New Data Source: Michigan

From NBC 25 Newsroom

LANSING (AP) — Michigan is sharing data that will make it easier to map locations around the state.

The Department of Technology, Management and Budget says it has created a website where anyone can search, view and download Geographic Information Systems data.

Department director David Behen says the new site is a key piece of efforts to make information open and available to the public.

The website will include GIS data from state agencies, local municipalities and other sources.

Behen says the coordination and sharing of data from multiple agencies is a “great step forward.”

You can access the website by going here. 

(Copyright ©2015 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

For You Programming Brainiacs

I couldn’t even get past the first paragraph, but it makes this blog look very smart so I am posting it!

Accessing Multidimensional Scientific Data using Python

by Kevin Butler on June 10, 2015

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With the 10.2 release, a new Python library, netCDF4, began shipping as part of the ArcGIS platform.  netCDF4 allows you to easily inspect, read, aggregate and write netCDF files.  NetCDF (Network Common Data Form) is one of the most important formats for storing and sharing scientific data.  The ArcGIS platform has had geoprocessing tools which read and write netCDF data since the 9.x release.  However, there may be times when you may want to access or create netCDF data directly using Python.  There are four ways of interacting with netCDF files in ArcGIS; geoprocessing tools, the NetCDFFileProperties ArcPy class, the new netCDF Python module, and the multidimensional mosaic dataset.  Which method you use depends on what you are trying to accomplish.  A summary of different ways of interacting with netCDF files appears in the table below.  This blog post will focus on the new netCDF4 Python library.

The netCDF4 library makes it easy for Python developers to read and write netCDF files.  For example, this code snippet opens a netCDF file, determines its type, and prints the first data value:








>>>import netCDF4           # the module name is case sensitive

>>>d = netCDF4.Dataset(r’c:\data\’, ‘r’)

>>> d.data_model

>>>print(d.variables[‘tmin’][0][0][0])   # tmin[year][lat][lon]




Continue reading For You Programming Brainiacs

NASA DEVELOP Program: Paid Internship

It’s that time of year again! The NASA DEVELOP Program is currently recruiting for the Fall 2015 term. This is a 10-week paid contracting position open for current students, recent college graduates, and career transitioning professionals including veterans of the Armed Forces. Although the term is only 10 weeks, there are many opportunities to advance through the program to yearlong contracts.

This is a great opportunity for individuals who are interested in practical applications of remote sensing and GIS, specifically in the field of Earth Science. Our projects focus on addressing local and international community concerns while utilizing NASA’s Earth observations. Participants work in teams, with guidance from NASA and partner science advisors, to demonstrate to partner organizations how NASA remote sensing imagery can be used in water resources, disaster management, ecological forecasting, and other applications to address environmental community concerns. DEVELOP’s projects are interdisciplinary in nature, so applications are welcome from all academic backgrounds.

Details about the internship and how to apply can be found at The fall online application deadline is July 3rd.  The fall program dates are September 14 – November 20, 2015. This program has three terms: Spring, Summer, and Fall — the term dates and application windows are updated on the “Apply” page of the DEVELOP website. In addition to Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, MD; there are many other locations across the United States that you can find on the “About” page.

Responsibilities will include: literature review, data processing and analysis, and composing deliverables including a technical paper, poster, presentation, and video. Previous GIS or remote sensing knowledge, while beneficial and more competitive, are not required for acceptance.

Applicants must have excellent communication and writing skills and be able to work in a fast-paced environment. Days of the week are flexible, but applicants should be able to commit to 15-30 hours per week for the fall term. Paid positions are funded as consultants using a rate determined by application type, education level, and location.


Professionalizing the GEOINT Workforce

From Trajectory magazine:

The United States Geospatial Intelligence Foundation (USGIF) is blazing a trail for the geospatial intelligence professional to follow from academia to expertise. For the past 10 years, USGIF has awarded scholarships to high school seniors, college students, and doctoral candidates alike; and the Foundation has in the past seven years accredited 12 academic institutions to award GEOINT certificates. Now, USGIF is extending this pipeline to the professional certification and continuing education of GEOINT practitioners.

