Posts Tagged ‘gis’

Haiti OpenStreetMaps + Google Map Maker

Thursday, January 21st, 2010

There are two camps opening up in the Volunteered Geographic Information (VGI or community generated content CGC) community that are sure to have big import going down the line. One is OpenStreetMap.org (editor | download) and the second is Google’s Map Maker (not available in the US and other developed world locations) (editor | tile view options | download). Both services allow users to either upload their own GPS track or digitize linework and points off satellite imagery. These two options have added to the global map, often creating the first detailed map of a place ever available to the general public.

But the two projects have very different license structures (OSM almost unrestricted, Google very restricted). Not only do they duplicate effort, but they result in “similar but different” products that do not perfectly register with each other. This is an problem that faced many in the US in the 1990s as many organizations developed their own, not-interoperable datasets for the same regions. That model has largely been replaced by single entities building fundamental datasets that other organizations and individuals repurpose.

The licensing and data coverage & registration issues are of note to professional cartographers (and first responders) more so then to the general public. But, as Sean says:

OSM and MapMaker aren’t talking and I think it is a big problem – if you want to help rescue efforts in Haiti where do you go to digitize? OSM? MapMaker?

Muki Haklay has a good comparison of the detail in each of OSM and Map Maker for Haiti. In the map here, yellow means that there is a better coverage in Map Maker, and blue means that there is a better coverage in OpenStreetMap.
Screenshot below, click for larger version.

osm-mapmaker-haiti-180110

“The comparison looks at total roads length for both datasets. The calculated difference between them using the equation:

∑(OSM roads length)-∑(Map Maker roads length)

for each 1km grid square.

The information in the file can be used for the following applications:

  • Users of these mapping products - it can help in judging which dataset to use for each area.
  • Users – it can facilitate conflation -  the process of merging datasets to create a better quality output.
  • Mappers - it can illuminate which areas to focus on, to improve coverage.”

Haitian Earthquake Emphasizes Danger of a Split Geo Community (seen over at FortiusOne’s Off the Map blog advocating for Creative Commons 0 “zero” licensing of geodata during disasters) has a overlay of OSM (Open Street Map) and Google Map Maker data.

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And finally, before and after images of OpenStreetMap.org map for Port-au-Prince, Haiti:

OSM just after the Earthquake

before4274264767_c9933d12c5

OSM Today

after4274264771_6873e16fa0

Space-Time Modeling and Analysis Workshop (ESRI)

Thursday, January 7th, 2010

[Editor's note: Two day workshop in Redlands next month.]

Republished from ArcNews (Winter 2009/2010)

logoScientists working on understanding the integration of space and time will gather in Redlands, California, February 22–23, 2010, to attend the Space-Time Modeling and Analysis Workshop. The workshop will be part of the first Redlands GIS Week—a gathering of thought leaders from academia, government, and industry to advance the science and application of geospatial technologies. The remainder of Redlands GIS Week 2010 will be dedicated to informal networking activities, demonstrations, and technical tours.

The Space-Time Modeling and Analysis Workshop will feature keynote presentations, lightning talks, and small group discussions, as well as opportunities for informal brainstorming with leading geospatial thinkers and implementers. Redlands GIS Week will be held at ESRI’s headquarters, as well as nearby sites in Redlands, California. The event is cosponsored by the Association of American Geographers (AAG), the University of Redlands, the University of Southern California, and ESRI. After the workshop, a publication will share the event’s results with a larger audience.

More Information

For more information and to view the call for participation, visit www.redlandsgisweek.org.

How to Make a US County Thematic Map Using Free Tools (FlowingData)

Friday, November 20th, 2009

[Editor's note: If you don't have an expensive GIS license but still want to make pretty maps, Flowing Data has a tutorial to get you started. They even use ColorBrewer when setting up the data classes!]

Republished from Flowing Data.
Posted by Nathan / Nov 12, 2009.

There are about a million ways to make a choropleth map. You know, the maps that color regions by some metric. The problem is that a lot of solutions require expensive software or have a high learning curve…or both. What if you just want a simple map without all the GIS stuff? In this post, I’ll show you how to make a county-specific choropleth map using only free tools.

The Result

Here’s what we’re after. It’s the most recent unemployment map from last week.

Unemployment in the United States

Step 0. System requirements

Just as a heads up, you’ll need Python installed on your computer. Python comes pre-installed on the Mac. I’m not sure about Windows. If you’re on Linux, well, I’m sure you’re a big enough nerd to already be fluent in Python.

