Where or Where is that Wireless Network

Here is a link to a Wireless Network finder (sniffer) with locational capabilities. One of my former students used it for a data acquisition class to spatially locate wireless networks and strength within a regional area. I am sure there are others...



TOPO Fusion

This is a link to another GPS program to download. Low cost ($40). Seems to have some interesting basic image processing alternatives to look at Digital Orthos and Topos. Link will be on the Right Under GPS.



Be the GIS

Wearable GIS

I have heard about this over the last couple of years, but thought I might add a segment on some interesting links to Wearable GIS. Check back or submit any additional links.


Project Battuta
Wearable GIS for Homeland Security 1 (PDF)


Landsat Imagery Worldwide

Here is a link to obtain Mr. Sid format Landsat data anywhere in the world. Great for viewing and teaching. Not good for image classification or other derived image data.

Landsat Imagery from NASA


GPS Enable your Pet

Kind of Reverse GeoCaching

My wife wanted me to devise a gadget for one our neurotic cats...I already knew there was something out there...a bit pricey $350 + monthly service fee + $35 activation fee.

However, on our latest loss, the cat did show up with an infected ear. After it got worse and taking it to the vet and $200 later, $350 may not sound so bad....or you can opt for another cat, if it doesn't return.

For those of you interested:

Global Pet Finder

Free ArcObjects Web Seminar

This is a FREE web seminar presented by ESRI. You will have to establish a global username and password (free) if you don't already have one. This is a useful thing to have, especially if you do or will be doing a lot of GIS using ESRI software. I encourage all my students to review the seminar as an additional exposure to ArcObjects.

Let me know if you have any issues/problems. I recommend headphones and a broadband/T1 connection. Take notes.

ESRI ArcObjects Web Seminar


ESA RADAR Processing Tutorials and Free Software

I am working on putting together some RADAR processing tutorial materials from a variety of sources so that students and others can work on RADAR data on their own. This is a work in progress, so please be patient. Check back often for updates to materials and other documents).


1 of many to come

Processing of Polarametric RADAR Data. Data collected with multiple look angles (HH, VV, HV)
HH = Horizontal Incident and Return
VV = Vertical Incident and Return
HV/VH = Horizontal or Vertical Incident/ Return

ESA Polarimetry Tutorials -this is a set of tutorials (3 parts)

Free Software POLSARPro
The software and tutorials go over how to work with Polarized RADAR data, specifically with POLSARPRo. The tutorials are mostly math. PolSARPro currently works with a variety of airborne RADAR Sensors (eg. AirSAR), and a couple of satellite RADAR systems (EnviSat, and RADARSAT). There are a couple of other satellite RADAR systems that will be available in the future.

Active Tcl - POLSARPro requires this to be installed
POLSARPRo - PolSARPro 2.0 Beta 7 release


Leave No Trace

Here is a link to a website on the Leave No Trace Program. Since I am a Scout Leader and enjoy the natural environment, I try to instill these principles to my kids and Scouters.

Hope you enjoy.

Leave No Trace




I have added a Photogrammetry book to my list since I use it in my Remote Sensing Class. This is one of the premier texts on the math and science behind the rectification of aerial imagery. Again, these are on the right side under "Books I Teach From."


Remote Sensing and Image Interpretation - Lillesand, Kiefer, Chipman - 5th ed, 2005

Publisher: Wiley & Sons
ISBN: 0471152277

Introduction to Digital Image Processing, John Jensen, 3rd ed, 2004
Publisher: Prentice Hall

GPS Made Easy: Using the Global Positioning System in the Outdoors, Lawrence Letham, 4th ed, November 2003
Publisher: Mountaineers Books
ISBN: 0898868238

Build Your Own Database Driven Website Using PHP & MySQL, 3rd edition, 2004, Kevin Yank
Publisher: SitePoint

Getting to Know ArcObjects: Programming ArcGIS with VBA, October 2003, Robert Burke
Publisher: ESRI Press
ISBN: 1-58948-018-X

Elements of Photogrammetery with Applications in GIS, Wolf and DeWitt, 3rd ed, 2000
Publisher: The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.
ISBN: 0-07-292454-3


All Hail Euclid and Pythagoras!

All that talk about n-dimensional space is blowing my mind. We can all thank Euclid and Pythagoras for that one. In talking about image classification, these principles are at the heart of many of the image classification algorithms.

Here is a link to the proof of Pythagoreum's Theorem that is used to define Euclidean Distance in the n-dimensional world we call "Feature Space." Some say Hyper-space, but I will leave this to Star Wars.

Courtesy of MathWorld

The Proof is in the Triangle


Euclidean Distance



Wanta be a Superhero?

For those of you who ever dreamed of becoming a Super Hero, here is a book that will tell what you may have to accomplish. The book comes out later this month. I have a link to Amazon to find it.

The Physics of Superheroes

Same Bat Time, Same Bat Channel




Just came from a meeting provided by Pictometry. The city may look at this company as an aerial provider. For those of you interested in a unique aerial collection, tools, and gis, then check this out. For those of you in my remote sensing class, I am working on getting this in the classroom!




GPS Enable your Workout!

For those of you who are into physical activity and want to know where you are "playing" the hardest, check out this from MotionBased...again...link will be on the right.




Open Source Office Software

For those of you who are pro-Open Source, here is a link to "free" open source office software, cross platform and compatible with MS Office. Link will also be on the right.




Hurrican Katrina Images

Here are some links to recent high resolution satellite images taken just after the hurricane.

Peace be with those who are affected.

For those of you who have Google Earth Check the link out here and download a Google Earth file to see the latest image for Google Earth. More will be posted here as images become availalbe.

Google Earth Katrina (Click on Google Earth Link to the right to obtain a free copy of the program)

Katrina - QuickBird1 (3.7Mb)

Digital Globe - Quickbird Imagery Link
New Orleans, Biloxi

Ikonos Images



To bring my major passion "golf" into this picture I will add some links and have section dedicated to GIS and Golf Course Design...and related topics. This will be bringing in the field of Landscape Architechture, 3D simulations, GIS, and GPS.

So for now...I'll tee it up!
Au Revoir Gopher

Planning a Golf Course - Power Point Slides by Kevin Mellot (Montana Tech)
Xtra-Spatial Productions, LLC very cool work by Mr. Zack
3DNature - another cool shop constructiong digital renditions of various landscapes


Stellar Maps

The following is a link to stellar maps of planets and stars by JPL. This will also be on the sidebar


Solar System Simulator


Gigawatts and Fluxcapacitors

One special area of remote sensing is that of Archaeology and the use of magnetometers and sensors to measure resistivity. These devices help archaeologists located buried building foundations, artifacts, and different kinds of historical cultural matter. I will have more on this, since I am not an archaeologist (although I would like to be). For now here are a couple of links and will also be on the right.

Tremaine & Associates

Barrington Instruments

Notre Dame Archaeology Field School and they use TNTMips Lite (for those of you in my remote sesning class!)

GeoScan Research


Bait the Trap for RAT

I have added a link under Free software for RADAR image processing called RAT (RADAR Tools ~2.5 Mb). Download the binary zip file. It is developed by the Berlin University of Technology. It does require IDL Virtual Machine (~180 Mb download). IDL stands for Interactive Data Language, developed by RSI. There is a link for this too. Also, download the sample data.

Both of these are cross-platform, so if you are not a Window's user, then choose your OS flavor.

1. Install the IDL Virtual Machine...you don't have to install the full IDL
2. Unzip and follow directions for the install of RAT. See website above for Windows install details.
3. Download and unzip sample data (3).
4. Check help and on-line help for additional information about functions, algorithms, etc.

Now, go catch that RAT!


Bang! Zoom!

Google just released it's Lunar version of Google Earth. Check it out. Awsome level of detail.



Hyper Yellowstone

Yellowstone is my first love of Nature from my childhood. When I was older, I worked at the historical Old Faithful Inn during the summers. I also met my wife there. I have longed to work there as a professional...maybe someday! But for now, I have these links.

This is a short video (9min - 29 Mb) of mapping in the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem with the use of Hyperspectral Imagery. Produced by MountainVisions. Check out the Yellowstone Ecosystems Research Center as well.


Google Earth!

This is one of the coolest "Geography" things I have recently seen. This is a beta for Google....
Check out the free Google Earth download as well as Google Earth Plus for $20/year to use with your GPS, and Google Earth Pro $400/year for enterprise/business solutions for use with GPS and your own GIS data. With the Pro version you can make 3D flythrough movies. Imagery provided by Digital Globe and EarthSat via Keyhole.


Minnesota DNR Garmin for ArcGIS

Check out the MN DNRGarmin Link to the right to get a program to download GPS data from Garmin into ArcGIS.


DHTML SitePoint Excerpt Ch. 1-4

Click the link below to obtain an excerpt from a newly released DHTML Book from SitePoint

SitePoint DHTML Excerpt Ch. 1-4


DynoSeg and Networks

My latest struggle is with Linear Referencing (aka Dynamic Segmentation) of street centerlines for various applications. There are some cool tools within ArcGIS....the big wonder is how to maintain and update the referencing. I will be getting some insight next week, so I will be back. Also, the Network Analyst has some nice functions as well to do point to point routing, direction creation, and service areas.



