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Dr Mike J Smith

Plymouth University

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Mike Smith


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TED: Academic research is publicly funded ó why isn't it publicly available?
An interesting talk from TEDxMileHighWomen. Worth a watch to get a short 10-min summary of some of the issues involved with publishing academic research - the comments are worth a look too....

posted on: Thu, 29 Mar 2018 | path: /publications | permanent link to this entry

Open Access UK Unit Postcodes
The Ordnance Survey released their Code-Point Open product a few years ago that has the OSGB centroids of the unit postcodes. It's very useful but is only points - if you want the postcodes areas as polygons then you need to license Code-Point with Polygons (snappily titled!). A number of people have derived unit postcode areas using Voronoi polygons including more recently Mike Spencer with some intro at his Scottish Snow site. It's worth noting that Voronoi diagrams equally partition space between points and nothing more - they are not equivalent to unit postcodes (which can be arbitrary) but are a reasonable first guess. One dataset worth having for your arsenal of spatial data!

posted on: Thu, 29 Mar 2018 | path: /GIS | permanent link to this entry

Waldo Tobler
I was sad to see that Waldo Tobler passed away last month - a lifetime geoscientist he contributed huge amounts to computational cartography but will be best remember for the First Law of Geography. Some more details at GeoLounge and in the original paper. However I love the CSISS Classic which was a tongue-in-cheek experiment with Peter Gould on geocoding. Read it because its wonderfully powerful way of showing students about geocoding. Hopefully we'll see an anthology of his work in the not too distant future.

posted on: Tue, 06 Mar 2018 | path: /GIS | permanent link to this entry

QGIS 3 features
QGIS 3 is well and truly out now - download your copy here. And the good folks over at GIS Geography have put together a list of QGIS features that are in the new version. Some of the highlights include 3D (1), coordinate reference bounds (5), geopackage (7), background processing (8), new print composer (13), refined graphical modeler (25), but they are all worth taking a look at as it might just be a solution to the problem you have!

posted on: Mon, 05 Mar 2018 | path: /GIS | permanent link to this entry

Pursuit by Mike Oblinkski
The only words to describe this are awe inspiring, spectacular, mesmerising - this is a visual tour de force that is matched by wonderful evocative music. Just the basic stats behind it say it all... completed over three months, 27 days of filming, traveling across 10 states, with 28,000 miles of driving and over 90,000 time-lapse frames. Produced to 4k this movie is simply begging to be viewed on a MASSIVE screen. Now if only my local cinema would show it as a short. Utterly brilliant. Watch it. Pursuit (4K) from Mike Olbinski on Vimeo.

posted on: Mon, 26 Feb 2018 | path: /photography | permanent link to this entry

You're Waiting For a bus... and a SenseFly Comes Along
I commented late last year about DJI becoming a camera manufacturer... this is an interesting and exciting move simply because the quality of imagery from drones has lagged significantly behind the rest of the camera industry....

posted on: Sat, 27 Jan 2018 | path: /remote_sensing/UAV | permanent link to this entry

Earth-i Launches Vivid-i
Earth-i has just launched a new SSTL built satellite which is claimed to be the first to provide full colour UHD video - UHD is 3840x2160 pixels (8MP), shooting at 50 fps (compared to Landsat 9's ~12,000x12,000). That's a lot of downstream data, although it would appear it's not the video they're interested in, but the multi-temporal data. Think super resolution to give them an effective ~70cm pixel size, but also stereo (and so 3D). This is the first of a planned 15 satellite constellation which could provide global coverage and much more agile mapping capabilities. Video is clearly the new high resolution!

posted on: Sat, 13 Jan 2018 | path: /remote_sensing | permanent link to this entry

QGIS3 Beta
QGIS 3.0 is well and truly on its way with lots of updates, modifications and new features. Here is a great 24 days of Christmas list. Don't forget to download the beta, play and report bugs back.

posted on: Sun, 24 Dec 2017 | path: /GIS | permanent link to this entry

Video file sort order on my Pico projector
A (long) time back I wrote about the Acer C112 Pico Projector I was using. I've since upgraded to the Pico Genie P200 which gives a great 200 lumens of light and has microSD, USB and HDMI ports to allow all sorts of connectivity along with a built in battery....

