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Home arrow Articles arrow Business arrow Geoblogs 2006 - A Look at Blogs a GISuser Would Like To Visit     

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Geoblogs 2006 - A Look at Blogs a GISuser Would Like To Visit PDF Print E-mail
Written by Glenn Letham   
21 December 2006
I'm reluctantly providing what I might call the "coolest geoblogs for 2006. Keep in mind that this is "MY" list and is totally subjective. I sometimes find it annoying when others simply make a list and call it the BEST list, particularly of blogs. The reason being that blogs are totally subjective and ones like or dislike for a blog will most certainly differ from the guy sitting in the chair next to you. In my mind a blog is an extension of the blogger's personality and interjects personal feelings, passions, and dislikes. And so, here's a sampling of the blogs that I have enjoyed over the past year. The list is by no means complete and if you don't get mentioned, please don't hold it against me;0)
Geospatial Humor - Fantom Planet - http://fantomplanet.wordpress.com/
Uncut, and unbelievable sometimes, I always get a laugh out of fantom planet. Underneath all the humor (the latest post is titled mapping doody) though are some very provocative posts and some great information that most GISers will find useful. Heavily focused on ESRI apps and solutions, however, its not your typical "Asskissing"... kudos!
ArcGIS Developer - Spatially Adjusted - http://www.spatiallyadjusted.com/
If you use ArcGIS or you're a developer (aka propeller head) then you're familiar with this blog developed by James Fee. James is a developer working for TEC Inc in Tempe, AZ. Hi blog touches on ArcGIS, the ESRI Developer Network (EDN), and pretty much anything that effects the ESRI developer. James is definitely "in the loop" and seems to have access to information and tips long before the user will hear about the topic at hand. What's really nice about this blog is that James doesn't hold back and tells it like it is (or how he feels)... the end user, developer, and ESRI employee no doubt watches what James posts and quite often the comments have a ripple effect throughout the community - FYI, most recently James is documenting in great detail his experiences in getting started with Manifold.net GIS. A thumbs of for the tech-savvy GISer and not for the newbie!
Google - The Google Earth Blog - http://www.gearthblog.com/
Run by Frank Taylor, this "unofficial blog has secured a position as the place to get info about Google Earth. Frank was so early and so good at getting his blog entrenched in the blogosphere that he beat out everyone else, including Google at putting up a blog for the Google Earth user. Frank even spoke at this year's Google Developer Day (which I attended) in San Jose, CA... what a great plug for a blogger! To see what users are doing with Google Earth, get tips on locating KMZs and KMLs and to hear about what's new for Google Earth then this is a must bookmark. Congrats to Frank!
Very Spatial -
This popular blog run by "Sue & Jesse" was the first resource to run with podcasting at the heart and sole of the offering. You'll find daily blog posts that inform you about Geospatial technologies and solutions, most of which you won't hear about anywhere else (that is until other bloggers simply repost what VS has already posted). The podcasts are very professional, informative, and educational. I've met the authors at conferences but have yet to be interviewed, typically because we simply can never get our schedules in synch... maybe in 07! Kudos Sue and Jesse!
Random Notes from Jason Birch -
If Mapguide or webmapping for local government is of interest to you then Jason's blog is a must visit. You won't find posts every day (Jason is busy with his day job) but the posts that you get on a weekly basis are typically very detailed, informative, and useful. Jason is charged with maintaining the Mapguide application for the City of Nanaimo, BC, Canada (I used to live there) and he's involved with OSGEO as well. Nice stuff Jason!
bloggerBizness!... Guy Kawasaki's Blog - http://blog.guykawasaki.com/
As a business owner I'm always in need of advice, mentoring, and sources of information... this is where Guy delivers! Updated a couple of times a week, Guy offers up sounds advice for the business owner using a very street-smart and savvy approach. Often posted in Top 10 fashion (think Dave Letterman) Guy's advice ranges from top 10 lies of Venture Capitalists to the Art of Shmoozing... I'd be lost without Guy's advice... his book The Art of The Start is also a great read -  Thanks Guy!
AutoCAD -- Lynn Allen's Blog - http://lynn.blogs.com/
If you're an AutoCAD user or a CAD engineer that can recall using AutoCAD prior to R10 then you know Lynn. She's Autodesk's technical evangelist and travels the World preaching to the followers about the how-to's of AutoCAD. Not specifically a "Geo" blog, her posts are educational, humorous, and useful for any AutoCAD product user. There are now a host of AutoDesk employees with blogs but Lynn definitely has the momma blog! Most recent posts are focused on what happened in Vegas (not everything stays in Vegas!) at AutoDesk University. Lynn is one of my faves and she's a Colts fan to boot so how can you go wrong! If you want Autodesk GIS specific blogs then I suggest this DWF blog http://dwf.blogs.com/ and you also need to visit Shaan's weblog at http://autodesk.blogs.com/between_the_lines/. On a side note, the one thing I've noticed about Autodesk and their staff blogs is that they seem to be all over the place! Some are hosted on blogs.com, some on blogs.AutoDesk.com and some at wordpress.com... in time I'm sure they will all make their way under the Autodesk.com domain, however, I can't blame them for not moving some of the popular ones for fear of losing RSS feed connections, links in etc... Congrats to the Autodesk bloggers for keeping us all informed.
