Monday, 26 September 2011

Quantumnik - Mapnik output for Quantum GIS

What is it?. I didn't attend FOSS4G 2011 but searching the around 'FOSS' blogs there is quite a buzz regarding the Mapnik 2.0 release. Mapnik is a free cross platform toolkit for creating desktop and web mapping applications, it uses the AGG library which enables first class anti-aliasing and rendering with subpixel accuracy for geographical data. 'Quantumnik' brings this technology to Quantum GIS in the form of a 'plug-in'. More information about 'Quantumnik' and of Dane Springmeyer the creator of the plug-in can be found here:

and for information about his work:

Mapnik-utils (Python utilities and project home page)

Tuesday, 13 September 2011

FOSS4G 2011 This week

For anyone lucky enough to get to the seminars or for the rest of us who cannot, here is the url. Keep an eye out for the posted presentations coming soon.

Friday, 12 August 2011

Landsat 7 ETM+ SLC-Off Gap Filling Problems

I haven't taken much notice of Satellite Images since Google Maps/Earth released them as a base layer and I did my UNIGIS Course back in 2004. I hadn't even been aware that this particular mid-resolution satellite's scanner had become permanently damaged, thus producing stripes of 'no data' in each band produced.

I initially looked to GRASS GIS sure that it would have a solution but alas not as yet until the release of a long overdue module. I've tried 'r.fillnulls', 'r.neighbors' and 'r.patch' but no luck. I found out about the 'frame_and_fill_win32' the NASA solution based on the 'ENVI' IDL Virtual Machine and after some effort it worked on all bands except the 'B80 pan-sharpening band' (on Windows), on the Mac it is a £2,700 hit for a 1 year license... hmm maybe not!. Onward and forward to another link:

but alas another promise that ended abruptly...oh there has to be a free and easy to use solution because this satellites' scan line corrector became damaged in 2003. Well, for once i've had to own up and admit to having to fork out $49 for a 'Pancroma' license, yes it's proprietary but it works well and has a lot of control over the images produced. On another plus side it works well on Mac OS X under 'Wineskin Winery' (the wine wrapper that will allow windows apps to work like a native mac app) but with no windows licence required.

Come on GRASS Team get this sorted.

Monday, 27 June 2011

Friday, 24 June 2011

Geomorphology anyone?

"The scientific study of landforms and the processes that shape them". That's the Wikipedia explanation of what must be a fascinating subject. Like a lot of Open Source GISers I have an unnatural curiosity about phenomena acting on the earths surface and how we can model the changes it creates.

I'm a huge fan of QGIS too but today the new version (1.7.0) just crashed on me for the second time so in frustration i fired up GRASS GIS to try and investigate more about the landform character of Neath and Port Talbot in South Wales, UK (the area in which I work, itself full of steep but small mountains).

I've always been interested in obtaining more information from a DEM and the GRASS GIS Module 'r.param.scale' has become the focus of some experimentation for me, Why? how sad you may say... perhaps not many people outside the British Society for Geomorphology would ever come across the phrase. Essentially, it is about the 'characterisation' of the landscape. I've just read a few chapters of Jo Wood's PhD Thesis and found it both fascinating and often confusing read for the layman like myself.

Morphometric characterisation is the subdivision of all points on a surface into six morphometric feature types namely 'Planar', 'Channel', 'Ridge', 'Pass', 'Peak' and 'Pit'. Here is the resulting analysis displayed in NVIZ. Must read more on the subject.

Friday, 10 June 2011

New Servelet - Geojsp

geojsp is an open source (GPL) component that integrates geographic elements in your business intelligence infrastructure. This servelet requires a connection to PostgreSQL/PostGIS and an Apache Tomcat 6 Server.
Details of this company can be found at the website link below.

Thursday, 9 June 2011

IFSAR Radar Data

The presentation below will give beginnners an idea of what radar height data can do for them. Hope this is usefull.


Visualising point information to reveal development trends in Neath Port Talbot

The following video is attempting to visualising the first year of Pre-application advice by a local planning department. Yellow and Green areas represent 1 to 2 advisory incidences whereas the Red and Purple represents 3 or more. To do this with any point dataset you need to query your data into monthly breakdowns then save each month to a separate shapefile.

Use the 'v.neighbors' module in Grass GIS 6.4.1 (or from QGIS/Grass Plugin) to create a rasterised grid of each month then when the 12 months of data have been rasterised into one Grass View use the 'r.out.mpeg' module to export the 12 layers into one mpeg file. The final action is to use your favourite video editor to slow the movie frame rate down from around 30fps to around 5 to10fps. This video is a poor copy minus the legend showing the colour scheme and the months.

The shortage of spatial planning skills to deliver sustainable communities and regeneration.

Last week I attended the ‘Spatial Design Support: GIS-based analysis tools for urban design and spatial planning’ event at Cardiff University (UK). Hosted by Professor Chris Webster this CEBE (Centre for Education in the Built Environment) event was meant to review the current situation and look at ways of improving GIScience in UK Spatial Planning Education System.

For me it confirmed my experiences working in an authority development control environment where there is little knowledge of GIS analysis beyond creating a defining boundary when registering an application and querying the same boundary for its constraints. My experiences were echoed by the delegates from Universities ranging from Queen’s University Belfast to Edinburgh College of Art.

During the lunch break as I strolled through the corridors of the School of City and Regional Planning I couldn’t help but notice the plethora of eye-catching Ordnance Survey ‘Mastermap’ based schemes of urban development on the walls but no evidence of any spatial analysis or use of 3D software seemed evident.

Another sharp reminder for me was the vice grip that ESRI and MapInfo have on education, a shame that few of the delegates appeared to have tried let alone adopted Open Source. I wondered why in this was the case in our ‘Google’ society… but that may change as budgets continue to diminish.

Although computing in ‘The Cloud’, Google Earth, OpenStreetMap and Street View developments have exploded the market for easy to use maps for ‘mainly’ location based purposes, geospatial analysis coupled with data knowledge can still send a shiver down the spine of the most experienced Town Planner and Urban Designer.

The conclusions to this dilemma apparently involve strengthening collaboration between the three main organisations the RTPI (Royal Town Planning Institute), CEBE and SPLINT (Spatial Literacy in Teaching), to investigate the current skills gap in planning practitioners GIScience knowledge amongst others. The best of luck to them and I hope things only improve. Sorry about all the acronyms!

Monday, 6 June 2011

Grass and the Python Web Processing Service (PyWPS)

Just thought I would add this link to Soeren Gebbert's video where he is demonstrating Grass GIS 7 working in the cloud as a web processing service. Brilliant work.

Grass GIS 7 with wps-grass-bridge and QGIS

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