Posts

Ultimate List of GIS Formats and Geospatial File Extensions

The Ultimate List of GIS FormatsHow well do you know your GIS formats?

Because an unknown GIS file format can be every GIS analysts worst nightmare.

In a GIS career, a person will encounter a wide range of GIS formats. GIS technicians manage, share and create data in various geospatial data formats. Here is the Ultimate List of GIS Formats & Geospatial File Extensions, some are common while some are not so common.

 

2015 GIS in Education and Research Conference

GIS in Education and Research Conference

2015 GIS in Education and Research Conference

The Second edition of the GIS in Education and Research Conference, organized by Esri Canada in partnership with the University of Toronto was held at Hart House last Monday ( November 30, 2015).  The venue of the conference: Hart House has a unique distinction of being one of the earliest collegiate Gothic Style student center’s which opened to public on Remembrance Day in 1919.Michael Goodchild at GIS in Education and Research Conference

The GIS in Education and Research Conference was primarily aimed at sharing the research findings from all areas of GIS applications while fostering networking among students, professors and teachers from universities, colleges, and schools all across Canada.

The Conference started with the welcome address by Dr. Brent Hall, Director Education and Research with Esri Canada, followed by a plenary address from Professor Emeritus Michael Goodchild, who presented in detail the challenges of Big Data: Volume, Velocity & Variety.

This was followed by a combination of concurrent paper sessions from 10:30-12:15 on research by professors and students on four themes

  1. 3D and GeodesignMichael Goodchild at GIS in Education and Research Conference
  2. Crowdsourcing/Big Data/Open Data
  3. Glaciology/Geology
  4. Physical Processes

Following a Lunch break (12:15- 13:15) there were three concurrent sessions (13:15-14:45) on

  1. Agricultural Applications
  2. Applications in Ecology
  3. Health and Retail

Following a Break (14:45 – 15:15) there were three concurrent sessions (15:15-16:45)

  1. Crime and Emergency Management
  2. Transit Modelling and AccuracyMichael Goodchild at GIS in Education and Research Conference
  3. Data Integration / Education

There were three technical workshops conducted by Esri Canada staff which were received with great enthusiasm by the participants and were wait-listed much before the conference started.

  1. Story Telling with Maps by Jean Tong, Angela Alexander, Hayleigh Conway.
  2. Integrating R with ArcGIS by Cam Plouffe.
  3. Building Custom Web Apps with ArcGIS by Krista Amolins, Dr.Michael Leahy, Jonathan.

In addition, there was a display of Esri Canada Higher Education Scholarship posters from 2015 and submissions to this year’s Esri Young Scholar Award competition.2015 GIS in Education and Research Conference

At the exhibitors section there were exhibitor booths by Esri Canada, represented by Jean Tong, Angela and Hayleigh from Education and Research group who showcased the GIS Ambassador Program of Esri Canada. URISA Ontario was represented by Caitlin Blundell who was briefing the visitors about URISA Ontario and their various activities including their Student Membership and Bursary. Other notable exhibitors included Geospatial Niagara and Fleming College.

Overall the conference proved to be very valuable to all participants, providing great opportunity to network and learn more about research being carried out by geospatial educated people who drive the Geomatics Sector  in Canada.

  Hari Shankar Reddy Yeruva, GISP Contributing Author: Hari Shankar Reddy Yeruva, GISP is a Technology Evangelist on a mission to engage with the Professionals, Educators and Students and drive excitement around Geospatial Platforms. As an Evangelist he explores every possible opportunity to reach and inspire technical audiences to successfully discover, understand, deploy and operate the core and unique Geospatial technologies within their chosen domains. He believes in the concept of “desperately learning” and that learning is imperative if we want to solve some of the challenges our world is facing.

How to Get Ontario Topographic Data

Looking for Ontario Topographic Data?

Recently, someone contacted me looking for information on where they could find Ontario topographic data for the Thunder Bay area, so I assumed that they must have already checked the Canadian data page and suggested that they check out the Ontario Basic Mapping website (OBM).

The Ontario Basic Mapping (OBM) site by the Geography Network is a great online resource with simplistic interactive interface that provides users tools to create customized map views and the ability to download various topographic base mapping data for the entire Province of Ontario. The site contains GIS layers created from 1:10,000 base maps from the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources that people can download including layers for transportation, water, municipal, elevation, parks and conservation areas. The portal created with ArcIMS makes it pretty easy to use and a convenient way to obtain mapping data in a variety of formats for virtually any area of interest in Ontario.

Ontario Topographic Data - Ontario Base Mapping Download Site

However, that person replied back to me a few days latter telling me that the site was only an online web map viewer and they needed actual data to use in a GIS, and wanted to know if I had any other sources of mapping information for Northern Ontario.

Now, I thought that the e-mail was a little strange since I have used data from the Ontario Basic Mapping web site before while planning various aerial surveys in Northern Ontario, so I decided to go check out the web site to see if the downloading data feature that I had used had been removed. Turns out the site is still the same, it can be used as an online web map viewer to customize and print maps but the downloading option still exists providing the ability to download the map layers in the viewer to use with your own GIS software packages like ArcMap or MapInfo.

It seems like a pretty simple mapping application to me but maybe it is not as obvious as some people need it to be, so I decided to share some of the notes on downloading topographic base data from the OBM site that I provided to them, in case others have trouble figuring how to download the data as well (And summarized in the video at the bottom).

The OBM site is an ArcIMS site with a simplistic look and an interactive interface that provides users with tools to create customized map views and the ability to download the various topographic base mapping data in the map window. If you are not interested in downloading GIS layers but still want to make some maps then like most typical map viewers, they also provide printing options where you can create either paper or digital PDF maps.

Ontario Topographic Data - Ontario Base Mapping - Thunder BayWhen you first open the viewer you are zoomed out to the full extent of the province with mapping tools represented by icons on your left and accessible data layers on the right hand side. Using the AOI icon, you first need to define an area of interest that will zoom the map window into your specific area, populating the map window with more detailed GIS layers and features.

From the list on the right hand side, you then select the visible layers that you wish to download. Next using the FME icon from the tools on the left hand side, a window will open up prompting you to log-in, create a free user name and password (or enter your existing log-in) and then a download options window will appear.

You then need to click a check box to agree with the license terms and click the Download Data button to continue. Finally another window with instructions for acquiring the data in a variety of formats (e.g. SHP, DWG, DXF etc.) and in either Latitude / Longitude or Lambert Conformal Conic coordinate system. Then there will be one final window with a message telling to check your e-mail for a message.

You will then get a machine-generated e-mail from the Geography Network with a custom download link with the Ontario topographic data layers that you specified for your area of interest that you defined. And that is all there is to it, so if you are looking for Ontario topographic GIS data layers to download or  just want want to create online maps then the Ontario Basic Mapping (OBM) site could help you out.

If you know of other Ontario data sources that I have not yet added to the Canadian data  collections then let me know about it and I will add it to the site.

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.

 


Free online GIS courses

The Education and Training Unit of Population Data BC are offering a few free online GIS related courses and resources as part of their mandate to serve the needs of researchers, analysts and practitioners. Current courses / training resources offered are related to Administrative Data, Statistical analysis and Health geomatics. Some are provided as  self paced courses with various modules, others are offered as digital PDF training documents.Free GIS Training

  • Administrative Data 101
  • Statistical analysis
  • SAS
  • Mplus
  • Linear Regression
  • Spatial Epidemiology
  • GIS and Epidemiology
  • Introduction to Mapping Health Data
  • Space-Time Disease Surveillance
  • Introduction to Space-Time Disease Surveillance tools

Free online GIS courses

Click here to find out more information and to register for the free online GIS courses / training material


Spatial Thinking is critical to Problem Solving

Geospatial professionals, educators & students encouraged to help youth develop problem-solving skills using technology through the GIS Ambassador Program

Bring Spatial Skills to Canadian Children, Become a GIS AmbassadorTORONTO – September 17, 2015. Spatial thinking involves understanding the relationships between objects based on their location and learning the importance of answering the question “where” to understand “why” things occur.

