This all started off with a small project I am doing for a non profit. The project will possibly get a bit larger as time goes on but we are still in the beginning stages of it. My client has no knowledge of GIS. They’ve been haphazardly locating hospitals with which to work and placing them on a map. Which to us seems crazy, but to them it gets the job done. I’ve been trying to put together an estimate for work and there are way too many unknowns. One estimate had me way to high….one had me way too low.
So yesterday I started digging. I won’t name states – but I will give you an overview of the process. I start this with “They’ve been hand digitizing hospitals”.
I decided to visit each states “GIS” setup…department….portal….website…..library. This takes place over 5 hours….I think…maybe more.
So I’ve decided that the idea of accessible GIS Data must really be a joke on some level. We hear about it. We talk about it. Vendors tell us how open their product is and how data is being shared. I’m up to 8 hours in my search. Crazy that they were digitizing this data by hand? Not so much when you look at what you have to go through to find data. How hard is it to find data relating to hospitals for your state. Look. In some cases it will be easy…in some……it’s really a joke. Open data doesn’t mean much if you can’t find it.
No two states had the same setup. Almost all on some level were discussing their “data portal” or “GIS Portal”. Only in one instance did metadata come into play….and it had the wrong online linkage. Why not put your metadata up as a page with the right online linkage? 10 states, 10 pages, 10 links, and 10 downloads. Silly – because you don’t get to spend half a year building a portal with pics of people and awards and presentations.
For those of you with data portals that are jut that – spots to share and download data. THANK YOU.
The Atlas de Cuba by Gerardo Canet and Erwin Raisz, featured in a recent posting here, is accompanied by a large color map entitled Mapa de los Paisajes de Cuba (Map of the Landscapes of Cuba). The map is a hybrid of Raisz’s landform map style supplemented with diverse human landscape components. Canet and Raisz explain their methodology:
The accompanying map of Cuba is a new experiment in cartography. Color suggests land types: cultivated fields, pastures, mountains, swamps, valleys, etc. The symbols were selected after a series of flights over the Island and on analysis of numerous color photographs taken from the air It is expected that in this way the map will better reflect reality; more closely resembling on air view of the Island than the conventional maps we now have.
This approach is part of a tradition of natural or real color mapping combining terrain (in particular, shaded relief) with air imagery or map symbolization inspired by air imagery, an obvious outcome of aerial mapping in the early part of the 20th century. An article by Tom Patterson and Nathaniel Vaughn Kelso entitled Hal Shelton Revisited: Designing and Producing Natural-Color Maps with Satellite Land Cover Data (2004) delineates the author’s development of the Natural Earth data (shaded terrain + satellite land use data) in the context of earlier, related work by Hal Shelton, Eduard Imhof, Heinrich Berann, Richard Edes Harrison and Tibor Toth. It seems that Raisz was also an innovator in this realm of air-imagery inspired map design.
Mapa de los Paisajes de Cuba, 1949 (36.6mb)
In 1985, I was a junior in high school and I got my first job at a local chain steakhouse. I ended up staying there for a few years and did everything, including management. This particular location happened to be the busiest store in the chain, which had a couple hundred locations at the time. Basically, we just unlocked the doors and people came in. We often had a line and managers from all over the country came to see how we did business.
Eventually, I transferred to another store that happened to be much slower. I expected this to be a something of a cakewalk compared to the store I had just left. Sometime during my first day, the long-time manager made a point to remind me to close the back dining room after lunch and turn the lights out. The dark room looked uninviting to me so I asked if we could leave the lights on. He replied that doing so would raise the electric bill and affect the store’s profits. Over the next few weeks, I learned so many new techniques for managing food inventory, staffing levels, and equipment that I realized my initial impression was wrong. So I told the manager this. He was not surprised.
He said to me: “It takes more skill to run a slow store than a busy one.”
He was absolutely right. At the first location, we would simply order enough food to fill the walk-ins and did enough prep every day to fill the racks. We quickly ramped our staffing up to max levels every day and just waited for the customers to roll in. There was a myriad of issues we simply never had to worry about because sales volume masked them.
It’s been many years since I’ve had to work in a restaurant but I have found this observation applicable throughout my career, during which I have worked primarily in the defense industry, designing and building various forms of geospatial tools and systems. Two weeks ago, I attended the Esri International User Conference. The Esri UC is full of opportunities to see more of these types of applications, from the Defense Showcase to the National Security Summit to many defense/intel/homeland security related paper sessions.
I attended almost none of them.
Over the past few years, I have developed the habit of attending sessions related to local governments, non-profits and other small organizations. These organizations tend to have budgets that are essentially rounding error in the defense world and I have become much more intrigued by the solutions they build to meet their missions with so few resources.
Of course, I was at an Esri conference, so everyone I saw was an Esri user. It’s no secret that Esri tools tend to be expensive and every dollar counts for small governments, so I am intrigued how these organizations arrive at the choice of Esri tools in light of so many other capable options. Too often, there is a misconception that these small governments simply choose Esri-based solutions out of a lack of understanding of alternatives. What I have discovered is, like the manager of the slow restaurant, some of the best business understanding and most cogent and well-reasoned justifications come from these small users.
They seem to take a much more holistic approach to evaluating their solutions; including the availability of support from the technology provider as well as the existence of a robust third-party community that enables them to effectively compete for value-added services, customizations, and consulting. What I found interesting has been the most consistent attraction of local governments and small organizations to Esri-based solutions: the seamless integration of the entire ArcGIS platform. From mobile to desktop to web, they find that Esri tools make it easier to move through the product lifecycle. This exposes a very business-centric way of thinking that is larger than any individual technology or its licensing cost.
As I indicated above, an Esri conference places a huge filter on the users whom you meet. As I attend less vendor-centric events in the months ahead, I’d like to continue this line of inquiry. While landing the giant white whales of large Federal agencies might be more satisfying for the short-term bottom line, it is important to remember that all levels of government are facing downward budget pressure. Learning the thought processes of organizations that have always had to tightly manage limited resources may be more valuable in the long run.
In May, I said my next upgrade would be a GoPro. Last week, I confirmed that, as I bought a GoPro Hero 3+ Black. (Thanks to my employer, I even got a 40% discount.) For the first few days, I played with it — did a sunset timelapse, and contributed to the internet cat database by adding pictures of the kitties in a charming 2.7k video. (2.7k probably only available in Flash or Chrome.)
But in part, my reaction was “Enh. What did I think I needed this for?” After all, I already had a camera for my quadcopter (in the form of the A5-powered FC40 camera); I had a DSLR (which can shoot great 720p videos); I had my phone, which could do decent 1080p video, and I always had on me. Why exactly did I need *another* camera?
Today, I finally took the GoPro up on the Phantom, and that particular concern is no longer.
I was recording video, so I didn’t get any particularly high res stills — but that wasn’t really a concern. Shooting 1080p video, I was able to get great shots of both the storm clouds looking out west of town:
And another photo looking East towards Boston.
The colors, the clarity, the overall picture and video quality … this is what I kept seeing in everyone else’s photos, even though I wasn’t getting it in mind. I always wondered if the problem was just my tools… and now I know. As with everything, the user makes a difference… but the tools certainly help.
As a Rails Developer and one that hires developers, I can attest to “the unemployment rates range from less than 1% to just over 3%”
Originally posted on Joblink@Work Blog:
I must confess. Although I like gadgets, I am not a techie per se. Many of us enjoy technology and believe that we are well versed in it. But, I would call that the End-User Syndrome. That is, we enjoy the benefits of our smart phones and mobile devices. We love to be able to do all sorts of things online, including looking up answers quickly, making purchases, and paying bills (OK, that’s not so much fun). However, few of us would ever be interested in assembling hardware or even writing the code which drives the Internet or the apps we use.