ESRI's ArcPad
The ArcPad Team Blog - http://arcpadteam.blogspot.com/
Every application developer team needs a weblog and the ArcPad crew quickly realized that! With most of the content coming from down-under via the RIA developer team (these are the guys behind ArcPad technology), this blog informs the ArcPad end user or developer about what they can expect to come in ESRI's mobile GIS solutions.  Elvin, Shane and the crew do a great job with this one (and they even link to GISuser.com too so they can't be all that bad;0) Keep it up guys and hopefully the next major release won't be 3 years away!
ArcGIS & ArcGIS Server
GIS Matters -
What better way to stay informed about an application like ArcGIS then from one the the product development leads? David Maguire keeps the blogosphere upto speed with ArcGIS happenings via his weblog and its closely monitored by the ESRI blogosphere for obvious reasons. No doubt David is quite careful about what gets released on this blog but its still a must read. A useful feed of all the official ESRI weblogs can be found at http://blogs.esri.com
Vector One from Jeff Thurston - http://geovisualisation.com/WordPress/
Many writers also complement their efforts by maintaining a blog. Jeff Thurston, known by many in the GIS space who read print publications and other news resources, does a fine job maintaining his Vector One blog. Jeff is a Canadian now residing in Europe (Germany) , thus, you'll find loads of Canadian content in the mix, along with material of interest to any GISer regardless of location. Jeff's travel tales are always enjoyable and quite amusing!  Congrats on a nice job Jeff - PS: you need to fix the link to your photos!
The Scrapped Blog - http://se7en.co.nz/cms/scrappad/
Maintained by a .Net developer, this popular resource is heavy on content and provides many useful leads. Posts don't go into great detail but nonetheless its a good source of blogosphere news. This one also comes from down-under
Simply Microsoft

Via Virtual Earth - http://www.viavirtualearth.com/vve/Dashboard/Default.ashx
If you need to stay informed about Microsoft Local Live and/or Microsoft's Geospatial offerings then this resource can't be beat and is a must bookmark for anyone using Virtual Earth. Nice job guys but what happened to the link to GISuser? ;0)
Other honorable mention:
Blogs that aren't blogs!
Planet Geospatial - http://www.planetgs.com - the definitive GeoBlog aggregator - very useful!
SlashGeo -
http://www.slashgeo.org - another good aggregator.. a blog? Well, not in my books, none-the-less some useful pointers here.
Also, does anyone know what happened to the USGS Topo employees blog formerly hosted at http://topoemployees.blogspot.com/
The blogosphere is running rampant... without the information provided by many of these bloggers we'd all be lost. The table appears to have been set and pretty much anyone who's ever planned on publishing a blog has done so by now. If you still plan on blogging though there's still loads of bandwidth and readers out there, however, keep in mind that maintaining a blog on a regular basis is not as simple as it may seem and it takes a large dose of commitment. I know of several HUGE tech blogs where the authors have simply burnt out and faded away... essentially shutting the doors and leaving the faithful readers wonder where to turn to for their daily affirmation and news. Good luck to all the new Geobloggers for 2007.
So what makes a good blog? Well, once again that's up to the reader. A great blog in my mind may "suck" to you! Some blogs are funny, some are very technical, some offer up insider information, some merely repost what other bloggers are already posting or simply synthesize the news. I true blog in my mind has a personality and that personality shines through in the bloggers posts, providing some opinion... whatever a blog is it provides useful information and will often generate reader feedback... keep in mind also though that most feedback typically comes in the form of negative comments but don't let that turn you off... its simply human nature for readers to comment on things they dislike or pick up on errors rather than simply commenting with a simply amen or good on ya!
Finally, did U Know that I have RSS feeds from these and many other GeoBloggers right on GISuser.com? Simply click the GeoBloggers link (http://www.gisuser.com/content/category/17/240/159/) and you'll find feeds from a number of blogs, updated constantly. I could go on and on and likely list 100 more of my favorites! The 10 best? Well, I'll leave that up to you to decide as my top 10 will no doubt differ from your Top 10, and the next guy's top 10. Keep up the great work all you Geobloggers and don't forget to drop by my own blog aka. Anything Geospatial - See www.AnyGeo.com and my photo blog (Moblog) at http://www.flickr.com/photos/gisuser/
About the author... Glenn has been blogging for several years now (about 4). Actually, during his transition from "the old gig" he created and developed a weblog called "lbszone" which eventually turned into this technology publication at GISuser.com. LBSzone became a sister-portal and Glenn's blog transitioned into what is now the AnyGeo weblog. Glenn still maintains AnyGeo as well as a mobile focused blog called Anything Mobile as well as a couple of moblogs that feature photos captured and uploaded via cameraphone. You can see these resources at the following locations:
More links to Geoblogs here & see James' blog links
Last Updated ( 08 January 2007 )
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