Geographic information system (GIS) technology helps develop spatial thinking by enabling people to visualize information as maps and see patterns and trends. To help bring spatial skills to children in K-12 schools across Canada, Esri Canada invites professional GIS users, educators and university and college students to volunteer their skills and knowledge through the GIS Ambassador Program.

“Spatial thinking is critical to problem solving,” said Dr. Brent Hall, director of education and research, Esri Canada. “It improves children’s ability to learn other skills such as math, science and engineering and develop a better understanding of the world around them. By becoming a GIS Ambassador, volunteers can help Canadian youth build valuable skills so they can succeed in solving environmental, economic and social problems for a more sustainable future.”

Larisa Johnstone is a GIS Ambassador at the Dr. David Suzuki Public School in Windsor, Ontario. Passionate about geography and GIS, she began volunteering her time by teaching her daughter’s elementary class about basic mapping, cardinal directions and how she uses maps at work. As a GIS/CAD Technician at the City of Windsor, she creates Web apps for MappMyCity, the City’s Web site and provides mapping and analysis services to the local fire, planning and parks departments.

“Using GIS and maps is important because they allow children to see the world beyond the boundaries of their neighbourhood,” noted Larisa. “It encourages them to ask questions about the world in which they live and also to find answers to those questions.”

Larisa’s session was so well-received by both students and teachers that she has been invited by the school to volunteer and teach elementary and high school students how to use GIS to analyze and solve problems. This school year, she is working with a kindergarten class to create a story map that showcases the school’s environmental initiatives. She will also help a high school class create their own story map around the theme of local and global sustainable development. Read more about Larisa’s experience as a GIS Ambassador in this blog.

Esri Canada connects GIS Ambassadors with schools in their community and provides a wealth of teaching resources including lesson plans, tutorials and activities for students. Interested participants may contact the Education and Research group at k12@esri.ca or visit http://esri.ca/en/content/gis-ambassador-program

About Esri Canada
Founded in 1984, Esri Canada provides enterprise geographic information system (GIS) solutions that empower businesses, governments and educational institutions to make timely, informed and mission-critical decisions by leveraging the power of geography. The company distributes the world’s leading GIS software from Esri, Schneider Electric, Cityworks–Azteca Systems, Inc. and other technology partners. Headquartered in Toronto, the company serves over 10,000 customers from 16 regional offices across Canada. Esri Canada has joined the elite rank of Canada’s Best Managed companies and has been named to the Branham300. Information about the company can be found at esri.ca. Follow Esri Canada on Twitter, Facebook, YouTube and LinkedIn.

GISCI Geospatial Core Technical Knowledge Exam for the GISP Certification

The new GISCI Geospatial Core Technical Knowledge Exam for GISP Certification is coming!

Des Plaines, IL (August 27, 2015) The Exam date will be announced in the next few weeks and a signup procedure will be provided on the GISCI web site (www.gisci.org)

Exam Foundations

The GISCI Geospatial Core Technical Knowledge Exam® is based on a complete job analysis, guided by the Geospatial Technology Competency Model (GTCM), and informed by the GIS & T Body of Knowledge.

The GISCI Geospatial Core Technical Knowledge Exam® is open to all individuals interested in attaining the GIS Professional certification.  GISCI will offer the Exam to individuals independent of the application for the portfolio review process.   This means that GISP applicants can start the certification process by completing an application and taking the examination any time prior to attaining the professional experience required for the professional portfolio.

