Digital Geography

planlauf/TERRAIN – a lightweight 3D DEM viewer for daily usage

The visualization and interpolation of 3D terrain (point) data (DEM or DOM) could be a hard task for current GIS software and small to midsize hardware. One thing is the huge possible amount of points and their precision when it comes to airborne or terrestrial LIDAR data with point density < 5m and big areas of interest. Another thing is the rendering performance once the user started his exploration of such a huge dataset. There are several open source and proprietary software solutions and specialized software for several industries. In the following I’ll introduce you to planlauf/TERRAIN, a lightweight DEM…

Geospatial cloud solutions: Software-as-a-Service vs Roll-your-own

Over the last couple of years, we have seen an increase in demand and offerings of geospatial solutions in the cloud for tasks like web map creation, centralized data storage and management, data vizualization and so on. There is a lot of Software-as-a-service (SaaS) options to explore, but in this article I want to briefly discuss if SaaS is the right thing for you, or wether you should look into rolling your own.

Software I use in both worlds: Windows & Ubuntu

I am somehow a messy guy. After 3 years now my OS was a bit “stuffed” and I decided to go with the flow, erased the whole HDD and installed the new Ubuntu 16.04. LTS Xenial Xerus. Aside from being a Linux user I also work a lot on Windows PCs. SO what tools do I use on my systems that are needed for my everyday GIS / geo-developer tasks? Let me show you my list:

Introducing: My personal application list

Once again I switched from Windows back to Ubuntu as I only needed Win for my granted ESRI license but hated to be “interrupted” by automatic updates, missing dll libraries and crashing flash container plugins on Firefox. So now I am building my personal computational slave once again based on Ubuntu and wanted to share with you my list of applications that I need for my daily work with geodata, matrices, graphics, cartographic outputs and statistical analysis.

Google Earth Pro is now for free!

Google recently made an announcement that left me very happy: Google Earth Pro, the enhanced version of the world’s most popular digital globe, is now available for free. The software comes with some additional features compared to classical GoogleEarth and used to be $400 per year – actually many users paid because the benefit was huge. Now all you have to do is to register, get a free key, and download the software. If registration doesn’t work for you, don’t worry and don’t give up. It didn’t work for me when I tried first, the next day I tried again…

Data extraction and clean up with tabula and open refine

Everyone working with data knows the problem: You found some interesting data for your journalistic project or statistics for preparing a nice map, but the data comes messy and hidden in PDF-files, not automatically readable for your program. Normally you have to write out and clean up the data by hand. But there are tools for that…

Freeware SAR processing, Part II: PolSARPro

In this post I’ll take you through some simple functions in the freeware polarimetric SAR processing package, PolSARPro. The software is distributed by the European Space Agency (ESA) and supports a wide range of dual- and quadpol datasets, including Radarsat-2, Envisat ASAR, SIR-C, EMISAR, and AIRSAR. I’ll be processing ALOS PALSAR in this example. The steps I will show are: Importing and Extracting data, calibration, speckle filtering and multilooking. We will finish by producing an Entropy-Alpha-Anisotropy dataset. Getting Started We start by identifying the directory in which our data lies. To do this we click on the first icon (highlighted…

Freeware SAR processing (Part 1.)

One thing about working with synethic aperture radar (SAR) data is that regular image processing functions are often unsuitable. This is because most processes were design to deal with issues related to passive multispectral data in the visible-thermal infrared wavelength range. SAR imagery is derived from an active sensor which introduces particular problems or rather requires special solutions. The wavelength range is also very different meaning that the interaction between the energy and target is dissimilar to that of visible-infrared radiation. Hence we need a different set of tools to work with SAR data. If you have the money there…

short announcement: TopoToolbox 2: Geomorphometry made easy in MATLAB

< p align=”justify”>Digital elevation models (DEMs) exist today for the entire globe with consistent quality. Improvements in sensors and data processing give a clue that in the future elevation data will be available in even better spatial resolution and accuracy. Discovering the richness of information inherent in DEMs should thus be supported by good software. Here, I want to give a brief account of TopoToolbox 2, the second version of a MATLAB toolbox for exploring and analyzing DEMs. Dirk Scherler from Caltech and I have been working on many changes to the previous version to make TopoToolbox faster, more memory…

short announcement: QGIS 64bit

So I’ve checked our twitter time line this morning and came across this nice little line: @willoxh tweeted that there is a new version of qgis which enables to work with qgis in 64bit mode. For the record: Enabling a programm to work as 64bit version means you increase the possible amount of information in each calculation step as you can adress more memory per calculation step. Additionally you can hold more information in your program. Best example is probably the amount of satellite data you have in your project. Running QGIS in 32bit mode means the program can only…

Python Script for “depth vs. data” plots

Today I want to share a Python script that I wrote to plot some lab data against the core depth it was taken from. I know its not very special if you are a Python guru, but I know that many students and scientists have problems to visualize their data in a proper way. My idea was to collect some ideas and developers who are interested to test and to enhance the script. Also, I want it to be open source, so feel free to fork it on GitHub or give feedback. The usage is not that easy at the moment,…

QGIS Plugin – Profile Tool

Previous Posts in this series QGIS Plugin – RasterCalc QGIS Plugin – OpenLayers   So, this will be a pretty quick post on one of my most used QGIS plugins, the Profile tool. The Profile tool can be downloaded from the central QGIS plugin repository HERE. In a nutshell, the Profile tool allows you to draw a line in your QGIS project area and get the profiles of various layers in your project, as seen here: The most obvious use of this tool is looking at terrain profiles, and it certainly is very useful for this. However, in the example…

Favorite QGIS Plugins – RasterCalc

RasterCalc QGIS Plug-in QGIS is an open-source geographic information system that is familiar to many geospatial professionals. I find more and more that I’m able to use QGIS for most of my GIS needs and this is in large part due to the great plug-ins that are available. In this post I want to give an overview of one of my favorite plug-ins, RasterCalc. If you have QGIS installed on your system, you can download RasterCalc from the official plug-in repository, here. After downloading, you can install it in the appropriate location for your system. In my case that is:…