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geospatial matters

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Google @ the GIF: Geospatial Technology Workshop

August 20 & 21, 2015

Geospatial Innovation Facility @ Mulford Hall, UC Berkeley

What will you learn?

Led by instructors from Google Earth Outreach and Google Earth Engine, this workshop will teach highly practical tools which can be used to collect, host, analyze, visualize, and publish map data using the power of the cloud. Sessions will include hands-on experience at both beginner and advanced levels using Google Earth Engine, which brings together the world's satellite imagery — trillions of scientific measurements dating back almost 40 years — and makes it available online with tools for scientists, independent researchers, and nations to mine this massive warehouse of data to detect changes, map trends and quantify differences on the Earth's surface. Applications include: detecting deforestation, classifying land cover, estimating forest biomass and carbon, and mapping the world’s roadless areas. Learn more aat

Who should attend?

Researchers and educators at UC Berkeley and UC affiliates who meet one or more of the following should attend!

  • Are currently working on GIS or remote sensing projects, or have datasets they want to map.
  • Are teaching or developing curricula for GIS or remote sensing courses.
  • Have intermediate-to-advanced technical experience in one or more of the following areas:
    • Remote sensing
    • GIS
    • Web/multimedia development 

Cost & Registration

Attendance is free, but registration is required since space is limited.



Funny pic on Google Maps

This is the island of Nihoa, northwest of Kauai, viewed in Google Maps. Hawaii on my mind. Anyway, it is a funny shot with mixed resolutions, bathymetry and optical imagery, and what looks to be a bordered image without its adjacent partner images. Web link:,-161.8639537,39656m/data=!3m1!1e3

Webinar on Drones (and Citizen Science with Muki Hacklay)

Check out the webinar: DRONES FOR THE EARTH SCIENCES: APPLICATIONS AND IMPLICATIONS, provided by the Board on Earth Science and Resources

There are also links to the webinar UNEARTHING CITIZEN SCIENCE with Muki Hacklay. 


New scholarly open access journal: Remote Sensing in Ecology and Conservation

Remote Sensing in Ecology and Conservation is a new, fully open access journal from Wiley and the Zoological Society of London. The journal will provide a forum for the rapid publication of peer-reviewed, multidisciplinary research from the interface between remote sensing science and ecology and conservation. The journal defines remote sensing in its broadest sense, including data acquisition by hand-held and fixed ground-based sensors, such as camera traps and acoustic recorders, and sensors on airplanes and satellites. The journal's intended audience includes ecologists, conservation scientists, policy makers, managers of terrestrial and aquatic systems, remote sensing scientists, and students. 


Spatial Data Science @ Berkeley May 2015

Bootcamp participants outside historic Mulford HallOur bootcamp on Spatial Data Science has concluded. We had three packed days learning about the concepts, tools and workflow associated with spatial databases, analysis and visualizations. 

Our goal was not to teach a specific suite of tools but rather to teach participants how to develop and refine repeatable and testable workflows for spatial data using common standard programming practices.

On Day 1 we focused on setting up a collaborative virtual data environment through virtual machines, spatial databases (PostgreSQL/PostGIS) with multi-user editing and versioning (GeoGig). We also talked about open data and open standards, and modern data formats and tools (GeoJSON, GDAL).

Analyzing spatial data is the best part! On Day 2 we focused on open analytical tools for spatial data. We focused on one particular class of spatial data analysis: pattern analysis, and used Python (i.e. PySAL, NumPy, PyCharm, iPython Notebook), and R Studio (i.e. raster, sp, maptools, rgdal, shiny) to look at spatial autocorrelation and spatial regression. 

Wait, visualizing spatial data is the best part! Day 3 was dedicated to the web stack, and visualization. We started with web mapping (web stack, HTML/CSS, JavaScript, Leaflet), and then focused on web-based visualizations (D3).  Web mapping is great, and as says: “Internet maps appear magical: portals into infinitely large, infinitely deep pools of data. But they aren't magical, they are built of a few standard pieces of technology, and the pieces can be re-arranged and sourced from different places.…Anyone can build an internet map."

All-in-all it was a great time spent with a collection of very interesting mapping professionals from around the country (and Haiti!). Thanks to everyone!


GIS in the Forest - 2015

Sean, Kelly, Alice and Maggi at Forestry CampOnce again members of the Kelly lab trooped into the forest to present GIS and web mapping workshops. We've been doing this since 2012 with Mike Delasaux's great organizational help. This year the workshops were coordinated between IGIS and the GIF, and we had help from Kelly Easterday, Alice Kelly, and Sean Hogan. The Berkeley Forestry Camp is 100 years old, and what fun it is to be in those woods sharing memories of Berkeley Forestry and talking about mapping. Here we are in front of the venerable Baker Forest sign. We of course missed Sam and Stefania!


Alice's first webmap at Forestry Camp

Here is my first webmap I made a camp!  This represents Berkeley's population from 2007.  


UC ANR group wins extension award

Several UC Cooperative Extension and UC scientists have been awarded the Western Extension Directors Association Award of Excellence for work to address the outbreak of sudden oak death in California. Led by Yana Valachovic, the group developed extension programming that achieved outstanding accomplishments, results and impacts in addressing this important issue. We were recognized for: 

  • understanding the issue and situation; 
  • working with stakeholders;
  • having a research base and an extension focus;
  • evidencing multidisciplinary and collaborative components;
  • incorporating innovative approaches;
  • achieving impacts; and
  • developing scholarly products. 

The people involved in the group award are: Yana Valachovic, Steve Swain, Matteo Garbelotto, Janice Alexander, Lisa Bell, Bendan Twieg, Dave Rizzo, Steve Tjosvold, David Lewis, Doug McCreary, Katie Palmieri, Kerri Frangioso, Jim MacDonald, Ellie Rilla, Maggi Kelly, Rick Standiford, Chris Lee, Doug Schmidt, Brice McPherson, and Richard Dodd. 


Wow! New world view Chrome plugin

Kelly turned us on to this plugin from Google. Each time you get a new tab on your browser, you get treated to a new picture of the earth! But, check this one out: 

From Drebkau, Germany. I have no idea what this is an image of - could it be grain fields of some kind, or is it just someone at Google's garage sale carpet? Any thoughts? 

Here is another view of the same area:


Governor Brown's new Executive Order, issued today is a banner day for our climate change efforts

From Bruce Riordan, at the Climate Readiness Institute. 

Bay Area Climate Stakeholders: Governor Brown's new Executive Order, issued today is a banner day for our climate change efforts. 

1. The Executive Order sets a new interim goal for GHG reduction—40% below 1990 levels by 2030.

2. The Executive Order, for the first time, outlines a series of steps the State will take to address climate adaptation and resilience. 

See the press release, reaction from world leaders, and the full Executive Order at: