Landsat Thematic Bands Web Mapping Application Enhancement

Not long ago, I described the Landsat Thematic Bands Web Mapping Application, an easy-to-use but powerful teaching and research tool. It is a web mapping application with global coverage, with mapping services updated daily with new Landsat 8 scenes and access to selected bands that allows the user to visualize agriculture, rock formations, vegetation health, and more.  The Time tool allows for the examination of changes over years, over seasons, or before and after an event.  The Identify tool gives a spectral profile about each scene.  I have used this application dozens of times over the past year in remote sensing, geography, GIS, and other courses and workshops, and judging from the thousands of views that this blog has had, many others have done the same thing.

If that weren’t all, our Esri development team has recently made the tool even better–one can now save a time sequence or a band combination as a permanent URL that can be shared with others.  The flooding of 20 districts in August and September 2016 in Uttar Pradesh, India, for example, can be easily seen on this link that uses the application, with screenshots below.

Another example is the 2016 Fort McMurray wildfire in Alberta, Canada  – the user can change the time to see the region’s vegetation cover before and after fire, and the extent of the smoke during the fire.  Or, you can analyze a different band combination, as is seen here.

To do this, open the application.  Note that this application’s URL has been updated over the one I referred to last year.  Move to an area of interest.  Select any one of the available thematic band renderers (such as agriculture, natural color, color infrared, and so on), or create your own band combination using build.  Then, turn on “time” to see your area of interest at different periods using your band combination.  Next, share this image with other people.   Simply click on any one of the social platforms (Facebook or Twitter) in the upper right, which will create a short link that can be shared.  When the person you send this link to opens it, the Landsat app will open in exactly the same state it was in before social platform tool was clicked.  This makes it a very convenient teaching, presentation, and research tool.  Give it a try!

Landsat 8 Image for Allahabad India on 31 May 2016

Landsat 8 Image for Allahabad India on 31 May 2016.

Landsat 8 Image for Allahabad India showing flooding on 19 August 2016.

Landsat 8 Image for Allahabad India showing flooding on 19 August 2016.

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How to Georeference a map and serve it in ArcGIS Online

In response to inquiries that educators and others have had recently, I created several videos explaining how to georeference a map and serve it in ArcGIS Online, beginning here and continuing here and here.  Georeferencing is the process of aligning spatial data in map form has no spatial information explicitly attached to it, usually because it has been scanned from film, paper, or another medium, and attaching spatial information to it.  By “spatial information” we mean a real-world map projection and coordinate system.  The process of georeferencing is powerful because it allows you to add historical or other documents to your GIS project, so that you can work with them just like you can with your other GIS maps and data.  You match your scanned aerial photo, map, or other document by creating a series of control points, which I explain here.  I did this using ArcGIS Desktop (ArcMap); soon you will be able to do this in ArcGIS Pro, and, I hope, someday in ArcGIS Online.

Georeferencing has been around for as long as GIS has existed–since the 1960s.  But more recently, with the advent of cloud based GIS platforms such as ArcGIS Online, you can now serve your newly georeferenced data to the cloud, as I demonstrate in the third video in the series.  Serving it in ArcGIS Online enables you to use it anywhere, on any device, at any time.  Then, if you share your data in ArcGIS Online, others can use it as well in their own maps and projects.

Let’s say you have georeferenced and uploaded a historical map, as I do in these videos with one of the wonderful historical Sanborn fire insurance maps, and now have published it to ArcGIS Online.  Now you want to create a Swipe story map web mapping application so that you can compare how a city changed over time.  I explain how to to do that in this video.  As with any GIS-based project, being organized about your work is crucial, and in this video I demonstrate how to effectively use folders in ArcGIS Online to support your organized work.

I hope these resources will be valuable to the community and I look forward to hearing your comments and how you have used georeferencing in your own work.

Georeferencing a historical map in ArcGIS.

Georeferencing a historical map in ArcGIS.

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Remembering 9/11

(Note: This was written for and posted on Sept 11 of 2011, the tenth anniversary. The memories, and need for learning, remain as strong as ever. Never give up. -Charlie)

On that dreadful day in 2001, under the “severe clear” September sky, in those thunderbolts of inhumanity that cost so dearly, we lost two friends from National Geographic who, with students and teachers in tow, had embarked on a mission full of hope.

The roots of that ghastly day snake back to and reach full stop at a scandalously inadequate geographic understanding, even among the ranks of those who influence the planet. The world is stunningly complex, with visible influence and hidden links far and wide. How can anyone hope to make good decisions about complex matters while ignoring the matrix of connections?