Today, I had an opportunity to meet with recruiters Alexa and Lee at a technology recruiting company in my area. Following an explanation of what I do, I asked them about their staffing needs. I also asked them what areas were hard-to-find and therefore represent opportunities for current…
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Scientists at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center have been experimenting with a new data product to assess groundwater and soil moisture drought indicators. The maps produced are used by the U.S. Drought Monitor and use data from NASA’s Gravity Recovery and Climate Experiment (GRACE) satellites. In 2002, the GRACE satellites were launched [...]
The post Using Remote Sensing to Measure the Affect of Drought on Ground Water appeared first on GIS Lounge.
A VerySpatial Podcast
Shownotes – Episode 471
27 July 2014
Main Topic: Our conversation with Rick and Rusty from Eating West Virginia
Click for the detailed shownotes
My longest running client has been a forestry company. Now – if you were to hand me an aerial photograph and I had it in stereo and go “Trees – start” – I would at least get the boundaries of the different types outlined. If you stuck me on the ground I essentially go “That’s pine and that’s not”.
The forestry client has been an interesting project. As of late (over the last month) I’ve been slowly migrating them into postgis and qgis. They have arcview and we’re going to use that for map production (unless I keep getting better with cartography in QGIS and then that is questionable). Moving to postgis has made the data a bit more cryptic to them but infinitely easier to manage for me. So much so that this mornings call of “how many acres are currently on tract 31″ and one small script later I had a frequency table describing types of trees and acres (which you can’t do at the arcview level of licensing (and I know it’s not called arcview)).
This database has grown from 2 shapefiles to over 22 shapefiles before the merge into postgis. Like I said it’s a bit more cryptic but easier to manage and as I keep changing it and getting it “stable” and “documented” life will be better. The whole idea of this database has evolved also out of a couple of conversations with other forestry minded individuals:
So I’ve decided to do something weird and hopefully wonderful. If you have a commercial GIS setup – you can download a pre-built database for your industry. It’s a pretty great way to do things actually. What if you don’t have that? You start piece mealing things together that makes sense for you.
I don’t have access to industry leaders or at least the people that show up at a conference. I do have a git hub account, an idea, and you. Lets build an Open Forestry Template (pre-built database). A common operating base for the rest of us. Now I’m going to take a narrow approach at first and work my way up. First thing that will be supported will be postgres/postgis/qgis. The next thing will be qgis/spatialite. Next will be whatever I decide to do for ESRI’s Desktop product. Since this is free and open I can’t devote a millions hours – but I think this can work. If some of you want to help – help. Want to help fund development? I’m not opposed to that. Want me to help your forestry company out and implement it? Yippee. Know what you are doing and don’t need help? Download away.
This actually blends pretty well with the Spatial Connect. Process over Software. This will be hopefully the making of a very good supported database for forestry people to use regardless of software.
So right now I’m recording notes in markdown files Here: https://github.com/rjhale1971/openforestrytemplate , I have thoughts for assets (which would be gates, bridges, and culverts) to stands to property boundaries. It’s not a lot – but it will start filling out as the weeks progress.
Once I feel like I have enough info I’ll start making databases and setting things up for download. DON’T WORRY – Once this gets to a stable version I’ll make it easier for everyone to get to – Github can be too cryptic for us all to use and deal with – some of you guys are foresters and not full time GIS people. I completely understand. If you want to email me your ideas go for it. If you want to leave a comment on the blog with something that needs to go in feel free.
|clkck image to enlarge or go direct to webmap|
This is the first time this one has been attempted.
The QGIS training has somewhat taken off. I’m not sleeping on a mattress of money but people are interested and I get more than a few inquiries as to when and where it will be held. Right now I plan on teaching a two day back to back training session: Intro to QGIS and QGIS: Data and Editing. Intro will be on August 21 2014 and Part II will be on August 22nd.
Intro to QGIS covers the basics from exploring the interface to display of the data. We end that day building a map. This class really eases you into using the software.
