Social MappingRead Now
Written by Jay Yungerman
There are lots of apps out there that allow you to check-in at a location, allow your friends to like, cheers, high five, or acknowledge in some other way that they like where you are. This is a great utility for the apps that provide the feature but there can also be a benefit to the location, intended or unintended. These apps create a map of sharing which is what it’s all about right?
There is one app that I, and some of my coworkers, used when working in the field, that had unintended benefits. The app was called “Places I’ve Pooped”, yes I know, how crude of me! But it’s something we all do and when you are working outdoors it’s kind of entertaining. The benefit that we derived from the app was having a dropped pin at a job site. This was useful because sometimes it would be months between site visits and people have a tendency to forget directions. So this turned out to be really useful as well as funny because you could see how many pins were at each site.
I only used this site for outdoor locations, but you can see other people’s pins and they are everywhere. It dawned on me that this could be really useful as a toilet locator tool. How many times has it happened that you’re walking around and all of a sudden you need to use a toilet but you don’t know where one is; if you had this app you could be saved…or one of the dozens of actual toilet locator apps.
The app is available for Android and has several copycats, and it is available on iOS as well. There are toilet finder apps out there but this is a bit more interactive and if you have gross friends like me it’s entertaining and you could even make a game out of it.
Hope you enjoyed the read!
Written by Rana Hasan
Before I came to the USA three years ago, I was living on other side of this world, and
since I have arrived to the USA, people have asked me a common and friendly
question, "Where are you from?"
I am from Iraq; this question inspired me to create a story map, which is a tour map of
Iraq. Because each time I answer this question I was surprised people didn’t know much
about my country. So I thought this blog post is a good opportunity to share with the GIS student some information related to location and to the geographic nature of Iraq, by creating a tour map "Cascade." So in some way, through this tour map you can get an idea of the geography of Iraq and explore some places you might unfamiliar with..
What information does my tour map include?
Make your maps move with secret wizard knowledge!!! Or just time enable your dataRead Now
Written by JJ Bjordahl
Do people who want animated maps have to know crazy web-code magic spells to make their maps move? NO! You can time enable your data in ESRI products and here are some ways how!
Have you ever noticed under feature class properties in Arcdesktop that there is a Time tab? See for yourself below…
Well if the data you upload onto AGOL has time references you can enable those too. Let’s try~
For an example I’ve prepared a simple data set (i.e. coordinates and time) which you can download as a comma separated value file (*.csv). Note: you must be logged into your PCC.edu Gmail account to access the Drive shared file.
Get the time referenced example data here --> https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1MXtSnAH-keHCp7dzP6CY3etvF7KD_yPjlEeZB1qyCD0/edit?usp=sharing
The *.csv has three columns Lat, Long, and Time. If you’re not already logged into AGOL and in your Content section go ahead and do that… while in your AGOL Contents you can ‘+ Add Item… from my computer,’ so add the example *.csv.
We need to ‘Host’ via PCC’s AGOL relationship so ‘Share’ the csv with PCC so it becomes ‘Hosted.’
Now check in ‘Content’ to see that our file show as a ‘Feature Layer (hosted)’
and then click into the file’s ‘Item Details’ and go into Time Settings… The csv I provided has a single time reference for each data point and thus not a start and end time…
Now that time is enabled (if it ain’t… hmm… uh… hmmm… maybe start over? It ought be!) open the hosted file in MapViewer and you’ll notice there’s a time slider with configurable options at the bottom of the map!
Now you can change the rate at which the data is displayed, the amount of data displayed per segment, to add the points as time progresses or only show points within a set time frame etc… I set the speed to fast and in ‘advanced options’ set the interval to display in monthly chunks and now my points look like an ancient cell phone worm game crawling across Oregon.
MOOC in’ on upRead Now
Written by Natalie Divine
When I signed up for my first ArcGIS account I guess I forgot to uncheck the “add me to your mailing list” box because I began receiving ArcNews a few months ago. The first thing that I noticed on the front page of the Winter2018 issue was an article titled, “Learn to Design Beautiful Maps – Take ESRI’s Newest Massive Open Online Course: Cartography.” The headline reeled me in.
I’m here to tell you, I highly recommend taking a “MOOC” (Massive Open Online Course) from ESRI.
There is a little bit of set up required – you have to download the lessons and then create a new username and then download ArcPro and then get your ArcPro login – but after that it is super user-friendly. No software is required, just a computer with internet.
Some of my favorites parts so far are segments of the videos called “Cartofails” about all of the cartographic no-no’s (naming your legend “Legend”), and also “Tools of the trade” where they bring out old handheld cartographic tools like scribers and explain how mapmakers used them.
MOOCs are on the rise in general and aimed at being free and open to everyone. I have also read about a some that are free to take and then for a fee (usually around $50-$100) you can upgrade and receive a certificate. These are offered from places like Future Learn, Coursera, Khan Academy, and edX, to name a few. Future Learn offers a MOOC called “Maps and the Geospatial Revolution” developed by Penn State, and edX has one called “Introduction to Urban Geo-Informatics” developed by Hong Kong Polytechnic University.
If any of this has piqued your interest, check out this schedule of ESRI’s fall offerings:
I for one will be taking Do-It-Yourself Geo Apps to continue building on web mapping skills I’ve gained in GEO244. Here is the course description,
“Anyone can build apps on the ArcGIS Platform. You don't have to be a software developer to build valuable geo-enabled apps that make your communities smarter and businesses more successful. This course will show you how to combine location and narrative in one application to better communicate and broadcast your story, create custom web applications that solve problems in your community, and build powerful native applications for iOS and Android devices without touching a piece of code. If you are a developer, you'll be interested in Esri's APIs, SDKs, and the buzzing GeoDev community.”
See you there!
3D PrintingRead Now
Written by Doug Moak
When I first read of 3D printing, Discover magazine reported on a “3D fax machine.” A point file was transmitted over phone lines, resulting in a transparent print of a simian skull. The article went on to proclaim that stereolithography would replace the copious backstocks of spare parts in manufacturing facilities, repair shops, and aircraft carriers; I refused to believe that scenario as a possibility. Now that possibility is the new normal, and I was dead wrong.
Stereolithography is primarily manifested in polymer resin excited by a laser, with a hobbyist’s market in desktop rapid prototype machines and websites dedicated to sharing data files that result in robot hands or Baby Groot. The bulk of the individual product are knick-knacks.
3D printing can be used for analytical purposes by virtue of miniaturized models used for study. Of the many things I was not aware of in the field of geospatial analysis is the use of raster data to produce 3D prints of natural features. Aside from nice things to place on the desk or gather dust on a shelf, these products can be used for analysis such as avalanche study, weather modeling, search and rescue, and excursion planning.
There are a couple of different ways- a raster DEM can be converted to a triangulated irregular network (TIN) file, processed through TIN Extrude Between, Decimate TIN Nodes, and Multipatch To Collada tools, then conversion to .STL using a third party Mashlab program, such as this unnamed author. Another way is to feed a DEM into Accutrans 3D, which is a pay-to-use program, explained here.
These processes have been used to produce 3D prints of Mt St. Helens, Yosemite Valley, and an accurate model of Devils Tower-out of mashed potatoes. The possibilities are not limited to exterior natural features. When my friend Clarence was sent through caves at the foot of most of the Cascade’s stratocones with a LiDar package strapped to his back, he produced point clouds that could be processed into accurate cutaway models, enabling close study of cave features by researchers who are nowhere near these caves.
These are just two ways to create tangible representations of spatial data using raster files that are usually readily available online, using processing applications that we are familiar with.
Written by Cody Simons
If you are into the outdoors and you like to get off the beaten path, OnX maps is an application that is a must have. OnX maps is a web mapping application that is designed for the hunter, fisherman, backpacker, and general outdoor enthusiast. OnX is a subscription-based application. They sell their subscriptions by the state, and they last for one year. You can download the application on your phone for 30 dollars a year, and you also get access to their online application. OnX offers a 7-day free trial, which I would suggest activating just before you head out on a trip. Get familiar with the app, download maps for the areas you will be in, and test out its features in the field.
OnX is essential for someone who likes to get off the trail while hiking, hunting, fishing, mushroom picking, mountain biking, or performing just about any outdoor activity. OnX offers 27 different layers that are useful for all outdoor activities, but they are most known for their Public and Private land layers. Simply turning on the Private Lands layer and clicking on an area where you want to access gives you necessary information to be able to contact the land owner and get permission to access their property. This is very useful for someone who is into hunting and fishing, but it can be used for any outdoor activity. You can also create waypoints, routes, and polygons. They have a tracker that tracks distance, time moving, speed and various other data about your trip.
