Monday, May 18, 2015

Yes - Project management is hard, even for the big guys

Project management 'failure' behind absence of Apple Maps updates at WWDC - report

So I noticed this article just now, referencing the 2014 iOS 8 release, and it's lack of map features. I would gather from this that either the maps team at that time, or possibly Apple overall had a weak PM culture that contributed to this. We all know Apple has a great product management culture, where good practitioners will focus on the strategic nature. Good Project management on the other-hand requires mastery of the tactical, which I suspect might be difficult in a culture like Apple's, especially with the laborious back-end discipline that is part and parcel to geo data.

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Google's Bad Latitude Attitude

Google's announcement yesterday (I learned from the E-mail below) wasn't a shock for most familiar with the app, and keeps up a pattern of Google shutting down apps that don't fit nicely into it's plan for Google + world domination.

I liked Latitude, but the writing was on the wall for some time and I noticed that almost all of the ~ dozen or so of my contacts who were using the app have long-since stopped updating their positions. For me, it was a handy way of collecting history, sharing general location to most friends, and sometimes showing specific location to a few select users, at select times. The API was also useful for developers to extend location functionality into other realms,like Jeffrey Fridel's reverse geocoding functionality for Adobe Lightroom. (which worked mostly, sometimes....

And I hate check-ins: just one more useless "feature" IMHO. I didn't have to check-in w/ Latitude though to still have it be useful for me.

Alternatives? OpenPaths is an altruistic-sounding, privacy-concerned group, that I've tried out somewhat in the past. There are other apps that sound promising on the AppStore, like this one for geotaging photos on non-GPS'd cameras... For me the selling points will be privacy, battery management and functionality related to history. To be continued...


Earlier today, we announced that Google Latitude is no longer part of the Google Maps app, and we're retiring Latitude on August 9, 2013.
This means that after August 9, your Latitude friends list will be deleted and you'll lose the ability to share your location with them. There will also be some changes to Location Reporting and Location History, including changes to third-party applications that use Google Latitude. Please see our FAQs for more information.
We understand some of you still want to see your friends and family on a map, which is why we've added location sharing to Google+ for Android (coming soon to iOS).
Thank you for using Google Latitude.

The Google Latitude Team

© 2013 Google Inc. 1600 Amphitheatre Parkway, Mountain View, CA 94043

You have received this mandatory email service announcement to update you about important changes to the Google Latitude product.

Friday, May 24, 2013

the new Google Maps - a 'blank' canvas ...

It’s new – and empty :)





From: Google Maps []
Sent: Thursday, May 23, 2013 9:55 PM
Subject: You're in. Get ready to try the new Google Maps.


Welcome to the new Google Maps. Preview now »


A map made just for you

The new Google Maps is redrawn for every search and click you make. This means you always get a map that highlights the things that matter to you and what you're trying to do.



Let us know what you think

We're excited to share the new Google Maps with you before launching it to the world. Please use the feedback link in the top right corner of the map to help us improve your experience.














© 2013 Google Inc. 1600 Amphitheatre Parkway, Mountain View, CA 94043

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Redefining 'open' in the face of crisis response

Concert Crowd (Osheaga 2009) - 30000 waiting for Coldplay
Last week was yet another test of geospatial and GIS technology in the face of a natural disaster. At the very height of election season, mother nature re-affirmed her role as a king-maker and undoubtedly influenced the incumbent president's chances.

Superstorm Sandy's impact might indeed live up to the hype that preceded it. But the challenges for emergency management officials remain the same: identifying the priorities, and moving the right assets and resources into the right place at the right time. This storm is no different, the response has already drawn criticism from many sides, including FEMA's supplemental power generation.

Geospatial technoligies have seen a proliferation of 'open' and interconnected components in the last few years. REST APIs and OGC standards help, but it is still much easier to connect systems, than it is to connect people. The challenge remains - getting the right people the right information at the right time. With every new GIS portal launched, the promise of a Common Operating Picture fades from view. When questions of "which portal do I use?" reverberate across the list-serves, sharing shapefiles via E-mail help soothe the pain of COP-creep.

Encouragingly though, it is now easier to connect people with the technology. While silos and fiefdoms may not like talking to each other, the crowd will now push them to action. Even FEMA has praised the collaborative efforts of groups like Humanitarian Open Street Map and their application to validate damage assessment photos from the Civil Air Patrol. The abundance of crowd-sourced data and applications helps to augment (and QC) the 'authoritative' versions. Evidence of this also includes two road-closure sites maintained side-by-side in Fairfax Co. Virginia.

All maps lie - they hide truths and obscure facts. By their very nature, they must present a viewpoint that is myopic - limited by the variables and symbology chosen by their creator. The challenge for those in the profession is to discern the burning questions that decision makers face, and tell a story that best illustrates a path forward. We have plenty of techno-talent, geo-lingo-jargon-experts and princely fiefdoms. It's encouraging to see democratic systems that help feed swift solutions to bridge the gap of what-do-we-know and what-do-we-do.

Monday, November 5, 2012

Just Do it. Tomorrow.

Oh, It's YOU Again And for the lazy versions of us out there, find out how to do it:

Friday, September 21, 2012

Apple: Exhibit 1 in why online mapping isn't a commodity

I don't see "maps" anywhere on this chart....

It's difficult. Significantly enough so that when history's largest-ever corporation decided to build their own system, it has started off with a gigantic, resounding thud. You can't miss the news - even on the front page of the Wall Street Journal.

Apple's unusual stumble proves that LBS, navigation and online mapping is a key business driver - one that requires a significant investment in data, programming and expertise. Don't leave home (or go to market) without it...

Thursday, August 9, 2012

FW: Registration for CrisisMappers 2012 now Open!

From: Crisis Mappers []
Sent: Monday, July 30, 2012 2:30 AM
Subject: Registration for CrisisMappers 2012 now Open!


[Apologies for cross-posting]


Dear Colleague,

Registration for this year’s International Crisis Mappers Conference | ICCM 2012 October 12 | in Washington DC is now open thanks to our Key Sponsors: The World Bank, ESRI, George Washington University, GeoEye and Ushahidi.

As many of you already know, the CrisisMappers Conference is the leading humanitarian technology event of the year, bringing together the most important humanitarian, human rights, development and media organizations with world's best technology companies, academics, journalists and hackers. Last year's conference in Geneva, Switzerland drew well over 400 active participants to define the cutting edge of humanitarian technology. Major topics in this year's conference will include: Big Data, Social Computing, Crowdsourcing, Communicating with Disaster Affected Communities, Quantifying Veracity, Digital Volunteers, Security and Liabilities, Open Data and Open Source Software.

Please use this link to register for ICCM 2012 by October 1, 2012. Your registration will grant you access to all events on October 12: the Keynotes, Ignite Talks, Reception and Tech Fair. The ICCM 2012 Agenda is available here should you require more information. (Important: If you have already received an email invite to register, please do not use the registration link above, thank you).

Some important links after you register:

To submit an Ignite Talk:

To apply for a space in the Tech & Analysis Fair:

To participate in the pre-conference training (October 11):

If you have any questions on the registration process, payment, application procedure, etc, please contact:

In the meantime, a big thanks to our Key Sponsors: The World Bank, ESRI, George Washington University, GeoEye and Ushahidi.

We look forward to a very productive and fruitful CrisisMappers conference and do hope you’ll be able to join us!

Thank you very much.

Patrick and Jen


CrisisMappers: The Humanitarian Technology Network
Co-Founders & Co-Curators |

Visit Crisis Mappers at: