Dr Mike J Smith

Plymouth University

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Mike Smith

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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

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

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

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

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

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

posted on: Thu, 16 Feb 2017 | path: /GIS | 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

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

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

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

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

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

Give a beep...
Give a beep is a great example of citizen science, geographically volunteered information and the ability of everyday "users" to influence politicians....

posted on: Mon, 26 Sep 2016 | path: /GIS | permanent link to this entry

Historic London Underground
I was at the London Transport Museum in Covent Garden recently and saw a nice animation of the historical development of the network. With all the underground mania in mapping, I liked this because it's one you see much less often and provides a nice historical perspective on the growth (and decline) on parts of the network. I couldn't find the animation that TfL used, but did come across the site of graphic designer Doug Rose who has produced a similar animation. So click here to view the map itself which (unfortunately!) uses Flash video. Quite fascinating.

posted on: Mon, 05 Sep 2016 | path: /GIS | permanent link to this entry

Reading Landscape :: art production by Fine Art and Geography Students, Kingston University
And following on from our "Reading Landscape" project I blogged about last week, here is the video out we presented for the first time at the RGS-IBG Annual Conference last week....

posted on: Sat, 03 Sep 2016 | path: /GIS | permanent link to this entry

Mapping Boris
Indy100 have a great static (below) and interactive map of the countries Boris Johnson has insulted - without a doubt this can only be added to. Just look at the vast opportunity in South America for starters!

posted on: Fri, 15 Jul 2016 | path: /GIS | permanent link to this entry

D3 Map Projections
A great post showing the range of map projections available in D3.js - a nice view for a "nearly at the weekend" day!

posted on: Thu, 14 Jul 2016 | path: /GIS | permanent link to this entry

"The Geek Behind Google's Map Quest"
The Geek Behind Google's Map Quest - and yes, it all started at Kingston!

posted on: Thu, 07 Jul 2016 | path: /GIS | permanent link to this entry

OS Blog Redux
And a nice follow-up to last week showing the recreation of a favourite map using modern data by Charley Glynn. Charley has selected a 1967 quarter inch map of Scotland which is fairly small scale and quite good as a road map. The colour ramp for elevation is beautiful with the font and label placement elegant. Read the workflow - always interesting to see how people work!

posted on: Wed, 06 Jul 2016 | path: /GIS | permanent link to this entry

OS Blog Links
A couple of nice blog posts from the OS... the first looks at the Top 10 mapping moments in OS history....

posted on: Wed, 29 Jun 2016 | path: /GIS | permanent link to this entry

R Project for Maps
A nice primer on R Project for Maps which provides a good introduction on the use of R for a range of GI applications, be they webmapping or raster analyses. The list of libraries and discussion of Microsoft R Open is particularly good. Worth a delve into.

posted on: Sat, 11 Jun 2016 | path: /GIS | permanent link to this entry

"A Digital Humanities Primer for English Students"
Thinkwhere provide a nice summary of A Digital Humanities Primer for English Students, a guide written by an MA student Jenna Herdman....

posted on: Thu, 09 Jun 2016 | path: /GIS | permanent link to this entry

Occupations associated with what.....
..what indeed?? Read here to find out, but, as they say, a picture tells a thousand words (data caveats excepting in the linked post).

posted on: Thu, 12 May 2016 | path: /GIS | permanent link to this entry

QGIS at the Financial Times
A really interesting interview with Steve Bernard, Interactive Design Editor at the Financial Times. There are some great examples of work he has produced for the FT which principally involves QGIS and Adobe Illustrator. He is hugely enthusing of QGIS, so much so that he has a YouTube Channel dedicated to demonstrating the methods/effects he uses. Check it out as at over 30 videos now its a veritable resource.

posted on: Fri, 06 May 2016 | path: /GIS | permanent link to this entry

Esri: 6 Easy Ways to Improve Your Maps
Some really helpful cartography tips from staff writer Lisa Berry on 6 Easy Ways to Improve Your Maps. I particularly like point 2, Find Signal within the Noise, which is pertinent to any kind of exposition. What is your main point and highlight it.... demonstrate you signal.

posted on: Fri, 29 Apr 2016 | path: /GIS | permanent link to this entry

Maps.Me Adds OpenStreetMap
Great news from Maps.Me developers. The slightly more minor news is that theyve gone much more granular for map data downloads - so now you don't have to downloads 800Mb of data for the UK, but pick your regions. Much better. The big news though is the ability to feedback map updates to the OpenStreetMap community directly through the app. Now that really is a brilliant way to improve PoI information. You can both add new points and edit point information. Not only is a great offline map app but you can now give back to the community.

posted on: Wed, 06 Apr 2016 | path: /GIS | permanent link to this entry

GISgeography: Quick Sheets
GISGeography have some great "quick summaries" or quick sheets as I like to call them. They are short, focused, "explainers" usually with good use of graphics and links to other sites....

posted on: Sat, 02 Apr 2016 | path: /GIS | permanent link to this entry

Lost London
OK, so it's another hackneyed take on the well worn tube map meme, but the Londonist's Lost London is a wonderful trawl down memory lane with the map providing location for those not so familiar with London. It's history, tourism and discovery all rolled into one and well worth spending 10 minutes looking at. Then go and visit some of the places!

posted on: Sat, 26 Mar 2016 | path: /GIS | permanent link to this entry

OS Maps Mars
Yes, the OS Maps (some of) Mars in their own inimitable style... great bit of PR!

posted on: Mon, 15 Feb 2016 | path: /GIS | permanent link to this entry

Repost: QGIS Features I long for while using ArcGIS
A really good post about known and not so known QGIS features that will make ArcGIS users weep....

posted on: Fri, 29 Jan 2016 | path: /GIS | permanent link to this entry

Came across the Mapumental service recently. Mapumental comes out of mySociety and the basic rationale is to take public transport timetables, link them to underlyingOS postcode data and then display isochrons using Leaflet with underlying OpenStreetMap data....

posted on: Tue, 26 Jan 2016 | path: /GIS | permanent link to this entry

Timelapse: 3. Video Production
This is the final blog in the series on producing an inset map for a timelapse video (see also Geocoding and Map Production)....

posted on: Tue, 29 Dec 2015 | path: /GIS | permanent link to this entry

Timelapse: 2. Map Production
This is the second in the series on creating map overlays for timelapse videos from a series of photos....

posted on: Thu, 24 Dec 2015 | path: /GIS | permanent link to this entry

Timelapse: 1. Geocoding
Following on from last week's blog, the first stage in putting together the timelapse video with inset map is to geocode the photos....

posted on: Mon, 21 Dec 2015 | path: /GIS | permanent link to this entry

Timelapse: Creating an Inset Map
Last month I blogged about an update to my workflow for creating a timelapse and particularly adding overlays (both graphics and text from EXIF data) and solving problems with dates being out-of-sync by timeshifting them....

posted on: Fri, 18 Dec 2015 | path: /GIS | permanent link to this entry