QGIS Data and Editing: goes more in depth. We cover the basics of editing as well as building data, georeferencing, symbology, and the geoprocessing toolbox. Right now I’m a little concerned this one is more than a day. It’s never been taught. So you won’t be an expert walking out but you should be able to figure out most of the questions you are going to have on QGIS.
PLEASE NOTE: If you want to take the Part II class you need to have taken the Part I or BE VERY FAMILIAR WITH QGIS. I’m not explaining how Plugins work. I’m just going to say “Plugins”. I’m not going to explain how to add data – Just “Add Data”. There is a large amount of things I’m taking for granted in Part II. I have to to get through this one.
Which leads me to…..community. If I can sell out this class the first one breaks even. The second one is one track to break even a lot quicker than the first one. Regardless I should be able to do a few things to support the QGIS community if this training event is successful.
Which leads me to pricing…..
Either class by itself is $325. So come take the intro class for $325. Come take the Editing class for $325. TAKE BOTH FOR $500. Yes – I’m chopping the price if you sign up for both.
Class will be held at ITOS in Athens Georgia
address: 1180 E Broad St, Athens, GA 30602
Why take the classes? If you’re struggling with Arceditor and Shapefiles. If you’ve ever wondered how you can stretch your budget using open source tools. If you’ve ever said “Man that free stuff isn’t all that great – it’s free”.
The code sprint is an opportunity for the team to get together and work on “tough problems without funding”. For GeoServer we have two candidates:
GeoServer is extending the code sprint to include:
To attend add your name to OSGeo wiki page and we will look forward to seeing you in Portland!
Thanks to Mike Pumphrey for arranging the venue for the Sunday Sprint.
The Bureau of Transportation Statistics recently released the 2014 National Transportation Atlas Database. From the BTS The DVD is a set of nationwide geographic databases of transportation facilities, transportation networks, and associated infrastructure. These datasets include spatial information for transportation modal networks and intermodal terminals, as well as the related [...]
The impact of humans upon the planet’s ecosystems has long been a concern for scientists, and now the European Space Agency (ESA) is taking their assessment of natural resources to a new level with satellite technology. The emphasis of a new project from the ESA is on promoting sustainability and [...]
This first meeting is just to gauge interest in the group. I think there is enough t have one – and there doesn’t need to be any duplication with an existing GIS organization. My hope is that this leads to more meetings and more cross pollination where we start discussing more geospatial software. This isn’t just limited to Free and Open Source Software enthusiasts. Come down and have a drink and meet the Georgia URISA folk and the MAGS people.
The GeoServer team is overjoyed to announce the release of GeoServer 2.6-beta.
I hope you are enjoying the new website – the download page for 2.6-beta provides links to the expected zip, war, dmg and exe bundles. For this release we are experimenting with providing source downloads directly from the GitHub 2.6-beta tag.
As a development release, 2.6-beta is considered experimental and is provided for testing purposes. This release is not recommended for production (even if you are excited by the new features).
This release is made in conjunction with GeoTools 12-beta. Thanks to Kevin for making a beta release of GeoWebCache 1.6.0-beta with relatively little notice.
A complete change log is available from the issue tracker. We will ask you to wait for 2.6.0 before we let Andrea write a pretty blog with pictures illustrating what features have been added. Instead 2.6-beta is my chance to ask you to download GeoServer 2.6-beta for testing.
Testing is a key part of the open source social contract. The GeoServer team have identified a few areas where we would like to ask for help. This is your best chance to identify issues early while we still have time to do something about it. For those making use of commercial support ask your vendor about their plans for 2.6-beta testing. We would like to ensure the functionality you depend on is ready to go for a Q2 release.
Java 7 Testing
With Oracle retiring Java 6 security updates the time has come to raise the minimum bar to Java 7.
We know a lot of downstream projects (such as OSGeo Live) have been waiting for GeoServer to support Java 7. Thanks to CSIRO, Boundless, GeoSolutions for providing Java 7 build environments allowing us to make this transition in a responsible fashion.
