Category Archives: Thoughts on Geospatial

10th Annual Loudoun County GIS Forum (Wed, May 6, 2015)

This is a great event each year.  And a super opportunity to network with folks who “do GIS” for a living.  AND, you can enter your favorite map (maybe your term project?) in the mapping contest.  I hope to see you there!

Click the link below for more info and registration materials.

Tenth Annual Loudoun GIS Forum Registration Documents 2015 FINALS

NASA Is Just Killing It With These Earth-Watching Satellites

Eric Roston in BloombergBusiness 27 Feb 2015

Five satellites launched in the past year are keeping an eye on Earth, wind and fire. And water.

This map shows solar-induced fluorescence, a plant process that occurs during photosynthesis, from Nov. through Dec. 2014 as measured by NASA's Orbiting Carbon Observatory-2. NASA/JPL-Caltech
This map shows solar-induced fluorescence, a plant process that occurs during photosynthesis, from Nov. through Dec. 2014 as measured by NASA’s Orbiting Carbon Observatory-2.
NASA/JPL-Caltech

Anybody can drive a shovel into the ground to see how moist the soil is. What’s tricky is doing it over every square yard of land on Earth. From 426 miles above the surface of the planet. Every 100 minutes.

Fortunately, we don’t have to. Now there’s SMAP, the newest NASA Earth-observing satellite, which from its orbit can read soil moisture levels two inches deep, just about anywhere there’s soil. It will help predict floods and weather, watch droughts, and monitor agricultural conditions, particularly where people’s lives may be urgently at stake.

SMAP is one of five Earth satellites launched in the past year, all of which will produce data helpful to hurricane first-responders, weather forecasters, farmers, climate scientists, or anybody who likes to look at beautiful animated graphics on the Internet.  Click here to read more.

Ground Water Toolbox (USGS)

From the USGS:

The Groundwater Toolbox is a graphical and mapping interface for analysis of hydrologic data. The software is a customized interface built on the non-proprietary, open-source MapWindow geographic information system software in a Microsoft Windows computing environment. The Groundwater Toolbox allows for the retrieval of hydrologic time-series data (streamflow, groundwater levels, and precipitation) from the USGS National Water Information System; preprocessed meteorological data from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration National Climatic Data Center also are available with the Groundwater Toolbox.”  Get the toolbox or read more here.

Another GIS Website to consider

TOH to Adam Shinal, former NOVA GIS student who called the following to my attention.  You will probable find it useful, too.  Thanks, Adam!

” I just discovered a geo-nerd podcast called A Very Spatial Podcast (www.veryspatial.com) that offers a good mix of GIS, Remote Sensing, UAS, and general technology news and insight.  Even if you don’t listen to each podcast, clicking the “Continue Reading” link at the bottom of each podcast entry will get you a list of links to the news they talked about during the show.  One item that caught my attention and made me think of the NOVA students was the Summer of Maps program (www.summerofmaps.com).  You may well already know about it, but it’s a paid opportunity for students to partner with non-profits and do GIS work over the summer.”

GeoPlatform.gov!

The GeoPlatform provides shared and trusted geospatial data, services, and applications for use by the public and by government agencies and partners to meet their mission needs. Through the GeoPlatform, users have access to

  • A one-stop shop to deliver trusted, nationally consistent data and services
  • Authoritative data to support informed decision making
  • Problem-solving applications and services that are built once and can be used many times across multiple Federal agencies and other organizations
  • A shared infrastructure to host data and applications
  • A national and Federal focal point where governmental, academic, private, and public data and applications can be visualized together to inform and address national and regional issues

Click here to read more or to access GeoPlatform.gov

Google Earth Pro is now Free

30 Jan 2015 Click here to read the original.

Over the last 10 years, businesses, scientists and hobbyists from all over the world have been using Google Earth Pro for everything from planning hikes to placing solar panels on rooftops. Google Earth Pro has all the easy-to-use features and detailed imagery of Google Earth, along with advanced tools that help you measure 3D buildings, print high-resolution images for presentations or reports, and record HD movies of your virtual flights around the world.

Starting today, even more people will be able to access Google Earth Pro: we’re making it available for free. To see what Earth Pro can do for you—or to just have fun flying around the world—grab a free key and download Earth Pro today. If you’re an existing user, your key will continue to work with no changes required.