Exam content will cover the following knowledge areas

  • Conceptual Foundations
  • Cartography and Visualization
  • GIS Design Aspects and Data Modeling
  • GIS Analytical Methods
  • Data Manipulation
  • Geospatial Data

The exam will be administered by an exam delivery company providing test locations around the US.   The Inaugural Exam will be offered by the end of 2015 and test preparation materials will be available on the GISCI web site several weeks prior to the initial examination date.

 About GISCI The GIS Certification Institute (GISCI) is a tax-exempt, not-for-profit organization, established in 2004, to manage and operate the most overarching professional certification program for the GIS Profession and to promote ethical conduct among GISPs. GISCI offers participants from the first years on the job until retirement, a positive method of developing value for professionals and employers in the GIS profession.  GISCI has certified over 7,000 GISPs, worldwide, and the GISP is increasingly viewed as a preferred certification in job descriptions.

Media Contact:  Bill Hodge GISP, Executive Director GISCI

bhodge@gisci.org


Top 5 Skills for a Successful Career in GIS

Top 5 important GIS skillsWhat are the top 5 important GIS skills that a successful professional in the geomatics sector should have?

According to Wikipedia, GIS is a broad term that can refer to a number of different technologies, processes, and methods. It is attached to many operations and has many applications related to engineering, planning, management, transport/logistics, insurance, telecommunications, and business. Therefore, GIS and location intelligence applications can be the foundation for many location-enabled services that rely on analysis and visualization.

Top 5 important GIS skills for a Successful Career

Joseph Kerski from Esri has created a 3 part video series where he presents new ways of thinking about important GIS skills in your career because  “skills alone will not guarantee success, but are a fundamental part of it … “. 

[Post originally published October 2014]

Historical Orthophotos of Alberta

Alberta Historical Orthophotos - Old Man River Dam in 1949-51 (left) and 2013 (right)

Old Man River Dam in 1949-51 (left) and 2013 (right)

Alberta Historical Orthophotos

Historical Orthophotos of Alberta contains georeferenced orthophoto maps consisting of aerial photography mainly from 1949 to 1951 with coverage for the whole province. It also contains various maps created with photos from 1961 to 1963. Each of the original maps covers a 1:50,000 NTS sheet at a scale of 1:63,360.

To download the georeferenced orthophoto maps you will need to use FTP software such as FileZilla (available free online). Metadata Download: http://www.abmi.ca/home/publications/351-400/376.html

Ftp server: ftp.public.abmi.ca
user name: web|anonymous
password: anonymous
path: /GISProduct/HistoricalOrthophotos

[Source: ABMI.ca]

 


the Geographic Information Systems Professional (GISP)

Over the past few years the term GISP (geographic information systems professional) has become pretty popular as more and more geospatial professionals look for a way to demonstrate that they have become more established in their geomatics careers. We originally published this article after applying for GISP certification ( after several years of putting it off and procrastinating) so we could document the process involved as a way to help others who have considered but not yet applied for certification.

Since then I have received my GISP certificate and there has been some major changes made to the GISP certification process by the GIS Certification Institute, so we have included details about the changes below the original article.

[We are always interested to hear from those that have applied for GISP so if you want to share anything about it then let us know. It is always a debatable topic in GIS themed social networking groups].GISP

A GISP is a certification status awarded to a geographic information systems (GIS) professional who has met the minimum standards for ethical conduct and professional practice as established by the GIS Certification Institute (GISCI). Thousands of professionals in GIS & Geomatics (mostly in the US) have obtained certification and are currently making the most of it to help achieve career aspirations.

There are many benefits to obtaining a GISP

Employers have started recognizing GISP certification and some are starting to prefer (and sometimes require) professionals with GISP certification when they have a GIS position that needs to be filed. A recent survey done showed that employees who have certification on the average earn more than their counterparts who do not. Still, the geomatics sector needs to emphasis the importance of GIS certification much more before the real value of having a GISP becomes recognized by the geospatial community.

