Clever Dutch Startup – Shoudio

At PICNIC for a few hours, saw this great location-based start-up, Shoudio, in the “Marketpace” tent.  The web interface is nice, but I could imagine improvements in searching, tagging and filtering.  The iPhone app is slick, though not yet put to the test (by me).  Seems like great potential here. You can record and share sounds through Facebook, Twitter, Foursquare, and there is also content from aggrigators such as soundaroundyou and soundseeker and probably more.  With an open API this can be used by developers to make customized audio crowd-sourcing applications.   City, bike, and architecture tours come to mind.  Photo can be uploaded with audio.  Something for birders?

Coming soon? Google bike mapping in Amsterdam

Over a year ago, Google announced a bike path layer and biking routes in the U.S. It seems this is easier said than done in Europe. But they must be close! Playing with Google api V3 we discovered the Bicyclinglayer, and discovered it exists here too! Here is my sample map (8/1/2019 – doesn’t work any more). The bike layer can be turned on or of, but attempt to route for Biking and it does not work. (It would work in the US, except that I have switched to “walking” for this demo.)

There is already the international open cycle map layer… so can’t they get together on this? Open cycle map is one of the backgrounds on the excellent free website, However this is a point and click route planner, and does not use the underlying bike map layer for routing.

Another approach, specially designed for use in Amsterdam is Routecraft Routeplanner, was developed by DAVdigital which also makes customized maps, interactive and static, for organizations in and around Amsterdam. This one really works (within greater Amsterdam), so it wins the prize for up-and-running.

Crowdsourcing Irene

New York City’s Severe Weather site allows victims or observers to document their damage through a reporting feature. This comes with the caveat “Insofar as any posts made concern weather conditions and weather-related service disruptions, the City will not take action.” I’m not sure why people would use this tool, but perhaps in the future it will be a real communications tool. The same site was used for reporting neighborhood situations during the big blizzard last year, according to Mashable.

Dutch Canons – Cultural History on the Map

ABC Media is a web design company which designs websites for cultural heritage, including archeology, history, art, literature and music. Their customers include museums, archives, monuments and cultural institutions. They use an open source database system, Umbraco, which makes it possible for clients to easily maintain the databases themselves. The Regiocannons website is an amazing map interface which provides access to all the dutch regional canons of cultural history.  Zooming in shows more and more monuments, with links to all the detail.  Great to study for my “inburgeringscursus“!

Crowdsourcing History

The New York Public Library’s Lionel Pincus Map Library has an amazing tool, The NYPL Map Warper, which allows and encourages the public to help geo-rectify their collection of historical maps. Over 2200 maps have been rectified to date.

The tool is a customized version of an open source map warping/rectifying tool (MapWarper) created by Tim Waters and MIT licensed, so available to developers. On the Mapwarper site, you can upload your own scanned maps and use the tool to rectify and export! The base map is Open Source, but after exporting, a map could be layered onto Google Maps or anything else.

THERE’s where I’ve gotta be

Oh such a nice application (not new, but just discovered) from Dutch GIS organization, Alterra.  “Daar Moet Ik Zijn” allows you to pick the type(s) of landscape you like, weight them by how pervasive they should be, and how important they are… and then voom!  … nice map showing you which places fit your preferences.  This should be useful for … well, vacation planning, or in case I want to move somewhere, and by the way they are collecting statistics probably to understand what is important to Dutch people (at least geeks).  My map (shown) heavily weights woods.  I love my environment here in Amsterdam, but do miss the trees.

The Middle East Puzzle

This is a nice and useful little Flash puzzle from Rethinking (I was going to look up these things anyway, and this is a nice mnemonic tool.) Checked myself on the second try and I performed significantly better… maybe I should have another go for perfection. I wonder how this was made and by whom… trying to find the source. It would be nice to also identify cities, rivers etc. this way. I guess American kids are trying to catch up and overcome the image crated by Miss South Carolina a couple of years ago!
I have a feeling that all of these names will become much more familiar in the decade ahead.

The UK, etc., Explained

This is a great little animation: “The Difference between the United Kingdom, Great Britain, and England Explained“… plus a lot more explaining about the old British Empire, and “the Crown”. The guy (C.G.P.Grey) sure talks fast, but thank goodness you can replay it if you are motivated! This is the kind of information you sometimes wonder about but never get around to looking up. His source is Wikipedia, so hope they’ve got it right! Found this video via NACIS (North American Cartographic Society). In case you can’t take the monologue, he published the script on his blog.

Crowd Counting

Estimates of people at the Cairo protest vary from 10,000 to 2 million. Using ArcGIS to outline an polygon which might represent the heaviest crowd, the area is 104,000 square meters. Assuming a rather tight crowd, the average could be 2 people per square meter. So my estimate is 200,000 people give or take 50,000. And of course there are masses, coming and going, and in all the streets not included in the polygon. Anyway, impressive, but not a million. I don’t think it matters.

Wow! A fascinating look below the surface

Heard about this at last fall’s ESRI Nederland conference, and finally found it on the web. A link on the Geology of the Netherlands website (mentioned in last post) goes to this sweet Google Maps interface, “Dwarsdoorsneden“. Put two points on the map of the Netherlands and click below to draw a cross section of the geological layers, the strata, formed over millions of years.  (This no longer works.)
The giant Dutch research organization, TNO, and the National Museum of Natural History (Naturalis) collaborated on this application. The website also provides detailed information about all those ancient periods, including the creatures who roamed the Dutch landscape. I’ll never work again. Too much fun.
Update 3/9/2018:  What a pity that the “dwarsdoorsneden” map no longer works!  The rest of the website is still fascinating