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286 Posts authored by: jkerski-esristaff Employee

Perhaps this experiment that I conducted 4 years apart will be useful for all those teaching GIS and teaching with GIS, on the topics of GIS, GPS, and spatial resolution:

 

Track on Track, Revisited: Spatial Accuracy of Field Data | Spatial Reserves 

 

Track on track

Track from 2014 (left) and 2018 (right) gathered from a smartphone and a fitness app.

 

Back in 2014, I tested the accuracy of smartphone positional accuracy in a small tight area by walking around a track.  During a recent visit to teach GIS workshops at Carnegie Mellon University, I decided to re-test, again on a running track.  My hypothesis was that triangulation off of wi-fi hotspots, cell phone towers, and the improved GPS constellation would have improved the spatial accuracy of my resulting track over those intervening years.

After an hour of walking, and collecting the track on my smartphone with a fitness app (Runkeeper), I uploaded my track as a GPX file and created a web map showing it in ArcGIS Online.  Open this map > use bookmarks > navigate to the Atlanta and Pittsburgh (Carnegie Mellon University) locations (also shown on the graphic below on the left and right, respectively).   Once I mapped my data, my hypothesis was confirmed:  I kept to the same lane on the running track, and the width of the resulting lines averaged about 5 meters, as opposed to 15 meters on the track from four years ago.  True, the 2014 track variability was no doubt in part because I was surrounded by tall buildings on three sides (as you can see in my video that I recorded at the same time) , while the building heights on the Carnegie Mellon campus were much lower.  However, you can measure for yourself on the ArcGIS Online map linked above and see the improvement over those two tracks taken just 4 years apart.

I did another test while at Carnegie Mellon University–during my last lap on the track, I moved to the inside lane.   This was 5 meters inside the next-to-outer lane where I completed my other laps.  I wanted to see whether this shift would be visible on the resulting map.  It is!  The lane is clearly visible on the map and on the right side of the graphic below, marked as “inside lane.”

To explore further, on the map above, go to > Contents, to the left of the map, and turn on the World Imagery Clarity layer.   Then use the Measure tool to determine how close the track is to the satellite imagery (which isn’t perfect either, but see teachable moments link below).  You will find that at times the track was 0.5 meters from the image underneath Lane 1, and at other times 3.5 meters away.

Both tracks featured “zingers” – lines stretching away from the actual walking tracks, resulting from points dropped as I exited the nearby buildings and walked outside, as my location based service first got its bearing.  But again, an improvement was seen:  The initial point was 114 meters off in 2014, but in 2018, only 21.5 meters.  In both cases, as I remained outside, the points became more accurate.  When you collect data, the more time you spend on the point you are collecting, typically the more spatially accurate that point is.

 

To dig deeper into issues of GPS track accuracy and precision, see my related essay on errors and teachable moments in collecting data, and on comparing the accuracy of GPS receivers and smartphones and mapping field collected data in ArcGIS Online here and here.

Location based services on the smartphone still do not yet deliver the spatial accuracy for laying fiber optic cable or determining differences in closely-spaced headstones in cemeteries (unless a device such as Bad Elf or a survey-grade GPS is used).  Article are appearing that predict spatial accuracy improvements in smartphones.  Even today, though, I was quite pleased with my track’s spatial accuracy, particularly in 2018.  I was even more pleased considering that I had the phone in my pocket most of the time I was walking.  I did this in part because it was cold, and cold temperatures tend to rapidly deplete my cell phone’s battery (which is unfortunate, and the subject of other posts, many of which sport numerous adds, so they are not listed here).   Happy field data collection and mapping!

--Joseph Kerski

Greetings everyone:

 

I would like to announce an online course that I am teaching:  

 

 **Telling Your Story using Esri Story Maps** - This course led by Joseph Kerski will enable you to understand and incorporate interactive web-based story maps to include sound, video, photographs and other multi-media in your teaching about ecoregions, natural hazards, river systems, urban change, demographics, and much more. 

 

This course is aimed at:  The educator who is just starting out with web mapping and story maps.  So, if you know an educator that fits this description, this course would be particularly relevant to them.

This course is 5 weeks in length and includes hands-on activities, discussion, assessments, and readings.  You will learn through hand-on activities using the ArcGIS maps to enhance your curriculum for your students.  To register, click here. 

 

Here is the link:

https://www.enetlearning.org/register-for-courses/telling-your-story-with-esri-story-maps-2/

Here is the link to all of eNet’s February courses:

http://www.enetlearning.org/course-catalog-and-descriptions/

There is a small fee for the course to support the good folks at eNet Learning and the work they do to offer courses for educators.  There is an option for university credit as well.

