Articles by Rick Jones

  1. Mapping Mountain Top Removal

    iLoveMountains.org is an organization that, "is the product of 14 local, state, and regional organizations across Appalachia that are working together to end mountaintop removal coal mining and create a prosperous future for the region." Together this group provides information and research to the public about the problems that mountain top removal mining has cause, and continues to cause in the Appalachians. 

    According to iLoveMountain.org, "Mountaintop removal is a relatively new type of coal mining that began in Appalachia in the 1970s as an extension of conventional strip mining techniques. Primarily, mountaintop removal is occurring in West Virginia …

    Tagged as : environment vector
  2. Using Spatial Join to Identify Elevation for Points

    An owner of a golf course is working on redeveloping his golf course and has hired an analyst to help with the process. To make the process more streamlined and efficient the analyst is using GIS to help identify and plan various aspects of his new project. As part of the project the analyst needs elevation data for the greens on the golf course. He wants to know the elevations of the greens so that he can determine the best way to add new approaches and shots. Cartographica can help in this process by using Digital Elevation Models. To obtain …

  3. Mapping Shale Gas and Shale Fracturing (Fracking) Sites in the United States

    Fracking has become a hot button topic among environmentalists and politicians over the past 10 years. Shale Gas is a type of natural gas found deep within shale rock formations. In 2000 shale gas provided only 1% of U.S. natural gas production; by 2010 it was over 20% and the U.S. government's Energy Information Administration predicts that by 2035 46% of the United States' natural gas supply will come from shale gas (Wikipedia, 2013). There is significant debate about whether fracking should be increased to these levels due to the environmental risks associated with the fracking process. Opponents …

    Tagged as : environment raster vector
  4. Analysis with Live Maps: Mapping the Location of Important Naval Ships

    Live Maps can be used for many purposes. On this blog we have highlighted the use of Live Maps for georeferencing images, identifying geological features, and providing context to local area studies. Another useful purpose of Live Maps is locating objects that are tied to specific places. What does that mean? It means we can look at places where we expect things to occur and make observations at those locations. In addition to making observations and identifying objects we can also use Cartographica to analyze what we see. 

    If you have followed this blog at all you might have notice …

    Tagged as : Add Features Live Maps
  5. Creating Elevation Contour Maps from Digital Elevation Models

    A new feature in Cartographica version 1.4 is the ability to create contour maps. In GIS, a contour line joins areas of equal elevation above a given level, such as mean sea level. A contour map is a map illustrated with contour lines, which show valleys and hills, and the steepness of slopes. In this sense a contour map can be very useful in many contexts. One method for creating contour lines is by using Digital Elevation Models (DEM). A DEM is a digital model or 3D representation of a terrain's surface — commonly for a planet (including Earth), moon …

    Tagged as : Contour Maps DEM
  6. Street Segments as Units of Analysis: Spatially Joining Points and Lines

    Recently, authors David Weisburd, Elizabeth Groff, and Sue-Ming Yang published a book titled The Criminology of Place: Street Segments and Our Understanding of the Crime Problem. The crux of the book is that in Criminology and other disciples have a long history of using geographic units of analysis that are area based. That is, we have become accustomed to using polygons as units of analysis. Part of the reason for the use of area based units of analysis is that demographic and social data are available through sources like the United States Census Bureau. In the book, the authors make …

    Tagged as : Street Segments join
  7. Best Open Geodata Release of 2012: Philadelphia Open Data

    With the end of the year approaching everyone is putting out their "Best of" list for 2012. Emily Badger of The Atlantic Cities recently released a list of the "Best Open Data Releases of 2012". These open data sources are available through various agency and government websites and allow users access to data sources that include geospatial data. 

    We decided to check out a few of the Open Data sources and wanted to create a few maps using Cartographica. The Philadelphia Open Data website was listed as the best Open Data website of 2012. We were able to download a …

    Tagged as : Geocode Open Data
  8. Mapping the Syrian Conflict

    The violence associated with the Syrian revolution continues to escalate as recent reports have indicated that Bashar Al-Assad's forces have begun to use SCUD missiles in attempts to drive back rebel forces in the area near the Syrian Capital. SCUD missiles are infamous for their use by former Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein during the Persian Gulf War. Equally as infamous are the U.S. produced Patriot Missile systems that are designed to eliminate surface-to-surface missile attacks. Recent reports have indicated that American, German, and Dutch patriot missile battalions have been sent to Turkey to eliminate the risk to the Turkish …

    Tagged as : Add Features buffer
  9. Using CartoMobile to Enhance Historic Sites

    The United States National Park Service maintains and controls more than 84.4 million acres of park land in the United States. Much of the land is historical in nature and has been preserved for future generations to enjoy and learn about the various parks. The use of the parks is as varied as the many historical and ecological characteristics that define each unique location. One of the most popular types of parks within the United States are National Military Parks. These parks are typically located on the sites of famous battlefields and other important historical and strategic locations around …

  10. Introducing Cartographica 1.4: Cluster Analysis

    Cartographica 1.4 now has the ability to perform Cluster Analysis. Cluster Analysis involves choosing and setting a number of parameters that are used to identify "hot spot" locations of point level data. Clusters are areas that have high concentrations of a particular incident. Knowing where high concentrations of certain things are located can be a very valuable tool for analysts conducting spatial analysis. 

