Google Earth, a virtual 3D mapping and geographical information software provided free by Google has been one of the key elements over the past few years that has helped people become more aware of the geomatics industry. Until now users had to pay a fee to use the Pro version, but now users will be able to use Google Earth Pro for free …
The province of Prince Edward Island continues to do a great job at making their aerial photography available to the public and this interactive map tool is your key to finding aerial photography for anywhere in Prince Edward Island that you can then use with ArcMap, MapInfo, Google Earth or any other GIS based software as well as other non GIS uses.
Leading Edge Geomatics now a DigitalGlobe Authorized Reseller
Leading Edge Geomatics, based out of New Brunswick has announced that they now can offer their valued clients access to DigitalGlobe’s extensive collection of high resolution satellite imagery. These readily-available detailed images can easily meet any project needs and help out on future projects.
Clients Leading Edge Geomatics, can enjoy a 20% discount until January 31st, 2015.
For more information, or a free quotation, please inquire with Leading Edge.
Learn QGIS is an open mapping initiative
Learn QGIS : The information age is powered by data
In Canada, data drives policy decisions, business decisions and community decisions. From national conversations about social issues to local campaigns for more park benches, our decisions are guided by geographic data – and when more people have access to authoritative data, the more informed these important conversations can be.
With the government’s recent commitment to an Open Data Action Plan, there is no doubt that Canadian data publishers will continue to make high priority datasets available online. These data are touted as being accessible to all, and that’s true – but their actual use is limited to those with the technical skills to know what to do with them.
LearnQGIS.com is a new Canadian initiative to change the way open data is used. I’m asking you to check out the website, sign up to get involved, and please – this is important – visit https://www.raiseanaim.org/projects/learn-qgis to endorse the project or support it financially.
In our experience, open data publishers have done a reasonably good job of connecting with local app developers (or ‘civic hackers’), who use the data to write web applications, often in the context of weekend hackathons. These applications generally fail to gain traction – they are quickly written and quickly forgotten. There is a growing (and as of yet un-met) demand from professionals outside of the hackathon groups in a variety of industries to support their use of the data as well.
“The world is witnessing the growth of a global movement facilitated by technology and social media and fuelled by information – one that contains enormous potential to create more accountable, efficient, responsive and effective governments and businesses, and to spur economic growth. Open data sits at the heart of this global movement.” – G8 Open Data Charter
Many open datasets are in geospatial formats or have a spatial component (a postal code, for example). Therefore, the transmission of GIS knowledge to those outside our industry is critical to the accessibility of open data. Journalists, non-profits, small businesses, citizen groups, researchers, and anyone else working on a professional or pet project ought to be able to download a shapefile and make a basic map. They should be able to combine data from different sources, including their own proprietary information.
“We’ve been seeing over the last couple of years a new layer of interest in Open Data and that interest is coming from people who can’t use or even understand raw data files. There is a clear need to provide ways and means for everyone to leverage raw data.” – Keith McDonald, City of Toronto Open Data Lead
Luckily, we live in the age of free and open source GIS, such as the popular QGIS platform. With a short primer on some geographic fundamentals, even non-technical users can successfully create their very own custom map. The experience, however, can be frustrating and there are many roadblocks to success. The learning curve can be steep, and the existing training options don’t adequately meet the needs of users with non-technical backgrounds. Right now we’re telling people to take a course and hope it answers their questions, or post to a forum and hope for an answer they can use. I suspect we, as a geomatics community, could help generate better outcomes – including increased name recognition for our industry – by building better relationships with geo-rookies.
These “rookies” are people who are actively working on projects that would benefit from a GIS. They’re experts in their own fields, not people looking to enter the geomatics industry themselves. What they really need is an expert guide to hold their hand while they work on a DIY GIS project, offering a little general advice about getting started, answering a couple of specific questions about the project, and helping to bail them out if they run into trouble. I like to equate it to working out with a personal trainer – sure, you could probably figure out what exercises you should be doing and how to do them properly yourself, but you’re much more likely to succeed with someone supporting you and holding you accountable.
