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What’s your GIS Story?

A few years ago the Iowa Geographic Information Council (IGIC) asked members to share stories of how members became interested in geospatial technology. Click here to read those stories. It is interesting to read all the different ways people get involved – often through school, other times through a work project, even through life events (hurricanes, Disney World, 4-H, etc.) No matter what path brought you to GIS; we’re glad you are here. Please consider sharing your story on the IGIC website as well.

TELL YOUR GIS STORY

Happy GIS Day #GISDay

Geography Awareness Week continues with the celebration of GIS Day.

Participate in the international celebration of geographic information systems (GIS) technology. GIS is a scientific framework for gathering, analyzing, and visualizing geographic data to help us make better decisions. On GIS Day, help others learn about geography and the real-world applications of GIS that are making a difference in our society. It’s a chance for you to share your accomplishments and inspire others to discover and use GIS. – From the ESRI GIS Day website

Check out ESRI’s list of 101 ways to participate in GIS Day. Here are a couple ideas that stuck out:
27. Submit a story map to the 2019 StoryMapper of the Year Contest. I have heard of storymapping student contests but apparently ESRI also has a contest open to anyone with a $5,000 prize.
61. Wear your favorite GIS shirt.
My favorite map shirt features the Upper Pennisula of Michigan. What about you?
92. Complete a Learn ArcGIS lesson.
This is a cool site with real world guided GIS lessons.

#OSMgeoweek

The OpenStreetMap (OSM) community is also celebrating this week as OSM Geography Awareness Week (#osmgeoweek.) It is a time for teachers, students, community groups, and map lovers, in the US and around the world to join together to celebrate geography and make maps with OpenStreetMap, the free and openly editable map of the world.

Over 132 groups around the world are hosting mapathons to gather people to add to the OSM basemaps. While we aren’t hosting an official event in Ames this week, we do encourage you to get mapping. In a previous post, we suggested ways to connect with the OpenStreetMap community, click here to check that out.

Another way you can do to improve the OSM basemap is to log in and navigate to your local community. Add new developments, new roads, public buildings, parks, and points of interest. It’s always good to make sure your community’s data is fresh and correct.

A Great Week for Geography and GIS

This is another important week for geography and GIS.

November 11-16, 2019 is Geography Awareness Week. It was started over 25 years ago by National Geographic society as a way to raise awareness about the dangerous dificiency of geography in American education and to excite people about geography as a discipline and as part of everyday life. Learn more about Geography Awareness Week from the National Geographic website.

Missed Our Mapathon?

Did you miss our mapathon or weren’t able to attend because you aren’t in the area? You can still contribute to the effort. 🙂

  • Check out the iD Editor Walkthrough. This is a great introduction to the iD Editor interface. It shows the basics of how to create points and features in OpenStreetMap and how to give those created features attributes and tags. To start the iD Editor Walkthrough – log in to OpenStreetMap and then click on the Edit button (choose iD Editor) then take the iD Editor Walkthrough.
1) Click on Edit with iD 2) Click on the Question Mark Icon to begin the iD Editor Walkthrough
  • Visit the Humanitarian OpenStreetMap Tasking Manager (https://tasks.hotosm.org/contribute) to find a current humanitarian project.
    • Missing Maps is a set of projects within the tasking manager that offer an extra incentive for participation – badges are awarded as you completed mapping tasks (buildings completed, roads mapped, consecutive days of mapping, etc.)
Example of Missing Maps Badges and Stats Page
  • If you are interested in joining an OpenStreetMap US group check out Slack (osmus.slack.com) – there is a lot of good discussion that happens there. You can post questions and get answers from the community.

A Great Day For Earth Observation – Part II

The second part of Earth Observation Day was dedicated to using OpenStreetMap to remotely map Wayland, Iowa and Mindanao region of the Philippines.

Amy Logan, an IowaView staff member, gave a brief introduction to remote sensing and OpenStreetMap. Then mappers began working on a TeachOSM task – Improving the Iowa OSM Basemap: Wayland, Iowa (https://tasks.teachosm.org/project/981). Beverly Conrad, the city clerk of Wayland came for the mapathon and was able to provide local knowledge about the areas participants were mapping. New mappers were encouraged to do the OSM iD Editor Walk-through before they began mapping. It provides users with a nice hands-on introduction of the OpenStreetMap interface and how to create data.

Beverly Conrad discussing a feature with mapathon participants.

Wayland is a small town (population: 966) in southeast Iowa that has wanted to move towards a GIS asset management system, yet much of their city needed to be mapped. As a result of the volunteer efforts of our 22 mappers during the Earth Observation Day mapathon event, partcipants mapped over 70% of the city, including over 470 buildings as well as sidewalks, alleys, parks, and other points of interest. Below is a before and after screenshot of the OpenStreetMap basemap for the City of Wayland, Iowa.

Thank you, Mappers!

The second project was a Humanitarian OpenStreetMap Task improving the basemap in the Philippines to promote food security. This project added details to the basemap such as minor roads and path, buildings, and farmland.

A Great day for Earth Observation – Part I

Earth Observation Day 2019 was super.

First, Professor Peter Wolter shared with us several projects he has worked on in northern forests of Minnesota, Wisconsin, and Michigan. He explained how he has used multiple satellites/sensors to identify specific traits in trees (wavelength, height, temporal change, etc.) which allowed him to classify different regions of the forest by species. Below are some pictures from his presentation. Thank you, Peter!

Loess Hills: Iowa Landforms Revealed

Obscured from view by vegetation and built structures, Iowa’s often subtle landforms are revealed through a LiDAR-derived bare earth digital elevation model in a Geographic Information System. Geological and human made features can be seen in this series of LiDAR color hillshade maps from across the State.

Loess

Deep deposits of wind-blown silt define the Loess Hills region of western Iowa. Intricate drainage networks and agricultural terraces are visible in this map from along the West Nishnabotna River near Hamburg.

Click on image to explore.
This image is of part of the Loess Hills in southwest Iowa.