I know this is my research blog, but for simplicity reasons, I will be hijacking it for the next couple of posts for work purposes. You have been warned.

***Recap from yesterday:  Yup, this conference is huge. This is my first time here and I’m relatively new to the whole geo-spatial community so I’m trying to figure out what will be most useful to me.  Most of yesterday was showcasing ArcGIS 10 and the esri sales pitch.

Ok so I wanted to start off with “Gov 2.0 – Envisioning the Future of Delivering Government Services” but room was packed and it’s the only time the session is being offered…boo esri.

So I have ended up at “Cartographic Design for Web Maps” and still I’m sitting on the floor in the aisle.  I’m hoping it will get a bit more technical, but right now it’s pretty standard usability tips ie. know your audience, and only provide tools that are useful, put data in context *yawn*.

Dynamic web maps:  Map applications that allow you to build a customized map.  Each layer is built upon a very simple base map and details are added gradually depending on user interest. Cool demo.

Mashups: Design considerations when creating a mashups…again standard design and usability considerations here.

The Map Sandwich:

  • Bread – reference and terrain layer
  • Flavour – operational layer (the focus of the map)

ESRI makes available the bread so we can concentrate on the flavour and save time. *provide link later*

They mostly spoke about the importance of choosing the appropriate scale levels, and what level of information you offer at each level and it’s appropriate context.  I guess this reinforces the idea from my research that the reason why the user is coming to the map in the first place is important to understand what data to present.  I will check if there is an advanced cartography session.

Ok onto the next presentation….

Software and Hardware Tools for Climatology and Meteorology

An Open Geospatial Consortium-based Arctic Climatology Sensor Network Prototype

Andrew Rettig and Dr. Richard Beck – University of Cincinnati

Tim Rettig – INTRUST

  • Barrow, Alaska aka “Top of the World” – aka “Ground zero for climate change” (EC’s station is located at Alert)
  • Create data information system using OGC standards – end to end geographic information network – to get the data back to cincinnati
  • Used windows due to user famialiarity – while most use linux (I believe our guys at Alert use linux?)
  • software created by Stratus and Linoma
  • xml files of weather data from arctic sensors – transfer to sql database in cincinnati
  • user ARC sde for spatial data relationship
  • was able to successfully use esri with the OGC standards, which is key for the academic environment
  • visualization – used standard esri mapping template and kml
  • adding imagery geoinformatics (video and photos)
  • network monitoring

Thoughts: Not so sure why these guys are accumulating this data…doesn’t the DOE in the US gather all of this and make it available?  Maybe I am assuming EC already does this with their data.  I know the data is being generated by us…curious.  Ops guys may be able to educate me.

Severe Weather

Keith Stellman – National Weather Service

  • assessment of significant events, type of event, severity
  • time is of the essence, response and recovery are immediate
  • users – media, public, research, emergency mgmt
  • response has evolved into web 2.0 – problems no central repository, information overload, a ton of data, needs to streamline process
  • response should be simple, intuitive, flexible, centralized and quick turnaround
  • collect data (laptop, blackberry) transmit to GIS server – ArcGIS mobile, Blackberry – Freelance mobile, ESRI Arc GIS Server, Flex API
  • I think the use of the Blackberry is novel for us, we don’t utilize mobile tech for severe weather (do we?), i know we do for emergency response though.  Will be attending a mobile development workshop later…stay tuned!
  • Use the flex api interface for quality control, views the data and check/edit what was input through the blackberry
  • push out the qc’d data to a kml file for distribution


keith- dot-stellman-at-noaa-dot-gov

Thoughts: Enjoyable presentation probably because it was so related to EC-MSC and I could identify with the process. Time well spent.

Mapping and Animating Air Masses with Python and ArcObjects

James Detwiler – Penn State

  • SSC – Spatial Synoptic Classification: classifies the weather at any particular weather station into 6 main categories (ie. Dry Polar, Moist Polar etc)
    • based on surface observations – not instantaneous – 1 day is based on 4 observations
    • air mass calendar for 300+ stations
    • SSC used for agriculture yields, air quality, climate change, heat watch/warning systems (most popular)
    • statistically significant increases in human mortality assoc with certain air masses, varies by city, strong in NE US
  • lays a fine res grid over a map – filter is applied for most common air mass w/i 360 km and assigned to cell
  • has done some work on the cartography end for a more usable map – boundaries of the masses appear jagged and he does various tweaking and clipping for a more usable map and better visualization (i approve)
  • why do this? educational, policy makers, etc.
  • map automation: wrote python scripts – took 6 moths to create daily maps for period of record
  • posted online on a custom google maps page
  • animation technique – originally used Autodesk Animator Pro (very manual, tedious)
  • revisited the animations to make it easier
    • used ArcObjects/VBA to delineate polygons and for edge matching…work still in progress
    • demo of process

Thoughts: This was originally the subject of the presenters masters thesis which he is now revisiting and building upon (nice!).  It was interesting to go through the history and lifecycle of his idea and thought process he had while trying to make the air mass maps better and address problems.  It’s always nice to hear a talk by someone who is obviously invested/interested in the topic.  Will definitely bring this to the appropriate persons attention at EC!

This session much more useful than the last….and full of scientists who all seem to be looking at me wondering why I’m typing furiously on my laptop 🙂