Geomancers Meeting Links

Summary of Geomancers Meeting:

I showed up late, as usual, but luckily Allan was there early to catch
people as they came in. Attendance peaked about about 9 — enough to
fill two tables of people. The meeting examined and discussed the
Camberville Greenmap, being published by Jerrad Pierce, and the various
things that can be done to make it more interesting and interactive:

* Web based format (mapserver/WMS/tiling something or other)
* Linking locations to the Open Guide to Boston or a similar site —
allowing people to click on something and finding out more about it,
and possibly adding their own information to it
* Allowing display of more information, since you don’t have to
overwhelm people with everything at once like you do on paper:
various layers let you put the pieces together to build up your own
interesting greenmap

There was some discussion of how the data was gathered, and about the
MrSID format that the aerial photography from MassGIS is in (mostly me
whining about it). There was discussion of some of the symbol choices —
how a chevron facing in the direction of the road can be misleading and
make people feel like it’s indicating a direction. All in all, the
greenmap is looking really cool, and I’m looking forward to getting a
version of it online and seeing what more can be done with it.

After my computer got on the network, we were able to talk about the
Boston Freemap that Schuyler and I built, some of the issues we were
having with it, and how to solve them. There was discussion of the
problems with using a WMS for the soure of a tiled clientside WMS
browser: labels intersecting tile boundaries, as well as roads or road
labels being drawn at weird angles. We also discussed (as was mentioned
on the list) the various tradeoffs of using different image formats,
some of which comes down to the fact that mapserver doesn’t quite do
what it would be nice for it to do.

There was some discussion of the work that went into the mumbai freemap
project: hand-digitization of vector information obtained from the local
planning board, and the attempts to convert said data into a reasonable
projection which would be overlaid on top of landsat satellite imagery,
something that’s not typically done.

There was some discussion of the Platial platform, what works about it,
what doesn’t, where the value is, and how it can be used for the Real
Estate field. Apparently, the housing market statewide is in a serious
decline: we’re passing the peak of the bubble, and many houses are
selling at 20-30% below their assessed value. This is a having a huge
impact on the real estate industry, and is something that may be able to
be alleviated in part by the sharing of local information: turn your
entire block into a cheerleader about a location. They want the value of
your house to be higher so that the value of *their* house can be
higher, and teh local view is a view that no realtor or anyone else can
give you but the people who live there.

There was also discussion of various ideas about what you could do with
the various data out there from a geographic point of view: the ability
to churn out a ‘local rap-sheet’ would be a nice idea for a startup
targetted towards Buying agents for real estate.

We’ll probably do another gathering in a couple weeks: Possibly in
someplace quieter, and maybe not on a friday evening to attract a
different crowd. The Muddy Charles is fine at 5, but towards 7 you
really have to start shouting to get yourself heard, and I’d like to go
someplace with food for a change at some point, since I don’t drink beer
🙂 Any recommendations or suggestions for date/time/place would be

Links below are what was left in my browser history, or what was left
behind, and what I could remember. Feel free to add to it.

Link-based Summary of meeting:
* Greenmap
* Mumbai Freemap
* Boston Freemap
* Open Guide to Boston
* Platial
* MLS Listing
* Lowell Deeds Blog
* Boston World66
* World Flooding Map
* MassGIS Raster imagery

Comments are closed.