Review: DropMyEmail, backup for those without adequate broadband?

First up full disclosure: One of my old friends from secondary school has recently started working here. He did not ask me to write this review but I did start using it because I know and trust him.

You probably should backup your stuff somewhere….

Backups, I think everyone reading this will agree are essential if you want to ensure your stuff isn’t lost or damaged by some event, virus or sheer stupidity….   At work we have a system for backing up our data, emails are important but being in control of our data word documents, ArcGIS maps etc.. is essential.  At home it’s a different story it’s not word documents that are important it’s photos and emails.

So I have a solution for photo backups, basically a combination of external hard drive, main PC and Dropbox.   My broadband although not quick can cope with the odd photo or two that I want to share and keep.   It also feels natural to go somewhere take pictures and when home back them up.

Emails are another story, I get a lot, not all are important but it is my life blood at the moment all my life, from receiving that first email from a lady who ended up being my wife to photos of friends, announcements of births, deaths as well as work related emails with important attachments.   Then there are all those online purchases, receipts, serial codes etc!!    Now I really should have a backup of these, Gmail is good but it isn’t perfect and you do hear stories of people who have lost all their emails.

So I have been using an old version of outlook to periodically download all my emails and attachments off gmail and others… trouble is  I less and less use this PC and whole months go by without me using it.   That’s down to me using a work PC during the day and an iPad at home nowadays.

A while back I noticed that one of my old friends had jumped from his then employer Google to a startup called DropMyEmail.  Wow, I thought what the hell is dropmyemail?

Basically DropMyEmail.com is a service that allows you to backup multiple email accounts in one place from a single dashboard. It’s really easy to use and despite a Web Of Trust rating issue (someone seems to have rated it as untrustworthy but is talking about another site), I can assure you it is safe.

It’s quick and easy to setup and can be logged into using twitter, facebook or google accounts, once in you get a free amount of space that you can boost with referrals and the like but 5GB starts at $10 a year which ain’t too bad at all in my book.   You can manage the backups in one place which is great and if you do have multiple accounts the backups can all be searched from here.   Attachments to emails also get their own attachment manager which is very useful and can be used to share them on a number of services.

So why use this service over other methods?   Well for starters if you live in a rural location in the UK and your broadband is poor this could be very useful reassurance. Since it doesn’t rely on you downloading emails to your PC all you have to worry about backing up is your photos, you did do that right? 🙂

Not for everyone I admit, esecpially if you have good broadband speeds.    Also if you don’t trust companies to keep your data safe well I’m not going to convince you!   If you’re interested head over to their site and take a look www.dropmysite.com, it’s free for a set amount of data and if you’ve got multiple email accounts like me you’ll be wanting to upgrade pretty soon.

Summary: Email backup service for multiple accounts
Why? If you’ve got poor internet connections but still need backups of your webmail this is for you.
Rating: For me personally I give it a 4/5 it looses points because their sister site for backing up websites (dropmysite) is not integrated with dropmyemail

UK local online #mapping is a stupid mess…

Yuck, online mapping 1990s style

Today something is bothering me,   it has been bubbling away since I wrote this post “The Awful mess of Local Plans online” and I can’t contain it anymore.

Where’s my broadband coordinator? Cumbria CC

Cumbria as a geographic area I think has a lot of online maps and they all vary in quality and usability.   Sometimes it looks like the people who are operating them haven’t told other departments what they are doing…. to be fair they probably have but red tape has got in the way…

Lets take Sedbergh (yes I used Google Maps!) for example, if I want to see what services my local authorities’ provide on a map I can go here for Cumbria CC services but if I want to see their Public Rights of Way mapping (and the two national parks), I have to go here.  Now Cumbria also has a Historic Environment Record and their mapping is here (seriously slow & doesn’t always work).

Walk this way , Cumbria PROW map
Cumbria’s Historic Environment Record mapping is shit, no really

Now here’s the fun bit, bins, building control and libraries are dealt with by South Lakeland DC .   Ah, but if I want to see my local plan online rather than via PDF I have to go to the Yorkshire Dales online GIS here.   Oh and if I forget what Local Authority I’m in Eden DC provide some mapping for part of Sedbergh too.

Eden Web Mapping, basic but okay?
South Lakeland’s mapping just like Barrow’s and I quite like it..

All these maps provide detailed OS Mastermap level mapping.  Some are symbolised quite well, others not so well, I’ve always liked Barrow’s online GIS which South Lakeland seem to use, but that’s because it’s a bit technical and I hear open source [PDF].   I also worry when watermarks aren’t done well.

