Looking Back at 2015 and Looking Ahead to Our 25th Anniversary Year

Posted on December 22, 2015 in Thinking

The arrival of colder weather and the winter holidays bring thoughts of the New Year ahead. It also reminds us to take stock of the year about to end, and to remember the many clients and partners that we have had the privilege to work with these last twelve months. We count these among the highlights from the past year:

  • New partnerships with CartoDB and Safe Software
  • Continued growth in our relationship with Google
  • New releases of our own MapGeo and GPV solutions
  • Development of a WMS/WTFS Imagery Appliance for serving Google Imagery that is currently serving statewide imagery for Texas and Utah state governments
  • Growing our national footprint with expansion of our staff presence in Texas, and the addition of new staff in Nevada and California
  • Signature projects from coast to coast that apply our geospatial skills to transportation, environment, emergency management, municipal, county and state government, federal agencies, and increasingly to commercial customers.

On a more personal level, 2015 included a notable milestone, the retirement of one of our original founders, David Weaver. David was a key cog in the AppGeo machine for 24 years and a friendly and positive presence that we know many of you experienced directly. We miss him but wish him well in his retirement. David will continue to serve on our Board of Directors. Looking ahead, 2016 marks AppGeo’s 25th anniversary! What an amazing ride it has been, growing from three people with an idea in 1991 into a mature business with offices, people and customers across the country. Our recipe for success has remained the same through this quarter century:

  • A true love and passion for the geospatial arena
  • A commitment to our customers’ success
  • A dedication to innovation and new ideas within an ever-changing technological landscape

As this year closes, we could not be more excited for what’s ahead. We see nothing but continued opportunity and growth for AppGeo, our partners and our clients. We look forward to doing great things together in 2016.

Picked up pieces after attending the CartoDB Partner Conference…

Posted on December 15, 2015 in Thinking

By Michael Terner, Executive Vice President, who attended the Partner Conference along with Mike Wiley and Jim Scott.

Note: Here in Boston, we are privileged to have some of the greatest sports writing in the country on the pages of the Boston Globe. For the second time, this blog is being written in the style of, and in homage to both Dan Shaughnessy’s (@Dan_Shaughnessy) “Picked Up Pieces While…” columns, and Bob Ryan’s (@GlobeBobRyan) “Emptying Out the Desk Drawer of the Sports Mind…” columns.

Given CartoDB’s origins in Madrid, Spain it should not have been a surprise, but I wasn’t expecting the partner conference – which was held last Thursday and Friday at their new headquarters in Brooklyn, NY – to be such an international affair. Suffice to say that the partners showed up from around the world with a heavy contingent from Europe that almost matched the USA attendees.

The attendees also included representatives of some of the bigger names from technology and consulting such as IBM, Bloomberg and the Boston Consulting Group; accompanied by other new geo technology startups such as Fulcrum and Planet Labs. It was also clear that several other of the partners were driven to CartoDB in the aftermath of Google’s deprecation of Google Maps Engine (GME). AppGeo is a Google Maps partner and in addition to ourselves we saw several other successful Google partners such as Onix, Wabion (Austria), NT Concepts and Woolpert. Clearly, GME customers’ loss has been CartoDB’s gain.

CartoDB’s recent .

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Crowdsourcing New York City’s High Speed Broadband Data While Building A Broadband Marketplace

Posted on October 29, 2015 in Thinking

When it’s time for your high tech business to move to a New York City address, one thing you’ll need is a high speed Internet connection. Looking at websites of available properties won’t help you learn which buildings have that service, but the New York City Economic Development Corporation’s (NYCEDC) New York City Broadband Map will.

The map-based application envisioned by NYCEDC is both an information portal and a marketplace for broadband services. The first version went live in December of 2013, and AppGeo and NYCEDC have been collaborating ever since to study and improve it, incorporating crowdsourcing and a new mapping platform along the way. This is the story of how vision became reality.

