Blog from September, 2011

Next Mad Meeting (18Oct11) - Developing Interactive 3D Mobile Apps

Austin Riendeau from the Core Science Informatics/Biological Informatics Program will provide insight into developing 3D mobile apps. For teleconference details, please see

Next MAD Meeting (23Sep11) - Successful strategies for Mobile Application Development

On September 23, 2011 NFAIS will hold a 90 minute webinar from 11:00am - 12:30pm EDST on developing and implementing a successful strategy for mobile delivery of content. USGS has set up a group account to allow MAD members to attend the webinar. For details, please see

Leveraging Social Bookmarking Networks to Extend CDI KnowledgeBase

Objective: Knowledge sharing via the confluence wiki

Available resource: CDI members.

Obstacle: Unless a member is officially allocated time to work on knowledge management for CDI, it is somewhat unlikely that members will extensively contribute. The most to be expected (based on past experience) is that members will respond to emails or share links or thoughts w/ others occasionally.

Solution:  We need a solution that can be incorporated into a member’s everyday workflow rather than trying to change his/her workflow (especially if rewards associated with the change are abstract).
One potential option is social bookmarking, e.g., using a service such as delicious ( that integrates into a web browser, and thereby makes the process of knowledge sharing part of a member’s workflow (assumption: members use web browser for the duration of their workday).

Delicious is a social bookmarking service where users store bookmarks that they can share with other delicious users via a network. These bookmarks can be tagged and the tagged resources can be published as RSS Feeds. The process to accomplish this may be

  • Set up a list of topics, e.g, for MAD: mobile (mandatory for all content), mobileux, android, iOS, blackberry, html5, mobile-gis, development, reference, api, guide, toturial. This list can be extended.
  • Set up a network. This requires buy-in from members of the group. Plan may be to first approach members of the community and ask to be beta users. MAD: Android developers (Brad Williams, Travis Lawall), iOS developers (Austin Reandeau?, Chris Hill), HTML5 enthusiasts (John Aguinaldo, Mark Hamill, Gregory Gunther, David Maltby), Adobe Products (David Maltby), Mobile GIS (Torey Alford), usability (Megan Hines, Dave Govoni), Windows (Burl Goree). Others?
  • Encourage network members to bookmark (via browser add-on for delicious) resources they find most useful and harvest these resources into the confluence wiki via RSS feeds.

This post is in regards to the Tech Stack Working Group Technology Map

In Fall 2011, the Tech Stack Working Group set out to define a set of standards that the community found useful. This technology map quickly became a survey of many standards in several general categories. It also became apparent that there was no way that compiling this documentation would be a small effort.

Currently, late summer 2011, the tech map exists as a table of technology names with several sub-pages of documentation and explanation developed to a greater or lesser extent.We have made the move to the Confluence wiki management framework and involvement in the wiki process, especially from CDI focus groups is ramping up.

I would hazard a guess that there is no way we will adhere to a strict format for much of the wiki documentation to be developed, but some basic structure is needed, atleast at the top level of each technology's sub-wiki entry.

The Vision
Top level:

  • An index of technologies
  • Potentially add an abstract sentence stating the purpose and scope of the standard
  • Include a glossary
  • Links to documentation about example integrations of the standards

Individual technology's top-level:

  • A brief abstract outlining the purpose, scope, strengths, weaknesses, etc.
    • This is meant to provide someone the necessary information to tell them whether to read more or move on.
  • Links and Standard appropriate content.
    • This can be most anything.
  • A list of all pages labeled with the standard's names.
    • Can show all labels other than the technology's label for each page to give context.
    • Will allow content not in the existing documentation structure to be discovered.

This small amount of structure will allow easy navigation while not putting any restriction on the form of the actual content. As the content develops, some further structure may be needed, but we should deffer imposing anything beyond what is outlined above until the need becomes clear.

A note on labels
By labeling pages with their main subject and any important modifying keywords, we will be able to offer a more abstract holistic view of content as an alternative to the structured tree imposed by confluence. I would venture to say that EVERY page should have at least one label.


YAHTML5 Blog Post... 2 week summary

Yet Another HTML5 blog post...   

In recent weeks, there's been so many interesting HTML5 articles. I've never seen so much news activity since I started tracking HTML5 news articles at the beginning of the year. 
I didn't want to create a blog post for each one because it would look like noise and folks would just begin to ignore them.

So I'll just summarize the plethora of insightful articles over the last couple weeks, I've listed them newest to oldest with article titles only.  Give the list a quick glance and read what interests you.

Moving forward, I'll just give a weekly summary of the articles.  This is intended for you to see how HTML5 trends are unfolding (as they affect mobile developers) and learn about new tools.

Google shamed by Apple in race to HTML5

September 16, 2011

Windows 8 and Microsoft's big gamble

September 16, 2011

Flash’s Future Fades as Windows Close on Adobe

September 15, 2011

Sencha Accelerates HTML5 Device API Access, Integrates Native Packager for Mobile Web Apps

September 15, 2011

Forget Apps, Carbyn Has Built A HTML5 OS

September 15, 2011

Windows 8 focus on HTML5 not “legacy” Flash

September 15, 2011

Build Mobile Web Apps With WebMobi HTML5 Platform 

September 15, 2011

Hearst To Redesign All Sites Based on HTML5

September 14, 2011,2817,2392972,00.asp

Internet Explorer in Windows 8 Gets More Touchy, HTML5-y

September 14, 2011,2817,2392987,00.asp

Who Said You Have to Make A Choice Between HTML5 and Flash?

September 14, 2011

Adobe releases second free beta of Edge HTML5 animation tool

September 14, 2011

The Future of HTML5, 84% of Developers Plan to Adopt Key HTML5 Features 

September 13, 2011

A one page guide to HTML5 support in mobile browsers

September 13, 2011

How HTML5 may become the standard for apps (Inside Apps) 

September 12, 2011

...  several more but mouse is tired of copy-pasting!

See more next week.

Hi all,

Barbara's student Will has begun/done a search of USGS programs/projects in citizen science, and we wanted to check with you all to see what you thought of what information we should be gleaning from his search.

In the message below to Barbara I copy/pasted the survey fields used in the Mobile Apps Developer group in CDI from their survey website - it's pretty detailed and has some fields that may not be of interest/relevant to our own search.  What are your thoughts everyone on the information we should include?

We may think about doing a more detailed survey of programs at our workshop..  Something that may be too complicated to begin right now (?), but we might consider if we should try to get more detailed metadata about the data collected in each program?  I have seen a similar practice done in the development of a data sharing partnership/exchange network among programs where an Excel based inventory was created with field concepts described across the top of the sheet with each program/database involved asked to have someone check off cells if their program collects that information to help design an exchange schema.  Since so many projects are at least generating occurrence type of data, it might be interesting to see where that data might be linked into data aggregation efforts like GBIF and other similar efforts.

But specific to our current inventory of projects search, Barbara was asking if:

Project name
Contact person
Contact Email

Is enough of an inventory?  I would propose we might also include a brief description of the project or focal area of the project if it's not obvious or well known?

This would likely help us to put together invitation lists for speakers, invites for the workshop as well.

What are your thoughts, everyone?



Thanks for clarifying. Will has collected the following information about 11 USGS projects (most of them we know about): Project name, Contact Person, Contact email, URL.
So if we want additional information, we should query the group.....If we can get a handle on what we want to collect, I can get him started on the Google Forms. I agree that the mobile apps is way too detailed.
Perhaps just the above fields and type of data???
Barbara S. Poore, Ph.D.
Center for Coastal and Watershed Studies
U.S. Geological Survey
600 4th Street South
Saint Petersburg, Florida 33701
727-803-8747 x 3095
727-803-2032 (f)


Megan K Hines <>


Barbara S Poore <>


William Roberts <>,


09/16/2011 01:08 PM


Re: Citizen Science Database

----~~~ snip

I think from our discussions at previous working group meetings, it was mentioned that the Mobile Apps Development group had performed a survey across the USGS for collecting this information (see|confluence/display/cdi/USGS+Mobile+App+Development+Efforts) and that we might model what we do after their process.

