Wednesday, 14 November 2007

A late GIS Day entry...

Here's to GIS Day. It's been a few months since my last post but a lot has happened lately. A month long vacation in July meant a maddening amount of frenzied mapping of ECD trends to do in August & Sept. So much so that I had banked a copious amount of flex time (like 2 weeks).

Nevermind the conference in Ottawa - it was great to hear how CDN GIS professionals are starting to merge health data with spatial analysis tools. Some were basic - from "I mapped SES data according to our local boundaries" to developed spatial multi-variate models of traffic accidents in the Island of Montreal. Professionally, it was great to meet other GIS professionals that I had only e-mailed or heard about through local Health Networks. I even managed to check out Ottawa and scowl at the cheap real estate prices (compared to Vancouver anyway).

But after it was all said and done, I've moved on from working at the Human Early Learning Partnership & UBC. Making maps and cartographically styled posters was great but I felt I needed to get back to municipal GIS and flex my old programming skills, especially in ArcGIS. So I'm now at the City of Surrey in the Engineering GIS Section. (Here's the job description.)

My first 3 weeks have been busy - various sections within Engineering rely on the Section for a lot of maps, mostly for Corporate Reports in their reports. Other times require different custom maps so I've gotten used to using templates again in ArcMap. Due to the nature of the work, there isn't a lot of need to have stylized maps created via the "Export-to-AI" route as I did before at HELP. ArcGIS (9.1, phew!) fits the bill for these quick and simple maps. I doubt I'll have to make a cartogram anytime soon.

Unlike the rapid upkeep of the computer systems at UBC, the corporate IT environment is still running on Windows 2000. And Internet Explorer. Ugh. I soooooo miss my Firefox browser at work.

Thankfully, they are heading to Vista in a few months. Skipping XP entirely. It's going to be a wild ride for the oldtimers in the City. ;)

(Maybe if gets to be too much, we can spend some time devoted to planned next year's Halloween festivities....)

Saturday, 8 September 2007

Off-Topic but Blogging for a Great Photo.

I've always had a avid hobby of photography but hardly get around to recommending anyone.... until now.

Local Vancouver Photographer and blogger, Duane Storey is giving away 8×12 prints of his beautiful photography to the first 20 people who post about his new photo blog.

So I'm putting in my 2 cents for a copy of this fabulous shot of Kitsilano Pool in Vancouver. The lighting he gets from his shots are amazing. I can only wish to replicate something close to that with my film SLR one day.

If you were in town during the Annual URISA Conference this summer and want a great photo to remind you of the City, I'd also recommend this one of the Burrard Street Bridge.

Wednesday, 8 August 2007

Nanaimo's love affair with Google Earth

I just ran across an article written in Canada's national newspaper, the Globe & Mail about the availability of the City of Nanaimo's geospatial information in Google Earth.

According to the article, Nanaimo has become "the world's most active supplier of geographic data" to GE.

Congrats to Jason Birch and the team at the City of Nanaimo. The work looks amazing on GE. Check it out yourself!

Wednesday, 4 July 2007

Tourism Maps for Vancouver

Before I leave for my month-long vacation to Paris and Portugal tomorrow (it happens when you've accumulated it all over the year in a new job), I thought I'd add a link to a cool website called Gridskipper, "the decadent urban travel guide. [They] Scour[ing] the globe for chic hotels, hot restaurants, sweet nightlife, and pretty people."

Tips on things to do and places to see are demarked by cities across the globe and tips are mashed with Google Maps as a result. It's been useful for my own personal research.

Not a bad place to get your bearings too when you are there. Here's Vancouver's Gridskipper site, although it would be nice to see it updated a little more often.

Friday, 15 June 2007

Cool Facebook app: Where I've Been

I've recently joined Facebook and like many others, I've been sucked in. Badly. (Not at work. Honestly. Open office = too many people can see my monitor = bad work impressions. And I've got waaaaay too much to do.)