 

--Joseph Kerski

 

Story map

We on the Esri education outreach team receive regular inquiries from instructors who want to see examples of the use web maps and applications as instruments for students to communicate the results of their learning and their research.  They also want to see maps that at the same time serve as assessment instruments for the instructor to gauge student learning.  One of the best examples I have seen lately is the work that Dr Karen R. Lips at the University of Maryland's Department of Biology has been doing.  I was even more impressed because this was her first use of story maps, and yet the resulting maps and her approach were extremely innovative!  I also liked the fact that in her assessment rubric, she placed weight on the content, but also in the students' effective means of communication.  And in her story map instructions, she provided what I thought was just the right amount of information--she didn't bury the students with too much, but gave them enough to get started and become confident, with links for them to keep learning and growing. 

 

I asked Dr Lips to share her work so that the entire GIS education community could benefit, and she has graciously done so, including the attached instructions and rubrics, selected examples that follow, and her instructional reflections below.  Selected examples from the students include the life and death of coral reefs, Biodiversity:  A Cure for Going Bananas, the Unsung Utility of Oysters, the Path from Monoculture to Sustainability, Of Mice and Men:  How Habitat Fragmentation Facilitates the Spread of Lyme DiseaseHaiti's environmental chaos, biodiversity and poverty in the nation's capital, Biodiversity Hotspots:  Nigeria, and Getting Ticked off by Deforestation.   

 

Dr Lips said, "At the University of Maryland College Park, I teach a non-majors Honors course called Biodiversity Matters, in which we do a variety of readings and activities to show how dependent humans are on biodiversity in every aspect of their lives, from food, to medicine and bioengineering, to clothing and housing, to large scale coastal protection, national security, and international relations. Essentially the course demonstrates the many kinds of goods and services provide by nature (“Natural Capital”) and how those goods and services contribute to human health and well-being. My goal was to show that biodiversity is not a special interest dependent on philanthropy, but should be viewed as the foundation of life on earth that provides sustaining resources to human society. I directly link course topics to the majors of the students to show them how biodiversity intersects their lives and how they have a role in
conserving biodiversity. 


The secondary theme of the course is communication. We learn about using the Compass MessageBox to articulate our
message and describe the “So What”, and we compare writing styles of scientific papers to the media coverage of the same studies. We met with a science writer from a major publication to understand the publishing process and how to write for science news, and we compared the differences in the approaches and techniques to science communication in scientific articles, popular articles, and in videos. I designed three major assignments to assess students’ abilities to communicate the importance of biodiversity: (a) in writing through an initial Op-Ed piece, (b) in using visuals and audio by producing an end-of-semester video, and (c) at the midway point, through a combination of writing and visuals with an Esri Story Map. My goals were to demonstrate a continuum of communication styles, show how images can often make a point better than words, and encourage students to think about data visualization.


Developing a Story Map Assignment: This summer I learned that the UMD library has a GIS lab, with full time staff that are available to offer training to faculty and students in the use of ArcGIS. Before the semester began, I met with Dr. Kelly O’Neal and together we identified Story Maps as an easy-to-use platform for students without any GIS experience. This would allow them to make maps, import them into a Story Map, and add images and text to produce an attractive project. I searched the web for examples of how other faculty had used Story Maps in classes, but found few examples (but see https://oceansolutions.stanford.edu/education-and-teaching-resources), and even fewer teaching resources for faculty (i.e., syllabi, lesson plans, project descriptions, grading rubrics). I wrote to Dr. Dawn Wright to see if Esri might
have teaching materials that I had missed. She introduced me to Dr. Joseph Kerski who suggested sharing my resources in a blog post.


Once the semester began I met with students individually to identify topics of interest to them that related to the course theme and which were likely to have available data layers, and introduced them to the Story Map platform. The UMD GIS lab taught ArcGIS basics to my class during a one hour workshop. This was followed by a final one-on-one meeting between each student and the GIS lab staff to identify data that would illustrate their report. I met with students on an as-needed basis while they completed their Story Map. 


Assessment: Students really enjoyed this assignment. Students were very creative in their choice of topics and in how they presented data visually. They thought it was a very useful way of producing an illustrated report, and could see how to apply it in some of their other courses. None of them had ever used GIS before, and only a few had ever heard of GIS before they did this assignment. They thought that it was relatively easy to use and most had no major problems with the system. As the instructor, I thought that this format was much more interesting than the traditional format of a written report, and thought it allowed a much greater immersion into the topic. I encouraged several students to submit their Story Map to the annual student competition. I think that with additional time working with ArcGIS, and learning how to import and manipulate data students of any background or in any major could produce high quality Story Map projects.

