Thursday, 29 December 2011

On-line spatial data validation, part II

[2013 update: Socium is now 1SpatialCloud]

Three weeks ago I introduced Socium's Online Validation Service (OVS). I showed the Ordnance Survey vector data QC, on the UK Parishes used as a geographic unit for the Medieval Fenlands project. Two weeks ago Socium kindly created a new rule, to post unexpected variations in adjacent feature attributes. In an essentially agricultural era, economic wealth of the Domesday period was quantified by Darby via the number of plough teams per parish. That is the attribute the rule was written for (it's hard-wired right now and Socium plans to add metadata pick lists in the future).

Saturday, 24 December 2011

Happy Holiday Season

Just for fun - momentary suspension of disbelief required - NORAD Tracks Santa countdown starts now! And follow it on Google Earth.

For serious fun - travel to the other side of the globe - follow the centennial celebration of the British Services Antarctic Expedition. And do it on arcgis.com c/o Esri(UK).

Thursday, 15 December 2011

How education has changed my life and what I did about it

I consider myself a citizen of the world, as shown in the map below. Born as my parents fled Hungary right after 1956 Uprising. Raised on the expat circuit of an oil company. Emigrated to north America as a student. Lived most of my adult life in north America. Recently repatriated to Europe, yet still work abroad. Education has been a constant thread in my life: first through graduate school, then running continuing education for a local  geological society, and now managing GIS in the resources sector worldwide.

Saturday, 10 December 2011

Cloud futures #2: on-line spatial data validation

[Update: follow ups for this project are Releasing Data Really Works Part I and Part IV]

Following vector maps on the web (cloud futures #1), here is a freemium online validation service (OVS) that helps us QC, quantify and clean up spatial data on the web. A speciality of 1Spatial is its spatial validation, an essential first step to setting up proper spatial data infrastructure. They spun off 1SpatialCloud to offer the same service online.

Saturday, 3 December 2011

Openware inaugural newlsetter

Ask the GIS Expert column on page 14 in the inaugural newsletter of Openware (Esri distributor in Kuwait) echoes the current blog series: use what you already have on your Esri desktop.

Saturday, 26 November 2011

Pipeline routing (RMOTC dataset, part V)

As promised last week here is the update to my second most popular Slideshare post: using ArcGIS Model Builder to plan a pipeline route as a function of topography, slope, land cover and cultural data (roads, rivers, wetlands etc.). As RMOTC is remote, see (pardon the pun) it is uninhabited and land cover is uniformly grass- or shrub-land, which has the same IGBP class of 5 (middle-of-the-road).

Saturday, 19 November 2011

Simple reservoir depletion modelling, part IV

This last in a series shows how to further extend the reach of your GIS analysis across the corporation in full 3D via a free ArcGIS Explorer Desktop. Simply go Add Contents: ArcGIS layers, and to enhance performance go Base Map: Clear basemap. This is a large data set complete with local topography.

Saturday, 12 November 2011

Simple reservoir depletion modelling, part III

This is to show on the web or with a free desktop GIS the results of the previous two postings. The free data-set from Teapot Dome is a great opportunity to display 3D petro-data in Esri. As the previous posting suggested, data were upgraded to Esri 3D Analyst ArcGlobe here.

Saturday, 5 November 2011

Simple reservoir depletion modelling, part II

Posted on ArcGIS Online a 3D rendition of the Teapot Dome free 3D GIS dataset by RMOTC and model by me. I used Esri ArcScene from its ArcMap 3D Analyst extension. If you don't have that, then download the free ArcGIS Explorer Desktop, and point to the layer package file here [updated with ArcGlobe]. ArcGIS Explorer Online cannot display 3D packages, furthermore, the drop-down menu on the arcgis.com site will suggest how to access it. You can get ArcGIS Desktop for Home use with extensions for $100 here.

Saturday, 29 October 2011

Simple reservoir depletion modelling

Following on last week's Teapot Dome 3D dataset, here's the first step toward upgrading my most popular Slideshare post: Geoscience class notes have an option to run ESRI Model Builder that comes with the Spatial Analyst extension. Simply reversing reservoir topography and applying a surface run-off model, will mimic the depletion of reservoir of its petroleum content. The same way water flows downstream though gravity, petroleum will flow up-slope through hydrostatic recharge (in other words buoyancy pushes hydrocarbons up on top of denser water and out of a reservoir).

Saturday, 22 October 2011

Guns & Roses, or: 3D GIS anyone?

