Let me at once admit that I have not done neither on my stays in Timor Leste. But on a recent field trip travelling with car through some of the towns on the south-coast I can report a couple of prospectively very nice places for both climbing and hiking.
In this article I will go through some of the places and suggest activities for a stay Timor Leste road trip. The article will be particularly useful if you are into rock climbing, bouldering, hiking or caving. Continue reading →
The Sentinel 2 satellite modelled by RAMA, published via Wikipedia
The ESA Sentinel 2 satellites will provide the global community of environmental scientists and managers with fantastic terrestrial multi-spectral high-resolution optical data. ESA will give the general public and partners with access to these data sets. The respective users/countries will then have to do some processing of the data sets to render them useful.
In this posting I will try to present some of the work I did as part of a national level working group last year. I will also indicate some of the challenges ahead of institutions working with environmental data management in view of the Sentinel 2.
Challenges include establishing relevant operational products, coordinating such processes and making sure that time series of the same data are available. The posting is mostly based on our report to the Norwegian Space Center.
The term drone is usually associated with unmanned planes used for military surveillance and aggressive activities. The latter is something we as conservationists, scientists, environmental managers and others would rather not be associated with. Surveillance is a term slightly associated with our own trade. We call it monitoring – but much of it is about the same thing. We want to know who is where, how many they are and what they are doing. Our purpose for monitoring the environment is to be able to understand a certain species, their interactions with other species or its immediate environment.
Quality information is necessary to make decisions to protect the environment, or to provide politicians with a basis for policy decisions. A question which has surfaced is: Will drones make conservation and management of the environment more efficient and accurate?
In this posting I will take a brief look at some of the challenges and opportunities pertaining to the use of drones in conservation.
In our work with development cooperation GIS we have come to a point where we find it necessary to establish an overall publication system for environmental information. We will do this together with some of our partners. The system, a clearinghouse, should enable our partners to present project related information to the general public.
A draft system was set up and documented in a former posting on this website. In the article, Environmental Spatial Data Infrastructure – technology, I described the system and some of the challenges. In this article I am taking it a bit further, hoping to stimulate to discussions about how such a system could be implemented.
This posting is about designing a clearinghouse predominantly intended for environmental data. It describes a work in progress. We are working on a requirements document and this posting is ment to inform interested parties about the work. Inputs to our work is both asked for and necessary.
Our family owns a house in the northern parts of Norway. The family spends around eight weeks there a year fishing, mowing the lawn, hiking, meeting family, eating good food and more. I have also spent a considerable part of my spare time sitting in Trondheim mapping the island using OpenStreetMap.
In all honest, the main house is due for some upgrades and repairs. We have started by upgrading two of the upstairs bedrooms. But more complex tasks are in line. The current bath was built by my grandfather some 30 years ago. The kitchen could need some paint. A wall should be torn down. And on and on it goes…
How do we plan these changes? How do we play around with our options? Pen and paper? Software? I have been looking for a tool which would let me plan the whole “estate” – from garden to loft. Line of sight analysis, landscape modelling, logging changes, versioning etc…
Ideally it should be an open source product. Easy to use. Sophisticated. Should handle modelling. Integrate with Google Earth or OpenStreetMap. I would like to have a tool integrating the best from OpenStreetMap with some fantastic architecture software. I want it all, I want it now – and preferably for free as well.
Many of us have seen those hilarious maps showing us “The world according to americans”, “The world according to Hungary” etc… You can even buy the maps at sites like Alphadesigner or Zazzle. Great fun and a friendly reminder about bias – in maps and life in general.
Who we are, what we do and what we know are determinants for our perception of the world. If we are asked to draw maps based on this knowledge we end up with biased maps. In one of my first geography classes the professor asked us to draw maps of where we would walk through town from the students fraternity house and to a particular spot on a late evening. It turned out the women chose different paths than the men. -Why are so few of the girls choosing the backroads and alleys, the professor asked rhetorically. Continue reading →
A Digital Elevation Model (DEM) is a data set containing information about a terrains surface. In its most basic form it is a collection of geographical positions with associated elevation information. With this information it is possible to make visualizations or calculations which again can be used to understand how objects on the surface can interact.
As a geographer it is most of the time my job to facilitate for the use of spatial data. Working with elevation data is as fun as it gets, technically. The data sets lends themselves to nice visualizations and given the right questions the data sets might tell us interesting things about the relations between water, biological entities and masses. The much used watershed analysis results in an understanding of to which rivers water in an area drains. Among other things this is used to understand and manage water basins within the European Union.
For some years now there has been a discussion in Norway about the quality of our current elevation model. Most of us would agree that it could be better. I am one of them. In this posting I will try to give the reader some background to my view on this issue.
Tracing in areas with big and dense canopies is hard.
A couple of weeks while planning a work related trip to Timor Leste I started looking at the OpenStreetMap (OSM) for Dili. On my last trip we drove along the coast to the west of Dili, then south to Suai and east/north through Maubissie back to Dili. It was a nice drive, and I kept my GPS running throughout. The tracks were used to make minor edits on the OSM map.
A lot of spatial has been established in Timor Leste courtesy in part of the UN Mission in Timor. But without a proper mechanism to receive the data Timor Leste is practically left without documented (metadata) maps. Can OSM play a part here? Continue reading →
One of the biggest beneficiaries of OpenStreetMap is Microsoft letting OSM use their BING sattellite imagery as a backdrop for tracing objects for inclusion into OSM. One of my side projects is to make a decent map of the island where my father was born. The name of the island is Mindland. It is around 300 kms north of Trondheim, as the crow flies.
I started the project using driving an old motorcycle around the island with my iPhone in my backpack. This way I was able to make GPX-tracks for the major roads. However interesting it was to drive the trike around the island it would not be possible to go all the way. The buildings would end up being points, the fields would go uncharted and driving a motorcycle around all the minor roads might be a bit intrusive. Continue reading →