 

Resources: I include the Lesson Plan with Instructions for the assignment. I incorporated some of the introductory material from information found on the Stanford website (see above), but the majority of instructions are adapted from previous assignments in my earlier Honors Courses. My grading rubric is based on the text of the instructions, and language adopted from various online grading rubrics. A huge thanks to Dr. Kelly O’Neal and her staff at UMD Libraries
for their assistance and guidance – I definitely plan to do this again in my other classes.

The USGS poster "Geographic Information Systems" has been scanned and is now available online in the following location:  https://pubs.er.usgs.gov/publication/70201216

Though dated, it still provides some of the fundamentals of what GIS is and why it matters (Disclaimer:  I am also proud to say that I was the major author of this poster during my tenure at the USGS). 

--Joseph Kerski 

I recently wrote about 15 inspiring GIS Day stories from the events held in 2018.  Many of the GIS Day events were held in schools, libraries, museums, universities, and other educational settings:  15 Inspiring GIS Day 2018 Success Stories   It is my hope that these stories inspire you to continue to make a difference with GIS in education not only on GIS Day, but throughout the year. 

 

--Joseph Kerski

Greetings all and, if you are in the USA, Happy Thanksgiving. This “where does Thanksgiving dinner come from” story map: https://storymaps.esri.com/stories/2017/thanksgiving-dinner/ could be useful for many reasons:  

 

1)   Like many good maps, it is great for examining spatial patterns, and also for challenging some preconceived notions (did you know that Wisconsin was so prominent in growing green beans, for example?). 

2)  The excellent use of symbols and other cartographic techniques might be useful discussion points in geography, GIS, and cartography courses.

3)  Examine the metadata--this map was created from data from the USDA Census of Agriculture.  How did the data get compiled?  

4)  How can you create a series type of story map like this one, on your own topic of interest?

5)  Use this map to spark some “spatial” discussions with your friends and family.   Enjoy.  And thank a farmer!

 

Thanksgiving Map

--Joseph Kerski 

Welcome to this series of GIS Workshops!  These are designed to help you become excited about and enabled to use web GIS tools to solve problems and analyze spatial patterns, relationships, and trends.

 

(1)  Telling your story with Esri Story Maps - concepts and hands-on activities:

telling_your_story_with_esri_story_maps_final.pdf - Box 

Digital Humanities Collection:  Story Maps and the Digital Humanities  

 

(2) 5 Converging forces catapulting spatial thinking to the world stage, 5 trends in geospatial technology, and 5 skills important in your data science career.

https://denverro.maps.arcgis.com/apps/MapJournal/index.html?appid=fb060544d4bc4d15a1b8bed38048859b 

 

(3) The Power of ArcGIS Online

(3a)  Spatial Joins to the ArcGIS Online Living Atlas of the World

A spatial join is a GIS operation that affixes data from one feature layer's attribute table to another according to its location. Spatial joins begin by selecting a target feature and comparing it spatially to other feature layers.  Spatial joins have been used for years, for example, to determine how many water wells are in a drainage basin, or businesses in a census tract, or the number of earthquakes that fall within specific countries over specific time periods.  Let's take this last example and apply it to the changing paradigm that Web GIS represents.  You can now join data to the cloud!

 

Let us say that I want to determine how many earthquakes occurred in the past 30 days according to the USGS National Earthquake Information Center.  The way I have done this for years in ArcGIS Desktop was to gather two data layers - a point layer for earthquakes, and a polygon layer for world countries, and perform a spatial join.  Nothing is wrong with that method, and it continues to work well in ArcGIS Pro, for example.  But let's say I want to do that in ArcGIS , and I don't want to download anything.  This is accomplished with an analysis tool in ArcGIS --Join Features.  To use the analysis tools, you have to be signed in to ArcGIS  and have a publisher role.  

 

To begin, start with my web map:  

http://denverro.maps.arcgis.com/home/webmap/viewer.html?webmap=63a6261d7afa48878a52a4c7127f624e - the 

Earthquakes starting point map.  It contains data layers that are streaming from the USGS earthquake center, in this  case, the last 30 days of earthquakes. 

 

Sign in to ArcGIS Online > Analysis > Summarize Data > Join Features.  Once the Join Features analysis tool is engaged, I find World Countries (generalized) in the Living Atlas of the World.  This is your target layer, so named because my goal or "target" is to create a choropleth map by country polygons.  The layer to join to these polygons is my earthquakes layer that is streaming from USGS.  The type of join is "intersect"--if an earthquake is inside or "intersects" the country polygon, you want it to be considered.

