Thursday, November 19, 2009

A Healthy Virginia?

From the Center for Disease Control's upliftingly entitled "Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report" are maps showing the prevalence of obesity and diabetes across the country for 2007. The "Estimated County-Level Prevalence of Diabetes and Obesity - United States, 2007" shows how the South appears to have some of the highest levels in the country. The statistics are estimates for the year 2007 – based on surveys, census figures and other information for that and other years – and include a margin of error. The nation-wide maps show that the deep south and Appalachia have the highest rates of diabetes, of which Type 2 is usually correlated with obesity. Experts say possible explanations include a diet of fatty, unhealthy foods, little exercise, genetics, and perhaps income and education – people living in poor communities may not have the money to eat healthier, more expensive foods or may not have access to gyms or outdoor recreational trails. The Virginia map of diabetes is also interesting. Given that these maps are based upon estimates and statistics, they should be taken with a grain of salt. Or perhaps not.

Neogeography - Andrew Turner @ UVA GIS Day

The GIS Day audience at the University of Virginia enjoyed a talk by Andrew Turner entitled “Neogeography: from Tower to Town Hall”. The talk focused on the ways web maps, mobile devices, and open source data and applications are being used by the "crowd" in efforts such as OpenStreetMap. Andrew touched upon the opportunities for greater transparency, participation and collaboration provided by neogoegraphy (the use of geospatial tools by non-experts), as well as the challenges of data licensing and metadata. There was some lively discussion of the political and cultural issues that can arise with crowd-sourced maps (e.g. Cyprus, Gaza Strip, Kashmir). You can find out more about Andrew's work at his blog or at GeoCommons where he serves as CTO.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Imagery Map Service for 2009 November Nor'easter

The NOAA Remote Sensing Division has flown aerial photography for the area affected most by the recent Nor'easter. The images were acquired from a nominal altitude of 7,500 feet above ground level (AGL), using an Applanix Digital Sensor System (DSS) and have a pixel size of 0.5m.

At the suggestion of Brian Crumpler from the Virginia Department of Emergency Management, VGIN has made this imagery available as an ArcGIS Server map service. The service is free and open to all, No login is required. Kudos to VGIN staffers Stephen Barbie and John Owens who got this up and running on very short notice.

You can connect in ArcCatalog using "Add ArcGIS Server" and for the “Server URL” enter . Do not enter a username or password. After connecting you will see a folder called Storm_Damage. In that folder is the map service named “2009_11_StormDamage”. The map service uses the WGS84 coordinate system and is cached. The map in this post shows the extent of the imagery

The imagery can also be viewed in a web browser using this simple JavaScipt API

Happy viewing and let us know if you have any problems.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Virginia GIS Day Activities

Updated Post: More GIS Day events added below.
GIS Day is coming up next week. There will be events held around Virginia the week of November 16-20. If you are hosting an event and would like for it to be published send us the details and we will post it here.
Richmond Region GIS Day, November 17, 8:30 - 3:00, Henrico Training Center, 7701 E. Parham Road, Richmond, VA 23294

8:30 – 9:00 Registration
9:00 – 9:30 What is GIS?: Bob Rike, Government Representative, ESRI
9:30 – 10:15 Virginia GIS Coordination for local, state and federal governments: Dan Widner, VGIN Coordinator
10:30 – 11:00 What is a Planning District Commission and how is GIS used: Chuck Gates, Communications Coordinator, Richmond Regional PDC
11:00 – 11:30 Powhatan County MapViewer – Public Data Access with ArcGIS Server: Worldview Solutions Inc., Jamie Christensen and Jason Overstreet, GIS Coordinator – Powhatan County
11:30 – 12:00 A Case for Interoperability: Angela Harper, Deputy County Manager for Special Services and Juston Manville, GIS Coordinator, Henrico County
12:00 – 3:00 Map Gallery Poster Contest, Social and Booth Exhibitions


Charlottesville, November 18, Scholars’ Lab, 4th floor of Alderman Library at UVA

November 18th is the final day of the four-day Institute for Enabling Geospatial Scholarship at UVA. The Scholars’ Lab is organizing a GIS Day celebration reception which follows a talk by Andrew Turner both to which you are invited. Andrew Turner is the Chief Technical Officer at FortiusOne and a leader of the neogeography movement. His efforts include GeoCommons, Mapufacture, and two books on the geospatial web for O'Reilly.

Here is the GIS users group meeting schedule:

3:15 PM to 3:45 PM – Business meeting for the GIS users group in the Scholars’ Lab
4 PM to 5 PM – Andrew Turner talk in the Harrison Small Library Auditorium
5 PM to 5:30 PM – GIS Day reception in Harrison Small Library with GIS Day cake!


Fairfax County, November 18, Fairfax County Government Center

Fairfax County Department of Information Technology is hosting a GIS Day Technology Exhibition on Wednesday, November 18th at the Fairfax County Government Center at 12000 Government Center Pkwy. Fairfax, VA 22035.

Schedule of activities:
10 a.m. – 11 a.m. is the GIS Excellence Awards in Conference Rooms 4 & 5. Awards will be given to Fairfax County employees and agencies who have demonstrated exceptional use of GIS.
11 a.m. - 2 p.m. is the Agency Exhibits & Map Gallery in the North Atrium. There will be demonstrations, presentations, map & project displays from at least a dozen county agencies, plus drawings and giveaways!

