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Dr Mike J Smith


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RSPSoc 2017:
RSPSoc 2017 looked to have a fine set of talks this year hosted by the marvelous people at the Royal School of Mines, Imperial College. Check out the abstracts. SfM had it's only session (naturally!), preceded by a plenary from Mike James (Lancaster). This session also included talks from myself/James O'Connor on our work reviewing camera settings for UAVs and the impact of image quality on SfM photogrammetry. The first set of slides are below and the second set on this page.

posted on: Thu, 07 Sep 2017 | path: /meetings | permanent link to this entry

PhD thesis: writing it up (and the art of procrastination)
I recently had an opinion piece published in Times Higher Education - this is advice on the process of writing up, how we all procrastinate on finishing it and what to do about it! It evolved out of discussions with PhD students over the years and advice to them, as well as fighting my own procrastination monkey at times. These things have worked for me and for some students, so if you struggle with getting those words down on paper... give them a try!

posted on: Thu, 07 Sep 2017 | path: /publications | permanent link to this entry

FREE EPRINT: Hybrid Spectral Unmixing: Using Artificial Neural Networks for Linear/ Non-Linear Switching
Asmau M Ahmed, Olga Duran, Yahya Zweiri and Mike Smith Remote Sensing Spectral unmixing is a key process in identifying spectral signature of materials and quantifying their spatial distribution over an image....

posted on: Sat, 29 Jul 2017 | path: /publications/journals | permanent link to this entry

Amazon Echo in Teaching
How can we use XXX in teaching? Replace XXX with your favourite peace of technology - you see it all the time and it's a good excuse to buy a shiny bit of kit and play with it in class....

posted on: Fri, 05 May 2017 | path: /teaching | permanent link to this entry

Photogrammetry Round Up
With being fresh back from EGU, it seemed an appropriate moment to provide a few brief links to things relevant: 1....

posted on: Fri, 05 May 2017 | path: /remote_sensing/UAV | permanent link to this entry

Canon is droning on....
Industrial drones are it... whilst the media spotlight has been firmly on cheap and cheerful like the DJI Phantoms delivering drugs to prisons or involved in near misses with commercial aircraft, the heavy lifting (literally) is being done by commercial drones in the industrial sector....

posted on: Fri, 07 Apr 2017 | path: /remote_sensing/UAV | permanent link to this entry

Links Thursday
A couple of recent links that are worth a punt... 20 FREE Satellite Imagery Data Sources: once you've waded through the ads, a really useful list of free satellite imagery sources London Cycle Lane Map: following the London underground map meme, one in that vein but very pleasing.

posted on: Thu, 30 Mar 2017 | path: /GIS | permanent link to this entry

Excel: deleting blank rows
One of those great tips that just makes life easier... you have 100,000 records in an Excel spreadsheet that you've just pulled from a live database and it's ended up with some blank rows in it, scattered throughout....

posted on: Thu, 30 Mar 2017 | path: /computing | permanent link to this entry

Converting NoteStudio files to TiddlyWiki
For many years I was a user of NoteStudio on Palm as a tool for implementing David Allen's Getting Things Done (GtD) productivity methodology....

posted on: Tue, 21 Mar 2017 | path: /computing | permanent link to this entry

Controlling email...
Straight from one of the best books I've read on communication (Trees, maps and theorems by Jean-Luc Doumont), is this paragraph on helping stem the flood of emails. Sage advice indeed: If you are buried under too much incoming email, you may feel helpless about it. Yet, without hoping for a revolution, you can still take concrete steps toward easing the overload. To receive less email, simply send less email - and send better email, too. So, starting today, think before you send and if it's not required, don't send it.

posted on: Fri, 17 Mar 2017 | path: /computing | permanent link to this entry

Cameras and settings for aerial surveys in the geosciences: optimizing image data
James O’Connor, Mike Smith, Mike R. James (2017) Progress in Physical Geography Aerial image capture has become very common within the geosciences due to the increasing affordability of low payload (<20 kg)...

posted on: Fri, 03 Mar 2017 | path: /publications/journals | permanent link to this entry

OSM then and now
Quite astonishing what 10 years of volunteered mapping can do.... wonderfully exposed at OSM Then and Now. Use the slider and be amazed!! Ive centred upon Bletchley, a suburb of Milton Keynes, and home to Bletchley Park and the home of the codebreakers.

posted on: Fri, 03 Mar 2017 | path: /GIS | permanent link to this entry

Irish Citizenship based on ancestry - the easy way!
My grandmother was Irish and, as the Irish government allow individuals to apply for citizenship based upon ancestry back to their grandparents, I thought it would be good to go ahead and do it....

posted on: Sat, 18 Feb 2017 | path: /fun | permanent link to this entry

xkcd's bad map projection
The timezone world according to xkcd...

