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Java and GIS

Posted by daniel on February 16, 2004 at 1:19 PM PST

"Of the 238 JSRs out there (at last count), there are zero in the GIS space. That should tell you that we're at the very beginning of the curve here. The types of applications that we'll be able to produce using GIS integration will be just astounding."

Sue Spielman and Tom Whitehill make this observation towards the end of
Java and GIS, Part 1: Intro to GIS. This featured article is an introduction to the Geographic Information Systems side of the equation. The article presents a first look at working with Geospatial data - that is data for which one of the dimensions contains information about the geographic position. This could be as simple as a map of the US following a presidential election with states colored to indicate whether the state voted democrat or republican to one that indicates the average rainfall in a region over the last year. With more location aware devices available, we can and are expanding what we choose to measure and represent. There are issues to consider both in the gathering and presentation of the data.

I met Sue Spielman at last week's ETech conference. She writes that "This conference has been like the weather in the States in Denver, CO. For those of us who live here, we know it's beautiful and sunny over 300 days a year, but everyone else thinks it is snowing all the time. It's sort of the secret that you only want your good friends to know so that everyone doesn't move here. It's the same thing with ETech. " I got the feeling that she feels the same way about the combination of Java and GIS - there are so many possibilities that on the one hand she wants to tell everyone how cool it is and on the other hand she doesn't want everyone else to move there.

In her blog entry Stick a fork in it she raves about "geolocation on the internet and architectures for privacy and security. First, what is geolocation? It is a spatial location which might correspond to a person, a business, a parcel, but it can described in many ways. For example, a postal address, coordinate space, proximity to landmarks, or a place type (at a movie, on an airplane). Then there are also granularities like continent vs. country vs. city vs. intersection. Technologies being used include: manually entering your Lat/Lon, guess based on IP address (like how you get redirected to a regional server on some sites), GPS, cell towers for cell phones, and 802.11 base stations which will be here soon. The types of applications we'll see (actually are already seeing today) that use geolocation information include stuff like -web apps employing geolocation, friend finder apps on the cell phone, voice over IP (VoIP) has requirements for location information, location based games, and of course some annoying advertising as you walk past a store to tell you what's on sale."

In other of today's Weblogs Bill Day writes in Java for Palm OS Devices, Act 2 that " Soon all manufactuers of Palm OS based devices (Garnet and Cobalt based) will have an optimized J2ME runtime to build into their smartphones and PDAs."

Richard Monson-Haefel has written before about fraud in Amazon reviews. As one of the talkbacks to his blog entry says, "What are people afraid of when giving a bad review of a book when others know who they are?" In The New York Times on Fraud , Richard is suggesting a way for reviewers to maintain their anonymity", as long as keeps track of the reviewer's real identity." Richard's main concern is to address the fraudulent reviews. In particular, as he has written before, there are people who create reviews under false celebrity names to bring unearned endorsements to their books.

Also in Java Today
, Bill Dudney revisits "evil accessors" in his blog entry JSF: UIComponent.getAttributes() -- good, bad or ugly? After a reference to the thread that Allen Holub started with his articles on the dangers of accessors, Dudney shows you how to use the getAttributes() method which "returns a map that gives you get and put access to the JavaBean attributes on your component." Although he finds this approach much cleaner, he notes that :With this API components could conceivably be writen without any accessors and no fields. All the instance data would be stored in the map. I think there is a certain danger of abuse like this."

In ESR to McNealy: Let Java Go , Ron Hitchens links to Eric S. Raymond's open letter to Sun "on the topic of open source and Java. With typical ESR directness, he tells Sun that they need to choose between ubiquity or control. They can't have it both ways." Ron asks for your talkback on whether open-sourcing Java at this point is a good move or not.

In Projects and Communities Java Distributed Data Acquisition and Control is a new community which will provide " key common components and adaptors that encourage the use of Java in the industrial and distributed transducer world [focusing on] gathering information, analyzing it, making some decision based upon that analysis, and then causing some action to occur."

Java Games is featuring preview releases of Summit Soccer Online which "is a hands on management game where YOU make all the decisions that affect your club, [and] compete against other clubs managed by real people at your local, regional, national and even international level."

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