We’re going to make good use of the Python library Beautiful Soup, so you’ll need that too. It’s a super easy, super useful HTML/XML parser that you should come to know and love.

Continue reading at Flowing Data . . .

Natural Earth Vector Preview: Cities (Part 2)

Thursday, November 12th, 2009

Announced at NACIS in Sacramento, California in October, we’re closing in on final release of Natural Earth vector and raster map data.

Bill Buckingham wrapped up processing the Natural Earth Vector cities (populated places point locations) this week. I’ve been honing our admin-1 and admin-1 rankings and feature names (only 4,000 states and provinces around the world, wew!).

Bill’s added population estimates for each city based on LandScan. The technique allows the user to know both the relative “regional” importance of a town, regardless of it’s population, based on which map scales the feature should be visible (thanks to Dick Furno) at AND to know how many people live there.

By taking a composite of both, you can still show small population cities that are regionally important at a small type point size along with larger populated places at the smaller map scales.

We have about 6,500 cities in Natural Earth Vector. Over 90% of those have population estimates (the ones that don’t are usually out in the boondocks). Together, our cities capture over 3 billion people or half of humanity.

For comparison, most other populated place GIS files have only 2,000 some cities and they focus on country and first order administrative capitals with a bare smattering of other towns. For instance: Lagos, Nigeria or San Francisco, California.  This makes smaller countries with lots of administrative divisions (like Slovenia, Vietnam, or Jamaica) seems way more populated than larger countries with larger administrative divisions (like the United States). See the North America screenshot below for an example and look at the Caribbean versus United States.

They also don’t estimate populations, and if they do they use official census number that hide the true “metro”-style counting of people that should inform a thematic map regardless of formal administrative boundaries at the smaller map scales that Natural Earth excels at.

Now for some screenshots:

(Scale ranks, followed by population view color coded like the scale ranks with nodata green dots, then cyan dot version is ESRI cities overlayed)

0world_ranks

0world_population

1no_amer_ranks

1no_amer_population

1no_amer_esri

2us_ranks

2us_population

2us_esri

More continents o’ dots after the jump.

(more…)

Walk There! Guide for Portland Oregon

Monday, November 9th, 2009

walktherecover[Editor’s note: Matthew Hampton of Portland Metro’s GIS team put me on to his beautiful fitness + pretty maps guide walks for Portland, Oregon at NACIS. It’s a collaboration with Kaiser HMO and was awarded best of show at ESRI’s 2009 User Conference. Check out the legend and download route maps. Or buy a copy from Powell’s Books.]

Republished from Powell’s and Oregonian.

Lived here all your life or just visiting, Walk There! is like a magazine subscription of where to go, how to get there and the secrets you need to know when you arrive. Walk There! 50 treks in and around Portland and Vancouver, Metro’s collection of fifty, eye-opening walks exploring the paths and past that make up the neighborhoods of Portland and linked cities is a series of new walking routes blended with familiar favorites, each mapped with an easy-to-follow legend for parks, viewpoints, restrooms, eateries and access to each walk by public transportation. Each of the fifty walks come alive with colorful anecdotes, the perspective of history, a connection of natural areas, and native flora and fauna that makes Walk There! a unique, pocket size guide to arriving and thriving!

About the Author

Laura O. Foster is an author and editor who specializes in writing about one of her great passions: Portland, Oregon. She also writes children’s nonfiction books, including the award-winning Boys Who Rocked the World, and works as a freelance book editor.
Free guide to Portland area’s best walks: Metro’s “Walk There!”

Walking costs nothing. It burns calories. And it gives you a new perspective on the Portland area. So says an evangelizing new guidebook, “Walk There!”

Metro, the regional government, makes its first foray into foot travel with 50 excursions. Each walk comes with a slick description, photos, map and difficulty rating — think Frommer’s, not government bylaws.

Treks are assigned to categories: For a power walk, hit the stairs in Alameda. Take a lunchtime stroll in downtown Gresham, enjoy the natural beauty of Fanno Creek or get your urban fix on North Mississippi Avenue.

Metro credits Kaiser Permanente with the idea and funds for the guidebooks, which are free. Governments, nonprofits and outdoor groups helped craft routes. And editing credits go to Laura O. Foster, author of “Portland Hill Walks” and the upcoming “Portland City Walks.”

The Oregonian talked walking with two forces behind the book: Foster and Metro president David Bragdon. Click below to read the edited interviews.