 

 

Spatial Join 2

Here is how I found the Living Atlas content, after searching on World Countries, I selected the generalized data set:

 

Spatial Join 1

I filled in the remainder of the Join Features dialog box as follows:  I chose the one to one operation; I added statistics so I could determine average magnitude and depth by country, which I thought would be interesting (as I explain in this video, always be curious!) my resulting layer and I unchecked "use current map extent" just in case my current extent happened to be cutting off any outlying islands in the South Pacific, for example, and then > Run Analysis:

 

Spatial Join 3

 

The results are below, with all countries defaulting as single symbol. 

Spatial Join 4

You will change the style shortly, but before you do, let's examine the new table of data.  The "join count" field contains the number of earthquakes by country:

 

Spatial Join 5

The average magnitude and average depth have been saved as fields in the new layer:

 

Spatial Join 6

 

Next, use Change Style to symbolize the countries on Join_Count, as follows:

 

 

Spatial Join 7


Because the USA contains so many earthquakes, the default Counts and Amounts symbology lumps most countries into one category.  The reason why is in part because the USGS earthquake center is in the USA.  It is in Golden Colorado; I used to give tours there as a USGS employee; a fascinating place that I recommend highly for you to take a tour in next time you're in Colorado.  The earthquake center receives transmitted signals of information from the global seismic network, but it also senses ground motion from nearby earthquakes in the western USA.  So, it senses more small earthquakes in the USA than it does for other countries, resulting in a higher number for the USA.  This is all a critical part of knowing your data, as I write about weekly on the Spatial Reserves data blog.  So, under Options, I changed the classification to Quantile with 5 classes, as follows:

 

Spatial Join 8

 

The result is below.  Now I have a better sense, with a choropleth map, of the frequency of earthquake by country.  Given a ocean polygon layer, I could even map oceans by earthquake frequency.

 

I would like to make just a few adjustments.  Because over the last 30 days, according to the USGS, earthquakes had occurred in only 42 countries, and 254 polygons exist in the generalized world countries data set, countries with no earthquakes have no symbol or color:    

 

Spatial Join 8b

 

This looks a bit odd.  My goal is to show countries with no earthquakes over the past 30 days with a pale yellow color.  This is easily remedied with a few keystrokes.  The easiest way to do this is to use the Add Data button, add the generalized world countries from the Living Atlas of the World, and change its style to pale yellow with a yellow outline.  Once done, I moved its position to be located underneath my joined earthquakes layer.  I also moved the earthquakes to the top of the contents so that my map users could more clearly see them.  I also labeled the countries with the number of earthquakes that occurred within each one.   The resulting map is here. 

Spatial Join 9

 

Try the Join Tables to ArcGIS  on other data sets.  It can be accomplished in just a few steps but the results are powerful.  Think of ArcGIS  and the Living Atlas as a vast storehouse of data that you can join your own data to for rich analysis.

 

(3b)  Cholera investigation:  

http://esrit3g.maps.arcgis.com/home/webmap/viewer.html?webmap=87c0f79108e246d49f97a6cfe4fce157  

Steps:

1--Style data on number of cases.

2--Create heat map.

3--Buffer wells by 500 ft.

4--Summarize within - cholera cases within buffer.

5--Calculate route to each water pump.

 

(3c)  Use Arcade expressions on the following data set to enhance your capabilities in ArcGIS Online: 

https://www.arcgis.com/home/webmap/viewer.html?useExisting=1&layers=c2d611adace94b488bfbf280dd591a7c 

 

(4)  Survey123 Workshop:

Survey123_university_of_michigan.pdf - Box 

 

(5)  Careers in GIS

career_advice_joseph_kerski_short.pdf - Box 

A wonderful new web mapping service from our colleagues at NASA SEDAC (the Socioeconomic Data and Applications Center) and CIESIN (the Center for International Earth Science Information Network, a research center within the Earth Institute at Columbia University) provides the educator and researcher with an incredibly valuable, easy-to-use, and fascinating tool to examine the distribution and demographic characteristics of the world's population.  I have been a great admirer of the folks at SEDAC and CIESIN since my days at the US Census Bureau, and write about them frequently in our data blog, and this population service is the latest in a set of data and tools that can be used in multiple ways and at many educational levels and settings.  It also makes use of some innovative Esri technology.

 

Once you access the web mapping application--(see my video for some guidance) - available without logging into anything, and available on any browser or device, you can examine global population distribution.   Through toggling the maps on the right between country boundaries, roadmap, and terrain, you can examine the relationship between the distribution of population at scales from local to global and the relationship of the population density and amounts to terrain, landforms, climate zones, river systems, coastlines, and more.  You can also view a layer called "settlement points" (which come from http://sedac.ciesin.columbia.edu/data/set/grump-v1-settlement-points-rev01).  You also have the option to dive deeper into the population data by accessing the polygon, circle, or point tools on the left side of the map, as shown below.  Note that for 2010, you have even more detail on the age breakdown.  

