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Dr Mike J Smith
Kingston University

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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

Of VM woes...
Actually not so much VM woes as out-of-date underlying OS. Yes, the new term is hitting so I thought it appropriate to upgrade ArcGIS to the same version used on campus - that meant going from 10....

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

Peer Review Week
Well the dust has settled on Peer Review Week, a low profile (!) event celebrating the moderating role of peer review scholarly communication....

posted on: Mon, 26 Sep 2016 | path: /publications | 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

Got an old ISO disc image....
.... as I have. I was interested in accessing the contents of an old ISO disc image from an age old data CD. There are a number of tools to look inside these, but at times you just want to emulate a CD/DVD drive and run it directly. There are a range of tools to do this but I wondered if there was an easy option... and there is! Under Windows 10 you can now directly "Mount" the ISO image and it will appear as a new CD-ROM on your PC. Just right-click and "Mount." For older systems Microsoft do a device driver bundled as the Microsoft Virtual CDRom Control Panel (which I first came across here). Voila! Problem solved.

posted on: Fri, 23 Sep 2016 | path: /computing | permanent link to this entry

Tour of Britain: at 240fps!
Just back from an afternoon at the Tour of Britain where Steve Cummings took the overall general classification....

posted on: Sun, 11 Sep 2016 | path: /photography | permanent link to this entry

Don't just fly a drone... BE THE DRONE!
We've long been able to view remote video footage from a remote camera - when I was developing the kite aerial photography workflow I currently use, I experimented with a small spy camera that transmitted video footage back to an analogue LCD TV....

posted on: Fri, 09 Sep 2016 | path: /remote_sensing/UAV | permanent link to this entry

OS from the air
A nice piece over at the BBC on informal photos taken by Ordnance Survey's aerial unit whilst surveying. And the accompanying video. Grand stuff!

posted on: Mon, 05 Sep 2016 | path: /remote_sensing | 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

Studio of Objects at RGS
The Studio of Objects (see all my previous posts on the project), which recorded the interior space of Paolozzi's studio at the Scottish National Gallery, was available for viewing and interaction at the Royal Geographical Society Annual Conference last week in London. I took part in a panel discussion on the arts and sciences (see my personal page for slides and mp3) and then for the rest of the day the latest beta version was available in the main hall. In fact, the installation was so popular that it made a return visit on Friday where delegates had a second bite at the interactive cherry!

posted on: Sat, 03 Sep 2016 | path: /meetings | 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

Holocene Book Review: Emanuela Casti, Reflexive Cartography: A New Perspective in Mapping
Mike J. Smith (2016) The Holocene Elsevier’s Modern Cartography Series, edited by Professor DR Fraser Taylor, is a long-running occasional series that currently comprises seven volumes, the first published in 1991. With a hia- tus since 2006, Elsevier has injected some new vigour with a title planned for 2017 and this volume, Reflexive Cartography, pub- lished in 2015.

posted on: Fri, 02 Sep 2016 | path: /publications/journals | permanent link to this entry

EarthEnv-DEM90
It's been a little while since my last global DEM news update but (somewhat belatedly) I came across Earth-Env DEM90 which merges SRTM (shuttle radar) and GDEM (ASTER photogrammetric) global DEMs....

posted on: Tue, 30 Aug 2016 | path: /remote_sensing | permanent link to this entry

The Success of Failure
I've blogged before about the success of failure and how critical it is to improving in whatever domain you are working in....

posted on: Wed, 24 Aug 2016 | path: /teaching | permanent link to this entry

word word count
Yup, that's right... how do you do a word count in Word? Well, the simple answer is Alt-T, W and particularly for the ribbon-challenged like me who prefer the keyboard....

posted on: Wed, 17 Aug 2016 | path: /computing | permanent link to this entry

Reading landscape :: art-geography cross-fertilization
I've been working with artist Flora Parrott over the last year on a project call "Reading Landscape" that we are presenting at the Royal Geographical Annual Conference next month....

posted on: Fri, 12 Aug 2016 | path: /publications/reports | permanent link to this entry

Google Earth Updates
A little late in getting this out, but Google announced late-June updates to imagery in Google Earth....

posted on: Fri, 12 Aug 2016 | path: /remote_sensing | permanent link to this entry

OPEN ACCESS EPRINT: Exploring Explanations of Subglacial Bedform Sizes Using Statistical Models
John K.Hillier, Ioannis A Kougioumtzoglou, Chris R.Stokes, Michael J. Smith, Chris D. Clark, Matteo Spagnolo (in press)...

posted on: Thu, 28 Jul 2016 | path: /publications/journals | permanent link to this entry

Lucy Powell: Labour's Vision for Education
An interesting article in Governing Matters (a monthly for UK school governors) this month where they interviewed Lucy Powell, Labour's shadow education secretary (see her profile at theyworkforyou), to outline current party thinking (and her personal take)....

posted on: Fri, 22 Jul 2016 | path: /teaching | permanent link to this entry

How big is your image? O, 53 billion pixels!
DPReview have a review of Bentley's rather impressive 53 billion pixel of one of their cars on the Golden Gate Bridge. It might not be obvious at first glance but it is there!! Made up of over 700 photos taken at varying focal lengths (between 300 and 1500mm... bet that puppy cost a few pennies!) using a motorised panoramic tripod head it is one monster of an image that require a fare bit of TLC is post production - most notably the bridge can move ~8m in either direction in high winds! Head on over to Bentley to take a peek.

posted on: Thu, 21 Jul 2016 | path: /remote_sensing | 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

DJI-Blad
DPReview report on a new DJI/Hasselblad tie up that sees Hasselblad bundle their A5D (see my earlier post) medium format camera with DJI's industrial Matrice 600 drone....

posted on: Wed, 13 Jul 2016 | path: /remote_sensing/UAV | permanent link to this entry

Environment Agency Aerial Photography
Following their release of LiDAR DEMs and point clouds last year, the Environment Agency have now released their aerial imagery for the UK. This is high resolution vertical imagery for England with RGB and NIR with resolutions from 50cm to 10cm. Head on over to their map portal for download.

posted on: Thu, 07 Jul 2016 | path: /remote_sensing | 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