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MadMappers’ fourth birthday … ooops!

Posted by Maurizio on 05 Feb 2009 | Tagged as: Events

Ooops, we missed it! It was 5 days ago :(

That’s terrible … to miss our own birthday!

We have been much too busy … still that is as unforgivable as forgetting your girlfriend, wife or daughter birthday … :(

I missed cake and candles … and the chance for reminiscing about the past.

I am not too late for a resolution: next year I want the cake no matter what and … why not … a dancing party as well  ;)

FOSS4G2008: NASA World Wind demo

Posted by Maurizio on 03 Oct 2008 | Tagged as: Events, Google Earth, NASA WorldWind, Virtual Globes


Tuesday September 30 - Slot 1

Title: NASA WorldWind: Evolution from .net application to Java SDK

First slot, first demo of FOSS4G2008.

Someone had hinted “so to set the standard!”.

Well, the standard was below sufficiency. :(

Strangely enough for once I had prepared well and even rehearsed the demo to be sure I could do the best with my 10 minute slot.

I set up well in advance my magic local tileservice to feed images at a fast & furious pace. The first hint of trouble comes when one of the two large LCD screens, the one at my demo station, refuses to size correctly … planet Earth looks more like a banana  than a  globe. Not serious, a second screen further away is sizing correctly … and the audience moves across the room.

NASA World Wind (.net version) globe is rotating beautifully showing off the Global Clouds layer dominated by a mega-typhoon over Vietnam … great view! :)

We have all experienced the first generation of virtual globes and the wonderful way they display more and more types and quantities of information … BUT they are all SINGLE and PROPRIETARY programs whose content and functionalities are dictated by the respective providers. Google (GE) and Microsoft (VE) control what we can see and how we see it

That went well … time to fly into Cape Town and show some of this …

click to full view

 … or this

click for full resolution

…. damn! why is the mouse on the left of the keyboard? And why is the keyboard so much to my right … How did it get there? …. I try to gently pull the cable towards me but it is going to disconnect :(

NASA Wold Wind started pretty much in the same way as a single program with limited functionalities still due to the fact that it is open source the community soon added more and more features. Content was a problem: although NASA provided the base imagery it was up to the user to provide imagery at higher resolution …

Damn … I crashed :(

… why is the mouse cable not coming? is it fixed to the table? Let me cross my arms and try control the mouse with my right and keyboard with my left … oops I crashed again :(

I need to take that Motion Momentum off but the F11 key is too far for me to reach :(

The feedback from users able to provide own content was that they required their own functionalities to achieve their own objectives

No! I cannot control this stupid mouse with my left hand, I need to go static and try to carry on! Damn, my imagery is so beautiful and I will not be able to show it to anyone :(

World Wind changed its mission. From providing a single information browser to enabling a class of 3D geographic applications. In practice not 1 program but components to create programs. From NASA World Wind  .net framework to World Wind Java multi-platform in a technology which can be part of any application … Can be a window in a web page such as this …

 click to open WWJ applet

…  ohh, no I cannot risk to crash again to show this

neither zoom over the convention center as I had planned to do …

Click to enlarge

 I must skip all this :(

“… or can be extended by applications and web developers in true NET2.0 spirit.

With World Wind it is possible to include virtual globe technology in support of your objectives!

Remember: World Wind is NASA open source, the code being fully visible so that anyone can readily use it and extend it to serve any use

I am told I have one minute … good it is almost over!

World Wind developers can provide exclusive & custom solutions for user needs …

What else? I have now lost my plot :(

I am not the multitasking type, I am not sure what I have have said and what I have not. I was too busy thinking about how to control the mouse with my left hand.

Ah, yes  …. but then maybe I might have said it already …

World Wind is a component! Cross platform and open source

Is the minute finished?


A presenter is not coming and I can have 5 minutes more?

I don’t want them …. what am I going to do with them if I can’t control my mouse? :(

I am unable to land a F16 on a San Francisco’s highway with my left hand!

click for F16 simulator applet

 …. all I can do is to point to this

I am angry with myself. I had the opportunity of a lifetime to show how incredible my World Wind is and I did not take it. I should have done better, much much better :(

I offer some leaflets I had prepared for the occasion. 