Great Bear Rainforest

This is an article I came across in the Nature Conservancy Magazine. Take a peek at the photo essay.

Great Bear Rainforest
The Rainforest Solutions Project


ESRI Developers Network (Coding) with the Release of ArcGIS 9.1

With the launch of ArcGIS 9.1 there is a new location for obtaining scripts of various sorts by ESRI staff and users. This area at ESRI replaces ArcObjects Online and ArcGISDeveloper Online will server as a place for archived scripts for ArcGIS 8.3 and ArcGIS 9. The ESRI Developers Network (EDN) will be the new location for all scripting needs. You will be able to obtain scripts for a variety of languages and ESRI products including ArcView Avenue scripts and AMLs.

To find scripts you will need to go to the Coding Exchange and do searches for samples there.

Python and Web GIS

Read up about how Python is being used for a variety of Web-Based GIS applications.

See the links below how Python is being used in Web Application Servers, Map Servers, and Networking Frameworks.

There is also a good brief on these in the latest edition of ArcUser Magazine (April-June 2005)



Here is an interesting melding of GIS and the Graphics world. A compnay called GeoGraphs has some innovative Interactive Mapping Solutions. Promoting that Open Source, too! Uses Macromedia Flash Technology



Alaska Ho!

Here is a link to another great adventure, led by Edward Harrimann in 1899. Had with him a number of notable scientists and artists, including one John Muir. Enjoy the links and photos.
Hopefully more to come when I come across it....

Edward Harriman Expedition of 1899



Trimble GPS Fix

Trimble has come out with an important fix for those of you using State Plane Coordinates. Here is the link to the White Paper:

State Plane NAD83 Issue

Who knows how much "bad" data there is as a result of this.



What's the Direction, Naticus!

Here is a link to some basic functions of determining your direction.

Compass, Bearing, Azimuth, and More


Forest Canopy and GPS

Here is a little summary about some of the problems with using GPS in forested areas.

White Paper on GPS in Forest Areas

Telemetry of Forest Elephants, Moonwalking Birds, and a Laser Yardstick

This comes from a show I was watching on PBS called Deep Forest. There were some very cool uses of GPS, remote sensing and 3D modelling....this is one...oh yeah, and interactive mapping.

Forest Elephnants

Manakin Birds...can you say MoonWalk!...check out the video links!!!

Manakin Birds

Here's another
Manakin Birds 2

Here's the ultimate handheld solution for collecting 3D information in forests
Laser Yardstick

LIDAR and Forest Canopy Structure


Processing the LIDAR

I just finished processing the City of Sacramento LIDAR data to generate a 2' DEM. It took 12 straight days of processing (24/7). I am currently working on a QA/QC of the DEM mosaic.

Thanks to the UC Berkley guys for providing me batch routines for some of the initial processing.

I used several software packages to generate the DEM partly because of the amount of data I had to process and the fact that I did not have any developed batch routines that would work within ESRI.

PERL - for processing ascii text points to new overlapping tiles
Surfer - to Grid the point data using a Kriging algorithm
Python - to batch import Surfer text to ESRI text format and ESRI Grid format
ESRI - to generate the DEM mosic and QA/QC

The LIDAR data came from a flight done by Merrick in 2004. The data were in over 1300 text files containing the XYZ location of each laser point. Since the files were not overlapping, I used the PERL script to re-bin the ascii text points to new files (1370 files to 70 files). I next used Surfer and a Surfer Script to create the overlapping Surfer Grids. I then used a Surfer script to generate ASCII text formatted files. From here I ran a command line script to convert the Sufer text to ESRI text. I then ran a Python script I created to batch process the Ascii text files to ESRI Grid image files. The "glob" code helped me do this. Finally, I created a DEM mosaic using the Mosaic to New File function within ArcGIS.

Check the links for more info on what LIDAR is.


Dad, Where does a pole come from?

Not the North Pole or magnetic pole, but a measure of distance. A pole is a British measurement of distance that was often used to measure land. I recently came across this interesting measure when I was reading Lewis and Clark's journals. They described the Great Falls of Montana to be a length of so many poles from one fall to the next. So upon searching the glorious internet, I came across what a pole is.

A pole is is 1/4 of 22 yards (66 feet) which comes out to be 16.5 feet. This was related to the amount of land a person could work over the course of a day. "It was reckond to be 2 perches by 2 perches (33 x 33 feet). Related to this was the ability for oxen to work an area of land in a day. 40 dayworks in an acre--the area that could be worked by a team of oxen in a day. A daywrok being 4 square perches.


Earth Day Coming Up!!

Earth Day, April 23....Do what you can do for your local environment. Check the Earth Day Link for more general information.

