Archive for February, 2021

Creative Commons data licensing : 2021 – 2025

February 22, 2021 1 comment

Among the main themes in The GIS Guide to Public Domain Data were the issues of copyright, publicly available data versus public domain data, and the range of licensing arrangements available to data publishers.

Public Domain Mark

Public Domain Mark

Our review of the Creative Commons (CC) licensing options in 2012 concluded that although the CC licenses were becoming increasingly popular for geospatial data, the various license categories were never intended for combined geospatial data stores and the volumes of derived data generated from those stores. Many geospatial data publishers opted for the copyright protections provided under such arrangements as the Open Database Licence from the Open Knowledge Foundation or the Open Government Licence (OGL) in the UK.

In December 2020 CC announced a new strategy for 2021 – 2025, with the primary emphasis on better, rather than just simply more, knowledge sharing, and a comprehensive approach to open sharing. CC has recognised the need to consider economical and ethical issues in addition to the existing copyright licensing arrangements.

Although the new strategy is based on a sector-by-sector analysis of content sharing requirements, there’s no specific mention of support for geospatial data publishers and the diverse, integrated data sources they manage. In the absence of tailored licensing arrangements for geospatial data, it’s hard to see at present the new strategy significantly changing how geospatial data publishers license their data.




Updates to Fire Tower Siting Activity

February 15, 2021 Leave a comment

GIS is in a state of unending change and improvement, and any activity or lesson based on such a dynamic technology must also change. I have just updated and improved the fire tower siting activity, and its new location is in the same location as where the other 9 lessons in the collection are located, here.

In this lesson, you will download and use raster and vector spatial data to decide where to site a wildfire observation tower in the Loess Hills near Blair, Nebraska (one of my favorite landscapes). The public domain data used in this lesson include USGS digital line graph roads and hydrography data, and State of Nebraska land cover and elevation.

This is one of my favorite lessons, in part because you use the raster calculator to create slope and aspect maps, you use proximity and other vector and raster analysis tools, and make real decisions using real-world data. I invite you to dig into it.

The lesson is broken down into the following “work packages”:

Work Package 1: Downloading and converting data. Steps 1-9. 
Work Package 2: Viewing and manipulating data. Steps 10-20. 
Work Package 3: Downloading and using elevation and land cover data. Steps 21-33. 
Work Package 4: Working further with the elevation data. Steps 34-37. 
Work Package 5: Converting raster land cover data to vector. Steps 38-46. 
Work Package 6: Further and final analysis. Steps 47-51. 
Work Package 7: Reflection and next steps. Steps 52-54.

Page 1 of the fire tower lesson.

As a reminder, the goal of the 10 lessons in this collection are to work with public domain data of a wide variety of themes and scales, grapple with data portals, and use the data with a logical set of steps and making rigorous use of analysis tools to make key decisions.

I look forward to hearing your reactions, below.

–Joseph Kerski

Categories: Public Domain Data

How much data is out there?

February 1, 2021 4 comments

As this blog is all about data, and about the advent of the truly “Big Data” world, exactly how much data are we talking about? Below is one source of information about how much data actually exists today and how much is projected to exist in the near future.

How much data exists and is projected to exist?

Aydin, O. (2021). Spatial Data Science: Transforming Our Planet [Conference presentation]. 2021 Los Angeles Geospatial Summit, Los Angeles, CA, United States.

Because our blog and book is also about encouraging people to check data sources, I would like to add that the above information came from the following: Seagate’s annual data report: There is an abridged version in this article from Forbes:

These figures are staggering, and from these figures spring many questions: How much of the above data is geospatial data? How much is not geospatial yet, but is potentially mappable? Which data should be mapped? Take a look at the small percentage, say, of tweets that are geotagged. Should more be geotagged? What would we gain by doing so?

More importantly: What will we do with all this data? Will we be able to sort out the important from the trivial to continue to advance society in health, safety, and sustainability? How must geotechnologies evolve to remain viable in the big data world? I look forward to your comments below.

–Joseph Kerski