Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Arches 3.0 Released for Heritage Inventory

Developed jointly by the Getty Conservation Institute (GCI) and World Monuments Fund (WMF), Arches 3.0 ( is an open-source based heritage inventory and management system.  I wrote a short blog about Arches back in 2013, and lot has happened since then!
"Prior to Arches, no modern software system was freely available to the heritage field, often leading organizations to expend scarce resources to create custom systems from scratch." - Arches Project 
Example of webmap powered by Arches:
For a live example of website and map powered by Arches head over to Historic Places LA: or for the map:

According to the project factsheet, Arches was designed with the following principles in mind:
  • Economical: As an open source system, Arches is available at no cost and allows adopters to share resources for software customization and maintenance.
  • Customizable: The software code is open, and the system is structured in modules to be easily extended. It is capable of presenting its user interface in any language or in multiple languages and configurable to any geographic location or region. 
  • Standards based: Arches incorporates internationally adopted standards for heritage inventory, semantic modeling, and information technology, leading to better practices in the creation and management of heritage data and facilitation of data exchange and longevity in spite of advances in technology.
  • Broadly accessible: Web-based for the widest possible access, Arches is user friendly, requires minimal training for most users, and is freely available for download from the Internet.
The Arches project website has a nice user-friendly layout and information is easy to find.
For documentation including how-to-install, visit:  There is also a forum on Google Groups:!forum/archesproject.

Thursday, May 7, 2015

Atlasify Beta Released, Learn About Explicit Spatialization

Explicit spatialization "'spatializes' or 'projects' any object into a pre-defined reference system such as a periodic table, map, or seating chart.  It is being used for exploratory search of the web, specifically Wikipedia, and similar sources of information.   Enter Atlasify, a collaboration between the University of Minnesota and Northwestern University.  The web address is or

How does Atlasify do this?  Well, it uses semantic relatedness--basically a scoring system to be able to pair and match things that are related.  Visualization options include: mapping/geography, chemistry/a periodic table, politics/senate seating chart, and history/a timeline.

If you are having trouble thinking about this, thats okay!  Let's go through a couple of examples. Be sure to click each map to make it larger.

First an easy one: the geography of nuclear weapons.  Note the key in the bottom right-hand corner. Some countries are obviously more closely related to nuclear weapons (those that have, thought to possess, or are pursuing that technology). 

Some countries are more related to the search term nuclear weapons than others.
Lets look at another example, which is still spatial, but uses senates seat locations.  See the example below which looks at the relatedness between medical marijuana and senate seats.  Some senators are more closely tied to the issue, whether pursing legislation for or against.  Some of those senators even sit near each other or across the aisle.
Some senators are more related to the issues of medical marijuana than others.
Lastly, let's look at an example using the periodic table and searching for "rechargeable battery" to see which elements are most related. Elements like Lithium, Nickel, and Cadmium are most related.

Lastly, Atlasify has a little fun gaming component which asks which of two items are more related to certain countries:

Interested learning more about spatial computing? Be sure to check out my review of the Coursera course from the University of Minnesota: