Strictly Spatial #10

10 March 2016

Strictly Spatial 10a


Hello all, welcome back to the 10th edition of Strictly Spatial. This week we look at a range of places, such as Null Island, Fukushima, Union Square, and Israel and Palestine. For those of you who use Esri products, especially ArcGIS online, we have a really helpful set of tools to help you manage and customise your apps. And finally, if you think back to Strictly Spatial 7 you’ll remember What3Words. Well there is now a new way to make the most of this service.

Have you heard of Null Island? Apparently it is like no place on earth! Situated 1,600km of the West Coast of Africa, it sits right on 0⁰ latitude and 0⁰ Longitude.  Sounds pretty sublime right? Well, you’re out of luck. Null Island is fictional island. A tongue-in-cheek website encourages people to visit, but if you travelled to those coordinates, all you’ll find is a weather buoy. Null Island was invented as a way to identify geocoding failures. Esri has released a story map on Nill (Null) Points which show where these points in various projections fall. You need to be careful when creating null or default values for failed geocoding. Developers at the Los Angeles Police Department found that null points skewed their data. These default locations caused artificial and incorrect rises in crime density in locations around the city.

Strictly Spatial 10b

Google has recently released new Street View imagery for Japan. The new imagery, combined with their Memories for the Future website, and pre and post Fukushima Street View imagery, shows just how efficient, hardworking and resilient the Japanese are. Check out the progress visible from imagery that was taken three months after the earthquakes, two years, and four years later. I would love to know just how they removed that ship!


Strictly Spatial 10cReal time data takes GIS to the next level, but often this requires expensive sensors. The team at Placemeter have developed a sensor that, using video, can count traffic, pedestrians, bikes or anything that moves! The applications for this are pretty sweet. What makes it great is that it’s not limited to tracking one flow. You can add multiple measurement points (lines) for one video stream. So you can count traffic flows along multilane roads or track pedestrians, cyclists and vehicles, all using one sensor. To demonstrate this, they’ve setup a demo in Union Square, New York.

The ongoing conflict between the Israelis and Palestinians is complex. The New York Times has released an informative and very well done, story map like interactive web application. By utilizing maps and static visuals, the NYT does a very good job at conveying information about the conflict. You can check it out here. 

For those of you who use Esri products, these tools will prove to be a godsend. There are a range of different tools here, including python scripts and web apps. One in particular that I use regularly is the ArcGIS Online Assistant. With this tool you can manage web maps, applications and services in you ArcGIS Online Account. It makes it really easy to migrate and change service urls without having to add/remove layers and you can even view the raw JSON. Check out the range of tools, I’m sure you’ll find something useful.

A few weeks ago we looked at the What3Words web application and saw how three words can be used to represent any point, anywhere in the world. Well recently, W3W have released an application on the ArcGIS Marketplace allowing for user to leverage their innovative positioning system. It isn’t a free service, but could prove to be beneficial in a number of scenarios. Check out their blog post on the release here.

 Strictly Spatial 10d

That’s this edition of Strictly Spatial done. As always, if you have any interesting spatial stories to share with us, let us know through Twitter, Facebook or Email.