This site is a resource for the Spatial Analysis Laboratories.
Here you will find a range of tools and information that may assist you with your application of spatial science in your research activities… Read More

ArcGIS Online – The Basics

ArcGIS Online is a webmapping service that can be used to create, view, and perform some analysis of georeferenced data. The “work” is done on a server somewhere that your device is connected to via a web-browser or a web-based application via the internet. This has some important ramifications:

  • You need a good enough internet connection to handle the data that needs to be sent back and forth to achieve what you wish to do.
  • This type of GIS is going to offer fewer tools and analysis options than the ArcGIS desktop software.
  • Depending on the type of account/access you have, data that you create in using the webmap may be lost when you terminate the session and/or if you do not make sure to save a copy somewhere using tools available from the webmap you are using.

The three most common ways you are likely to work with ArcGIS Online as a student are:

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Australian Privacy Awareness Week

This year Mimecast is marking Australian Privacy Awareness week by releasing a short video on the Australian Privacy Act:

Screenshot of cartoon scene of the characters Sound Judgement and Human Error having a conversation.
Click to watch the video

Click the play icon on the above image on the page that opens when you click on the image above to take a lighthearted tour of the core Australian Privacy Principles with Sound Judgement and Human Error as they see the sites on an Australian road-trip.

inaugural NSW Drone Expo at Shellharbour Airport

Wings Over Illawarra, in partnership with the AAUS, is organising the first of what will be an annual showcase of drone technology (and some amazing flying demonstrations!) at the inaugural NSW Drone Expo.

Shellharbour Airport on 27 and 28 November 2021

The NSW Drone Expo will showcase [RPA] manufacturers, retailers, flying schools and service providers along with professional advice from government regulators and industry experts including business users, commercial drone pilots, photographers and film crews to list but a few.


There will be RPA’s of all types (ADF military drones, commercial, and recreational RPA’s) and the Australian Defence Force drone racing teams will be attending if you want to see some drone racing demonstrations.

Seeing our Campus

It is easy to forget how privileged we are, in terms of our campus environment. This segment on our campus was broadcast on Fri 1 Oct 2021, 8:00pm and shares some of the history and “behind the scenes” work that goes into the environment that we walk through every time we walk between buildings or take a break in one of the outdoor spaces.

Gardening Australia SERIES 32 | Episode 28 Nature Studies

Portal Spring Clean


The SAL Portal has been restructured over the last few days, so menus and links may not be exactly where you have found them for the previous two years. You will notice that the menu structure has been simplified, and the three top-level menu links now take you to pages containing collections of links and sub-menus. Hopefully, this will make things a little easier if you are using a smaller screen!

The search box in the sidebar will only search this site, so it is a handy way of finding something if you have a keyword that is likely to appear on the page you are looking for.

You may also notice some new services are now available – if you have any questions about them, you know how to reach me 🌷

ceramic man sweeping dandelion seeds

Password Management 2021

We haven’t discussed password management on this blog since 2017, but the Verge Video shared in that post is still worth viewing if you are not sure why you need a password manager or what they do!

If you are looking for a password manager here in 2021 and do not know where to start, PC Mag released their summary of “The Best Password Managers for 2021” on April 2nd and “The Best Free Password Managers for 2021” on Feb 18th.

Passwords really do need to be longish and random.

You really do need to use a different password for every account you use.

Not being able to remember tens to hundreds of long and random passwords is completely normal.

Spend some time learning how to use a password manager – it’s a skill you will use almost every day for the rest of your life!

XKCD comic about password complexity vs password strength

Drone registration and operator accreditation – it’s the law

Mavic2 remotely piloted aircraft in the sky

If you fly a drone or remotely piloted aircraft (RPA) for business or as part of your job, it must now be registered and its operator accredited with the Civil Aviation Safety Authority (CASA) before you fly – it’s the law.

Drone registration and operator accreditation applies to all drones flown for anything other than sport or recreation. This includes all professional activities such as research, training, community and government services, or any work undertaken on behalf of your employer.

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Virtual Drop-In Sessions

Pictures of screens videoconferencing

Starting with once a week in February, I will be available in the SAL Virtual Room at a regular time each week. These sessions are open in a number of ways and are part of making SAL COVID-safe.

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NSW Spatial Services Outage

NSW Spatial Services has advised that they are experiencing network connectivity issues that are affecting many of their services today. If you are trying to use their hosted aerial imagery or CORS services your work is likely to be impacted.

They are working on the problem and will advise their service contacts once the problem has been resolved. If you are being affected by this outage and need more information, contact SAL for the latest update on any SAL facilitated services.

Dell Computers and COVID-19

Dell has provided guidance on cleaning and disinfecting Dell-branded equipment, including the display screens that form the primary part of the COWs. Critical information from the guidance includes:

  • Turn off the computer and disconnect from power.
  • Only use a MICROFIBRE cloth. Any other material can cause damage to a screen.
  • Move from the top of the display to the bottom.
  • Allow the surface to completely air-dry before turning the device back on.

The recommended solution is a mixture of 70% isopropyl alcohol / 30% water.
Avoid using any of the following chemicals or products containing these chemicals as they will cause permanent damage to some product surfaces:

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