April 2014
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Countywide Services Locator version 3 released

sl version3It’s finally here! the Countywide Services Locator now is embeddable.

Here is the home site (updated to Google API version 3): http://maps.lacounty.gov

Here is the embeddable version: http://maps.lacounty.gov/SL_Body.aspx


There are three different parameters that you can pass to either of these two sites.

  1. address_string – this is where you pass the address that you want to show.
  2. Cat1 – where you select the primary category (the tab) that you want to show
  3. Cat2 – you can open the specified category2 (the relevant cat1 tab will also open

As an example, I want to find all of the Safe Havens near zip code 91208.

I can embed this with the following parameters: http://maps.lacounty.gov/SL_Body.aspx?address_string=91208&cat2=Safe+Havens

Here is an example

Or you can pass the same parameters to the main site using a box on your end (like the lacounty.gov box): http://maps.lacounty.gov/?address_string=91208&cat2=Safe+Havens

Here are more detailed instructions, and an example of embedding

Can I download the data?

Yes – the data is managed by the Countywide Location Management System which contains a broad array of information – beyond even what is shown in the Services Locator.  To download, go to the LA County Data Portal.

Road Closure Map by LA Co. Public Works Dept.

A Google Maps mashup shows up to date road closures in LA County.  You can also view a list of closures.


Google Maps and Label Readability


Nick Franchino, via John Calas, sent me an excellent link!

For you mapmakers out there, the link below is an excellent discussion of how Google is making its maps more readable – it is an excellent set of information!


Google MapMaker

Google will be launching their MapMaker tools in the US pretty soon.  Basically crowdsourcing the creation of GIS data.  It has interesting implications – should the County use these tools to update its data?  The nice part is that Google is allowing the download of the data – allowing it outside the sandbox of their own tools.  Especially for GIS professionals, who generally use the ESRI toolsets, this is nice.  But there are some interesting issues, since this data is not public domain at all.  It sounds very much like the licensed data that LA County has been using from Thomas Brothers/Rand McNally for years – with the exception that governments can share the data since their isn’t a cost for licensing.

The online tools themselves look very nice, easy to use, and the moderating and authoring features are definitely a major plus.

I read through the licensing, and found at least a few items that merit enough issues that I doubt agencies will really sign this.  Some key ones …

  1. Section 4.2 – Google reserves the right to refuse or discontinue offering downloads to the Map Maker Source Data to anyone, and to disable users’ ability to download Map Maker Source Data at any time in its sole discretion with or without notice. If we can’t be assured that the data will always be available that will cause issues.
  2. Section 8.3 -Your Map Project Must Provide Google with Attribution. Unless otherwise agreed to by Google in a written amendment to these Terms, in every instance in which the Map Maker Source Data are used in Your Map Project, Your Map Project must include the following attribution notice in accordance with the requirements below: (a) Text of Notice: “Map Data © 2009 Google – Improve with Google Map Maker“.  What about a map that includes some data from Google and most of the data from non-Google sources.  Interesting attribution problem.
  3. Section 10.5 (section b) – You must not use the Map Maker Source Data to create a service that is based on, or is part of, a non-Google mapping service or API. What about ESRI Server technologies?

Some good information for background :

Google MapMaker is a product that allows users to edit and create digital maps in 180+ countries worldwide.

We believe that users are the local experts – only you truly know the community you live in and are the mapmakers of your world. Google MapMaker also empowers governments, businesses (small and large) to have a true mapping presence on the web. This GIS presence supports engagement with your community, partners and other agencies. Google MapMaker was developed in direct response to people’s desire to engage in the mapping of their environments. While consumers are embracing the product, we see rapid adoption amongst government agencies and NGO’s around the world.

The product is simple to use, yet powerful as a tool to support GIS and communications programs.

Here are some helpful links for using Google MapMaker:

  1. Please review this simple presentation for an overview of the product http://docs.google.com/present/view?id=dc2snngt_0c3f3p4fk
  2. Please see these video links for a simple tutorial of the product http://www.youtube.com/view_play_list?p=6201A3407AEFF375
  3. Please review these testimonial for more insights into the use of Google MapMaker http://www.youtube.com/view_play_list?p=592B332340C55313

Ooops Google - don't drive in Pasadena!

Just saw this the other day.

Google has accidentally shifted all buildings in the City of Pasadena to the south by about 350 feet or so.

I wonder what happened?  I spoke with Brain Sims at Pasadena (who obviously knows about this) and said that Google hasn’t been very responsive.  One reason why you need to control your own data …

Google or Bing Maps in ArcMap

Emilio Solano from the Assessor passed along a good tool! I found this little tool written in VBA that can be added to the Normal.mxd template and have it always available, or if you wish, can be added only to specific map documents.  The tool will bring the bing or Google maps on a popup window when you click on a parcel in your map. The point you click is at the center of the popup window.  There are instructions on how to install and customize in the attached document (bing-google from mxd (word file). The tool was downloaded from ESRI’s support site in the Arcscripts Download section. Best regards, Emilio J. Solano Chief Cadastral Engineer

LADPW Google Maps Applications

Thanks to all who attended the EGIS Committee meeting on Tuesday 09/22/09.
Click HERE to view the powerpoint presentation in .pdf format (http://dpwgis.co.la.ca.us/website/egis/ladpwGoogleMapsApps.pdf)!
(Road Closures Application)