Zoho

Here is one of my favorite online providers of professional online collabrative tools and services. As well as providing a decent email service (similar to Google Mail) Zoho has a huge product range. Does your business need a project management website? Zoho is the place for you! These people seem incredibly prolific in their plugins and applications I really recommend you try them. We use the at work for Project Management and the service has been great and scaleable so that we can keep costs down.

http://www.zoho.com/

P.S. Did I say that I am now a proud father? My daughter was born this week, perhaps I’ll do a look at some special baby related gadgets, gizmos and software to make our lives easier (I’m aware this may stray from the Geography/planning/ urban design elements of this blog, nevermind)

Do you believe in magic?

Is it magic? Not really but for those looking for environmental data in the UK (or who at least holds it) it’s a start. Why can’t we have more data free and accessible?

“The first web-based interactive map to bring together geographic information on key environmental schemes and designations in one place”

http://www.magic.gov.uk/

Does anyone have suggestions for websites where we can get some good data? (I know about Google Earth thanks!)

Planning Alerts (for the UK)

Want to easily be notified about new planning applications in your area? Try PlanningAlerts, this fantastic site takes data from various Local Authority Planning department’s weekly planning lists and giving it to you as a news feed.

Why are planning departments not all forced to do this? Who knows, but I know trying to navigate different local authority websites is a it of a pain!

Augmented Reality for Android

When I was a Planning Officer in London, I thought it would be very useful to take a pda with a GPS/compass and wireless connection to our backoffice. With maps on the device I could a point it at a building and it would list all the layers in our GIS. For instance a resident asks me whether an extension was authorised on a nearby property. Instead of having to go back to the office and call them back I would point the PDA at the property and voila! I would be able to see its planning history and pull up any other information I desired that resided in our backoffice.

There are obviously data protection issues involved with the above, but imagine any council worker being able to answer a member of the public’s questions about the environment around them! Incredibly powerful and potentially money saving, as a Planning Office I would be occasionally asked questions about other services, this would have made me more useful to the council and the public.

So when I saw a post on Digital Urban about a program called Layar, this program for Android (Google’s mobile OS) I got interested now all I need is a Android powered phone…. d’oh.

GPS –> Bluetooth –> N95 (symarctic)

I know this isn’t totally related but I have a Nokia N95 and I was looking for a way to connect wirelessly to my laptop and still use its GPS! Now I can drive around using Google Earth (as long as I have 3G internet or have cached where I’m going, oh and if the wife lets me). Download it from here: http://www.symarctic.com/beta/static.php?page=extgps_download

I can tell you it works well (although I’m not sure if the battery life will be so good..)