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Archive for January, 2016

Marine Cadastre Data Viewer and Portal

January 31, 2016 1 comment

The Marine Cadastre Data Viewer and Portal provides direct access to authoritative marine cadastral data from U.S. federal and state sources, including information on the tracks of vessels, bathymetry, administrative boundaries, and fish, bird, and other species.  It provides baseline information needed for ocean planning efforts, particularly those that involve finding the best location for renewable energy projects. The MarineCadastre.gov National Viewer uses Esri web GIS technology and is also a helpful tool in the permit review process. Users can select the ocean geography of their choosing and quickly see the applicable jurisdictional boundaries, restricted areas, laws, critical habitat locations, and other important features. With the national viewer, potential conflicts can be identified and avoided early in the planning process.

The site offers two distinct advantages:  1)  The ability to view over 75 data layers from a variety of sources in a single live ArcGIS Online-based web map viewer; 2)  The ability to download those same layers from the map interface for additional analysis.  We have been critical in this blog about sites that get the user tantalizingly close to downloading the data but never quite allow it.  This one delivers. The only thing I have not been able to get to work during my review of the resource is the buffer tool.

See this site for additional information about the data layers and services.  In addition, you can explore the set of layers on ArcGIS Online in the Marine Cadastre group.

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GIS and the Top 10 Technology Trends

January 17, 2016 1 comment

Recently, information technology research and advisory company Gartner listed what it considers to be the Top 10 technology trends for 2016.  This insightful article, when considered in light of recent GIS developments, shows that these tech trends are both influenced by and are reflected by geotechnologies.  Whether or not you agree that the 10 trends listed here are the “most influential,” please consider their connections to GIS.  The first trend, The Digital Mesh, refers to “all devices are connected in an expanding set of endpoints people use to access applications and information, or interact with people, social communities, governments and businesses.”  GIS and GPS technologies are enabling the connections to occur, and conversely, influence the direction that GIS will go.

One manifestation of how the Digital Mesh is driving GIS is the attention over the past few years on building GIS apps.  If you would like to learn more about building your own GIS apps, consider enrolling in the free 5 week Esri MOOC “Do-it-yourself Geo Apps.“, by signing up for a free developer’s account on ArcGIS Online, or by building some of your own web apps such as with this tool.

Other trends include the “information of everything” and big data, and we’ve written about Big Data several times as well in this blog since 2012. Adaptive security architecture is another trend, developed in response to privacy breaches, and we’ve written about location privacy here and in our book.  We have also reflected about The Internet of Things, which through the sensor network is enabling GIS to become a sort of “nervous system of the planet.”  In fact, it is difficult to think of any of the trends identified without being able to identify numerous connections to GIS.

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For those in the geotechnology community, it is important to stay current with the latest technology trends and reflect upon how those trends impact GIS.  This Gartner article will help.

Updated Public Domain Data Exercises

January 13, 2016 3 comments

When the GIS Guide to Public Domain Data was published in 2012, we produced an accompanying set of exercises to help illustrate some of the issues that could be encountered when locating, manipulating and analysing public domain spatial data. Among the issues we discussed were the problems of data sources disappearing or data portals that were no longer maintained.

As a number of the online resources we used for the original exercises have not been immune to such changes, we have updated the exercises to provide modified or alternate data resources for the activities. The new exercises and the answer key (.doc format) are available to download from Google Drive (no password required).

PDD Exercises on Google Drive

Exercises on Google Drive

TopoView for Browsing and Downloading USGS Topographic Maps

January 3, 2016 4 comments

The USGS National Map program, working with the National Geologic Map Database (NGMDB) project, has launched a new version of the application named TopoView, which we described while it was in beta, for exploring, viewing  and downloading the more than 178,000 USGS digitized legacy topographic maps from the USGS Historical Topographic Map Collection.  TopoView is now fully available and given its holdings, we think that it warrants full investigation by the GIS professional.  I have created a video that walks you through the process of using the site.

 

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USGS TopoView viewer and downloader for historical USGS Topographic Maps.

These scanned USGS quadrangle maps, georeferenced at various scales, date from the late 1880’s to 2010. For more information on the effort to capture the complete map collection, see the Historical Topo Map Collection web site.   For more information, see the guidelines on “A New Way to Find Old Maps“.

An alternative tool to examine historical USGS topographic maps is the Esri USGS Historical Map Viewer.  TopoView and the Historical Map Viewer use similar technologies from Esri’s ArcGIS Online and each have advantages.  TopoView allows geotiff and other download formats and provides an easier way to select specific maps.  The Historical Map Viewer has a time scale across the bottom and its ability to overlay maps of different years make it a useful teaching tool for examining land use change over time. Try them both and we look forward to your comments below.

 

Categories: Public Domain Data