Archive for the ‘Maps’ Category

Top GIS Programming Languages You Should Use [Ad Avoidance]

Tuesday, November 14th, 2017

Top GIS Programming Languages You Should Use

No surprises and to help you avoid the one language per page plus ads presentation:

  1. Python
  2. JavaScript
  3. R
  4. SQL (not a programming language, their mistake, not mine)
  5. Java
  6. C#
  7. C++

Best guide is to use whatever other people you work with use, so you can share experience and techniques. All of these languages have more documentation, examples, etc., than any one person can master. Share that load and you will all be more productive.

Global Land Survey (GLS) [Weaponizing Data]

Tuesday, September 26th, 2017

Global Land Survey (GLS) is part of a collection I discovered at: 12 Sources to Download FREE Land Cover and Land Use Data. To use that collection you have to wade through pages of ads.

I am covering the sources separately and including their original descriptions.

From the GLS webpage:

The U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) collaborated from 2009 to 2011 to create the Global Land Surveys (GLS) datasets. Each of these collections were created using the primary Landsat sensor in use at the time for each collection epoch. The scenes used were a pre-collection format that met strict quality and cloud cover standards at the time the GLS files were created.

Additional details about the Global Land Survey collection can be found at http://landsat.usgs.gov/global-land-surveys-gls.

The Global Land Survey collection consists of images acquired from 1972 to 2012 combined into one dataset.

All Global Land Survey datasets contain the standard Landsat bands designated for each sensor. Band Designations can be found at http://landsat.usgs.gov/what-are-band-designations-landsat-satellites.

[data notes]

Global Land Survey data are available to search and download through EarthExplorer and GloVis. The collection can be found under the Global Land Survey category in EarthExplorer.

Users can download the full resolution LandsatLook jpg images http://landsat.usgs.gov/landsatlook-images, and the Level 1 Data Products http://landsat.usgs.gov/landsat-data-access.

Fifteen meter resolution in the panchromatic band. Nearly as accurate as someone stepping across a compound to establish target coordinates.

Which do you find more amazing: 1) Free access to data to weaponize or, 2) Lack of use of data as a weapon by NGOs?

MODIS Global Land Cover

Tuesday, September 26th, 2017

MODIS Global Land Cover is part of a collection I discovered at: 12 Sources to Download FREE Land Cover and Land Use Data. To use that collection you have to wade through pages of ads.

I am covering the sources separately and including their original descriptions.

From the webpage:

New NASA land cover maps are providing scientists with the most refined global picture ever produced of the distribution of Earth’s ecosystems and land use patterns. High-quality land cover maps aid scientists and policy makers involved in natural resource management and a range of research and global monitoring objectives.

The land cover maps were developed at Boston University in Boston, MA., using data from the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) instrument on NASA’s Terra satellite. The maps are based on a digital database of Earth images collected between November 2000 and October 2001.

“These maps, with spatial resolution of 1 kilometer (.6 mile), mark a significant step forward in global land cover mapping by providing a clearer, more detailed picture than previously available maps,” says Mark Friedl, one of the project’s investigators.

The MODIS sensor’s vantage point of a given location on Earth changes with each orbit of the satellite. An important breakthrough for these maps is the merging of those multiple looks into a single image. In addition, advances in remote sensing technology allow MODIS to collect higher-quality data than previous sensors. Improvements in data processing techniques have allowed the team to automate much of the classification, reducing the time to generate maps from months or years to about one week.

Each MODIS land cover map contains 17 different land cover types, including eleven natural vegetation types such as deciduous and evergreen forests, savannas, and wetlands. Agricultural land use and land surfaces with little or no plant cover—such as bare ground, urban areas and permanent snow and ice—are also depicted on the maps. Important uses include managing forest resources, improving estimates of the Earth’s water and energy cycles, and modeling climate and global carbon exchange among land, life, and the atmosphere.

Carbon cycle modeling is linked to greenhouse gas inventories—estimates of greenhouse emissions from human sources, and their removal by greenhouse gas sinks, such as plants that absorb and store carbon dioxide through photosynthesis. Many nations, including the United States, produce the inventories annually in an effort to understand and predict climate change.

“This product will have a major impact on our carbon budget work,” says Professor Steve Running of the University of Montana, Missoula, who uses the Boston University land cover maps in conjunction with other weekly observations from MODIS. “With the MODIS land cover product we can determine current vegetation in detail for each square kilometer; for example, whether there is mature vegetation, clear cutting, a new fire scar, or agricultural crops. This means we can produce annual estimates of net change in vegetation cover. This gets us one step closer to a global picture of carbon sources and sinks.”

This first map is an important milestone, but the land cover mapping group in Boston has other projects in progress. “With data collected over several years,” says Friedl, “we will be able to create maps that highlight global-scale changes in vegetation and land cover in response to climate change, such as drought. We’ll also be establishing the timing of seasonal changes in vegetation, defining when important transitions take place, such as the onset of the growing season.”

Launched December 18, 1999, Terra is the flagship of the Earth Observing System series of satellites and is a central part of NASA’s Earth Science Enterprise. The mission of the Earth Science Enterprise is to develop a scientific understanding of the Earth system and its response to natural and human-induced changes to enable improved prediction capability for climate, weather, and natural hazards.

Not recent data but depending upon your needs it is both a historical snapshot and a benchmark of then current technology.

Enjoy!

Landsat Viewer

Friday, September 15th, 2017

Landsat Viewer by rcarmichael-esristaff.

From the post:

Landsat Viewer Demonstration

The lab has just completed an experimental viewer designed to sort, filter and extract individual Landsat scenes. The viewer is a web application developed using Esri‘s JavaScript API and a three.js-based external renderer.

 

Click here for the live application.

Click here for the source code.

 

The application has a wizard-like workflow. First, the user is prompted to sketch a bounding box representation the area of interest. The next step defines the imagery source and minimum selection criteria for the image scenes. For example, in the screenshot below the user is interested in any scene taken over the past 45+ years but those scenes must have 10% or less cloud cover.

 

Other Landsat resources:

Landsat homepage

Landsat FAQ

Landsat 7 Science Data Users Handbook

Landsat 8 Science Data Users Handbook

Enjoy!

I first saw this at: Landsat satellite imagery browser by Nathan Yau.