This fall, USGIF will offer the first Universal GEOINT Certification to both U.S. and international GEOINT practitioners across multiple industries, military, academia, and federal, state, and local government.

“We know not everyone will follow the exact path of our pipeline,” said USGIF CEO Keith Masback. “There are many roads to becoming a GEOINT professional, but no matter how an individual arrives at this profession, the Universal GEOINT Certification will distinguish them as among the best in this field.”

This certification is a natural evolution in the advancement of GEOINT and perhaps the most important Foundation initiative to date, according Masback.

“The community made up the term GEOINT about 12 years ago and had a vision for what we thought it would be,” Masback said. “We now have a body of knowledge to articulate what is encompassed by this thing we call GEOINT. Initially, we were able to identify the academic requirements that fed into the workforce. Now, as technology changes and tradecraft evolves, the next step in the maturation of this process is to provide professional certification to the workforce.”

Since the term GEOINT was written into law by Congress in 2003, there have been several attempts to create standardization throughout the community, according to Dr. Darryl Murdock, USGIF’s vice president of professional development. What’s different today is the blending of skill sets and the need for expertise that goes far beyond the database maintenance now primarily performed by software. GEOINT is no longer about technology but about the analysis the technology enables.

“It used to be you were either a GIS or a remote sensing professional,” Murdock said. “Those once separate activities are merging. If you’re looking for an overarching and progressive way to apply geospatial science and technology to both everyday and defense and intelligence activities, then you’re talking about GEOINT. The GEOINT professional is the person in government and business who informs decision-makers about spatiotemporal issues and provides timely answers to key questions.”

– See more at:

Use Collector for ArcGIS For Mobile Sketching in the Field

Tips and Tricks: Use Collector to Perform Mobile Sketching in the Field

 Brian Baldwin, Esri

Does your current network GIS data perfectly reflect everything that exists out in the field? If the answer is yes, send me your mailing address and I’ll ship you a medal. If like most utilities the answer is no, the ArcGIS platform offers a configurable solution to assist. It no longer takes weeks or months to deploy a basic redline/sketching or map notes application for recording and collecting those discrepancies. In a short amount of time, you could have a powerful, redlining application deployed to all of your field crews. Collected data is then visible back in the office immediately.

Utilities of all sizes have expressed a need to conduct basic sketching or note taking in the field. With recent updates to Collector for ArcGIS that includes support for related tables, it is now possible to create detailed sketching and note taking schemas for any workflow. The sketches/redlines can be configured for ad-hoc collection or related to specific assets. If crews were conducting a pole inspection and wanted to include redlines, you could easily relate all of the redline records back to the individual poles for more integrated record keeping and data management.

Collector for ArcGIS now gives you the ability to create features and tables related to one another.

The first step in any data creation is creating the schema, or design of how your database is going to be structured. In this example, the redlines were not related to any assets to allow it to be used as an ad-hoc sketching and map notes solution (see Figure 1). The redline record is then related back to as many sketch features as you can dream up. In this example, we have a label point as well as polylines and polygons symbolized by a solid or dashed red color.

Out in the field, a crew member comes across a new apartment complex that shows no service on the network map. The buildings were constructed more than a year ago, but this information has not yet made it into the GIS. Opening Collector in a connected or disconnected mode, the crew member opens up the redline web map and creates a new redline record feature. After that feature is created, the user clicks on that point and then starts adding any related sketch features (see Figure 2). The employee add a few photos, a label, and some notes and completes the note in under a minute.

Using Collector for ArcGIS to quickly capture detailed sketches and notes in the field helps keep your network data accurate.

Back in the office, the asset management department has a dashboard showing newly collected sketches and redlines sorted by date/time and they have access to all of these records seconds after they are collected. After the issue has been addressed, they can open up the redline record, and change its status to closed for archiving.

Leveraging web maps across the ArcGIS platform gives you the ability to quickly create workflows that were once very complex to deploy. It no longer takes weeks or months to deploy a customized redline solution to all of your field crews. The cost can now be counted in hours.