Step One: Gather Data From the State, City and Internet Service Providers

NYCEDC partnered with AppGeo in 2013 to build the application and the first order of business was data. NYCEDC and AppGeo tapped the NYC Department of Information Technology & Telecommunications (DoITT) and the City’s Open Data Portal for its building footprint data to provide information at that level of detail. NYCEDC was happy to use Google Maps for roads and other features as it provided a familiar, detailed view of the city as well as a well-known user interface. NYC programs WiredNYC and ConnectNYC, and the New York State Broadband Map also contributed data.

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MapGeo 2.0: New Features Address the Needs of Local and Regional Governments

Posted on September 9, 2015 in News

Question: What do you get when you cross your local data, Google Maps and CartoDB?

Answer: MapGeo 2.0

MapGeo 2.0, AppGeo’s hosted local government mapping solution, weaves together technology from Google Maps and CartoDB and a whole lot more. The new version serves local and regional government employees, businesses and citizens with a fresh intuitive interface, enhanced data integration, and stunning map options. MapGeo leverages these technologies and provides new features in response to what we heard from MapGeo subscribers. Other related posts talk about the uses and benefits of MapGeo, and look back on our motivation for creating MapGeo.

Here’s some of what’s new in MapGeo 2.0:

Leveraging Google Maps API and Data – MapGeo users told us they wanted to keep the interface simple while adding the power of familiar map tools and high quality base maps. Google Map’s tools are powerful and its interface familiar. MapGeo layers Google’s high quality imagery, search, directions and basemaps with your local authoritative geospatial data. And, when either source is updated, so is MapGeo.

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Why We Built MapGeo

Posted on September 8, 2015 in Thinking

When you were a student it’s likely your parents and instructors reminded or scolded you to “Pay attention!” They believed that keeping an eye on what’s going on around you is valuable both for learning content and for getting ahead in life. At AppGeo we work hard to pay attention to our clients needs, to technology changes and new software and application licensing and delivery options. These were all part of bringing MapGeo (AppGeo’s hosted local government mapping solution), and now MapGeo 2.0, to market. Other related posts include what’s new in MapGeo 2.0, and a description of the uses and benefits of MapGeo.

Our Clients are the Driving Force behind MapGeo

AppGeo has served local and regional governments for more than 20 years. Our consulting and programming staff listened to customer requests and probed their needs, resulting in dozens of well received custom GIS websites. All that experience revealed some common needs. So, we started a list. Our local government customers needed:

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How MapGeo Delivers Value for Cities and Counties

Posted on September 7, 2015 in Thinking

AppGeo created MapGeo (AppGeo’s hosted local government mapping solution, first launched in 2011) to help city and county governments better use and share their geospatial and property data. Now in its second release, MapGeo is putting more data, tools and answers to questions into the hands of local government leaders, staff, businesses and citizens. Below we describe how MapGeo aligns with the expectations of today’s consumers of map-based information. Other related posts include a description of what’s new in MapGeo, and a look back on our motivation for creating MapGeo.

Beyond the Basics

Nearly everyone involved in government, both insiders and constituents, is sold on the need for accurate data, transparency and accountability. These same people are also sold on the value of maps in visualizing those data, sharing information and making decisions. But today’s challenges go beyond just creating and sharing maps. Municipal leaders and those who work for them demand quick access to a wide variety of data and new ways to view, measure and share project outcomes. Citizens are more savvy; they want quick answers to their questions and assurances their concerns are received and addressed.

The maturation of local government mapping systems revolves around performance based management. Municipal leaders and constituents are pushing maps to address performance questions:

  • Are we taking the right actions?
  • Are we effectively communicating what we are doing?
  • Are we meeting our goals in a timely manner?

For example, city leaders might set a goal of improving response to citizen service requests. Maps showing the status of service requests built off the latest data would help leaders determine if the selected strategies were working, help citizens follow progress and provide regular reports on meeting goals. A time series map could show exactly how the status changed weekly, monthly or across the year.