Locate Your Representative/Senator In Hell

Thursday, July 13th, 2017

Mapping Dante’s Inferno, One Circle of Hell at a Time by Anika Burgess.

From the post:

I found myself, in truth, on the brink of the valley of the sad abyss that gathers the thunder of an infinite howling. It was so dark, and deep, and clouded, that I could see nothing by staring into its depths.”

This is the vision that greets the author and narrator upon entry the first circle of Hell—Limbo, home to honorable pagans—in Dante Alighieri’s Inferno, the first part of his 14th-century epic poem, Divine Comedy. Before Dante and his guide, the classical poet Virgil, encounter Purgatorio and Paradiso, they must first journey through a multilayered hellscape of sinners—from the lustful and gluttonous of the early circles to the heretics and traitors that dwell below. This first leg of their journey culminates, at Earth’s very core, with Satan, encased in ice up to his waist, eternally gnawing on Judas, Brutus, and Cassius (traitors to God) in his three mouths. In addition to being among the greatest Italian literary works, Divine Comedy also heralded a craze for “infernal cartography,” or mapping the Hell that Dante had created.
… (emphasis in original)

Burgess has collected seven (7) traditional maps of the Inferno. I take them to be early essays in the art of visualization. They are by no means, individually or collectively, the definitive visualizations of the Inferno.

The chief deficit of all seven, to me, is the narrowness of the circles/ledges. As I read the Inferno, Dante and Virgil are not pressed for space. Expanding and populating the circles more realistically is one starting point.

The Inferno has no shortage of characters in each circle, Dante predicting the fate of Pope Boniface VIII, to place him in the eight circle of Hell (simoniacs A subclass of fraud.). (Use the online Britannica with caution. It’s entry for Boniface VIII doesn’t even mention the Inferno. (As of July 13, 2017.)

I would like to think being condemned to Hell by no less than Dante would rate at least a mention in my biography!

Sadly, Dante is no longer around to add to the populace of the Inferno but new visualizations could take the opportunity to update the resident list for Hell!

It’s an exercise in visualization, mapping, 14th century literature, and, an excuse to learn the name of your representative and senators.

Enjoy!

DigitalGlobe Platform

Wednesday, July 12th, 2017

DigitalGlobe Platform

The Maps API offers:

Recent Imagery

A curated satellite imagery layer of the entire globe. More than 80% of the Earth’s landmass is covered with high-resolution (30 cm-60 cm) imagery, supplemented with cloud-free LandSat 8 as a backdrop.

Street Map

An accurate, seamless street reference map. Based on contributions from the OpenStreetMap community, this layer combines global coverage with essential “locals only” perspectives.

Terrain Map

A seamless, visually appealing terrain perspective of the planet. Shaded terrain with contours guide you through the landscape, and OpenStreetMap reference vectors provide complete locational context.

Prices start at $5/month and go up. (5,000 map views for $5.)

BTW, 30 cm is 11.811 inches, just a little less than a foot.

For planning constructive or disruptive activities, that should be sufficient precision.

I haven’t tried the service personally but the resolution of the imagery compels me to mention it.

Enjoy!

Roman Roads (Drawn Like The London Subway)

Thursday, June 8th, 2017

Roman Roads by Sasha Trubetskoy.

See Trubetskoy’s website for a much better rendering of this map of Roman roads, drawn in subway-style.

From the post:

It’s finally done. A subway-style diagram of the major Roman roads, based on the Empire of ca. 125 AD.

Creating this required far more research than I had expected—there is not a single consistent source that was particularly good for this. Huge shoutout to: Stanford’s ORBIS model, The Pelagios Project, and the Antonine Itinerary (found a full PDF online but lost the url).

The lines are a combination of actual, named roads (like the Via Appia or Via Militaris) as well as roads that do not have a known historic name (in which case I creatively invented some names). Skip to the “Creative liberties taken” section for specifics.

How long would it actually take to travel this network? That depends a lot on what method of transport you are using, which depends on how much money you have. Another big factor is the season – each time of year poses its own challenges. In the summer, it would take you about two months to walk on foot from Rome to Byzantium. If you had a horse, it would only take you a month.

However, no sane Roman would use only roads where sea travel is available. Sailing was much cheaper and faster – a combination of horse and sailboat would get you from Rome to Byzantium in about 25 days, Rome to Carthage in 4-5 days. Check out ORBIS if you want to play around with a “Google Maps” for Ancient Rome. I decided not to include maritime routes on the map for simplicity’s sake.

Subway-style drawing lose details but make relationships between routes clearer. Or at least that is one of the arguments in their favor.

Thoughts on a subway-style drawing that captures the development of the Roman road system? To illustrate how that corresponds in broad strokes to the expansion of Rome?

Be sure to visit Trubetskoy’s homepage. Lot’s of interesting maps and projects.

Sanborn Fire Insurance Maps Now Online (25K, Goal: ~500K)

Thursday, May 25th, 2017

Sanborn Fire Insurance Maps Now Online

From the post:

The Library of Congress has placed online nearly 25,000 Sanborn Fire Insurance Maps, which depict the structure and use of buildings in U.S. cities and towns. Maps will be added monthly until 2020, for a total of approximately 500,000.

The online collection now features maps published prior to 1900. The states available include Arizona, Arkansas, Colorado, Delaware, Iowa, Kentucky, Louisiana, Michigan, Nebraska, Nevada, North Dakota, South Dakota, Vermont, Wisconsin and Wyoming. Alaska is also online, with maps published through the early 1960s. By 2020, all the states will be online, showing maps from the late 1880s through the early 1960s.

In collaboration with the Library’s Geography and Map Division, Historical Information Gatherers digitized the Sanborn Fire Insurance Maps during a 16-month period at the Library of Congress. The Library is in the process of adding metadata and placing the digitized, public-domain maps on its website.

The Sanborn Fire Insurance Maps are a valuable resource for genealogists, historians, urban planners, teachers or anyone with a personal connection to a community, street or building. The maps depict more than 12,000 American towns and cities. They show the size, shape and construction materials of dwellings, commercial buildings, factories and other structures. They indicate both the names and width of streets, and show property boundaries and how individual buildings were used. House and block numbers are identified. They also show the location of water mains, fire alarm boxes and fire hydrants.