posted on: Thu, 16 Feb 2017 | path: /GIS | permanent link to this entry

Uber Drone?
Is this the next Uber Drone, coming to some skies near you? As the article says, would like to see 1000 hours of safe flight time first and the ability to fly with only two motors by feathering then should there be a failure. Exciting times though - I get a sense of scenes from The Fifth Element coming true (that would be Ruby Rhod first maybe)!!

posted on: Tue, 14 Feb 2017 | path: /remote_sensing/UAV | permanent link to this entry

Dronebase
And the cost of hiring a UAV is being driven down.... Dronebase is your AirBnB of UAV operators. Don't pay over the top and go to one site to find them. The growth has been extremely rapid - see what their investors think. Its a great idea and, well, a very useful resource.

posted on: Thu, 02 Feb 2017 | path: /remote_sensing/UAV | permanent link to this entry

Best discount code ever??
This might just rank as the best discount code Ive ever received, courtesy of Pixellu with their new SmartSlides beta... Judge for yourself!

posted on: Wed, 11 Jan 2017 | path: /fun | permanent link to this entry

Maths - the magic number (or magic bullet?)
A really interesting news story from October (I know - it's sat in my bookmarks staring at me!) on the BBC titled Maths becomes biology's magic number....

posted on: Wed, 04 Jan 2017 | path: /fun | permanent link to this entry

Geosheets tutorial
GIS-Geography had a nice geosheets tutorial just before Christmas which is worth a look-in. Geosheets is not a service I had seen before and operates as a plugin for Google Sheets, adding functionality to geocode spreadsheet data and plot on a basemap. Of course ArcGIS Online and, indeed, Google MyMaps. However Geosheets offers you the ability to create within Google Sheets itself using some simple syntax. I wonder if they have enough to survive (don't complete with Google or Esri!) but, in the interim, it's another toolbox for geoenthusiasts.

posted on: Wed, 04 Jan 2017 | path: /GIS | permanent link to this entry

Journal of Maps Best Map 2016 (FREE to view)
It is with great pleasure that I am able to announce the award of the 2016 "Best Map" to Bernhard Jenny (RMIT University), Johannes Liem (City University London), Bojan Savric (Esri Inc) and William M....

posted on: Tue, 20 Dec 2016 | path: /GIS | permanent link to this entry

FREE EPRINT: Summary of activities 2016, Journal of Maps
Mike J. Smith (2017) Journal of Maps As you will see with this Editorial, it has been a year of intense activity at the Journal of Maps (JoM). The most important announcement is the move of JoM back to an Open Access (OA) publishing model which was effective from 1st September 2016.

posted on: Tue, 20 Dec 2016 | path: /publications/journals | permanent link to this entry

Journal of Maps Call for Papers: Art-Geoscience
Art-geoscience: exploring interdisciplinary representations of space and place We would like to invite contributions to a special issue of the Journal of Maps devoted to interdisciplinary collaborations between the arts and sciences, with a specific focus upon an exploration of a location using, at least in part, some form of mapping and ideally involving the collaboration of artists and scientists....

posted on: Sat, 17 Dec 2016 | path: /publications | permanent link to this entry

Reading Landscape... some press
Kingston University put out a press release about our Reading-Landscape Project that we presented at the RGS-IBG Annual conference in the summer. It's a nice piece that the press office has put together that takes some quotes from myself and Flora, offering a little more reflection upon the overall achievements of the whole group.

posted on: Sat, 17 Dec 2016 | path: /teaching | permanent link to this entry

A small problem of generalisation and a bigger problem of topology
I was recently teaching a class on introductory cartography where we were using a range of different socio-economic datasets including 2011 counties and middle super output areas (MSOA) of the UK from the UK Data Service....

posted on: Fri, 16 Dec 2016 | path: /GIS | permanent link to this entry

A tale of six maps...
... and the stories they tell. The Washington Post ran a nice story earlier this month mapping the extent of infrastructure in the US....

posted on: Wed, 14 Dec 2016 | path: /GIS | permanent link to this entry

Keep it simple...
Sage advice from John Lilly: My big lesson was the importance of a simple message, and saying it the same way over and over. If you’re going to change it, change it in a big way, and make sure everyone knows it’s a change. Otherwise keep it static. ...and that goes for any type of communication. Keep the core message simple to understand because whilst the implications may be profound, your target audience needs to be able to take it in and interpret it unequivocally.

posted on: Fri, 02 Dec 2016 | path: /fun | permanent link to this entry

Shapefile or geodatabase?
A nice overview and comparison of the shapefile, personal geodatabase and file geodatabase over at the guys at GIS Geography. Its a good succinct summary and review of the pros and cons. They do note that the file geodatabase is proprietary (to Esri), but not that the shapefile is too. And whilst (quitea while ago) Esri published a whitepaper detailing the specification of the shapefile its worth noting that they have released the API to the file geodatabase as well.

