Wake Up Victoria :: Free Coffee

In honour of coffee, and how much we love it here at CloverPoint, we have decided to make an event out of Wake up Victoria this Friday, September 28th 2012 from early until 10:00 AM.

What is ‘Wake Up Victoria’ you ask? Well the Downtown Victoria Business Association (DVBA), and Downtown Victoria cafes are giving away free coffee as a thank you. That’s right, I said FREE! Just bring your own mug to any of the locations on this map, and enjoy your delicious coffee.

The crew at CloverPoint will be touring the town searching for the best coffee (and giving away free stickers if you find us). Follow us as we post all the photos on MapSocial and tweet about our adventures. If you see us be sure to say hello!

Like MapSocial on Facebook and we will invite YOU to post YOUR downtown cafe pictures. Who knows, we may even buy you lunch if we think the photo is worthy!

Thanks to the Downtown Victoria Business Association and all the cafes downtown. We’ll see you on Friday!


After 2 decades…



After 2 decades of photographing the Inside Passage Pat and Rosemarie Keough have completed the Tome ‘Labyrinth Sublime: The inside Passage‘. It is a photojourney from Seattle to Alaska unleashing the pristine beauty of the west coast in a fashion that only the most talented and dedicated photographers can achieve.

When Rosemarie Keough approached CloverPoint almost 2 years ago to create a series of maps to illustrate their journey through the Inside Passage we had no idea we what we were being asked to contribute to. The beauty and care that went into creating this work of art is unparalleled. From photography to binding, lithography, and even marketing the Keough’s have managed the process from beginning to end.

Despite personal struggles with cancer the Keoughs have produced their second monumental publication that must be seen to be believed. CloverPoint is honoured to have been able to contribute to such a masterful collection, and hopes that this book will bring awareness to preservation of BC’s natural beauty.

Read more about Labyrinth Sublime in the Times Colonist and on the Keough’s Website

Read about CloverPoint’s services here

GeoAlberta – Location Based Services, 3D GIS (again), and more.

I spent most of last week with Jeff Warwick at the 10th Annual GeoAlberta Conference in Calgary BC. Despite having been relegated to an area of Calgary that was nearly impossible to navigate on foot, I left the conference inspired to make the world a better place through the power of social-spatial engagement. For me, a conference is always about meeting new people and re-acquainting with old friends. If you didn’t get a chance to attend (or you did, and owe your boss a synopsis of the highlights), read on!

Peter Batty (Ubisense)
Twitter: @pmbatty
Blog: http://geothought.blogspot.com
Peter kicked off the conference with an awesome keynote speech about trends in the Geospatial Industry. Peter opened my eyes to the plethora of web-based mash-up and cartographic tools available for simple visualization and data display. Despite the fact that he had the same Google ‘One Day’ video in his presentation as I did, I still really enjoyed his insight. I think that the Ubisense-CloverPoint connection will, at some point, produce something amazing. He also tapes his presentations (brilliant!). So, lucky for you, you can view his presentation here

Chris Moore (Edmonton)
Twitter: @_Chris_Moore
Blog: http://www.chrisj-moore.com/
Chris Moore, a member of the Panel of Speakers,  delivered the Wednesday morning keynote address. The things he has done as CTO for the City of Edmonton are truly forward-thinking. This is a man who takes OpenGov to heart. Don’t miss a chance to hear him speak, especially if you are in the public sector. His view on IT costs as infrastructure investments to be celebrated – as opposed to capital expenses to be avoided- brought a smile to my face as I envisioned the ribbon cutting ceremony for the completion of a successful future IT project.
View his presentation (bonus point for using Prezi) here

Dale Lutz (SAFE/FME)
Twitter: @DaleatSafe
Blog: http://blog.safe.com/
Dale’s witty presentation on the evolution of Geospatial from Pixels to Point Clouds summarized the history of the industry in 7 days, and left us with some thought-provoking ideas for the future of spatial decision-making. It could have used a few more Star Trek references though. Did you know FME supports 278 different formats? What is your prediction for the next release? View his presentation here

Jonathon McIntyre (i-OPEN)
Twitter: @JohnnieGIS
Jonathon McIntyre is a familiar face for us West Coast folks, but it was great  to have the opportunity to have a few beers with him and chat in an informal setting. His 30,000 foot presentation on managing GIS development projects was funny, quirky and loaded with helpful tips and useful resources. View his presentation here

Mike Schlosser
Twitter: @engis
Blog: http://geoexpressions.blogspot.ca/
Mike’s presentation about 3D GIS literally made we want to march up to my room and download Autodesk Infrastructure Modeler. His catch phrase, “explore what could be in the context of what is,” really struck a chord with me and directly relates to the work that I do. His case studies were nothing short of stunning. Indeed, he made a 3DGIS believer out of me.
View his presentation here

Ed Parsons (Google)
Twitter: @edparsons
Blog: www.edparsons.com
For those of you who don’t know – Ed Parsons is Google’s Geospatial Technologist. Seeing Ed live is the dream of many a geo-geek. I had the opportunity to interact with him through the panel presentation. Just being that close to spatial greatness is inspirational. He provided insight on Location based technologies as well as a few hints as to what Google is focusing efforts on. I agree wholeheartedly Ed– If it’s not ‘open’ it doesn’t exist.
Watch the panel presentation here. And thanks again to Peter Batty for the footage!

