Thursday, March 25, 2010

Mapping Revival

One of the casualties of the death of the Nearctic Spider Database was a largely neglected, simple mapping application that permitted copy/paste of collection coordinates. The output was a b&w line map with contoured dots, mostly suitable for insertion in manuscripts. Sadly deficient was the ability to have many layers, each with different pushpin style or to crop, zoom, pan or change the projection. Unbeknown to me, folks were actually using this thing. I actually made a much better application for the AMNH to help produce outputs for their PBI grant holders. So, with Norm Platnick's permission, I re-purposed some of the code.

Here be SimpleMappr,

There are bound to be bugs or hiccups because it's never been fully tested under load, but I throw it out here for feedback and feature requests. Please let me know what you were doing when and if you witness odd behaviour; this is a very dynamic environment. Yes, there are similar sorts of applications out there in the wilds but none to my knowledge permit this sort of facile "copy/paste/tweak/export" as fast as this one can.

Friday, March 19, 2010

Nearctic Spider Database Dead

With great sadness, I will no longer be serving the Nearctic Spider Database unless something remarkable happens.

On March 17, 2010, the power supply sparked in my server, shorted out the motherboard and as a consequence, the hard drives seized up. While I of course have back-ups, unbeknown to me the incremental drive image for the applications portion of the server was corrupt. The latest working drive image was January 2007 - hardly useful to rebuild the server. This means I have to reconstruct the server from bare metal, which would be a significant financial hit and a significant consumption of time away from family.

The website currently serves a flat html page where one may download the code and data until March 31, 2010 at which time it will evaporate.

I estimate it would take a solid week to re-install and iron-out the kinks. But, if it takes that long, surely it would be better to have a fool-proof system. And, in particular, one NOT dependent on Microsoft software.