In the 19th century, specialized maps were originally prepared for the exclusive use of fire insurance companies and underwriters. Those companies needed accurate, current and detailed information about the properties they were insuring. The Sanborn Map Company was created around 1866 in the United States in response to this need and began publishing and registering maps for copyright. The Library of Congress acquired the maps through copyright deposit, and the collection grew to 700,000 individual sheets. The insurance industry eventually phased out use of the maps and Sanborn stopped producing updates in the late 1970s.

The Sanborn Maps Collection.

From the collection page:


Fire insurance maps are distinctive because of the sophisticated set of symbols that allows complex information to be conveyed clearly. In working with insurance maps, it is important to remember that they were made for a very specific use, and that although they are now valuable for a variety of purposes, the insurance industry dictated the selection of information to be mapped and the way that information was portrayed. Knowledge of the keys and colors is essential to proper interpretation of the information found in fire insurance maps.

The collection page relates that the keys and use of the keys change over time so use of a topic map with scoping topics is highly recommended.

There aren’t many maps for Georgia but my hometown in Louisiana has good coverage through 1900. Reasoning that roughly knowing the geography, history of the area will help with map interpretation.

Enjoy!

March 25th – Anniversary Of Triangle Fire – The Names Map

Sunday, March 26th, 2017

The Names Map

From the website:

The Names Map displays the name, home address, likely age, country of origin, and final resting place of all known Triangle Fire victims.

(map and list of 146 victims)

The Remember the Triangle Fire Coalition connects individuals and organizations with the 1911 Triangle Factory Fire — one of the pivotal events in US history and a turning point in labor’s struggle to achieve fair wages, dignity at work and safe working conditions. Outrage at the deaths of 146 mostly young, female immigrants inspired the union movement and helped to institute worker protections and fire safety laws. Today, basic rights and benefits in the workplace are not a guarantee in the United States or across the world. We believe it is more vital than ever that these issues are defended.

The “not guilty” verdict on all counts of manslaughter for Triangle Factory owners Max Blanck and Issac Harris:

is often overlooked in anniversary celebrations. (Image from Cornell University, ILR School, Kheel Center’s Remembering The 1911 Triangle Factory Fire, Transcript of Criminal Trial)

That verdict is a forerunner to the present day decisions to not prosecute police shootings/abuse of unarmed civilians.

Celebrate the progress made since the 1911 Triangle Factory Fire while mindful exploitation and abuse continue to this very day.

The Remember the Triangle Fire Coalition has assembled a large number of resources, many of which are collections of other resources, including primary materials.

Your maps are not lying to you

Saturday, March 25th, 2017

Your maps are not lying to you by Andy Woodruff.

From the post:

Or, your maps are lying to you but so would any other map.

A week or two ago [edit: by now, sometime last year] a journalist must have discovered thetruesize.com, a nifty site that lets you explore and discover how sizes of countries are distorted in the most common world map, and thus was born another wave of #content in the sea of web media.

Your maps are lying to you! They are WRONG! Everything you learned is wrong! They are instruments of imperial oppressors! All because of the “monstrosity” of a map projection, the Mercator projection.

Technically, all of that is more or less true. I love it when little nuggets of cartographic education make it into popular media, and this is no exception. However, those articles spend most of their time damning the Mercator projection, and relatively little on the larger point:

There are precisely zero ways to draw an accurate map on paper or a screen. Not a single one.

In any bizarro world where a different map is the standard, the internet is still abuzz with such articles. The only alternatives to that no-good, lying map of yours are other no-good, lying maps.

Andy does a great job of covering the reasons why maps (in the geographic sense) are less than perfect for technical (projection) as well as practical (abstraction, selection) reasons. He also offers advice on how to critically evaluate a map for “bias.” Or at least possibly discovering some of its biases.

For maps of all types, including topic maps, the better question is:

Does the map represent the viewpoint you were paid to represent?

If yes, it’s a great map. If no, your client will be unhappy.

Critics of maps, whether they admit it or not, are inveighing for a map as they would have created it. That should be on their dime and not yours.

ForWarn: Satellite-Based Change Recognition and Tracking [Looking for Leaks/Spills/Mines]

Sunday, February 26th, 2017

ForWarn: Satellite-Based Change Recognition and Tracking

From the introduction:

ForWarn is a vegetation change recognition and tracking system that uses high-frequency, moderate resolution satellite data. It provides near real-time change maps for the continental United States that are updated every eight days. These maps show the effects of disturbances such as wildfires, wind storms, insects, diseases, and human-induced disturbances in addition to departures from normal seasonal greenness caused by weather. Using this state of the art tracking system, it is also possible to monitor post-disturbance recovery and the cumulative effects of multiple disturbances over time.

This technology supports a broader cooperative management initiative known as the National Early Warning System (EWS). The EWS network brings together various organizations involved in mapping disturbances, climate stress, aerial and ground monitoring, and predictive efforts to achieve more efficient landscape planning and management across jurisdictions.

ForWarn consists of a set of inter-related products including near real time vegetation change maps, an archive of past change maps, an archive of seasonal vegetation phenology maps, and derived map products from these efforts. For a detailed discussion of these products, or to access these map products in the project’s Assessment Viewer or to explore these data using other GIS services, look through Data Access under the Products header.

  • ForWarn relies on daily eMODIS and MODIS satellite data
  • It tracks change in the Normalized Difference Vegetation Index (NDVI)
  • Coverage extends to all lands of the continental US
  • Products are at 232 meter resolution (13.3 acres or 5.4 hectares)
  • It has NDVI values for 46 periods per year (at 8-day intervals)
  • It uses a 24-day window with 8-day time steps to avoid clouds, etc.
  • The historical NDVI database used for certain baselines dates from 2000 to the present

Not everyone can be blocking pipeline construction and/or making DAPL the most-expensive non-operational (too many holes) pipeline in history.

Watching for leaks, discharges, and other environmental crimes as reflected in the surrounding environment is a valuable contribution as well.

All you need is a computer with an internet connection. Much of the heavy lifting has been done at no cost to you by ForWarn.

It occurs to me that surface mining operations and spoilage from them are likely to produce artifacts larger than 232 meter resolution. Yes?

Enjoy!

