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Batkid Saves Gotham City Story Map

Batkid Saves Gotham City! is a story map about Batkid (Miles Scott) that I put together with Jennifer Jacob by using one of Esri’s story map templates. Miles story is amazing and inspiring and we couldn’t help but tell his story. The story map includes a link to The Batkid Fund, which Miles’ parents set up to help the local charities that had done so much to help Miles.

Batkid Story Map Screenshot

Re-experience Batkid’s journey as he saves Gotham City (San Francisco).

iOS 6 Apple Maps Sucks and No Google Maps App!? So What? Try These.

That Apple’s new Maps app included with iOS 6 is subpar isn’t news. In fact, it’s been done to death. You can read/watch some of the complaints here, and here, and here, and here, and here, and here, and here, etc. Just as bad are the complaints that the Google Maps app is not available for iOS 6 and the only way to get driving directions on the iPhone 5 is to use Google Maps on the phone’s web browser.

These complaints are so widespread that Saturday Night Live even did a sketch about it on last night’s show, which you can watch the hilarious video here.

I just don’t get the uproar. Sure, it is annoying that the default iOS 6 mapping app is half-baked and that a Google Maps app isn’t available right now. But you know what? Apple’s going to get the kinks worked out,  Google would be insane to not be developing Google Maps for iOS 6, and there are plenty of other navigation apps available for the iPhone. To all you iPhone 5 owners out there, look at this as an opportunity to try out one of the other navigation apps.

After doing a quick search of the Apple App Store, I’ve put together a list of free alternative navigation apps for the iPhone (all these links go to the app’s page on

A complete list of navigation apps for the iPhone (free and otherwise) is available from here.

Note: I use an Android phone, so I haven’t used any of these apps on an iPhone. That being said, I use the Android version of the Waze app, which just blows the Google Maps app out of the water.

How to Set Up Esri Geoportal Server 1.2.2 on Windows

This whitepaper is an update to my How to Set Up an Esri Geoportal Server
 article from the Summer, 2011 issue of ArcUser. It gives step-by-step instructions for installing the Esri Geoportal Server on an internal Windows server.

Creating the Esri Geoportal Server LiveDVD Demo: Part 2

This a continuation of Creating the Esri Geoportal Server LiveDVD Demo: Part 1. I didn’t mean to make it a month between posts, but development of this DVD was a complicated processes and I wasn’t sure how to write about it.

As I wrote in Part 1, there were 5 parts to creating the LiveDVD:

  1. Getting the Geoportal up and running.
  2. Customizing the Geoportal
  3. Customizing the Linux operating system interface.
  4. The informational website, which pops open when the LiveDVD is started and provides information about the Geoportal as well as how to get started using the demo.
  5. Converting the virtual machine to a LiveDVD.

The part will cover Part 2: Customizing the Geoportal.

You see, the Geoportal comes with a default interface that’s great for people to use when setting up their own geoportal.

But wouldn’t quite work for the demo.

First, the color was wrong. If you go to the Geoportal’s webpage on, you’ll see that the product’s official color is a dark green. Second, the existing text is just placeholder text that’s supposed to be replaced with custom content. I wanted it to be useful for people who are loading up the Geoportal for the first time and have no idea what to do next.

So, making the Geoportal green.

Fortunately, the Geoportal also comes with a blue skin.

While that wouldn’t work either, I thought it would be easier to customize that than the red skin.

And for the most part it was. The bottom banner and headings to the two central boxes were easy to changed; just some quick Paint Shop Pro work. The top banner proved to be much trickier. I wanted to use the same banner that appears on the Geoportal’s webpage. The problem is with where the text has to appear on top of the banner; the title in the bottom left corner and some text links in the top right. I just couldn’t get the banner placed so the text all appears over the dark green parts. I finally had to flip the banner over. It was the only solution that worked.

Finally, with the help of the Geoportal Dev Team, I updated the text. The final Geoportal home page looks like this:

Next Time: Customizing the Linux Operating System

Defining Open – ArcUser Article

My article from the Summer 2012 issue of ArcUser.

Zillow Takes a Page Out of Trulia’s Book

2012-06-21 17.54.43

For the several weeks Words with Friends on Android has been showing me nonstop ads for Trulia’s Android app. Someone at Zillow must have been paying attention because now I’m getting nonstop ads for Zillow’s Android app. Sometimes it’s not a bad idea to take a page out of the competitions book; now Words with Friends players know about both Trulia’s and Zillow’s app.

Is Zillow “stealing”? I don’t think so. Trulia and Zillow are just advertising via the same medium. Google’s not “stealing” from Microsoft when it runs commercials on TV just because Microsoft did so first. What do you think?

Esri Geoportal Server LiveDVD Demo

The Esri Geoportal Server LiveDVD Demo was released on Monday, May 14th. The demo provides a self-contained Linux operating system with a fully operational geoportal. You can evaluate your own personal geoportal without having to worry about installing or configuring one on a test machine. It works both as a bootable LiveDVD or a virtual machine (VM).

To use my copy from the website

Esri Geoportal Server is a free, open source product that enables discovery and use of geospatial resources including datasets, rasters, and Web services. It helps organizations manage and publish metadata for their geospatial resources to let users discover and connect to those resources. The Geoportal Server supports standards-based clearinghouse and metadata discovery applications.

You can request a copy (physical media or digial download) by going to



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