Read interview at the Oregonian . . .

walktheremap1

walktheremap2

Scientific Visualizations from Hillside Pictures, CA

Monday, August 3rd, 2009

lidarvegremoval

(above) Vegetation Removal: Removing vegetation from a LiDAR dataset reveals the highly detailed bare-earth topography.

lidar3d

(above) Gabilan Mesa: Landscape renderings based on high resolution LiDAR data for Gabilan Mesa, an old erosional surface featuring gently sloping plateaus strongly aligned with each other along the eastern side of the Salinas Valley, CA.

[Editor’s note: Scientific data visualizations and presentations using GIS data from Dorel Iordache, a northern California visual designer. Check out the videos. Thanks Sebastian!]

Republished from Hillside Pictures, Calif.

Hillside Pictures was born out of the desire to blend my lifelong passion for moving pictures and graphic design with my background in computer science and remote sensing. The results are complex visualizations of landscapes and natural environments with emphasis on both scientific accuracy and visual aesthetics. My work is grounded in broad technical expertise, highest attention to detail and years of work experience in the academic environment. Stepping outside the field of data visualization, I enjoy working on motion graphics and visual effects projects, including animated DVD menus, titles or intros.

Continue to Hillside Pictures artwork gallery . . .

Avenza Systems Releases MAPublisher 8.1 + LabelPro

Friday, June 19th, 2009

mapublisher-header

[Editor's note: The latest update of the Illustrator plugin includes a collision-free rule based label engine, but it will cost you an extra license fee.]

Republished from Avenza.

MAPublisher 8.1 for Illustrator is powerful map production software for creating cartographic-quality maps from GIS data. Developed as a suite of plug-ins for Adobe Illustrator, MAPublisher leverages the superior graphics capabilities of this graphics design software for working with GIS data and producing high-quality maps with efficiency.

New Features of MAPublisher 8.1 for Adobe Illustrator

  • Support for the new MAPublisher LabelPro collision-free rule-based labeling system (additional license required)
  • Improved MAP Web Author Tool for automatic creation of interactive Flash maps
  • New MAPublisher Preferences options for customization of various features and functions
  • Split Layer function to move data to new layers based on attributes and expressions
  • Enhanced Expression Builder allows import of expressions from Selection Filters
  • Enhanced Plot Centroids function now has the option to copy attributes from the source area
  • New Export Attribute function for exporting the attributes table to a delimited text file
  • Enhanced Register Image function can now create a new MAP View from any referenced image
  • New Specify Anchors functionality allows world values to be entered in any co-ordinate system
  • Improved MAP View and MAP Stylesheets panels with new functionality
  • Various other user interface improvements and performance enhancements to improve usability

Continue reading about 8.1 upgrade at Avenza . . .

Features of MAPublisher LabelPro

MAPublisher® LabelPro™ offers advanced labelling capabilities beyond those available in the standard MAPublisher Feature Text Label and the MAP Tagger Tool, including a sophisticated and user-friendly rule-based and collision-free placement engine.

The MAP LabelPro engine contains sophisticated algorithms based on EZ Label technology from MapText Inc. It solves many of the most common map labelling problems such as complex conflict resolution across multiple layers, the ability to specify data as obstacles and the ability to create complex labelling conventions using user defined rules.

MAPublisher LabelPro uses map attributes, rules and styles for labelling which provides a great level of sophistication and control. Map layers may be assigned an order of priority for labelling and set as label obstacles. Labels can be placed on any defined text layers, unplaceable layers can be ignored or placed. Placement rules and styles can be saved to a file and imported or shared over a network.

Users can use the following rules and placement options to place the text on their maps.

Continue reading about LabelPro at Avenza . . .

Cartographica 1.0 – “GIS” for the Mac

Thursday, May 14th, 2009

c11a-overview

[Editor’s note: At $500 a seat ($395 limited time offer) this Macintosh-compatible GIS solution is cheaper than Avenza’s MaPublisher but lacks some advanced features like customizable projections. Requires 10.5.3.  They have a survey asking which new features they should add. Thanks Tom!]

Republished from MacGIS.com (ClueTrust).

Flexible File Import

File Import

Cartographica has a wide range of data import capabilities, nearly assuring that you can turn your data into maps. Bring in your georeferenced raster data (like orthophotos and satellite imagery), your vector data from almost any source, or even CSV text files. A more complete list of imported and exported formats is available.

