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.
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).
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.
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….
Update : the title was changed to remove the word fight as web mapping is not worth fighting about…
A little post on the dangers of relying on your favourite web mapping sites too much. I’ve just come from a nice holiday in the Highlands of Scotland and we were staying near a place called The Royal Burgh of Tain. As you can see Google Maps (my web mapping of choice) doesn’t have it…. Bing does though.
|Tain is only here according to Google|
|The town of Tain is here on Bing but not labelled on Google…. uh oh|
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)
- Flipcard: available at www.geoplanit.co.uk/view/flipcard
- Mosaic: available at www.geoplanit.co.uk/view/mosaic
- Sidebar: available at www.geoplanit.co.uk/view/sidebar
- Snapshot: available at www.geoplanit.co.uk/view/snapshot
- Timeslide: available at www.geoplanit.co.uk/view/timeslide
They look quite good I think but will they make it easier to read the site? I’m not sure what do you think?
|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…|
Whilst I’m still hosting this blog on blogger.com, I thought it time to have my own domain name, so here it is : www.geoplanit.co.uk inspired yes?!
I thought I might write a quick post after what I thought was a pretty limited interest piece on my Kindle. Okay it was about some hidden features, but really I wasn’t expecting this. I thought a quick summary of my website statistics was in order.
So up until yesterday my most popular post was this one :
HP DesignJet 500 and Windows 7: Yes it does work even without the HPGL2 card!
It had about 420 pageviews in its life time (I keep getting comments on this post, which is nice).
Now my post yesterday :
Kindle 3 some hidden features
This got over 4500 pageviews, yesterday alone.
All I can say is wow, I thought this was a bit odd so I did some checking…. I have a “who’s among us” (see bottom of page) counter and had a look earlier today at the history:
As you can see at the height of yesterdays visitations I had 114 visitors on my site at one stage.
Now I know that statistics for websites aren’t an exact science, but I guess this post hit some interest nerve in people (and hit the right website listings!). I do have referral information and it seemed traffic came from some ‘technical’ sites and news boards. I also saw that if you type in “kindle 3 hidden” in Google this site is third on the list, hurrah!
Well that’s it, I just thought it was interesting to see how the correct content can drive visitors to your site. A big thank you to all those who visited and left comments, it’s really appreciated! I hope future posts of mine can be deemed as interesting and of value to people.
As you will have noticed I’ve changed the look of my blog again to keep it fresh and hopefully make it easier to read. Please let me know if there are any improvements that could be made or display issues. I’m still using Artisteer and can I just say its a joy to use
Okay I quite like Twitter, it’s allowed me to find websites articles and professionals that I wouldn’t otherwise be aware of. Anyway I saw that one of my more the blogs I visit more often on the web (digital urban) had placed these nice retweet buttons on each of its articles. So I asked “how do I do that?” on my favourite search engine.
For those of you interested I found this site to be most useful (it’s just case of copy and paste) for those of you using blogger: