ArcGIS upgrade for 2017

The time has come to move on from the current version of ArcGIS to ArcGIS 10.4.1keyboard with red enter button open revealing underpass and ladderThere is no cause for alarm however  ;)
We have survived many an ArcGIS upgrade before!

ArcGIS users, read on for details about how this shall all unfold…. Read More

Sharing a Shapefile

People often become confused about what constitutes a shapefile, which is particularly problematic when attempting to share one. When trying to send a study area boundary across the internet for our recipient to examine or use, we can get caught in thinking that sending the *.shp file on its way will be sufficient. The other person will surely be able to see our boundary, won’t they? We did, after all, send the file that looked like it was logically named as the shapefile.  Unfortunately, this is not the case! A shapefile is made up of a number of related files that work together to draw your vector data (points, lines or polygons). Without each of these files, your data is useless and simply cannot be viewed. At the very least, a shapefile will need the .shp, .shx, .dbf, and .prj files in order to open and be correctly drawn in space. When we are trying to send a shapefile, then, it is essential that we make sure that all these files are included in a neat package. If you are wondering how to do this, follow the few simple steps below.

For computers on which 7-Zip is installed: Read More

Scheduled Maintenance this weekend

There will be a scheduled outage of core IT systems this Saturday (10 December) from 6pm to Sunday (11 December) at 8am. Local lab services will be available but access to your shares and software that relies upon the network for licencing or data may be affected at various times during the maintenance window.

Please plan your weekend lab work/processing accordingly   🙂

GDA2020 is coming!

Australia is modernising its datum in two stages over the next few years and stage one starts next month.

Wait! What?!? Why?
I hear you ask with gasps of horror.
Well, it is necessary for a couple of reasons.

  1. The GDA94 datum does not change over time,
  2. Australia has moved north-east by about 1.5 metres since 1994…
  3. In 2000, uncorrected GPS locations were “accurate” to 100 metres, and
  4. what was the accuracy you wanted for your last set of field readings again?

The Intergovernmental Committee on Surveying and Mapping (ICSM) has put together a short animation to help explain:
Please keep the volume down if you are in a shared space 🙂

They also have a page of GDA FAQ’s that are worth checking out and a fact sheet if you want something to keep as a reference.

Scratch Space Reminder

Within claws reachThis is a gentle reminder that the local drives (which includes the desktop!) of the machines in SAL are ScRAtcH SPaCe.

And if reading those words wasn’t the visual equivalent of nails down a chalkboard, I am going to have to try harder next time  😉

If you are not sure what scratch space is, and you have been reading it on the sign by the booking sheet all year, you need to ask more questions!

Scratch space is great, it’s that warm, convenient, cuddly space that we all take for granted at times. The thing is, these kitty images haven’t been included simply because the Internet belongs to cats. Have you have ever given a cat a few more skritches than they were after…?

Over using or relying inappropriately on computer scratch space can have similarly traumatizing results  😦

One day you’re fine, everyone’s happy, we’re all enjoying ourselves. Then suddenly it’s all hissing, tears, and searching through trails of shredded research that cannot be recovered.

None of us want that.
It’s horrible, for everyone involved.

Make sure you are backing up anything that is important from the local drives of the TOL computers. Data stored there really can disappear or break. The new TOL05 computer was rolled out late last Friday and I have been installing software on it this morning. While doing that I have discovered, somewhere in the 5-6 user profiles of those who have already used it, there lurks 150GB’s of data on the primary hard drive. With 4th year research projects due this month, losing critical data would be even more traumatic than at many other times in a project.

Happy Scratch SpacePlay nice with the scratch space and remember that a dedicated project share is available to projects registered with SAL. If your research is worth doing, the data is worth managing and worth backing up in a secure and sensible way. As always, if you need help with this, come and talk to me.

We can help you to keep your spatial data management systems purring!

:slinks from blog post giggling madly at dreadful joke…:

SALtech 2016 – reflections

The final SALtech session for 2016 will not be going ahead tomorrow as the Map Library is being used for the Early Admission Interviews.

Hot Air Balloon reflected over still Night oceanIt’s been a good three months, we’ve covered a significant number of topics. Over our six sessions, our discussions have included:

  • issues encountered in creating surfaces from known point values;
  • data management practices and ideas for getting started, and keeping the chaos manageable;
  • the differences between some of the more common types of spatial web services that are available;
  • when you might want to use a web service versus when you might want to acquire the data from the source/custodial agent;
  • the differences between maps and diagrams;
  • what makes a map a ‘good map’;
  • how you can tell if you are, accidentally, making a horrible map;
  • online geospatial refresh & training options and, crucially, how to tell the difference between
    • reliable sources
    • someone with an internet connection and an unsupported ‘opinion’;
  • ways to document and package important spatial data as you go through your project so that when you get to the end you know:
    • where the important stuff is,
    • how you created it, and
    • what you need to know about it – no matter how long your project runs for, or how hard it beats you up  😮

To everyone who came along to one of more of the sessions, I hope you got some useful information out of talking with myself and the other participants. I had a lot of fun talking with you about your projects and your experiences.

One of the ways we all get better at what we do is by sharing our learning. By getting together and reflecting on what works and what doesn’t, we expand our experiences. Each project is unique, but first principles are a foundation that we all build on. Keeping those foundations strong makes our research explainable, repeatable and, simply, good science!

To everyone submitting – best wishes as you bring your projects to completion  😀

To those who will be researching on into 2017, perhaps we will see you in the (revised format) 2017 SALtech sessions next year  😉

saltech05 – online spatial training

Given the recent changes to the esri virtual campus, it seems a good time to provide a sneak peek into the new Virtual Campus and have a chat about the MOOCs that esri have been running on the regular.

We also have pointers to a few other software training resources in the portal that have been made available by various software developers and will direct you to where we keep those links. The best tips are usually found in the software help files, when the software has good ‘help’. It can sometimes take a while to learn how to ‘speak’ that version of software though so it’s worth sticking with it!

Come join us to chat about ways to navigate unruly ‘help’ systems, have a look at the ‘new look’ esri Virtual Campus and chew through whatever spatial knot is tying up your research project:

(edit: removal of registration form post event)


esri’s Virtual Campus is changing

Laptop, flowers, coffee cupUPDATE: new system is active!
I am able to invite you to the new Virtual Campus  😀

I am unable to provide access to the esri Virtual Campus at the moment, but hopefully access to esri online training will be back soon!

Once they return my magic powers, the way you will access courses will be a little different to the process we used before. For all of you who have courses partially completed, don’t panic! Your courses will remain available until 12 months from the date the course codes you already have were issued, exactly as you were promised. Nothing will change there.

For those who will be doing ESRI Virtual campus training in the future… Read More

saltech04 – maps and diagrams

OldSchoolRoomIt’s halfway through the SAL Tech Sessions, so it’s probably a good time to tackle any issues relating to the creation of maps and diagrams using the spatial data you have all collated/created.

I have had a few questions in the last fortnight so I know some of this year’s honours students are already putting some maps together and others are asking for data specifically for their final maps. If you think you might need more data for a project due soon, please speak up!

Do you remember what makes a map different to a diagram?
Where do those data citations need to go again?

Not sure?
Pretty sure, but a double-check would be handy?

Let me know if your planning to turn up or want to have something specific covered in next Tuesday’s session:

(edit: updated to remove RSVP form post event)