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2016
Not long ago, I described the Landsat Thematic Bands Web Mapping Application, an easy-to-use but powerful teaching and research tool. It is a web mapping application with global coverage, with mapping services updated daily with new Landsat 8 scenes and access to selected bands that allows the user to visualize agriculture, rock formations, vegetation health, and more.  The Time tool allows for the examination of changes over years, over seasons, or before and after an event.  The Identify tool gives a spectral profile about each scene.  I have used this application dozens of times over the past year in remote sensing, geography, GIS, and other courses and workshops, and judging from the thousands of views that this blog has had, many others have done the same thing.

If that weren't all, our Esri development team has recently made the tool even better--one can now save a time sequence or a band combination as a permanent URL that can be shared with others.  The flooding of 20 districts in August and September 2016 in Uttar Pradesh, India, for example, can be easily seen on this link that uses the application, with screenshots below.

Another example is the 2016 Fort McMurray wildfire in Alberta, Canada  - the user can change the time to see the region's vegetation cover before and after fire, and the extent of the smoke during the fire.  Or, you can analyze a different band combination, as is seen here.

To do this, open the application.  Note that this application's URL has been updated over the one I referred to last year.  Move to an area of interest.  Select any one of the available thematic band renderers (such as agriculture, natural color, color infrared, and so on), or create your own band combination using build.  Then, turn on "time" to see your area of interest at different periods using your band combination.  Next, share this image with other people.   Simply click on any one of the social platforms (Facebook or Twitter) in the upper right, which will create a short link that can be shared.  When the person you send this link to opens it, the Landsat app will open in exactly the same state it was in before social platform tool was clicked.  This makes it a very convenient teaching, presentation, and research tool.  Give it a try!
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Landsat 8 Image for Allahabad India on 31 May 2016.

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Landsat 8 Image for Allahabad India showing flooding on 19 August 2016.

In response to inquiries that educators and others have had recently, I created several videos explaining how to georeference a map and serve it in ArcGIS Online, beginning here and continuing here and here.  Georeferencing is the process of aligning spatial data in map form has no spatial information explicitly attached to it, usually because it has been scanned from film, paper, or another medium, and attaching spatial information to it.  By "spatial information" we mean a real-world map projection and coordinate system.  The process of georeferencing is powerful because it allows you to add historical or other documents to your GIS project, so that you can work with them just like you can with your other GIS maps and data.  You match your scanned aerial photo, map, or other document by creating a series of control points, which I explain here.  I did this using ArcGIS Desktop (ArcMap); soon you will be able to do this in ArcGIS Pro, and, I hope, someday in ArcGIS Online.

Georeferencing has been around for as long as GIS has existed--since the 1960s.  But more recently, with the advent of cloud based GIS platforms such as ArcGIS Online, you can now serve your newly georeferenced data to the cloud, as I demonstrate in the third video in the series.  Serving it in ArcGIS Online enables you to use it anywhere, on any device, at any time.  Then, if you share your data in ArcGIS Online, others can use it as well in their own maps and projects.

Let's say you have georeferenced and uploaded a historical map, as I do in these videos with one of the wonderful historical Sanborn fire insurance maps, and now have published it to ArcGIS Online.  Now you want to create a Swipe story map web mapping application so that you can compare how a city changed over time.  I explain how to to do that in this video.  As with any GIS-based project, being organized about your work is crucial, and in this video I demonstrate how to effectively use folders in ArcGIS Online to support your organized work.

I hope these resources will be valuable to the community and I look forward to hearing your comments and how you have used georeferencing in your own work.
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Georeferencing a historical map in ArcGIS.

My new videos - the Lakota Language Story Map:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=m_U-YGKGYyA And how to add sound to story map captions:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FkLc6IfYhZA 

To meet the needs of a growing number of educators interested in using Esri Story Maps in teaching and research, I invite you to join a new Story Maps for Education group in the GeoNet Community. This will be our virtual place to connect, share and collaborate on topics related to “story maps in education." Story Maps are multimedia web mapping applications that join audio, narrative, video, photographs, and thematic and base map in a compelling environment that is perfect for communicating the results of any investigation from local to global in scale.  GeoNet is where GIS users from a wide variety of disciplines can collaborate, share, and discover information through blogs, updates, videos, discussions, and more.

The Story Maps for Education group is a "members only" group, which means all content is public but, in order to contribute to the conversations and be alerted of new content, you need to click “Actions” and then “join group” in the top right.

Quick tips:
  • If you do have a GeoNet account and are not logged in to GeoNet, you’ll need to click "login" first to log in to GeoNet, go to the URL above, then Actions - > join the group.
  • If you don’t have a GeoNet account, click “login” and then follow the steps to create your GeoNet account. Once your account is created you can use the group link in this email or search for the “Story Maps for Education” group in the community.
  • For any additional questions, general tips and guidelines, please visit the GeoNet Community Help group.

Thanks for joining and we look forward to seeing you in the GeoNet Community!
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Story Maps for Education Group in GeoNet.

Four new SpatiaLABS are now available, focused on teaching spatial thinking and analysis through a compelling topic--search and rescue--and a compelling location--a national park.  To access the labs, use this story map, click on Social Sciences, and see the four listed on the left side.  They are also viewable on the map, located in Yosemite National Park.  All are authored by Paul Doherty, who has had a fascinating career with roles ranging from GIS consultant at Eagle Technology to park ranger for the National Park Service to disaster response lead at Esri.

In the first of these four labs, you will use search and rescue incident locations to create an interactive web map and web mapping application in ArcGIS Online to explore the distribution of incidents in Yosemite National Park.  In the second lab, you will open a map project in ArcGIS Pro and create assignment maps for the emergency search operations.  In the third lab, you will map where searchers have been deployed and what they have found.  In the fourth lab, you will create a "clue log" that can be edited anywhere and with any device.SpatiaLABS are standalone activities designed to promote spatial reasoning and analysis skills. Covering a wide variety of subject matter useful in standard computer-lab sessions and longer term projects, SpatiaLABS illuminate relationships, patterns and complexities while answering provocative questions such as, "How might visibility have affected political boundaries in ancient civilizations?" or "Is there a connection between ethnicity and exposure to industrial toxins?" or "How worried should I be about the stagnant pond a quarter mile away?"

SpatiaLABS contain instructional materials in Microsoft Word and other common formats so that you can easily add self-assessment questions, adjust the context for the analysis, rework the lab to use local data, or otherwise customize them to suit your non-commercial needs.  Check out these new labs and the others in the collection today!
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Some of the compelling maps and data you will analyze in the Search and Rescue SpatiaLABS.

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