Archive for February, 2008|Monthly archive page

LambdaExpressions for Spatial Operators

I’ve been reading a bit about ExpressionTrees:

Expression trees were created in order to make the task of converting code such as a query expression into a string that can be passed to some other process and executed there. It is that simple. There is no great mystery here, no magic wand that needs to be waved. One simply takes code, converts it into data, and then analyzes the data to find the constituent parts that will be translated into a string that can be passed to another process. – Charlie Calvert.

Isn’t this essentially what modelbuilder does?

I think I’ll back off from CodeDOM and focus on this instead.

It seems like it would be interesting to create LambdaExpressions for spatial operators. I wonder if lambda expressions could be used to resurrect the DOCELL capability that existed in workstation ARC/INFO but never ported to ArcGIS.

Petroleum User Group (PUG) 2008 Day 1 morning

pug logo

Where are the Users?
While I worked on a project for EIA a few years ago, I can’t really say I’m a petroleum user. OK, I used way too much petroleum driving here in my gas guzzling truck. (My excuse: I work from a home office and rarely drive my truck except to haul soil so my wife can grow vegetables.)

“Adding technology to a bad process only adds speed to a very bad process”.
Jim Geringer, former Gov. of Wyoming, now with ESRI, at FedUC in Washington DC.

Everyone here at the PUG is very focused on adding speed to oil exploration and production. Everyone knows having all our economic processes rely on cheap petroleum is a bad idea. It’s not our job to worry about peak oil though – someone in Washington should be figuring that one out.

Enough politics, here’s the beef.

There are over 1700 people registered for the PUG, up from 1200 or so from last year. This is probably the 6th PUG I’ve attended. The first was back in 1991, the last was in 2006. Each time there seem to be fewer actual end users (geologists, geophysicists, etc.) and more IT people. By show of hands it looks like more than half were first time attendees. I’d bet the proportion of new attendees that are actual end users is smaller than with the group as a whole.

Clint Brown started things off saying the meeting is “all about you, the user”. Then mentioned how 9.3 is focused on quality, and, without mentioning Google said 9.4 will focus on faster display in ArcGIS Server and ease of use. I admit, before I drove in I avoided ESRI’s link offering map and directions, and instead opted to go first to the hotel’s web page, where they use Virtual Earth.

While there may not be many users here, there is a lot of talk about users. Once upon a time presenters would say “I did this” or “I did that”. This year I hear a lot of “our users would like to do X”, or “users just want Y”. The end users who are here that I spoke with seem to be overwhelmed by all the IT discussions. Unfortunately, John Calkins was not here today. I always liked his keen understanding of the users perspective.

OpenSpirit did a good demo showing how one can drag and drop data from other apps into ArcGIS Explorer, and how their custom task can “broadcast” messages to other apps on the desktop.

Job Tracking
I always thought JTX stood for Job Tracking Extension, but it is not an extension – it is a stand alone application. Rob Brooks and Kim Kearns showed a good demo how JTX provides something like a modelbuilder UI to workflow allowing analysis of High Consequence Areas surrounding gas pipelines. I wish more people were analyzing the consequences for relying on petroleum to begin with. Sorry, no more politics, I promise. I suspect JTX uses Windows Workflow Foundation, so I wonder how hard it would be to roll your own versus buying JTX.

9.3 Notes
None of the other EDN subscribers have received their beta disks yet either, so I’m not the only one wondering how ESRI is going to meet a May ship date for 9.3. Anyway, when it does come I won’t be able to blog about it, but until that happens, I suppose I can. It will have much better support for KML display, including regionated kml. Automated crash reporting will provide quicker turnaround for bug fixes. If you ‘ve ever waited for a support request to make it through the queue, you realize this is a big improvement. Clint says a lot of attention has been put into “re-architecting” OGC compliance.

Dal Hunter went through an Author, Serve and Use demo, then later a Sharepoint demo. More details on that later.

Surveillance Becomes an Art Form

MIT’s NYTE project has caught the attention of New York’s Museum of Modern Art, who plan to exhibit some of the graphics. The data used for this graphic sure looks like what AT&T might use when profiling neighborhoods to track down terrorist cells.