posted on: Sun, 24 Dec 2017 | path: /computing | permanent link to this entry

How to be a journal editor
The Times Education published some top tips on How to be a great journal editor: advice from eight top academic editors... see my contribution at the end and ruminate on what it takes to keep the oils of academia oiled!

posted on: Wed, 20 Dec 2017 | path: /publications | permanent link to this entry

FREE EPRINT: Summary of activities 2017, Journal of Maps
Mike J. Smith (2018) Journal of Maps As a journal we notionally have two overlapping sets of "customers" - readers and authors. Authors provide the content whilst readers consume it. In a subscription funding model, readers pay for journal production, whilst in an open access (OA) model, authors pay. Somewhat uniquely in publishing, advertising plays a very limited part. And akin to commercial publishing, we have an overall journal editor (or Editor-in-Chief) and section editors (or Associate Editors).

posted on: Wed, 20 Dec 2017 | path: /publications/journals | permanent link to this entry

Time lapse to a beat
Utterly stunning timelapse from Julian Tryba of the New York skyline - just when you thought you had seen it all, this takes a giant leap into the future. This makes the landscape a pallette which you can draw upon and integrate into a piece of music. It is wonderful. Sit back, watch, marvel (and then go and read how he did it). NYC Layer-Lapse from Julian Tryba on Vimeo.

posted on: Fri, 17 Nov 2017 | path: /photography | permanent link to this entry

Zenmuse X7 DxOMark Tests
DPReview report report on DxOMark's tests of the Zenmuse X7 and it makes for some impressive reading... it's a quality sensor that has nearly 14 stops of dynamic range with good low-light performance. This line from the review pretty much sums things up: it delivers results that compete closely with those from a high-scoring APS-C format DSLR, despite being housed in a camera thatís mounted in a stabilized gimbal and specifically designed for aerial photography.

posted on: Thu, 09 Nov 2017 | path: /remote_sensing/UAV | permanent link to this entry

Space in the news...
A couple of nice space links.... first a celebration of the Russian Soyuz system. An engineering marvel that is reliable and low cost - a feat for any product but the fact that this is over 50 years old and just keeps working is remarable. Second, GIS-Geography have a list of 50 satellites in 30 words or less. Vital reading for any researcher... of undergraduate geographer!

posted on: Wed, 08 Nov 2017 | path: /remote_sensing | permanent link to this entry

DJI is a camera company
Two years ago I blogged about the introduction of a micro four thirds camera by DJI, followed last year by the Phantom 4 which allowed RAW capture....

posted on: Fri, 13 Oct 2017 | path: /remote_sensing/UAV | permanent link to this entry

Roger Tomlinson's PhD Thesis
UCL's Department of Geography have digitised Roger Tomlinson's PhD thesis from 1974 and placed it online (see James Cheshire's blog post). As the grandfather of GIS it makes compulsive reading - although disappointing UCL haven't placed it on EThOS.

posted on: Thu, 12 Oct 2017 | path: /GIS | permanent link to this entry

!Get Banging!
That would be DuckDuckGo Bangs by the way! A fantastic way to quickly redirect your search/query to another service - I use !w (wikipedia), !g (Google) and !yt youtube lots. Last year I requested one for my favourite mapping engine Streetmap and lo-and-behold they have release it. Just search !smap

posted on: Wed, 11 Oct 2017 | path: /GIS | permanent link to this entry

Want to be a successful academic? Itís all about getting published
Hot on the heels of PhD thesis: writing it up (and the art of procrastination), The Times Education published Want to be a successful academic? Itís all about getting published - in this opinion piece Im covering some of the more practical elements about progressing from your PhD to publishing in journals and what you need to do to achieve this. These thoughts have been gathered from colleagues, students and the scars of publishing!!

posted on: Fri, 29 Sep 2017 | path: /publications | permanent link to this entry

Wake on LAN
Wake on LAN (WoL) is one of those incredibly useful features that I had forgotten about having used in the dim distant past....

posted on: Thu, 21 Sep 2017 | path: /computing | permanent link to this entry

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 OíConnor, 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