This is a really exciting change, swapping out our gt-wfs client code for a new gt-wfs-ng implementation with a new GML parser / encoder. After comparing quality of the two implementations we decided to go all in with this transition .. and thus would really like your help testing.
We would like to hear back on cascading the following configurations:
This was an epic amount of work by Niels and we have a couple of new features waiting in the wings based on the success of this transition.
Curves support for GML and WMS
A large amount of work has been put into extending the Geometry implementation used by GeoServer.
We have experimented with several approaches over the years (including ISO 19107 and a code sprint with the deegree project) and it is great to finally have a solution. As a long time user of the JTS Topology Suite we have been limited to a Point, Line and Polygon model of Geometry. Andrea has very carefully extended these base classes in to allow for both GML output and rendering. The trick is using a tolerance to convert the the arcs and circles into line work for geometry processing.
Testing for the 2.6-beta release is limited to those with Oracle Spatial. If you are interested in funding/volunteering support for PostGIS please contact the geoserver-devel email list.
Advanced projection handling for raster
We would like to hear feedback on how maps that cross the date line (or are in a polar projection) have improved for you.
We struggled a bit with how to name this great new feature, however if you work with raster data this is your chance to recombine bands from different sources into a multi-band coverage.
Yes this is an ominous item to ask you to test.
GeoServer 2.6 simplifies where configuration files are stored on disk. Previous versions were willing to spread configuration files between the webapps folder, the data directory and any additional directories on request. For GeoServer 2.6 configuration files are limited to the data directory as a step towards improving clustering support and growing our JDBC Config story.
For everyone happy with the CSS Style Extension we would like to ask you to test a change to the style edit page (allowing you to create a CSS or SLD style from the start).
Wind barbs and WKT Graphics
I am really happy to see this popular extension folded into the main GeoServer application.
New Formats and Functionality
We have new implementations of a couple of modules:
A final shout out to ask for help testing new formats:
We are happy to announce the first release having support for Turkish. Many thanks to Engin Gem and the whole translation team for the initial contribution. All modules, core, extensions, and community modules have been translated within 8 month. Great success!
French, Korean, Polish, Romanian were corrected and updated to the latest developments. Thanks to all GeoServer Transifex translators and Frank for managing!
Spot a translation mistake? Help translate here: GeoServer Latest localizations
Articles and resources for GeoServer 2.6 series:
About 37% of U.S. electric power generation is from coal-fired power plants. New EPA regulations scheduled to come into effect July 1, 2015 will restrict CO2 emissions from power plants. Coal-fired power plants will have to implement some form of carbon capture and sequestration (CCS) , convert to natural gas or some other cleaner fuel, or shut down. CCS takes two forms, pre-combustion or post-combustion. I blogged about a pre-combustion commercial CCS implementation in Kentucky that began operation earlier this year.
Construction of the first U.S. commercial-scale post-combustion carbon capture and sequestration (CCS) retrofit has begun. Post-combustion CCS technology will be installed at the coal-fired 240 MW Parish Generating Station in Houston, Texas.
The Petra Nova project will capture 90 % of the plant’s CO2 emissions through an advanced amine-based process. The process was piloted in a three-year project in Alabama. The CO2 capture rate will result in lower greenhouse gas emissions than from a traditional natural gas-fired power plant. The process involves scrubbing the flue gases with an amine solution, to form an amine–CO2 complex, which is then decomposed by heat to release high purity CO2. The regenerated amine is recycled to be reused in the capture process. The CO2 capture and compression system will be powered by a cogeneration plant comprised of a combustion turbine and heat recovery boiler. The oil field will be monitored to verify that the CO2 remains underground.
The captured CO2 will be compressed and transported via an 80-mile pipeline to increase oil output from an oil field with declining production. After sseparation from the oil, the CO2 will be injected underground for permanent sequestration.