Friday, 19 November 2010

New Role

So, over the last couple of months I have moved away from Civil Engineering and now spend 100% of my time in GIS. Specifically, GIS in Government. A strange time to move on, yes! But whilst its tough out there, its the best time to change.

No interesting tech post today, I just thought I would share a couple of my recent flying experiences with you. As those that know me know, I hate flying. It's a means to an end, a necessary evil and something I have to do relatively quite a lot. I can't think of one redeeming feature of flying. The waiting, the cramped conditions (I don't have the luxury of Business class just yet!) the lack of control, the food, customs... need I go on? But most of all, I hate the actual flying. I am rational about it. I do know the statistics and I have never not flown. I just can't get out of my head the fact that if it all goes wrong at 30,000...

So, with all this in mind, my sister decided that for my birthday it would be a good idea to get me up in a glider! I know! As it happened, I quite enjoyed it apart from when I had the controls. And me a control freak? It was strange really, one thing I hate about being a passenger in any vehicle is the lack of control. But when I had control of the glider I just didn't trust myself. It was a bit like that feeling you get when you're on the top of a tall building and all you want to do is jump off.

When  my instructor, who was also a sailing instructor, found out I was a sailor too, told me that flying a glider is just the same a sailing a boat, but in 3D. For me, the quite fundamental  difference is that I can swim. 

Anyway I did it, and when I handed back the controls to the instructor, I actually enjoyed it. As for the other experience, flying back from Knock in western Ireland, no words are needed...

Written and submitted from home

Monday, 19 April 2010

Visitor Map... broke!

My Visitor Map broke :(

So I got a new one :)

But it doesn't have my historical data :(

But it looks better :)

Anyway, while I'm here, have you had a look at the OS data that they have chucked out for free? It's good to see finally a decent quality ground data for free. Also Postcode data free too!

Now, go forth and create fab stuff....

Written and submitted from home

PS Yes I did spend too long creating 3D Raster Maps... but they are brilliant!

Saturday, 20 March 2010

Home Taping is doing what?

Here is a summary of bill on it's way through parliament at the moment.

Now, I'm no expert in the matter, but surly disconnecting users that download files from the internet is not a good idea?  I decided to write to my MP and urge you to do the same.

I am concerned that the Government is planning to rush the Digital Economy Bill into law without a full Parliamentary debate. This law, although I disagree with it's content, at least deserves proper scrutiny through full consultation and parliamentary debate. It is driven by corporate greed and penalises the wrong people. It empowers companies to target individuals suspected of breaking the law without proper process, thus denying them the basic human right of a proper trial in a court of law.

If anyone can explain to me how the law will in anyway help target the gangs who we are told finance their criminal activities through copyright infringement, then I am all ears. but to date, this has not been explained and therefore we need a proper debate, not a half hearted, half baked, corporately financed bill that is rushed through to fill some rather fat pockets of executives who are over-valuing the products they sell.

The "music industry", or more accurately, it's executives who are the main beneficiary of the law, has to face up to the fact that their control over the industry is waning and the power to create and  distribute music of comparable quality is now within the ability of the average person. This effectively de-values their product, and they are scared. Scared to loose their quite massive profits, and bonuses.

Anyway, the young lad in his bedroom, who is downloading for free now, is a future customer. I reckon that Most people who down load tracks on file sharing sites also spend the most money. Try a track fist, then buy the album. That was always the way when I was a teen copying music off the radio on an old C-90. Has it changed so much? I don't know, so lets debate it!

Written and submitted from home

Wednesday, 17 February 2010

Flat is OK...

This is quite brilliant:

Blaise Aguera y Arcas demos augmented-reality maps | Video on

I think the the transactions between all the different data sets is the best so far, and it's Microsoft, not Google!

I may well return to this later, but for now, just watch it and decide for yourself.

Written and submitted from Home

Wednesday, 3 February 2010


Interesting thing here. A patent for "Virtual Notes in a Reality Overlay". The ability to put time. location, data based info in an augmented reality application. 

Stephan Douris is the creative director of Yahoo ( and I think it shows Yahoo (fairly silent over the past few years in scheme of things) are still there with the big boys in terms of developing new stuff. The patent was originally filed some time ago, so some of the stuff in it already exists or has certainly been discussed many times in many blogs and articles. I always think to myself when I see stuff like this "why is it not out there now!"

I love AR more than chocolate, and the ability to leave notes on People and things is fantastic. My only problem with it is that we will not be all walking around with our camera phones on and oriented to our faces. We need inconspicuous specs! Implants (Terminator style vision) Until then it will always be a gimmick... won't it? The best use of AR I can see is in the satnav industry. It's made for augmented reality. The games industry is there, but surely the day when adults are running around the streets of London shooting pretend guns at aliens will not come. Maybe a "Paint ball" type environment is the way forward for that one!

At a recent conference I attended Harrogate I was getting frustrated with so called 'innovators' talking about the new stuff they had seen (John McKerrell excellent was one of them) and how they 'don't see the point of it' and 'think it's a bit of a waist of time' and 'who would use it'. My frustration was short lived when Ed Parsons backed up my (very silent) protest and pointed out other technologies that had been created with little knowledge of their uses.

This is always a nice little reminder to me that even though I can't currently see beyond the satnav in the near future, and more distantly beyond speculative science fiction, that doesn't mean that someone else can't. These things should be out there, good or not, useful or useless. Let the John Mckerrell's of this world innovate and moaners moan. One will make stuff, the other will talk a lot!!

Written and Submitted from Home