Category Archives: gis

Rekreasjonsorientert bruk av droner – 1

Quadcopter uten monterte rotorer

Quadcopter uten monterte rotorer

OBS: Artikkelen nedenfor er nå et par år gammel. Nye lover og forskrifte han ha blitt vedtatt. Teknologien beveger seg også videre.

Denne artikkelen er den første av to knyttet til notater fra testing av en droner somrene 2013 og 2014. Min intensjon har vært foreta en vurdering av de mulighetene som et drone kan gi i hendene på en geograf som er interessert i naturforvaltning. Dette er gjort med privat utstyr – i fritiden.

Min erfaring var begrenset til flyvning av modellhelikoptre beregnet for innebruk. Men skal man lære må man prøve ut ting i praksis. Det kan være både morsomt og… litt skremmende.

Denne første postingen handler om de juridiske rammene for min aktivitet som på dette stadiet.

Artikkelen har senere blitt oppdatert flere ganger basert på endringer av rammene for lovlig rekreasjonsbasert flyvning med droner og ny informasjon, senest i september 2014.
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American mink – alien species proliferation analysis

Procedure overview for the analysis

Procedure overview for the analysis

The aim of this posting is to document the more technical aspects of establishing the knowledge basis necessary to follow up the action plan against american mink (nevison vison) – an alien species in the Norwegian fauna. It will show how the Python programming language and relevant programming libraries (ArcPy and others) are used in an analysis aiming to understand where the mink can spread under given circumstances.

The motivation for this is to document the process for other relevant projects as well as to make relevant code and methodological descriptions available for other persons/institutions involved in similar projects. The work has been made possible with access to other freely available information online and as such this posting should be considered a timely way of paying back for “services provided”. Continue reading

Solving the ESRI arcpy dissolve challenge

ready_for_dissolveIn a recent project at work I did an analysis on the spread of an alien species in Norway using ESRI ArcGIS 10.1 SP1. In this particular analysis we assumed that the species could swim a certain number of meters in open sea. How would it spread and to what extent would current protected areas be invaded by this overseas stranger to our environment? The density of islands Norwegian archipelago is massive, so the possibility for the alien species to spread is rather overwhelming.

As part of the analysis I ended up doing buffers around islands in the Norwegian archipelago. After which it would be necessary to merge and dissolve the objects. This turned out to be problematic. But for some of the shapefiles I was working with ArcGIS (arcpy and python) simply failed to complete the dissolve operation.

After contacting our local ESRI representative, Geodata AS in Norway, they concluded that this was related to the following error in ArcGIS 10.1: NIM079373: Running a large number of features through the Dissolve or Buffer with dissolve option, hangs during process. I have not found any publicly information with this reference.

One could say that 7283 polygons is a tall order. One could perhaps also say that working with polygons in a task like this rather than with raster is asking for problems. Given enough time I will look into it – later – in that quiet week when nothing else is going on at work, sometime.

This blog post is about but  how I came to understand more about the limitations and possibilities with the ESRI arcpy Dissolve_management tool. It is also explains how I found a rather surprising way to make it faster.

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Drones in conservation – some thoughts

Military drones 2005

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.

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Geoserver as a tool for providing networked geospatial environmental data

As a geographer I once in a while end up being extremely positively surprised by innovations, both commercial and from open source communities. Google Earth, which most of us know, has opened the world of GIS in a completely new way for the general public. The ESRI products from desktop to server has been a mainstay for years. Geoserver is another door opener – it is not new, but it has grown in professionally the last few years.

Although Geoserver will not find the same audience as Google Earth it helps by leveling the field when it comes to providing spatial data by the use of servers. Where one earlier would need detailed knowledge (and funding) to set up ESRI products, one may now do the same investing only a couple of hours of work. Within hours you could be able to present spatial data within your own organization, or even externally using a web server. Continue reading

Development cooperation GIS

For almost ten years now I have been working in the areas environment and development cooperation with geographical Information Systems (GIS) as my foremost tool. My recent postings and tweets about the theme begs for a proper term and a definition. I have chosen development cooperation GIS. For my tweets I will follow up with the twitter hashtag #devcogis.

Looking at the term development cooperation GIS I will point to related policy level work and exemplify the development cooperation GIS by highlighting current projects where it could find its use. I will also briefly present parts of my own work and discuss challenges in development cooperation GIS.

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Elevation model, climate change and fresh water ecology…

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.

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Open source software and development cooperation

Open Source software as part of development cooperation is not a matter of principle. Choosing software in development cooperation projects is about finding good software tools to help you do the job.

There are challenges with both commercial and open source software.  This article focuses on challenges with commercial products in development cooperation.

I am basing the reflections on my own experiences with and reflections from development partners. Continue reading