Trivialising Digitising and Analysis : Gamification of GIS?

Just so you are forewarned, this is a bit of a ramble….

You know you want it....

It came to me in day dream whilst using ArcGIS to digitise my second city for the day, for use in a master planning project. I really quite enjoy the process of plotting roads from a base of satellite imagery. Maybe its just me but there really is something supremely satisfying watching a clean satellite image fill up with little road centre lines. It’s like helping my 2 and ½ year old daughter with her colouring book (or dot-to-dot)… (ok so she’s watching TV and I’m colouring)

Yes! 5000 points for snapping!

Then it struck me what if little clicks and noises (perhaps even a rumbling mouse) would happen every time I laid a vertex or snapped to a feature? You could even have a score table each vertex and snapping got you a point. Every time you came to move an existing vertex a point was deducted! Wow, you could even get a bonus for using complicated analysis

“Congratulations you’ve just earned the Geostatisical Analyst Interpolation badge”

Would it annoy me or spur me on? I had to look in to this….

So apparently this concept is called ‘Gamification’ (I know I looked it up on Wikipedia so it must be true… ) a stupid sounding word that covers the idea of using the psychology of rewards to encourage the adoption of technology.

Yay! Let us treat people like idiots & encourage them to work by rewarding them with arbitrary numbers non-existent prizes….


… except I might quite like aspects about that, of course I absolutely rule out sharing my scores on facebook or twitter with other geo-professionals… I know I would be last and I’m pretty sure @cageyjames would win…

Come on ESRI (or QGIS I don’t mind) gamify my work … and integrate it with Facebook and Twitter I DARE you …. just don’t share my scores with Klout (hey OpenStreetMap sort of does it)

Thunderbird is a no go… Folder Pane empty – Solved! – Corrupt folderTree.json

Okay a specific post for those who use Thunderbird as an email client.   Basically I had some issues with my brand new PC where it BSOD (Blue Screen Of Death) almost immediately (turned out to be a loose fan in the tower!).   Upon fixing the PC I could open Thunderbird but not see any folders in the Folder Pane on the left.

So here’s the solution (I used the error console in Thunderbird to search for a possible solution):

  1. Navigate in Windows to the your Thunderbird profile folder (e.g. “C:\Users\YOURUSERNAME\AppData\Roaming\Thunderbird\Profiles\SOMETHINGHERE.default)
  2. Find the file “folderTree.json” back it up first and then delete it (or just rename it OLDfolderTree.json)
  3. Now load up Thunderbird, your problem should have been fixed (it seems to create a new file)!

SOURCES (this conservation helped me) :


ArcGIS and CityEngine : careful when you smooth!

Interesting issue I’ve come across going back and forth from CityEngine to ArcGIS.   Importing a file geodatabase (GDB) CityEngine doesn’t see my results from smoothing edits.

How I thought it was drawn...
  1. Draw a feature in ArcGIS  in a File Geodatabase (GDB), then run the smooth tool on the Advanced Editing toolbar.
  2. Import the File GeoDatabase into CityEngine (when doing an import it seems you have to click back and then forward to refresh the GDB contents…).
  3. Now look at the same feature in CityEngine, it’s not straight is it?

    That's not how I thought I did it....
  4. So export the feature as a shapefile instead and import into CityEngine, the feature retains its smoothness.

Not sure whether its a bug or my misunderstanding of a feature… I guess a smooth is described in a GDB rather than drawn, whereas shapefiles just draw the feature via vertices.   Either way it’s a good example of knowing the limitations of your file formats!

ArcGIS – CityEngine – SketchUp – Lumion3D – A workflow

I’m quite partial to a good workflow, so here’s the result of one I’ve posted on GeoPlanIT’s YouTube channel:

Lumion3D is a great rendering/visualisation tool I hope to be using much more in the future.   It might not give you full control over everything but if you want quick and easy renderings of your models it’s brilliant.   A word of caution though, you might want to upgrade your graphics card… (or like me your entire PC).   You can download a free (limited feature) trial now from here.