Articles


National Atlas and National Map changes

The USGS has announced that the National Atlas will be taken out of service as of September 30, 2014. According to the detailed product availability information, much of the data will be available via the to-be-enhanced National Map system, or as data downloads "at no cost" from Earth Explorer". This transition appears to be mostly a resource realignment (basically reducing the number of sources and web sites they need to maintain. In addition, the USGS has also announced that "[L]ater this year we will deliver these new framework datasets at one million-scale: networked hydrography, updated streams and water bodies …

Scientific American looks at Coordinates

Scientific American posted an overview about tectonic plate movement, datums and geodesy. The article covers a fair amount of ground in some depth, but not so much so that it's confusing. Check it out and contemplate the amount of work that we'll all be doing when the USGS updates the datum in another few years. For those who are curious, Cartographica maintains a large list of datum and datum shift information so that it can accurately overlay coordinates from one system onto another. These calculations aren't trivial and we had quite a time squeezing these conversions into the first version …

Cartographica 1.4.2 compatible with Mavericks

We have been testing against Mavericks since the early betas and the 1.4.2 version of Cartographica works well with it. At this point, we aren't taking advantage of any Mavericks-specific features, but we have found on our test machines that the upgrade is a good performance move, especially for laptops. Other ClueTrust software, such as LoadMyTracks, has also been tested and works fine with Mavericks (excepting, of course, the long-standing issue with the Mac AppStore version of LoadMyTracks and serial devices due to Apple's policy change). Although we haven't tested any of the 1.2.x versions on …

Growing use of OpenStreetMap in Government

We at ClueTrust integrated support for OpenStreetMap into both Cartographica and CartoMobile some time ago because it provides an avenue for public updating and curation that is unequaled and also provides data licensing that allows liberal reuse. We are happy to see the wide range of OpenStreetMap in Government outlined on the OpenStreetMap.US blog. There are lots of opportunities to improve the data set and make your mark on open data, while improving available map data for everyone. For those with little background with the organization, it didn't start in the US, but in Europe, where most Geospatial data …

Cartographica 1.4.2 Available

Cartographica 1.4.2 is now available, and it's got a little bit of everything to it: new features, performance enhancements, and bug fixes. This release ended up taking a bit longer than we expected as we have been working hard to fix the bugs reported in 1.4 and 1.4.1. But, we haven't just been working on fixing bugs, we've also been enhancing the capabilities and performance of the existing capabilities of Cartographica, with improvements in everything from WFS compatibility to execution speed and progress information for many of our analysis tools. I won't take up the …

Mapping the Changing U.S. Birth Rate

The PEW Research Center recently released a report about the changing birth rate in the United States. According to the report, "The overall U.S. birth rate, which is the annual number of births per 1,000 women in the prime childbearing ages of 15 to 44, declined 8% from 2007 to 2010. The birth rate for U.S.-born women decreased 6% during these years, but the birth rate for foreign-born women plunged 14% — more than it had declined over the entire 1990-2007 period. The birth rate for Mexican immigrant women fell even more, by 23%." The report mentions …

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 …

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 …

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 …

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 …

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 …

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 …

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](http:/www.opendataphilly.org/opendata/resource/215/philadelphia-police-part-one- crime-incidents/) was listed as the best Open Data …

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 …

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 …

Cartographica 1.4 and beyond

At ClueTrust, we're proud and excited to deliver version 1.4 of Cartographica into the hands of our customers. This has been a long journey from the last major feature release to this one, and although we have added a lot of new functionality to the software and made many improvements, it became clear to us months ago that something was going to have to change for us to be more responsive to the needs of the market and our customers. To that end, we have been bolstering our automated testing capabilities, enhancing our hands-on testing regime, and changing how …

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 …

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 …

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 …

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 …