Open Source Releases: QGIS 1.7.1, GeoServer 2.1.2, GeoTools 2.7.3, GEOS 3.3.1

Here's recent geospatial open source software releases. All minor but welcomed updates.

  • QGIS 1.7.1 released, to be honest, I only recently started using QGIS for real work, and I've been impressed by the advanced features that worked flawlessly (but I wasn't impressed by the user documentation though) 
  • GeoServer 2.1.2 released, mostly a bugfix release, here's previous recent GeoServer news
  • GEOS 3.3.1 released, GEOS is the C port of the JTS and incorporated into many other geospatial open source projects, see this previous story
  • GeoTools 2.7.3 released, that too, a maintenance release
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Google Geonews: 1 Billion Google Earth Downloads, Helicopter View in Directions, Map Maker Graduations, and more

I've been overly busy lately, but give me some time and you'll get all the pertinent geonews. Here's for the recent Google-related geonews.

From official sources:

  • Google proudly announced there has been over one billion downloads of Google Earth, clearly Google Earth and Maps were the symbols of a new era in geospatial technologies 
  • Google also announced new countries 'graduating' from Google Map Maker: Afghanistan, Antarctica, Ecuador, Georgia, Guatemala, Heard Island and McDonald Islands, Honduras, Iraq, Norfolk Island, Saint Pierre & Miquelon and Saudi Arabia, and shares a related entry on Google Map Maker efforts in Afghanistan
  • Google Maps added a "My Location" default "From" location to directions, removing the need to type your current address location
  • Slashdot noted that there's now an 'helicopter view' for driving directions in Google Maps
  • Yes, the famous Google pushpin has been redesigned, amongst other changes of look
  • Google Earth Outreach is now present in Canada, Google Lat Long also shared a story on Canada's boreal forest, the world's largest intact forest
  • Here's a bunch of minor Maps API news
  • And another developer-oriented entry is tips on mapping your business

From other sources:

  • Some users might be interested in those tips to make Google Earth Flight Simulator easier to use
  • There was new imagery made available to Google Earth yesterday and new 3D trees in Portland, Oregon
  • Via APB, Google will use INRIX for real-time traffic for 8 european countries
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Apple Announces ‘Find My Friends’ Location Service

In their round of announcements, Apple today announced the 'Find My Friends' location app and service. Here's what the Apple press release has to say about it:

"Find My Friends is a new app available as a free download from the App Store that lets you easily share your location with people who are important to you. Friends and family appear on a map so you can quickly see where they are. Find My Friends also lets you temporarily share your location with a group of friends, whether it's for a couple of hours for a dinner or a couple of days on a camping trip; when the time is up, the sharing ends. With Find My Friends, you get a notification every time you get a new friend request and if you give them permission, they can see your location. With a simple tap you can hide your location. Parental controls help you manage how your child uses Find My Friends."

It will be available on October 12th along with iOS 5. This service has similarities with Google Latitude, launched in February.  

In related news, the iOS Maps app can apparently be invoked and used via the new Siri advanced voice recognition part of iOS 5.

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Poll Results on Esri ArcGIS Online vs Google Earth Builder, and New Poll on Cloud GIS

Thanks to Andrew who found out that the poll engine was strangely behaving, it gave me an excuse to offer you a new poll on 'cloud GIS'.

The previous poll on Esri ArcGIS Online vs Google Earth Builder generated 213 votes. 42% of users anticipate that both will be successes in their own way, and funnily enough, two distinct groups made of 24% of users believe that one will prevail on the other. For what's left, 7% think neither will gain momentum and there's even 2% of users that wish that Bing Maps will prevail over the two front runners.

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OpenLayers 2.11 Released

A year after version 2.10, the popular open source web map frontend OpenLayers 2.11 has been released.

The highlights: "This release is a big one, closing over 380 outstanding tickets and providing significant performance improvements. The biggest win is the mobile support enhancements. OpenLayers now allows features to be dragged and zoomed with touch gestures on mobile devices. Handlers for pinching and zooming have also been added to the library. Other key highlights are the plethora of performance enhancements and the additional support for accessing Bing Maps tiles."

You can learn the details in the 2.11 release notes.

