David Weaver Receives 2016 Peter S. Thacher Award

Posted on November 10, 2016 in Awards,News

On October 18, 2016, former Vice President of Applied Geographics,Inc. (AppGeo), David Weaver,  was presented with the Peter S. Thacher Award at the Northeast Arc Users Group NEARC annual conference held in Falmouth, MA. The award is given to individuals, such as David, who demonstrate long-term commitment and excellence in GIS, particularly in local resource management and conservation. AppGeo’s President, Rich Grady, presented the award.

In his remarks, David reminisced about the start of his GIS career in 1974, “[…] in the pen and ink days of mapping” and commented on the evolution of GIS and cartography over the last four decades. During his successful career and in retirement, David has seen GIS technology grow exponentially into a world of “web mapping, big data, large scale map accuracy, sophisticated analysis, and applications.” (The full text of David’s speech can be read here.)

As presenter of the award, Rich remarked of his long-term colleague and friend, “His love of cartography to communicate complex information with clarity, and genuine concern for the coastal environment and our natural resources have marked his career, including his work with dozens of local communities on accurate base-mapping.  I can’t imagine anyone more deserving of this award based on measurable contributions to real GIS work in New England for the past 40 years.”

David’s expertise in GIS geographic analysis and cartographic design set a standard of excellence for his colleagues at AppGeo and beyond. His portfolio of work included numerous projects for the Massachusetts Coastal Zone Management, NOAA Coastal Services Center and the MWRA, several federal agencies, and municipalities across New England. He is currently actively crowdsourcing environmental data and volunteer geographic information (VGI).  In addition to his long-term love of sailing, he has been photographing extreme high tide for MyCoast.org and curating his 20th-century map collection.

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.

5 Ways to Lower Cost and Increase Value for Geospatial Base Map UpDates

Posted on September 20, 2012 in Thinking

Base map data –planimetric features (roads, buildings, utilities, etc.), orthophotography, and elevation (contours, spot elevations and, increasingly, LiDAR collected 3-D surfaces) – is the foundation of municipal GIS.  Municipalities that rely on their GIS programs generally update their base map data sets every few years.

In this post, I describe five planning steps you can take to reduce costs and define a base mapping project that is appropriate to your needs and budget.

STEP ONE:  Evaluate Current Data

The first step is to review your existing base map data holdings to determine how much base map updating you need.  Here are three things to consider:

  • Consider the type and pace of change in your municipality – If there has been little physical change in infrastructure in your municipality, perhaps a new orthophoto layer would suffice for some of the update cycles, rather than a full planimetric mapping effort
  • Check to see whether data sets like utility features have been accurately surveyed on the ground so that they might not need to be photointerpreted as part of a base mapping project.
  • Determine the accuracy you need for departmental functions and whether the accuracy of current features matches the use, for example, do you need greater horizontal accuracy to support utility management and planning than your base map data currently provides?  Are there flooding issues or development projects that require greater vertical accuracy?

Limiting the base mapping project to orthophotography updates or reducing the collection and mapping of features translates into lower costs.   On the other hand, if current mapping does not support critical government functions, an investment in higher resolution base mapping can and should be justified by those beneficial uses.

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GIS Consulting Firm Makes Hardcopy Map

Posted on April 24, 2012 in Thinking

Although most maps are now designed to be distributed via internet devices and viewed interactively, there is still a need for hardcopy maps and the art of (hardcopy) cartography has not completely disappeared.  The larger size and crispness of a printed transit map, for example, can be particularly useful when large geographic areas are being viewed, such as when a person is planning a trip that may transit several communities, or when they want to see many routes all at once in context.

When designing for hard copy printing, however, different sorts of design decisions need to be made in contrast to designing for interactive web display.

By way of example, AppGeo has produced several editions of the Rhode Island Public Transit Authority (RIPTA) statewide map of their bus and trolley services. For the 2012 edition, RIPTA requested a complete redesign including better highlighting of the Providence metro area.  This Rhode Island transit map needed to show both the entire sweep of RIPTA services in Rhode Island as well as very detailed routing for downtown Providence.

To solve this cartographic problem on the printed page, we developed a map covering all of Rhode Island on the front side of the publication, and two detailed insets of Providence area on the reverse.  To aid the riders in their trip planning we used color and line weight to highlight the highest frequency routes.   The printed map also presents a table showing detailed time-of-day and bus frequency, plus a map of the layout of the Kennedy Plaza terminal in Providence.

Another of the challenges of designing for hardcopy is what I like to call “map origami” or how the map gets folded for ease of use.  At the outset we created a folding pattern to match the desired folded dimensions.  Then we aligned the map components logically within the grid formed by the fold lines.  It is a back and forth process of adjustments to maximize the utility of the map.

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