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Grass GIS Software

Grass GIS Software

Grass GIS Software


GRASS GIS
, commonly referred to as Geographic Resources Analysis Support System, is an open source GIS software that is commonly used for geospatial data analysis, data management, image processing, cartography, spatial modeling, and data visualization. It was originally was developed by the US Army Corps of Engineers and is a founding member of the Open Source Geospatial (OSGeo) Foundation.

Grass GIS SoftwareGRASS GIS contains over 350 modules to render maps and images on monitor and paper; manipulate raster, and vector data including vector networks; process multispectral image data; and create, manage, and store spatial data.

It offers both an intuitive graphical user interface as well as command line syntax for ease of operations. It can interface with printers, plotters, digitizers, and databases to develop new data as well as manage existing data.

The latest  stable version available is version 7.  GRASS GIS v7 provides support for large data , has an improved topological vector engine and improved vector network analysis tools. Click here to download it for yourself and give it a try.

 

The ArcGIS Book

The ArcGIS Book - Mobile GIS

The ArcGIS Book: 10 Big Ideas about Applying Geography to Your World

ArcGIS Book – ArcGIS, a popular geospatial software from Esri is an integrated set of mapping and GIS analysis tools available on desktop, server, mobile, and online. The latest book from the Esri Press series is a comprehensive hands on guide dedicated to the popular ArcGIS software. The ArcGIS Book It is a detailed compilation containing new ideas, detailed instructions,  large colorful graphics, photos and plenty of diagrams.

There are two versions of the book available,  a hard copy paper version and a digital PDF version that offers interaction with an accompanying website.

The book was written for a diverse range of readers, including young GIS professionals just starting out, right  up to more experienced technologists, as well as programmers, web designers, and anyone who can appreciate how maps play a major role in our society.

The digital copy is compatible with  tablets, desktops, laptops, and smart phones. There are several samples and various step b step lessons that allow the reader to tryout all of tools discussed (via ArcGIS Online), while learning about 10 key ideas about digital mapping, data analysis, and problem solving with GIS.

Download the free PDF digital version, a new book that helps make it easy for anyone to engage GIS, click here go to the ArcGIS Book website to engage with different lessons and interactive activities,  or click here to order a traditional paper copy.

 


GeoNB – the ‘All Things Geographic’ place for New Brunswick data

logo_GeoNB_globe

GeoNB – ‘All Things Geographic’ for New Brunswick data

Last year I featured GeoNB, New Brunswick’s approach to publicly available geographic information for the entire province of New Brunswick [see the previous article here if you missed it]. This valuable resource by Service New Brunswick provides a robust web mapping application, value-added products, various applications and extensive collection of open source data sets. Not to mention an outstanding web GIS application that stands out from others and one that earned them an Esri Canada Award of Excellence award last fall at the Esri User Conference in Fredericton.

GeoNB currently includes a wide variety of data sets for the entire province including digital topographic layers, orthophotos, property maps and much more. On top of having one of the best online mapping applications available they also provide access to download any of these digital data sets in a variety of formats for people to use in their own GIS software packages.

“Created by Service New Brunswick, GeoNB is a spatial data infrastructure (SDI) that uses geographic information system (GIS) technology to provide an efficient, collaborative and open data-sharing environment with key partners and users across the province.” [source: esri.ca]

geonb_portal

Over the past 4 years public usage of New Brunswick spatial data has increased significantly, with the average traffic to the site increasing from 5 thousand to over 13 thousand visitors every week. To meet the growing demand, they recently upgraded their geographic information gateway, building upon existing GeoNB initiatives and ensuring that residents of New Brunswick have easy access to geospatial information, pre-built maps and free online applications .

Basically the new site becomes the “All Things Geographic” place for New Brunswick’s geographic content consolidated and organized into one easy to use location. An initiative that helps encourage the creation of new geospatial products and solutions from geographic data that has been collected, maintained, and distributed using open data accepted standards. The new geographic portal is visually pleasing, well laid out making it easy to navigate and appeals to a wide audience. Everyone can take advantage of this free service from home owners that would like to know more about their property, developers seeking better sites for development, and those more advanced GIS users that want to use their own GIS software.

“Service New Brunswick has done exceptionally well in promoting the use of geographic knowledge for various applications through the province’s SDI,’ says Alex Miller, president, Esri Canada.” In a time when governments face greater financial constraints, they have created a cost-effective system for opening up valuable data and applications to benefit everyone. GeoNB serves as a model of intelligent government service delivery for others to follow.”
“GeoNB has quickly become a popular tool with the public because it’s easy to use and saves users valuable time and money,” notes Bernie Connors, SDI manager at Service New Brunswick. “It also eliminates duplicate efforts and additional costs for our partners through shared data and infrastructure.” [source: esri.ca]

There are some new geospatial applications that were designed to support various ongoing government programs including wetland conservation, flood damage reduction, protected areas management, as well as a coordinate transformation service that converts coordinates between datums and map projections. geonb_applications_smThere are 4 key sections that include the Data Catalogue, Applications, Map Products and the new GIS Developer’s Corner. Each section will continue to grow and develop with new datasets and tools as inferred by the GeoNB Action Plan.

The Data Catalogue contains over 35 different geographic datasets in a wide range of formats that are available to download free. Here they simplified things pretty well making data very easy to find. Using a table format they provide the name of the dataset, link to more info about it, thumb nails for quick view, date the data was created, formats available and links to download data. This will be the section that most GIS people looking for data where go to.

The Applications section provides access to over 10 custom designed applications that combine datasets and value-added functionality. These tools have a broad range of uses but have mainly been tailored to different intended users and include everything from the popular web map viewer (read more details about the map viewer here) and Coordinate Transformation Service to more specialised viewers aimed at those in Oil and Gas or Wetlands Mapping. Certainly worth a look if you are just curious about learning more about New Brunswick.

geonb_applications_flood_information

The Map Products section contains more pre-made value-added off the shelf mapping products such as static maps that have been generated to convey certain information. Again here they offer a broad range of products tailored to different intended users; but unlike most of the other products on the site, these are more traditional finished map products. This section will appeal more to those that need maps but do not have the ability to create their own.

The GIS Developer’s Corner is a place where people can leverage more geomatics technology and intelligence making use of some applications that allow them to go beyond the basic functionality such as using the open data sources as a live map service instead of downloading (this is one of the features that I like and now use when generating maps for area in New Brunswick). GeoNB utilizes ESRI ArcGIS Server and has made data available as ArcGIS Server map services to those that have the ability to take advantage of it.

logo_geonb_folder

So I am sure by now you get the idea. Once again the team at Service New Brunswick have done a great job promoting and increasing the use of geographic data and maps in New Brunswick. From a new easy to use new geographic portal (in both French and English) that provides people with plenty of data and a wide range of robust applications GeoNB continues to stand out among the rest. But again don’t just take my word about it, go over to the new portal your self, make use of some of the data and tools and let the folks at Service New Brunswick know they are doing a great job.

[Sources: http://www.esri.ca/en/content/new-brunswick-data-usage-increases-significantly-through-geonb – http://www.snb.ca/geonb1/e/index-E.asp – http://canadiangis.com/geonb-map-viewer-free-new-brunswick-digital-data-sets.php – and Service New Brunswick staff]


GIS Software category added to Geo-matching

GIS software

A new category for GIS Software was recently added to Geo-matching’s product categories. Adtollo, a Swedish software developer and supplier was the company to list in the new GIS software category. Topocad, by Adtollo is 3D CAD based software used for surveying, GIS mapping,  and point cloud processing. The software is considered by many to be a complete package for all uses from the field surveys right up to the finished map designs.

Products in the GIS software category will compare general software specifications, as well as details about storage, interoperability and data analysis. Click here for more details, or to add your own GIS Software to the category,

Geo-matching (www.geo-matching.com) is an independent geomatics and hydrographic product comparison website featuring detailed comparisons with user reviews for more than 800 products. The site helps guide users through the maze of product specifications and provides them the opportunity to compare products from different suppliers and read other professionals’ reviews in order to reach a balanced judgment before buying.

Geo-matching brings together the highly valued Hydro International and GIM International product surveys all in one place. Just some of the categories on offer include Digital Aerial Cameras, GNSS Receivers, Mobile GIS Systems – Hardware and Software, Mobile Mappers, Photogrammetric, Imagery Processing Software, Point Cloud Processing Software, Remote Sensing Image Processing Software, Terrestrial Laser Scanners, Total Stations, and UAS for Mapping and 3D Modelling.

Visit www.geo-matching.com to browse through the products, upload a product or leave a review. Feel free to contact sybout.wijma@geomares.nl for more information.

QGIS 2 Cookbook

QGIS-2-CookBook

QGIS is a free user friendly open source desktop GIS software package used to create maps and analyze geospatial data. The application supports various formats such as vector, database and raster formats. One major advantage of QGIS is that it allows users to import open street map files that are also gaining popularity every day.

The QGIS 2 Cookbook is a large collection of techniques (simple through to advanced) that are used in everyday geomatics work, with detailed process to help accomplish those tasks using QGIS. By the time you are finished with this book, you should have all the necessary knowledge to better handle and visualize geospatial data,  with QGIS.

Get your copy of the QGIS 2 Cookbook here 

Using Location Hub to Unlock the Power of Location Economics

Using Location Hub to Unlock the Power of Location Economics - DMTI Spatial - Power of Location Economics

Recently I had an opportunity to talk ‘one on one’ with Arthur Berrill, CTO of DMTI Spatial; a Canadian geomatics based company that has been a leader in the Location Business for several years. Arthur leads DMTI’s software development and technology group and has over 25 years of experience managing architecture, design and development of large spatial software systems. His team takes customer business challenges and develops spatial solutions that help resolve their problems.

DMTI Spatial is a Canadian based company that has been providing industry-leading enterprise Location Economics solutions for almost two decades. They started off by designing a comprehensive and tightly integrated national street network database known as CanMap®, and have evolved to integrate Location Economic solutions through Location Hub® combined with a database of unique address identifiers (UAID). – More details available from http://www.dmtispatial.com

Unlock the Power of Location Economics

Using Location Hub to Unlock the Power of Location Economics - Arthur Berrill - CTO of DMTI Spatial

I started off by letting Arthur know that as I was not really interested in doing a traditional interview but rather wanted an opportunity where he could help illustrate how ‘the Location Concept’ has been driving the success of DMTI in Canada. Then through a detailed conversation combined with a full product review I would be able to help the Canadian GIS & Geomatics readers to see how DMTI Spatial has been able to unlock the ‘Power of Location Economics’. Arthur graciously provided time for a detailed discussion, some literature and use of DMTI‘s Location Hub® Portal.

DMTI Spatial has been a frequent contributor to the free press release section on CanadianGIS.com so I was already aware of many of their products like the CanMap® geospatial datasets and how the Spatial Mapping Academic Research Tools (SMART) Program has been benefiting Canadians. Therefore we did not discuss much about other products and jumped right into how critical location based information can help make important planning decisions affecting our lives and what role DMTI’s Location Hub® Portal can play.

Arthur explained that Location Hub® is like an umbrella name or brand for a software-as-a-service (SaaS) platform that DMTI uses to incorporate a suite of products together into an easy to use self-serve portal, allowing bulk processing of address data. It could probably be simplified into two main components; an application side and a web services side. Together they provide clients the functionality that allows them to tap into accurate, current and reliable frequently updated location data, and perform spatial location analysis all from a simple intuitive interface that is available at any time.

Using Location Hub to Unlock the Power of Location Economics - Power of Location Economics

Unlike traditional GIS that is typically built around X, Y coordinate values with attribute information and designed for more technical people whereas location analytic services uses an address as the key approach to connect attributes while defining the location spatially at the same time.

When you stop and think about it, almost nothing in everyday life uses coordinates to define locations, yet nearly all data contains address based information, therefore it makes perfect sense to have Location Hub® start with the addresses and then build a GIS behind the scenes, leveraging the most comprehensive base data available in Canada. This is perhaps one of the key components of Location Hub®, rather than referencing a single data source, it leverages DMTI’s master address repository, an extensive data base of data, kept current through a rapid, agile, frequent update cycle.

“The Master Address Repository is the largest nationally sourced Canadian geospatial database cross-referenced from more than 7,300 federal, municipal and public partnerships. The data is further augmented through content provided by our partner ecosystem to provide a single point of reference for address and address related content such as name and phone number, land use, property type, demographics, property details and much more.”

Using Location Hub to Unlock the Power of Location Economics - Location Hub ButtonsEnd users (who most often do not have much or any GIS technical background) are then supplied with attribute rich properly formatted geocoded spatial data that defines location while telling a story about those locations and the information within. After the input data is cleaned, formatted and processed, any gaps found within the uploaded files are filled in to include any missing addresses within the same geographic boundaries and duplicated data is consolidated or removed.

The target audience for Location Hub® has been typically commerce, enterprise and government but could virtually be anybody that had a database or spreadsheet of address based information. Many organizations have large data sets or lists of address but no way of providing standardized data matched or processed with accurately up to date base-data.

Built around a philosophy of the end user (What do they need? What could they use?), Location Hub® has been carefully planned with the “customer” in mind. Delivered through an interactive web interface, that is typically different than most traditionally GIS software, designed simple enough that almost anybody can use it. All the different address recognition algorithms are hidden behind the scenes so no one needs to know which ones they should be using and just feed in the data and the decisions with results are provided through end data and a detailed report.

DMTI Spatial claims that their location success lies in how they leverage technology expertise, a strong partner network and a reliable Canada-wide address database. They also claim that quality, precision and the industry’s strongest address recognition engine, make Location Hub® Canada’s most trusted source for location-based information.

Using Location Hub to Unlock the Power of Location Economics - DMTI Spatial - Location Hub

Next in part II of this feature I will take a closer look at the Location Hub® Portal to check out the simple, intuitive interface with lightning speed processing and see how well it performs at cleaning, standardizing, validating and geocoding address records. And see how well it provides the ‘Power of Location’.

DMTI Spatial offer free trials of the Location Hub® Portal and like most of my product reviews I always encourage others to try out the service or product for themselves, all you need to get started is either a CSV or XLS file containing address based data. To register for immediate access to a free trial go to https://lhp.dmtispatial.com/Registration/Register.aspx

Click Here [available soon] to continue to Part II of Using Location Hub to Unlock the Power of Location Economics – “Location Hub® Product Review” or Click Here to return to Main Feature Page

British Columbia’s DataBC program

Recently I received a few messages updating me about the progress the province of British Columbia has made with their DataBC project witch helps provide the public access to public funded data sets (http://www.data.gov.bc.ca/).

Screen Grab DataBC - online web mapping portal

I checked  DataBC site out and was impressed with the great job that the BC folks have done with sharing their geographic tools and data that in turn should also help increase the use of geomatics in British Columbia.

DataBC – Provincial Open Data

The DataBC program provides public access to provincial geographic information through a single web interface, offering a multitude of geographic data (spatial and non-spatial), applications and tools in order to help their citizens make better informed decisions, inspire change and encourage development of new ideas to improve government decision making & policies. Besides providing the Provincial Open Data initiative they also mange the Provincial SDI/Services Architecture among other things.

They have provided minimal licensing requirements to their data to help broaden the use of the Province’s assets. “You can use our geographic services to help map the data and find tools to help you conduct your own research, analyze statistics, develop apps or to simply satisfy your curiosity.” Open data provides opportunities for the public geomatics community to help changing demands of society.

“BC has rich and varied geography. From the rich farmland of the Fraser Valley to the deep forests of northern BC and Vancouver Island, no two places are alike. This diversity has made BC a geomatics leader in Canada. Since 2003, the Province of BC has provided a Spatial Data Infrastructure, centred on the BC Geographic Warehouse. This shared data store of geographic data greatly increases the availability and use of the Province’s wealth of geographic data. To support this work, we also provide web services, application frameworks and online applications to discover, view, download and analyze geospatial data.

The Spatial Data Infrastructure encompasses all government sectors, providing hosting, transformation and delivery of data across government and to the public. Used extensively to support government decisions, these systems serve hundreds of thousands of users with 110 legislated and mandated line of business applications such as land tenure, transportation, public safety and emergency response systems.

iMapBC is the primary map viewer used to access this comprehensive collection of data.”

[source: data.gov.bc.ca/dbc/geo/index.page]

What type of Open data is available from British Columbia’s DataBC Catalogue?

They provide data in a variety of formats including XLS, CSV, SHP, KML formats for downloading with an optional WMS data connection for loading data sets directly into your GIS software. Since they are now approaching almost 3000 different data sets, (all with Open Government Licence use) it is pretty pointless to list them all here, however here are a few highlights of the data sets are available as WMS services:

  • Administrative Boundaries – This web map service offers seamless, administrative boundary data for the province of British Columbia.
  • Air and Climate – Data relating to patterns of wind, temperature, precipitation, etc., over a period of time, for a specified area.
  • Base Mapping – Seamless, provincial topographic base maps at four scales
  • Geodetic Survey – Data relating to the geospatial reference used for positioning within the Province.
  • Geology and Soils – Data relating to the structure and composition of the earth, its physical and organic history.
  • Imagery – Orthophotography, hill shades and regional imagery covering various portions of British Columbia.
  • Imagery – Spot 15m satellite imagery & Landsat imagery covering various portions of BC.
  • Land Ownership and Status – Data relating to the ownership of land and the parcels into which the land has been subdivided.
  • Land Use Plans – Data resource management direction as well as designation of resource management units for the purposes of
  • Land Use Planning.
  • Mining and Petroleum – Data relating to the inventory, planning, management, and monitoring of the extraction and depletion of mineral, sand, gravel, coal and petroleum resources.
  • Physical Infrastructure – Data about human-made physical structures, which support economic and social activities. e.g.: utilities, communication, transportation, buildings.
  • Wildlife and Plant Species – Data relating to the inventory of wildlife, and/or plant species (including species at risk), and the quantity and quality of a species habitat.
  • And Much More – Click here to check out the rest of the data sets

“Start a project” Feature

Screen Grab DataBC - The "Start a project" feature

The “Start a project” feature on the site was kind of a neat, it helps to inspire or encourage people into generating their own applications, maps and research. The little interactive tool kind of coaches people that need some guidance or a little push to get their projects rolling. It shows how dedicated the team of the DataBC program are as they try to inspire more people to get involved and use what they have to offer.

It is not just the general public and enthusiastic geomatics professionals that have been making use of the DataBC site. various other BC government programs and organizations have also been getting involved utilizing some of the data sets to provide on line mapping services to enhance their own web sites and services.

Some examples are the Ministry of Justice that offers a “BC Court Finder” web map  and BCParks that created the Things to Do & See in BC web map.

Check out what DataBC has to offer or download some British Columbia data sets and get started on your project.

And if you can not find the data you are looking for and want more British Columbia data, then be sure to request the data as the site boasts that they are open to communication (through their web site & social media) and feedback and want to hear from those that get involved or have something to share. In order to continue providing good Open Data Sets they need people to let them know what matters most and what their citizens need access to.

Relevant Links to DataBC program

Here is a summary of some relevant Links to DataBC program documents and services:

Main DataBC Site: http://www.data.gov.bc.ca
Their public facing geographic services website: http://www.data.gov.bc.ca/dbc/geo/
The DataBC concept of operations: http://pub.data.gov.bc.ca/documents/DataBC_Concept_of_Operations_-_V1.0.pdf
Open Information and Open Data Policy: http://www.cio.gov.bc.ca/local/cio/kis/pdfs/open_data.pdf
BC Provincial OG Licence: http://www.data.gov.bc.ca/dbc/admin/terms.page?

Another page describing the other Geomatics related services available from DataBC will follow soon.

Making Maps with Google Fusion Tables

Making Maps with Google Fusion TablesWorking with Google Fusion Tables is a great way for data integration from various input data sources, visualization and collaborative management. Fusion Tables allow you to import various data from files with formats such as CSV, KML, and / or spreadsheets formats (XLS or ODS). The tabular information in the Fusion Tables are then produced into a map through a process known as Geocoding.

Making Maps with Google Fusion Tables

This little informative GIS tutorial takes a look at Google Fusions Tables, shows you how to import geographic data from a web page, and then shows you how to create a map from the data.Basically this method will store your data and create spatial maps for you without having to buy or install any GIS software.

Making Maps with Google Fusion Tables  -Click http://gislounge.com/how-to-import-data-make-maps-google-fusion-tables/ to continue