SpaceDataWiki for Exploration Commons / News: Recent posts

SpaceDataWiki Starts 24hr Server

The project is proud to announce the acquisition of a 24 hour dedicated server for development. The server will also be the basis for the actual application of SpaceDataWiki. A Wikimedia Commons like "Exploration Commons".

There is only a basic server there at the moment, but now with a 24h hour a day server, the project will be better able to provide a demo as well as offer developers better access to the core OpenLayers and GeoServer GIS web application.... read more

Posted by Michael Z Freeman 2009-08-30

New Project Website for SpaceDataWiki

The project now has a more suitable, dedicated website after SourceForge kindly provided the project with more memory to run the Tikiwiki integrated CMS that will also form part of project development. Thankyou SourceForge !

The project homepage used to be the SourceForge documentation wiki which is now deprecated, so expect to see this documentation on the Mediawiki hosted app in the near future. You will be able to read the docs in the meantime, they just won't be the project default web page.... read more

Posted by Michael Z Freeman 2009-07-05

Tikiwiki is now the chosen Wiki

Tikiwiki has now been chosen as the Wiki that gives the project it's name. So no more Mediawiki. Tikiwiki has mapping and especially image annotation abilities that will work in unison with the OpenLayers and GeoServer SDW capabilities. Tikiwiki also has integrated community building features that fit well with SpaceDataWiki.

Posted by Michael Z Freeman 2009-07-02

How to use Social Networking Sites to Explore Space

A study by the think tank Demos as reported by BBC News ...

Bosses 'should embrace Facebook'

... confirms some of the core aims of the SDW project.

"He said his customers used the software to set out problems which they faced and then threw them open to employees.

"The first people to respond might not know the answer, but they could suggest somebody who does," he said.... read more

Posted by Michael Z Freeman 2009-01-15

Manager departs, development evolves.

Happy Christmas !

Sadly, due to differences, the project has parted company with the recently recruited manager. Development continues of course. The current work in progress map now has full polygons marking the location and coverage of MRO HiRise images. With Geoserver now supporting JPEG 2000 a HiRise image will be projected onto the map and experiments with commenting can begin.

To be honest it's slow work. I've been thinking about why I'm not swamped by interest in the project. I don't put a great amount of active promotion into it, but I drop a few hints here and there. I wonder if there is some resistance to having a "Youtube" like Web 2.0 application in the space exploration arena. Professionals in the space industry are well aware of how they fit into the greater scheme of things. They patiently explain misconceptions and want to include a receptive public where real curiosity can be rewarded. But I have noticed a noisy minority who seem to regard the public as ignorant of Scientific matters, and are not willing to admit the value of Religious, Artistic and Social endeavours. I wonder if they really don't want "Youtub'isms" plastered all over their expensive Mars images.... read more

Posted by Michael Z Freeman 2008-12-25

HiRise markers on Mars basemap

Slow, slow, slow ! But SDW now has it's own HiRise markers displaying over a base map of Mars. This is a development map. The markers have not been checked for alignment with the base layer yet. See a screenshot of it here ... with a link to the original page ...

Perusing Open Layers suggests some interesting possibilities. See ... read more

Posted by Michael Z Freeman 2008-09-13

MRO HiRise Image Markers in SDW GeoServer

The SDW GeoServer is now displaying MRO HiRise markers of Mars image locations.

See this link ...

If the server is offline (it's running on a homesite at the moment) then check this wiki page for a screenshot of the SDW Open Layers map...

The markers are taken from a feed published by the MRO team which SDW GeoServer will soon update from on a regular basis to include newly released images.... read more

Posted by Michael Z Freeman 2008-08-10

New Geoserver Running Live.

The project now has it's own installation of Geo Server running live here ...

The installation is in an undeveloped state. In the next few weeks you will be seeing a working example using the HiRise images from Mars.

Posted by Michael Z Freeman 2008-06-29

SDW Welcomes it's New Project Manager, Jonathan Peck.

I would like to welcome Jonathan Peck as our new Project Manager. As an introduction we did an interview by email.

> Hello Jonathan, and welcome to the Space Data
> Wiki project. What is your background ? I
> believe you have managed and have been
> responsible for some successful projects ?

My background is that I have an undergrad degree in business administration (a minor in philosophy). I have worked in the marketing department of a publicly funded news radio station in Boston for 3 years. We are one of the largest fundraising stations in the country and we bring in $8 million in annual membership revenue with a membership base of roughly 60,000. I'm responsible for a lot of the activities that raise this money and I manage the communications with this population of donors. I have led a bunch of successful initiatives in my time at WBUR (happy to provide details) and am currently working on a strategy to help us effectively fundraise in new ways using online social networks. I'm simultaneously working on a similar plan for The Planetary Society (more details below).... read more

Posted by Michael Z Freeman 2008-06-05

SDW Takes Leaps and Bounds & New Worldwind Plugin Code

Now SDW is starting to develop a close relationship between Mediawiki and Worldwind.

What I have hoped for is coming true !

"Shockfire" on the NASA Worldwind IRC group has kindly donated some code to the project that allows generating coordinates when clicking on the WW globe. With some development this can be used to allow the addition of comments from within Worldwind that can be added to MRO HiRise images, for example, when those are eventually added to Worldwind.... read more

Posted by Michael Z Freeman 2008-02-10

SpaceDataWiki Opens "Test Rig" MediaWiki

The Space Data Wiki Project now has a fully functional Mediawiki (like Wikipedia) that can be used to experiment with extensions and content.

With Google Sky developing user contributions and NASA World Wind rapidly approaching a new release the possibilities for writing extensions that help document the content in these applications is getting more interesting.... read more

Posted by Michael Z Freeman 2007-10-24

First File Release, And Google Sky Opens The Field

The project now has it's first file release...

A MediaWiki extension to allow the adding of markers to geographically referenced images. This is done using PHP and DIV layers. I am working on setting up a Mediawiki that developers can access to test the extension.

With the release of this extension the direction of the project has become somewhat clearer. A NASA World Wind add on that could allow the adding of markers, and also work with a Wiki would seem to be the way to go. This may change, of course, depending on feedback from potential users of the system. I have started developing a plugin DLL for World Wind that will be one of the next project file releases.... read more

Posted by Michael Z Freeman 2007-08-26

Space Data Wiki Begins Coding For MediaWiki Extensions

After much thought and some consultation, I have decided to begin coding for MediaWiki extensions.

The exact design direction of this project remains unclear. Will it be an entire system coded from scratch that would compete with MediaWiki ? Or, as I have decided, and is probably more likely, will the focus be on extensions for already proven and tested wiki system ?

If the focus is on MediaWiki, then Space Data Wiki coould concentrate on a common framework for space related extensions for MediaWiki (maybe some of the extensions will need to "talk" to one another?).... read more

Posted by Michael Z Freeman 2007-04-09

New Space Data Wiki Homepage WWW Site Now Live

Dear Reader,

The project now has a World World Web Homepage that makes the project goals very clear. It also (I hope) links the project into organisations at the very forefront of space exploration, such as the Planetary Society, that was set up by people like Carl Sagan to enable "participation in space"..a key goal of this project!

Other members of the Planetary Society include Arthur C Clarke. The page also includes video of a a presentation by the head of The Planetary Society, Neil DeGrasse Tyson, which I think embodies the enthusiasm that I feel for this project, and describes some of it's sociological background.... read more

Posted by Michael Z Freeman 2007-03-15

New Technology for a New Age of Space ?


Below you'll find a detailed description of the project, but first this....

This is not a trivial news item. Not for me anyway.

In 1975 I saw the following image in the paper and my life seemed to begin. I was 5 !

(If this link is broken for any reason then the image will be available on )... read more

Posted by Michael Z Freeman 2007-03-09