any page. I've had a few people ask me how it is done. With a little bit of HTML knowledge, anyone can quickly have a map up and running in just a few minutes.

Here is an example of how you can add a map to any contact us page or blog quickly and easily.

Advanced CSS Layouts: Step by Step - WebReference.com

Advanced CSS Layouts: Step by Step - WebReference.com

The site goes step by step in redesigning a table-structured webpage to a purely CSS layout that plays well with multiple browsers and displays.

Thursday, January 05, 2006

SoftwareFor.org: Free Software for You

SoftwareFor.org: Free Software for You

The Software for Starving Students CD enhances the Windows and Mac desktop computing experiences by providing an easy way to install free, high-quality software titles via a user-friendly interface. It includes popular open source programs like Firefox and OpenOffice, intended to help students learn about and benefit from open source and free software programs. The SSS team put all the most commonly used free programs onto one CD to make it easier for students to install useful software (including fully-featured office suites, 3D graphic editors and much more) for free.

List of Software in Download

Tuesday, December 27, 2005

How to rip a DVD: A Tutorial

A nicely done tutorial for ripping DVDs. (DVD Shrink is far less complicated - but in some situations you'll need to know this method)

Other Links of interest:
DVDShrink (do a google search to find a download site)

Friday, December 23, 2005

POG - Php Code Generator

Php Object Generator - Open Source Object Relational Mapping PHP Code Generator

Generates PHP/Database code. Includes support for PHP 5.

Database Comparison - Oracle, MySQL, DB2, SQL Server

Here is a rare article that provides nice details (clear cost figures) and evaluations of 4 of the major database platforms.

Perhaps PostgreSQL should have been included, but I'm not complaining. A nice read.

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

Open Source Project Management App

Open Workbench

Open Workbench is an open source desktop application that provides robust project scheduling and management functionality. Already the scheduling standard for more than 100,000 project managers worldwide, Open Workbench is a free and powerful alternative to Microsoft Project.

Friday, December 16, 2005

UK Oil Depot Fire - Sat Image

Satellite photo of Britain oil depot fire...clearly visible from space. Not sure of the image resolution.

London_Smoke_MER_H.jpg (Direct Link to JPEG Image, 1.4Mb, 1070x1070 pixels)

Saturday, December 10, 2005

Portable Firefox - Run from USB Drive

Portable Firefox 1.5

Portable Firefox is the popular Mozilla Firefox web browser packaged as a portable app, so you can take your bookmarks, extensions and saved passwords with you.

It certainly works great, as I am posting this blog entry from Firefox that is running on my USB drive.

Installation: To install Portable Firefox, just download the ZIP file at the top of the Portable Firefox page and unzip it anywhere on your portable drive.

Copy Current Local Firefox Settings: If you're using a local copy of Firefox, you may wish to just copy your local Firefox settings right into Portable Firefox. Your local Firefox profile is usually installed in C:\Documents and Settings\[user]\Application Data\Mozilla\Firefox\Profiles\default.???\ Just copy all of those files except the cache directories to the profile directory within Portable Firefox.

Wednesday, December 07, 2005

First Map of North America (Pre Columbus)

Brookhaven National Lab - Scientists Determine Age of New World Map: “Vinland Map” parchment predates Columbus’s arrival in North America

Scientists from the University of Arizona, the U.S. Department of Energy’s Brookhaven National Laboratory, and the Smithsonian Institution have used carbon-dating technology to determine the age of a controversial parchment that might be the first-ever map of North America. In a paper to be published in the August 2002 issue of the journal Radiocarbon , the scientists conclude that the so-called “Vinland Map” parchment dates to approximately 1434 A.D., or nearly 60 years before Christopher Columbus set foot in the West Indies.

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

US Govt Seeks Vehicle GPS Tracking

E-tracking may change the way your drive | Tech News on ZDNet:

ZDNet has a story on how the US Department of Transportation is funding state-level pilot projects to track vehicles using GPS.

The U.S. Department of Transportation has been handing millions of dollars to state governments for GPS-tracking pilot projects designed to track vehicles wherever they go. So far, Washington state and Oregon have received fat federal checks to figure out how to levy these "mileage-based road user fees."