Once I write something logical to go with my Prezi I will post that here as well for all the eager eyes out there.

GeoAlberta Round Deux – Watch out Calgary

Well, I have officially come full circle since I started this Blog.

One year ago I started this blog after attending GeoAlberta, and I am scheduled to present again next Tuesday May 9th at 9:00. This year is extra special because it marks the 10th Anniversary of GeoAlberta. Every year there is a new ‘theme’ at GeoAlberta, and this year’s theme is Ga3 – Geospatial Anywhere, Anytime, for Anyone.

I can dig it.

It is no secret that mobile and cloud based technologies are becoming more and more prevalent. But are we using these technologies to their full potential, or just incorporating them because they are available? If you want my opinion, or to just see some sexy case studies come to my presentation ‘Not Your Grandmother’s Cloud’.

So, register for the conference if you haven’t already, check out the schedule for the week, and make sure you connect with us via e-mail or twitter when you are there!

Social Media-ism

There are soooo many differences of opinion when it comes to social media. Tweet Lots, Tweet once a day! Use your company name, use your personal Brand. Use them all, pick one and stick with it!

We have a team of people at CloverPoint who actively use the social media sites. The purpose of this post is to pull together the 4 key tenets of how I run the ‘Tanya Charles’ social media campaign.

1) Share don’t Sell – This is not Amazon. People are not using social media to make ‘One Click Purchases’. People are at these social venues to learn from colleagues and trusted advisers. Use these sites to build recognition and affirmation in your brand, not muddy the name of your company by giving sales pitches.

2) Be real people – Add a professional looking picture and a description to your bio. Thank people for following you (and follow them back). Being perceived as a human will help people associate with you. Go to the Twitter help Center to get tips on updating your profile

3) Really engage – Respond to comments and questions. Read and respond to the blogs of your followers.  This is how you give yourself a personality. Re-tweeting or sharing other peoples’ interesting messages is a fine way to get started, but to jump in with both feet you need to make connections with people. For a quick tutorial on how to engage in Social Media read this.

4) Use the right Avenues – I know there are too many places to start, but the big 4 are a good jumping off point (Facebook, Twitter, Youtube, and LinkedIn). This article by Mashable gives a quick comparison of different ‘social venues’ and how to use them.

These are the principles i have researched and discovered work best for me. Good Luck, Have fun engaging, and feel free to comment on works for you!


A CloverPoint update.

WOW, January flew by at the Office. Most people enjoyed a nice break over the holidays, and came back fully rested. It is a good thing too, as 2012 is off to a blazing start.

Here is a little update c/o Bart Konings, Master of the universe, on what has been brewing in the cauldron that is CloverPoint

Recent Achievements:

Microsoft meeting with Spatial Ed! Several members of the team crossed the border to meet with some of our Southern neighbours in Redmond. Expect to hear more as the follow-up discussions get scheduled.

The latest build of Insight Community Planning has found its way to the UBC servers. We still have a little work to do before we can put a bow on it, but to my eyes it has never looked better and will only improve from here (I know, I know, you’re thinking “how is that even possible!?” – wait and see, my friends, just wait and see).

Speaking of releases, coming to a Land Registry Office near you is the Huu-ay-aht licensed Insight land registry application. This was a big hit at the recent Aboriginal Land Conference that we attended in Vancouver last week, so expect to hear about new developments in the weeks ahead.

Our GIS team is rocking it out as we head into March madness, and they still find time to help out with little issues that pop up.

Looming Victories:

Deja-vu? Not this time! The first release of MapSocial is fast approaching, and interest is continuing to rise. I had a look at it yesterday – prepare to be amazed!

Our partners at Stantec are continuing to push Insight into their client facing solutions. Both University of Alberta and BCIT should be starting up soon, and we’re expecting plenty of excitement to come out of Buildex this week.

Upcoming Events:

It’s confirmed, CloverPoint is moving downtown! More details on the new location as we get closer to the move.

That’s all for now, folks.

If you have any questions about anything that goes on at the office don’t hesitate to ask!