[Update: RMOTC was sold off in 2015, data are stored here (PS: that ftp site is now gone)
Update 2: layer package can now be be found as Teapot Dome Six Pack on PUG Online]

The Guns part is the colorful history associated with the Teapot Dome. A remote Wyoming oilfield once a sleepy Naval Petroleum Reserve, the Teapot Dome Scandal was, however, the biggest to rock Washington DC until Watergate... or the oil industry until the Enron collapse! Read this introduction to a book excerpt: Marines Invade Wyoming - From the Halls of Motazuma to the Oil Fields of Teapot Dome, for cape-and-sword intrigue from ranchers and oil barons to US senators and the White House...

Saturday, 15 October 2011

"... with a little help from my friends", part III

25 years ago this week, I left the Natural Resources Canada to start a business with Teknika. I was encouraged (if not pushed) along by a fellow geologist, who had a comprehensive petroleum geocomputing system at Husky in Calgary - his colleague encouraged me at University of Calgary to take a class in computer sciences, the same department where Jim Gosling later on created Java. I teamed up then with a brilliant surveyor who delivered a video-tracing system. These were the DOS days when we used AutoCAD as the graphics prior to Windows. And as my banner note states, he spatialised AutoCAD with a 10Kb DOS kernel that might've given Intergraph and Esri a run for their money, had AutoDesk picked it up at the time.

Saturday, 8 October 2011

Clouds gathering over the horizon, part V

Will spectacular outages of AWS and now BT cloud services casts a pall over the excitement that has reached even politicians? And now comes this geopolitical issue only hinted at by MSFT's tribulations in Europe over Internet Explorer. This posted in Germany (Google Chrome will translate this page for you) by Ruth Lang - 'SVG queen' to Dino Ravnic 'web vector king'.

Saturday, 1 October 2011

Your team is your friend

I am so proud of my teams at client sites and in our office! One team achieved in 6 months at one site what many thought would take years - to integrate surface and subsurface exploration and production infrastructure for an oilfield in 3D+time. Another team created just this week a real-time GIS data capture system that reduces to 4 steps what took 10 on paper - and of those only the first one is manual.

Friday, 23 September 2011

"Vectors are your friend"

HTML5 Canvas was a natural extension for giscloud.com:  Its distinction is to post vectors on the web, overlaying rasters like any GIS, and with a optional postGIS running in the background. Not only does this speed up drawing maps on the web, it also allows massive amounts - in the millions of points, lines and polygons - to render PDQ (pretty darn quickly) - thus Vectors are your friend - my moderately complex maps benefit from even clean&crisper renderings of polygons as expected and of tiled images especially.

Saturday, 17 September 2011

Be the weatherman for others

Last week I posted dust and wind data germane to Kuwait in my banner map. This week take the same layers and mash them up with another service: Here I took a service from ESRI(France) to post volunteer ride-sharers (covoiturage) to their SIG 2011, and added weather and urban data, just to show how easy it is to augment existing offerings.

Saturday, 10 September 2011

Be your own weatherman

Dust storms are what you look out for in Kuwait. The banner map was a very simple way for me to create my own weather map:
  1. where are the dust clouds?
  2. what is the wind direction?
  3. when will Kuwait get one?

Saturday, 3 September 2011

New book and banner ads

Geography is the basis of "Entre deux Eaux", my new book of poetry and prose on my travels and travails - check the publisher icon to the right, and soon on Amazon and Barnes&Noble in the banner - so much so that the book cover image is a snapshot of my three-year old web map:

Friday, 26 August 2011

New look and banner maps

You will have noticed that the banner picture is now a dynamic map... The monsoon season has passed and the hurricane season is starting: So let's augment the previous image of dust cover with NOAA's wind speed map too, shall we? You can zoon in&out or pan across the banner too! And you may have to "wait a sec" for the display to refresh. But I simply used the "embed" feature of ArcGIS Explorer maps, available from other packages too, and reformatted the entire banner to accommodate that.

Saturday, 20 August 2011

2nd anniversary blog

[30 Sept. udate: I posted my Google Page Rank to the right: its jump from 2 on my website to 4 here is a further indication of how dynamic social media improve over static web. I also wrote on further social media dynamics I used in oilelefant.com last year.]

Hard to believe a year's gone by since my first anniversary blog! I compiled a few stats and posted them on Google Docs, here they are. NOTE: I don't have data where a premium is charged for it.

Thursday, 18 August 2011

Simple Feature or Full Feature Specification for OGC?

The issue of how to write-to and read-from geographic databases has been around for quite some time. Esri shapefiles were a runaway success partly because of their open specification. As we moved onto spatial databases, the Open Geospatial Consortium (OGC) offered the simple feature specification (SFS) that all the players could read to or write from. This came in especially handy for consuming web mapping services (those and many other specifications have grown since). But it gets trickier when it comes to reading from and writing to spatial databases generically. By that I mean not from the native application but from others', like with shape files.