posted on: Tue, 29 Nov 2016 | path: /GIS | permanent link to this entry

Evidence Matters
Sense About Science kicked off their Evidence Matters campaign earlier this year and this month held a meeting in parliament to push the importance of policy decisions based upon factual evidence....

posted on: Tue, 29 Nov 2016 | path: /meetings | permanent link to this entry

UPDATE: Cookie Cutter and ArcGIS 10.4
Way back in 2009 I published a paper on the Cookie Cutter which outlined a method (and accompanying script) for calculating the volume of drumlins....

posted on: Mon, 21 Nov 2016 | path: /remote_sensing | permanent link to this entry

Get ahead in QGIS ...
I've already blogged about Steve Bernard's excellent YouTube Channel on QGIS, well to continue in that vein, here's a link to a series of free (and paid for) courses in QGIS over at GeoAcademy. I cant vouch for the courses themselves, but it's great to see such variety springing up. QGIS is my goto for geoprocessing on a daily basis...

posted on: Sun, 20 Nov 2016 | path: /GIS | permanent link to this entry

Note to self... duplicating a tab in Firefox
This is one of those actions that is incredibly useful every so often... you have a tab open and you actually want to duplicate (so you have an active copy) and then carry on working with the current tab. Except there is no "duplicate tab" (or clone) option when you right click in the window or on the tab. This is actually one of those Unix-esque type daisy-chaining of functions to achieve the same in result. So... middle clicking on a link will load that link in a new tab (very useful itself). Solution: middle click on the reload page icon (next to the address bar) Always easy when you know how!

posted on: Mon, 07 Nov 2016 | path: /computing | permanent link to this entry

It's a , stupid!!
Yes, one of the manuscript writing moments where I was using Endnote and wanted to cite a webpage for an organisation. Enter the oranisation name in and the European Geosciences Union gets turned into... Union This is one of those annoying diversions where you either go and work and the syntax for citing it or... do it manually. In this instance I Googled it and found that all that was needed was the humble , at the end of the author field. It's always easy when you know how!

posted on: Wed, 02 Nov 2016 | path: /computing | permanent link to this entry

Cartography Links
This week a selection (well list!) of two relatively recent resources which struck a chord. 1. cartographic-design: this is hosted over at Github and is a series of links to cartography sources that supported Maptime Boston's May 2016 meetup....

posted on: Mon, 31 Oct 2016 | path: /GIS | permanent link to this entry

Open Access WeeK: article at T&F
Its Open Access Week this week and our publisher at the Journal of Maps, Taylor and Francis, are running a range of activities promoting OA. So go check out the resources to look at what OA has to offer and, not least (!), my own article on implications and stakeholders in moving to OA.

posted on: Wed, 26 Oct 2016 | path: /publications | permanent link to this entry

Data transfer and memory cards
James and I were in Norfolk a few weekends back completing data collection for his PhD studies (his blog has at least one post relating to this) and the whole topic of data transfer speeds came back to haunt me....

posted on: Mon, 17 Oct 2016 | path: /computing | permanent link to this entry

FREE EPRINT: Selecting cameras for UAV surveys, GIM International
James O'Connor and Mike J. Smith (2016) GIM International With the boom in the use of consumer-grade cameras on unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) for surveying and photogrammetric applications, this article seeks to review a range of different cameras and their critical attributes. Firstly, it establishes the most important considerations when selecting a camera for surveying. Secondly, the authors make a number of recommendations at various price points.

posted on: Thu, 13 Oct 2016 | path: /publications/journals | permanent link to this entry

Lies, damned lies and Sainsbury double-speak
So a nice piece of environmental marketing below from Sainsburys, but it does frustrate me as a scientist when you see qualifying statements that introduce uncertainty....

posted on: Mon, 03 Oct 2016 | path: /fun | permanent link to this entry

What the Victorians did for us
The Victorian era was the age of invention, although the discovery of photography just pre-dates this with Niépce’s famous View from the Window at Le Gras in 1826....

posted on: Thu, 29 Sep 2016 | path: /photography | permanent link to this entry

Windows 10 Anniversary Update
Well the Windows 10 Anniversary Update has landed and, after the big download, it comes with quite an array of tweaks and new features....

posted on: Tue, 27 Sep 2016 | path: /computing | permanent link to this entry

Swiping in QGIS
I quite often find myself compare two images or a vector layer overlying a raster layer and, for me, a swiping tool is tremendously helpful in doing this....

posted on: Tue, 27 Sep 2016 | path: /GIS | permanent link to this entry