Every fall I ask my GIS students to answer the big questions in advance of their class projects. This year climate change, wildlife conservation, land use and water quality are important, as well as a number of other topics. Remote sensing continues to be important to GISers. Scientists, government and communities need to work together to solve problems.
- What does the proposed project hope to accomplish?
- What is the problem that needs to be addressed?
- What do you expect to happen?
- What analysis approach will be used?
- Why was this approach selected?
- What are alternative methods?
- Is the analysis reproducible?
- What are the datasets that are needed?
- Where will they come from?
- Have you downloaded and checked this dataset?
- Do you have a backup dataset?
- Who will care about this? And why?
- How will they use the results?
- Will they be involved in the entire workflow?
Here are the responses from Fall 2017:
With the ever-changing world of technology and knowledge we have a need to get this information out to the public in a timely manner. One of the new tools that we can use are Storymaps from ESRI. These web based application combine text and maps into an intuitive and interactive experience. For more information about storymaps please go to the esri storymap website.
We at IGIS have helped build several storymaps for different groups within University of California – Agriculture and Natural Resources Division (UCANR). These story maps have covered topics ranging from the issue of conifer encroachment in the oak woodlands of northern California to information about the UCANR Research and Extension Centers (RECS). These different sites can be viewed at the following sites:
California Naturalist Program Partners
Did you know! REC Tour
Oregon white oak and California black oak loss due to conifer encroachment
Our Partners - Master Gardener Program
UC Hopland Research & Extension Center Call for Proposals
In the coming months we will be offering training opportunities that will highlight these tools and how to build storymaps that can highlight your work. To build storymaps you will need an ArcGIS Online account. If you are part of the UCANR network please fill out the following form and we will help you get an account so that you can start building these storymaps yourself./table>
Drone Mapping California is a moderated email list intended to share news, information, and questions about using drones for mapping and data collection. That covers a lot - technology, training, regulations, hardware, software, analytical techniques, etc. We hope this list will be a channel through which new and seasoned drone operators and researchers can share and grow their knowledge and expertise.
The list has a California focus, but all are welcome. If you are interested in collecting data with drones, please subscribe here! IGIS will administer the list for the foreseeable future, including moderating messages to prevent spam, but we are always open to comments and suggestions.
Top: Matrice 100 with dual RGB and multispectral sensors
Bottom: mNDGI image of a field at Desert Research and Extension Center
Photos by Sean Hogan
UC ANR's IGIS program hosted 36 drone enthusiasts for a three day DroneCamp in Davis California. DroneCamp was designed for participants with little to no experience in drone technology, but who are interested in using drones for a variety of real world mapping applications. The goals of DroneCamp were to:
- Gain an broader understanding of the drone mapping workflow: including
- Goal setting, mission planning, data collection, data analysis, and communication & visualization
- Learn about the different types of UAV platforms and sensors, and match them to specific mission objectives;
- Get hands-on experience with flight operations, data processing, and data analysis; and
- Network with other drone-enthusiasts and build the California drone ecosystem.
The IGIS crew, including Sean Hogan, Andy Lyons, Maggi Kelly, Robert Johnson, Kelly Easterday, and Shane Feirer were on hand to help run the show. We also had three corporate sponsors: GreenValley Intl, Esri, and Pix4D. Each of these companies had a rep on hand to give presentations and interact with the participants.
Day 1 of #DroneCamp2017 covered some of the basics - why drone are an increasingly important part of our mapping and field equipment portfolio; different platforms and sensors (and there are so many!); software options; and examples. Brandon Stark gave a great overview of the Univ of California UAV Center of Excellence and regulations, and Andy Lyons got us all ready to take the 107 license test. We hope everyone here gets their license! We closed with an interactive panel of experienced drone users (Kelly Easterday, Jacob Flanagan, Brandon Stark, and Sean Hogan) who shared experiences planning missions, flying and traveling with drones, and project results. A quick evaluation of the day showed the the vast majority of people had learned something specific that they could use at work, which is great. Plus we had a cool flight simulator station for people to practice flying (and crashing).
Day 2 was a field day - we spent most of the day at the Davis hobbycraft airfield where we practiced taking off, landing, mission planning, and emergency maneuvers. We had an excellent lunch provided by the Street Cravings food truck. What a day! It was hot hot hot, but there was lots of shade, and a nice breeze. Anyway, we had a great day, with everyone getting their hands on the commands. Our Esri rep Mark Romero gave us a demo on Esri's Drone2Map software, and some of the lidar functionality in ArcGIS Pro.
Day 3 focused on data analysis. We had three workshops ready for the group to chose from, from forestry, agriculture, and rangelands. Prior to the workshops we had great talks from Jacob Flanagan and GreenValley Intl, and Ali Pourreza from Kearney Research and Extension Center. Ali is developing a drone-imagery-based database of the individual trees and vines at Kearney - he calls it the "Virtual Orchard". Jacob talked about the overall mission of GVI and how the company is moving into more comprehensive field and drone-based lidar mapping and software. Angad Singh from Pix4D gave us a master class in mapping from drones, covering georeferencing, the Pix4D workflow, and some of the checks produced for you a the end of processing.
One of our key goals of the DroneCamp was to jump start our California Drone Ecosystem concept. I talk about this in my CalAg Editorial. We are still in the early days of this emerging field, and we can learn a lot from each other as we develop best practices for workflows, platforms and sensors, software, outreach, etc. Our research and decision-making teams have become larger, more distributed, and multi-disciplinary; with experts and citizens working together, and these kinds of collaboratives are increasingly important. We need to collaborate on data collection, storage, & sharing; innovation, analysis, and solutions. If any of you out there want to join us in our California drone ecosystem, drop me a line.
Thanks to ANR for hosting us, thanks to the wonderful participants, and thanks especially to our sponsors (GreenValley Intl, Esri, and Pix4D). Specifically, thanks for:
- Mark Romero and Esri for showing us Drone2Map, and the ArcGIS Image repository and tools, and the trial licenses for ArcGIS;
- Angad Singh from Pix4D for explaining Pix4D, for providing licenses to the group; and
- Jacob Flanagan from GreenValley Intl for your insights into lidar collection and processing, and for all your help showcasing your amazing drones.
Today was a great day at the ESRI User conference. I attended several sessions covering the use of raster and vector data in big data analyses, the use of python and r for data science, and the use of arcpy to create and modify maps in ArcGIS Pro.
Speaking of big data and arcgis, over the past 5 years I have watched ESRI develop their software from a desktop environment to a distributed computer platform capable of analyzing millions of spatial features in minutes and hours instead of days or weeks. These tools are now accessible to the average users of arcgis without the need to understand the underlying big data frameworks and software. We now have the ability to install tools such as GeoAnalytics Server, the Spatial Temporal Datastore, and ArcGIS Pro and take advantage of big data analytics within ArcGIS Pro. By using these tools we do not have to know how to setup and manage tools like apache spark, elasticsearch, or other tools.
The above tools are used to store and analyze vector data. To analyze multidimensional rasters, we have the ability to use mosaic datasets to store and analyze multiple raster datasets and multiple raster formats. Over the past years I underestimated the capability and the utility of mosaic datasets. These datasets have the ability to calculate custom raster functions on the fly. These datasets can also be shared via ArcGIS Server and ArcGIS Online. I look forward to utilizing the datasets in the future.
One thing to note at the ESRI User Conference is that like last year all of the presentations that I have seen by ESRI staff this year have been on ArcGIS Pro. The ArcGIS Pro software is getting more powerful and ESRI is building more functionality into this new software platform.
I cannot wait to see what day 4 brings tomorrow.