EDINA had a day out in London running it’s Geoforum event. Geoforum aims to bring together Digimap Site reps from subscribing institutions around the country and showcase some of the new functionality in EDINA’s geoservices. It also gives site reps an opportunity to ask questions to the Digimap team and to chat with other reps about how information about, and support for, services is provided. There was a live blog running throughout the day which is well worth a read if you did not manage to attend the event. Links to videos and slideshare will be added as soon as they are available. The keynote speaker was delivered by Shelley Mosco of The University of Greenwich. Shelley is a member of the The School of Architecture, Design and Constructionand described the ways in which spatial data could be used to inform design. Shelly was keen to mention the importance of spatial data and GIS in the implementation of Building Information Models (BIMs). BIMs have been used in large engineering projects for some time, however the government is making them mandatory for all publicly funded building projects in England and Wales. This means that commercial organisations will be looking for students to have been trained in the concept of BIMs and the software that drives them. You can find out more about BIMs through the following links:
- BIM on Wikipedia
- BIM Task Group – government site promoting best practise for BIM
- COBie – Construction Operations Building Information Exchange
Shelley then handed over to two of her current MSc students who gave brief overviews of their experiences of learning about GIS and using spatial data in their projects. Both David Parfitt and Rob Park were self-confessed GIS newbies, but they managed to get data from Digimap and use it in their conservation projects. The data allowed them to visualise and analyse the environment and provide evidence to support their proposed designs. Their demo’s were excellent and really showed the power of simple GIS analysis.
You can view the slides from this presentation here:
Next up was a presentation that focused on Open Source Resources for Geospatial. The presentation looked at data, software and web-mapping. The main resources are listed below:
- OS Open data is available through the Digimap Data Download service.
- ShareGeo Open is a repository for open geospatial data. It has lots of useful and interesting datasets on a variety of subjects such as wind farms, crime, boundaries and DTMs
- Data.gov.uk – the uK government’s open data store
- QGIS – one of the best open source GIS out there. Lots of functionality and plugins that allow you to perform complex spatial analysis. It is also well supported by forums.
- gvSIG – anther fully functioning GIS.
- GRASS – a remote sensing package aimed at serious remote sensor’s. If you are a newbie to remote sensing, you can access GRASS tool through the GRASS plugin for QGIS which makes things really simple.
Digimap is a great web mapping tool, but how can you create your own interactive web map for your website?
- MapBox – simple intuitive web site that helps users build interactive web maps. Basic functionality is free, more advanced functions are available for a small fee.
- Leaflet – the engine behind MapBox, it is free but requires user to do a “bit” of programing
- Openlayers – an alternative to Leaflet which is more flexible. Openlayers powers Digimap. Requires a fair amount of programming knowledge.
- MapServer – implements Openlayers for enterprise scale operations. MapServer is also used for Digimap services.