This is coming around MUCH faster than I thought it would. How much longer before it is a requirement? First it starts as a traffic monitoring mechanism. Then as the big-fat heads consider new faux crisis to get elected on, they will push for it to be mandatory in all vehicles.

I can hear the rationale now: traffic violations can be issued by the GPS monitoring system, track suspected criminals, save the children, and a thousand other short-sighted reasons. In all the noise, the simple fact that this is supposedly a "free" country and its people are citizens and not subjects will certainly be lost.

Sold as a convenience - transformed into a noose...

(and now cue the chorus of "well if you're not doing anything wrong you have nothing to worry about" government apologists)

Details of the tracking systems vary. But the general idea is that a small GPS device, which knows its location by receiving satellite signals, is placed inside the vehicle.

Some GPS trackers constantly communicate their location back to the state DMV, while others record the location information for later retrieval. (In the Oregon pilot project, it's beamed out wirelessly when the driver pulls into a gas station.)

The problem, though, is that no privacy protections exist. No restrictions prevent police from continually monitoring, without a court order, the whereabouts of every vehicle on the road.

No rule prohibits that massive database of GPS trails from being subpoenaed by curious divorce attorneys, or handed to insurance companies that might raise rates for someone who spent too much time at a neighborhood bar. No policy bans police from automatically sending out speeding tickets based on what the GPS data say.

The Fourth Amendment provides no protection. The U.S. Supreme Court said in two cases, U.S. v. Knotts and U.S. v. Karo, that Americans have no reasonable expectation of privacy when they're driving on a public street.

GeoDa - Free Spatial Data Analysis Software

GeoDa - Spatial Data Analysis Software:

This was a nifty free software app that I wasn't expecting to stumble across. A nice list of recommended GIS software can be found at the mapz: a gis librarian blog.

The free program provides a user friendly and graphical interface to methods of descriptive spatial data analysis, such as spatial autocorrelation statistics, as well as basic spatial regression functionality. The latest version contains several new features such as a cartogram, a refined map movie, parallel coordinate plot, 3D visualization, conditional plots (and maps) and spatial regression.

Sunday, December 04, 2005

Linux for Kids - Edubuntu

Edubuntu - Linux for Young Human Beings

Edubuntu is a version of Linux that is designed for 2-12 year-olds. It is free, fits on a single CD, and comes with a lot of educational games, student/learning applications, productivity/office software and pretty much everything a young student would need.

This version of Linux looks to be something that elementary school IT person should consider for implementation. I tried it out, and it really is perfect for the target age group.

Note: You don't need to use this specific version of Linux to get the applications that it comes installed with. You can download and install these apps separately for your favorite brand of Linux.

Screenshots & Descriptions
of included youth/student-oriented software.

(Edubuntu is a version of the very popular Ubuntu Linux.)

Source: Slashdot Article

Friday, December 02, 2005

Minnesota Dept of Education - Data Downloads

MN Dept of Education: Data Downloads

I was pleasantly suprised to find that Minnesota's Department of Education has posted a lot of data for download. There is a lot of info there and the site is nice and clean.

Once again, kudos to Minnesota for making public data easily available on the web. It might not always be the most recent or easiest to track down...but it's available and you can usually find an email address to contact the person that can (and almost always will) get it to you.

Firefox 1.5 Upgrade Note

Mozilla Corporation - Home of the Firefox web browser and Thunderbird email client

Just a quick note on upgrading a current Firefox installation to 1.5.

At first I was hesitant to upgrade to 1.5 and risk loosing my extensions and settings. However, Firefox didn't let me down.

You can install the new Firefox right over your current version (same/default location). It has a built in mechanism to handle your currently installed extensions (and of course your bookmarks and all saved everything). It was an extremely clean install/upgrade. Everything ported over great.

If a compatible version of a currently installed extension is not yet available, the installer will tell you and disable the extension temporarily. Firefox will notify you when a compatible version has been released. I had about 2 dozen extensions installed, and only 5 of them did not have a compatible version yet. It seems all the popular/major extensions have a 1.5 version available so most folks shouldn't even notice.

Firefox 1.5 Review

1337tech.org - Firefox 1.5 - Is It That Good

Here is an interesting review of the new Firefox 1.5 and it's new features. (It's worth upgrading - the new tab browsing features are great)

GetFirefox.com to download new version.