 

Two centuries of map-making – from William Smith’s survey to satellites

Today’s maps boast incredible detail and accuracy - but Smith’s were pretty good. Ordnance Survey, CC BY
Today’s maps boast incredible detail and accuracy – but Smith’s were pretty good. Ordnance Survey, CC BY

John Howell in www.theconversation.com  30 Jan 2015

This year marks the 200th anniversary since William Smith published his life’s work, a geological map of England and Wales, in 1815. While “Strata Smith” and his map are well-known among geologists, this humble man and his amazing map do not receive the attention or wider recognition they deserve. Smith’s achievement was arguably as significant as Darwin’s, yet he resides in relative obscurity.

Smith’s achievement was remarkable for a number of reasons. He made the scientific leap that the rocks of the Earth’s crust could be overlaid onto a basic topographic map, in doing so giving birth to the science of geology. He also did this in the face of considerable social prejudice – at a time when the scientific community were landed gentry and gentlemen of leisure the idea that Smith, a lowly surveyor, could come up with such a revolutionary concept was derided. His work was plagiarised and he was bankrupted, spending time in debtor’s jail, before his eventual vindication just before his death in 1839. The fact that he single handily managed to map the whole of England and Wales, in his spare time, to produce a map that is remarkably accurate even today is to any modern geologist truly breathtaking.  Click here to read more.

FAA offers framework to legalize commercial — but not delivery — drones

Ben Fox Rubin for CNET.com  15 Feb 2015

The Federal Aviation Administration took an important step Sunday toward legalizing and regulating routine use of commercial drones — though don’t expect a delivery drone to bring you a fresh pizza anytime soon.

The agency released its proposed requirements for unmanned commercial aircraft, saying the drones must weigh less than 55 pounds and be operated in daylight within the line of sight of the drone’s operator. Additionally, the drones must fly under 500 feet, no faster than 100 miles per hour, and away from manned aircraft. They must never fly over people except those directly involved with the flight.

The FAA for now doesn’t allow for regular use of commercial drones, so Hollywood studios and others have needed to gain special waivers to use the devices today. While the new rules provide for broad use of drones to shoot TV shows or movies, survey agricultural land or inspect a bridge, they nix the potential use of delivery drones, like those being developed by Amazon and Google, an FAA representative confirmed. However, the rules are still subject to change before being finalized.

In response, Amazon released a statement Sunday, saying it’s not giving up on its goals for its “Prime Air” drone-delivery service.  Read more here.

Learn the Fundamentals of ArcGIS Pro, New from Esri

from: www10.giscafe.com

January 29, 2015

9:00 a.m., 11:00 a.m., and 3:00 p.m. (PST)

Jan 21, 2015 — Esri’s new release of ArcGIS 10.3 includes ArcGIS Pro, a desktop application that will help geographic information system (GIS) professionals complete their GIS projects faster and more easily than ever.

ArcGIS Pro provides all the tools you need to author and edit both 2D and 3D maps, perform analysis, view maps side by side, create multiple layouts from one or more 2D and 3D maps, and then share your work with others. You can use data from either your network or online sources in the application.

To familiarize yourself with ArcGIS Pro, tune in to the Esri live training seminar Streamline GIS Workflows with ArcGIS Pro on January 29, 2015. The presenters will introduce you to the fundamental concepts of the application along with the workflows you need to understand to start using it.

After viewing the seminar, you will understand how to

·        Build a project with ArcGIS Pro that will organize all your work in one place.

·        Import documents into ArcGIS Pro from ArcGIS for Desktop’s ArcMap and ArcGIS 3D Analyst extension’s ArcScene applications.

·        Connect to geodatabases and other data sources from within the ArcGIS Pro application.

·        Manage, edit, and analyze GIS data quickly and efficiently.

·        Author 2D and 3D maps and layouts.

·        Share content as web layers to your ArcGIS Online organizational or internal portal.

ArcGIS Pro is a 64-bit multithreaded application that, combined with an intuitive ribbon-based interface, is a strong addition to the ArcGIS platform. If you are a GIS professional, attending this seminar will give you a jump-start on how to get the most out of this exciting new technology.