Category Archives: Uncategorized

Happy Earth Observation Day!

Gregg Hadish gave a great presentation about the Iowa Geographic Map Server to celebrate Earth Observation Day.  It was a hands-on demonstration of the Iowa Geographic Map Server ArcGIS App which meant participants could follow along as he explained the various features and functions of the map server. Gregg also showed participants how to leverage map server layers within their own ArcGIS Online organizational accounts and basics for creating their own apps. 

Thank you, Gregg for a great demo! 

Here are some pictures from our Earth Observation Day event.

Checking out the new statewide 1 ft color infrared imagery in the web app.

Gregg giving an introduction to the Iowa Geographic Map Server.

Showing a historical layer – 1880s Andreas Atlas.



ESRI International Users Conference 2018 :: JULY 9-13, 2018 :: SAN DIEGO, CA

The ESRI International Users Conference is a sneak peek at all that is new in the world of ArcGIS.  This is the largest GIS conference with over 18,000 in attendance. There are thousands of sessions and hundreds of vendors. This is a great opportunity to expand your GIS knowledge in the beautiful city of San Diego, California. Check out some of last year’s plenary sessions, here.  Cool stuff!

Registration is $1,595 until May 25.  To register, click here.  For an overview of the agenda, click here.

ITAG 2018 :: June 12-15, 2018 :: West Des Moines, IA

This week we are highlighting a number of upcoming geospatial conferences and the organizations that they representing.  Conferences are a moment to learn something new, hear about great work that our colleagues are doing, find opportunities for collaboration, share knowledge, and have fun.

ITAG is the Iowa Technology And Geospatial Conference.  The ITAG conference is a joint effort between the Iowa Geographic Information Council (IGIC) and the Iowa Counties Information Technology (ICIT) organizations.  This conference is unique, in that it offers two GIS tracks and two information technology (IT) tracks. This is helpful as many GIS professionals are also involved with IT as part of their job.  This is the second year of the joint conference.

ITAG is June 13-15, 2018 at the West Des Moines Sheraton Hotel in West Des Moines, Iowa.  There are pre-conference workshops on June 12.  For registration information, click here.  For a detailed agenda, click here.     

Wrapping up Earth as Art!

Thanks to everyone who visited the Earth as Art exhibit. We hope you enjoyed it! It was so encouraging to have some many visitors! Over 275 people signed the guest book.  We had great walk-in traffic as well as visits from the Boy Scouts, 4-Hers, ISU’s Emerging Writers, members of the Ames Community Arts Council, and a workshop on climate change.

Thank you to Brent Yantis for putting together this exhibit from the Earth as Art collections. Thank you for making the drive from Louisiana to Iowa and helping us get it installed!

Thank you to Gloria Oyervides for your beautiful work on the poster and other promotional materials. Thank you for your hard work on the educational materials and for helping with the installation and opening night.

Thank you to Xingyi Zhang for creating the world map with locations of the images and for help with installation and opening night.

Thank you to the Design on Main gallery, Kyle Renell, and the interns for helping host our exhibit!

Don’t Miss the Last Weekend for Earth As Art!

Come one, come all – to the final weekend of the Earth as Art exhibit. 

Design on Main – 203 Main Street – Ames, Iowa

Thursday 4-7pm
Friday 2-5pm
Saturday 11am-5pm
Sunday 2-5pm

Richat Structure – geological formation in the Maur Adrar Desert in the African country of Mauritania. Although it resembles an impact crater, the Richat Structure formed when a volcanic dome hardened and gradually eroded, exposing the onion-like layers of rock.

OSM Mapping Party *Canceled* Due to Icy Conditions

The weather outside is icy! We have decided to cancel today’s mapping event. Please stay inside and safe. However if you would still like to do some mapping below are some great videos to get you started.  
Here are some suggested tasks from the folks at Missing Maps (otherwise choose your own project at
If you do decide to map, send me an email about what you mapped and where and how it went Also when you save your edits put in the following identifier: #2017iowaviewmlkmapping .  
Also if there is interest we may try to hold another mapathon during spring break or on a weekend.  Please let me know if you are interested and suggest a time that works well for you.

Don’t Forget to Register to do something Awesome (OSM)!

JOIN US THIS MONDAY, JANUARY 16, 2017 FOR the 3rd annual OSM MAPPING PARTY in Durham Center 206.

This is a fun service project.  Come meet some new people, do some good (mapping) and eat pizza!