We need to see the broad patterns and fractal fabrics around us, grasp the relationships between conditions here and those over there, envision from all sides the Mobius strip connecting yesteryear and tomorrow. Without this holistic view, without comprehending the tyranny of distance yet still the web of connections over space and time, the road ahead is perilous, for each of us, and the world in which we live. Ignoring the lessons of geography, we become a braided stream of humanity, tumbling inexorably toward a cliff.

Ann and Joe lost their lives while working to build geographic understanding for all … young or old, teacher or student, rural or urban, American or global. It remains for us truly a mission in which failure is not an option. For those who live in anonymity on up to those whose decisions shape us all, understanding the power of place and past, and the gravity of patterns and relationships, is vital for navigating safely between the shoals of ignorance and apathy, toward a secure and sustainable world. Let us resolve to ensure that all gain experience in thinking geographically, and hail the disposition to do so about matters large and small.

Charlie Fitzpatrick, Esri Schools Program Manager
Link to Facebook group remembering Ann and Joe

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Story Maps for Education GeoNet Group Now Available

To meet the needs of a growing number of educators interested in using Esri Story Maps in teaching and research, I invite you to join a new Story Maps for Education group in the GeoNet Community. This will be our virtual place to connect, share and collaborate on topics related to “story maps in education.” Story Maps are multimedia web mapping applications that join audio, narrative, video, photographs, and thematic and base map in a compelling environment that is perfect for communicating the results of any investigation from local to global in scale.  GeoNet is where GIS users from a wide variety of disciplines can collaborate, share, and discover information through blogs, updates, videos, discussions, and more.

The Story Maps for Education group is a “members only” group, which means all content is public but, in order to contribute to the conversations and be alerted of new content, you need to click “Actions” and then “join group” in the top right.

Quick tips:

  • If you do have a GeoNet account and are not logged in to GeoNet, you’ll need to click “login” first to log in to GeoNet, go to the URL above, then Actions – > join the group.
  • If you don’t have a GeoNet account, click “login” and then follow the steps to create your GeoNet account. Once your account is created you can use the group link in this email or search for the “Story Maps for Education” group in the community.
  • For any additional questions, general tips and guidelines, please visit the GeoNet Community Help group.

Thanks for joining and we look forward to seeing you in the GeoNet Community!

Story Maps Group in GeoNet

Story Maps for Education Group in GeoNet.

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Research: Geospatial technologies in teacher education

For nearly 25 years, teachers, researchers, and curriculum developers have designed, tested, and evaluated teacher professional development with geospatial technologies in education. These innovators created a better practice in teaching with mapping and location-based technologies, using methods and principles that advanced inquiry in meaningful and authentic ways. That path, while challenging and often shifting, shows signs of success—in classrooms, preservice programs, summer professional development, and beyond.

The Association for the Advancement of Computing in Education’s Society for Information Technology in Teacher Education (AACE-SITE) has released the special issue on geospatial technologies in teacher education (special issue editors Elizabeth Langran & Thomas Baker). This journal is intended to support university faculty members working in the teacher education or educational research in technology integration.

CITE Journal 16(3) – special issue on geospatial technology

http://www.citejournal.org/publication/volume-16/issue-3-16/

Editorials

Special issue: Geospatial Technologies in Teacher Education

by Elizabeth Langran & Thomas R. Baker

Science Education

Persistent Teaching Practices After Geospatial Technology Professional Development

by Lori A. Rubino-Hare, Brooke A. Whitworth, Nena E. Bloom, Jennifer M. Claesgens, Kristi M. Fredrickson, Carol Henderson-Dahms & James C. Sample

Strategizing Teacher Professional Development for Classroom Uses of Geospatial Data and Tools

by Daniel R. Zalles & James Manitakos

Social Studies Education

Future Teachers’ Dispositions Toward Teaching With Geospatial Technologies

by Injeong Jo

Current Practice

Integrating Geospatial Technologies Into Existing Teacher Education Coursework: Theoretical and Practical Notes from the Field

by Stacey Kerr

A Curriculum-Linked Professional Development Approach to Support Teachers’ Adoption of Web GIS Tectonics Investigations

by Alec Bodzin, David Anastasio, Dork Sahagian & Jill Burrows Henry

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New SpatiaLABS on Search and Rescue Now Available

Four new SpatiaLABS are now available, focused on teaching spatial thinking and analysis through a compelling topic–search and rescue–and a compelling location–a national park.  To access the labs, use this story map, click on Social Sciences, and see the four listed on the left side.  They are also viewable on the map, located in Yosemite National Park.  All are authored by Paul Doherty, who has had a fascinating career with roles ranging from GIS consultant at Eagle Technology to park ranger for the National Park Service to disaster response lead at Esri.

