Posts for GIS


February 14 2013

Last week I updated Shape Escape to convert shapefiles to GeoJSON and TopoJSON, in the hopes of making it easier for developers to quickly get that web-unfriendly shapefile into some clientside useful vector format.

First, it's worth noting that TopoJSON has got a bunch of webmap ... read more


June 12 2011

I've played briefly with TileMill before, but after learning more about the advances that Development Seed is putting into their MapBox stack (such as Node.js integration with Mapnik, utfgrid and more) I realized it was time to sit down and play with it for real.

My ... read more

Shape Escape

December 20 2010

Well it's been a while, so just a quick note: Since the last post, I started working full time for Google. And with that out of the way, here's a post on how and why I made, which lets you upload shapefiles to Google Fusion Tables.

Why ... read more

Oceans Showcase

February 05 2010

Last night at the San Francisco Ocean Film Festival Google launched the Oceans Showcase, which is the second contract I've had the opportunity to work on with them. The showcase is a set of Google Earth based Tours for playing in a webpage (plugin required) or via ... read more

Fun with Layars

November 07 2009

Last night I installed Layar on my phone, and had some fun checking out the twitter and wikipedia layers. So I signed up for an API key, and 30 seconds later saw a tweet mentioning the California Data Camp. Perfect! After a rare and blissful sleep-in, I ... read more

Tiling Kibera

October 15 2009

The upcoming Map Kibera project acquired some imagery recently, and I got ahold of it yesterday to set up a quick tilecache preview. There's actually been quite a few requests here recently for getting some tiles up quickly from various sets of source imagery, so I thought I'd write ... read more

Featureserver on AppEngine

June 10 2009

AppEngine is awesome. The more we use it, the more we like it.

Recently, someone contacted us who needed a site up, in a hurry, to serve up some points on a google map. The catch was there were about 50k points (so it seemed server side clustering might ... read more

Walk On

February 19 2009

A few months ago, launched their new API, aimed a Real Estate sites, academic and other largescale studies, and anyone else who might want programmatic access to the walkability of a set of locations.
Recently, a number of large sites (,,, ... read more

Land Summary Beta

December 16 2008

Earlier this year, I read this post on local foodsheds, and got to thinking that there must be a good way to automate and generalize this type of analysis.  So I put the idea into the big bucket of ideas that I don't have time to implement, until it ... read more

township mapping

October 09 2008

At the same time I was taking a great nature hike just before the start of FOSS4G, there was a mapping party in Houte Bay.  The party clearly came out a success, and thanks to Mikel for passing on the contact info of the gracious hosts at Tobi, I ... read more


October 02 2008

The presentations for FOSS4G are over, and just a few workshops and the code sprint are left in the official conference.  This year I ran a workshop on GeoDjango with Chris Schmidt, and gave a presentation on the work I did recently with 

The workshop had a ... read more

cape town

September 29 2008

I arrived in Cape Town about 5am (dark outside), and stepped carefully back into Africa (stepped/stumbled:  they were unable to locate lights for the path from the plane to the terminal).  There wasn't much of a line for citizens in the passport-checking area, but that didn't stop at least a ... read more

southern sierras

September 05 2008


I had a great backpacking trip in the Southern Sierras (near Mt. Whitney in the John Muir Wilderness) a few weeks ago, and finally decided to see about getting some geocoded pics online.

Since I've been so spoiled with my eye-fi card, I'm not used to needing to ... read more

Eye FireEagle

July 20 2008

A few weeks ago, I purchased Eye-Fi's fancy geolocating and wireless-uploading SD Card, which I'd seen a demo of at WhereCamp. I love gadgets, perhaps too much, but this thing is indeed a great implementation of a cool idea. And, as yet another harbinger of how ... read more

Was 80, now 83

July 17 2008

When I first saw I was impressed with their simple but clever approach to creating a walk index.

Ranking walkability is an interesting topic for me: I've had the opportunity to work on a few different sprawl and walkability models in the past, but ... read more