They designed a Google Spreadsheet/Form for collecting responses from folks or did data entry themselves with the information and collected the following:

Survey Form fields

  • Application Name
  • Description or Scope
  • Development status
  • Deployment date (if in production)
  • Users (USGS Scientist, Citizen Scientist, Public, etc.)
  • Platform
  • URL (if web based)
  • Download/accessibility medium (if native application)
  • Operating System/Device (if native application)
  • Other OS/Device (if native application)
  • OS version
  • Programming language
  • Other programming language
  • Tools and technologies used in development
  • Other Tools and technologies used
  • Technical Point of Contact
  • Email of POC
  • USGS Program and/or Project leading the development
  • Comments/SuggestionsSome of these fields may not apply to our endeavor with Citizen Science programs, but I think getting a general idea of that info for those projects within USGS/partners to the extent we can.  This would help us for invitations to the workshop I imagine as well as getting a handle on the questions:

1)  what kinds of programs/projects currently exist
2)  what data are they generating?  
3)  who is using the data and for what purpose?

On 9/16/2011 10:15 AM, Barbara S Poore wrote:
Megan:  My student Will Roberts has compiled a list of all the USGS citizen science projects he could find. It was not clear to me what you wanted to do in terms of an Internet form. It would be good to discuss this with you either later today (before 3) or on Monday when Will will be back. Thanks Barbara ---------------------------------------------------
Barbara S. Poore, Ph.D.
Center for Coastal and Watershed Studies
U.S. Geological Survey
600 4th Street South
Saint Petersburg, Florida 33701
727-803-8747 x 3095
727-803-2032 (f)

The idea (from Farial): wrt/ posts of interest: we can label such blog posts as "news" or some specific term and publish these posts as an RSS feed that can be consumed by members via Lotus Notes RSS feed widget -- mostly for informational items that we want people to look at but don't want to send out an email. This would increase the chance of folks viewing the post (but of course we'd all have to add the feed to our lotus notes).

If you would like to set up an RSS Feed, go to the dashboard and you will see the RSS Feed Builder there:

You can set the options for the spaces you want to include in the feed as well as advanced options to include a specific label or a certain time period.

However, this creates a private feed specifically for you. If this is all you need. Great! You're done! You will end up with a link to an RSS feed that you can drag or copy and paste the url into the reader of your choice. Here's an example of how to do that with the Google Reader:

However, if you would like your RSS feed to be public, for example if you want it to show up as an RSS Feed using the RSS Feed Macro in Confluence, then you will need to edit the url that Confluence gives you by removing the last parameter that makes it private. For example:*&os_authType=basic*

Therefore to make it public, strip off the "&os_authType=basic" bit:

Floodwatch Mobile App Review
iGeology Mobile App Review

"iGeology is a new free smartphone App that lets you take a geological map of Britain with you wherever you go to help you learn about the rocks beneath your feet. And with the phone's GPS, you'll know exactly where you are."

Free iGeology download

iPhone or iPad from
iTunes or the App Store

Android from the [
Android Market|]

Introducing WebAPI -- by the Mozilla Foundation
Personnel page facilities

The USGS Enterprise Web team has built a facility for users to create their own Professional Pages (see a nice example here). This facility has a series of forms for collecting information from the user/author in a structured way, using a wizard. It's pretty user friendly. It has a very nice feature of automatically offering to populate a bibliography based on USGS pubs (it scans the information to do this). It even provides URLs to those pubs in the bibliographic listing. It provides a number of descriptive labels with which a user can describe themselves and also allows the user to provide links to things like project pages.

Although the initial purpose of this site was to give employees a convenient way to provide a short biography for things like conferences, it is apparent that the data collected could be used for a lot more. The labels one can use to describe oneself are particularly interesting in that folks trying to staff up a  project can query for employees with given skill sets and then seek to collaborate.

It would be interesting to have a conversation about integrating this personnel information into things like Confluence to improve the ability of projects and individuals to find other Survey content and people. Seems like the default Confluence user profile has some ability at user description, but that this is not well developed and that evolving this functionality would be redundant to the the Professional Pages. A simplistic solution would to have the Confluence profile page redirect to the Professional Page.

This kind of data system could be enhanced to exploit other information, like that held by BASIS+, and present it in a much more visually pleasing way. It's likely that ScienceBase is already mining BASIS+ and that the Professional Pages could exploit ScienceBase, rather than figuring out how to directly interface with BASIS+ themselves (which would be redundant).

The Professional Page system provides a nice example of one information system integrating with another with its exploitation of the Publications Warehouse bibliographic content. Although slightly off the topic of personnel pages, it would be nice to push forward on the development of citation information for external publications authored by USGS employees within the Publications Warehouse. I believe that the Libraries Program is already well aware of this, but I'll just give a positive vote for that here. It would also be nice to hear about plans for integrating bibliographic database content and software (like EndNote Web or Mendeley) into things like the Professional Pages and Confluence.  Having bibliographic search functions that could be focused by person, project, mission, geography or other criteria would be great additions to both the Professional Pages and Confluence.  Citation download functionality would also be good. This could transfer content to a visitor's EndNote Web account for use in Microsoft Word, for example.

The point is that scientists are probably hard-pressed to devote time to documenting their work through these reporting tools because they see populating these systems as whispering into a well. The more options for generating appealing and effective communications from this content, the more attractive creating the content will be to users. I know within my program (Water's National Research Program), folks are looking at revamping the program's web presence. I'm hoping that they can figure out a way to take advantage of things like enterprise personnel, project, and bibliographic databases to effectively talk about the great work being done within NRP projects. Seems like this would be the case for programs, Bureau-wide. An advantage of using enterprise solutions for this rather than "rolling our own" is that this will tend to avoid creating a stovepipe around our program's work. When scientists are planning new work, they don't really care about where another employee sits. They care about who would be good to collaborate with.

If folks care to comment or ask questions, just add a comment to this blog. If we get enough interest, we can move this to a more formal space within CDI.

How HTML5 may become the standard for apps

Excerpts from...

The mass adoption of HTML5 as a way to create applications may be coming sooner than you think.

At least, that's what Rob Chandhok, president of Qualcomm's Internet services division, thinks. He recently sat down with CNET to talk about where apps are headed. And the direction solidly points to HTML5.

"We see HTML5 and Web-based mobile applications as the way it will end up," Chandhok said.

Companies such as Pandora and LinkedIn already use HTML 5 as the basis for their applications. He said in the next 18 to 24 months, the standard will reach mass adoption among developers.

Read more:

What Microsoft Must Accomplish in IE10

Excerpts from,13399.html

"Internet Explorer Market share is at about 55 percent if you believe NetApplications (NA), and at about 41 percent if you go with StatCounter (SC). The numbers may be very different, but both sources are painting a picture of rapid market share decline for Microsoft, while Chrome is picking up all that is lost by IE (and Firefox)."

"If we consider current Microsoft software (Windows 7, IE9) and realize that Windows 7 was really just a big effort to correct the (colossal) mistakes of Windows Vista and provide a bridge to a much bigger step forward (Windows 8), you could make the case that IE9 on Windows 7 is much more important for Microsoft than browsers on other operating systems (including Windows Vista and Windows XP). While Firefox and Chrome are picking up many "old" Windows XP users who are left behind by IE (which could be problematic for Microsoft in the long run), Microsoft is effectively modernizing its user base in preparation for the launch of Windows 8."

"In that view, an 8 percent global browser market share for IE9 may not be as important for Microsoft as knowing that IE9 is the most popular HTML5 browser on Windows 7 with a 20.4 percent share, followed by Chrome with 18.3 percent and Firefox 6 with 13.2 percent. While IE9 could generally be seen as a train wreck that has failed to capture overall market share, it has done fairly well on Windows 7 so far and helped rebuild a reputation Microsoft lost some time ago. Most importantly, IE9 is a transitional browser that has created a playground for web developers and software engineers to establish a browser platform for HTML5 applications that are expected to surface in Windows 8."