Wednesday, July 30, 2008


Sigh. I'm impressed to see the new effort ESRI is putting in trying to emphasize ArcGIS as a GIS that also can be used as a cartographic product. In the past, maps have seem to be an after thought. In the 1st edition of Getting to Know ArcGIS, one of the projects has the user create a series of beautiful, colorful, thematic maps...without a single legend. What good is that? So when I caught site of the recent MappingCenter Blog entry I was a little dismayed at what they are advertiseing with the photo they have up:

This is a terrible example that they are using. If I'm not mistaken, bodies of water are treated as a single elevation at the water surface (unless showing bathymetric contours), therefore showing contours cutting off at the edge of the water surface is totally inappropriate. These contours should go around the pond not through it!

On a side note. The Mapping center does have some useful information. I really like all the Historic Map symbols they created.

Monday, July 21, 2008


I'm back, which I'm sure is a relief to all 2 of you who read this. We were on a 5 day backpacking trip along the Jatbula trail near Katherine Northern Territory. If you're interested, here is the blog entry on it.

The camel project finished up shortly before the trip. I was a little nervous but it seemed to work out. In the least, it gives some base on which to develop a more robust decision support system for camel management. The difficulty that I ran into was because everything was tied to access (i.e. roads), most of the management plans overlapped. There were ways around it though, for example doing a cost distance surface from the abattoir limited camel regions to how close they were to the abattoir along the road. I actually used the cost distance surfaces most of the time. Instead of using point locations for say boreholes (necessary for transporting the camels because of the amount of water they require) I used those as starting locations for a cost-distance surface and the roads a friction surface. I also used the major roads as a starting place, with tracks and 4wd roads as a friction surface. This created an implicit cost (cost as in the cost of implementing a camel management action) where it was less money to implement the plan on a major road (easier access) than on a track and then of course off road was the most costly. I originally based aerial culling off of roads, but then switched that to community base, which gave a different range....It was an interesting project. Difficult due to the time constraints, though.

Finishing an article based on some school choice analysis I worked on in 2007. Hopefully it will be accepted for a special edition on mapping school choice. I used kernel density estimation to explore some of the changes in distribution across the school district. Also calculated network distances to see how distance from home to school has changed.

Working on another article using kernel density to calculate a segregation index. It is based on the methodology in this article by O'Sullivan and Wong, A Surface-Based Approach to Measuring Spatial Segregation. I'm not entirely sure if this will actually happen, but I'm experimenting a little bit.