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Dr Mike J Smith
Kingston University

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Geography’s place in the world
A really interesting opinion piece over at The Times Higher Education Supplement on Geography’s place in the world....

posted on: Sun, 03 Apr 2016 | path: /teaching | 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

Monopoly Map
Vaguely following on with the underground map meme, I thought it would be good fun to locate all the Monopoly squares on a map of a London and visit them....

posted on: Tue, 29 Mar 2016 | path: /fun | permanent link to this entry

Ultra lightweight KAP cameras?
I briefly commented on KAP cameras when looking at the PhaseOne iXU180 - a great medium format camera for medium weight UAV use....

posted on: Sun, 27 Mar 2016 | path: /remote_sensing/UAV | 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

Nik Collection now Free
For all you photography lovers out there, a great announcement from Google to say that the Nik Collection is to be made freely available....

posted on: Fri, 25 Mar 2016 | path: /photography | permanent link to this entry

Nature Futures
My colleague Kerry put me onto the rather excellent (and free!) Nature Futures which is a growing collection of science fiction short stories. These are sci-fi in the "real sense" as they are intended to be firmly founded on science but pushing and blurring the boundaries with what is real and what isn't. As they say: entirely fictional, self-contained story of around 850–950 words in length, and the genre should, broadly speaking, be 'hard' (that is, ‘scientific') SF rather than, say, outright fantasy, slipstream or horror. And they really are short and focused on a very specific idea. They are often physics based, but there are all sorts of subject areas covered. Some fun reading!!

posted on: Wed, 23 Mar 2016 | path: /teaching | permanent link to this entry

What are the British Isles?
A seemingly simple question but one that causes no end of confusion because it is both geographic and political and using it the wrong context can cause no end of upset!!! Is Northern Ireland in Great Britain? Or the UK? Is Jersey? Where does Ireland fit in? To bring some clarity the EUler diagram (below) from Wikimedia helps considerably and visit the Terminology of the British Isles page. In short its easiest to refer to the British Isles when thinking geographically of all the islands, whilst the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland (or UK for short) when talking about the commonly designated political entity.

posted on: Tue, 22 Mar 2016 | path: /fun | permanent link to this entry

Too good to be forgotten
Too good to be forgotten (from Radio 4 Analysis) talks about "corporate memory loss", that is the body of knowledge about how a company "does stuff" that is lost when people move companies or move jobs within a company....

posted on: Mon, 21 Mar 2016 | path: /fun | permanent link to this entry

Social Media for Active Learning
I obviously blog!! It's not a vanity project, but rather a whole mix of rationales for presenting my thoughts to the general public....

posted on: Sun, 20 Mar 2016 | path: /teaching | permanent link to this entry

EGU Photo Contest Finalist
It was a great honour this week to hear that my entry for the EGU 2016 Photo Contest (below) made the final cut....

posted on: Sat, 19 Mar 2016 | path: /photography | permanent link to this entry

Government Nonsense About Science
Yes, believe it or not the government wants to STOP scientists from influencing Parliament when they have funded research....

posted on: Thu, 17 Mar 2016 | path: /publications | permanent link to this entry

Qualification Levels
Yes, it's that time of year again - open days!! Applicants and parents trail around the country getting similar accommodation and finance talks, along with more detail on courses, facilities and location....

posted on: Tue, 08 Mar 2016 | path: /teaching | permanent link to this entry

GodMode
Seriously! In Windows 10, create a new folder and give it the following name: GodMode.{ED7BA470-8E54-465E-825C-99712043E01C} And you have a control panel link to ALL control panel settings. I am God!!

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

Surviving a Global Zombie Attack
Surviving a Global Zombie Attack... now who would have thought biomathematics could be so useful!!

posted on: Thu, 03 Mar 2016 | path: /publications | permanent link to this entry

DJI Phantom 4
The rapid development roadmap for DJI continues (see Phantom 3 camera review). Camera improvements continue abate and onboard you'll find a 12MP stills camera with a 1/2.3-inch (8.8x6.6mm) sensor. ISO goes up to of 1600 for photos and, crucially, records Adobe DNG RAW. This is a BIG step forward for a drone camera as it allows much greater headroom in post processing. The field of view is 94° which is about equivalent to an 18mm lens on a full frame camera (which means wide and with lots of distortion).

posted on: Wed, 02 Mar 2016 | path: /remote_sensing/UAV | permanent link to this entry

Tired of a £27k degree??
That's about the total cost of a three year degree in the UK... so if this really represents the actual cost, can you go anywhere else that's cheaper?...

posted on: Fri, 26 Feb 2016 | path: /teaching | permanent link to this entry

101 Top Tips for PhD Students
101 Top Tips for PhD Students gets some good reviews over at Amazon, along with one in the current Sensed (although you might have to wait to see the back issue). My PhD student James O'Connor liked it and commented his favourite tip was: You can get drunk at conferences, just not the most drunk! Clearly sage advice, although I might edit that to You can get drunk at conferences, just check who you should be less drunk than! So, buy a copy and help support poor, under paid, academic staff!!

posted on: Mon, 22 Feb 2016 | path: /teaching | 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

GISc RG Dissertation Prize
Great news for one of my MSc dissertation students last year, Jen Rozier, as she has just been awarded the RGS GISc Research Group dissertation prize. Her project Vegetation Response and Recovery in the 20 years following the 1982 eruption of El Chichón volcano: A Remote Sensing Approach looked at effects of vegetation recovery following the El Chichon eruption and correlating them with potential topographic effects and proxies using multi-temporal Landsat data. This has also now been summarised in a short article for Sterling Geo (the UK reseller for ERDAS Imagine) titled El Chichón: Vegetation Response and Recovery Following a Volcanic Eruption.

