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Digital Earth 2015 in Halifax

Digital Earth 2015 in Halifax

I first started attending conferences during University when it was required that we present our research work to professionals and other researchers in the Industry. Then the year I graduated was fortunate enough to attend the PDAC conference (now this was prior to the internet and my main focus then was to find a job in my field). PDAC is a large annual conference held in Toronto and the best conference I have ever attended. And I have been attending events & conferences ever since …. I find that although CanadianGIS.com and its social media accounts provide me great networking opportunities, it always better to have opportunities to meet other professionals in the geomatics sector and network one on one.Digital Earth 2015 in Halifax Nova Scotia

International Symposium on Digital Earth (ISDE), also known as Digital Earth for short, was held this past week (Oct 4th-9th) in Halifax. It’s goal is to bring global leaders from the geospatial community together to further discuss topics themed around “A One World Vision for the Blue Planet“.

Atlantic Canada is well known for having a rich history in the world of Geomatics

Digital Earth 2015 in Halifax Nova ScotiaAtlantic Canada is well known for having a rich history in the world of geomatics, tracing back to the post-war era when some of the earliest computer applications in surveying and mapping were developed, and integrated information systems for geographical applications began to be used.  This was also the second time that International Symposium on Digital Earth was hosted in Canada (the last time was 2001 in New Brunswick) since its inaugural start back in 1998 when former US Vice President, Al Gore gave his Digital Earth speech.

Digital Earth is meant to be an event that virtually represents our dynamic planet, encompassing all of its natural and social aspects together in a geographic framework for research and everyday applications. It provides a venue that allows the geospatial community come together to work towards sustainable development ensuring that what most of us take for granted will be here for future generations.

Digital Earth in Halifax explored a wide variety of geographic related theories, technologies, applications and achievements focused around planetary sciences, information technology, computer sciences, social sciences and big data.

Above is a video we created by combining photos & videos (ones we took as well as others from social media)

The five day conference was packed with multiple presenters from all over the world.  Three to four concurrent sessions took place at the same time several times a day, each with speakers taking up to 20 minutes each to present and discuss their topics. Keynote speakers (13 in all) took place in the larger main conference room and lasted between 40 minutes to an hour.NASA at Digital Earth 2015 in Halifax Nova Scotia

With almost 150 presentations, some presenters were able to speak several times. The down side of having so many presentations occurring in overlapping time slots meant that there were times when you had to choose to attend one presentation over another (and thus missed out on some of the talks).

Half way through the conference there was an Education Outreach program that was open to the public, providing hands on activities and scientific excursions aimed to help people better visualize our planet.

The Canadian Geographic Education provided one of their iconic giant floor maps and the Canadian Space Agency (with NASA) provided an opportunity to interact with some Astronauts as a way to get a better understanding of how large our Planet is and at the same time understand how small it is in comparison to the Universe.

Jeremy Hansen and Reid Wiseman together provided an amazing presentation about how big Canada is, and Keynote Dawn Wright from Esri at Digital Earth 2015 in Halifax Nova Scotiawhat it is like to live on the International Space Station. NASA provided detailed digital representations of geographic data on their large high definition hyper-wall (screen made up of 9 smaller screens).

Other social events included some pre-conference workshops, Student Career workshop, Opening and closing Receptions, a Pub Night, Celebration Ceilidh, Student Sociable, Mentor Lunch, and various tours to scenic areas across Nova Scotia.

Considering the wide array of speakers and broad topics covered, the action packed agenda, and the abundant opportunity to network, I think Digital Earth was a good conference. I myself attend several conferences and events in the geomatics sector every year and was fortunate enough to attend Digital Earth in Halifax and certainly would go again if it returned to Canada.