A couple of guys come to ask questions and while apologizing for letting WW down I offer to give a personal demo.

They loved it :)

back from FOSS4G2008

Posted by Maurizio on 02 Oct 2008 | Tagged as: Events, GIS software, Google Earth, NASA WorldWind, Virtual Globes


Cape Town is currently hosting the 2008 Free and Open Source Software for Geospatial (FOSS4G) conference,  an annual gathering of developers and users of open source geospatial software from around the world to discuss new directions,  implementations and growing business opportunities in the field of open source geospatial software.

Conference Theme for 2008 is “Open Source Geospatial: An Option for Developing Nations“.

I am just back from the Mother City after presenting 2 demos and a  lab with mixed results. 

Was it worth? Definitely yes.

Being side by side with the heroes of osgeo and finally meet in person legends like Frank (GDAL) and Chris (OpenLayers) was a tremendous  experience.  I was pleasantly surprised … they are actually very nice guys ;)

Biggest lesson learned? Internet connections, supposedly the best in Africa,  suck :D

Now everyone knows. And hopefully for a few weeks I will not be asked to upload any 500Mb file ;)

Next … some details about my activities at FOSS4G2008!

MadMappers’ third birthday

Posted by Maurizio on 01 Feb 2008 | Tagged as: Events

On 01 Feb 2005 MadMappers website went public .

So we are 3 years old … only 3? We feel so much older! :(

Lots to reminiscence about, lots of people to thank. Too many.

Now and then guys ask to know more about us. It is time consuming. It has been difficult to keep everyone updated of the various projects we are involved in. How to do that?

Everywhere we look we see that blogs seems to be able to stimulate comunication and exchange of ideas. Why not celebrate our third birthday with our own MadBlog?

It sounded like a cool idea. So here it is.

Then we realized that the WorldPress platform had powerfull archive and search capabilities so we decided to transfer some old pages to the new blog. The process is an on-going exercise and in the coming weeks we will be adding stories from the past  as well as news from the present. The good thing is that even when an entry of the past is added it is correctlyarchived in the correct timezone but it will still be be listed as a recent post. We still have to work out how to add menu bars, so bear with us.

We have also added a translation capability which hopefully will help in bridging the barrier between English, French and Arab speaking Africans. We purposely did not mention Portuguese speaking Africans since they are the only ones who seem to make an effort to exchange ideas across the language barrier: they are going to tells us how well the translation facility works :D

… and now let’s blow candles :D

WorldWind South Africa portal

Posted by Maurizio on 03 Feb 2007 | Tagged as: Events, Maps, NASA WorldWind, Satellite Imagery, Virtual Globes

In occasion of the 2005 World Space Week WorldWind South Africa was introduced in South African schools. This electronic atlas of Southern Africa fruit of the collaboration of  MadMappers, NASA, the SA Department of Science and Technology and coordinated by the SA Space Organization has now its own WorldWind South Africa portal.

WorldWind South Africa portal

The portal was realized by MadMappers in association with WorldWindCentral under the expert supervision of Bull_UK of the Free Earth Fundation.

South African space science and technology contribution to sustainable development is coordinated by the National Working Group on Space Science and Technology. Space Technology being defined as the technology in satellites and ground systems used by space scientists both looking up to study the universe and looking down to earth. It also includes delivery of services to users on the ground.

South Africa has a long tradition in space dating as far back as to 1685 and in Africa has a leading role in terms of facilities.

A South Africa Space Agency is currently being established and the ZA002 Small Satellite Programme is under way. The first satellite, named SumbandilaSat, will be positioned in a Low Earth Orbit (LEO) to enable it to take high resolution images which will be used for agricultural and environmental management applications.

MadMappers’ aim is to offer African users an open source customable platform on which to display spatial information relative to their country. World Wind Africa servers already supply a wide selection of data, ranging from topological maps to vector data, from aerial photography and very high resolution imagery to DEMs. Hopefully in a not too distant future we will be able to make South African satellite data from SumbandilaSat accessible to all.

Special thanks to the Free Earth Fundation and the World Wind Community (in particular to Nowak, f0urtyfive and Bull_[UK]) for making this project possible.

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