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.

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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Happy 10th Birthday Google Maps!

Posted on February 9, 2015 in Thinking

Sunday, February 8th marked the 10th anniversary of the launch of Google Maps and I still clearly remember when my friend, and former colleague at AppGeo, Rich Sutton, called me over and said “hey, check this out.” Even at first glance it was pretty clear this new site would be a game changer. And in hindsight, I’d put this date somewhere in my personal “top 3” of the most important developments in the geospatial industry. The other two would be the 1982 release of Esri’s ARC/INFO (or, if you prefer, their earlier release of PIOS), and the release of the initial 1990 TIGER data by US Census which democratized the availability of geo data. continue_reading…

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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Breaking up is hard to do…The story of how AppGeo left the Esri BP Program and what it means for our industry and customers

Posted on September 10, 2014 in Thinking

By Michael Terner (@mt_AppGeo), Executive Vice President

Through the lens of having three kids who have been in high school, I’ve heard about “getting dumped by text message” and how that can complicate and deepen the confusion of what is an inherently difficult situation. Well, earlier this year our company went through the business equivalent of such a break up.

In May, after almost 20 years as an Esri Business Partner we were informed that Esri would like to “let our formal partnership retire.” We weren’t informed by text message, but rather we first heard the news from one of our big city customers who apparently was told by Esri before we were. About a week later, on May 12, we received a formal letter from Esri signed by our “Manager of the Regional Partner Team”. Our Regional Manager for the Northeast and Jack Dangermond were CC’ed. The “Manager of the Regional Partner Team”, who we’ve known for over a decade, gave us another name to contact “if you have any questions.” So as of June 25th, 2014, we were out of the club.

But, as with high school romance, sometimes break-ups are necessary, and while they can hurt, they can also lead to new growth and opportunity. Three months after receiving the news I think our team has processed the “message” and has some perspective on what happened as well as a really optimistic outlook on AppGeo’s future. Ultimately, while we’ve broken up, we do want to “remain friends” which Esri also relayed in their letter to us. Indeed, upon reflection, we think this episode says a lot about where our company and our industry are heading, and we believe others may be interested in our assessment.

We weren’t surprised

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