MLK Jr. Day OSM Mapping Party Monday January, 16, 2017 from 10 am to 1pm, Durham 206 –

Please RSVP:
Click here for more information

Discover the OSM World of Mapping: Teaching 4-H Youth to Digitally Map

Over the last year, the Iowa State University GIS Facility has hosted several mapping events to teach groups about the opportunities in online mapping, such as the volunteer efforts of the Humanitarian Open Street Map Team (HOT). In July of 2015, a 4-H seminar was hosted on our campus with the theme Dare to Discover. For the event, the GIS Facility hosted two workshops to introduce Iowan youth (high school) to the world of digital mapping and remote humanitarian work.


Description of Task
The intent of the project was to introduce Iowa youth to the components and importance of mapping, and to interest them in its applications. To accomplish this, we developed three goals:

1.) Provide the students with a background in GIS, remote sensing, and digital mapping.
2.) Teach the students about the OSM and HOT programs.
3.) Start the students working in local and humanitarian areas.

To ensure all students could begin mapping upon arrival at the workshop, we created twenty ‘dummy’ OSM accounts to provide them at the beginning of the session. These accounts allowed us to monitor the students’ progress, while helping to keep them on task and working with the group as a whole.

To execute the first and second tasks, we created an introductory PowerPoint to define the fundamental concepts of mapping: from uses of GIS, to the origins of aerial imagery and remote sensing. Hoping to trigger the students’ curiosity, we employed an array of exciting imagery and varied descriptions of field applications. Finally, we showed them the video “Why Map?” on the MapGive website.

For the third tasks, students were asked to begin digitizing the features of a small, unmapped town: Ogden, Iowa. This step was intended to adjust students to working remotely, providing them with high-resolution imagery and a familiar landscape. Using the teachOSM tasking manager, the town was sectioned into small, manageable areas. The trainer presented additional PowerPoint slides and a live demonstration explaining; how to create lines, points, and areas; and label and save after each edit.

Students were asked to spend the first half of the mapping session learning to digitize streets, waterways, houses, and parks for Ogden. After thirty minutes, they transferred to the humanitarian area provided by the HOT tasking manager in Namaacha, Mozambique, where they continued to map for the remainder of the session.

Fortunately, we encountered very few problems during the workshops. Most students participated readily, and the creation of extra accounts guaranteed no issues with the opening process. Our final review indicated that some students squared or rounded areas, while others did not, resulting in uneven mapping quality between users. A few students working in blocks on the edge of town extended beyond their intended boundary and mapped surrounding farm fields, and a mischievous student drew an imaginary lake in Ogden and several non-existent triangle buildings: quite the surprise for our final editor.

Though this was our third OSM/MapGive workshop, it was our first time using the teachOSM task manager. We feel that the similarity between the teachOSM and HOT mapping interfaces provided organization as we transitioned the students from the former to the latter. The lock-area tool enabled us to delineate areas for individuals to work in, preventing duplicate edits, while providing a manageable area for completion.

To track workflow and understand how well students learned to map in our allotted time period, we analyzed the number of features created; per account, per day, per area. In total, students seemed to take to mapping quickly; creating an average of 51 features each (some mapping only a few, some mapping as many as 120 features). The comparison between edits in Iowa to Mozambique revealed that most students mapped areas of the humanitarian effort more proficiently than they did the town in Iowa, indicating either improved skill or increased interest. In total, students mapped 1031 features over the two-day period.
As a bonus, some of the students commented regarding the differences between the imagery from their state of Iowa, to the HOT area in Namaacha, Mozambique. They became attentive to differences between the sizes of housing, quality of roadways, and other features on the landscape. Though our intent was to introduce students to mapping and online humanitarian efforts, we accomplished yet another wonderful feat: teaching students more about the world around them.

IowaView MLK Day of Service was a success!

Open Street Map Editing

Open Street Map Editing

Over 40 people volunteered on January 19, 2015 at the Iowa State University GIS Facility for ISU’s part in the worldwide volunteer effort called Open Street Map that is creating a crowd-sourced map of the world that is open source, free and available for any use. The event was held in conjunction with Martin Luther King Jr Day of Service in conjunction with the IowaView program (

Volunteers mapped areas in the Philippines, Sudan, Iraq, Bangladesh, and many other areas that have limited maps available for public use.



Morning Session Picture 2

Morning Session Picture

Picture of Morning Session

Picture of Morning Session

Panoramic View of Session 2

Panoramic View of Session 2