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Mapnik 2.0 Released

Jumping from version number 0.7.1, Mapnik 2.0 is a major release. While we mentioned Mapnik quite a few times, I don't hear that often about it. That said, many of us experience Mapnik frequently, since Mapnik is used for the rendering of OpenStreetMap's main map. Hey, Mapnik even participated to this year's WMS shootout.

Here's a reminder of what Mapnik is: "Mapnik is a Free Toolkit for developing mapping applications. It's written in C++ and there are Python bindings to facilitate fast-paced agile development. It can comfortably be used for both desktop and web development, which was something I wanted from the beginning.

Mapnik is about making beautiful maps. It uses the AGG library and offers world class anti-aliasing rendering with subpixel accuracy for geographic data. It is written from scratch in modern C++ and doesn't suffer from design decisions made a decade ago. When it comes to handling common software tasks such as memory management, filesystem access, regular expressions, parsing and so on, Mapnik doesn't re-invent the wheel, but utilizes best of breed industry standard libraries from boost."

Here's the list of major new features for Mapnik 2.0.

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Monday Geonews: ArcGIS Explorer Build 1750, Metadata Tool for QGIS, Iran’s Basir Google Earth Rival, VDatum, and much more

Here's the recent geonews in batch mode.

On the open source front:
  • Wonder where GeoTools is? Here's the Status of GeoTools presentation from FOSS4G
  • Here's about Metatools, a metadata management plugin for QGIS, now at version 0.2
  • Here's the GeoServer Aggregating DataStore, enabling the republication from several data sources, including remote ones
  • The slides and videos of OpenStreetMap's State of the Map conference are now available
  • Sean Gillis' at it again, he started a new project called Fiona, an OGR API which wants to be "a clear alternative to the complex layers and cursors and fussy geometry objects of OGR and ArcPy"
  • Ok, not directly geospatial, but Gource is the nicest tool to visualize source code changes I've seen yet (works with Git, SVN and others), and here it is showing the changes in QGIS from version 1.6 to 1.7
On the Esri front:
  • ArcGIS Explorer Build 1750 is now available
  • Mandown summarizes what’s new on ArcGIS Online for September
  • There's also an ArcGIS API for iOS 2.01 update for those developing with iOS 5 and another one for ArcGIS API For JavaScript 2.5
  • Here's the Best Practices For Using Custom State Highway Shields In ArcGIS
In the everything-else category:
  • Here's another entry on the New KML features in Google Earth 6.1
  • Iran is releasing Basir, a Google Earth competitor, to counter Google's cultural aggression 
  • Microsoft has an entry on the recent updates to Bing Maps: REST API, AJAX Control v7, and Account Center
  • We mentioned a few times vertical datums, via Kurt, now NOAA is releasing VDatum, "designed to vertically transform geospatial data among a variety of tidal, orthometric and ellipsoidal vertical datums"
  • That's how far sensors can go, millions of geolocated seismic sensors wirelessly connected for oil and gas exploration by Shell and HP
  • V1 mentions a comprehensive guide on 3D spatial relationships
  • Here's a Maperitive tutorial for Generating OSM Map For Adobe Illustrator
  • In the neverending series of cellphone tracking, Slashdot discusses a story named Surveillance Case May Reveal FBI Cellphone Tracking Techniques
  • And regarding car tracking Slashdot offers another story named Canberra Police Want Drones To Track Cars
  • In the trivia category, Slashdot discusses a story named Swedish Daycare Tracks Kids With GPS Devices
In the maps category:
  • O'Reilly mentions the Global Adaptation Index map, which "rates a given country's vulnerability to environmental shifts precipitated by climate change, its readiness to adapt to such changes, and its ability to utilize investment capital that would address the state of those vulnerabilities"
  • V1 shares a map of the gas infrastructures in Europe
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Slashgeo’s 6th Year Anniversary

Already 6 years of Slashgeo today! Geospatial changed so much since and we can only expect, like too many other things, it's going to continue to evolve at an exponential rate. How to stay in touch with everything important that's going on in geospatial? Slashgeo! Well, that's at least our mission ;-)

We finally moved to Drupal a bit over a year ago, and while the site is arguably several zoom factors better from what it was, there's still a lot to do (there always is, right? ;-). And we're still facing the same challenges as last year, namely resources and community participation. We're always listening if you have ideas or proposals - and warmly welcome new editors.