Continue reading Use Collector for ArcGIS For Mobile Sketching in the Field

No network, no problem: NGA’s app provides mapping without a connection

From GCN:

Online maps are great, but they’re not of much use in the field if there’s no online connectivity available.  The National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency has been working on a solution in the form of an app the agency calls DICE.

The Disconnected Interactive Content Explorer, which NGA teased in February at the ESRI Federal GIS conference and released in March through Google Play and the iTunes app store, allows users to display interactive content or maps in HTML, CSS and JavaScript on mobile devices without being connected to a network.  Built for iOS, Android, and Windows devices, DICE was designed for disaster response personnel, urban search and rescue teams and other similar outfits that might be working in locations hit by storms that have wiped out networks.

Content is not included in DICE, but users can upload what they might need.  This capability allows DICE to serve as a container to parse and display interactive content in a web browser on a disconnected device. Content can include any HTML, CSS, and Javascript packaged in a zip file; it can also include local data such as tiles for interactive maps. DICE automatically detects items loaded into its system and presents it in a list, grid or map view.

DICE “will allow NGA to easily provide consistent access to GEOINT for consumers operating in disconnected environments,” said Ben Tuttle, NGA Mobile Apps team lead. “Additionally, as the app is built on open standards and has been released as open source software on the NGA GitHub account it should allow other agencies to take advantage of this capability for distributing interactive data to disconnected users as well.”

Tuttle’s comments are similar to those he made regarding NGA’s other similar mobile application called MapCache, a mobile phone app that provides an interface that lets users navigate a map, set areas of responsibility and build a data cache from sources they choose.  MapCache and other related NGA tools such as Mobile Analytic GEOINT Environment allow users to access vector layers and query data without a network connection as well as make reports from the field.

“One of the No. 1 things that we hear from people is, ‘this has to work disconnected,’ whether it’s urban search-and-rescue people who are worried that the [cell] towers are going to be down or it’s security forces at a special event who are worried that there are going to be so many people that the towers are going to be intermittent in terms of connectivity,” Tuttle said at the time.

About the Author

Mark Pomerleau is an editorial fellow with Defense Systems and GCN.

Save the Date: Potomac ASPRS GeoTech 23-24 Sep

GeoTech 2015 Annual Conference George Mason University, Fairfax, VA September 23 – 24, 2015 ASPRS Potomac Region

 Sensor Design Considerations for Unmanned Aerial System Platforms

Early Registration now open at:

GeoTech 2015 is bringing together the platform and payload community with consumers of data generated using UAS systems.

Questions, Contact:  Paul Bresnahan ASPRS Potomac Region, GeoTech 2015 Chair

For more information visit the web site:

Summer Teacher Workshops Through JMU

Virginia GIS Site License – Professional Development

Educator’s GIS Workshops – Summer 2015

The Virginia GIS K-12 Consortium is providing five training opportunities to teachers and educators on how to use ESRI’s ArcGIS software and integrate it into a variety of classrooms and curricula.

Session I-Introductory GIS Workshop*
When: June 22 & 23
Where: James Madison University, Harrisonburg, VA

Session II-Advanced GIS Workshop*
When: June 24 & 25
Where: James Madison University, Harrisonburg, VA

Session III-Introductory GIS Workshop
When: June 30 & July 1
Where: Colonial Heights HS, Colonial Heights, VA

Session IV-Introductory GIS Workshop
When: July 7 & 8
Where: Briar Woods HS, Ashburn, VA

Session V-Introductory GIS Workshop
When: July 30 & 31
Where: Virginia Tech, Blacksburg, VA

Q: What is the cost?
These workshops are supported by the K12 Consortium managed by James Madison University and are free to all participants.

*Sessions I & II — Room and board at JMU dorms will be provided for one night/two days for Session I and for two nights/three days for Session II.

Q: How do I sign up?
Space is limited.  Please email the application (MS-Word) with ‘GIS Workshop’ in the subject line and/or direct any questions to Paul Rittenhouse at

Applications will be accepted up to TWO weeks prior to the workshop date or until full, whichever comes first.