Wednesday, November 30, 2005

GIS Theses/Dissertations

UTA Libraries Online: An RSS feed aggregator for GIS Theses and other recently released GIS articles.

Source: Mapz: a gis librarian (blog article)

Monday, November 28, 2005

Autodesk Partners with MapServer

Autodesk Press Release - Autodesk Contributes Web Mapping Software to Open Source Community

Further Info: Directions Mag Article - Excellent & detailed article by Adena Schutzberg, Nov 28 '05 (Must Read)

Slashdot Article

This certainly qualifies as one of the biggest GIS stories of 2005.

Autodesk, maker of AutoCAD, has joined the MapServer community by becoming a founding member and major financial sponsor to the new MapServer Foundation. In addition, Autodesk is contributing its web mapping software to the MapServer Foundation and releasing it as open source.

This certainly is a smart move by Autodesk, if they want to get back onto the same web mapping field that ESRI is playing on. For years Autodesk has had web mapping software out there, but it has gained zero traction. I can't even recall the name of it. Is it MapGuide? Maybe that’s a sign of how popular that product is.

Autodesk isn’t the only winner in this move. MapServer too should see a good boost from this partnership and the formal creation of the MapServer Foundation.

MapServer hasn't needed a corporate giant to reach the level of success that it has achieved. This has a lot to due to with the brilliant and dedicated developers that have given so much to the effort. However credibility has been one of the biggest uphill battles for MapServer. Companies have been reluctant to accept the reality that MapServer is a viable spatial web solution, because it didn’t have a corporate base driving the development. Now that Autodesk, certainly a well established GIS application provider, has joined forces and is backing MapServer, I think it will be easier for new web mapping users and current ArcIMS users to recognize that MapServer is a real solution and give it a fair shot when considering their options.

At the 2005 MapServer conference (conf. materials) a lot of people were openly and even a little angrily wondering why Autodesk showed up and agreed to participate in a panel discussion. The speaker from Autodesk got more than his fair share of pointed questions. Now it seems pretty clear that it wasn’t merely a means of eyeing the competition but that they were considering a partnership with MapServer.

What is to be seen is if Autodesk wants to be a fair and equitable player in continuing to enhance MapServer as an open source product or somehow absorb MapServer as a corporate product and derail its development by driving out the development team through bickering over the direction and/or structure of the software. I suppose that will be a big part of the growing pains MapServer is about to undergo over the next couple of years. How will the application and community change once Autodesk crawls into its bed...

The other major uphill battle MapServer has consistently faced, beyond a credibility gap, is that there isn’t tech support for non-web mapping geeks or those willing or able to get over the technical learning curve. So the next good news that I am hoping to hear is that Autodesk will be willing to take on a technical support role for MapServer. Most GIS shops already use and trust Autodesk products. So if they provided both MapServer solutions AND some form of tech support – I think ESRI’s ArcIMS is going to get a big kick in the ass.

Autodesk has joined forces with the leading members of the open source web mapping community to jointly take the next step in open source web mapping technology. The groups working together to launch and sponsor this effort include DM Solutions Group, the University of Minnesota, and Autodesk.

The MapServer Foundation has been established to provide a business and operational framework to better support the ongoing development of open web mapping technologies including MapServer, the most widely open source web mapping platform.

Autodesk has contributed it’s next-generation web mapping platform to the foundation as an open source project. -- source --

Autodesk's web mapping software will be released as "MapServer Enterprise" under the GNU LGPL, and the current version of MapServer will be released as "MapServer Cheatah" under its current MIT-style open source license. I haven't tried MapServer Enterprise yet, but the source is already available for download.

Another exciting addition is Autodesk's MapServer Studio. A preview of the application is available for download (bottom of page, 122Mb).

Autodesk MapServer Studio is an authoring environment that handles all aspects of collecting and preparing geospatial data for distribution on the Internet. Modeled after popular web development tools, Studio provides a unified environment that enables you to rapidly create spatial applications using an intuitive and familiar interface.

MapServer Studio puts files and resources close at hand and provides the ability to preview the application you’re creating without publishing to a server. MapServer Studio enables you to work in your preferred programming environment—PHP, .NET, or JSP—while providing 100 percent consistency among the APIs. -- source --