Thursday, November 18, 2010

SEPM Launches a YouTube Channel

Robert at SEPM took my suggesting in a recent post seriously enough to create a SEPM YouTube Channel. The first video is up and shows some very cool stuff that he has been working on.

If you are considering creating your own channel, please consider tagging the videos with "swgis". On Twitter you can use the #swgis hashtag.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Visualization in Smallworld (Part 2)

Back in January, I posted an article about Visualization in Smallworld. The article was long on words and short on visuals, so now I have created a video that shows more clearly what the post about.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Another use of OpenStreetMap within Smallworld

Up until today, I was aware of only two Smallworld-based products that incorporate OpenStreetMap (aka OSM. see data into a Smallworld application:
  1. iFactor Consulting's (my employer) Web Maps Connector; and
  2. another company working on OSM to be released soon.

So I was pleasantly surprised to see an announcement from SEPM today that one of the recent products they have released is SEPM X-Database "Open Street Map". You can read more about the product by downloading SEPM_2010_02_New_Features.pdf and browsing to page 20.

At the Smallworld Americas Users Conference this year I presented on OpenStreetMap integration with Smallworld (download presentation here). I presented heavily on using tile based OSM rendering in Smallworld together with downloading vector data on demand. I also mentioned other approaches such as setting up your own server or downloading OSM data into a VMDS partition. Now it seems that SEPM has taken that latter approach and is presenting OSM in VMDS. Clearly there are advantages/disadvantages to the different approaches (e.g., fetching tiles via a web service vs. having all the OSM data in VMDS). But the beautiful thing of having different options is that you can pick the one that fits yours needs best. And the OSM price is not one to be argued with :)

Now if we can just get SEPM to put a video up on YouTube demoing this product...

Friday, November 5, 2010

Designing Simplicity into Smallworld

At the Smallworld America's Users Conference this September in Baltimore, I heard a comment from an attendee that has stuck with me... "Smallworld needs to innovate simplicity into its product". Clearly there are many ways to accomplish this, but I thought I would share one area where I have been able to add some simplicity. I would very much like to hear from others about how they have designed simplicity into Smallworld applications or where they would like to see a simpler design.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Smallworld on the Social Web

I have become very interested in the use of social media to provide a place to share ideas about Smallworld. Obviously the social web is a place where companies and individuals can market their products and services. But I have begun to see the social web as an extension of the informal technical meetings I have had with colleagues over the years where new ideas have been generated and old ideas refined.

I would recommend that you watch the TED Talk by Steven Johnson: Where good ideas come from. He gives some great examples of how networks of people get together in chaotic situations to share ideas and out of those situations arise great new ideas. One of the very interesting examples he gives at the end is how some researchers trying to hear the telemetry signals from Sputnik triggered a series of events that today allows us all to use our mobile phones as navigation devices.

In that same stream of thought, I am beginning to see the Social Web as a place that the Smallworld community can use to foster new ideas and innovation.

Some in the Smallworld community have moved onto Twitter. That is a great tool for updating others on the status of ideas and projects (remember to tag your tweets with #swgis).

Others are carrying on Smallworld-related conversations in Linkedin "GE Smallworld" group.

There is the well-used Yahoo group sw-gis that many of us use. It is a great forum for answering questions to problems.

But what if we don't know what the problem definition is? I have recently begun to see the utility of YouTube in fostering this idea sharing. Another TED Talk by Chris Anderson: How YouTube is driving innovation got me to start thinking about how I could use video to share ideas and add them to the chaotic mix that stimulates innovation. I have started a channel at that shares my Smallworld-related ideas and experiences.

I'm curious to know if there are other Smallworld-related YouTube videos/channels out there. Please let me know in a comment on this post. I know of only one other one:

When you post to YouTube, remember to tag it with "swgis". It turns out that the "Smallworld" tag is more likely to take you to Disney-related content that it is to a GIS :(

Not happy with Magik in Emacs? See the MDT Webinar.

I've written a few posts related to Astec's MDT Eclipse plugin over the years. I have gotten used to using Emacs but I realize that is not for everyone (especially people coming to Magik from other development environments). So I was happy to read that Astec would be hosting a MDT webinar at the beginning of December. The timing of it is aimed at participants in the western hemisphere.

(Maybe Astec can set up a YouTube channel with additional demo videos for those who cannot attend the webinar).

Here's the announcement...

We would like to invite all Magik developers to an online live demo presentation of MDT (Magik Development Tools): the new and modern IDE for Magik.

Session is planned to be held on December, the 2nd, 1 p.m. Washington D.C. time.

MDT live demo presents main MDT features from simple basics to most advanced stuff. Topics included in this demo are as follows:
- creating project, runtime, session;
- importing and exporting (preferences, sessions, products etc.);
- working with code;
- browsing through code;
- managing project dependencies;
- search;
- version control systems;
- debugging

duration: approx. 60 min.

Due to limited number of seats please confirm your interest on If needed, we will hold another session 90 minutes after the first one. Joining details and link will be posted one week prior to the presentation.

MDT Team