Monday, 21 June 2021

"With a little help from my friends"

Part of our mandate at is to raise awareness around climate change issues in East Anglia. A key part is to quantify risks around flooding from land during increasingly variable weather, as well as to predict what sea level rise would look like over time from melting polar ice caps. That combines respectively excellent ground work by DEFRA - see their Future Fens twitter feed - and modelling against topography by Ordnance Survey and DEFRA. And timing of sea level rises is an emotional issue: to balance the reality of the risk with questions around time scales (see comment), will help raise awareness without unduly raising alarm.

click to enlarge (note @ArcGISStoryMaps tee-shirt)

On a recent Human Wave march - a festive event by Extinction Rebellion to appeal to the public in a kinder gentler way than protests - the playful yet serious pirate map of the East Anglia Fenlands tuned to archipelago drew the attention of another group in Shropshire and Herefordshire. These are however inland at elevation and thus not prone to sea level rise. Flooding has moreover been in the news the past winters, and a key task is to delineate flood risk areas in valleys and lower elevations areas. Here is a workflow to create such a map, and then to create an interactive 3D model as shown here for East Anglia. 

Note on software: these work in Esri and QGIS, although the 3D part follows the former and can easily be interpolated in the latter. There are also these how-to manuals: Open Data Workshop (28 pp. polar maritime maps incl. QGIS), Sea Level Rise from Open Data (15 pp. incl. flooding in East Anglia), Sea Level Rise in 3D (15 pp. incl. buildings in Cambridge) and maps4campaigns (17 pp., all in Esri and Creative Commons CC BY-SA 4.0).


The ONS Open Geography Portal provides administrative boundaries, of which the medium resolution Counties will suffice here. Posting just the two counties delineates the area, and will allow to cookie-cutter extract the 10m Digital Elevation Model from DEFRA, again sufficient for this purpose. Note the incomplete coverage that will not be an issue for 3D: DEFRA concentrated around low lying areas and the yellow regions are key for flood risk assessment here.

click to enlarge

Risk of Flooding from River and from Sea is a web service ensuring we get DEFRA updates, and it's a comprehensive dataset so zooming in is necessary for it to show as at right above. Or go ahead and pan or zoom around the map here (you may need to zoom in to see Risk of Flooding):


This varied terrain will warrant a perspective view, so let's recast what was done in East Anglia, minus the sea level n/a here and the flood defences (tho they may be added, see challenges in previous link). 

Note on elevation surface from open data: Ordnance Survey has 50 m. resolution digital elevation for free and 5 m. for subscription (1 yr. free trial), and DEFRA has 10 m. all under Open Government License. And while these can be used as web services on the desktop, an elevation surface must be created locally to share as custom base on the web. 

First create a 3D scene from the 2D map. As above, make the 10 m. elevation  clipped to the two counties into an elevation surface. Voila! you have an interactive 3D map that helps delineate the flood risk areas w.r.t. topography (you may need to zoom in to see Risk of Flooding):


Why not give it context, however, in terms of access, facilities etc.? Well EsriUK and OS OpenData provide plenty of that!  Feel free to fly around (you may need to zoom in to see Risk of Flooding and OS Open Roads):

Wednesday, 2 June 2021

Cambridgeshire COVID Info Portal 1¼ years later

Almost 1½ years from the onset of COVID, here a video of the info portal created using ESRI dashboard, inspired from the Johns Hopkins University pioneering hit - same tech with more data and expertise - our own info portal is a handy

Sunday, 30 May 2021

Geo-reference an image

 This update to Challenger Expedition DIY Web Map is called an "inchworm" map, as monthly points appear to worm around the globe, with an inchworm's hump at times. This caught @miniboats eye on the approach to the expedition's 150th anniversary (see also a fascination Natural History Museum post here). 

Monday, 24 May 2021

East Anglia Flood Defences Final

Local Community Engagement 12345678910111213, 14151617 & 18

This extends the previous flood defences update into a 3D interactive map. It also explains the DEFRA flood defences data update, in order to map the infrastructure complete with various sea level rise elevations. [Story map full-page here.]

Sunday, 16 May 2021

East Anglia Flood Defences Update

 Local Community Engagement 12345678910111213, 1415, 16 & 17

[ Update: the next blogpost extends this into a 3d interactive map wrapping up this 2 years study ]

This closes the trio of updates on sea level rise timelines and infrastructure based on newly available climate change data, since this project started two years ago. 

Environment Agency's DEFRA not only manages a comprehensive Risk of Flooding for River and from Sea via ground observations and mapping, but it also manages all the infrastructure related to flood risks from the same. 

Let's extend our ongoing mapping effort here to include AIMS Spatial Flood Defences (inc. standardised attributes):

Wednesday, 5 May 2021

East Anglia sea level rise infrastructure update

 Local Community Engagement 12345678910111213, 1415 & 16

[ Update 3: the next installment includes Environment Agency's flood defence data

Update 2: here is an update via Enviro. Agency's outreach twitter @FutureFens

Update 1: here is a story map augmenting the last two posts with live maps... enjoy! ]

Following on the previous timelines update focusing on Cambridgeshire & Peterborough Combine Authority, this is an East Anglia-wide update based on Environment Agency (EA) Survey,  Office for National Statistics (ONS) Geoportal and Ordnance Survey (OS) Open Zoomstack data. 

Monday, 26 April 2021

East Anglia sea level rise timelines update

 Local Community Engagement 12345678910111213, 14 & 15

[ Update 3: the next installment updates the infrastructure aspects of this for East Anglia

Update 2: Cambridge could be completely underwater by 2100, warns Emoov report

Update 1: added slide deck at bottom, to summarize the last two years of work on this ]

After a hiatus focusing on Coronavirus and story maps on East Anglia and other mapping topics, let's revisit that moving target of sea level rise timing. 

Wednesday, 21 April 2021

Tree planting survey - Part II

[ In the news: ‘Amazing success’ as community group plants 165 trees by banks of river Cam ]

The previous Tree planting survey 1-2-3 showed what3words used to located and post on a web map rough surveyed locations for tree planting directed by a tree surgeon, to help restore tree rows along the River Cam towpath immediately north of Cambridge UK. The beauty of turning out a web map the same day as the survey, is that shortly after, printing out the same map for tree-planting volunteers to take into the field was feasible almost as quickly. So after a 'high tech' Part I, here's a 'low tech' Part II.

Sunday, 28 March 2021

Tree planting survey 1-2-3

[ Update: see next the fieldwork preparations that went on as a follow-up to this project ]

New Flamingos, my Extinction Rebellion group in Cambridge decided to do a little outreach - not unlike my other group On the Edge that engages with my village around flood preparedness - we work with the community to replant trees along the left bank of the River Cam immediately North of Cambridge UK. This afternoon, a tree surgeon accompanied our survey along the river bank and suggested tree location and density as we walked.

Sunday, 7 February 2021

Adventures in AR (augmented reality)

[ Update 2: see Mars in 3D web view here for the latest imagery from NASA / USGS

Update 1: 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.