Bulk/Batch coordinate converter

July 26th, 2012

A revival of this blog to add a link to a new online tool…

Batch Coordinate Converter

Very barebones, but it should work for converting many coordinates in some columnar text format (eg CSV)

Can convert to/from OSGB easting/northings and Grid References, dito for the Irish Grid, and WGS84 decimal lat/long.

All done in javascript, so should be reasonably quick, and no formal limit to the number of conversions it can do – although of course it will be slow to do a really large number.

Geograph Javascript Playgrounds

July 1st, 2011

I often have little ideas for new ways to display images from Geograph, but its a pain building prototypes.

It usually involves finding some other part developed prototype or feature, that I can use as a template. Then have start up a code editor, and get connected to a server. Think of a name to call the file. Strip out the bits not needed for the new application. Then have to remind myself the APIs available. Work out how to call the APIs etc, etc, etc.

… well now I’ve began work on a platform to make this easier. Online code editor – quick forking of current projects. Easy wrapped access to relevant APIs, jQuery already loaded.

No more worrying about what to call the file, or making sure I keep backups of previous versions (should want to find a previous one!). This is all handled automatically. Setup to handle browser caching and invalidation on new versions. No worrying about stale code.

It’s primarily for my own use, but thought may as well open it up so others can use it build quick prototypes – or even fully fledged applications (based on Geograph images of course!).

The applications created all run client-side in browser – so utilizes the power of jQuery to create immersive and compelling interfaces.

Probably the best place to start is from a few of the early demos I built with the system:

Public Listed Applications

Please use them as starting points – or simply inspiration to build your own application! (They are not meant as complete applications!)

No special tools required – other than a browser. Firefox with Firebug, or Chrome (press F12!) recommended – to help catch javascript errors.

(note: it only wraps one Geograph API currently – loading all images in a gridsquare – more to be added)

Geograph Channel Islands is back!

February 10th, 2011

Sorry all for the extended outage on Geograph Channel Islands site. It used to share servers with Britain and Ireland, but that caused a number of stability issues. (caused mainly by a bug in APC I believe!)

Anyway, we are now hosted on CatN‘s vCluster platform.
CatN is by the same people who provide colocation hosting for Geograph, so the move isn’t actually far (both Geographically, and Virtually ;) .

Separating Channel Islands site into a more standalone project, should hopefully also make the site easier to manage – and give more flexibility to grow.

(Next project is moving Geograph Portals to vCluster too, but I’m going to have do some more work on the code first)

Want a copy of the Geograph Archive? (by snail mail)

January 8th, 2011

For the past few months I have been sending out copies of the Geograph Archive (all of it!) on USB hard disks.

If you are interested then let me know, plan to make an order for blank hard disks early next week.

I plan to offer these at £60 a piece – postage to the UK included. Depending on postage worldwide, might be slightly more, quote on request. Which is pretty close to cost.

The drives will be 640G, and include about 490Gb of jpgs. (about 2222222 files) The database and code is included, but that can also be downloaded from online. Probably these.

… With an added twist, will send it completely free (I’ll finance it myself) if you promise to make an application to view the images off the disk (ie works entirely offline). This would have be Open Source so it could be included on future disks, and downloadable for holders of disks already). More details of this on request.

Preservation of the Google Maps Directory

December 18th, 2010

Recently Google deprecated Mapplets, which are little applications that ran on Google Maps. They have also now removed the Google Maps Directory.

However its still possible to run mapplets by a dedicated page (well at least for as long as V2 of the Google Maps API exists) – but no listing of mapplets available within Google Maps.

But fear not, I captured a copy of the mapplet list, and created a small crawler to fetch the details from the mapplets, and present them in a little searchable application:

Replacement Mapplet Directory

Admittedly the quality of the applications in the directory where always kinda variable, but there is some real gems in there, so at least preserving a listing I think is worthwhile, so they can be accessed if needbe.