Saturday, 13 August 2011

Even more beautiful maps in current affairs

I'm baaack! Here is the web mapping service directly in ArcGIS Explorer (AGX). This was posted two weeks ago as a layer package on arcgis.com. I wondered then why AGX would not accept OGC WMS services? While I was away ESRI Support responded with two caveats:

Friday, 29 July 2011

More beautiful maps in current affairs

As I'm off for two weeks you get next week's posting today! Following last week's blogpost on Esri's beautiful ocean base map, I painted over it (to use their simile) Goddard Earth Sciences' stunning near-real-time global sensor data for:

Thursday, 28 July 2011

Illustrative maps in current affairs

[Update: I noted on many of my Google Fusion Table posts that, while the data are still on Google Drive for you to view, GFT no longer offers a polygon or heatmap option, only geocoding by country centroid in its new version. Not sure why, but on this, thisthis and another example posted as Iframes not Scripts preserved the old GFT maps.]

The Data section of British paper The Guardian is a great example of illustrating reams of data and helping readers make sense of it - such maps are only illustrations, not exacting science as in my previous post - readers wish to grasp trends for tabular data by country, rather than examine their exact geographies.

Saturday, 23 July 2011

Beautiful maps in current affairs

At presentation in London on the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea was given a few years ago by Dr Parson of the Southampton UK National Oceanographic Centre. He described how nations were given an opportunity to claim Exclusive Economic Zones (EEZ) beyond the standard 200 nautical mile limit (viz. UNCLOS and UNEP). The reason AAPG hosted this is because most such extensions revolve around petroleum and mineral rights in the Offshore Continetal Shelves (OCS).

Tuesday, 19 July 2011

Social media at work

I've been a LinkedIn member for over six years and have learned to use Groups by now. It's a great place to ask questions among peers, without bothering others who aren't interested in that singular itch of yours. While unfortunately used at times for trawling emails or marketing shamelessly, every once in a while I run across a brilliant idea. Robin Wilson a student at Southampton University, UK, posted the free GIS data links he found and simply asked for more on LinkedIn's GIS group. Well! to date he got almost four dozen replies and he'll post the results here.

Saturday, 16 July 2011

Even more temporal maps

I posted here my webmaps from the East Anglia Medieval Fenlands project. I have now posted these on arcgis.com for use in ESRI maps: Watch future posts on time-enabling this project, and adding geo-processing to further examine these derived data. Note also that ArcGIS is available for personal use an research for $100 worldwide now.

Thursday, 30 June 2011

"...with a little help from my friends", Part II

James Fee cracks me up every time. First he does not dance on ArcObjects' grave but praises it, secondly he exults Google Earth Builder until he, well, hits nothing, and best of all he sees off Esri's webADF to welcome its REST API. Currently in the business of hosting data on the web, his head is not in the clouds but bolted on tight by business concerns, mostly clients' who gives them a certain sharpness as they're always right, right?

Friday, 24 June 2011

More on time-based GIS

Time-lapse GIS helps clear the clutter of a quarter million points of ship sailings from captain's logs from 1662 to 1855 re-posted last week. As an at-home project I previously split the data into arbitrary half-century time slices to better visualise it all. But that interfered with seeing trends across the span of data.

Saturday, 18 June 2011

Baaack in the arcgis.com

[rhymes with: Baaack in the USSR] After a brief hiatus trying my hand outside ESRI, I'm baaack... posting maps on arcgis.com. Daniel Schobler from ESRI(DE) Schools Program kindly reposted and time-enabled my Global sailings, captains ships logs 1750 - 1850 into his Explorations and voyages 1662-1855 (time-enabled)

Saturday, 21 May 2011

Arctic Dreams, Part II

As the Arctic comes under more scrutiny in the news, I'm reminded of my visit up there 25 years ago when we actually thought of global cooling! But the issues of access and exploitation are certainly not new... And I posted a few polar maps for fun here and here, though the best rendition can be found here.

Friday, 13 May 2011

More temporal web maps

Here is last year's Fenlands mashup on 2nd gen. beta GisCloud.com (this data is also posted on the UK academic ShareGeo site and the data.gov.uk apps site):

Tuesday, 3 May 2011

Critical mass, satellite imagery and GIS

Satellite imagery has been around for almost as long as GIS, and the following may just make them so easy they finally gain momentum. The same way Jeeps and Suburbans had been around for a couple of generations, but only the last generation saw Ford legitimize SUVs with its Explorer.

