ESRI @ GIF Open GeoDev Hacker Lab

We had a great day today exploring ESRI open tools in the GIF. ESRI is interested in incorporating more open tools into the GIS workflow. According to www.esri.com/software/open, this means working with:

  1. Open Standards: OGC, etc. 
  2. Open Data formats: supporting open data standards, geojson, etc. 
  3. Open Systems: open APIs, etc. 

We had a full class of 30 participants, and two great ESRI instructors (leaders? evangelists?) John Garvois and Allan Laframboise, and we worked through a range of great online mapping (data, design, analysis, and 3D) examples in the morning, and focused on using ESRI Leaflet API in the afternoon. Here are some of the key resources out there.

Great Stuff! Thanks Allan and John

Turf: Advanced geospatial analysis for browsers and node

Mapbox introduced a new javascript library for spatial analysis called Turf.js. On the "Guides to getting started" page, it claims that Turf "helps you analyze, aggregate, and transform data in order to visualize it in new ways and answer advanced questions about it."

Turf provides you with functions like calculating buffers and areas. Other common functions include aggregation, measurement, transformation, data filtering, interpolation, joining features, and classification. The detailed explanations of these functions can be found on this page.

Turf seems like a cool tool to try out if you want to provide spatial analysis functions on your webGIS applications.

NASA NEX wins the 2014 HPCwire Readers' and Editors' Choice Award

Congratulations to the NASA NEX Team! They have won the 2014 HPCwire Readers’ & Editors’ Choice Award for the Best Data-Intensive System (End User focused).  See the article here: NASA Earth Exchange (NEX) Platform supports dozens of data-intensive projects in Earth sciences.

The NASA Earth Exchange (NEX) platform supports dozens of data-intensive projects in Earth sciences, bringing together supercomputers and huge volumes of NASA data, and enabling scientists to test hypotheses and execute modeling/analysis projects at a scale previously out of their reach. NEX-supported applications range from modeling El Niño, creating neighborhood-scale climate projections, assisting in crop water management, and mapping changes in forest structure across North America, to mapping individual tree crowns at continental scale as a foundation for new global science at unprecedented spatial resolution. NEX’s OpenNEX challenge ties in to White House initiatives, including Open Data, Big Data and Climate Data, which advance national goals to address climate change impacts and include competitions and challenges to foster regional innovation.

The GIF has been partnering with NASA NEX, and developing a framework to bring NEX data and analytical capabilities into HOLOS.

Citizen science: key questions explored in a new report

In a recent article published in the Guardian, Michelle Kilfoyle and Hayley Birch discuss the widespread use of citizen science initiatives. They recently produced a report (pdf) for the Science for Environment Policy news service, in which the authors review a number of citizen science case studies, and explore the potential benefits of citizen science for both science and society, especially given the advent of new mobile technologies that enable remote participation. They also ask interesting questions about who really benefits the most from these developments: the amateurs or the professionals?

Key questions addressed and highlighted in this report include:
  1. How could new and developing technologies help citizen science projects feed into environmental policy processes?
  2. Is environmental data produced by citizen scientists as accurate as environmental data produced by professional scientists?
  3. How can citizen science benefit environmental monitoring and policymaking?