Mapping post-fire landscapes at Hopland Research & Extension Center

The River Fire began July 27, 2018 at 1pm on Old River Road in Hopland. By the evening it had spread, and was threatening numerous buildings in the area. We have a ANR Research and Extension Center (HREC) there, and Shane Feirer from IGIS lives and works here. Evacuations were ordered quickly, and down in the bay area we all held our breath hoping the fire wouldn’t harm people or animals or consume the HREC buildings. By the time it was contained (as part of the Mendocino Complex), it had burned 48,920 acres. We’ve been flying drones over HREC for awhile, and the last month we did more drone flights to map the post-fire landscape. We flew some Hangar 360 flights with a DJI Phantom to get some sweet overviews of the scene (example1, example2, example3), and flew much of the area with our eBee on the first mission and Matrices on the second mission with both multispectral and RGB cameras.

These pics below compare the eBee imagery (2cm) with Planet imagery (3m).

These are pics of the eBee (far left) and the Matrice (far right) getting ready to fly into the blackened landscape, and some snaps from the Hanger pics.

#DroneCamp2018 is in the bag!

We've just wrapped up #DroneCamp2018, hosted at beautiful UC San Diego. 

This was an expanded version from last year's model, which we held in Davis. We had 52 participants (from all over the world!) who were keen to learn about drones, data analysis, new technology, and drone futures.  

Day 1 was a flight day from half our participants: lots of hands-on with takeoffs and landings, and flying a mission; 
Day 2 covered drone safety and regulations, with guest talks from Brandon Stark and Dominique Meyer;
Day 3 covered drone data and analysis;
Day 4 was a flight day for Group 2 and a repeat of Day 1. 

We had lots of fun taking pics and tweeting: here is our wrapup on Twitter for #DroneCamp2018.

Mapping fires and fire damage in real time: available geospatial tools

Many of us have watched in horror and sadness over the previous week as fires consumed much of the beautiful hills and parts of the towns of Napa and Sonoma Counties. Many of us know people who were evacuated with a few minutes’ notice - I met a retired man who left his retirement home with the clothes on his back. Many other friends lost everything - house, car, pets. It was a terrible event - or series of events as there were many active fires. During those 8+ days all of us were glued to our screens searching for up-to-date and reliable information on where the fires were, and how they were spreading. This information came from reputable, reliable sources (such as NASA, or the USFS), from affected residents (from Twitter and other social media), and from businesses (like Planet, ESRI, and Digital Globe who were sometimes creating content and sometimes distilling existing content), and from the media (who were ofen using all of the above). As a spatial data scientist, I am always thinking about mapping, and the ways in which geospatial data and analysis plays an increasingly critical role in disaster notification, monitoring, and response. I am collecting information on the technological landscape of the various websites, media and social media, map products, data and imagery that played a role in announcing and monitoring the #TubbsFire, #SonomaFires and #NapaFires. I think a retrospective of how these tools, and in particular how the citizen science aspect of all of this, helped and hindered society will be useful.  

In the literature, the theoretical questions surrounding citizen science or volunteered geography revolve around:

  • Accuracy – how accurate are these data? How do we evaluate them?  

  • Access – Who has access to the data? Are their technological limits to dissemination?

  • Bias (sampling issues)/Motivation (who contributes) are critical.

  • Effectiveness – how effective are the sites? Some scholars have argued that VGI can be inhibiting. 

  • Control - who controls the data, and how and why?

  • Privacy - Are privacy concerns lessened post disaster?

I think I am most interested in the accuracy and effectiveness questions, but all of them are important.  If any of you want to talk more about this or have more resources to discuss, please email me: maggi@berkeley.edu, or Twitter @nmaggikelly.

Summary so far. This will be updated as I get more information.

Outreach from ANR About Fires

Core Geospatial Technology During Fires

Core Technology for Post-Fire Impact

 

Wrap up from #DroneCamp2017!

UC ANR's IGIS program hosted 36 drone enthusiasts for a three day DroneCamp in Davis California. DroneCamp was designed for participants with little to no experience in drone technology, but who are interested in using drones for a variety of real world mapping applications. The goals of DroneCamp were to:

  • Gain an broader understanding of the drone mapping workflow: including
    • Goal setting, mission planning, data collection, data analysis, and communication & visualization
  • Learn about the different types of UAV platforms and sensors, and match them to specific mission objectives;
  • Get hands-on experience with flight operations, data processing, and data analysis; and
  • Network with other drone-enthusiasts and build the California drone ecosystem. 

