Friday, October 07, 2005

Friday Night Revamp

Spent the entire day Wednesday revamping the Friday Night Hangouts project. Tuesday evening, I received an email from a student telling me she went to the site ( and it was all grayed out. I was planning on using this project yesterday (went well) for a new faculty reception the library was sponsoring.

Here is a bit of background on this project. I wanted to develop a GIS application that would:

  1. Be fun
  2. Convey the excitement that I feel about GIS
  3. Be easy for students and faculty to understand
  4. Contain enough analysis to counteract the notion that GIS is just for making pretty maps (I actually run into this often).
  5. Demonstrate how effective it is to use GIS processing with a Google Maps-driven front-end.

So, how to pack all this in one punch? The Friday Night Hangout does it all.

A more thorough description and technical details available on the site.

Turned out that the Google Maps Standalone Mode resource that we were using has gone down. Gave me the impetus to finally go ahead and download that Google Maps API and create a more robust Google Maps interface. Never one to do anything the hard way, I made use of the Google Maps EZ javascripts and boy do this free service make it easy. Had the front end up and running in no time at all. Then of course I had to revamp the Python script (download it here) which took the remainder of the day.

Well, the product is so much more robust now and I am very pleased. With Google Maps EZ, I was even able to add the border of Tarrant County using polylines.

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