Mapbox GL JS’ latest release (v2.9.0) adds a new globe projection, which enables presenting web maps in a way that allows viewers to interact with geographic data much like you would interact with a physical globe.
From the release notes:
This new projection displays the map as a 3d globe and can be enabled by either passing projection: globe to the map constructor or by calling map.setProjection(‘globe’). All layers are supported by globe except for Custom Layers and Sky.
The globe projection is a continuation from custom projections, which were introduced a couple of months ago and, for the first time, allowed creating interactive web maps using projections other than Web Mercator. While custom projections were ideal to present data restricted to countries or continents and without the hefty distortions that come with Web Mercator, the globe projection allows to do the same but on a global scale; ideal to present global data sets like visualisations of climate change.
Felt, a new web-based map editor, launched in public beta last week.
Felt isn’t just another web GIS; it’s a tool for collaborative map-making. You can drop pins (even using emojis as markers), plot routes and highlight areas on the map and can annotate all this with text, notes and images. But there aren’t any features typical for professional GIS software, such as editing attribute tables or capturing complex geometries and valid topologies. However, Felt supports importing data from various formats (KML, KMZ, GPX, and GeoJSON) and exporting maps to GeoJSON.
This is a tool for anyone to create maps, whether they have prior knowledge in GIS or not. It’s designed for citizen engagement and participatory mapping; it’s for communities, not professional surveyors. Quite similar to the work around participatory mapping that groups like UCL’s ExCiteS and Mapping for Change do.
I like the simplicity of Felt. It focuses on a well-defined use case and is well executed. Much thought went into Felt’s design; the routing tool is a great example. Wherever you click, it snaps to the closest road and automatically calculates the route between two points, so you don’t have to add nodes to follow bends or turns at every intersection. By holding the Shift key while drawing, you can also draw segments that don’t align with the road network.
The team behind Felt found a gap in the current product landscape and is addressing the need nicely. I’m curious where they will take the $15M Series A funding.
Placemark have released a neat map-data conversation tool that transforms data between pretty much any geo-data file format. Upload files or paste text, convert and then download the converted data in no time.
In the course of implementing lots and lots of file formats in Placemark, we’ve ended up with some great, reusable tools. I figured it’d be pretty useful to just let anyone use those things, on a convenient drag & drop (or click, or paste) page. I hope it’s useful. Happy Friday!
This list will go out of date, but right now - you can convert:
Twenty years after its initial publication, Andrew Hunt’s and David Thomas’ The Pragmatic Programmer is still essential reading.
Every software engineer has opinions about how software should be built. The views are based on experience with a few programming languages, selected frameworks, and a small range of use cases. They make sense for a limited context, and we confuse them with wisdom and happily apply them everywhere. That’s how cargo cults are born.
The Pragmatic Programmer is a book full of opinions. But authors Andrew Hunt and David Thomas have been writing software for forty years, longer than most of today’s software engineers have been alive. The book’s opinions and advice are grounded in experience that forced them to review and change their views over the years, resulting in the updated second editing of The Pragmatic Programmer, published more than 20 years after its first edition from 1999.
The Pragmatic Programmer is a software-development primer focused on building habits that will make you a better engineer, like learning how to use the Shell and chosen IDE efficiently. It talks about building robust software using contracts and assertive programming and ensuring your software won’t become an unmaintainable mess by avoiding common pitfalls like complex class inheritance, coupling of modules and hand-coded configuration. You’ll learn when to refactor (always), and that writing tests aren’t a waste of time. And because software projects usually don’t fail when developers write code, but beforehand during planning, Hunt and Thomas also cover how to manage projects, gather requirements and estimate.
The Pragmatic Programmer is essential reading. You will find a ton of advice on how, generally speaking, you can be a better software engineer, advice that will hold up at any stage of your career. For new members joining your team, ditch the bag of useless welcome swag and buy them a copy of The Pragmatic Programmer. It’s better for the individual, your team, and the environment.
Tom MacWright explores whether newer geo-data formats, like FlatGeobuf, Zarr, GeoParquet, Arrow, or COGs, are useful for applications making frequent updates to the data.
The post dives deep into some of the characteristics of these data formats, including compression, random access, and random writes, and concludes that they are optimised for reading data and that the benefits for writes are limited:
I like these new formats and I’ll support them, but do they benefit a usecase like Placemark ? If you’re on the web, and have data that you expect to update pretty often, are there wins to be had with new geospatial formats? I’m not sure.