9 Powerful Maps: Earthquakes, Elections, and Space Exploration

Saturday, February 25th, 2017

9 Powerful Maps: Earthquakes, Elections, and Space Exploration by Marisa Krystian.

Nine really great maps with links:

  1. NOAA Science On a Sphere — Earthquakes
  2. The New York Times — Election Results
  3. Pop Chart Lab — Space Exploration
  4. Tomorrow — Electricity Map
  5. NASA — Hottest Year on Record
  6. Radio Garden — Share Music
  7. Facebook — Visualizing Friendships
  8. Transparency International — Corruption
  9. NOAA — Daily Real-Time Satellite Imagery

Two added bonuses:

  1. infogr.am offers a newsletter on visualization techniques
  2. There is an Infogram Ambassadorship program.

I just signed up for the newsletter and am pondering the Ambassadorship program.

If you sign up for the Ambassadorship program, be sure to share your experience and ping me with a link.

How Is GIS Being Used To Map Resistance And Political Protests?

Wednesday, February 1st, 2017

How Is GIS Being Used To Map Resistance And Political Protests? by Sarah Bond.

From the post:

In the days since Donald Trump became president on January 20, 2017, millions of protestors have gathered in cities both big and small across the globe. And while presidential counselor Kellyanne Conway told Chuck Todd on NBC’s “Meet The Press” that, “There’s really no way to quantify crowd numbers“–digital humanists, data scientists, librarians and geographers beg to differ.

Let’s check in on some projects attempting to use GIS to visualize the recent political protests, preserve data and keep activists informed.

womens-march-460

Despite Conway’s remarks, a Google Doc started by Jeremy Pressman at the University of Connecticut and Erica Chenoweth of the University of Denver soon began to collect crowd-sourced estimates from the Women’s Marches on January 20, 2017 organized by city, state and country. As they say on the public spreadsheet, “We are not collecting this data as part of a research project. We are doing this in the public interest. We are not affiliated with any other efforts to collect data on the demonstrations.” Over at Vox, graphics reporter Sarah Frostenson turned their data into a static map. Other researchers also weighed in. Doug Duffy, a PhD candidate at the University of Toronto, made an interactive map of Pressman and Chenoweth’s data here and posted the visualization to his GitHub page. He even cleaned the data for easy download and reuse (with attribution) by others.

The post has links to a number of other projects that are mapping data related to resistance and political protests.

If that wasn’t encouraging enough, Sarah’s post appeared in Forbes, which isn’t known for being a hotbed of criminal syndicalism.

😉

Can using GIS to plan resistance and political protests be very far away?

Flattening the Earth: Two Thousand Years of Map Projections

Wednesday, February 1st, 2017

Flattening the Earth: Two Thousand Years of Map Projections by John P. Snyder. (Amazon link)

From the Amazon description:

As long as there have been maps, cartographers have grappled with the impossibility of portraying the earth in two dimensions. To solve this problem mapmakers have created hundreds of map projections, mathematical methods for drawing the round earth on a flat surface. Yet of the hundreds of existing projections, and the infinite number that are theoretically possible, none is perfectly accurate.

Flattening the Earth is the first detailed history of map projections since 1863. John P. Snyder discusses and illustrates the hundreds of known projections created from 500 B.C. to the present, emphasizing developments since the Renaissance and closing with a look at the variety of projections made possible by computers.

The book contains 170 illustrations, including outline maps from original sources and modern computerized reconstructions. Though the text is not mathematically based, a few equations are included to permit the more technical reader to plot some projections. Tables summarize the features of nearly two hundred different projections and list those used in nineteenth-and twentieth-century atlases.

“This book is unique and significant: a thorough, well-organized, and insightful history of map projections. Snyder is the world’s foremost authority on the subject and a significant innovator in his own right.”—Mark Monmonier, author of How to Lie with Maps and Mapping It Out: Expository Cartography for the Humanities and Social Sciences.

Perhaps not immediately useful for resistance but it isn’t healthy to remain in a state of rage all the time.

Delving into the history of cartography will help develop your understanding of and skills with map projections.

Government maps and projections represent the government’s hopes and wishes.

Shouldn’t you use projections that represent yours?

DigitalGlobe – Open Data Program [What About Government Disasters?]

Tuesday, January 31st, 2017

Open Data Program

From the post:

DigitalGlobe is committed to helping everyone See A Better World™ by providing accurate high-resolution satellite imagery to support disaster recovery in the wake of large-scale natural disasters.

We release open imagery for select sudden onset major crisis events, including pre-event imagery, post-event imagery and a crowdsourced damage assessment.

When crises occur, DigitalGlobe is committed to supporting the humanitarian community by providing critical and actionable information to assist response efforts. Associated imagery and crowdsourcing layers are released into the public domain under a Creative Commons 4.0 license, allowing for rapid use and easy integration with existing humanitarian response technologies.

Kudos to DigitalGlobe but what about government disasters?

Governments have spy satellites, image analysis corps and military trained to use multi-faceted data flow.

What of public releases for areas of conflict, Chechnya, West Bank/Gaza/Israel, etc.? To reduce the advantages of government?

That creates demand by government for the same product, plus DigitalGlobe advantages.

“It’s an ill wind that blows no good.”

#DisruptJ20 – 3 inch resolution aerial imagery Washington, DC @J20protests

Tuesday, January 17th, 2017

3 inch imagery resolution for Washington, DC by Jacques Tardie.

From the post:

We updated our basemap in Washington, DC with aerial imagery at 3 inch (7.5 cm) resolution. The source data is openly licensed by DC.gov, thanks to the District’s open data initiative.

If you aren’t familiar with Mapbox, there is no time like the present!

If you are interested in the just the 3 inch resolution aerial imagery, see: http://opendata.dc.gov/datasets?keyword=imagery.

Enjoy!

GRASS GIS [Protest Tools]

Saturday, December 31st, 2016

GRASS GIS is very relevant for anyone wanting to use data science to plan protests.

You can plan a protest using corner store maps, but those are unlikely to have alleys, bus stops, elevation, litter cans, utilities, and other details.

Other participants will have all that data and more so evening up the odds is a good idea.

Apologizes for the long quote but I don’t know which features/capabilities of GRASS GIS will be most immediately relevant for you.

From the general overview page:

General Information

Geographic Resources Analysis Support System, commonly referred to as GRASS GIS, is a Geographic Information System (GIS) used for data management, image processing, graphics production, spatial modelling, and visualization of many types of data. It is Free (Libre) Software/Open Source released under GNU General Public License (GPL) >= V2. GRASS GIS is an official project of the Open Source Geospatial Foundation.