In the first of these four labs, you will use search and rescue incident locations to create an interactive web map and web mapping application in ArcGIS Online to explore the distribution of incidents in Yosemite National Park.  In the second lab, you will open a map project in ArcGIS Pro and create assignment maps for the emergency search operations.  In the third lab, you will map where searchers have been deployed and what they have found.  In the fourth lab, you will create a “clue log” that can be edited anywhere and with any device.

SpatiaLABS are standalone activities designed to promote spatial reasoning and analysis skills. Covering a wide variety of subject matter useful in standard computer-lab sessions and longer term projects, SpatiaLABS illuminate relationships, patterns and complexities while answering provocative questions such as, “How might visibility have affected political boundaries in ancient civilizations?” or “Is there a connection between ethnicity and exposure to industrial toxins?” or “How worried should I be about the stagnant pond a quarter mile away?”

SpatiaLABS contain instructional materials in Microsoft Word and other common formats so that you can easily add self-assessment questions, adjust the context for the analysis, rework the lab to use local data, or otherwise customize them to suit your non-commercial needs.  Check out these new labs and the others in the collection today!

Some of the compelling maps and data you will analyze in the Search and Rescue SpatiaLABS.

Some of the compelling maps and data you will analyze in the Search and Rescue SpatiaLABS.

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Proposal for AP GIS&T

With support from the Geography Education National Implementation Project (GENIP), the American Association of Geographers (AAG) has developed a proposal for a new Advanced Placement course in Geographic Information Science and Technology (AP GIS&T). All U.S. high schools, colleges, and universities are invited to review the proposal by visiting www.apgist.org.

AP GIS&T is designed to introduce high school students to the fundamentals of geographic information science and applications of powerful geospatial technologies for spatial analysis and problem solving. Together with AP Human Geography, AP GIS&T offers an opportunity to engage students in outstanding geographic learning experiences and promote awareness of the many college and career opportunities available in the discipline. The course proposal has attracted broad support from prominent scientific and educational organizations, as well as major technology employers.

For AP GIS&T to become a reality, the AAG needs to collect attestations from 250 U.S. high schools that confirm they have the interest and capacity to offer the course. Similar assurances are needed from 100 colleges and universities that they would be willing to offer some form of credit to students who demonstrate proficiency on the AP GIS&T exam.

The AAG invites high school principals and academic department chairpersons to consider adding their institution to the list of AP GIS&T supporters by completing the brief attestation form at www.apgist.org. The AAG’s goal is to complete the attestation process by October 1, 2016.

Have questions about AP GIS&T? Contact the AAG at ap_gist@aag.org.

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Got MOOCs?

At Esri we want to do all we can to help people think spatially and engage with powerful, easy-to-use mapping and GIS tools and data.  As part of that mission, for several years we have been creating and teaching our own MOOCs (Massive Open Online Courses).  We also partner with colleagues in higher education (such as Penn State, Elmhurst College, and the University of West Florida) who have created their own GIS-related MOOCs.  Esri MOOCs are 5 to 6 weeks in length, are instructor-led but are asynchronous, feature discussion, readings, videos, short quizzes, and – my favorite part – hands-on activities that immerse you in making decisions with GIS technologies.  Many Esri MOOCs are starting soon, as detailed below.  Register today and start learning!  And for those of you who are instructors, consider how you might use these MOOCs as part of your own instruction.

The starting point for all Esri MOOCs is: http://www.esri.com/mooc. Here is a video describing our MOOC program and another one filmed at the Esri UC.

Below is a summary of upcoming courses with links to their descriptions for remainder of 2016 and those planned for 2017.

September 7 – October 18, 2016:  Earth Imagery at Work:
http://www.esri.com/mooc/imagery.  Digital images of earth’s surface produced by remote sensing are the basis of modern mapping. They are also used to create valuable information products across a spectrum of industries. This free online course is for everyone who is interested in applications of earth imagery to increase productivity, save money, protect the environment, and even save lives.

September 7 – October 18, 2016:  The Location Advantage:
http://www.esri.com/mooc/location-advantage.  Location analytics uses the locational component of business data to improve users’ understanding of their market, customers, and business processes. Organizations throughout the world use location analytics to make better decisions and gain a competitive advantage.

November 9 – December 20, 2016:  Going Places with Spatial Analysis: http://www.esri.com/mooc/going-places   This course is for people who know something about data analysis and want to learn how the special capabilities of spatial data analysis provides deeper understanding. You’ll get free access to the full analytical capabilities of ArcGIS Online, Esri’s cloud-based GIS platform.

February 1 – February 28, 2017: Do-It-Yourself Geo Apps:
http://www.esri.com/mooc/diy-geo-apps  You don’t have to be a software developer to build valuable geo-enabled apps that make your communities smarter and businesses more successful. This course shows how to combine location and narrative in one application to better communicate and broadcast your story, create custom web applications that solve problems in your community, and build powerful native applications for iOS and Android devices without touching a piece of code. If you are a developer, you’ll be interested in Esri’s APIs, SDKs, and the buzzing GeoDev community.