Also, TV TurnOff Week (April 25-May 1) is coming up...Do it for the Kids! (see link)

Earth Day is Everyday!


Glob Code

The code I got to work is as follows. I then used elements in the list to run my ASCII to GRID algorithm. This code only runs under the PythonWin GUI. I have yet to get it functioning within ArcGIS 9x. You may need to do some minor modification since you will be cutting/pasting the code into PythonWin. You will also need to change path names.

#Author: Naticus Cartographica
#Created: April 12, 2005
#Batch ESRI ASCII format to ESRI GRID format Conversion
#Python 2.1 for use with ArcGIS 9.x

#Import standard/necessary library modules
import win32com.client, sys, os, glob, string

#Create the Geoprocessor object
GP = win32com.client.Dispatch("esriGeoprocessing.GpDispatch.1")

#Set the input/output workspace
GP.workspace = "C:/Naticus/python_test"
#GP.workspace = sys.argv[1]
print "The name of the workspace is " + GP.workspace
GP.addmessage ("The name of the workspace is: " + GP.workspace )
#Check for this toolbox (not absolutly needed)
#GP.Toolbox = "Conversion"

#Set the output workspace
#outWorkspace = sys.argv[2]
outpWorkspace = "C:/Naticus/python_test"

#create the file list with the .txt file extension
#this is a temporary file, but could be made to an output file
#Python has a structure called a "glob" that allows the parsing
#of file/string names

filelist = glob.glob('*.txt')

#loop through the list of files and process each one
#indenting is important, since Python uses this format for processing
for filename in filelist:
if GP.exists(filename):
print "Input file: " + GP.workspace + "/" + filename + " does exist"
GP.addmessage ("Input file: " + GP.workspace + "/" + filename + " does exist" )

#create output file by removing the .txt extension and adding grd to
#the end of the file (this is not an extension, just a trailer)
#the format of the output file is a ESRI GRID format
outgrid = filename[:-4] + "grd"
print "Output file: " + outWorkspace + "/" + outgrid

elif GP.exists(outgrid):
print outgrid + " already exists"

# Process: ASCIIToRaster_conversion

GP.ASCIIToRaster_conversion(filename, outgrid, "FLOAT")

print "Finished converting ASCII file: " + filename + " to: " + outgrid + " GRID file."

print GP.GetMessages(2)


The Glob

I spent part of the day researching how to create and use a listfile within a Python script so that I can run a batch process to convert ASCII XYZ data to ESRI Raster GRIDs. They key is the use of a 'glob'. The glob allows for a user to create a list of specific filies containing a particular extension (or other criteria). In my case it was just creating a list of files that ended with ".txt". Then you can use this to create input and output variables for other functions such as the ASCIItoRaster function in ArcGIS.

In AML (Arc Macro Language) functions already existed (along with examples) of how to do and use this for Arc Workstation. Now that times have changed new processes are needed and are sometimes not so obvious....at least for the semi-need-to-figure-it-out-when-I-have-to programmer. Yes I could just do my processing in AML, but that is 'old school' + who knows when AML will no longer be supported.

Global Challenges

The Earth has many environmental challenges....clean water, clean air, enough food, population pressures, conservation of wetlands, energy use.

We can each play our part in finding sustainable solutions to these problems...and they don't have to impede our lifestyles...many of them are simple changes. Here are a few:

-Turn off the lights when you are not home
-Use public transportation (Where I live, it costs less for me to travel by public transportation than to drive a car, let alone the cost of parking).
-Water your lawn in early morning or late evening
-Start a compost pile and use it on your own vegetable garden or lawn
-Turn down your water heater
-Plan trips to multiple stores
-Buy bulk

Check out the links on the right for other sources on Global Challenges



Remote Adnventures Added

I have put a couple of links to some remote adventures that I am aware of. I have done work in both of these areas and at some point will actually be able to do these.

Check back for more.

Talking to MySQL 4.1 through PHP 5

I finally got my PHP code to talk to MySQL 4.1. I ended up installing the latest version of PHP 5.0.4 which came out last week. There are some difference between older verions of MySQL beingable to read the "password" parameter when connecting to a MySQL database. I thought I was going to have to use a trick that I found to run an old_password() routine, but I didn't. I did notice that PHP 5 changes some syntax in creating and using variables from previous versions...such as using $_REQUEST, $_GET, $_POST instead of just setting regular variables such as $name. Also, the use of single quotes seems to be used more often than double quotes for variables.

So I am now able to connect to MySQL database, put data in and post data back all through a web interface. More to come on my quest for a database driven website. Check out tutorial informatinon from SitePoint and Build Your Own Database Driven Website Using PHP & MySQL by Kevin Yank.