 

SEDAC CIESIN population web mapping service

 

The point buffering tool allows you to obtain population data for circular areas of the exact radius you choose, as I do below for Mumbai, India.  I obtained the latitude and longitude for Mumbai by accessing ArcGIS  > Map > and using the Measure--Point Location tool.

 

SEDAC CIESIN population web mapping service

 

The results of my point buffer are shown below.

 

SEDAC CIESIN population web mapping service

I can run the same procedure for other parts of the world, or simply use the polygon or circle tool, and the map holds all of my areas until I clear them.  With these areas, I can then compare the number of people, age of the population, and change over time.  Which areas of the world contain the fewest people? Is it southern Algeria in the Sahara, as I investigate below, or is it northern Siberia or central Australia?  Why are some areas experiencing a high rate of population, growth, while other areas are experiencing slower rates, and still others are decreasing?  What are the implications of growth and decline for those areas?

 

SEDAC CIESIN population web mapping service


There is still more!  One of my favorite tools as a geographer is population age pyramids.  This mapping service provides these as well.  For example, see the older population predominating on the Great Plains of Colorado.  

 

SEDAC CIESIN population web mapping service

 

This same pyramid is shown at right, below.  But at left is the data for roughly the same geographic area in the southeast part of the Denver metropolitan area.  The numbers in metro Denver are much higher (thousands in each age category vs. only a few dozen on the Great Plains), but also the age structure is much different--with 30- to 50-somethings raising kids, and not as many people over 65 or 20 year olds.  What do these neighborhoods look like?  You can change the base map to imagery, zoom in, and find out. 

 

 

SEDAC CIESIN population web mapping service

 

Where are the 20-somethings?  Look at neighborhoods near light rail lines in central cities, or college towns, or, in the case below, military bases. Here I am examining Fort Riley, Kansas, a large military base; note the age structure and also the slightly higher number of males than females (though they are fairly similar in number!) 

 

SEDAC CIESIN population web mapping service

 

One of the key concepts when teaching with web mapping applications such as this is helping researchers and students get into the habit of examining the metadata.  The values for this mapping service are calculated using Zonal Statistics on 1km rasters from the Gridded Population of the World (GPW4) data, described here: http://sedac.ciesin.columbia.edu/data/collection/gpw-v4   The GPW data has been refined, curated, and is updated with the highest attention to quality and detail with an expert staff of statisticians and rigorous methods.  The age data specifically references the Basic Demographic Characteristics Dataset here: http://sedac.ciesin.columbia.edu/data/set/gpw-v4-basic-demographic-characteristics-rev10.  Another way to focus attention on the data and methods is to examine the Mean Area of Geographic Units on the right side of the mapping service.  This clearly shows that the data collection units are different for central Kazakhstan than for, say, Vietnam.  Note that the settlement points layer referred to above are there for reference and are not used in the Zonal Stats Calculations.

 

This web mapping application fits nicely into the other web mapping applications that I describe here.  Use these to teach about the key issues of our 21st Century world--population, natural hazards, oceans, climate, energy, water, and much more. 

Many educators, researchers, students, and analysts regularly want to examine changes-over-space-and-time with imagery and GIS.   Recently, 81 different dates of historical imagery for the past 5 years were placed inside ArcGIS via the World Imagery Wayback service.  For more information, see this essay.

This imagery is accessible in ArcGIS , ArcMap, and ArcGIS Pro.  The best place to start is the World Imagery Wayback app.  This app, available simply through a web browser – https://livingatlas.arcgis.com/wayback/  - can be used by way of introduction in a university or community college course, or all by itself in a primary or secondary school.  A fascinating and an incredible resource for examining land use and land cover change, the wayback image service covers the entire globe.  That means you can examine coastal erosion in England, deforestation in Indonesia, urban sprawl just about anywhere, reclamation of mine lands, changes in water levels in reservoirs, agricultural expansion in Saudi Arabia, glacial retreat in Alaska, and much more. 

Plus, in keeping with the theme of being critical of the data in GIS in education, and the focus of our book and blog The GIS Guide to Public Domain Data, this app and imagery create a useful "teachable moment."  The dates shown on the left side of the app represent the update of the Esri World Imagery service, fed by multiple sources, private and public, from local and global sources.  Thus, the date shown does not mean that every location that you examine on the image is current as of that date.  I verified this where my own observations in my local area show construction as of June 2018, for example, but that construction does not appear on the image.  In addition, several other places I examined from wintertime in the Northern Hemisphere were clearly “leaf-on” and taken during the summer before.  Therefore, as always, get familiar with what you are working with.  Despite these cautions, the imagery still represents an amazingly useful resource.

wayback1wayback2

Sample from this imagery set for 30 July 2014 (top) and four years later, 27 June 2018 (bottom) for an area outside Denver, Colorado USA. 