The IGIS crew, including Sean Hogan, Andy Lyons, Maggi Kelly, Robert Johnson, Kelly Easterday, and Shane Feirer were on hand to help run the show. We also had three corporate sponsors: GreenValley Intl, Esri, and Pix4D. Each of these companies had a rep on hand to give presentations and interact with the participants.

Day 1 of #DroneCamp2017 covered some of the basics - why drone are an increasingly important part of our mapping and field equipment portfolio; different platforms and sensors (and there are so many!); software options; and examples. Brandon Stark gave a great overview of the Univ of California UAV Center of Excellence and regulations, and Andy Lyons got us all ready to take the 107 license test. We hope everyone here gets their license! We closed with an interactive panel of experienced drone users (Kelly Easterday, Jacob Flanagan, Brandon Stark, and Sean Hogan) who shared experiences planning missions, flying and traveling with drones, and project results. A quick evaluation of the day showed the the vast majority of people had learned something specific that they could use at work, which is great. Plus we had a cool flight simulator station for people to practice flying (and crashing).

Day 2 was a field day - we spent most of the day at the Davis hobbycraft airfield where we practiced taking off, landing, mission planning, and emergency maneuvers. We had an excellent lunch provided by the Street Cravings food truck. What a day! It was hot hot hot, but there was lots of shade, and a nice breeze. Anyway, we had a great day, with everyone getting their hands on the commands. Our Esri rep Mark Romero gave us a demo on Esri's Drone2Map software, and some of the lidar functionality in ArcGIS Pro.

Day 3 focused on data analysis. We had three workshops ready for the group to chose from, from forestry, agriculture, and rangelands. Prior to the workshops we had great talks from Jacob Flanagan and GreenValley Intl, and Ali Pourreza from Kearney Research and Extension Center. Ali is developing a drone-imagery-based database of the individual trees and vines at Kearney - he calls it the "Virtual Orchard". Jacob talked about the overall mission of GVI and how the company is moving into more comprehensive field and drone-based lidar mapping and software. Angad Singh from Pix4D gave us a master class in mapping from drones, covering georeferencing, the Pix4D workflow, and some of the checks produced for you a the end of processing.

One of our key goals of the DroneCamp was to jump start our California Drone Ecosystem concept. I talk about this in my CalAg Editorial. We are still in the early days of this emerging field, and we can learn a lot from each other as we develop best practices for workflows, platforms and sensors, software, outreach, etc. Our research and decision-making teams have become larger, more distributed, and multi-disciplinary; with experts and citizens working together, and these kinds of collaboratives are increasingly important. We need to collaborate on data collection, storage, & sharing; innovation, analysis, and solutions. If any of you out there want to join us in our California drone ecosystem, drop me a line.

Thanks to ANR for hosting us, thanks to the wonderful participants, and thanks especially to our sponsors (GreenValley Intl, Esri, and Pix4D). Specifically, thanks for:

  • Mark Romero and Esri for showing us Drone2Map, and the ArcGIS Image repository and tools, and the trial licenses for ArcGIS;
  • Angad Singh from Pix4D for explaining Pix4D, for providing licenses to the group; and
  • Jacob Flanagan from GreenValley Intl for your insights into lidar collection and processing, and for all your help showcasing your amazing drones.

#KeepCalmAndDroneOn!

Wrap up from the Esri Imagery and Mapping Forum

Recently, Esri has been holding an Imagery and Mapping Forum prior to the main User Conference. This year I was able to join as an invited panelist for the Executive Panel and Closing Remarks session on Sunday. During the day I hung out in the Imaging and Innovation Zone, in front of the Drone Zone (gotta get one of these for ANR). This was well worth attending: smaller conference - focused topics - lots of tech reveals - great networking. 

Notes from the day: Saw demos from a range of vendors, including:

  • Aldo Facchin from Leica gave a slideshow about the Leica Pegasus: Backpack. Their backpack unit workflow uses SLAM; challenges include fusion of indoor and outdoor environments (from transportation networks above and below ground). Main use cases were industrial, urban, infrastructure. http://leica-geosystems.com/en-us/products/mobile-sensor-platforms/capture-platforms/leica-pegasus-backpack
  • Jamie Ritche from Urthecast talked about "Bringing Imagery to Life". He says our field is "a teenager that needs to be an adult". By this he means that in many cases businesses don't know what they need to know. Their solution is in apps- "the simple and the quick": quick, easy, disposable and useful. 4 themes: revisit, coverage, time, quality. Their portfolio includes DEIMOS 1, Theia, Iris, DEIMOIS-2, PanGeo + . Deimos-1 focuses on agriculture. UrtheDaily: 5m pixels, 20TB daily, (40x the Sentinel output); available in 2019. They see their constellation and products as very comparable to Sentinel, Landsat, RapidEye. They've been working with Land O Lakes as their main imagery delivery. Stressing the ability of apps and cloud image services to deliver quick, meaningful information to users. https://www.urthecast.com/
  • Briton Vorhees from SenseFly gave an overview of: "senseFly's Drone Designed Sensors". They are owned by Parrot, and have a fleet of fixed wing drones (e.g. the eBee models); also drone optimized cameras, shock-proof, fixed lens, etc (e.g. SODA). These can be used as a fleet of sensors (gave an citizen-science example from Zanzibar (ahhh Zanzibar)). They also use Sequoia cameras on eBees for a range of applications. https://www.sensefly.com/drones/ebee.html
  • Rebecca Lasica and Jarod Skulavik from Harris Geospatial Solutions: The Connected Desktop". They showcased their new ENVI workflow implemented in ArcGIS Pro. Through a Geospatial Services Framework that "lifts" ENVI off the desktop; and creates an ENVI Engine. They showed some interesting crop applications - they call it "Crop Science". This http://www.harrisgeospatial.com/
  • Jeff Cozart and McCain McMurray from Juniper Unmanned shared "The Effectiveness of Drone-Based Lidar" and talked about the advantages of drone-based lidar for terrain mapping and other applications. They talked through a few projects, and highlighted that the main advantages of drone-based lidar are in the data, not in the economics per se. But the economies do work out too. (They partner with Reigl and YellowScan from France.)  They showcased an example from Colorado that compared lidar (I think it was a Reigl on a DJI Matrice) and traditional field survey - the lidar cost was 1/24th as expensive as the field survey. They did a live demo of ArcGIS tools with their CO data: classification of ground, feature extraction, etc. http://juniperunmanned.com/
  • Aerial Imaging Productions talked about their indoor scanning - this linking-indoor-to-outdoor (i.e. making point cloud data truly geo) is a big theme here. Also OBJ is a data format. (From Wikipedia: "The OBJ file format is a simple data-format that represents 3D geometry alone — namely, the position of each vertex, the UV position of each texture coordinate vertex, vertex normals, and the faces that make each polygon defined as a list of vertices, and texture vertices.") It is used in the 3D graphics world, but increasingly for indoor point clouds in our field.
  • My-Linh Truong from Riegl talked about their new static, mobile, airborne, and UAV lidar platforms. They've designed some mini lidar sensors for smaller UAVas (3lbs; 100kHz; 250m range; ~40pts/m2). Their ESRI workflow is called LMAP, and it relies on some proprietary REIGL software processing at the front end, then transfer to ArcGIS Pro (I think). http://www.rieglusa.com/index.html

We wrapped up the day with a panel discussion, moderated by Esri's Kurt Schwoppe, and including Lawrie Jordan from Esri, Greg Koeln from MDA, Dustin Gard-Weiss from NGA, Amy Minnick from DigitalGlobe, Hobie Perry from USFS-FIA, David Day from PASCO, and me. We talked about the promise and barriers associated with remote sensing and image processing from all of our perspectives. I talked alot about ANR and IGIS and the use of geospatial data, analysis and viz for our work in ANR. Some fun things that came out of the panel discussion were:

  • Cool stuff:
    • Lawrie Jordan started Erdas!
    • Greg Koeln wears Landsat ties (and has a Landsat sportcoat). 
    • Digital Globe launched their 30cm resolution WorldView-4. One key case study was a partnership with Associated Press to find a pirate fishing vessel in action in Indonesia. They found it, and busted it, and found on board 2,000 slaves.
    • The FIA is increasingly working on understanding uncertainty in their product, and they are moving for an image-base to a raster-based method for stratification.
    • Greg Koeln, from MDA (he of the rad tie- see pic below) says: "I'm a fan of high resolution imagery...but I also know the world is a big place".
  • Challenges: 
    • We all talked about the need to create actionable, practical, management-relevant, useful information from the wealth of imagery we have at our fingertips: #remotesensible. 
    • Multi-sensor triangulation (or georeferencing a stack of imagery from multiple sources to you and me) is a continual problem, and its going to get worse before it gets better with more imagery from UAVs. On that note, Esri bought the patent for "SIFT" a Microsoft algorithm to automate the relative registration of an image stack.
    • Great question at the end about the need to continue funding for the public good: ANR is critical here!
    • Space Junk.
  • Game-changers: 
    • Opening the Landsat archive: leading to science (e.g. Hansen et al. 2013), leading to tech (e.g. GEE and other cloud-based processors). Greg pointed out that in the day, his former organization (Ducks Unlimited) paid $4,400 per LANDSAT scene to map wetlands nationwide! That's a big bill. 
    • Democratization of data collection: drones, smart phones, open data...
The panel in action