Originally developed by the U.S. Army Construction Engineering Research Laboratories (USA-CERL, 1982-1995, see history of GRASS 1.0-4.2 and 5beta), a branch of the US Army Corp of Engineers, as a tool for land management and environmental planning by the military, GRASS GIS has evolved into a powerful utility with a wide range of applications in many different areas of applications and scientific research. GRASS is currently used in academic and commercial settings around the world, as well as many governmental agencies including NASA, NOAA, USDA, DLR, CSIRO, the National Park Service, the U.S. Census Bureau, USGS, and many environmental consulting companies.

The GRASS Development Team has grown into a multi-national team consisting of developers at numerous locations.

In September 2006, the GRASS Project Steering Commitee was formed which is responsible for the overall management of the project. The PSC is especially responsible for granting SVN write access.

General GRASS GIS Features

GRASS GIS contains over 350 modules to render maps and images on monitor and paper; manipulate raster, and vector data including vector networks; process multispectral image data; and create, manage, and store spatial data. GRASS GIS offers both an intuitive graphical user interface as well as command line syntax for ease of operations. GRASS GIS can interface with printers, plotters, digitizers, and databases to develop new data as well as manage existing data.

grass6_wxgui-attrib_manager_small-460

GRASS GIS and support for teams

GRASS GIS supports workgroups through its LOCATION/MAPSET concept which can be set up to share data and the GRASS installation itself over NFS (Network File System) or CIFS. Keeping LOCATIONs with their underlying MAPSETs on a central server, a team can simultaneously work in the same project database.

GRASS GIS capabilities

  • Raster analysis: Automatic rasterline and area to vector conversion, Buffering of line structures, Cell and profile dataquery, Colortable modifications, Conversion to vector and point data format, Correlation / covariance analysis, Expert system analysis , Map algebra (map calculator), Interpolation for missing values, Neighbourhood matrix analysis, Raster overlay with or without weight, Reclassification of cell labels, Resampling (resolution), Rescaling of cell values, Statistical cell analysis, Surface generation from vector lines
  • 3D-Raster (voxel) analysis: 3D data import and export, 3D masks, 3D map algebra, 3D interpolation (IDW, Regularised Splines with Tension), 3D Visualization (isosurfaces), Interface to Paraview and POVray visualization tools
  • Vector analysis: Contour generation from raster surfaces (IDW, Splines algorithm), Conversion to raster and point data format, Digitizing (scanned raster image) with mouse, Reclassification of vector labels, Superpositioning of vector layers
  • Point data analysis: Delaunay triangulation, Surface interpolation from spot heights, Thiessen polygons, Topographic analysis (curvature, slope, aspect), LiDAR
  • Image processing: Support for aerial and UAV images, satellite data (optical, radar, thermal), Canonical component analysis (CCA), Color composite generation, Edge detection, Frequency filtering (Fourier, convolution matrices), Fourier and inverse fourier transformation, Histogram stretching, IHS transformation to RGB, Image rectification (affine and polynomial transformations on raster and vector targets), Ortho photo rectification, Principal component analysis (PCA), Radiometric corrections (Fourier), Resampling, Resolution enhancement (with RGB/IHS), RGB to IHS transformation, Texture oriented classification (sequential maximum a posteriori classification), Shape detection, Supervised classification (training areas, maximum likelihood classification), Unsupervised classification (minimum distance clustering, maximum likelihood classification)
  • DTM-Analysis: Contour generation, Cost / path analysis, Slope / aspect analysis, Surface generation from spot heigths or contours
  • Geocoding: Geocoding of raster and vector maps including (LiDAR) point clouds
  • Visualization: 3D surfaces with 3D query (NVIZ), Color assignments, Histogram presentation, Map overlay, Point data maps, Raster maps, Vector maps, Zoom / unzoom -function
  • Map creation: Image maps, Postscript maps, HTML maps
  • SQL-support: Database interfaces (DBF, SQLite, PostgreSQL, mySQL, ODBC)
  • Geostatistics: Interface to “R” (a statistical analysis environment), Matlab, …
  • Temporal framework: support for time series analysis to manage, process and analyse (big) spatio-temporal environmental data. It supports querying, map calculation, aggregation, statistics and gap filling for raster, vector and raster3D data. A temporal topology builder is available to build spatio-temporal topology connections between map objects for 1D, 3D and 4D extents.
  • Furthermore: Erosion modelling, Landscape structure analysis, Solution transport, Watershed analysis.

See also the Applications page in the Wiki and the Wikipedia entry.

Your first steps with JOSM… [Mapping/Planning Disruption]

Tuesday, December 27th, 2016

Your first steps with JOSM – the Java OpenStreetMap editor by Ramya Ragupathy.

From the post:

OpenStreetMap’s web-based iD editor is the easiest and most convenient way to get started mapping. But there may come a time when you need more power – our mapping team uses the Java OpenStreetMap (JOSM) editor every day. JOSM allows you to map fast with keyboard shortcuts, a series of editing tools for common tasks and specialized plugins. Here is your guide to take your mapping skills to the next level.

I had to grin when I saw the advice:

Connect a two-button mouse to your computer to make working with JOSM easier.

At present I have an IBM trackpad keyboard, a Kensington Expert Mouse (roller ball) and a two-button scrolling mouse, all connected to the same box.

JOSM is probably too much for me to master for a mapping/planning disruption project I have underway but it is high on my next to master list.

Of course, you should avoid updating a public map with your planned disruption points, unless even with notice your disruption cannot be prevented.

Enjoy!

Clinton/Trump Political Maps – Strategy for 2020

Sunday, December 18th, 2016

A pair of maps posted by OnlMaps captures the essence of Clinton’s loss to Trump (no, it didn’t have anything to do with Russian hackers):

clinton-map

trump-map

I did not re-scale these images so either one enlarges to 1200 x 714 (Clinton) 653 (Trump). Very impressive on a large screen.

Democrats should take note:

Despite having hundreds of position papers (yawn), the candidate with “well-reasoned and detailed proposals” lost to the candidate promising voters a pig in a poke, with no real likelihood of delivery of either.

If the choice is between boring voters into apathy and winning the presidency, I don’t find that a hard choice at all.

Do you?

Poor Presentation – Failure to Communicate

Sunday, December 11th, 2016

If you ask about the age of city, do you expect to be told it founding date or its age?

If you said founding date, you will be as confused as I was by:

german-cities-poor-03

You can see the map in its full confusion.

The age of Aubsburg is indeed 2013, but 15 BCE (on orders of the Emperor Augustus) established the same fact with less effort on the part of the reader.

Making users work for information is always a poor communication strategy. Always.

The Great Scone Map…

Tuesday, December 6th, 2016

uk-scone-map-460

I was deeply disappointed to find the “Great Scone Map” represents differing pronunciations of “scone.”

Reading hurriedly, I thought perhaps it was a map of scone recipes. 😉

Suggestions of maps of biscuit (a small, typically round cake of bread leavened with baking powder, baking soda, or sometimes yeast) recipes?

To avoid confusion over the term “biscuit,” ask it the “biscuit” in question is eaten by the British. If yes, then odds are it not a “biscuit” in the North American sense of the word.

There’s an a/b test for you.

Put a British “biscuit” along side a buttered Popeyes biscuit and see which one is chosen more often.

Eat several Popeyes biscuits before starting to avoid being stuck with British “biscuits.”

Constitution Free Zone [The Only Advantage To Not Living In Hawaii]

Wednesday, November 30th, 2016

Know Your Rights: The Government’s 100-Mile “Border” Zone – Map

From the post:

Many people think that border-related policies impact only people living in border towns like El Paso or San Diego. The reality is that Border Patrol’s interior enforcement operations encroach deep into and across the United States, affecting the majority of Americans.

Roughly two-thirds of the United States’ population, about 200 million people, lives within the 100-mile zone that an outdated federal regulation defines as the border zone—that is, within 100 miles of a U.S. land or coastal border.

Although this zone is not literally “Constitution free”—constitutional protections do still apply—the Border Patrol frequently ignores those protections and runs roughshod over individuals’ civil liberties.

Learn more about the government’s 100-mile border zone.

Read the ACLU factsheet on Custom and Border Protection’s 100-mile zone

constitutionfreezonemap-460

The ACLU map demonstrates there are no locations in Hawaii where the border zone does not reach.

Now you can name the one advantage of living outside of Hawaii, just in case it comes up on Jeopardy.

😉

In some ways, this map is mis-leading.

The U.S. government runs roughshod over everyone within and without its borders.

Ask the people of Aleppo for tales of the American government. A city rumored to be founded in the 6th millennium BCE, may be about to become the largest graveyard in history.

Be sure to mention that on holiday cards to the Obama White House.

CIA Cartography [Comparison to other maps?]

Monday, November 28th, 2016

CIA Cartography

From the webpage:

Tracing its roots to October 1941, CIA’s Cartography Center has a long, proud history of service to the Intelligence Community (IC) and continues to respond to a variety of finished intelligence map requirements. The mission of the Cartography Center is to provide a full range of maps, geographic analysis, and research in support of the Agency, the White House, senior policymakers, and the IC at large. Its chief objectives are to analyze geospatial information, extract intelligence-related geodata, and present the information visually in creative and effective ways for maximum understanding by intelligence consumers.

Since 1941, the Cartography Center maps have told the stories of post-WWII reconstruction, the Suez crisis, the Cuban Missile crisis, the Falklands War, and many other important events in history.

There you will find:

Cartography Tools 211 photos

Cartography Maps 1940s 22 photos

Cartography Maps 1950s 14 photos

Cartography Maps 1960s 16 photos

Cartography Maps 1970s 19 photos

Cartography Maps 1980s 12 photos

Cartography Maps 1990s 16 photos

Cartography Maps 2000s 16 photos

Cartography Maps 2010s 15 photos

The albums have this motto at the top:

CIA Cartography Center has been making vital contributions to our Nation’s security, providing policymakers with crucial insights that simply cannot be conveyed through words alone.

President-elect Trump is said to be gaining foreign intelligence from sources other than his national security briefings. Trump is ignoring daily intelligence briefings, relying on ‘a number of sources’ instead. That report is based on a Washington Post account, which puts its credibility somewhere between a conversation overhead in a laundry mat and a stump speech by a member of Congress.

Assuming Trump is gaining intelligence from other sources, just how good are other sources of intelligence?

This release of maps by the CIA, some 160 maps spread from the 1940’s to the 2010’s, provides one axis for evaluating CIA intelligence versus what was commonly known at the time.

As a starting point, may I suggest: Image matching for historical maps comparison by C. Balletti and F. Guerrae, Perimetron, Vol. 4, No. 3, 2009 [180-186] www.e-perimetron.org | ISSN 1790-3769?

Abstract:

In cartographic heritage we suddenly find maps of the same mapmaker and of the same area, published in different years, or new editions due to integration of cartographic, such us in national cartographic series. These maps have the same projective system and the same cut, but they present very small differences. The manual comparison can be very difficult and with uncertain results, because it’s easy to leave some particulars out. It is necessary to find an automatic procedure to compare these maps and a solution can be given by digital maps comparison.

In the last years our experience in cartographic data processing was opted for find new tools for digital comparison and today solution is given by a new software, ACM (Automatic Correlation Map), which finds areas that are candidate to contain differences between two maps. ACM is based on image matching, a key component in almost any image analysis process.

Interesting paper but it presupposes a closeness of the maps that is likely to be missing when comparing CIA maps to other maps of the same places and time period.

I am in the process of locating other tools for map comparison.

Any favorites you would like to suggest?

1,198 Free High Resolution Maps of U.S. National Parks

Wednesday, November 23rd, 2016

1,198 Free High Resolution Maps of U.S. National Parks

From the post:

I cannot, and do not wish to, imagine the U.S. without its National Park system. The sale and/or despoliation of this more than 80 million acres of mountain, forest, stream, ocean, geyser, cavern, canyon, and every other natural formation North America contains would diminish the country immeasurably. “National parks,” wrote novelist Wallace Stegner, “are the best idea we ever had. Absolutely American, absolutely democratic, they reflect us at our best rather than our worst.”

Stegner’s quote—which gave Ken Burns’ National Parks documentary its subtitle–can sound overoptimistic when we study the parks’ history. Though not officially designated until the 20th century, the idea stretches back to 1851, when a battalion, intent on finding and destroying an Indian village, also found Yosemite. Named for what the soldiers thought was the tribe they killed and burned, the word actually translates as “they are killers.”

