Sunday, 7 February 2021

Adventures in AR (augmented reality)

[ Update: see "Explore Mars with GIS", the app and the story HT @PhilipMielke ]

And now for something completely different... Lockdown gave me plenty of time to be armchair explorer, and my latest story map Mars revisited open with: 

As NASA's Perseverance Mars Rover prepares to land on the Red Planet, let's extend what started on #30DayMapCallenge Day 24 bonus images displaying tantalising pictures of what looked like solifluction and rock glaciers.

While I got most of NASA and USGS data on the Esri platform extended with this story map,  I also had the opportunity this weekend to explore Arizona State University's Mars Space Flight Facility online: to support the collection and processing of space imagery, they produced JMARS a complete planetary mapping system. I installed it on my old laptop where I use QGIS not Esri, and examined their pictures of the Jezero Crater where the Mars Rover will land in ten days. I focused on the crater rim, which is cut by a river channel and delta I tweeted about (wait for the tweet graphic):

The object of my post is their cool AR picture export facility, to allow imagery to be shown on your mobile phone (Android or iOS). Go to the third panel of my story map, Second Jezero delta?, where I explored a possible second delta, less distinct and perhaps older than the main one discussed. I show here my rendition of the Jezero Crater original delta atop and possible second older one at centre, next to ASU's original demo:

click to enlarge

The QR code and instructions to download ASU's AR viewer for Android or Apple and view it in 3D left me flumoxed at first. JMARS AR leader Robert  LiKamWa kindly sent me these instructions right away, promising to improve their interface &/or documentation. So try it yourself following this: 

Outside of the QR download screen, you'll want to place the terrain in your environment.  
0) Click the "Terrains" button to get the QR scanner and scan the code just created. It will say "{your image name} is loaded"
1) Click the "Terrains" button to make the QR scanner go away (It'll turn gray)
2) Click the "Move" button to enter the mode where you can place terrains.
3) Point your phone the ground and move it around slowly. You should see a whitish/grayish area start to form. That's where you can place the terrain. 
4) Tap to place your terrain anywhere.
5) If you need to move the terrain, hit the "Move" button again.

The "Help" button should give you additional information if you need it.
I'm a geologist, and it's not every day I see landscape formed billions of years ago on Mars, when water was purported to be present and created river-related structures not unlike what I discuss in today's Fenlands - the planet has been frozen solid since, and where windstorms haven't erased features, everything remained intact over aeons 

I'm also a mapmaker, and I can only be amazed to get 5 and 50 m. resolution data from a planet that was 38M mi. / 61M km. from earth at its closest approach last October!

 I hope that this AR technique will help you enjoy seeing these distant vistas on your phone.

Sunday, 10 January 2021

Poster catalogue

[ Update 2: Anaglyph 3D pops up Central Cambridge halfway down under Other Areas

Update 1: added four effects to enhance relief maps on mountain areas at the bottom ]

Last month's Story-in-a-map reminded me I created a number of map posters, as a mean to reach out to the community, where prints are better in town hall or small group presentations, as well as wall art.

Sunday, 27 December 2020

Coronavirus update - Part XII

[ Update: NHSx cases and ONS deaths continue to show signs of easing up as vaccinations go on ]

Since our previous update, a third national lockdown resulted from the numbers that just keep increasing, as well as a second strain of the virus appearing but not split out in NHSx stats. That is patent in the comparative graphs below, updated as per above:

Friday, 18 December 2020

Digital Nomads and Digital Divide

 Here is the Parliament   f i n a l l y    addressing the challenges posed by the pandemic, with a fairly comprehensive review of the facts they gathered.

Sunday, 13 December 2020


[ Update: see Update #7 in this story map on how to address topo inversion (#6 is this) ]

 While I have written a few story maps, the #30DayMapChallenge last month has taught me to tell a story in a single map. The amazingly detailed DEFRA digital terrain model has already been used here (go to Update 1) in the Cambridge area of East Anglia. So here is a synoptic view of South Cambridgeshire, with its story in the box. 

Thursday, 19 November 2020

Coronavirus update - Part XI

[ Update 1: Still no sign of the second wave abating and deaths on the increase again
  Update 2 : next installment shows how the second wave numbers just keep growing ]

Further to our last blogpost, the second lockdown resulted from / is reflected in both sharp increases in cases passing 1.5M, and marked ones in deaths passing 70,000 and on the increase again

Thursday, 29 October 2020

Flood preparedness in East Anglia as a Story map

This is the third in a series of Story Maps after Sea Level Rise models in Cambridge, East Anglia and on Local Flooding in Cottenham immediately north. Full page here.

Monday, 19 October 2020

Another Story Map on local flooding this time

[ Update: the next blog post expands on building situational awareness for flood response in East Anglia ]

Following my second-last post on a story map about flooding and sea level rise in Cambridge, here is another one about surface effects of flooding in my home village just north of there. Enjoy!

Friday, 16 October 2020

Cornavirus update - Part X

[ Update: MSOA data only rolling weekly on NHSx site here or via the PHE API here
Update 2: next installment shows further marked increases in the second lockdown ]

 ... A lot has happened since the last update: not only may we have a second wave as seen in the bottom left-hand panel below, but also NHSx posted new Ward-level data in a format ready-to-use for coxcomb maps.

Saturday, 26 September 2020

Sea Level Rise (cont.)... and a Story Map!

[ Update 3: see a follow-on story map next. on local flooding effects just north of there...
Update2: thanks to Esri(UK) and Esri folk who helped my return to 3D web mapping! 
Update 1: check Sea Level Rise model affecting Central Cambridge area on YouTube ]

Let's wrap up Sea level rise web map, poster and pirate map: having started with a simple map of Cambridge University Colleges indicating how deeply they would be submerged in a sea level rise scenario, let's map the buildings in 3D and show how far raised sea levels would submerge them! But first let's start with a flood risk map and finish with a combination to help with situational awareness.