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Archive for November, 2018

A graphical aid in deciding whether geospatial data meets your needs

November 26, 2018 Leave a comment

The following graphic from an Esri course may be helpful when you are deciding whether or not you should use a specific GIS data set in your analysis.  Though simple, it contains several key elements in deciding fitness for use, a key topic in our blog and book, including metadata, scale, and currency.

Another helpful graphic and essay I have found helpful is Nathan Heazlewood’s 30 checks for data errors.  Another dated though useful set of text and graphic is from the people at PBCGIS here, where they review the process from abstraction of a situation of a problem, to considering the data model, fitness of data, understanding information needs, and examining the dichotomies of concise vs. confusing, credible vs. unfounded, and useful vs. not useful.  PBCGIS created a more detailed and useful set of considerations here.  My article published in Directions Magazine about search strategies might also be helpful.

Do you use graphical aids when making decisions about data, or when teaching this topic to others? If so, which are the most useful for you?

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A review of the Oregon Geospatial Data Portal

November 12, 2018 2 comments

We as the authors of this blog have been honored to review many state, national, and international GIS data portals throughout the years.  The state portals have included Texas, Utah, Maryland, and Indiana, and ranking among these great portals is the one from Oregon.  Named “The Oregon Spatial Data Library, at the time of this writing, the library lists 908 data items–an impressive number, but even more impressive is its simple, modern interface with the ability to browse by collection, format, sources, topics, and keywords–all listed on the left side.   The data sources include downloadable zip files but also streaming data services which as we have pointed out here, are rapidly becoming the preferred option for many users and uses.

The library is also linked to another fabulous resource– The Oregon Explorer, with its own mapping interface and information about fascinating places to visit, but also information about natural hazards and other themes of concern to residents and visitors of the state.  Thus, it is a tool for the visitor and general public, but also a research tool.  Through the library, one can also access the Communities Reporter, a resource for community planners and researchers with access to extensive data and maps.

Interestingly, the Oregon Community Foundation is listed as a partner, an organization that creates charitable funds for worthy causes in the state.  To have a resource such as a geospatial data library be considered a worthy cause brings me great joy!

I highly recommend investigating the Oregon Spatial Data Library.  I congratulate and salute all those involved in setting it up and maintaining this excellent resource.

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The Oregon Spatial Data Library, with investigation to discover land use land cover data. 

–Joseph Kerski