While I was in graduate school I didn’t understand why people got master’s degrees in geospatial analysis. Well, I guess I understood it, but I thought it looked like a miserable job. I would come back from a field excursion with dirt covering me from eyebrows to boot tips, a month’s worth of lab samples in my backpack, happy as can be. I felt sorry for the geospatial people staggering out from their computer-heated cave. Now I have become one of those people; one of those sore-eyed, computer-staring people but I’ve discovered a new appreciation for remote sensing-based research. Read More »
On 30 September 2015, I gave a talk to the Southern Maryland GIS User Group titled “Interactive Maps Without Map Servers.” This post consists of the slides from that presentation interspersed with my “talk track” in order to provide context.
Today, I’m going to discuss publishing interactive maps without using a map server. I’m going to do this by focusing on a specific case study for one of our customers, the US Commission on Civil Rights. This example is fairly simple and I chose it for its ease of illustration for today’s talk. Before I get started, I think it’s necessary to clear up some terminology.
While working with geospatial information, it is often advantageous to find out how close one particular piece of data is to other pieces of data. This leads to a greater understanding of the area of study. The knowledge of how things relate to one another spatially is articulated in Waldo Tobler’s First Law of Geography. It states that “everything is related to everything else, but near things are more related than distant things.” Read More »
Over the past decade, GIS professionals who can manipulate the software both manually and automatically are becoming increasingly more marketable within the industry. Automating mundane/repetitive tasks frees up time to focus on more advanced analyses and other GIS processes.
On one of our current contracts, we are required to create map products in response to “breaking news” events. These maps provide situational awareness to our client regarding the status of assets within their area of jurisdiction. Time is of the essence during these events, and the faster a map product can go out, the better.
Esri CityEngine lets you create, as the name implies, cities, quite easily. As a bonus, it lets you export these creations in various formats including FBX files which can be imported into 3D game engines including Unity. You can very easily add VR support for the Oculus Rift to Unity 4 Pro.
To follow along with this tutorial we will need a few things:
- Esri CityEngine 2013: 30 day trial license may be available
- Unity 4 Pro: for Oculus Rift Support, 30 day trial license is available. You should be able to get away with the free version if you only want to add a traditional FPS camera.
- Oculus Rift SDK: free but will need to sign up for a developer’s account
- Oculus Rift Developer’s Kit: Needed to view in virtual reality though you can still follow this tutorial and navigate the city via a regular monitor.
A while back, my colleague Barry Schimpf touched upon some of the tools that we use in conjunction with the Platform Independent Model (PIM). Today, I will delve into one of the tools we use to generate physical schemas from the PIM. Before, I jump in, let’s review what a PIM is and what it does.
The PIM is an approach we have developed to enable proper configuration management of geospatial data models. We have used it successfully for federal customers to track multiple versions of complex data models, validate physical implementations of those models, and support profiling and adaptation of the models across user communities. The focus of a PIM is on the data model as opposed to the actual geospatial data so a PIM itself doesn’t store any geospatial feature data. It is merely a representation of the logical model; defining the feature types, attributes, relationships, and constraints necessary to build a geospatial data set that is in compliance with a particular data standard.
The combination of Microsoft and Esri products is common across Federal information infrastructures and, as a result, we find ourselves integrating these tools often. SQL Server Reporting Services (SSRS) is still a widely-used solution for generating dynamic reports in many government settings. Invariably, some users want to use their Esri tools to embed maps into their reports. This post discusses a simple approach to using ArcGIS for Server to dynamically provide maps in SSRS reports based on report parameters.
With the increasing focus on information security across all sectors of government, IT policies are placing increased restrictions on information architectures, including GIS. While these restrictions may not prevent the development of a robust enterprise geospatial architecture, the approval and accreditation processes can introduce significant delays, during which work must continue. This is where workarounds come into play.
Light detection and ranging, or LIDAR, is a type of remote sensing technology that is similar to radar. It is used in a variety of geographic and environmental applications to model and analyze the physical world.
Often mounted to an airplane or motor vehicle, the sensing unit uses radio waves and the measured time delay between pulse transmission and reflected pulse receipt to determine the distance from an object. There are two styles in which this data can be received by the unit. Some units use what is called “discrete-return,” which only records data at predetermined precise locations (space or time). Some refer to this style as “point” because it returns information specific to locations. The other type of data receipt is called “waveform,” which records data nearly continuously from the unit.