Another Great Use of the MarineMap Environmental GIS Decision Support Tool
Posted on May 18, 2012 by Joe Metro
Yesterday, we received a very rewarding email from a colleague who had worked for Farallon on a project we helped the MarineMap Consortium complete a couple of years ago:
"Just thought I would pass along an experience that, I hope, may bring a smile to your face. I was in a meeting with some VIP's today for a petroleum client we are working with. It has to do with running power cables out to the oil platforms off the coast of So-Cal. They have to be very careful to do this while also adhering to several environmental guidelines of not disturbing any habitat."
"Well, we were in this meeting and one of the project managers said he had discovered a 'killer' web application that shows all the features we need to make sure we avoid."
"He proceeded to open up the MarineMap Decision Support Tool. I was so excited! I told them that I had a hand in helping to create that web application when I worked for Farallon which was part of the MarineMap Consortium team. The tools that Farallon creates are well respected and you never know who might be using them (and for what, right?)."
Tomas Lopes, GIS Manager, URS Corporation
What is MarineMap?
MarineMap Web 2.0 is online mapping application that enables members of scientific community and general public to participate in the selection of marine environments that should be designated for conservation, recreational, and commercial uses. Read More »
The MarineMap application is being updated and will be replaced by SeaSketch Read More »
Google Maps V3 45 Degree Imagery in OpenLayers
Posted on October 20, 2011 by Rob Gaston
Using the OpenLayers 2.11 with Google Maps API V3 provides some great new functionality that will lead most users to want to upgrade their existing mapping applications. Not only do you get the latest functionality and imagery from Google Maps, but it also simplifies deployment of your application by eliminating the need for managing API keys.
However, there is a minor ‘gotcha’ in this latest version of the Google Maps API that could cause certain developers a lot of grief which OpenLayers 2.11 will not handle by default. In certain locations, Google Maps API V3 now provides access to 45 degree satellite imagery. “Great!,” you say, but not so fast. The imagery only shows up in certain locations and at certain zoom levels. What’s more, if you don’t specifically disable it, you will always get the 45 degree version of the imagery if it is available. This can create a pretty disjointed user experience when navigating the map, but more importantly it causes any 2D vector layers which you are overlaying on your map to appear improperly registered against the base imagery.
Luckily there is a solution to this issue that is fairly simple to implement. Whenever you add a Google Maps layer to your OpenLayers map, it adds a reference to the Google Maps mapObject that it is using to request the Google Maps imagery. By calling the setTilt method on the map object, we can disable 45 degree imagery for all Google Maps layers, like so:
Just ensure that this call is deferred until after the layer is added to your map, and you should never see the 45 degree imagery in any of your Google Maps layers.
Section 508 accessibility for geospatial and web mapping applications
Posted on June 09, 2011 by Dennis Wurthrich
I recently received a question regarding Section 508 accessibility issues for implementations with GeoServer.
Section 508 refers to a a federal law mandating that all electronic and information technology developed, procured, maintained, or used by the federal government be accessible to people with disabilities.
Section 508 requirements pose significant challenges for geospatial and web mapping applications. These applications are visual, interactive and dynamic in nature and are difficult to enable for full accessibility. GeoServer is not unique in this regard. For example, screen readers are not able to accurately describe the full content of a map generated on-the-fly.
Currently the best ways we have found to handle accessibility for geospatial data and maps are adding alternate text fields or tooltips, using text-based tabular information for critical map coordinates matched to descriptive text, or if viable using a video with synchronized captions. It all boils down to user interface - finding intelligent, alternate ways to represent dynamic, visual information. One interesting side note: solutions that successfully design for accessibility will also improve search engine optimization.
I am interested in any research on practical methods and technologies for handling accessibility in geospatial mapping applications. If you have any relevant information on this topic, please comment on this blog.