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Dragons8mycat welcome!

Dragons8mycat welcome!

Nicholas Duggan and Elliot Hartley post Threeharescafe
Nick and Elliot post Threehares cafe

NEWS : GARSDALE DESIGN WELCOMES NICHOLAS DUGGAN TO THE TEAM AS OUR PRINCIPAL GEOSPATIAL SPECIALIST

My company Garsdale Design Limited just hired Nicholas Duggan (known as dragons8mycat in the social media world) he starts on Monday the 11th of January as our Principal Geospatial Analyst.  I’ve known him for a while and have even bumped into him on occasion at conferences (we are based in Cumbria and I don’t get out much).

Importantly we needed someone who was not afraid to experiment.  

His CV is impressive and we know he is technically very competent, it’s in part why we hired him.   To be honest though, it was his helpful nature on social media and his interests that are clearly in more than just the job in front of him, that really interested us.  What we needed was someone used to working on a variety of differing projects and able to use different software as appropriate.  Importantly we needed someone who was not afraid to experiment.  

consultancy you see is a wonderfully messy business

Consultancy you see is a wonderfully messy business, today I’m working on a major CityEngine 3D project (yes we do more than just training!), tomorrow I could be helping with some domestic architecture and next week I’m probably helping acquire satellite imagery and GIS data for a potential resort development in the Middle East.  We need more than just a focused specialist to help us.  

CityEngine tower analysis
Analysis of CityEngine models is important.

Nick has stated on twitter on a number of occasions that he has ‘room in his heart’ (okay he didn’t say that exactly) for opensource and proprietary software. Yes Garsdale Design is an Esri Silver Partner (and very proud of it too!) but our clients are varied and their requirements and budgets differ wildly so we have to be flexible.

here is a growing sense of urgency to prove that their investment in 3D is more than just a bunch of pretty pictures

Being able to create 3D urban models is one thing, to actual analyse what you’ve created is quite another.  Whilst our CityEngine clients love 3D and have focused on visualisation there is a growing sense of urgency to prove that their investment in 3D is more than just a bunch of pretty pictures.  3D isn’t trivial it has real-world uses beyond the gimmicky.

This year my focus, or should I say, our focus is twofold in the 3D space:

  • Developing more useful 3D analysis workflows
  • Testing out 3D hosting platforms for our CityEngine created models.

As you can see Nick will play an important role for us this year.   What next for this blog GeoPlanIT?  Well Nick will contribute to it but that doesn’t mean he will abandon xyHt or his own blog ‘The Spatial Blog‘.

Welcome to the team Nick, 2016 is going to be interesting.

UK local online #mapping is a stupid mess…

UK local online #mapping is a stupid mess…

Yuck, online mapping 1990s style

Today something is bothering me,   it has been bubbling away since I wrote this post “The Awful mess of Local Plans online” and I can’t contain it anymore.

Where’s my broadband coordinator? Cumbria CC

Cumbria as a geographic area I think has a lot of online maps and they all vary in quality and usability.   Sometimes it looks like the people who are operating them haven’t told other departments what they are doing…. to be fair they probably have but red tape has got in the way…

Lets take Sedbergh (yes I used Google Maps!) for example, if I want to see what services my local authorities’ provide on a map I can go here for Cumbria CC services but if I want to see their Public Rights of Way mapping (and the two national parks), I have to go here.  Now Cumbria also has a Historic Environment Record and their mapping is here (seriously slow & doesn’t always work).

Walk this way , Cumbria PROW map
Cumbria’s Historic Environment Record mapping is shit, no really

Now here’s the fun bit, bins, building control and libraries are dealt with by South Lakeland DC .   Ah, but if I want to see my local plan online rather than via PDF I have to go to the Yorkshire Dales online GIS here.   Oh and if I forget what Local Authority I’m in Eden DC provide some mapping for part of Sedbergh too.

Eden Web Mapping, basic but okay?
South Lakeland’s mapping just like Barrow’s and I quite like it..

All these maps provide detailed OS Mastermap level mapping.  Some are symbolised quite well, others not so well, I’ve always liked Barrow’s online GIS which South Lakeland seem to use, but that’s because it’s a bit technical and I hear open source [PDF].   I also worry when watermarks aren’t done well.

As a resident I shouldn’t have to check 5 different online maps to check out what’s happening in my area.  I certainly shouldn’t have to learn how each one operates! (look I used bold and underline I must be serious)

I can’t help wondering why no one is trying to get a national government mapping organisation whereby everyone gets the same online mapping frontend/interface but is in charge of their own data. A bit like the Planning Portal but for publishing data not just receiving it.  If people think this can’t be done, I think people working on the EU’s INSPIRE directive might say otherwise.

What I would like to see is web mapping become central not just an after thought to local and national government websites.   Yes there is a place of localisation (depending on usage, tourism, history etc…).   But a national web mapping site is needed so we can seamlessly browse geographically adjacent datasets.   This would be great not just for residents but also policy makers, politicians and professionals.  Imagine for example, seeing planning statistics and local plans for neighbouring authorities on one seamless map?   Local councillors could see how neighbouring areas with similar demographics are doing.  Think how easy consultation with neighbouring councils could be!

Enough of my musings, I’m off to make a map for a local authority in Iraq….

Related Posts

 

ArcGIS : Using Query Builder to display certain features (multiple)

ArcGIS : Using Query Builder to display certain features (multiple)

The Power of SQL & Query Builder

I know this post covers something probably very obvious to many technical users of ArcGIS.   However some of us ArcGIS users are not necessarily aware of Query Builder and it’s uses.  So this advice is for people like us/them.

You may have noticed the “Definition Query” tab in your “Layer Properties” dialog box (right click on your layer and select ‘properties’). As ESRI says in the ArcGIS helpfile:

Query expressions are used in ArcGIS to select a subset of features and table records.

Clear as mud to those not familiar with standard SQL expressions!   Anyway why would you use? Or more importantly why would I use it?

Here was my problem, for a particular project I have imported into a Geodatabase an AutoCAD file that has many layers and a lot of features.  So I am displaying each former AutoCAD layer with different symbology but using the same feature class in the geodatabase each time (clear enough?).

How did I select you? You’re not there!

Using the Symbology tab in the Layer properties I can display only those features that I am interested in.   Now I can make some nice paper maps and the like!   The trouble is when I want to now edit that layer I keep on selecting for some reason the features that I haven’t assigned symbology to.   Very annoying and very frustrating.

So what the Query Builder allows me to do is select only the features that are in this case by layer name field (it’s from AutoCAD) to be used.   Now when I go to edit this layer only those features I have given symbology to are selectable.    Okay I apologise if this doesn’t make sense to you but then perhaps you haven’t had the same issue I have.

Anyway say you have three features types (formerly layers in AutoCAD) that you want display these are:

  • Primary Road
  • Secondary Road
  • Track
All you need to do is type (or construct) the following code into the Query Builder:

“Layer” IN(‘Primary Road’ , ‘Secondary Road’, ‘Local’ )

I’m not here to explain how it works as to be honest I’m not sure and its probable that you can do this another way.   However this works for me, if you have any suggestions as to a better code, I’m all ears so please add a comment after this post and I’ll amend the advice!

I looked for help on the ArcGIS forums beforing writing this post and used the following discussion thread:
Mulitple NOT expressions in query builder? 

Suggested Reads (I guess): Getting to Know ArcGIS Desktop: The Basics of ArcView, ArcEditor, and ArcInfo Updated for ArcGIS 9 (Getting to Know series) and SQL For Dummies