Below is a slide show of photos from Digital Earth 2015 in Halifax

Below are some tweets from Digital Earth 2015 in Halifax

Click here for more Digital Earth Tweets & photos

Northern Policy Institute launches ‘North by Numbers’

NorthByNumbers Exploring Northen Ontarios Communities

Northern Policy Institute, Northern Ontario’s independent research think tank located in Thunder Bay and Sudbury, has launched a new interactive online mapping application called North by Numbers. Their new interactive  data tool can be used to display census data from Northern Ontario for the years 2001 to 2011. 

NorthByNumbers Exploring Northen Ontarios CommunitiesData layers can be customized by selecting various topics using available options provided in several drop-down lists.  First users select a Topic, then a Variable, then a Year, and finally define the Geography of interest.

The results using several data sources from Statistics Canada or the National Household Survey of 2011 will appear in the map window with a small legend  near the top right of the screen. Data layers are displayed using a sequential color scheme quintile approach made up of 5 different colors, except for Aboriginal Identity variables that uses a natural breaks classification method instead.NorthByNumbers - export data layers to Google Earth

Export Data Layers in tabular format or Google Earth

They also provide users the ability to print or export the results. You can download the corresponding tabular data for the entire layer in comma separated values (CSV) file format file to use with MS Excel, Open Office Calc, Notepad, etc. You can also download the actual layer itself to be viewed in Google Earth, where you can add other data layers to further customize your results.

Check out North by Numbers yourself: http://NorthByNumbers.ca

 

 

 


Google now providing Google Earth Pro for Free

Download Google Earth Pro Free

Google Earth, a virtual 3D mapping and geographical information software package (originally known as EarthViewer 3D) 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.

These days you mention to anyone that you work with maps and most people will ask you if it is with Google?

With Google Earth, you can quickly scroll anywhere on the Earth using the virtual interactive spinning globe made up of various satellite and aerial imagery and zoom in to optimize your view with geographic information like maps, terrain data, 3D buildings and much more. Google Earth has become very popular and is used by a wide variety of end users from students to professionals. Most people are aware of the more common free downloadable version and may not even realize that Google has been selling an upgraded version with more features called Google Earth Pro.

The Google Earth Pro version contains all the features and the same imagery data sets as the regular Google Earth version does, but includes more advanced functionality such as the ability to measure 3D buildings, import GIS data, print high-resolution images, and create virtual flight simulated movies. Click here, for a complete list of added software functionality and available options in the Google Earth Pro version.

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, simply register for a Google Earth Pro licence key and download the software.

Prince Edward Island Aerial Photograph Interactive Map Tool

The province of Prince Edward Island has always been pretty good and open about making their PEI aerial photography available. They have an in house library in Charlottetown where prints and copies can be ordered as well as an online interactive web map service allowing users to search and download lower resolution versions of their aerial photography.

PEI Aerial Photograph Interactive Map Tool - PEI online map for aerial photosThe online initiative began shortly after the 2000/02 Corporate Land Use Inventory Project had completed. This extensive project involved creating orthophoto maps from over 16 thousand 1:17.5k false color infrared images.  The orthophotos were then tiled to match the provinces topographic map series and all land use of the island was updated using air photo interpretation and heads up digitizing.

The project was a large success and stirred fond interest from other government departments and the public leading to the scanning of historic photos from the provinces air photo library. An online map interface was then developed to help make it easier for users to search photos and the ability to download images was included for easier access. Electronic versions of the images on CD-ROM are available from the PEI Resource Inventory and Modeling section in Charlottetown (e.g. 34 CDs provide full coverage of the Province in the 2000 series).

PEI Aerial Photograph Interactive Map Tool - PEI online map for aerial photosSelecting a different air photo series of the left will change the points on the map to represent the flight lines of aerial surveys for that particular year. This tool is great for projects that involve historic work in the same area.

PEI Aerial Photograph Interactive Map Tool

The PEI online map application displays the collection of aerial photos that are available from a set as points on the interactive map. Then users can view a thumb-nail of any photo simply by double clicking on one of the map points. Larger version of the file can then be downloaded, images are in JPEG format (reduced in size by 25% from the in house scans), with download file sizes ranging from 2 to up to 10 mb.