Westward expansion and the annexation of Hawaii have left us many sobering stories like that of Yosemite’s “discovery.” And during their development in the early- to mid-20th century, the parks often required the mass displacement of people, many of whom had lived on the land for decades—or centuries. But despite the bloody history, the creation of these sanctuaries have preserved the country’s embarrassment of natural beauty and irreplaceable biodiversity for a century now. (The National Park Service celebrated its 100th anniversary just this past August.)

The National Park Service and its allies have acted as bulwarks against privateers who would turn places like Yosemite into prohibitively expensive resorts, and perhaps fell the ancient Redwood National forests or blast away the Smokey Mountains. Instead, the parks remain “absolutely democratic,” open to all Americans and international visitors, the pride of conservationists, scientists, hikers, bird watchers, and nature-lovers of all kinds. Given the sprawling, idealistic, and violent history of the National Parks, it may be fair to say that these natural preserves reflect the country at both its worst and its best. And in that sense, they are indeed “absolutely American.”

Links to numerous resources, including National Parks Maps. (Home of 1,198 free high resolution maps of U.S. national parks.)

The national parks of the United States were born in violence and disenfranchisement of the powerless. It is beyond our power to atone for those excesses and injuries done in the past.

It is our task, to preserve those parks as monuments to our violence against the powerless and as natural treasures for all humanity.

The Postal Museum (UK)

Saturday, November 19th, 2016

The Postal Museum

Set to open in mid-2017, the Postal Museum covers five hundred years of “Royal Mail.”

It’s Online catalogue has more than 120,000 records describing its collection.

Which includes this gem:

uk-postal-museum-460

Registering for the catalogue will enable you to access downloadable content, save searches, create wish-lists, etc. Registration is free and worth the effort.

The site is in beta and my confirmation email displayed as blank in Thunderbird but viewing source gave the confirmation URL.

A terminology issue. Where the tabs for an item say “Ordering and Viewing,” they mean requesting an items to be retrieved for you to view on a specified day.

I was confused because I thought “ordering” meant obtaining a copy, print or digital of the item in question.

The turnpike road map above is available in a somewhat larger size but not nearly large enough for actual use.

Very high resolution images of maps and similar materials would be a welcome addition to the resources already available.

Enjoy!

PS: I didn’t look but the Postal Museum has resources on stamps as well. 😉

Digital Redlining At Facebook

Saturday, October 29th, 2016

“Redlining” has gone digital.

Facebook Lets Advertisers Exclude Users by Race by Julia Angwin and Terry Parris Jr. illustrates my point that improved technology isn’t making us better people, it’s enabling our bigotry to be practiced in new and more efficient ways.

Julia and Parris write:

Imagine if, during the Jim Crow era, a newspaper offered advertisers the option of placing ads only in copies that went to white readers.

That’s basically what Facebook is doing nowadays.

The ubiquitous social network not only allows advertisers to target users by their interests or background, it also gives advertisers the ability to exclude specific groups it calls “Ethnic Affinities.” Ads that exclude people based on race, gender and other sensitive factors are prohibited by federal law in housing and employment.

It’s a great read and Facebook points out that it wags its policy finger use of:

…the targeting options for discrimination, harassment, disparagement or predatory advertising practices.

“We take a strong stand against advertisers misusing our platform: Our policies prohibit using our targeting options to discriminate, and they require compliance with the law,” said Steve Satterfield, privacy and public policy manager at Facebook. “We take prompt enforcement action when we determine that ads violate our policies.”

Bigots near and far are shaking in their boots, just thinking about the policy finger of Facebook.

In discussion of this modernized form of “redlining,” it may be helpful to know the origin of the term and its impact on society.

Here’s a handy synopsis of the practice:


The FHA also explicitly practiced a policy of “redlining” when determining which neighborhoods to approve mortgages in. Redlining is the practice of denying or limiting financial services to certain neighborhoods based on racial or ethnic composition without regard to the residents’ qualifications or creditworthiness. The term “redlining” refers to the practice of using a red line on a map to delineate the area where financial institutions would not invest (see residential security maps).

The FHA allowed personal and agency bias in favor of all white suburban subdivisions to affect the kinds of loans it guaranteed, as applicants in these subdivisions were generally considered better credit risks. In fact, according to James Loewen in his 2006 book Sundown Towns, FHA publications implied that different races should not share neighborhoods, and repeatedly listed neighborhood characteristics like “inharmonious racial or nationality groups” alongside such noxious disseminates as “smoke, odors, and fog.” One example of the harm done by the FHA is as follows:

In the late 1930’s, as Detroit grew outward, white families began to settle near a black enclave adjacent to Eight Mile Road. By 1940, the blacks were surrounded, but neither they nor the whites could get FHA insurance because of the proximity of an inharmonious racial group. So, in 1941, an enterprising white developer built a concrete wall between the white and black areas. The FHA appraisers then took another look and approved the mortgages on the white properties.

Yes, segregated housing was due in part to official U.S. (not Southern) government policies.

I live near Atlanta, GA. so here’s a portion of an actual “redlining” map:

atlanta-redline-460

You can see the full version here.

Racially segregated housing wasn’t a matter of chance or birds of a feather, it was official government policy. Public government policy. They lacked the moral sensitivity to be ashamed of their actions.

There are legitimate targeting ad decisions.

Showing me golf club ads is a lost cause. 😉 As with a number of similar items.

But when does race become a legitimate exclusion category? And for what products?

For more historical data on the Home Owners’ Loan Corporation and a multitude of maps, see: Digital HOLC Maps by LaDale Winling. You may also enjoy his main site: Urban Oasis.

Just so you know, redlining isn’t a racist practice of the distant past. Redlining, a/k/a, housing discrimination, is alive and well today.

Does a 50% discrimination rate in Boston (Mass.) sound like it remains a problem?

PS: New Clinton/Podesta posts are coming! I’m posting while my scripts run in the background. New 3.5 GB dump.

Spying On Government Oppression: Est. Oct. 25 – Nov. 4, 2016 – #NoDAPL camps (North Dakota)

Wednesday, October 26th, 2016

Police forces have suborned the FAA into declaring a no-fly zone in a seven (7) mile radius of #NoDAPL camps in North Dakota.

