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Informatics and GIS Program

IGIS Blog

Tag proliferation!

I've come to rely on this, my blog, for recalling important work related events, places, tools, and datasets. But, it is a bit unwieldy as a search engine. Perhaps it is delayed spring cleaning (ok, delayed like 12 years...), but I feel that have way too many tags on this blog, and it could do with a tidy-up. I started the blog back in 2006 (ok, I didn't start it, Ken-ichi did, back when he was a Kellylabber), and since then its been fair game as far as tags go. What to tag a post about "drones"? fine, why not also tag it as "UAVs"! Like old maps? Tag a post "cool old maps" and "history"! You get the pic. As of now I have 88 tags. My go-tos are: 

  • conferences: where I give my wrap-ups from meetings, and provide some perspective along with new software, data, etc. 
  • class: where I capture stuff for class; and 
  • data and software: where I tag new stuff I need to follow up on. 

So... from 88 I am going to move to 10. The core are "people", "data", and "tools", and there are a few more. They are: 

  • class: for all things class related; and conferences: keep up the wrap-ups!
  • the triad: people: all things collaboration related; data: obvi, from drones, to imagery, to mobile, to pics; tools: analytics and apps and all the rest;
  • the groupsgif: cool posts related to the gif; igis: cool posts related to IGIS; lab: for all the wonderful student work;
  • science: all the domains we focus on; and
  • meta: for all the culture about mapping: papers, literature, movies and music videos.

Wow. Hope it works. Now I have to reclass all the original 88 into their new homes. 

Posted on Thursday, August 2, 2018 at 4:18 PM

Wrap-up from the Geospatial Software Institute (GSI) Workshop: “Towards a National Geospatial Software Ecosystem”

My wrap-up from a very engaged and provocative 1.5 day workshop on geospatial technology futures, hosted by the CyberGIS Center: “Towards a National Geospatial Software Ecosystem”. First: great group of cool peeps all hyper-engaged in geospatial data, tools, use cases, science, and community. Second: fun to be involved in big-picture thinking on what a geospatial software institute might look like if it was to be built from scratch. Finally, I was on the panel discussing core questions bridging use cases and core technical capabilities, and I share my reflections of the workshop here.

  • Question 1. Are there any significant gaps between the use cases and core technical capabilities that GSI should address?
    • Training needs: beyond GIS training – “spatial data science” training, for K-12; undergrad; graduate; veterans; professionals
    • Easy ways to get access to cloud storage and computation, and for different datasets like UAVs. There are examples like CyVerse (from Tyson Swetnam) and others
    • Data integration: Data assimilation, Data fusion, Sensor triangulation.
      • Whatever you want to call it – this remains a challenge for geospatial experts and beginners alike. And it is especially a challenge when you work across disciplines (e.g. the work of SESYNC from Mary Shelley and Margaret Palmer, SESYNC, University of Maryland)
    • Dynamics: Spatio-temporal and real-time data streams: sensor networks, social media, cube sats
    • Resolution:
      • in space (e.g. the new Antarctic DEM from Paul Morin, University of Minnesota);
      • in time (e.g. cubesats, sensor networks; social media);
      • in depth?: going under-ground (from Debra Laefer, NYU)
    • We love FAIR for data. What about FAIR for tools: make tools Findable, Accessible, Interoperable, and Re-usable
  • Question 2: What does the CyberGIS Geographic Software Institute (GSI) need to do to address community needs and contribute to the national CyberInfrastructure ecosystem?
    • Link strongly with existing diversity-supporting frameworks: HBCU; community colleges; tribes; networks such as @WomenWhoCode, @LadiesOfLandsat, @BlackGirlsCode, @500womensci, @RLadiesGlobal, etc.
    • More of these workshops! Multi-disciplinary meetings of people with tight/packed agendas and make use of workshop attendees between workshops; what can we do to spread the word
    • Create GSI Data Institute or Bootcamp or Faculty Education Mentoring Network
    • Support standards for data and software standards to promote interoperability
    • Support frameworks for data and software discovery and interoperability: FAIR for data; FAIR for tools

Conclusion: Super Fun. Learned a Ton. Plus parting words from Michael Goodchild: It is not location that matters, it is context. Location provides context; context allows integration: with data, between disciplines, between people, between tools. "Let's get above the layers".

Posted on Tuesday, July 17, 2018 at 7:00 PM
Tags: conferences (39)

ESRI User Conference 2018 wrap-up

As always, the Plenary session was an immersive and emotional showcase of the power of mapping. Running through Monday’s talks was a sense of urgency for we GIS people to save the world. This is what JD calls “societal GIS”, or “embracing the digital transformation and leverage the science of where”. Shane and I had a great time. Some key news from the Plenary:

  • ESRI is in every K-12 school in the US; JD announced it will be offered to every K-12 school in the world.

  • The work of Thomas Crowther, Professor of Global Ecosystem Ecology at ETH Zürich (@crowthelab) is inspirational. They estimate 3T trees globally, with room for 1T more. (See paper here.)  Gonna be checking out his tree data on the Living Atlas (global maps of tree density, diversity, carbon uptake, and reflectance).

  • A great demo from JD Irving, a private Canadian forestry, transportation and products company heavy into sustainability and GIS. All there properties are managed using ArcGIS + R. 