How can the use of the Wayback image service be extended for education and research purposes?  One way to do so is by creating a web map in ArcGIS  from the Wayback app.  Doing this will thus enable the user to use all of the functions in ArcGIS  with the imagery, such as adding additional map layers (such as hydrography, land use, ecoregions), saving and sharing, using the measurement tools, and creating web mapping applications from the map.  To do this: 

 

  1. Go to the app:  https://livingatlas.arcgis.com/wayback/
  2. Navigate to an area of interest.
  3. Check on Only updates with local changes.(shown below)
  4. Click the cloud icon to “add to cart." (shown below at right).
  5. Click the clear all icon top left to create a web map (shown below at top left).
  6. Save the web map.

 

Wayback imagery tool

Done!  Open your web map.  Now you can add layers to your map, including additional Wayback layers.  To add the historical wayback imagery to this existing web map, you cannot at the moment add it from a URL as a WMTS layer, but you can use ADD DATA and search in ArcGIS  (not Living Atlas), as follows:

 

 Wayback imagery

The default sort order is relevance, but you can change it to sort by title or by oldest/newest.   See my resulting map with 3 historical layers in it, along with the current image as a basemap, below.

 

Wayback imagery

 

Another way to dig deeper into change-over-space-and-time analysis with the Wayback image service is to create a swipe map.  A swipe map is a type of story map application that is perfect for examining change, because it allows the map user to swipe across a map that has, in our study, images with 2 different dates.  To create a swipe map, in ArcGIS  > Share  > Create a web mapping application > choose Swipe map.  Select one of the historical image layers for your swipe map, and make sure the basemap is Imagery or Imagery with Labels.  The swipe layer (the historical image) will appear on the right with the more recent image on the left. 

 

But let's say your goal is to have the left side be the older imagery, and the right side be the newer imagery.  Is that possible?  Yes!  The swipe map template only allows you to swipe one layer, which by default is the right side.  So, you need to make the left side, the basemap, a historical image rather than the default new imagery basemap.  To do this, go back to your ArcGIS  map and Add > Add from ArcGIS  > enter "Wayback" > choose a historical image (in my case, I chose 2014) > Add as basemap.  Save your map.  In the configuration panel for your story map, change the settings so that you are swiping one of your newer image layers.  I did so, and my swipe map is shown below.  Here is the URL of the swipe map.

 

Swipe map from Wayback Imagery

Many other possibilities exist for the use of the Wayback imagery, including using it in 3D scene for a historical perspective on the landscape, using them in a tabbed series story map, using them as a base for advanced analytics in ArcGIS Pro (see my colleague's blog post here about bringing the data into Pro), and in many other ways.  

 

I hope that these ways I describe above encourage you to use and think creatively and spatially with this amazing set of images.

I would like to announce a poster session and competition for the 2019 American Association of Geographers annual meeting focused on:

Innovative Applications of Esri GIS Technology

For more information, and for the 5 categories that will serve as criteria, see:

https://aag.secure-abstracts.com/AAG%20Annual%20Meeting%202019/sessions-gallery/23055

 

Cash prizes will be awarded, but even more importantly, this is an opportunity for your students and colleagues to showcase the innovative things they are doing with Esri GIS technology to help understand and solve the most pressing local-to-global problems of our time.

 

Please consider entering a poster, or encouraging a student or colleague to do so. 

 

--Joseph Kerski

I worked with our fabulous Urban Observatory team here at Esri to add another theme that will be very useful in teaching geography, geology, environmental science – the Ecology theme.  This data comes from the amazing Ecological Land Units data set (another excellent teaching and research tool) and allows you to compare the bioclimate, landform type, lithology, and land cover for any city you would like to examine, thus providing a very useful land connection for each urban area. Having it in the Urban Observatory provides the interface to compare the ecoregions for over 100 cities, which can be compared to the other variables provided, all  with nothing to install. 

 

To access this new theme, go to the Urban Observatory:  http://www.urbanobservatory.org/compare/

On the left side, you will now see the ECOLOGY theme.  Select it, and choose from the cities listed at the top.  In which ecoregions do cities tend to be the largest?  How does the ecoregion influence the land cover in and around that city?  Name the chief environmental challenges for the cities you are investigating, based on the ecoregion they are in.  How do you think the landforms and lithology impact construction in the area, or traffic patterns?  

