Technical Terrain

This blog is about exposing the real-world value of GIS.  It may be of interest to technologists but it seeks a more general audience of people who need, want or simply like to work with maps.  There are many excellent sites that deal with the curly braces, so we will speak geek sparingly.  What is often missing, however, is a good explanation of why a particular approach or technical choice is being made.  We'll do that here and have some fun, too.  Please feel free to join in and comment any time!

— Fred Newcomer
    SpherAware CEO


Recent Posts

Geographic Literacy

Posted in Activity, Geography on Jul 31, 2017

Declining geographic literacy in the hyper-information age is a curious paradox.  It may also spell trouble for our over-used planet.  This post starts to looks at this issue in more detail.

Never Too Late to Tessellate

Posted in Database, Open Source GIS, Techniques on Jul 07, 2017

This is the final post in the simplification series.  It reveals a new way to restore the congruent fit of a polygon layer after it has been simplified.

On Topo the World

Posted in Database, Open Source GIS, Techniques on Jun 12, 2017

What is topology and why does it matter?  This post continues to explore the complications of simplifying GIS data.

Why Simplification Is Complicated

Posted in Open Source GIS, Techniques on May 24, 2017

Efficiency and resolution go hand-in-hand.  This post challenges the accepted best practice for simplifying vector graphics for use at smaller scales.

Invalid Geometries

Posted in Database, Open Source GIS, Techniques on May 08, 2017

How can a geometry be invalid?  It sounds impossible but it can happen.  Fortunately, invalidity is not at all fatal.  Once you understand the problem, fixing it is easy.

The Address Dilemma

Posted in Geography, History on Apr 24, 2017

Have you ever encountered a misplaced marker? Geocoding may be the culprit. This post takes a look at the ubiquitous and erratic way we humans describe locations.

On the Flip Side

Posted in Activity, Geography, History on Apr 10, 2017

Have you ever wondered who or what is on the other side of the planet?  This post takes a look at what is straight down and upside down.  It also ponders the Earth's strange antipodal balance.

A Trigger-Happy Solution

Posted in Database, Techniques on Mar 27, 2017

How can you change the symbol used to draw a feature on your map when a new record is written to a related table?  A smart database can do that for you.

Getting to the Point

Posted in Android, Techniques on Mar 13, 2017

Virtually all Android mobile devices have a a magnetic field sensor (or magnetometer).  So why would developing a compass control be so challenging?  Take a quick peek under the hood and find out.

The Cooperative Geodatabase

Posted in ArcGIS, Business, Database on Feb 13, 2017

What, exactly, is an enterprise GIS?  This post provides an overview and links to a SpherAware whitepaper that describes an ArcGIS security innovation for business environments.