Below is an overview of the Deschutes River just down stream of Warm Springs. This is a popular area for Rafting, Fishing, Upland Bird Hunting, Hiking and Biking. This is a very important spot to know exactly where you are. A permit is required to access the tribal land, and private land owners aren’t too friendly to trespassers. OnX lets you know exactly where you are and gives you information to be able to contact the land owner if you need to access their land.
When you tap on the private land polygon, you will get land ownership data including Owner, Secondary Owner, Tax Address and the Area of their property. Here is the Landowner info for the land that borders the Deschutes River.
You can usually figure contact info for the owner by searching the tax address online. It has proven to be useful as I have used this several times for getting permission to cross private land to get to a stream while fly fishing.
While the Private/ Public land layer is their most popular layer, there are several other layers that are very useful for outdoor activities. One of my personal favorites is the “Roadless Areas” layer. I am into backpacking and back country hunting, so getting away from the roads and other people is key. This layer creates a heat map that highlights the areas that have no roads. You can see that there isn’t a whole lot of roadless areas in Oregon, so knowing where to find those small areas is useful.
If you are an outdoor enthusiast I suggest giving OnX maps a try. They have layers that are useful for just about any outdoor activity. They also have tutorials on their website that can teach you the ins and outs of OnX in just a few minutes. Download it and try it for free for a week and see what all it has to offer! I guarantee that if you like the outdoors, you will find it useful!
Font MapRead Now
Written by Matt Lackey
Picking a font that reads well, looks great, and fits the overall feel you are looking to create can be a difficult decision to make. There are many factors that will influence your decision like attended audience, the medium it is presented on, and who the product is being created for just to name a few. Often times you can be tempted to go with the default font of the software you are using, but your final product could be missing out on getting it’s true message across.
A lot of times we tend to go with a list of fonts we know we like to work it, but when you find yourself wanting to explore other fonts it can be difficult to even know where to begin. One great place to start exploring is on fontmap.ideao.com.
Kevin Ho, a software designer and project lead for IDEO created this font map by first creating images of each font to then be used in a network called VGG16 to generate a list of numbers to be associated with each font. Then to represent the data spatially, x and y points were created using T-SNE, an algorithm for taking large vectors and compressing them into a 2-D plane. What is created is a grouping of fonts that are similar to one another.
You can zoom in and out and scroll around easily searching through fonts. Holding your cursor over a letter will display the fonts name and show an example of the font in use. Double clicking on a font will display more details on the left side of the screen. A list of similar fonts are displayed and each font has a link View on Google Fonts, which links you to even more information about that font.
This is very useful when you are searching for a new font to try on your next project. This display feels easier to search through grouping the fonts in a way the makes sense visually, as opposed to being listed alphabetically on a single drop down menu. The interactive ability of this map makes picking a font more entertaining as well. Now this just needs to be expanded beyond google fonts and then it will be a really great tool!
Web Soil SurveyRead Now
Written by Kaitlyn Zurcher
I decided to go with a web mapping service that I use quite a lot for my work in a Wetland Delineation company, the “Web Soil Survey” that is provided by the USDA. Its main purpose is for people who need to know what type of soils are in any particular area. When you first open the website, it shows a page that welcomes the user to the map and gives examples of why you might need to use the data and how they collected the data. As you scroll down the page, it then gives you the four basic steps that you would need to go through to create your maps and gather your data. Once you feel as though you understand what the program is, you can press the big green button at the top of the page to actually get to the map.
You can get to your area of interest multiple ways, you can import it from a shape file, or you can manually draw the AOI by going through the quick navigation. When I’m using this for work, I use the PLSS (Section, Township, Range) because I’ve found that when you put in an address an orange circle appears on the map and no matter how many buttons I press it doesn’t go away.
After, you can either create a custom area, or you can use a rectangle. Once you’ve created your AOI, it allows you to open up the greyed out tabs at the top.