It is not just in the area of earnings and wages that having a GISP certification is beneficial. A GISP is a certification status awarded to a geographic information systems (GIS) professional Many certified professionals say that the process of getting themselves certified was extremely helpful. Some have even said that the certification helped them to not only advance their careers but to redefine it as well. They are rightfully proud of their accomplishment and feel that the certification will only continue to become more valuable as time goes by, as it is the most recognized certification for a person in the GIS field.

To qualify for the GISP certification, you must meet certain benchmarks in your education and professional experience set forth by the GISCI, as well as various contributions to the profession.

The application itself is point-based; you will be given points for different and specific activities in the three categories under consideration. After you have gotten to the minimum point requirement and you have worked for at least four years in the GIS industry, you can then submit you application and start on the process to become a certified GIS Professional.

At first glance the Application may seem Intimidating

The first thing to do is download the application form from the GISCI website. my GISP ApplicationYour first glance at the application may be intimidating (as the GISCI application process can be rather lengthy and often confusing), however if you have any problems along the way, the GISCI are willing to help. Downloading the form is the simple part. You can either fill it electronically (with PDF version) or you can print it out and fill it out.  I imported the application into a word document and typed all my information into it so that it looked more professional when it came time to print it.

Next, read through the GISCI Code of Ethics & Rules of Conduct Acknowledgment Form, a document that explains the organization (and you as its certified professional) code of ethics and rules of conduct. It is mandatory to sign an acknowledgement form and include it with your application.

GISP certificate and GISP pinThe GISCI Procedures Manual should be your next stop, it takes you through the preparation for the application process systematically. There are great tips on the first couple of pages that will benefit you throughout the process. The rest of the document takes you through each component of the application. It is advisable to have your application on hand at the same time so that you can review both documents.

The bulk of the work involved in filling out your application is gathering the necessary data. You will need to not just be able to answer, in detail, questions about your education, professional experience, and professional contributions but also to provide documentation that supports the information you included in the application. This was a challenging task for myself as I moved several times over my career and lost documents along the way.

I would recommend that people start scanning and saving copies of certificates, receipts, badge tags, etc. that can be used in the application as you get them and not wait till it comes time to apply. After sending in the application, we received digital confirmation that the application was received, and then about 4 to 5 months latter a GISP certificate and pin arrived in the mail.

After your certification as a GISP, you are required to re-certify every five years. All you need for the re-certification is too prove that you continued working in or participating in the field of GIS. The components are also similar to the original certification application component. They are; Course and Conference (the educational), Contributions to the Profession and Work Experience. Renewing your certification should be a walk in the park provided you have remained active in the geomatics industry.

GISP certification now requires a Technical Exam

Apply for your GISPAs of July 1, 2015, people applying for the GISP certification will be required to take and pass a GISCI Geospatial Core Technical Knowledge Exam, as well as meet all the current standards for certification via a portfolio based review based on ethics agreement, education, experience, and professional contributions.

The new GISP certification process will incur a $ 100 application fee, $ 250 exam fee, and a $ 100 portfolio review fee and individuals will be certified for a 3 year period instead of 5 years. Annual renewal fees of $ 95 will be due on the anniversary of an individuals initial certification and be required to be paid in full prior to re-certification. All professionals that were GISP certified or recertified before July 1, 2015 will remain certified under the current 5 year policy and then begin the new 3-year renewal process after that. See GISCI.org for exact details on fees and procedures.

There are 342 registered GISPs in Canada

According to the GISP Registry on the GISCI website there are now 8110 people who have qualified for GISP certification and 94% of those are from the USA.  In Canada there are 342 GISPs registered (119 Ontario, 111 Alberta, 78 British Columbia, 9 Saskatchewan, 7 Manitoba, 7 Nova Scotia, 4 Quebec, 4 New Brunswick, 1 Newfoundland, 1 PEI & 1 Nunavut).


[A GISP is not the only recognized certification program in the GIS industry, the Canadian Institute of Geomatics & Esri both have certification programs as well].

Portfolio Items