Monday, 4 April 2011

Who said history or surveying had to be boring?

My friend Brent Jones' video is worth watching only for his tongue-in-cheek humour. I thought only Cambridge dons remembered that Newton deemed longitudes NOT calculable! But then along came that clockmaker Harrison, the tinkerer who beat the thinker, as accurate watches made longitudinal calculations possible.

Thursday, 31 March 2011

Another Take on Climate Change, Part IV

From guardian.co.uk today: Goce satellite maps the Earth's gravity in unprecedented precision. Aside from updating on Part III of this series, this slots right into my comment on

Saturday, 26 March 2011

"... with a little help from my friends"

On my 100th posting last week I found some interesting statistics. I use Google's Blogger for its sheer simplicity. And I just found out it offers stats and maps helping track readers.

Saturday, 19 March 2011

Another Take on Climate Change, Part III

The time-space map I looked for in Part II is on esri.com... among many others for certes! Note on the map below that the oceanic trenches indeed lie slightly outboard of the Pacific plate boundaries: as suggested earlier the epicenters are at the prow of the major bend in said boundaries; the shift in landmass, however, renders that link even more graphical.


Monday, 14 March 2011

The stunning beauty of Maps, part III

History and current events are a great opportunity for GIS as they allow to disseminate pertinent information fast to those who need it. They bring out the best in map-making I posted here and here already. Not a few websites posted maps on the Japanese catastrophe, here are those I found from watching Al-Jazeera and my favourite blogs.
NOAA tsunami map (I already posted it for Chilean quake exactly a year ago):

Friday, 11 March 2011

Another Take on Climate Change, Part II

A year ago today I posted here on the Chilean 8.8 magnitude earthquake.... The recent earhtquakes and tsunamis in Japan and New Zealand, and China and Indonesia before that, truly indicate an increased rate of incidence in these catastrophies! Add to that the more frequent hurricanes and cyclones off the Gulf of Mexico and NE Australia, and fires or floods in N America, Australia and Europe, and we truly wonder what is going on really?

Saturday, 5 March 2011

Google Fusion Tables for Current Affairs

[Update: I noted on many of my Google Fusion Table posts that, while the data are still on Google Drive for you to view, GFT no longer offers a polygon or heatmap option, only geocoding by country centroid in its new version. Not sure why, but on this, thisthis, and another  example posted as Iframes not Scripts preserved the old GFT maps.]

Wolfram Alpha is a search tool that does statistical as well as word searches. This is powerful indeed as it allows to query across diciplines, subjects and techniques. I live in Kuwait now, and the current events made me curious about the distribution of Christianity, Islam and Judaism. Having already used Google Docs and Fusion Tables here and here, I performed the following:

Thursday, 3 March 2011

More maps for the rest of us

I recently updated a simple web map of my travels using Java on Google maps, to spice up my homepage of old that was just text. It's part of two map samplers here and here. Still working on getting the latter onto arcgis.com, keepya posted on how their Java API handles this map...

Sunday, 27 February 2011

Transition and cleanup

Slideshare is a great venue to post presentations - it cross-posts to my LinkedIn and Twitter profiles as part of my next-gen social network - the lion's share of my recent Slideshare posts relate however to oilelefant.com I just left: I have thus moved all relevant presentations to a new Slidehsare account, henceforth managed by David Lloyd:

Friday, 11 February 2011

Reading Social Web Maps

Look at this map, and what it doesn't show is as instructive as what it shows. You guessed it, it's the low number of social media hits - anyone on the blogosphere or twitterverse would find those numbers on the low side, especially considering the passion current events in Egypt generated on the ground and online - and I wager doesn't reflect poor map making, but rather the fact the web was tampered with during the events in Egypt.

Friday, 4 February 2011

IQPC show in Kuwait City

Attended this small and personable show and met some friends old and new - vendors were invited into the talks and plenty of time was left in between to meet&greet.

Tuesday, 25 January 2011

2D or not 2D, Part Deux

As a 3D aficionado I just had to repost these two YouTube videos, courtesy of a Wired UK article: Kinect hack builds 3D maps of the real world. It goes to show how far lateral thinking can go if you let "boys play with their toys" to make Google Labs or Microsoft Research drool. I'll just let the article and following videos speak for themselves, and you draw your own conclusions...

Friday, 14 January 2011

Web maps and Skype

Brisbane floods in eastern Australia affect areas I grew up in, and where friends still live. There are many map resources online through news media, for example Ushahidi community flood reporting map on ABC News, showing maps becoming mainstream.