Google buys Sketchup!

That's definitely big news. Google recently bought Sketchup, known as an easy and intuitive to use CAD and 3D Modelling Software. They were the first ones to support Google Earth's file format .kml with a plugin and have since been working on a better integration of their models into GE's 3D environment.

From Ogle Earth: Burning questions for which there aren't answers yet: Will SketchUp beintegrated into Google Earth or continue to exist as a separateapplication? What will the pricing be like? (Currently it's


The Open Planning Project, a non-profit focussing on building technology to enhance the role of the citizen in democratic society has just released a new online community tool.

OpenPlans, a site dedicatedto helping communities organize virtually to effect real world change,is currently running an alpha testing version of the software here

OpenPlansis wiki-based. This means that most pages are editable by members ofthe site. Membership is free and it takes just seconds to register.0nce you log in, you may start your own project or contribute to anexisting one. We hope you use OpenPlans to share information, coordinate tasks, and build momentum around your project.

TOPP imagines OpenPlans as a free, hosted, and shared suite of community organizing tools, and we look forward to providing you with an ever-increasing toolkit for getting things done.

Haven't used it myself yet, but the New York Streets Renaissance website looks great. Courious what features they will add.

TOPP also provides funding and leadership for the development of GeoServer,to help create a more open, interoperable infrastructure of geographicinformation.

Google Maps for beginners

Three great articles covering the tech basics of Google Maps, how to integrate it and how to use the API.

Webmapping Tools for Public Participation

Just finished a fifty pager on webmapping tools for public participation, comparing mapserver applications to Google Maps and Google Earth. Take a look at it - it's in German and shortened for the web. Contact me for the full version.

Mapping Service

It's great to see how online mapping is evolving. The Service deserves special attention in my eyes. It is a great way of creating interactive maps, maybe not on a big scale, but definitely useful in small projects, to visualize and discuss local issues etc.

CommunityWalk is a free webapplication which gives you the ability "to share your community withthe world" by adding locations, descriptions, comments, photos, andvideo of locations that are plotted onto an interactive Google map. CommunityWalk can be used as a visual mapping tool for any number ofprojects - documenting vacations, organizing groups, showing routes,planning a trip, and so much more. Each community that you create canbe made public or private.

Here you can find a sample map, presenting you what you are able to do with it. Great offer and it is free!

eDemocracy Workshop2

The presentation I gave on Visualization tools for public participation processes is now available as quicktime movie. An hour long and 40mb big, but includes all the nice live showcases and of course an unresistable German accent. Be patient, I had a slow start...

Continue reading "eDemocracy Workshop2"

Geotagged web content

All the entries of this weblog, that have a specific location are now accessible via map. Since the Google Map plugin for the weblog software I am using has issues in IE, I used worldKit, a great light-weight open source online mapping tool to display the content graphically.

Our tools for online deliberation, especially in urban planning, would greatly benefit from easy integration of location into the public discourse i.e. about proposed master plans.

Geo-enabled life...

Does everybody need to know where I am at? Do I want that? No clue but time for a self-experiment.

I just signed up for plazes, a website that lets you create locations, that are tracked by your network name, so everybody can see when you are logged on from home, the office, or out of the country - basically whereever you go online and create a plaze.

Don't know what to think about it yet...

Webmonday in Berlin

Just got back from webmonday, quite an interesting gathering including plenty of geek talk. Two things that I found pretty interesting:

The Web2.0 cloud from Markus Angermeier, that is annotated with links to the latest and greatest Web2.0 applications

and an application called plazes, that is on the first sight hard to get, but has a lot of potential, for the geospatially enabled lifestyle. And of course that everybody has a different perception of the so-called Web2.0

Automated Image Maps in Google Maps

Making everybody familiar with a project site is an important step for your public participation project. Especially in online discourses not everybody will be able to explore the acutal site.

Google maps is a great way to display site photography on top of an aerial or map. Robogeo is a great intuitive and inexpensive tool, that let's you georeference your pictures and exports to Google Maps and even Google Earth.

Here is a simple map, that I created from pictures that I took during a trip to Orlando. I used the tracklog of my GPS device to sync the timestemps and get the location, where each picture was taken. The last step of creating the map is totally automated too. I created these examples - Google Maps / Google Earth - in less than half an hour, it's that easy.

Think about how it even enables us to do Asset or Community Mapping in a totally new way, by using digital cameras with GPS devices.

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