 

Another feature that is very helpful about the Urban Observatory:  If you copy the URL while examining a specific theme and send it to someone (or yourself to access it later), then the application will open with those themes and cities that you were examining, just as you left it:  For example, this URL opens with 3 cities and the ecology for each, as I had been examining the last time I taught this content:  Rotterdam, Rio de Janeiro, and Delhi.  Rotterdam is in the cold wet bioclimate, while Rio is hot wet and Delhi hot semi-dry.  The landforms are hills, plains, and plains, respectively, while the lithology is mixed sedimentary for Rotterdam and unconsolidated sediment for the last two.  The land cover is grassland, shrub, or scrub for Rotterdam but mostly cropland for Rio and Delhi.  

 

See the graphic below.  The Urban Observatory, in my opinion, is still one of the best examples of a web mapping application that is ready-to-go for teaching and learning.

 

Teaching note:  You might need to click outside the urban area when you are examining the cities.  If you just click on the urban area itself, everything comes up as Cold Wet hills.  Therefore, click outside or zoom out once and click outside and you will be fine.  

 

Urban Observatory

The International Statistical Institute (ISI) and Esri are pleased to announce and are co-sponsoring a Student Poster Competition for 2018-2019.  The competition aims to promote research, encourage spatial thinking, and inspire curiosity.  The competition details are here.   We will accept applications for the international competition beginning September 1, 2018, with the application deadline being November 30, 2018. Final judging will take place during the ISI World Statistics Congress in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, August 18–23, 2019. Cash and GIS software will be awarded to the winners. 


Applicants to this Contest must be enrolled as full-time students at a university.  All Applicant entry(ies) will be submitted to an international panel for selection.  Recommended application areas include, but are not limited to, economy, environment, crime, transportation, climate, urban planning, land use/land cover, sustainable development, health, and disasters of all kinds.

 

Resources have been posted on the site to help you get started on your integration of statistical methods and GIS applied to a problem or issue you are concerned about. 

As I recently wrote in the guidelines and essay, More Power for Your GIS Analysis through Joining Features to ArcGIS , the paradigm that GIS users have been operating under for decades is being challenged in new and exciting ways.  One way, as I wrote above, is the standard workflow of "downloading data > joining the attribute tables of two data layers > performing analysis."  I demonstrated how you can join your data to layers in ArcGIS, and specifically, the Living Atlas of the World, an authoritative rich body of content, and thus bring that diverse content to bear on the analysis of patterns that may be inherent in your data.

 

Let's take another, related standard workflow--spatial joins.  A spatial join is a GIS operation that affixes data from one feature layer's attribute table to another according to its location. Spatial joins begin by selecting a target feature and comparing it spatially to other feature layers.  Spatial joins have been used for years, for example, to determine how many water wells are in a drainage basin, or businesses in a census tract, or the number of earthquakes that fall within specific countries over specific time periods.  Let's take this last example and apply it to the rapidly advancing web GIS paradigm.  

 

Let us say that I want to determine how many earthquakes occurred in the past 30 days according to the USGS National Earthquake Information Center.  The way I have done this for years in ArcGIS Desktop was to gather two data layers - a point layer for earthquakes, and a polygon layer for world countries, and perform a spatial join.  Nothing is wrong with that method, and it continues to work well in ArcGIS Pro, for example.  But let's say I want to do that in ArcGIS , and I don't want to download anything.  This is accomplished with an analysis tool in ArcGIS --Join Features.  To use the analysis tools, you have to be signed in to ArcGIS  and have a publisher role.  

 

To begin, I start with my web map:  

http://denverro.maps.arcgis.com/home/webmap/viewer.html?webmap=63a6261d7afa48878a52a4c7127f624e - the 

Earthquakes starting point map.  It contains data layers that are streaming from the USGS earthquake center, in my case, the last 30 days of earthquakes. 

 

Once the Join Features analysis tool is engaged, I find World Countries (generalized) in the Living Atlas of the World.  This is my target layer, so named because my goal or "target" is to create a choropleth map by country polygons.  The layer to join to these polygons is my earthquakes layer that is streaming from USGS.  My type of join is "intersect"--if an earthquake is inside or "intersects" the country polygon, I want it to be considered.

 

 

Spatial Join 2

Here is how I found the Living Atlas content, after searching on World Countries, I selected the generalized data set:

 

Spatial Join 1

I filled in the remainder of the Join Features dialog box as follows:  I chose the one to one operation; I added statistics so I could determine average magnitude and depth by country, which I thought would be interesting (always be curious! This drives you forward in your use of GIS as I explain in this video); I named my resulting layer and I unchecked "use current map extent" just in case my current extent happened to be cutting off any outlying islands in the South Pacific, for example, and then > Run Analysis:

 

Spatial Join 3

 

My results are below, with all countries defaulting as single symbol. 