Rapid Filtering
Rapid Filtering

This is a Macintosh, and you’d expect fast filtering of data. With Cartographica, you get just what you’d expect. Using the search box, you can filter on any field. If you like, you can use expressions like > and < to filter numeric data arithmetically.

Sophisticated Layout
Sophisticated Layout
Cartographica now provides sophisticated print layouts, including the ability to put multiple maps on the same page, overlay scale and legends, or keep them aside, and add text notations. Even have multiple copies of the same map on a page with different zoom levels and extents.
Flexible Styles
Flexible Styles
Styles define what layers should look like in a map. Easily put together a simple style based on fill and stroke colors, or create a sophisticated style set for a layer allowing easy identification of features with different attributes.
Direct Editing
Direct Editing
Need to define geometry for your map without exact coordinates? Cartographica lets you create a new feature, or edit an existing one with ease. Just double-click and move the control points. Styles and related information follow right along.
Undo Support
Undo Support
We believe that exploring geospatial data should be risk-free. Why should you have to live with every change you make? Cartographica’s ubiquitous undo capabilities means whatever changes you’ve just made… you can undo them… and then put them back.
Layer Transparency
Layer Transparency
Take advantage of the sophisticated graphics you love on the Macintosh by using transparency to see through one level of data to the next. It is, of course, adjustable on a per-layer (or per-feature basis when you are using complex styles). You can even make a raster layer transparent (or any part of it), in order to enhance visibility of your crucial data.
Simultaneous Data/Map Browsing
Map And Data
Look at your data and map at the same time. Zoom in and filter the map and the data view follows. Scroll around and select features in the data set and they are hilighted on the map. Visualize your data your way. Don’t want to give up screen space for the data view? That’s fine, just drag it shut, and then open it when you need it again.
Geocoding
Geocoding

Got addresses? Load up a reference file (such as those available free in the US from the US Census Bureau) and you’ll be mapping the addresses of your data in minutes. Cartographica will take addresses from lists in text files, tables in databases, or even your Macintosh Address Book.

GPS Support
GPS Support
If you need to load up field data from a variety of GPS devices, go no further than the File menu. Using the GPS import modules tested over the last three years in our free LoadMyTracks software, we can import waypoints, routes, and tracks directly from hundreds of devices, including those from: Garmin®, Magellan®, Lowrance®, Sony®, and others. And, if your device isn’t directly supported, it can import the data using GPX files (the standard for GPS information).
Direct Database Access
Direct Database Access
Is your source data stored in a database? Cartographica can load data directly using ODBC (the standard for database exchange) and geocode it, join it to existing table data based on keys, or just import it as points with X and Y or latitude and longitude. No more multi-step processes and complex multi-program importing.
Web Map Server Support
Web Map Server
There’s lots of good data available on the Internet. Getting data from a Web Map Server into your map document is a snap. Just load up the area you’re looking to cover and select the Map Server. Cartographica will do the rest, from matching the coordinate system to testing the boundaries, to warping the graphics if necessary to meet your current CRS.
Intelligent Projection Management
Intelligent Projection Management
There’s a lot of data available out there, but often each layer is coded with a coordinate reference system that is specific to its producer’s own needs. Cartographica understands that, but doesn’t let that get in the way of making the data easy to use. Although you can change coordinate systems in existing layers, we’ll be just as happy to do the conversions behind the scenes (for raster as well as vector data) in order to make sure your layers match up.

 Read more at MacGIS.com . . .

Instance_setMcName Flash Script + MaPublisher = Flash Interactive Thematic Mapping (Kelso)

Wednesday, April 29th, 2009

charlestonelectionresults

[Editor's note: Making the GIS > Illustrator > Flash workflow a 30 minute process instead of a 30 hour slog. Thanks Sebastian!]

Ken Hawkins, formerly of The Post and Courier newspaper (Charleston, SC) helped me figure out how to take GIS shapefile data (point, line, and polygon) prepped in ArcMap or similar, process it in Illustrator using the Avenza MaPublisher plugin, and then copy-paste import into Flash CS3+ and apply the Instance_setMcName script. I first saw his handywork in the http://www.charleston.net/graphics/200802_primary/ map which is illustrated at the top of this post. I first learned of this technique last year but I think it is still relevant so am posting it now.

Ken had help from Len De Groot over at newsartists.orghttp://www.newsartists.org/forums/showthread.php?p=41780, registration required). I have reformatted and edited Ken and Len’s instructions below.

