Geospatial Redux: CairnBUILDER, ArcGIS 10, Beta, GIS Wiki



CairnBUILDER: Mapping Recreational Routes

CairnBUILDER is a trail mapping tool that helps people plan and map hiking/backpacking/mountain biking routes and trips and then share these maps through an online community.

CairnBuilder relies on the ESRI ArcGIS Online JavaScript API to mashup user generated features such as trail routes and cairns (or markers) over a topographic map service from ESRI. CairnBuilder also pulls in data from other web services such as a USGS elevation web service and a place name service from to add richness to the user generated content. CairnBuilder leverages features unique to ESRI’s ArcGIS Online mapping services and API’s such as the topographic tiled map service and freehand polyline drawing to provide the kind of precision route mapping experience that was previously only available from specialized desktop software. Now users can plan trips online and share them with their friends with a click of a button.

The mapping application was submitted as an entry to ESRI’s 2010 Mashup Challenge.  Visit YouTube to view and rate the video entry.

ArcGIS 10

ESRI has put up their “What’s Coming in ArcGIS 10” site.  Check it out to find out what new features will be made available in this release.  Watch the video of Jack Dangermond’s presentation at the recent ESRI Federal User Conference.  There are also some demo videos and a common questions section.  ArcGIS will be released in June of 2010.

A new crowdsourcing effort is being promoted to collect and freely provide geolocated addresses. is project that was launched in 2007 in Switzerland, headed by the University of Applied Sciences Northwestern Switzerland (FHNW). In 2009, a group of people and companies created a global directory of addresses and have developed a new website. Currently more than 5 million addresses are available and data for countries like Denmark or cantons as Solothurn (Switzerland) are fully acquired.

Crowdsourcing Addresses

The data collection effort has a simple web mapping interface for users to add address locations.   The site is still being developed, downloading and uploading datasets is being funneled through an email address at the moment.  The search capabilities uses a name lookup  so it’s just restricted to place names (cities, countries) and there doesn’t seem to be a way to search based on an address.  Also, the name lookup is a bit confusing.  For example, looking up Larchmont  provided a listing of seven possibilities with no additional information other than “populated place – United States”.  Listing the state as a minimum would be helpful.

So how does the OpenAddress team want you to help?

First by entering addresses (think about your home, your neighbors’, your workplace, parents and friends)! Or even better, by providing addresses or other background data which will help the community to enter addresses, such as aerial photographs, building plans etc …

Actually contributing to the project is fairly simply.  Simply click on a location on the map, fill out the form that pops up and hit the “create” button.

The OpenAddress team has a host of background information and other links to help you get started.

Census Participation Rates

Unless you never check your mail, those living in the United States have probably received more than one reminder (I’ve received two postcards and one letter so far) that you’re required by law to fill out and mail back in your census form.  Even with that legal requirement, only 72% of households returned their census forms, with averages ranging greatly from state to state.  As part of an effort to encourage census participation, the U.S. Census has partnered with Google Maps to on their “Take 10 Map” which shows updated census participation rates across counties.  You can enter in your ZIP Code or location to find your local participation rate, the state rate and the national response rate.  The mapping application only recently launched to coincide with the delivery of forms to households.  You can also download a CSV file listing the response rates to date by place and state.

What Happened to Neogeography?

With the premise that “online references to neogeography are on the decline” Sean Connin discusses whether this “trend may reflect our growing acceptance of the new mapping democracy and it’s place in popular culture.”  Connin looks at the popularity of search terms neogeography, GIS, Google Earth, and Google Maps over time as a way of gauging perceptions about GIS and neogeography.  The search term statistics for GIS, Google Earth, and Google Maps (neogeography was dropped due to a lack of enough data to graph) from 2004 to present.  The conclusion of Connin’s analysis was “It appears that since 2004, Internet users in the United States have searched less frequently for GIS-related sites and/or news during their browsing activity and are spending more time searching for information related to Google Earth and Google Maps.”   How that relates to neogeography and the author’s hypothesis of  the decline of the use of the word isn’t well tied together.  Connin acknowledges this in part: “This analysis does not suggest any correlation between browsing activity and the relative importance of web mapping and GIS in scholarship. Nonetheless, the data do provide some basis to generate questions, predictions and/or hypotheses related to developments in the geospatial industry and spatial practices in the classroom.” (Via The Map Room)

Read more: What Happened to Neogeography?

The “List of GIS-related Blogs” seed has been planted on

Collin Welbon, Administrator, on the latest addition to the wiki:

A “List of GIS-related Blogs” wiki page has been populated with blogs covering a wide-variety of GIS-related topics and issues. This is only the beginning…

If you have a GIS-related blog, add it to the list.

If you would like to edit the information that has been provided about your blog, please feel free to do so! This is the nature of wiki, and no one knows your blog better than you.

If you would like to create a page about your GIS-related blog, either click on the red link associated with your blog to open up a new page, or if there is not a link available, create a new page using your blog’s title as the title for the wiki page. We can always associate your wiki page about your blog to the list of GIS-related blogs later.

If you would like to go to one of the blogs on the list, click on the associated link within the ‘Link’ column.

Here are a few quick wiki tips:

  • When you are creating a new page, there are templates available from the ‘Select boilerplate’ drop-down that populate the text and category fields with some basic wiki markup including headings, sample citations, a table of contents, etc.
  • Feel free to use the Sandbox to practice your wiki markup and formatting.
  • Never fear the help pages – they can point you in the right direction.
  • Have fun exploring and the various GIS-related blogs!

It would be great to see the “List of GIS-related Blogs” page continue to grow and branch out to pages about each GIS-related blog!

If you have any feedback or questions, please send them to


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