Truthful video of unprovoked violence against peaceful protesters may “interfere with the election,” and/or their continuance of this cultural/environment/social outrage.

The FAA posted this helpful map:

north-dakota-large-460

James Peach reports contact information in FAA Issues “No Fly Zone” Over Area of DAPL Protests at Standing Rock, ND:

FAA Regional Office
Contact: Laurie Suttmeier
Telephone: (701)-667-3224

“No Fly Zone” Notice –
FAA Temporary Flight Restrictions

Morton Country Sheriff’s Department
Facebook Page: Morton County Sheriff’s Department on FB
Contact: Sheriff Kyle Kirchmeier
Telephone: (701) 667-3330

In case you are behind on this particular government crime against a sovereign people and its own citizens, catch up with: The fight over the Dakota Access Pipeline, explained by Brad Plumer or, Life in the Native American oil protest camps (BBC).

The deployment of government forces is fluid so drones are essential to effective resistance.

And to capture and stream government atrocities in real time.

Small wonder the FAA is a co-conspirator in this criminal enterprise.

Going My Way? – Explore 1.2 billion taxi rides

Friday, September 30th, 2016

Explore 1.2 billion taxi rides by Hannah Judge.

From the post:

Last year the New York City Taxi and Limousine Commission released a massive dataset of pickup and dropoff locations, times, payment types, and other attributes for 1.2 billion trips between 2009 and 2015. The dataset is a model for municipal open data, a tool for transportation planners, and a benchmark for database and visualization platforms looking to test their mettle.

MapD, a GPU-powered database that uses Mapbox for its visualization layer, made it possible to quickly and easily interact with the data. Mapbox enables MapD to display the entire results set on an interactive map. That map powers MapD’s dynamic dashboard, updating the data as you zoom and pan across New York.

Very impressive demonstration of the capabilities of MapD!

Imagine how you can visualize data from your hundreds of users geo-spotting security forces with their smartphones.

Or visualizing data from security forces tracking your citizens.

Technology cuts both ways.

The question is whether the sharper technology sword is going to be in your hands or those of your opponents?

How Mapmakers Make Mountains Rise Off the Page

Saturday, September 17th, 2016

How Mapmakers Make Mountains Rise Off the Page by Greg Miller.

From the post:

The world’s most beautiful places are rarely flat. From the soaring peaks of the Himalaya to the vast chasm of the Grand Canyon, many of the most stunning sites on Earth extend in all three dimensions. This poses a problem for mapmakers, who typically only have two dimensions to work with.

Fortunately, cartographers have some clever techniques for creating the illusion of depth, many of them developed by trial and error in the days before computers. The best examples of this work use a combination of art and science to evoke a sense of standing on a mountain peak or looking out an airplane window.

One of the oldest surviving maps, scratched onto an earthenware plate in Mesopotamia more than 4,000 years ago, depicts mountains as a series of little domes. It’s an effective symbol, still used today in schoolchildren’s drawings and a smartphone emoji, but it’s hardly an accurate representation of terrain. Over the subsequent centuries, mapmakers made mostly subtle improvements, varying the size and shape of their mountains, for example, to indicate that some were bigger than others.

But cartography became much more sophisticated during the Renaissance. Topographic surveys were done for the first time with compasses, measuring chains, and other instruments, resulting in accurate measurements of height. And mapmakers developed new methods for depicting terrain. One method, called hachuring, used lines to indicate the direction and steepness of a slope. You can see a later example of this in the 1807 map below of the Mexican volcano Pico de Orizaba. Cartographers today refer (somewhat dismissively) to mountains depicted this way as “woolly caterpillars.”

Stunning illusions of depth on maps, creating depth illusions in 2 dimensions (think computer monitors), history of map making techniques, are all reasons to read this post.

What seals it for me is that the quest for the “best” depth illusion continues. It’s not a “solved” problem. (No spoiler, see the post.)

Physical topography to one side, how are you going to bring “depth” to your topic map?

Some resources in a topic map may have great depth and others, unfortunately, may be like Wikipedia articles marked as:

This article has multiple issues.

How do you define and then enable navigation of your topic maps?

Persuasive Cartography

Monday, September 12th, 2016

Vintage Infodesign [161]: More examples of persuasive cartography, diagrams and charts from before 1960 by Tiago Veloso.

From the post:

A recurrent topic here on Vintage InfoDesign is “persuasive cartography” – the use of maps to influence and in many cases, deceive. We showcased examples of these maps here and here, with a special mention to the PJ Mode Collection at Cornell University Library. The collection was donated to Cornell back in 2014, and until now more than 300 examples are available online in high resolution.

A must for all of those interested in the subject, and we picked a few examples to open this post, courtesy of Allison Meier, who published a rente article about the PJ Mode Collection over at Hyperallergic.

new-black-plague-460

Re-reading The Power of Maps (1992) by Denis Wood, in preparation to read Rethinking The Power of Maps (2010), also by Denis Wood, has made me acutely aware of aspersions such as:

“persuasive cartography” – the use of maps to influence and in many cases, deceive.

I say “aspersion” because Wood makes the case that all maps, with no exceptions, are the results of omissions, characterizations, enhancements, emphasis on some features and not others, for stated and/or unstated purposes.

Indeed, all of The Power of Maps (1992) is devoted to teasing out, with copious examples, where a user of a map may fail to recognize the “truth” of any map, is a social construct in a context shaped by factors known and unknown.

I characterize maps I disagree with as being deceptive, disingenuous, inaccurate, etc., but doesn’t take away from Wood’s central point that all maps are acts of persuasion.

The critical question being: Do you support the persuasion a map is attempting to make?

When I teach topic maps again I will make The Power of Maps (1992) required reading.

It is an important lesson to realize that any map, even a topic map, need only map so much of the territory or domain, as is sufficient for the task at hand.

A topic maps for nuclear physics won’t have much in common with one for war criminals of the George W. Bush and Barack Obama administrations.

Moreover, even topic maps of the same subject domain, may or may not merge in a meaningful way.

The idea of useful merger of arbitrary topic maps, like the idea of “objective maps,” is a false one that serves no useful purpose.

Say rather that topic maps can make enough information explicit about subjects to determine if merging will be meaningful to one or more users of a topic map. That alone is quite a feat.