With today's Facebook and Google+, I'm wondering if a site such as this one is the best vehicle to share geospatial news with the community for the coming years. What do you think?

And since anniversaries are opportunities for stats, here's some: we're now at 5,157 stories published in our 6 years of existence, we have 6,866 unique RSS subscribers according to Google Feedburner (that's a lot!), 859 new registered users since last year's "reboot", amongst which 610 receive our daily newsletter by email, and of course thousands of direct visitors to the website. We were also present on-site at 4 geospatial conferences this year: Where 2.0, State of the Map, FOSS4G and two Slashgeo editors will be at Géomatique in two weeks.

Let's find out what surprises the future is hiding for Slashgeo's 6th year :-)
-- Alex, aka Satri

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Google Geonews: Google Earth 6.1 Released, Sharing Google Maps on Google+, Speeding Up Google Earth, Sweden “Secrets”, and much more

Here's the recent Google-related geonews.

From the official sources:

  • Google announced the release of Google Earth 6.1, the My Places panel is improved, and so is StreetView, and Google Earth Pro too gets several new features. The GEB offers some more details on what's changed
  • You can now directly share your activites on Google Maps on Google+, such as directions, places and even search results
  • The developer blog has an entry on the Google Street View Image API
  • Not directly geospatial, but Google Wallet was launched in collaboration with Visa, American Express and Discover, enabling mobile payments anywhere 

From other sources:

  • Here's tips on how to speed up Google Earth
  • The GEB mentions Google Earth Explorer, a smooth way to fly through in Google Earth, which is in the process of becoming open source and has been purchased by Google
  • Slashdot ran a discussion named Google To Honor "Don't-Track-Me-Bro" Requests, in which we learn "Google will allow owners of Wi-Fi access points to opt out of a Google service that uses their data to determine the location of others' smartphones."
  • Ogle Earth shares a detailed entry named Biannual Swedish media panic sets in as Google Earth continues to show Sweden’s “secrets”
  • Here's 50,000 worldwide power plants in Google Earth
  • The GEB also mentions a few nice global overlays for Google Earth
  • There's new imagery today in Google Earth
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Open Source Geonews: OSGeo about 20,000 Strong Now, FOSS4G Wrap-Ups, GrassrootsMapping, and much more

Here's the recent open source geospatial news in batch mode, which includes everything about FOSS4G on the geoblogs that we haven't mentioned yet.

On the FOSS4G Conference front:

  • Interesting numbers, "By there are now 19,471 unique subscribers to OSGeo, more than 400 mailing lists, and more than 15 million lines of code, with 740 contributors, and 269 that have contributed for more than 12 months."
  • Slashgeo editor Nicolas summarized Brian Timoney's excellent talk at FOSS4G, and if you want to hear it yourself, here is that 14-minutes impassioned talk on the state of the geospatial industry, Brian demonstrate how much better we could do
  • Here's the slides of Paul Ramsey's keynote
  • Here's Jody Garnett's updated slides on the WPS Shootout
  • Here's the entry to read about Open Source and Open Data at the U.K. Ordnance Survey
  • If you haven't read too much about it already, here's an entry on the case study of the U.S. FCC National Broadband Map based on open source geospatial software
  • Here's the what's coming to PostGIS 2.0 slides [pdf]
  • I heard comments that 30-minutes talks at FOSS4G was too short for the presenters to dive into their subjects, would you agree? If you're interested in what could be improved see this recap of FOSS4G by OSGeo's president
  • Here's Directions Mag complete wrap up of the conference

In other news:

  • I was surprised to read that Tyler Mitchell won't be the OSGeo Executive Director anymore
  • GWT-OpenLayers version 0.6 has been released, that's the wrapper library for using OpenLayers in Google Web Toolkit applications
  • MapFish is now an official OSGeo project
  • This entry reminds us of the comprehensive list of web mapping toolkits (there's too much of them!)
  • SS mentioned GrassrootsMapping, which is a crowdsourcing aerial image project with goals similar
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