Spatial Join 4

I will change the style shortly, but before I do, let's examine the new table of data.  The "join count" field contains the number of earthquakes by country:

 

Spatial Join 5

The average magnitude and average depth have been saved as fields in the new layer:

 

Spatial Join 6

 

Next, I used Change Style to symbolize the countries on Join_Count, as follows:

 

 

Spatial Join 7


Because the USA contains so many earthquakes, the default Counts and Amounts symbology lumps most countries into one category.  The reason why is in part because the USGS earthquake center is in the USA.  It is in Golden Colorado; I used to give tours there as a USGS employee; a fascinating place that I recommend highly for you to take a tour in next time you're in Colorado.  The earthquake center receives transmitted signals of information from the global seismic network, but it also senses ground motion from nearby earthquakes in the western USA.  So, it senses more small earthquakes in the USA than it does for other countries, resulting in a higher number for the USA.  This is all a critical part of knowing your data, as I write about weekly on the Spatial Reserves data blog.  So, under Options, I changed the classification to Quantile with 5 classes, as follows:

 

Spatial Join 8

 

The result is below.  Now I have a better sense, with a choropleth map, of the frequency of earthquake by country.  Given a ocean polygon layer, I could even map oceans by earthquake frequency.

 

I would like to make just a few adjustments.  Because over the last 30 days, according to the USGS, earthquakes had occurred in only 42 countries, and 254 polygons exist in the generalized world countries data set, countries with no earthquakes have no symbol or color:    

 

Spatial Join 8b

 

This looks a bit odd.  My goal is to show countries with no earthquakes over the past 30 days with a pale yellow color.  This is easily remedied with a few keystrokes.  The easiest way to do this is to use the Add Data button, add the generalized world countries from the Living Atlas of the World, and change its style to pale yellow with a yellow outline.  Once done, I moved its position to be located underneath my joined earthquakes layer.  I also moved the earthquakes to the top of the contents so that my map users could more clearly see them.  I also labeled the countries with the number of earthquakes that occurred within each one.   The resulting map is here. 

Spatial Join 9

 

Try the Join Tables to ArcGIS  on other data sets.  It can be accomplished in just a few steps but the results are powerful.  Think of ArcGIS  and the Living Atlas as a vast storehouse of data that you can join your own data to for rich analysis.

I am pleased to report that the registration link on https://www.gisday.com/  is working and is ready for you and your colleagues to add the event(s) that you are planning for this year.  This year, 2018, GIS Day is officially on Wednesday 14 November.  However, holding your event on another date that better meets your needs is perfectly fine, as I explain in this video.  

 

GIS Day provides an international forum for users of geographic information systems (GIS) technology to demonstrate real-world applications that are making a difference in our society.  You can hold an open house, conduct a presentation or workshop, or be creative and hold some other sort of event, that showcases what you are doing with GIS and why it matters.  Your event can be open just to your own organization, to the general public, or to a specific audience.  

 

The first 300-ish organizations that register on the above URL will receive 1 free box of specially prepared GIS Day items, so be sure to verify your shipping address when you register your event.  Also check the map and make sure your event appears in the correct location with the correct information.  Location matters!

 

In addition, I have added some new items to the GIS Day resources pages recently with more to come.

 

Thank you for being a GIS Day champion!

 

--Joseph Kerski

 GIS Day 2018

My new article in Geospatial World magazine is entitled Why GIS in Education Matters.  My goal was to reach a global audience of readers through this magazine with a message that they would be able to take to their own communities, schools, colleges, and universities to encourage the deepening and widening of spatial thinking through GIS in those educational institutions, and beyond those institutions, to libraries, museums, and after-school clubs and university clubs.  I begin the article with a reminder and a brief history of why mapping has long been valued.   I then discuss the chief reasons why GIS merits inclusion as a framework and a toolset, not just in GIS programs, but in sociology, mathematics, geography, engineering, health, business, environmental, planning, and other programs and subjects.  I focus on how using GIS as an instructional tool opens the door to inquiry, content, skills, and perspectives. 

 

After reviewing the progress of how GIS is used in education around the world, the article returns to the essentials:  GIS is a powerful tool for analyzing the whys of where, and for understanding our changing Earth:  Students use GIS to understand that the Earth is changing, think scientifically and analytically about why it is changing, and dig deeper:  Should the Earth be changing in these ways?  Is there anything that I should be doing or could be doing about it?  This captures the heart of spatial thinking, inquiry and problem-based learning.  It empowers students as they become decision-makers to make a difference in this changing world of ours.

 

It is my hope that the article will be useful to many throughout the educational system, to geomentors, to GIS professionals, and beyond. 

GIS in education - Photos by Joseph Kerski

All photos by Joseph Kerski.

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