For more information, please contact:
Fairfax County GIS & Mapping Services
12000 Government Center Pkwy, Suite 117, Fairfax, VA 22035
Phone 703.324.2712 Web Page:


Frederick County, November 20,

Frederick County will be holding its Annual GIS Day on Friday November 20, 2009 from 9AM - 3PM at the Frederick County Government Office building, 107 N. Kent St.

All Day Events:

Map Gallery
Hands on GIS Experience
Door Prizes
Aerial Photo Quiz of Frederick County

Presentation Schedule:

9:00 Welcome/What is GIS
Annie Cahill, Frederick County Information Technologies, GIS Division
9:30 GIS & Aerial Photo Interpretation
Matt Mullenax, Parsons Brinckerhoff
10:00 Using GIS Data for Natural Resource Conservation Service Projects
Fred Garst, USDA NRCS
10:30 Geocaching and Orienteering
Patrick Fly, Frederick County Information Technologies, GIS Division
11:00 GPS Survey of Revolutionary War Site in Frederick County
Bob Jolley, Virginia Department of Historic Resources
11:30 Pictometry-Intelligent Images
Eddie Starr, Pictometry
1:00 GIS in Agriculture Conservation
Jed Rau, Lord Fairfax Soil & Water Conservation District
1:30 Internet GIS
Ellen Peng, Frederick County Information Technologies, GIS Division
2:00 Frederick County E-Services
Karen Vacchio, Frederick County Parks & Recreation
2:30 E-911 Addressing and Road Naming
Annie Cahill, Frederick County Information Technologies, GIS Division


Hampton Roads Area, November 20 9 AM - 4 PM

Advanced Technology Center, 1700 College CrescentVirginia Beach, VA 23453

9:00 - 9:15 Welcome Jonathan Soulen – HRUG

9:15 - 9:30 Speaker ESRI Bob Rike What is GIS?

9:35 - 9:55 Speaker ODU Dr. Hua LiuIntegration of GIS and RemoteSensing in Risk Assessment of WestNile Virus

10:00 - 10:20 Speaker Geo-Marine RhiannaMcCarter GIS at Geo-Marine

10:25 - 10:45 Speaker McKim &CreedAndrea Nifong/Scott AndersonMunicipal Modeling Applications:Hydraulic and Hydrologic Capabilitiesof the GIS Interface

10:25 - 10:45 Planetarium *Note: Planetarium show runs concurrent with presentation

10:50 - 11:10 SpeakerHamptonRoadsSanitationDistrictJulesRobichaud,GISPPlanning Our Future Sanitary SewerInfrastructure: Simulating Flows UsingGIS

11:15 - 11:35 Speaker Greeley andHansen Rama JavvajiThe Multi-Faceted Roles andApplications of GIS to Water andWastewater Facilities

11:15 - 11:35 Planetarium *Note: Planetarium show runs concurrent with presentation

11:40 - 12:00 Speaker York County Claiborn L.PhillipsLiDAR data used with the ViewShedSpatial Analysis tool

12:00 – 1:00 Lunch

1:00 - 1:20 Speaker ODU Student Paul Anderson Mapping the ODU campus in 3D

1:25 - 1:45 Speaker LoyolaEnterprises Tommy Nichols GPS/GIS Integration

1:25 - 1:45 Planetarium *Note: Planetarium show runs concurrent with presentation

1:50 - 2:10 Speaker Baker Scott Howell Mobile LiDAR2:15 - 2:25 Speaker TCC Mike Lyle GeoCaching

2:30 - 3:50 GeoCaching Game *Note: GeoCaching Game runs concurrent with Regional Roundtable

2:30 - 3:50 Regional Roundtable *Note: Regional Roundtable runs concurrent with GeoCaching Game

3:50 - 4:00 Closing Tracy Wamsley – Baker


GIS Day at Old Dominion University, Friday, November 13, 9 AM - 4 PM

Cape Charles/Isle of Wight Room, Webb Center, ODU, Norfolk

Presentations include representatives from:
- City of Norfolk
- Clark Nexsen Architecture and Engineering
- Fort Monroe
- NASA Langley Research Center
- Old Dominion University
- U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Norfolk District
For details of student poster competition please email Daniel Fourquet (

Friday, November 6, 2009

Google Maps - User Reporting Update

In a previous post I reported on an error in Google Maps in which my driveway was mislabeled and the problems it caused in address locating. I dutifully reported the error via the Report a Problem link. I noticed last week that the error had been corrected. This morning I received an email from Google reporting the correction back to me and giving me the opportunity to reopen the problem. No need to do that as they got it right, removed my driveway from the map in the process (which I did not request), and now address locating works correctly in the area. Seems to be an efficient process.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Identify Virginia Counties with Online Game

You can hone your county locating skills in an online game that asks you to identify the counties of Virginia. The independent cities are excluded, but another game is provided (it erroneously includes Clifton Forge and South Boston which have reverted to town status). Be forewarned, the time to beat on the county game is 2:47 minutes with 100% accuracy.

Monday, November 2, 2009

LiDAR Funding Opportunity from USGS

The USGS has announced competitive grants opportunities of up to $500,000 to fund imagery and LiDAR acquisitions. A priority area has been identified in Virginia as seen in the attached map. VGIN is planning a cooperative grant application to acquire LiDAR for as much of the priority area as possible. We plan to concentrate on areas without existing LiDAR. We are looking for partners to provide letters of support and additional funds to increase the area covered. If you are interested in learning more or helping with the effort please contact me at