The panel in action

Notes and stray thoughts:

  • Esri puts on a quality show always. San Diego always manages to feel simultaneously busy and fun, while not being crowded and claustrophobic. Must be the ocean, the light and the air.
  • Trying to get behind the new "analytics" replacement of "analysis" in talks. I am not convinced everyone is using analytics correctly ("imagery analytics such as creating NDVI"), but hey, it's a thing now: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Analytics#Analytics_vs._analysis
  • 10 years ago I had a wonderful visitor to my lab from Spain - Francisco Javier Lozano - and we wrote a paper: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S003442570700243X. He left to work at some crazy startup company called Deimos in Spain, and Lo and Behold, he is still there, and the company is going strong. The Deimos satellites are part of the UrtheCast fleet. Small world!
  • The gender balance at the Imagery portion of the Esri UC is not. One presenter at a talk said to the audience with a pointed stare at me: "Thanks for coming Lady and Gentlemen".

Good fun! Now more from Shane and Robert at the week-long Esri UC!

Wrap up from the FOODIT: Fork to Farm Meeting

UC ANR was a sponsor for the FOODIT: Fork to Farm meeting in June 2017: http://mixingbowlhub.com/events/food-fork-farm/. Many of us were there to learn about what was happening in the food-data-tech space and learn how UCANR can be of service. It was pretty cool. First, it was held in the Computer History Museum, which is rad. Second, the idea of the day was to link partners, industry, scientists, funders, and foodies, around sustainable food production, distribution, and delivery. Third, there were some rad snacks (pic below). 

We had an initial talk from Mikiel Bakker from Google Food, who have broadened their thinking about food to include not just feeding Googlers, but also the overall food chain and food system sustainability. They have developed 5 "foodshots" (i.e. like "moonshot" thinking): 1) enable individuals to make better choices, 2) shift diets, 3) food system transparency, 4) reduce food losses, and 5) how to make a closed, circular food system.

We then had a series of moderated panels.

The Dean's List introduced a panel of University Deans, moderated by our very own Glenda Humiston @UCANR, and included Helene Dillard (UCDavis), Andy Thulin (CalPoly), Wendy Wintersteen (Iowa State). Key discussion points included lack of food system transparency, science communication and literacy, making money with organics, education and training, farm sustainability and efficiency, market segmentation (e.g. organics), downstream processing, and consumer power to change food systems. Plus the Amazon purchase of Whole Foods.

The Tech-Enabled Consumer session featured 4 speakers from companies who feature tech around food. Katie Finnegan from Walmart, David McIntyre from Airbnb, Barbara Shpizner from Mattson, Michael Wolf from The Spoon. Pretty neat discussion around the way these diverse companies use tech to customize customer experience, provide cost savings, source food, contribute to a better food system. 40% of food waste is in homes, another 40% is in the consumer arena. So much to be done!

The session on Downstream Impacts for the Food Production System featured Chris Chochran from ReFed @refed_nowaste, Sabrina Mutukisna from The Town Kitchen @TheTownKitchen, Kevin Sanchez from the Yolo Food Bank @YoloFoodBank, and Justin Siegel from UC Davis International Innovation and Health. We talked about nutrition for all, schemes for minimizing food waste, waste streams, food banks, distribution of produce and protein to those who need them (@refed_nowaste and @YoloFoodBank), creating high quality jobs for young people of color in the food business (@TheTownKitchen), the amount of energy that is involved in the food system (David Lee from ARPA-E); this means 7% of our energy use in the US inadvertently goes to CREATING FOOD WASTE. Yikes!

The session on Upstream Production Impacts from New Consumer Food Choices featured Ally DeArman from Food Craft Institute @FoodCraftInst, Micke Macrie from Land O' Lakes, Nolan Paul from Driscoll's @driscollsberry, and Kenneth Zuckerberg from Rabobank @Rabobank. This session got cut a bit short, but it was pretty interesting. Especially the Food Craft Institute, whose mission is to help "the small guys" succeed in the food space.

