Viewing entries posted in July 2016

Strictly Spatial #20

Posted by on 29 July 2016


With such mild weather and lack of rain, you might have forgotten it’s winter. But don’t let that deter you from getting a hot drink and checking out this fortnight’s Strictly Spatial. This fortnight we look at how dogs, drones and 3D can be used together, an interesting visualisation of terror attacks, a guide on how to make your very own geolocation apps and a unique take on Google Street View. Read on to find out more!

Strictly Spatial 20aThe subject of 3D GIS often comes up in the office. We’re all in agreement that it is a fascinating technology, however we often debate how it can be useful in day to day analysis. 3D is a great tool to show and display data in innovative ways. When combined with other technologies, such as drones, you can create some very information rich maps. Archaeologists in Sweden are making the most of Esri’s recently released Drone2Map and the ArcGIS API for JavaScript 4.0 to help visualise recent discoveries at the historic Sandby Borg circle fort. Esri Insider has written an article on the discoveries and you can see the 3D map in action on the Sandby Borg website. Fun fact, the team consists of the only certified Arkeologihunden – an archaeology dog.

Strictly Spatial 20b2

Everyday there are numerous terrorist attacks across the globe. Many of these are in war-torn countries such as Afghanistan, Syria, Iraq and Nigeria, rarely are they in countries such as France or USA. In either case, these attacks are devastating to the communities and countries they affect. Making use of crowdsourced data from a Wikipedia page, Esri has developed a web map that shows the distribution of all terror attacks that have occurred to date in 2016.

Off the back of Pokemon Go’s phenomenal growth and success I’m sure a few of you have probably thought about how games like Pokemon Go actually work. Keir Clarke at the MapsMania Blog has written an interesting piece on how you can create your own Pokemon Go style mobile app. Have a read about how these apps work here.

For those of you out there who have used satellite imagery you know the pains associated with finding suitable imagery. You can have too much cloud cover, spatial resolution is too poor, temporal resolution isn’t fine enough, the list goes on. Lockheed Martin and DigitalGlobe are hoping to alleviate some of these problems with the launch of WorldView-4 Earth Imaging Satellite. This satellite will orbit 400miles above the Earth every 90 minutes providing 30cm resolution imagery. Impressive! Read more about it here.

Strictly Spatial 20c

What do you do when Google Street View hasn’t visited your small island between Iceland, Norway and the UK? You create your own – with a twist! The Faroe Islands have strapped 360degree cameras to sheep and let them wander the country side. It’s been appropriately named Sheep View 360. The imagery has then been uploaded to Google Street View which you can view through Google Maps! This is an awesome solution to a lack of Street View. Maybe we could do this in New Zealand, we have enough sheep!

That’s all for this fortnight's Strictly Spatial, like always, if you have any cool GIS or spatial news feel free to share with us through Facebook, @InterpretGS, LinkedIn or email.

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Crowdsourcing Road Conditions

Crowdsourcing Road Conditions Image

Posted by on 28 July 2016

Interpret and Abley have been working closely with the New Zealand Transport Agency to develop a crowdsourcing application alerting road users and road controlling authorities to hazardous winter road conditions. This application is part of Winter Journeys and covers major roads in the South Island. You can read more about the release at NZTA’s website and view the application here.

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What do you think you AR doing?


Posted by on 26 July 2016

Unless you have been sleeping under a rock (and even if you had, you would probably have been disturbed by a Pokeman hunter) then you cannot have failed to notice the craze that is Pokemon.  Whether you are an avid fan or you shrug your shoulders and wait for the next faze/fad you may not have considered the impact AR is going to have on society. 

Until now most computer games with a few exceptions are played in a virtual landscape, Pokemon Go is one of the first to be based in the real world, augmented by virtual reality.   Numerous media outlets have reported on some of the more negative aspects of the game, from lost hunters, to robbery, to trespassing.  

The interest I have is not so much with the game itself but rather the impact the virtual world is having on the real one and the lack of responsibility or culpability that app developers have in this space.  I would argue that legislative changes need to be put in place now to deal with the potential impact of new applications, in particular I think that an application should require a permit to register the location of the AR models prior to the release of the application.

Before you cry foul let’s just consider what would happen if a council commissioned a new monument to be built in a park.  The council would study the best location for the monument, maybe through public consultation, they would add a path to the monument to protect the surrounding environment, or some fencing and so forth to make it safe.  Budgets would be balanced and funds allocated.

Now let’s consider the same scenario but in this case a games company virtually adds a monument, it doesn’t do an impact study, or consult the public, there is no path or no fence and yet both monuments my get the same number of visitors, or as we have seen with Pokemen, the monument may be overrun with visitors.  Without infrastructure in place this could damage the environment or put visitors at risk and ultimately cost the tax payer.

Surely this is unacceptable, just because something is virtual it does not mean it does not have an impact in the real world?

The growth of AR will continue, how we interact with and perceive the world around us is going to radically change as AR becomes more pervasive, more valuable, more intrusive and more engaging and we have to have the tools in place now, not to stifle innovation but to guide it and help it in this brave new world.

So what do you think, should the virtual world be free from constraint, or should it be monitored – and what does that look like and how?



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Strictly Spatial #19

Posted by on 14 July 2016


Strictly Spatial 19 is here! In this fortnight’s edition we look at (yet another) left-field way of using GIS, how GIS mapping is being used in sport, parcel delivery by drones and a new take on an old game that is already proving to be a hit. Read on to find out more!