As a resident I shouldn’t have to check 5 different online maps to check out what’s happening in my area.  I certainly shouldn’t have to learn how each one operates! (look I used bold and underline I must be serious)

I can’t help wondering why no one is trying to get a national government mapping organisation whereby everyone gets the same online mapping frontend/interface but is in charge of their own data. A bit like the Planning Portal but for publishing data not just receiving it.  If people think this can’t be done, I think people working on the EU’s INSPIRE directive might say otherwise.

What I would like to see is web mapping become central not just an after thought to local and national government websites.   Yes there is a place of localisation (depending on usage, tourism, history etc…).   But a national web mapping site is needed so we can seamlessly browse geographically adjacent datasets.   This would be great not just for residents but also policy makers, politicians and professionals.  Imagine for example, seeing planning statistics and local plans for neighbouring authorities on one seamless map?   Local councillors could see how neighbouring areas with similar demographics are doing.  Think how easy consultation with neighbouring councils could be!

Enough of my musings, I’m off to make a map for a local authority in Iraq….

Related Posts

 

Analysing you the reader….

So I like Google Analytics, as it makes me feel like these pages are being read by someone.   What always surprises me is why people come here, I wonder what it tells me about the world…

Do people really still use the old HP DesignJet 500?  How do people not know how to export attribute tables to Excel in ArcGIS?   That Feature Construction toolbar must piss people off, yes?!

This months (12th March – 11th April) top pages are very similar to last months:

Page Title Pageviews
1. HP DesignJet 500 and Windows 7: Yes it does work even without the HPGL2 card! | GeoPlanIT 1,737 31.33%
2. GeoPlanIT 774 13.96%
3. Export attribute tables from ArcGIS to Excel. | GeoPlanIT 360 6.49%
4. PhotoShop: Unknown or invalid JPEG marker type… | GeoPlanIT 258 4.65%
5. To Unity and Beyond? QGIS, ArcGIS, SketchUp Pro/Free, CityEngine and Unity | GeoPlanIT 136 2.45%
6. ArcGIS 10 – Turn Off the “Feature Construction” toolbar. | GeoPlanIT 130 2.34%
7. cityengine | GeoPlanIT 96 1.73%
8. A very quick Rule Wizard for CityEngine tutorial | GeoPlanIT 95 1.71%
9. ArcGIS : Using Query Builder to display certain features (multiple) | GeoPlanIT 92 1.66%
10. Solution: Very slow printer dialog boxes in Windows (network printers) | GeoPlanIT 69 1.24%

New ways to view GeoPlanIt

Courtesy of blogger comes several new ways to view GeoPlanIT….. (all blogger blogs are enabled I think as long as the site feeds are enabled fully)

They look quite good I think but will they make it easier to read the site?   I’m not sure what do you think?

GeoPlanIT goes Mobile! (or how to get your blogger site mobile enabled)

My new phone
(image from HRC)

Update: Uh oh @mapsgirl has kindly pointed out that if you use Disqus for your comments on blogger then you won’t be able to get comments to your posts via disqus on the mobile site (the default blogger comments system seems unaffected)

Just a quick news item that if you are visiting this site with a mobile/cell phone you will see a specially formatted site!

How did I do this miracle of modern wizardry you ask?

Use a barcode scanner

Simple I switched my blogger dashboard (goto draft.blogger.com) to draft and then under settings — Email & Mobile checked the following:

Yes, show the mobile version of my template on mobile devices.

Quite easy really…

Mapbiquity a home for your shapefiles?

“because maps should be everywhere”
No truer word was written…

Mapping is a wonderful business, those into GIS really love mucking about with all that data.   But there is one thing I know that is universally hated, yes it’s printing or making it at the very least available to others (you know online…..).

Look it’s Cumbria!

Well Mapbiquity is a new kid on the block that aims to get all those shapefiles you have, hosted and displayed online.  It takes you through a 3 step process upload, style and maps to create a map and then provides you with some code that you paste into your site to display your map.   It uses Google maps as its background which I can imagine in the UK concerning some users when it comes to Terms and Conditions (ah don’t you just love licensing and terms?!).

The process works pretty well I had some trouble placing it on blogger (my blogging platform here), however support was very forth coming and some code was rustled up for me.

I really like the idea of an online mapping solution that fills the gap between free and expensive to host GIS files.   However I have some concerns that those who know about  shapefiles might want more functionality (or something other than a Google background, for example OpenStreetMap).

I would highly recommend anyone with a few shapefiles hanging around and an urge to put some maps online trying this new service out (the starter package gives you 10MB for free)!  It promises to allow you to create some good looking maps.

I wish the Mapbiquity team all the best and look forward to new features and functionality!