Anyway, one of the coolest 3rd party applications I've tried out is "Where I've Been", a very cool little Flash map of the world. In the words of Craig Ulliott's , the developer of "Where I've Been", here's its description:

A detailed, interactive world map, [to] show everyone where you’ve been, where you have lived and where you want to go.

It includes a zoom tool with simple click and pan functionality. It also has all the US States, Canadian Provinces and other international regions; it is not limited to only countries. There is no need to create an account on any third party site.

Simple and efficient. I like it. Here's a screenshot of my map - RED: where I've lived, BLUE - where I've been, GREEN - where I want to go.

Top 3 White-Boy Rap Spoof Videos.

Yo. Because I'm down with it. And it's Friday.

1) Lazy Sunday/Chronicles of Narnia, SNL.

Best damn short SNL has put out, ever.

2) White & Nerdy, Weird Al Yankovic.
Best spoof since his "I'm Fat/I'm Bad" video of the 80s.

3) Mac Or PC,
A little long but worth it.

Friday, 11 May 2007

Blogging stuff to think about....

As a newbie to the blogging thing, I'm not sure what I should write out or how. James does it well, but what can I bring to the blogosphere?

Saw this post on DCT and it has some great things to ponder for all the other blogging newbies out there.

Also, anyone tried Placeblogger?

Thursday, 5 April 2007

Better Free, Up-To-Date Geospatial Data for Canadians?... Cool.

This made it into my inbox from a friend but SlashGeo has got the details. CanVec looks like a good replacement of the NTDB!

I had downloaded and checked out the data for Vancouver and while it's a good starting point for those needed basic maps for their data, I found that metadata showed it was 20 years out of date in some datasets (i.e. parts of the street network in Richmond BC).

If you work or go to school at UBC, you can access better vector datasets from UBC's Data Library. If you have a valid library card, you can download DMTI Spatial CanMap Streetfiles v2006.3, Postal Codes files and a plethora of other geospatial datasets.

Wednesday, 28 February 2007

Don't get stuck in Seattle traffic!

Saw this posting on The Map Room blog. Went for more info on the official Google blog.

It's not quite Vancouver related but a real-time traffic map for Seattle will be handy when figuring out the best highway to take when I'm on my way to Seaside, OR for some surfing with the boys later on in a few months.

Seattlites, much empathy for you. I heard they are doing some major work on your freeways. The commute must be brutal some mornings. Heck, maybe I should just read about it here.

Tuesday, 27 February 2007

nice....check this out

250 Free Office Templates and Documents

Will check out later....

Thanks to the Rise and Shout Blog.


Grrrrrrr... I am really starting to hate the Publisher extension of ArcGIS 9.0. God knows how many times I've tried to "compress and lock" my shapefiles but the goddamn extension won't let me do it.

Gotta upgrade to 9.2 very, very soon before I lose it. But then I'm going to have figure out what a "file geodatabase" is.... ugh. Thanks ESRI, thanks for nothing.

Friday, 2 February 2007

Where to live? I know the answer!

Saw this post today:

Hmmm. I think my ArcReader package with the socio-economic maps will help me do that. Thanks, StatsCan. Now if I could only get my hands on the 2006 Census data.

But I gotta wait until April 2008

For those that live here in BC, HELP has some great maps to look at.

Sunday, 28 January 2007

Things Overheard...

The downside to being on the computer all the time is finding a great website that leads to another great website and then another...

And another...

And another...

And before you know it, it's 3 hours later and the GF is pissed that the laundry isn't done and you've wasted a beautiful sunny day inside. Especially in Vancouver where it practically rains all the time. (At least it ain't poo-brown prairie Calgary. We're green and we like it damnit.)

Big deal. It's my time. ;)

Here's one that I found today and laughed my ass off. The guy and his GF are brilliantly funny.

Monday, 22 January 2007

Why I Blog?

Hmmm, not sure why. Something to do and keep people up on my activities...

Took this survey via

Which makes me hope I win one of those prizes! ;)