Strictly Spatial 19a2I’ve mentioned previously that GIS can be used for a wide range of disciplines. Each time I hear of a new one I’m suitably surprised and sometimes a little shocked. The other day I came across yet another way to use GIS. This time, in dance. Needless to say I was confused as to how this would work, but after reading the paper on it, it made perfect sense. Yes, it’s a few years old, but the idea behind it is very much valid. Making use of trackers with centimetre precision and 40ms temporal resolution, around half a million points were captured and then analysed. Very interesting stuff!

Strictly Spatial 19bSports is big business and with the advancements in 2D/3D spatial technologies and tracking we are able to pull some very interesting data and create amazing visualisations of sporting achievements. Real-time analysis such as Hawk-Eye has been around in cricket for a while. This technology is slowly moving into other international sports. There is a 3D map of all homeruns hit at San Diego’s Petco Park made using Esri’s 3D JavaScript API, a visualisation of every shot Kobe Bryant took made using Leaflet or a map of all goals scored in the recent Euro 2016 competition – which is unfortunately in French. There are some examples at this link here, all well worth exploring.

Strictly Spatial 19cAmazon has been toying with the idea for a while, but a bit closer to home, Australia Post is also contemplating the same idea. What is it? The idea of drone deliveries. This article on Amazon’s proposed service is a good read and answers a few interesting questions. Australia Post is currently trialling their drones which you can read more about here.

Strictly Spatial 19dNow for those readers who are a bit younger, you will most probably have heard about this. For you older readers, you may not have. What I’m talking about is Pokemon Go. It’s a new mobile game that has taken the world (well, a few select countries, New Zealand included) by storm. It’s a take on the classic Nintendo GameBoy game but pushes the concept well and truly into a new era. Instead of walking around in a virtual world, you instead make use of GPS and augmented reality advances to interact with the real world.  Pokemon Go is based off of a game with a similar gameplay style called Ingress. There is an interesting mapping aspect behind the game which you can read more about here.

That’s this fortnight done and dusted. What use of GIS has surprised you the most? Let us know on  Facebook, @InterpretGS, LinkedIn or email.



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Jana's Abstract Accepted at 2016 NZ Esri User Conference

NZEUC 2016

Posted by on 7 July 2016


Jana Pfefferova has had her abstract accepted for the 2016 NZ Esri User Conference. Jana’s abstract focusses on the use of GIS to enable the social and economic aspects of public transport to be better understood to make optimal network planning decisions. We congratulate Jana for this achievement. The NZ Esri User conference is the largest GIS event of the year in New Zealand and showcases the latest technology and trends from Eagle Technology and Esri experts. Interpret is a Gold sponsor at the event so come and visit us at Sky City from the 15 – 17 August.

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Abstracts Accepted for Kiwi Pycon 2016

Kiwi Pycon 2016

Posted by on 6 July 2016


Hamish Kingsbury and Neal Johnston from interpret have had their abstract accepted for the Kiwi Pycon Conference to be held in Dunedin in September later this year. This is an annual conference aimed at promoting and educating people about the Python programming language. Their abstract explores how Python is used in GIS Software from simple string manipulations and field calculations to more advanced spatial analysis. We congratulate Hamish and Neal on this achievement.

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Strictly Spatial #18

Posted by on 1 July 2016


At risk of sounding like a broken record, doesn’t time fly! It’s been a fortnight since Strictly Spatial 17. How have you all been? I bet you’ve been waiting for your fortnightly spatial fix! This edition is a hands on edition with lots of things to explore. We look at Esri and Google’s new imagery, Google Street View mashups and a fun game based on Google Street View… it’s beginning to sound like a Google show…

Strictly Spatial 18a2Esri (and DigitalGlobe) and Google (and Landsat) have both released their new satellite imagery. This imagery is used by countless businesses and organisations to enrich and help visualise their data. I find I often take for granted just how good New Zealand’s imagery is. Recently, doing some work for an Australian company, we needed to zoom into a main city to see some road features. The resulting imagery was appalling. Hopefully these updates will result in much clearer imagery across the globe.

 The Landsat viewer developed by EOS Data Analytics INC has been updated. The updates allow you, in your web browser, to view Landsat 8 imagery and play with various band combinations.

.GIS is a (relatively) new and developing technology. As a result, there is a lot of historic data that has not been touched by GIS. However, GIS is being used in conjunction with this historic data to help us understand the how’s, why’s and where’s of history. This short article provides an interesting insight into how historical geographers are using GIS to validate what we have speculated about history.

Strictly Spatial 18bMany of us would have used Google Street View before to check out what your house looks like, where your office is, or the location of a business you are visiting. Some very clever individuals have made the most of the Google Street View API and used it to create some awesome interactive websites. My favourite is definitely the Urban Street Jungle – it transforms Google Street View into an overgrown jungle. Unfortunately, it looks like the Interpret office has been taken over by vines! You can check out more of them here.

Strictly Spatial 18cOn the topic of Google Street View, Super Break has developed a nifty wee game called Where in the World. To start the game, you select categories such as historic places or royal attractions. From there you are given a Google Street view scene and 12 seconds to choose (from three options) where the location is. It’s a fun game to help break up the work day. 

Strictly Spatial 18dEsri has recently released the Beta of their ArcGIS Python API. This API looks to provide a pythonic way to interact with your online web maps and data. You can check out more about it and sign up to the beta here.

 That’s this edition of Strictly Spatial done and dusted! If you have any cool GIS stories you’d like to share with us, get in contact through Facebook, @InterpretGS (Twitter), LinkedIn or email.

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