Social Geomedia

Every time I use this phrase someone tells me “Geomedia is Trademarked’.  I realize this, and if I were Intergraph (the company that owns the software suite called Geomedia) I would be stoked to be associated with this phrase I keep claiming to have coined.

Why would I be excited you ask?

Because social is the way of the future. We have already called the social shift in the internet ‘Web 2.0’. We could just as easily call Social Geomedia ‘GIS 2.0’. I’m defining Social Geomedia as Crowd Sourced data that has a spatial component and, via live social media feeds, is used to infer a social ‘pulse’ based on location. And I have just made myself the expert on this topic. BOOM!

So where is all this excitement coming from? I gave a talk at MISA BC on GIS day last Friday, and despite the fact that everything that could go wrong from a technology aspect did go wrong, the presentation was a blast, and generated good dialogue in the room and on twitter!

For the Presentation slides that show some of the topics I covered see my Prezi. Disclaimer: These are visual ques and eye-candy to supplement my presentation, not tell all the gory details – that is what I do. If you want more info on anything please contact me.

The 30 second mash-up of the twitter feeds timeline was really popular and I have had a lot of requests to post a link so here it is. Just search for misabc (or anything your heart desires) and watch the tweets pop up!

This is just ONE simple application of ONE social media avenue. Now, scale up and think about the possibilities….

Siggraph 2011 – AKA how to host a stand-out conference

Despite the fact that I was probably the only person at Siggraph 2011 using a PC (awkward…) I had an inspiration and eye-opening time. Needless to say as far as the technology goes, I was a bit out of my league. Despite this, I have learned a few things about how to organize an awesome conference from today, and I will share that knowledge with you:

Venue: It doesn’t hurt that I flew into Vancouver with the North Shore Mountains as a backdrop to start my day, or that it was a sunny, warm West Coast day in one of the most beautiful cities in the world. The Vancouver convention center is unreal. I am biased because I am a bit of a hippie, and the green roof, and Green Standards are impressive, but the all the cedar and the GIANT globe in the foyer of the new conference center set the scene for a unbelievable day.

People: Size Matters. Yup, 25, 000 people all under one roof (covered in grass!) made Siggraph 2011 the biggest conference Vancouver has ever seen. This many nerds under one roof had #siggraph trending on twitter today. I guess that is what happens when a lot of geeks get social. With this many people you just can’t help have a successful conference. Now how to get that many people to attend a conference? Good question. I would start by having passes be really affordable, and the rest is magic.

Food: Don’t bother with it. It usually isn’t very good, and so many people have such finicky dietary restrictions and preferences (yes I’m talking about myself) that they tend to not eat much of it anyway. Give people a chance to get out on their own schedules, and enjoy the sunshine.

Presentations: WOW. The presentations BLEW my mind. If you loved Avatar as much as I did you would have been floored to watch the re-creation of scenes at the Autodesk booth. Watching the process or animation from real actors was awesome. Seeing how realistically a computer can capture and render facial expressions was stunning. And it doesn’t hurt that Avatar is one of my all-time favourite movies.

Vendors: Get the biggest names in Animation, Graphic Arts, 3D media, and Entertainment from across the world, and you are bound to have a mind blowing conference. Walking into the conference was like looking at the Las Vegas Strip for the first time. All the people and flashing lights…

For me some of the highlights were:

–          3d Printers – If you haven’t seen one of these in action yet check it out: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZboxMsSz5Aw

–          QR dinosaurs – Have you ever wanted to hold a dinosaur in your hand? Wave 3D made it possible for me. Check out the cool things this Korean Based Company is doing: http://cgwave.dothome.co.kr/renew/

–          PhotoModeler by Eos Systems – This software is amazing. I saw it in action build a 3d model of the façade of a building in about 5 seconds. For those who know how much time it takes us to build a 3D building and texture it, you understand my rapture with this product. This is worth having a look at though: http://www.photomodeler.com/

–          Meeting up with Dan Campbell – Dan is a Graphics Planner at city of Vancouver, and is a good friend of the staff at CloverPoint. This conference came HIGHLY recommended by him, and we value his opinion. It was great to sit down with Dan, have a one-on-one chat about the conference highlights, hear what the city is up to and show him CloverPoint’s latest creations. Dan was instrumental in creating the Vancouver 3D digital city: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2R9IOyXyfi0

PS: I rocked the New CloverPoint T-Shirt at SIGGRAPH 2011 pretty hard today. If you haven’t got yours yet, let us know…there may be a few left.

Is the GIS Consultant Dead?