posted on: Fri, 05 Feb 2016 | path: /publications | permanent link to this entry

Journal of Maps Best Maps
The Map Room highlighted the Journal of Maps Best Maps today in this blog post. Our Best Maps are freely available, but since being published in partnership with Taylor and Francis we have become subscription based which means everything up to 2012 is open access....

posted on: Wed, 03 Feb 2016 | path: /publications/journals | permanent link to this entry

Structure from Motion 101
I gave a short talk on numerical approaches to capturing "landscape" in a general sense and more specifically on my collaborative work on Studio of Objects with hijack and Chris Horrocks (at Kingston). Working with Flora Parrott, this was to give her students on the Foundation Fine Art Degree a taster of both laser scanning and Structure from Motion techniques. Slides below for those interested. My PhD student James O'Connor did the most dangerous of things - a live demo!!! He's now written this up as a 101 for getting started in Structure from Motion processing - and, of course, as a tribute to Oscar in Sesame street (not Elmo!). A great primer.

posted on: Sat, 30 Jan 2016 | path: /remote_sensing | 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

Mapumental
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

Distraction free writing
I wrote several years ago about distraction free writing and the portable Windows application Focus Writer, although over the last few years its Scrivener that has taken quite a few headlines....

posted on: Mon, 18 Jan 2016 | path: /computing | permanent link to this entry

Satellite Image Acquisitions, 2015
A great piece of work by one of my former dissertation students (Graham) over at Geocento plotting the location of all commercial satellite image acquisitions from it's archive. This includes images from ErosB, FORMOSAT-2, GeoEye-1, KOMPSAT-2, KOMPSAT-3, KOMPSAT-5, Pleiades-1A, Pleiades-1B, RADARSAT-2, RapidEye-1, RapidEye-2, RapidEye-3, RapidEye-4, RapidEye-5, SPOT-6, SPOT-7, TanDEM-X, TerraSAR-X, UK-DMC2, Worldview-1, Worldview-2, WorldView-3 Whats interesting is that this will in-part reflect how the satellites are being tasked and so potentially imply some of the applications. Makes for fascinating viewing.

posted on: Fri, 08 Jan 2016 | path: /remote_sensing | 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

Universal Naked Driver
The first stage in replacing your stock Android phone, with a new ROM (for example CyanogenMod) is to replace the recovery partition on your device - for example here are the full instructions for my aging Moto e....

posted on: Mon, 28 Dec 2015 | path: /computing | 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

FAT32 Redux
My earlier blog on exFAT reminded me that, as a general principle, Android devices can't access that filesystem (although there are some devices that have OEM support for it and some third party add-ons)....

posted on: Wed, 23 Dec 2015 | path: /computing | permanent link to this entry

SpaceX Successful Landing
I blogged earlier this year about SpaceX's nearly successful (or failed, depending upon your point of view!) attempted at a vertical landing of the first stage of their Falcon 9 rocket. This time they were successful and, to boot, launched 11 satellites in to space as well. Makes for a great party piece!!

posted on: Tue, 22 Dec 2015 | path: /remote_sensing | 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

[The Urban Age Project]
Wanted to point people in the direction of a friend of mine back from the dim distant days of my PhD in Sheffield - Paulo was on a funded PhD from Brazil and I distinctly remember working long hours in the remote sensing lab, with "After 8" breaks in the afternoon. Anyway, enough nostalgia!! Paulo works as an engineering geologist in the government, but has reduced the number of hours to allow him to work more as a musician. The soundcloud embedded player below links to his latest EP, URBANA IDADE. If you like Satana, then this is very much in that style. I particularly like tracks 1 and 4, with some cracking guitar riffs. Great for an evening of mellow chill.

posted on: Wed, 16 Dec 2015 | path: /fun | permanent link to this entry

Getting FATter
Three years ago I blogged about using FAT32 beyond the 32Gb limit to format large external drives. The rationale for this was to have an disk file system that worked across operating systems and didn't run in to the complete drag that is NTFS file permissions....

posted on: Tue, 15 Dec 2015 | path: /computing | permanent link to this entry

DOS For loop for iterating
I'm currently working on a pet project doing some timelapse (if you hadn't guessed!) involved geocoding the photos (and a much longer blog on this process at a later date once it's complete)....

posted on: Sun, 13 Dec 2015 | path: /computing | permanent link to this entry

EA LIDAR DEM Coverage
A little while back I blogged about the release of the EA LiDAR DEMs for the UK - well a nice pickup from GoGeo for a coverage map of the data.

posted on: Sun, 13 Dec 2015 | path: /remote_sensing | permanent link to this entry

Pippity Pip
I was using the CLustre code recently for analysing some lineaments and it reminded me to update to the latest version of WinPython (which I covered at the AGI)....

posted on: Wed, 09 Dec 2015 | path: /GIS | permanent link to this entry

Space Placements in INdustry (SPIN)
I missed this last year, but it's well worth flagging to all undergraduates as a fantastic way to get industry experience - Space Placements in INdustry (SPIN)....

posted on: Wed, 09 Dec 2015 | path: /remote_sensing | permanent link to this entry

DOS file listing
Need to get a plain and simple file listing from the command line in DOS to pipe in to a programme?? As ever a good starting point is to get help for the command. So: dir /? If you peruse through this you'll eventually work out that this is the command you want: dir /a-d /b > ..\list.txt The ">" symbol sends the output and stores it in a file. Make sure to specify "..\" before the filename so the file is saved in the directory above the existing one otherwise that file will be listed as well. And if you want to sort on (for example) filename then you add the "\on" switch: dir /a-d /b /on > ..\..\list.txt This will now save me looking that command up everytime!

posted on: Wed, 09 Dec 2015 | path: /computing | permanent link to this entry