“Technical skills are becoming increasingly important for media professionals. GIS is a growing field for journalists, and maps are an increasingly popular and important way of presenting information to readers and analyzing data dumps from governments. The program Ms. Blundell outlines would be an important resource, one that does not currently exist, to bring skills training and guidance to media professionals. There is an established and under served market for technical training and this program would go a long way toward fulfilling those needs.” – William Wolfe-Wiley, Homepage Editor, Canada.com
My vision for LearnQGIS.com is to provide this “personal trainer” experience. It’s a way to connect rookies with a geospatial guide who can advise them and help them succeed. Once an expert is on board as a volunteer guide, they are also invited to apply to be a QGIS instructor. LearnQGIS instructors receive everything they need to run a training seminar wherever they’re located in Canada, including marketing and logistical support, presentation materials, and tutorials with pre-packaged data. Revenue from the workshops is divided between the instructor, the site, and the QGIS Project.
Aside from the opportunity to become an instructor, there are many benefits to volunteering as a guide. In my practice as a GIS consultant, I’ve noticed that training my clients in open source tools has also benefitted me. They’re more willing to expand their use of the technology once they understand it. When they have the power to make simple edits they are more willing to have me do some work in the short term, knowing they won’t need to call for support if they decide to use a different shade of green for a feature. And once they understand what goes into a mapping project, they’re often more willing to pay a real expert to do the more complicated work they can’t do themselves. I’ve been playing the role of ‘guide’ for years, and it’s been a win-win. I’ve also learned that teaching others one-on-one or in a classroom is a wonderful way to expand your knowledge, and helping someone with a project can help you gain experience in a new industry.
This project already has buy-in from data publishers and leaders in the geospatial community. Potential users are enthusiastic to get started. I encourage you to get involved at www.learnqgis.com. Sign up to be a guide; apply to become an instructor. Share the link broadly – we all know someone who really should be using GIS in their work. We know our industry is important; let’s show our friends outside the sector what we can do for them.
“Access to data allows individuals and organizations to develop new insights and innovations that can improve the lives of others and help to improve the flow of information within and between countries…. We are at a tipping point, heralding a new era in which people can use open data to generate insights, ideas and services to create a better world for all.” – G8 Open Data Charter
How to use OpenSteetMap?
For people exploring various places in the neighborhood, it is similar maps as other online map information with zoom and pan, but the real power of OpenStreetMap rests in the hands of developers who can access all the data behind the maps for customizing to their own. What it means that, with OpenStreetMap, you can not only view various spatial locations, but add also your own custom locations and information to the database which can then be used by other users. All you need to do is to query the map database in any one of various possible ways, thereby extracting information which can later be used to create custom maps. The output of a database query is an XML file with various description of information about local areas, directions, routes, etc. Using all this information, it will be easier to create custom based maps.
With over a million contributors, most of them use GPS units in performing ground surveys. On collecting the data, the information needs to be uploaded into the system using the project website. Once the data is added, they need to be edited to make it user friendly and at this point, all the above mentioned software plays the role. Even though GPS units are needed to add a data for the first time, the subsequent editions of data do not require any additional hardware, making it possible for anyone who have the local knowledge to update the information. The majority of the new information has been added by dedicated contributors while millions of other users simply update the maps. For users who wish to view the map tiles, they can do so with the help of web browsers, GNOME maps and Marble. The only requirement for adding data to the maps is to sign up for a free account.
OpenStreetMap represents physical structures in the ground using tags that are attached to various data structures such as nodes, ways and relations. Nodes are simply the coordinates of the geographic position which represent the exact location. They use both latitude and longitude values for data representation. A collection of nodes can be called as ways which represent various polygonal areas such as streets and roads, parks and lakes, etc. Relations are the combination of both nodes and ways which can represent restriction present in roads, various ways for a route etc. All the above said information are stored in the map in the form of tags. Any attribute present in the map can be tagged for information, thereby helping anyone wanting information. Considering all the factors, OpenStreetMap was already popular, but is gaining even more popularity everyday with number of contributors growing to new heights. All the information provided in this article gives you an overview of what is OpenStreetMap, but there are lots to explore with respect to its features and supplements.
And if you are more interested about this wonderful mapping experience, don’t miss out attending the annual conference of the OSM community named, State of Map Conference. All new ideas related to the maps are discussed here, along with launching updates and new contents.
Also check out some of these OpenStreetMap & Open Data related Topics:
- OpenStreetMap – Power of the People
- Success Recipe of OpenStreetMap
- Free OpenStreetMap User Guides
- Open data & Open Source software
- Learn How To Map in OpenStreetMap
- Open-data should be for everyone
There are various reasons for the success of OpenStreetMap and the major one is the granularity that it provides with respect to information and analysis. Since OpenStreetMap is a crowd-sourced map, it shows information at a granular level, thus helping all services and businesses in reaching out to people.
Success Recipe of OpenStreetMap
Moreover, since OpenStreetMap is open to anyone for editing and updating their location, all information is updated as and when changes happen. This makes it possible to find any place, anywhere across the globe. One major factor helping the maps evolve is the locale of the developers and their intimacy to the area they live. Since all information about location is updated by the locals themselves, the details are accurate, clear and precise.
The second major reason for the success of OpenStreetMap is the flexibility it offers to both the developers and common people in rendering and finding information. For example, Google controls whatever you do with Google Maps and therefore it can restrict any information it considers as inappropriate, even though the information may be from legitimate sources. This is where OpenStreetMap has tasted success over the years.
There is complete flexibility in the way information is shared and updated in the maps, thereby giving you full access and control to show whatever you want. Moreover, with OpenStreetMap, developers can build custom based maps, making it reflect the theme of business. Even though this flexibility may cost, vandalism of the system, no major reports have been filed till date.
So even though there are a couple of cons, using the maps, the advantages overrun the drawbacks. Also, the fact that all the services offered by OpenStreetMap are free of cost as everyone of you using the maps is considered the owners of the maps, you need not spend any bucks to showcase your location.
But don’t just take our words for it, if you really love mapping then you should be checking out OpenStreetMap for yourself. After all it is free so you have nothing to lose and so much to gain … http://www.openstreetmap.org is the official OpenStreetMap website.
Also check out some of these OpenStreetMap & Open Data related Topics:
A great step by step intro tutorial video to help beginners learn how to get started mapping with OpenStreetMap, created by the U.S. State Department’s Humanitarian Information Unit (mapgive.state.gov).
This second tutorial video covers topics such as navigating the map, searching for locations, and exporting a map image.
Surrey launches OpenData Program
Surrey, BC –The City of Surrey launched its open data program today as part of its commitment to an open, transparent and accessible government. The new Open Data Catalogue comprises more data sets than any other municipality in Canada, and will increase efficiency and productivity for staff and public by making the data available to everyone on the City website.
More than 300 data sets comprise the catalog including City information often requested by the public such as:
• Crime statistics
• Restaurant inspection reports
• Statement of Financial Information
• Sustainability indicators
• imagery (orthophotos) & LIDAR
“The City of Surrey is committed to pursuing innovative best practices to allow for transparency and efficiencies through technology,” said Mayor Dianne Watts. “As a progressive City, the launch of the Surrey Open Data Program will empower our citizens by providing them with even easier access to City reports, statistics and information.”
Open data is the idea that certain data should be freely available to everyone to use and republish as they wish, without restrictions from copyright, patents or other mechanisms of control.
“Providing open data improves the public’s ability to easily access, download and utilize City information,” said Councillor Bruce Hayne, Chair of the Investment & Innovation Committee. “It also provides the additional benefit of eliminating the costs associated with related information requests.”
The City’s Open Data Program is a component of its ‘Smart Surrey Strategy’ which seeks to build a city that uses technology and innovation to transform life and work within its region in significant and fundamental ways. Using new and existing technologies and information, the Strategy identifies and implements systems to inform decision-making, create efficiencies and maximize its resources.
For more information, or to access the City’s Open Data Catalogue, visit www.surrey.ca/opendata
The Renewable Energy Atlas was created to assist citizens be able to better recognize areas of Ontario’s potential renewable energy and provide better information. Unlike some other Provincial Wind Atlas collections, the Ontario Atlas is an interactive web application providing users to ability to create and view custom maps of wind and water energy resources from high level overviews to more detailed information. Various prepared wind & potential renewable energy maps are also available for immediate viewing and download.
Other Wind Maps & Resources
- New Brunswick Wind Atlas
- Nova Scotia Wind Atlas
- PEI Wind Atlas
- Manitoba Wind Resources
- Yukon Renewable Energy Resource Map
- Canadian Wind Atlas (general data for all Provinces & Territories)
- Windfinder Wind Forescast maps
- Other Canadian Data Sets
The Saint John Historical Maps collection includes an interactive atlas from 1875, compiled from official hand drawn plans and surveys. You will also find an interactive map of Historic Coastline and Fortifications and scanned copies of Murdoch-Lingley Survey Plans from 1920. Find out how you can download and use maps and images from the Saint John Historical Maps collection …
Canadian GIS Education Programs
Contribute Canadian GIS Information, Education Program, Open Data or any other Canadian Geospatial related Info
Latest Geomatics Sector News, Events, Geo Books and more
Latest GIS maps, Geomatics Data, geospatial resources and much more
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