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Certified Partner to CartoDB

Posted on September 1, 2015 in News

We are proud to announce our certified partner status with CartoDB. Through this relationship, AppGeo will help its customers to take advantage of this exciting new location intelligence and data visualization engine, including building custom applications, adding CartoDB to your enterprise GIS implementation, and providing CartoDB licenses.

“Without question the CartoDB platform advances the speed and elegance of geographic data visualization for our clients,” said Rich Grady, President of AppGeo. “Our customers look to us for empathetic solutions that lower costs, increase public engagement, enable collaboration, integrate the newest datasets and visualize them in variety of expressive ways. CartoDB’s toolset is a key part of the current and future Applied Geographics solution stack for government and commercial enterprises.”

“We are excited to see the valuable technology solutions AppGeo will craft with CartoDB to help clients make better decisions,” says Javier de la Torre, CEO of CartoDB. “We believe this partnership will bring robust tools that help local government use data to uncover insights and enhance their operations.”

Based on its extensive functional capabilities, AppGeo has already built CartoDB mapping into the latest release of our MapGeo hosted Web mapping solution for local government.

In keeping with our mission, AppGeo continuously explores new technologies that match customer requirements for performance, functionality and cost-effectiveness when applying geography to solving problems. CartoDB meets our standard in all respects. Our geospatial analysts and developers consistently find that CartoDB technology provides faster turn around on geographic analysis and application development, yielding better results at lower cost.

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Filter, Aggregate, and Combine: SQL Queries for Enterprise Databases

Posted on May 4, 2015 in Presentations

This presentation was given at Spring NEARC 2015 on May 11, 2015. If you are interested in getting comfortable writing queries with SQL and SQL spatial data types to take advantage of your enterprise data, then this is a great place to start. This presentation will introduce you to the SQL skills you need to write PostGIS spatial queries. It serves as a hands-on tutorial using real data in a CartoDB test environment. Using these SQL skills you will be able to generate useful ArcSDE views with a geodatabase stored in the PostgreSQL database management system.

This presentation was created and presented by Guido Stein, GIS Analyst, Applied Geographics. Guido’s focus within the company is around work flow automation and technology. He is a certified SafeSoftware FME Professional.

Click here for an embedded slide deck.

Click here for stand alone Presentation

Life after Google Maps Engine – Positive Disruption

Posted on January 21, 2015 in Thinking

In the fast paced and ever changing technology world, deprecations (i.e., the phasing out of a product) are a necessary part of the landscape. Whether it’s a failure to create sustainable market share, large shifts in backbone technology or the emergence of better alternatives, there can be good reasons to deprecate products. Still, such deprecations are always challenging from a customer point of view.

Google recently made such a decision and has now notified its partners and customers that Google Maps Engine (GME) will be deprecated. This means they will stop selling GME subscriptions immediately, and that GME will no longer be available soon after the end of 2015: Existing GME customers have approximately one year to find an alternative technology and to adapt applications that rely on GME.

While this is generally not good news, the deprecation does come at a time when there are numerous offerings in both the Platform as a Service (PaaS) and Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) space that can match, or exceed GME’s capabilities. And, in many cases, these alternatives can also provide improved capabilities and lower costs. AppGeo has been actively investigating and testing these alternatives, and we are ready to provide both advice and assistance to GME customers who are evaluating their migration and replacement strategies.

As a Google Geospatial Partner with deep experience in deploying GME and building Maps API solutions, we’ve been tracking and preparing for these changes. In addition, AppGeo is a certified partner with CartoDB, whose technology has been identified as a viable alternative to GME. AppGeo also has a long history of using Open Source geo serving tools, deployed in cloud infrastructures such as Google Cloud Platform (GCP) to provide capabilities that are similar to GME.

If you have questions on GME replacement strategies or need migration assistance, please consider AppGeo as your partner and contact us. As a Certified CartoDB partner and an authorized Premier Google geospatial partner, AppGeo is in a unique position to assist you with your cloud-based geospatial needs. As the saying goes, we’d like to help you make lemonade.

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