GIS Evolution

One question I get asked all the time is ‘How did CloverPoint manage to come out of the recession stronger than before?’ I always answer diversification, but in reality, I want to say unrelenting ambition, and an If-you-build-it-they-will-come outlook, but that sounds cheesy.
The truth about CloverPoint is this: we are no longer purely “GIS Consultants”, but shhh….don’t tell anybody.
As the longest standing employee of CloverPoint (other than Jeff Warwick – the head honcho) I have had the rare pleasure of participating in the company’s evolution from GIS analysis and cartography company to a full blown software development shop. We have come to realize that the power of spatial information is not solely in how it is stored, but how it is shared. GIS in the hands of the masses is a powerful tool that can bring social and economic change (as long as the ‘masses’ are not messing with my data!), but only if they are using it in an environment where they are comfortable, and inspired.
So, do I think the GIS consultant is dead? In short, no. These skills are still our core competencies at CloverPoint, and that will never change. There will always be a role for those who make maps and analyze/model data. The shift we ARE witnessing is GIS as a skill set instead of GIS as a career. It seems GIS applications are on everyone’s desk, tablet and mobile device. In just a few decades the technology has gone from Computer Mapping (70s), to Spatial Database Management (80s) and Map Analysis/Modeling (90s). The basement GIS consultant can still thrive supported by piecemeal government GIS Contracts, but a burgeoning IT company in the technically savvy capital city of BC has to be so much more.
So what does CloverPoint do now you ask? Well, we will save that for the next post…
And as for me – well, It has been a ride or die journey as I have had to carve out my own role in the wake of an economic recession, changing environment, and shifting economy, but in the end I am better for it, and I have the joy of waking up every morning, stoked to get on my bike and cruise to my office to hang out with my favourite group of geeks…
So, how has the GIS paradigm shift affected you? For the Better? Or for the Best?

GeoAlberta – Connecting People Without Monitors


My Coach (and Boss) Karl Swannie and I just got back from 3 days in the technology hotspot of Edmonton, AB where we partook in the 2011 GeoAlberta Conference – The Premier GIS and Geomatics Conference in Western Canada. The theme of the conference this year was “GIS Evolution: From Drafting to Dreaming” and for anyone familiar with CloverPoint’s history this title screamed for our attendance. We were blown away by the huge, captivated audience, but baffled by the lack of 3D integration. So, despite the fact that we had to fly on game nights (for all those Canuck Fans) the conference was a huge success. Some highlights for us were:

 Our Map Submission

CloverPoint, outside of the box thinkers that we are, submitted a ‘map’ to be included in the talent showcase. As we are generally not a team of people who live inside the confines of 2D space, we pressed the envelope and ended up submitting a projection of ‘Insight UBC – our 3D Campus Simulation Information System’. Not only did we end up winning first place in the ‘Drafting to Dreaming’ Category, but we also got to present Laura Colquhoun – one of our GIS Technicians –  with a winners plaque and a 5” Sony Reader for all her efforts. To get an idea of how awesome the submission was view the presentation here.

For a virtual tour or demo of the 3D fly-through we had projected at the conference just ask!

 Our Booth

As part of our 3D map submission we were given a table next to John Horrigan – purveyor of antique and unusual maps – to set up our projector and demonstration (to view his blog click here). The effect was like travelling through a time warp where ancient maps of African tribes were juxtaposed with a virtual campus simulation including explosions and fly-throughs of underground pipes. We continued to blow the minds of the delegates that passed through our zone as we demonstrated the power of the Samsung Galaxy Tab to show the relative positions of pipes in the walls. We had a ton of people filing through our booth, asking great questions, and having great discussion. If you are one of those people, thank you! You made that conference awesome for us.

 Our Presentation

It is such a rush standing in front of 30 peers, and telling them about your vision for the future of GIS. The talented Len Rodrigues and I walked the room through the evolution of visualization from balsa models, to power point campus plans and from 3D models to 4 dimensions, and x-ray vision! The audience was captivated after seeing glimpses of the future where hardware is an accessory, and social networking is a primary source for data. At the end of our 45 minutes, a line-up of interested minds formed to question the potentials of our geospatial future. As great as this experience was, nothing beat reading the reviews of the presentation where every comment mentioned the energy or enthusiasm exuded during the presentation. Obviously – what we do rocks and everyone should be excited about it!

The People

A conference is only as good as its attendees, and, as I said before, the people we met, presentations we saw and the connections we made left a lasting impression on us. A special thanks to Michael Schlosser of Autodesk for a pointing me out as the only 3D user in the room during his presentation, Jennifer Rolph for organizing the speakers, and Bart Hulshof, and Dennis Chao for organizing the booths, dealing with our special requests, and letting us set up our projection. Thanks to everyone else who played a role. Well done, and we at CloverPoint hope to see you all again next year.

To view CloverPoint’s product line, and see some of the demo’s I am referring to please visit Cloverpoint.com.