Friday, March 31, 2006


I just made a couple of maps on the webpage, and am pretty impressed with the vast amount of free information! They have a wealth of demographic info that can be shown on a map or on a chart, including: mortgage values, high income mortgage applicants by race, types of loans, rental attributes, income and employment, and building permits - to name just a few.

The interface is very similar to that of Google Maps. It is a bit more clumsy, but is easy to navigate and refreshes quickly.

If you are looking to do a free market analysis, this is your site

Thursday, March 30, 2006

Census Trax Flash & Google Map

Yesterday, GeoGraphs and Urban Explorer announced the beta release of their CensusTrax application. Using Flash and Google Maps, a mashup is created that displays relevant demographic information in a slick transparent window.

The site is currently in Beta and open free of charge. However, it only features the State of California. There are plans to charge a nominal fee for the service in the future. (editors note...the Google Maps TOS forbids charging for a service that uses google maps, so it will be interesting to watch this develop.)

A description from their webpage states:

"Census Trax is an on-line interactive web GIS service to quickly retrieve, map and export US Census data. It will be available as a very inexpensive on-line subscription service in the near future. For now, while it is still in this beta version, it is freely available to anyone who wants to use it. "

Thursday, March 23, 2006

GIS Cookbook

The GIS Cookbook is a collection of simple descriptions and illustrations of GIS methods written with minimal GIS jargon. Recipes cover two GIS software platforms, ArcView 3.x and ArcGIS 8/9.x. The target users are social scientists with an interest in introducing spatial thinking into their current research and also having some experience with computers but little to no exposure to GIS. The GIS Cookbook is in its beginning stages and will be expanded to better serve the needs of social scientists.

This is an awesome concept. Using a simple and light interface, the folks over at have step by step tutorials relevant to daily GIS tasks. A great resource.

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

Awesome Google Maps Firefox Extension.

Tools continue to keep popping up everywhere - this one is for Firefox users with the Greasemonkey extension. Greasemap is a user script that resides in your browser and watches for street addresses in the webpages you browse. When it finds one, it instantly plots it onto a Google map in the top of your FireFox browser!

If you have never installed a greasemonkey script before, its easy. First, download the GM script here. Once it is installed come back to this page.

Right Click on the Greasemap hyperlink above.

Select INSTALL User Script.

Lets post ESRI's address here for instant gratification:

380 New York St
Redlands, CA 92373

Refresh your browser. Cool, aye?

Anytime a page like this that contains an address, a Gmap will appear on the top of your browser, address marker and all! If it gets to be bothersome, simply turn off your greasemonkey by right clicking the little monkey icon in the bottom right corner of the screen. He'll frown in sadness, but the maps will stop.

Monday, March 13, 2006


The Winter 2006 edition of Imaging Notes is out, and features a write up on ArcGIS Explorer from a geographical intelligence standpoint. It shows an excellent example of a vegetation vector layer taken right off of the Geography Network. The article is not directly readable online, but their feature story is.

David Maguire has prepared an excellent overview the explains some of the functionality of the ArcGIS Explorer application over at his blog GIS Matters.

A couple of items of interest include:

  • It will also be possible to view ArcIMS and OGC WMS services.
  • Some more detailed and specialized services will be available for a fee.
  • A new set of explorer services has been added to the Server core so that anyone (with ArcGIS Server) will be able to create and publish a service.

Friday, March 10, 2006

Google Earth has struck up a huge wave of interest in GIS and spatial mapping capabilities. Most users of GE are not yet aware of the tremendous additions the GIS industry is going to add to this new wave in spatial information - but I am sure that ESRI's ArcGIS Explorer is going to change all that.

Market forces are working their magic. ESRI products are superior to most, (and because of that) they are able to charge practically whatever they like for their products. It took a mammoth search engine giant (in Google) to stir the pot a bit in the geospatial industry, and ESRI responded by cooking something free up.

Soon, everyone will be performing spatial queries and analyzing statistics of our own data using ArcGIS Explorer. We'll also be using other's data. The spirit of ArcDex (short for Arc Index, and inspired by MapDex) the theory that we all have shapefiles that can be shared among all users . We all have cool tips, tricks, and hints to make ArcGIS Explorer fun and useful. I hope to feature and catalog as much of this information as possible, to encourage a broad range of collaboration.