Requirements:
  • A shapefile,
  • Illustrator CS3,
  • MaPublisher (Illustrator plugin),
  • Flash CS3, and
  • Free command script called “Instance_setMcName”. Before you start, download the script from Adobe, registration required (alternate download, no registration required) and double click file icon to install the script into Flash. Relaunch Flash to enable the script.

Overview:

  • Shapefile prep work in ArcMap GIS as needed.
  • Import the shapefile (.shp) in Illustrator using MaPublisher. Each geographic feature imports as it’s own path object in illustrator, visible in the Layers panel when it is set to not just show top level layers.
  • Use MaPublisher to name each map object’s GIS database attribute to name itself.
  • Import the Illustrator file to Flash .
  • Run the script to take the movieclip names and apply them to instances.

Detailed Workflow:

  1. Shapefile prep work in ArcMap as needed.
  2. Open your GIS shapefile in Illustrator via the MaPublisher plugin (File > Import Map Data).
  3. Edit > Select All the imported map path objects.
  4. Open the MapAttributes panel by going to View > MaPublisher > MapAttributes.
  5. In your MapAttributes panel, use the flyout menu to select Edit Schema.
  6. Select the #Name (usually selected by default) in the list of columns.
  7. Check the box marked “Derive value from expression”
  8. Click the “…” button.
  9. In the resulting dialog’s text entry field, type in the name of the field you want to use to name the individual polygons (county, precinct, etc.). This is case sensitive.
  10. Hit OK twice.
  11. Watch as your individual path objects are named in the Layers panel then save the file.
  12. Open Flash and import the AI file to the stage (File > Import).
  13. In the Import dialog box, select all the sublayers and check the box named “Create movie clip” and hit OK. The map will be imported both onto the stage and each map object will be added to the document’s Library.
  14. In the Library panel, select all the MovieClips in the Illustrator Import sub-folder and drag them up and out of the folders to the top level.
  15. Use Edit > Select All to select all your map object symbols on the stage.
  16. Under “Commands” in the top menu, select “Instance_setMcName.”
  17. All you symbol instances will be named the same as their parent movieClip libary item. Use the Properties panel to verify this.

Both Ken and I have used this process on multiple shapefiles with hundreds of objects and it’s worked like a dream.

Caution on Numeric Names:

Some GIS shapefiles have category names that begin with numbers, which Flash doesn’t like. Flash is picky about some other characters starting off the name, too, so when in doubt, use the following solution.

You can edit the schema to add a letter in front of each name and then use actionscript to do the same to each item in your XML file. A little cloogy but better than the alternative.

  1. Click the Add button in the Edit Schema window in MaPublisher’s Illustrator panel
  2. Name the new column “a”. Make sure the Type is string and enter “a” for the value (the derive value button must be unchecked to see this option).
  3. Press enter.
  4. Select #Name column.
  5. Find the expression field in the same dialog and type out “a&PRECINCT” (where “a” is the “a” attribute column name and PRECINCT is the attribute column name). Note: the & symbol is used to concatenate (add together) the string values in each attribute column.
  6. Press enter.
  7. Verify the name changes in the Layers panel.

Seperate Stroke and Fill Workflow:

To have a seperate stroke layer on polygons so the fills can be color coded seperately from the strokes (which would always maintain the same stroke color) you’ll need to make a 2nd copy of the symbols:

  1. In Illustrator after you’ve used MaPublisher to name all your polygons appropriately, duplicate the layer and hide/lock the original layer.
  2. Give the new polygons a stoke and no fill, and rename them using Steps 3-6 except append the naming scheme with “Stroke”
  3. Import the Illustrator file to Flash. Two groups of symbols are imported.One group’s symbols will be named something like “precinct234″ and the other group’s corresponding symbols will be named “precinct234Stroke”
  4. Flash can now be instructed via ActionScript coding to independently control a symbols fill and whether or not it is “highlighted” with a stroke.

Bonus Feature!

Use MaPublisher to import other GIS layers (roads, polling locations, etc.) and they will land directly on top of the thematic symbols. I recommend doing this in the same import session, or before you rescale the maps. Best results when all GIS shapefiles are already in the same projection.

To set up your XML which is used to import your map data values (essentially an XML version of your DBF file associated with the shapefile), check out Layne’s thread.