  • ESRI is showcasing some key "Solution Configurations" that are bundled software products focused on high-priority areas such as: 1) community engagement ("Hub"); 2) interior spaces ("Indoors") and 3) smart cities ("Urban"). The highlighted snazzy urban planning 3D vis tools will be giving UrbanSim a run for their money. Might we work RUCS2.0 into a "Solution Configuration" for working landscape planning? 

Plus some highlights of what I learned overall: 

Data updates

  • Wow. ESRI's Living Atlas of the World has some amazing resources. Living Atlas is ESRI’s curated web data portal that links seamlessly with Pro. It has tons of data on environment and imagery. Want Sentinel-2 imagery, NAIP, or MODIS thermal? Want global climate and weather data? Want to easily play with Open Street Map or other vector tiles within your GIS project? It is all in the Living Atlas. This will be a game changer for class. Plus TC’s tree data. Gonna be checking this out.

  • Unstructured data can be added to your workflow now, this is text, etc. This is big. 

  • Offering access to Open Street Map within Pro. 

Software updates (mostly about Pro)

  • Pro is the way to go, but ESRI will continue to support ArcMap “for years to come

  • New stuff in ArcGIS Pro related to Image Analysis:

    • Sensor support has been expanded; plus new formats supported, eg. netcdf. Pro supports mosaic datasets, they call mosaics the optimum data model for image management. 

    • ESRI is now supporting “oriented” imagery - StreetView Imagery, oblique imagery, etc. Easily integrate things like iPhone photos within your Pro project. They call this working in “image space” rather than “map space”.

    • Ortho Mapping within ESRI has 3 solutions: Drone2Map (stand-alone software), within ArcGIS Pro (using the Image Server license), and OrthoMaker (web interface).

    • New release of Pro has full motion video support. (Upcoming releases will have more deep learning algorithms, multi-patch editing in stereo, and pixel editing.)

    • There are so many cool things going on on the imagery front in Pro, makes me excited.

  • New stuff in ArcGIS Pro in general:

    • Adding an unstructured data format - e.g. text!

    • 3D editing and 3D voxel support.

    • Machine Learning is increasingly embedded in ESRI workflows, and when that is not enough, ML is also possible via linkages with external resources (via R, TensorFlow, MXNET, AWS tools, etc.).

    • ESRI increasingly recognizing that people work in and outside of ESRI software: R-Bridge, Python API, Jupyter Notebooks makes external linkages super easy. 

    • ESRI is working to support cloud-based storage and computing via:

    • Support via AWS and Azure; Optimizing raster storage and caching in multiple formats; and the ability to point to existing cloud storage

  • Plus, for your GPS needs: 

    • Trimble Catalyst antenna + ESRI Collector might be the way to go, but it is windows/android specific for now. iOS compatibility is "on a horizon" as of now.

  • A quick note about ArcGIS online (ESRI's complete mapping and location intelligence platform). It has 6M subscribers (!), making 1B maps a day (!!). (Did I get those numbers correctly?)

Notes for classes/workshops

    • GIS-stat-analysis-py-tutor on GitHub

  • ESRI provides many Learning templates for us who are dreading converting all our ArcMap labs to Pro: https://www.esri.com/training/ and

  • ESRI is also working on providing templated best practice workflows to help teach concepts. They call them, at least in Image Analyst "Imagery workflows". Might be useful in class/workshops. 

As always a great conference! The new ESRI terminology might be a useful organizing structure for class: A GIS is a system of: 

  • Record: storing spatially indexed information
  • Insights: via analysis
  • Engagement: through mapping and visualization
Posted on Thursday, July 12, 2018 at 4:21 PM
Tags: conferences (39)

ESRI User Conference 2018 – Day 2

Have you ever wished you had your own geoportal like ArcGIS Online within your own ArcGIS Online Organization,  now you can with Esri Arcgis Hub.  ArcGIS Hub and the Sites it can create will allow you to do just that.  Now within UCANR we can create sub sites within our organization account.  We have the ability to create sub sites for other groups in UCANR like Integrated Pest Management (IPM), 4H, Master Gardeners, to name but a few.  I look forward to rolling out these Sites to other groups and team within UCANR.

Posted on Tuesday, July 10, 2018 at 8:43 PM
Tags: California (4), ESRI UC 2008 (2), IGIS (53), San Diego (4), UCANR (13)
Focus Area Tags: Innovation

ESRI User Conference 2018 – Day 1

Day 1 at the User Conference was dominated by the Plenary talks of ESRI Owner Jack Dangermond and others. The morning plenary by Mr. Dangermond and other ESRI Staff is where they highlight the newest technology that we now have access to from ESRI.  In the past I have heard of the User Conference as the “Show” and it continues to live up to that name.  This year they highlighted the new machine learning and AI tools that have been integrated into ArcGIS and the new capabilities of ArcGIS Online, ArcGIS Portal, and ArcGIS Pro.  Over the coming days I hope to highlight these technologies and more in greater detail.

Posted on Tuesday, July 10, 2018 at 8:41 PM
Tags: California (4), ESRI UC 2008 (2), IGIS (53), San Diego (4), UCANR (13)
Focus Area Tags: Innovation

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