    The two main parameters used to identify clusters are Minimum Count and Distance. Minimum Count allows you to determine how many points are needed to identify a cluster. For example, if the minimum count is set …

  11. Introducing Cartographica 1.4: Spatial Join

    New to Cartographica 1.4 are the Spatial Join tools. Spatial Joins are used to combine the data attributes of two or more layers. The Spatial Join operation creates a new layer that is a combination of attributes from Join and Target layers. The Spatial Join functions are akin to the Overlay functions except that the Spatial Join procedure does not change the geometry of the layers. Spatial Joins can be used for many different purposes and there are many options for determining how the join will be processed.

    A Spatial Join can be performed on point, line, or polygon …

    Tagged as : analysis join
  12. Introducing Cartographica 1.4: Overlay Operations

    New to Cartographica 1.4 is the ability to perform Overlay Operations. Overlay Operations are useful in many contexts when working with spatial data as they make limiting or expanding datasets via spatial location simpler and more efficient. Below are descriptions of the various Overlay Operations that Cartographica has in place for version 1.4. Each serve a specific purpose that you may encounter while working with spatial data. 

    Clip Function: Clips all target layers to the Clip layer. The Clip layer can be thought of as a cookie cutter. The boundary of the Clip layer is the outline of …

    Tagged as : analysis overlay
  13. Introducing Cartographica 1.4: Snapping Functions

    Cartographica has had the ability to add and create new features for a while now, but new in version 1.4 are the snapping tools, designed to make the Add Feature process simpler and more efficient. Snapping tools make it easier to draw point, line, and polygon features by automatically connecting to Vertex, Edge, or Grid features on a layer. That is, if your goal is to create a new layer, or to update an old layer, then using the snapping tools allows you to more easily draw the new features. We can illustrate with an example.

    In the following …

    Tagged as : analysis overlay
  14. Introducing Cartographica 1.4: Layer Styles and the Uber Browser

    The Layer Styles Window has been enhanced for version 1.4. The User Interface is similar, but includes several new or upgraded functions. New functions include additional editing capability on both lines and patterns for layer features, enhanced management of feature labels, new line and fill patterns, and integration with the Uber Browser. The new line and pattern styles have variable colors and can be used through drag and drop.

    Also new to version 1.4 is the Uber Browser, which is designed to enhance your ability to edit and improve your layer styles. The Uber Browser is a collection …

    Tagged as : analysis overlay
  15. Saving Time by Using AppleScript

    AppleScript can make life much easier when performing repetitive tasks. Recently we had an issue with a customer needing to automate the Count Points in Polygons tool across a number of point layers. The process was taking a long time due to the sheer number of point layers being aggregated. To automate the process we wrote a script that will count points from multiple point layers and automatically add new data fields to the polygon layer. The new data fields will be labeled to match the name of the point layer being aggregated.

    Here, I'll show an example of this …

    Tagged as : Aggregation Automation
  16. Negative Buffering in Cartographica

    Buffers have many applications for users of GIS. A buffer is a polygon that is drawn at specified distances around a set of point, line, or polygon features. Buffers are often used to indicate the proximity of a feature to other surrounding features. For example, school officials in one community wanted to know which schools were within 500 yards of parks due to increased reports of students skipping school in those locations. 

    There are different types of buffers, but the most common method is the Uniform Width Buffer. This method identifies areas that are specific distances from a set of …

    Tagged as : analysis buffer vector
  17. Mapping 7.6 Earthquake in Costa Rica

    There was a large (7.6) earthquake yesterday in Costa Rica. The earthquake signaled tsunami warnings in the region, but fortunately there was no tsunami. So far there have been three deaths reported. In the past 40 years Costa Rica has experienced more than 30 earthquakes of 6.0 magnitude or higher. So, needless to say Costa Ricans are accustomed to these types of events.

    The purpose of this post is two-fold. The first purpose is to draw people's attention to the major geologic event that occurred in Costa Rica yesterday. The second purpose is to show a couple quick …

    Tagged as : buffer earthquake
  18. Mapping West Nile Virus in the United States

    West Nile has increasingly become a concern of U.S. health professionals and officials at the Center for Disease Control and Prevention. A recent interview reported in USA Today revealed the concern that the CDC is giving the recent West Nile outbreak. According to the article, CDC Director of Vector-Borne Infectious Disease, Lyle Petersen, is quoted as stating, "We think the numbers may come close to or even exceed the total number of cases reported in 2002 and 2003, both of which were severe West Nile virus years." According to CDC numbers there were more than 250 deaths due to …

    Tagged as : health
  19. Mapping Wildfires in Russia and Asia

    Drought conditions and high temperatures throughout the world are causing problems with wildfires. There are presently several thousand wildfires burning throughout the world, which have resulted in millions of dollars worth of damage. NASA has made available a set of shapefiles that identify the locations of wildfires presently burning throughout the world. The shapefiles are nearly real-time with data available at time intervals of 24 hours, 48 hours, and 7 days. Click on the following link to Download the wildfire data

    For this post I downloaded the wildfire data from Russia and Asia. Once the data are downloaded import them …

  20. Mapping the Olympic Medal Counts

    We are continuing our coverage of the 2012 Olympic games in London, England, and we have an updated medalcount.csv file that can be used to map the distribution of medal counts around the globe. Download the medalcount.csv file. The medal counts are accurate up to 1:00pm on Wednesday, August 1. [Updated Final medal counts are available by downloading Final_Medal_count.csv]  Once downloaded, save the file as a .csv. This dataset can be used to create chloropleth maps and can be continually updated as the games progress. 

    Download the World file from Geocommons  and then import the data …

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