University of California
Informatics and GIS Program

IGIS Blog

California Adaptation Clearinghouse Website Launched

IGIS and the California Naturalist Program are pleased to help celebrate the launch of a new information portal on climate adaptation. The California Adaptation Clearinghouse was officially launched at the California Adaptation Forum in August in Sacramento. The site was developed by the Governor's Office of Planning and Research (OPR) in collaboration with the UC Berkeley Geospatial Innovation Facility, CalNat, and IGIS.

The Clearinghouse is a database-driven platform with a wealth of curated resources for climate adaptation. The site originated out of Senate Bill 246, which mandates OPR to provide resources on climate adaptation for local governments, regional planning agencies, and other practitioners working on adaptation and resilience. The database also contains sea-level rise resources collected by the Ocean Protection Council under Assembly Bill 2516. It's an amazing resource for anyone looking to strengthen climate change preparedness in their local government, community, or business.

The database includes numerous planning resources that have been developed and vetted by experts in the field. For example, the Urban Sustainability Directors Network has a how-to guide for local governments on developing equitable, community-driven climate preparedness plans, which you can find in the Clearinghouse. There are also examples of vulnerability assessments, local plans, and funding strategies. The majority of resources are hosted by other organizations, but unlike a Google search all the resources in the Clearinghouse have been reviewed, annotated, and cataloged by subject matter specialists.

To help find resources, the Clearinghouse has a number of search options, including more than a dozen topic categories adapted from Safeguarding California, the state's overall roadmap for building climate change resiliency. You can also search by Type of Impact (e.g., drought, sea level rise), Resource Type (e.g., case study, assessment, policy guidance), and of course an interactive map. Each resource has a descriptive blurb so you can quickly find what you need.

Adaptation planning can be information intensive, so the Tools and Data section of the website is devoted to helping people find data and crunch the numbers. Interested in rangelands? Check out the CA Landscape Conservation Cooperative's compiled Threat Assessments to California Rangelands. Sea level rise? Perhaps the CosMos modeling tool from USGS, or the Surging Seas tool from Climate Central. Like all resources, each tool and dataset has a user-friendly description, a technical summary, a bit about the data, and links to the source. One of our favorites is the California Energy Commission's Cal-Adapt, which includes both historical and projected climate data downscaled for California.

Providing a more personal perspective, the Clearinghouse also contains stories about climate adaptation from individuals, community groups, and businesses. The stories were collected by the UC ANR California Naturalist Program and their vast network of certified naturalists. The climate stories are diverse and compelling, from a concerned grandmother who becomes engaged in a community choice energy program, to a solar project engineer working to strengthen measures to prevent heat stroke in field staff. An interactive Story Map developed by IGIS helps users find stories from their area, some of which even have audio or video clips so you can hear the story in the speaker's own words.

Climate adaptation is complicated, but information portals like the Clearinghouse allow anyone to tap into the incredible amount of work that has already been done in California and elsewhere. Rather than reinvent the wheel, local agencies can build upon vetted guidelines from similar areas. We are all fortunate that the State of California has invested in a platform to share curated resources for the long-term, because climate adaptation is already part of the new normal. More resources are in the pipeline, so check it out and then check back often to see what's new.

Posted on Tuesday, December 4, 2018 at 4:29 PM
Tags: Adaptation (1), CalNat (1), Clearinghouse (1), Climate Change (1), IGIS (55), OPR (1)

Mapping post-fire landscapes at Hopland Research & Extension Center

The River Fire began July 27, 2018 at 1pm on Old River Road in Hopland. By the evening it had spread, and was threatening numerous buildings in the area. We have a ANR Research and Extension Center (HREC) there, and Shane Feirer from IGIS lives and works here. Evacuations were ordered quickly, and down in the bay area we all held our breath hoping the fire wouldn’t harm people or animals or consume the HREC buildings. By the time it was contained (as part of the Mendocino Complex), it had burned 48,920 acres. We’ve been flying drones over HREC for awhile, and the last month we did more drone flights to map the post-fire landscape. We flew some Hangar 360 flights with a DJI Phantom to get some sweet overviews of the scene (example1, example2, example3), and flew much of the area with our eBee on the first mission and Matrices on the second mission with both multispectral and RGB cameras.

These pics below compare the eBee imagery (2cm) with Planet imagery (3m).





These are pics of the eBee (far left) and the Matrice (far right) getting ready to fly into the blackened landscape, and some snaps from the Hanger pics.





Posted on Monday, October 8, 2018 at 10:24 PM
Tags: drones (17), igis (55)

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)

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