Historic OS Maps in Google Earth

November 8th, 2010

Thanks to the people at getmapping.com, who have taken the Historic 1940s OS Maps available at NPEmap.org.uk, I hearby present:

Historic OS Map layer for Google Earth.

This loads up a layer of Historic New Popular Edition (mainly) maps, onto the 3D Google Earth globe. This is made possible because the original maps are over 50 years old and hence the Crown Copyright has expired.

The getmapping.com WMS service only includes (Most of) England and Wales, no Scotland.

The scans themselves are (c) npemap.org.uk and licenced under this Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial Licence 2.5.

(Don’t forget to select the ‘OS Map’ layer, and drag the transparency slider!)

Anybody want to run Geograph Channel Islands?

October 25th, 2010

A while ago I started putting together a sister project to Geograph Britain and Ireland (and Geograph Germany!); a dedicated project for the Channel Islands.

It ‘freeloaded’ on the back of the Britain and Ireland project and shared the same servers. Alas that is no longer sustainable, and causing issues to the other projects hosted there.

So looking for someone to step up and help with the administrative and hosting. It needs new hosting.

I believe it could fit in the free trial offer from Amazon http://aws.amazon.com/free/ – at least initially (for a year).

Would you be willing to signup? And look after raising funds to pay for it. That could be though ads, donations or sponsorship etc.

It doesnt have to be though Amazon, if can get reasonable hosting elsewhere.

I’ll take care of getting the site running in the new location, and provide lo-fi support to keep it running (the techy stuff). Just can’t justify the administration.

(Contact me via Geograph)

‘Select Search’ Chrome extension – now with added Geograph

October 15th, 2010

Jérémie, the developer of the ‘Select Search’ Chrome extension has just added support for Geograph.

The extension hovers a small set of icons when select text on a webpage. So that can search for that text on a verity of services.

Extension Page

Will need to enable Geograph in the Extension Options. Of course there are a verity of other sites it can search :)

Google Earth should make the sea floor rendering optional?

July 5th, 2010

Way back when, I wrote a rather scathing review of the then new “sea floor” imagery. This takes the form of a rendering supposed to represent the ’3Dness’ of the sea floor, persumably to improve the feel when exploring under the water surface.

Indeed it would look off, to ‘fly’ under the sea, and then see surface imagry projected onto the both bottom.

Alas that comes at a high price, namely that this imagery is ‘allways on’, so you see it even when not exploring the oceans. This has the effect of obscuring valuable imagry in shallow water areas (where real features are visible in the imagry), with the low resolution rendering.

But also where the ‘switch’ happens between the aerial imagry and the subsurface rendering is somewhat arbitary, and results in a ugly join when viewed at close range. At a distance the colour differential between the shallow sea and the greenish land is greatly reduced (to my colour blind eyes at least), leaving the land boundaries very hard to discern.

So, if you agree, please see:

Petition: Google Earth should make the sea floor rendering optional

Extra note: Of course anothe benefit of bing a ‘optional’ layer, Google Earth could even be made to automatically turn the layer when fly below the water surface, but above the surface its off.

Sea Floor: [X] Off, [ ] On, [ ] Show when under the water serface

Full UK postcodes in the API!

April 30th, 2010

Thanks to OS Opendata, the Nearby Converter API now can convert to and from full Unit UK postcodes!

So as not to break applications expecting Sector postcodes in the API, there is a new API endpoint:


API requests against this domain will give the position of the full postcode, and also reverse geocode (return you the nearest) full postcode!

- The Original URL for the API is still available – and will continue to be. I’ve also taken the opportunity to add a version number to the URL. It’s been 4 years since I created this API, and learnt lots in that time, so should be able to create a better version 2 :) When introduce that don’t want to break compatibility.

Of course the ‘Coordinate Convertor‘ is now using CodePoint Open too – the end of having to pay a commercial provider!

(sorry this has taken so long, OS Opendata was introduced at the beginning of the month!, its been a busy month)

Will take the opportunity to duplicate the copyright message:

Contains Royal Mail data © Royal mail copyright and database right 2010.

As it serves as a useful thank you, for making this data available.