February 1 – March 14, 2017: Earth Imagery at Work.

April 12 – May 23, 2017: Going Places with Spatial Analysis.

April 12 – May 23, 2017: The Location Advantage.

Esri MOOCs - free, engaging, online courses.

Esri MOOCs – free, engaging, rigorous, online courses.

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Fun with GIS 202: Roots & Shoots

Jane Goodall. The name conjures images of science, documentaries, jungles, crowded auditoriums, and visions for a better world. Jane’s work and passion have captured minds and hearts across the globe. For 25 years, young people have engaged in community projects through her “Roots & Shoots” organization, learning that they can make a difference, at home and across the globe.

Roots & Shoots makes it easy to start, with a 4-step formula: Get engaged, make a map, take action, and celebrate. This year, Roots & Shoots added ArcGIS Online to the mapping alternatives, so now projects can combine digital mapping, collaboration, and analysis. Is it powerful? See the video featuring teachers and students of the Math, Science, & Technology Magnet Academy of Roosevelt High School (Los Angeles, CA). See also the youth leader blog on the Jane Goodall Institute page; leaders from across USA visited Esri and learned about adding ArcGIS Online in their work and outreach.

Projects are not just the most powerful way for people to learn GIS. They are also the best way for people to see that they can make a difference in the world, no matter their age. Roots & Shoots projects epitomize “service” — something done for the benefit of another. Roots and shoots help plants spread out and grow, and Roots & Shoots projects can allow young people to shape their world and their future.

Charlie Fitzpatrick, Esri education manager

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Start your engines! Analyzing car race data in ArcGIS Online

Analyzing car race data in ArcGIS Online

Analyzing car race data in ArcGIS Online!

One of my colleagues at Esri has a hobby that is quite exciting – she races cars.  Timing is everything.  During her first race at “nationals”, she won by 9 thousands (.009) of a second!  But besides timing, a wide variety of other data are collected during each race.  These data can be mapped in ArcGIS Online and used in education to foster spatial thinking in geography, physics, mathematics, and other disciplines.  For her recent race at Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, California, where she was driving a Mitsubishi Evolution Lancer, I created a web map based on the data she generously provided.   Use the map with the following guiding questions, or make up your questions.   Investigate the data while fostering spatial thinking using this engaging topic!  Be sure to show your students this video of the first time my colleague drove this type of car and a more recent video here (but be sure to hold on while watching!).

Here is the race car!  A Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution.

Here is the race car! A Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution.

Each racing event uses a custom course, which is marked off with pylon cones.  What do you notice about the spatial pattern of this course?  How many sharp curves did it include?  Go to the bookmark “Best Scale”.  Use the measure tool and measure the distance that the car drove between the start and finish line using the “Track of Race Car” layer as your guide when measuring.  Compare that distance against the straight line distance between the two locations.

Turn on the other map layers and open their tables to investigate the following questions:

Examine the Speed MPH layer.  What was the speed achieved around the first curve?  Where did the vehicle achieve its maximum speed?  What is the relationship of speed to the curvature of the track?  What was the speed across the finish line?

Turn on the acceleration layer.  What is the lateral acceleration around the first curve?  What was the range of acceleration around the race course?  What is the relationship of acceleration to speed?  Examine the oil pressure PSI layer.  What is the relationship of the oil pressure to speed?  Why?

Each of the data points was resampled for a reading every 0.12 seconds. For additional math and physics integration, measure the distance between two adjacent data points in feet or meters, determine how long it took my colleague to cover that distance, and calculate speed in kph or mph based on your measurements.

Change the style of one of your map layers to ‘gear.’  What gear was the driver in most of the time?  Why do you suppose this was the case?

Examine the steering wheel angle layer.  The Steering_P is given in angles from 0 (due north) with positive numbers to the right (+90=sharp right turn) and negative numbers to the left (-270=sharp left turn).  What is the relationship of the steering wheel direction to the curves?  From the steering wheel position, can you determine where the quick left-and-right motions occurred, indicating where a slalom was set up and requiring the driver to go back and forth around cones?  Run statistics on the attribute Steering_P and you will see the range, and that the average (just over the value of 1) is just about “straight ahead”.  In other words, all of the curves average out!  Try using one of the rotational symbols in ArcGIS Online to visualize the direction of the steering wheel more effectively.

What other variables and tools could you use to analyze the data using ArcGIS Online?  Try investigating the g-force (vector), braking velocity, and lateral force.  Try some of the analysis tools in ArcGIS Online to determine hot spots of understeer angle or other variables.  Have fun and think spatially!

Car Race Data Mapped in ArcGIS Online

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