The afternoon sessions included some pitch competitions, deep dive breakouts and networking sessions. What a great day for ANR.

AAG 2017 Wrap Up: Day 3

Day 3: I opened the day with a lovely swim with Elizabeth Havice (in the largest pool in New England? Boston? The Sheraton?) and then embarked on a multi-mile walk around the fair city of Boston. The sun was out and the wind was up, showing the historical buildings and waterfront to great advantage. The 10-year old Institute of Contemporary Art was showing in a constrained space, but it did host an incredibly moving video installation from Steve McQueen (Director of 12 Years a Slave) called “Ashes” about the life and death of a young fisherman in Grenada.

My final AAG attendance involved two plenaries hosted by the Remote Sensing Specialty Group and the GIS Specialty Group, who in their wisdom, decided to host plenaries by two absolute legends in our field – Art Getis and John Jensen – at the same time. #battleofthetitans. #gisvsremotesensing. So, I tried to get what I could from both talks. I started with the Waldo Tobler Lecture given by Art Getis: The Big Data Trap: GIS and Spatial Analysis. Compelling title! His perspective as a spatial statistician on the big data phenomena is a useful one. He talks about how data are growing fast: Every minute – 98K tweets; 700K FB updates; 700K Google searches; 168+M emails sent; 1,820 TB of data created. Big data is growing in spatial work; new analytical tools are being developed, data sets are generated, and repositories are growing and becoming more numerous. But, there is a trap. And here is it. The trap of Big Data:

10 Erroneous assumptions to be wary of:

  1. More data are better
  2. Correlation = causation
  3. Gotta get on the bandwagon
  4. I have an impeccable source
  5. I have really good software
  6. I am good a creating clever illustrations
  7. I have taken requisite spatial data analysis courses
  8. It’s the scientific future
  9. Accessibly makes it ethical
  10. There is no need to sample

He then asked: what is the role of spatial scientists in the big data revolution? He says our role is to find relationships in a spatial setting; to develop technologies or methods; to create models and use simulation experiments; to develop hypotheses; to develop visualizations and to connect theory to process.

The summary from his talk is this: Start with a question; Differentiate excitement from usefulness; Appropriate scale is mandatory; and Remember more may or may not be better. 

When Dr Getis finished I made a quick run down the hall to hear the end of the living legend John Jensen’s talk on drones. This man literally wrote the book(s) on remote sensing, and he is the consummate teacher – always eager to teach and extend his excitement to a crowded room of learners.  His talk was entitled Personal and Commercial Unmanned Aerial Systems (UAS) Remote Sensing and their Significance for Geographic Research. He presented a practicum about UAV hardware, software, cameras, applications, and regulations. His excitement about the subject was obvious, and at parts of his talk he did a call and response with the crowd. I came in as he was beginning his discussion on cameras, and he also discussed practical experience with flight planning, data capture, and highlighted the importance of obstacle avoidance and videography in the future. Interestingly, he has added movement to his “elements of image interpretation”. Neat. He says drones are going to be routinely part of everyday geographic field research. 

What a great conference, and I feel honored to have been part of it. 

Dronecamp coming in July. Check it!

IGIS is pleased to announce a three-day "Dronecamp" to be held July 25-27, 2017, in Davis. This bootcamp style workshop will provide "A to Z" training in using drones for research and resource management, including photogrammetry and remote sensing, safety and regulations, mission planning, flight operations (including 1/2 day of hands-on practice), data processing, analysis, and visualization. The workshop content will help participants prepare for the FAA Part 107 Remote Pilot exam. Participants will also hear about the latest technology and trends from researchers and industry representatives.

Dronecamp builds upon a series of workshops that have been developed by IGIS and Sean Hogan starting in 2016. Through these workshops and our experiences with drone research, we've learned that the ability to use mid-range drones as scientifically robust data collection platforms requires a proficiency in a diverse set of skills and knowledge that exceeds what can be covered in a traditional workshop. Dronecamp aims to cover all the bases, helping participants make a great leap forward in their own drone programs.

Dronecamp is open to all but will have a focus on applications in agriculture and natural resources. No experience is necessary. We expect interest to exceed the number of seats, so all interested participants must fill in an application before they can register. Applications are due on April 15, 2017. For further information, please visit http://igis.ucanr.edu/dronecamp/. Dronecamp Flier