GIS Data with Google Maps or Infrastructure Map Server

Good morning.  This is just a quick note for those government agencies that publish GIS data. I just discovered that Google has a Public Data program to make the information available to a wider audience. Organizations simply need to fill out a form to apply to the program.


I also found out that individuals can create their own maps using the Google Maps Engine Lite.  For me, this will provide a great venue to present my project history. You may have similar needs as an individual. But if you want to create online maps for your business, they also have something called Google Maps for Business. It appears that this service will only let ESRI users connect directly…


If you don’t want to pay a subscription, you could setup your own web mapping service with Infrastructure Map Server. With this application, you can publish and share GIS data as well as CAD data with a web-based or mobile browser interface! And Map 3D /  Civil 3D will natively work with this option!


Memorial Day 2012

Today is Memorial Day. For me, it is a subtle reminder of the sacrifice of those made during the many wars, to which, our country was involved.


About 15 years ago, the firm I worked with at that time, had an opportunity to do work for the Philadelphia Korean War Memorial to create a memorial site near Penn’s Landing. My duties were insignificant, ensuring proper drainage, landscaping, etc. compared to the task of creating the memorial itself. I can tell you that this had a double meaning for me….

This past Friday, I received an email from my new boss detailing a few things I didn’t know about the Holiday. Portions of that email are listed below.

Did you know….

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Twitter profile picture

Now, this is just completely random.  While browsing my twitter feed the other day, I realized most people might not know what my profile picture represents.


At that resolution, it kind of looks like a poorly drawn happy face. I can tell you that it is not a happy face on purpose. Read more of this post

NIMBY = Public Eminent Domain?

Soooo, here’s the story about my little old township. Over the past decade, many things have changed; population growth, infrastructure, residential developments, everything relating to a booming area. With this growth, the Township administration appears to have been a bit overwhelmed in this period. Bygones…

Picture of land under scrutiny. What’s missing is all the development happening outside the frame of the picture.

The problem now is that people are angry that a landowner/developer has decided to “destroy” this western edge of the valley. And it seems that they won’t be happy until said owner abandons all hope of building anything on his own property.  So these NIMBY folks seem to be employing a form of Neighbor Eminent Domain.  Is this any more appropriate than local governments using said instrument to “improve” certain districts?

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Year End 2011 News


So this isn’t brand new news. My company, KlingStubbins has been acquired by Jacobs Engineering Group (as of November 1, 2011) and will be aligned with their Global Buildings North America division.  I’m not sure what impact the merger will have on my content, but I will continue to write as much as I can.  It’s been tough to get anything posted. So I’m simply jotting this down while I can.

Here’s the press release
You can call us “KlingStubbins Inc. a Jacobs Company”

Here’s to a happy and healthy 2012.


Local Township found liable

[Edit 10-3-2011: The judge's opinion rulings have been downloaded and linked to this page for reference. See below the break]


Actually, the case began back to the spring of 2006. A local farmer in my town, William Deibert, sued Lower Macungie Township because of water runoff from two new adjacent housing developments. The only reason he noticed was the damage that was being caused by the additional water draining across his farm fields.

Clearly, this is an exaggeration, I think

Now, I know what you’re thinking.  This just adds fuel to the fire that subdivisions are evil. Turns out the developers followed the directions they were given. What?

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Design Software = Commodity?

Over the past 3 or 4 months, I’ve spent my time working with the plumbing department on a large project using Revit.  Incidentally, I hear the same complaints about Revit as I do about civil 3d.  :)

But what often comes up is that while each application has reached a certain stability and functionality, they may not work or function as we expect. Often times, I’ll hear a comment like “thank goodness the steering wheel in my car knows what to do when I turn it to the right…” or “would you buy a car with no rear wheels?”

Those comments are often in response to some aspect in the software that doesn’t do what it should or is missing what we deem a typical “part of the model.” So, I usually reply with something to effect that we have to take that blank car and customize it to how we work, kind of like trucks for instance. Mack trucks make the cab and frame and then supply them to many types of users who put all sorts of equipment on the back for their use.

But, then thinking to myself, is design software really to that point?  I think in some industries that may be the case, like auto manufacturing.  But in the AEC world, design software still has a bit of boutique feel.  Why do I think this?  Primarily 2 things.  First, the user base of Revit or Civil 3D is actually quite small compared to something like Photoshop.  That would explain the price difference . Second, because the funding of development is limited, design software often requires users to develop their own processes to generate a final product.  Think of the software used on the shuttle. I can only imagine that those apps are probably built from scratch or re-use & tweaking of existing modules to define a certain measurement or experiment in space.

So, are our expectations out of whack with reality? It seems so in this case.  More so to the point, do we have an expectation in today’s workforce that every tool should function like a commodity? Even MS Word needs a custom template for your office right? Unless, of course, your company name really is Northwind Traders:)


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