The Importance of Building Geospatial Infrastructures (ESRI)

Tuesday, April 21st, 2009

[Editor’s note: Having a consistent set of quality geospatial databases enables cartographers and GIS professionals to focus on moving projects forward, avoiding costly database re-creation. Sharing the same base data across multiple projects and multiple organizations allows interoperability effeciencies and synergized results. Tom Patterson, Dick Furno, and I are working together to build a vector complement for Tom’s Natural Earth world raster landcover data at 1:15,000,000; 1:50m; and 1:110m scales. We hope these new shapefiles will play an important role in the community to create a small-scale (world, continental, and regional) geospatial infrastructure.]

Republished from ESRI’s ArcUser.
March 2009 article also available in PDF format.

Like no other time in recent history, our world is challenged. Disease, environmental deterioration, disasters, and now the widespread disruption of financial markets test the resourcefulness of society.

Over the past 40 years, GIS has evolved from a tool for managing projects to a framework for understanding and responding to problems on scales ranging from the local to the global. The geographic approach has become an important methodology for integrating data and information and enabling better decision making. The availability of quality geospatial data, together with improvements in software and hardware performance, has made these advances possible.

click to enlarge
The Solar Boston Web site uses geospatial data and high-performance, application-focused Web mapping to encourage the adoption of solar energy in the city of Boston, Massachusetts. Visitors can use tools at the site to calculate the solar potential of building rooftops and the annual cost savings that could be realized from installing solar panels.

With the move to an object-oriented platform, ArcGIS is better able to abstract and model the world, representing and integrating information about complex systems and modeling their behaviors. This is true whether the subject under study is as broad as an ocean or limited to a neighborhood.

The development of spatial data infrastructures (SDIs) represents the next logical step in the expansion of GIS use for data management and decision support. SDIs use accepted data and metadata standards in the creation of well-documented foundation datasets. Used with constantly updated operational data, SDIs make data more accessible and useful for specific tasks and analyses and save time while sharing costs. SDIs, together with GIS software, unlock the information contained in the terabytes of measurements, images, transactions, and other data stored in digital form by placing it in a geographic context.

The phenomenal growth of the Internet has multiplied the value of SDIs by enhancing the dissemination of data and information products. The newest release of ESRI software, ArcGIS 9.3.1, is focused on making information more consumable using the Internet. It supplies tools for configuring and deploying responsive and informative Web maps that help users accomplish specific tasks.

In February 2009, the Statistical Office of the European Communities (Eurostat) awarded a contract for the development of the technical components of a Web-based GIS. The contract went to a consortium that based its solution on ESRI technology.

These components will comply with the provisions of the Infrastructure for Spatial Information in Europe (INSPIRE). In establishing INSPIRE, the European Commission recognized the importance of quality georeferenced information to the understanding of the complex interactions between human activities and environmental pressures and impacts.

Two articles in the Focus section of this issue of ArcUser magazine provide additional examples of the value of building geospatial infrastructures to address complex problems and provide tangible benefits.

Maintaining water quality is essential to the health of the environment. Although water quality monitoring has been ongoing for decades, this abundance of measurement data cannot be translated into effective regulation and remediation action if it is not accessible, placed in geographic context, and amenable to analysis.

With new tools in ArcGIS, such as the regression analysis tools, vast data inventories can be placed in a geographic context and analyzed. This scatterplot matrix diagram is used for exploring data on foreclosures to discover if there is any relationship between variables preparatory to effectively modeling it.

The staff of Region 4 of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency developed a geodatabase that manages current and historical water quality data and allows for rapid and flexible inquiry, analysis, and dissemination of this data and the information derived from it. This geodatabase, loaded into an ArcSDE server, uses feature classes, reformatted tables, and relationship classes. Information can be viewed as layer files generated from query definitions or queried by feature. This information is available from the desktop or distributed as ArcReader projects.

The benefits accrued from a geospatial infrastructure are greatly multiplied at larger scales as demonstrated by the marine SDI developed by the Portuguese Instituto Hidrografico. The SDI created by this naval organization integrates an abundance of sea monitoring data, prediction data, navigation charts, and base data using international data format standards and data models. A fully stipulated data policy and metadata for all geospatial data ensure data quality and promote data reuse. A wide range of information products generated for public, private, and military use are widely disseminated through Web portals. In addition, the SDI provides ad hoc decision support for the navy.

As these articles show, GIS professionals will play a more important role than ever in helping understand complex systems. With the development of SDIs, GIS professionals will be better able to apply GIS to transform data into knowledge. Aided by increasingly powerful tools in GIS, they can gain a better understanding of the world’s complex systems and help develop a more sustainable future.

Related ESRI article:

A Geospatial Foundation: Public, private, and military applications flow from SDI