The Great Lakes Alliance for Remote Sensing (GLARS) announced today the public release of the Digital Surface Model (DSM) products SharedGeo has created for the Great Lakes. Covering 85% of the Great Lakes Basin, the DSMs were created from over 70 TB of Digital Globe stereo-pair imagery obtained from National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency’s (NGA) NextView program.
In addition to the substantial science required to produce the SharedGeo DSMs, the effort is significant in at least three other ways.
It is the first public domain release of DSM products covering an expansive area (eight states and two Canadian provinces) outside of the polar regions,
It demonstrates the potential for units of government to have access to frequently acquired DSM data without the high cost of similar LiDAR products, and
Because this approach relies on satellite imagery that is being frequently collected, short period, time-sequenced visualization of climate change impact, and the results of mitigation are possible.
To read the full news release, please click the link below.
In early March, SharedGeo’s Board of Directors voted to accept the U.S. National Grid Institute (USNGI) as its first Fiscal Sponsorship project.
Through this IRS legally defined arrangement, SharedGeo is able to extend its IRS tax exempt status to another effort it believes will evolve into becoming a self-standing nonprofit with a mission that is inline with that of SharedGeo’s.
The mission of the USNGI is: “…to promote awareness and use of the U.S. National Grid standard as the nation’s primary geo-location coordinate system and ‘language of location’ for emergency response, data analysis, asset management and public mapping.”
The near-term goal of the GLARS effort is to continue building an integrated, ongoing, remote sensing program for basin-wide mapping, monitoring, management and protection of Great Lakes coastal wetlands. Work to date has focused on developing accurate elevation measurement of coastal wetland features and water level changes across time using two main data sources with frequent collection dates: submeter optical satellite imagery from the NextView program and RADARSAT-2 satellite imagery.
St. Paul, Minnesota, January 14, 2021 – SharedGeo is pleased to announce it has created an open source solution to a longstanding cartographic problem by creating a free web service to generate a magnetic declination diagram.
In cartography, a declination diagram is used to provide a graphic representation of the variations between true north, grid north, and magnetic north on a map. True north is the center of the earth’s rotation. Grid north is the orientation of the map projection coordinate system. Magnetic north is the point at which the earth’s magnetic field points vertically downward in the northern hemisphere; a compass north needle points to this location. Magnetic north changes over time due to changes in the magnetic field of the core of the Earth. A declination helps a map user make adjustments in bearings when using a compass and a map for navigation.
Although many utilities exist for calculating the declination angles, creating a suitable declination diagram manually can be tedious, especially when creating a map series that spans a large area. This is because the declination diagram will be unique to each map, representing the differences between the three norths at the center of the map at a specific point in time. However, the SharedGeo web service creates a declination diagram automatically, returning a scalable image that can be inserted into a map layout using mapping software. This utility uses the NOAA World Magnetic Model (https://ngdc.noaa.gov/geomag/WMM/DoDWMM.shtml).
A properly formatted URL in a web browser returns the declination image as a PNG or SVG file, which can be saved and added to a map layout. It can also be added as a dynamic image using the URL directly, if the mapping software supports that. Further, when generating a map series using desktop GIS or automation scripting, the extents of each map can include the URL with the coordinates for the center of the map to dynamically generate the declination diagram for each map as it is created.
The base URL is https://mdd.sharedgeo.org/mdd-gen, but requires several arguments to work, including date, lat, lon, and zone where:
Date – a decimal date. The whole number is the year and digits after the decimal represent the portion of the year corresponding to a specific day. There are many utilities online to convert dates of various formats to a decimal date. Minimum required is the year (whole number). Note that the current magnetic model is valid through 2025.
Lat – latitude in decimal degrees of the center of the map
Lon – Longitude in decimal degrees of the center of the map (positive = East, negative = West)
Zone – UTM zone of the map
Of – Output format – PNG or SVG – PNG is the default, if this argument is not specified.
Two additional arguments are supported to adjust the size of the output image; width and height. Note that scaling a larger image effectively creates higher resolution images and, therefore, finer line widths and text characters when the image is reduced in size.
Although some GIS software has add-on components which will generate a declination diagram at an additional cost, and free websites can be used to calculate the declination angles, SharedGeo provides this free utility to generate a magnetic declination diagram image that can be directly incorporated in a map. More information can be found here: https://mdd.sharedgeo.org/
About SharedGeo: SharedGeo is a Minnesota 501(c)3 nonprofit dedicated to helping government, nonprofit, education, and corporate entities use mapping technologies and share geographic data for the public good. Past and current collaborative partners include federal, state, tribal, county, municipal, nonprofit, and corporate entities. www.sharedgeo.org
As a way to provide the Minnesota public with a “one-stop-shop” for publicly available emergency/disaster planning and response mapped information, SharedGeo has created the Minnesota Situational Awareness Viewer (MNSAV). Extensive research was conducted to ensure the public domain data sources used were the best available as of date of map release in August 2020.
Although initial incident information presented focuses on response to COVID-19, data related to other types of incidents common in Minnesota such as significant flooding and wildfires can be added as they occur in the years ahead. Similarly, future development plans anticipate directly incorporating many of the individual data resources presently listed in the “Other Situational Awareness Maps and Info” section.
MNSAV was designed and implemented by SharedGeo programmer Nicole Helgeson using a Leaflet mapping framework. It can be accessed directly via the dedicated domain of mnsav.org.
Because many trails in the park are unimproved and meander in ways which have confused even experienced response teams, the park decided to follow Cobb County’s lead and leverage the ELM system. In doing so, a uniform geo-referencing system for response on trails and other locations without street addresses has now been established for both inside the park and in the surrounding north Atlanta metro.
Recently, Dr. Nancy Read, SharedGeo Administrative Director was interviewed by Voice of America about SharedGeo’s U.S. Spread of COVID-19 Maps and Analytics website. Other individuals featured in the piece included academics from Johns Hopkins University, University of Virginia, and California State University – Northridge. The interview by Alex Gorbachev, International Multimedia Journalist for Voice of America Russian Service, was broadcast on Saturday, April 18 to help millions of citizens in former USSR states understand the significant impact COVID-19 was having in the U.S. and how mapping technologies were being employed during the pandemic.
Voice of America (VOA) is the largest U.S. international broadcaster, providing news and information in more than 40 languages to an estimated weekly audience of more than 280 million people. It is carried on a network of more than 2,500 affiliate stations.
In announcing release of the map, SharedGeo indicated it had two objectives:
1.) To visually demonstrate to U.S. citizens the rapidly expanding nature of the COVID-19 virus so individuals and organizations will take to heart the warnings, precautions, and preventive measures requested by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and others in the medical and Public Health sectors, and
2.) To start a discussion about the need for better granularity of location reporting when dealing with health crises. Across the spectrum of disasters which can befall a nation, nothing is more pervasive and debilitating than pandemic. Yet, the critical role which location intelligence can play in managing these types of situations has been historically lacking. This remains true despite there being effective ways to provide medically related location data without violating patient privacy. For an example, see https://usng-gis.org/.
SharedGeo will update the map daily so long as data is available, and the map’s availability is deemed worthwhile.
SharedGeo is extremely pleased to welcome Brian Huberty to the SharedGeo Board of Advisors.
Over the last four decades, Mr. Huberty has applied remote sensing and geospatial assessment technologies for the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources, Department of the Interior – U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and U.S. Geological Survey, U.S. Department of Agriculture – Forest Service and Natural Resources Conservation Service, and with the Aerial Image Technology corporation. Prior to his retirement from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service in September 2019, Mr. Huberty was one of the U.S. government’s most senior environmental remote sensing scientists.