söndag 25 april 2010

SMIL Part 2

List and Views become Layers

A fundamental part in SharePoint is Lists and Views. SMIL consider SharePoint as a platform where various applications can live and use all features from SharePoint, such as document management, issue tracking, integration to Microsoft Office etc. One web site in SharePoint is one application which can be customized and populated with specific data.

SMIL using lists in SharePoint almost as de-normalized tables in a databases and views are just as views in the database. Of course SharePoint cannot replace a database and there are drawbacks from not storing spatial information in a spatial database. However, the framework (Deep Earth and Bing Maps) SMIL is built on gives opportunities to make spatial operations in the client thanks to NetTopolgySuite and GeoAPI.

SMIL’s Layer Panel groups lists that contains geographic data, and shows every view as a layer. The upside of this is that layers are auto generated and published with SMIL’s GeoRss-feed by just creating a view in a SharePoint list. One upside of this approach is that SharePoint do filtering and anyone who has privileges can create new Layers for the users. Another nice thing is that person doesn’t have to be a GIS-specialist and learn a new tool. This approach is great to filter data that are stored in SharePoint as long as you don’t have to bother WHERE things are.




Info Window

imageIf the user hover the mouse over a SMIL symbol an info window of that item shows. The window first shows, which list, view and item title. In this case Tasks, All tasks, Task 2. Then there are two buttons. One Open button where you can open that particular list item and continue to work with that list item, the list item opens in a new window. Of course, as shown in SMIL Part 1, there are a map in the list item view that showing the position of the item. Next to the Open button there is a Select button. If the web part is connected to another list view web part the list view web part can be filtered by SMIL’s map web part. In this way, the user stays in this window.

In the drop down list, the views that is available in that lists are listed so the user can change view to get more or less information in details-section below.


To sum up, SMIL tries to use as much as possible that is already built in SharePoint by using the concept of lists and views. The upside is that any SharePoint administrator can create new layers with this approach.

<< SMIL Part 1

onsdag 21 april 2010

SMIL Part 1

This is the first of a series of posts about SMIL. This post will be an overview and the later one will be more technical.

SMIL (SharePoint Map Integration Layer) is an open source project with the aim to geo-enable SharePoint. After all, almost all information has a location, almost 94% according to some. So geo-enable SharePoint makes sense. SMIL takes advantages of all the juicy stuff in SharePoint, document management, images, versioning, workflows etc and adds a geo-layer above SharePoint.

SMIL, is built with Bing Maps Silverlight control as map control with Deep Earth Toolkit on top.

Each list that contains geographical information, i e has SMILs custom datafield, are exposed via GeoRss-feeds. Also, the list is per default a group in a layer panel and each view in SharePoint a layer in the layer panel. There are many advantages with this approach since any SharePoint administrator or power user can build, and customize views, and filtering data from SharePoint.

SMIL- blog 1

After installation, the next blog post, you have SMIL running you can easily geo-tag any document, issue, task. For example you can start planning issues according to where they are and how an issue is in geographical relationship with issue. Or you might have resource planning tool in SharePoint and you want to know where things are. Do you have a lot of contracts for real estates - you can add them on a map. There are many applications and people tend to like maps!

List and List Items

In order to geo-reference list items in SharePoint all you have to do is to add a column with the custom data field, SMIL.Coordiante to a list. Then you can just start to add push pins to represent the location of the item or you can search for a location. If you view the item, the map is still interactive but you cannot move the pushpin, you need to edit the SharePoint item to do that – standard SharePoint.

Add column  Add metadata  Select

As mentioned SMIL using SharePoint filtering to filter data, but you can select surrounding information in SharePoint from a selected item in a map, if you have connected the Web Part to a corresponding List View Web Part. Each item has an info box on the map displaying metadata from that item inte SharePoint and you can change the view to get more or less information of that item. The idea is to have a short description view and a detailed view.


SMIL also extract EXIF information from geo-tagged images and plot thumbnails on the map. If you don’t have a camera that stores coordinates along with the EXIF information you can just geo-reference them in SharePoint just as with any other list item, by using SMIL’s default geo-referencing tool.


Part 2 >>

This blog will be in English from now on

Due to my work in different open source projects, Deep Earth and SMIL, this blog will know be in English from now on.