Aerial photographs of Prince Edward Island are available for download from surveys of 1935, 1958, 1974 and 1990, 2000 & 2010. The type of imagery available depends on the aerial photo survey of that particular year, thus you will find that there are colour images, false colour infrared and black and white images.

The department has also gone ahead and generated some quick-search pages allowing users to browse Aerial Photographs by community if they do not wish to use the interactive map tool. So users can pick a community from the provided preset short-cut list to see a list of photographs available in that area.
PEI Aerial Photograph Interactive Map Tool - PEI online map for aerial photos - oblique air photo
For example you can click on Charlottetown and it will open up a page containing thumb nails with relevant photos for the Charlottetown area with links to download the corresponding image or open it up larger into your browser.

There is also a set of images on their interactive map tool of oblique aerial images of select places across the island that can be viewed similar to the way the traditional air photos are with the map tool.

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.

Prince Edward Island Interactive Map Tool can be found by following this link:  http://www.gov.pe.ca/maps/aerialphotos.php3


DataAppeal Provides Highly Effective & Interactive 3D Maps

logo DataAppealRecently a fairly new mapping tool called DataAppeal was brought to my attention. DataAppeal renders art and design with geo-based data into highly effective and interactive 3D maps. Unlike many other GIS analysis tools on the market this one has been designed to be a simplified easy to use tool so, no previous experience or training is required. Simply upload your data and use DataAppeal to transform rows and rows of boring data into fascinating and beautiful 3D images.

“DataAppeal transforms geo-referenced data by allowing users to generate, render, analyze, and share information through highly effective and visually powerful 3D and animated maps, yet is extremely simple to use. It takes the guess work out of generating information by instantly mapping any uploaded data. “

dataappeal Fiery texture with carpet1. Upload Your Data
– sign up to the free service
– download the basic template file
– add your data to the CSV file
– upload the CSV data set
2. Customize Your Map
– click the icon to import the data from your file into the system (if there are problems with the data then the system will alert you here and you will need to check or reformat your file)
– click the icon to load your data into a default map
– customize the look of your data and map with the various available settings and options
3. Share Your Maps
– Use icons provided to share your maps on Twitter, FaceBook, Email or on your own site or blog
– You can also download a Google Earth file

“We just released an updated version of DataAppeal, with new functionality to make it even easier and much faster to use! We added new features to provide new ways to visualize data sets. You now have the option of layering multiple maps so you can quickly compare different data sets. You can also use the new color gradient feature to quickly see common data points- all on the google earth platform.”

dataappeal tree cover Toronto

All these features will continue to be free for a limited time (in beta mode), so you can see how useful they are when analyzing your data.-we also launched a new website, with 3D data-map image samples and demo videos.

“We would love it if your followers would test it and provide us feedback”

The basic features will remain free always with the more advanced features such as color gradients, texture styles, ability to layer maps and the ability to upload larger data sets will be part of the premium service. So now is a good time to sign up with  DataAppeal and create some 3D interactive maps of your own data, and then share your feedback and experiences with other CanadianGIS.com readers.

Here are sme sample data sets that were rendered through the Dataappeal web-based application showcasing some of the various styles and features available.

Toronto Population- http://dataappeal.com/explore/featured-maps/toronto-population.html

Great Lakes Parks – http://dataappeal.com/explore/featured-maps/great-lakes-parks.html

Free Data Sets for the City of Toronto

The City of Toronto has recently celebrated two years of online Open Data service and they have full intention on continuing to build on that success, by stating that they intend to add more data layers and will further develop their site.

Data sets are provided in various standard downloadable file formats such as XLS, CSV, DGN & SHP. All data set contains basic meta info associated with them such as who created the data, date, format, projection, attributes, contact info etc. The bottom line here is the City of Toronto has granted the GIS community a royalty free, non exclusive licence to use, modify, and distribute any of their data sets that they continue to make available via their data catalogue.