The soil map tab brings up a layer that shows you what types of soils are in any particular area. At this point you can print the study area as a .pdf by clicking the “Printable Version” button at the top of the screen. The printable version gives you the study area and the map unit Legend. By going through the other tabs, you can gather more information about the different types of soils. In my job, I do need to determine what soils are Hydric or not, which you can find by going through the Soil Data Explorer to find the soil report of the area. This mapping service is really only applicable to people who need to know the soil types of any particular area. But I do think that the user interface is pretty easy to understand and there is a lot of information that is inside of it that is useful.
Below is a map that I created of the soils area so that you could see what the final product looks like.
Layer to KML(Z)Read Now
Written by Thyra Bishop
I spent 28 years as a member of the United States Air Force, as a weather officer.
I loved giving weather briefings. However, the word, “briefing,” means to be short and to the point. I first found out about Google Earth when I was stationed in Afghanistan. It was such an exciting platform, and I loved being able to use Google Earth to look at my home in Portland, Oregon. I’d also look at different areas in the Pacific Northwest and dream of home. Back then, in 2009, I had a lot of hope that I could use the platform to create weather briefings that were more to the point and interactive, and just plain fun to view.
But of course, getting the data onto Google Earth, and the, “Comm Nazis,” (our term for the communications personnel that would limit our accesses to fun online programs) wouldn’t let us use Google Earth for our presentations anyway.
Now I know how I can put data into a .lyr file then convert the .lyr file to .kmz to show on Google Earth.
Follow along if you too want to put data onto Google Earth.
Oregon Coast Cities
Oregon Coast Bridges
Oregon Coast Highways
You want your input layer, make sure you output to a file where you can find it again. I recommend setting the extent properties. I set my extent to the same layer as the Oregon_Boundary
Now you can show it in Google Earth:
Direct from ArcToolbox:
Layer To KML (Conversion)
This tool converts a feature or raster layer into a KML file containing a translation of Esri geometries and symbology. This file is compressed using ZIP compression, has a .kmz extension, and can be read by any KML client including ArcGIS Explorer, ArcGlobe, and Google Earth.
You can control the appearance of KML in two ways:
A few other pointers
The TriMet Interactive MapRead Now
Written by Bob Nicholas
I have to admit that when I enrolled in an interactive mapping class, I didn’t know what an interactive map was. I don’t have one of those phones and I am fairly new at using computers. About half way through the first class, I realized that I had seen an interactive map on a phone belonging to a Sellwood Middle School student who rides the bus with me. It is named the TriMet Interactive Map.
The first thing that strikes me about this map is that is instantly familiar. Its content looks like the route maps posted at downtown bus and train stops, as well on the vehicles themselves. This seems to be the standard among transit companies. I have seen those same maps in Chicago, Los Angeles and Eugene. The base map also looks quite familiar. I imagine that the person who made this map was using some of the same tools that we do.
The TriMet Interactive Map is designed for those who have no experience riding TriMet and carry a smart phone with them. The intent here is for riders to use this map to plan their trips. It is extremely easy. Start typing an address into the “To” or “From” window and a drop-down menu appears. You can usually find your address before you can finish typing it. Once the addresses are entered and the times are entered, you hit “Plan Your Trip” and riding instructions appear in the panel and a map of the trip is shown on the map. The “TriMet Routes” button at the bottom of the panel makes a list of all routes appear. When a specific route is clicked, it appears in the map. The “Location Search” Button brings up an address window When it is filled in, the map goes to that spot and it will ask if you want to plan a trip to there or if you want to plan a trip from there. Just like a web browser can have multiple windows open on different tabs, the panel will store different trips on different tabs. I loaded it up with eight trips and it was still willing to accept more. It is conceivable that one could plan their entire week here and have it saved.
Here is a map that pops up when the trip planner is used. The directions Tells riders exactly how far it is necessary to walk. For those concerned about hills, there is an elevation chart so pedestrians know what they will be up against.
The TriMet Interactive Map has a sliding zoom bar, a pan button and a row of widgets across the top. One widget shows where the “Biketown” bike share racks are, one displays the major transit centers. There is one for park and ride lots and one shows where one can buy bus tickets or a hop card. There is a widget to clear the map and start over, but the coolest thing about this map is this right here.
When that button is pressed, the bus you are waiting for will appear on the map. That is what the kid in Sellwood showed me. That right there is enough to make me think about getting one of those phones.
Blog posts are written by students in the Interactive Map Design course at Portland Community College.