Now you can create your own Street View

Have you ever tried to convey the feeling of walking through your favorite park? Or have you wanted to create a virtual tour of your business to attract customers? Well, starting today, it’s now possible for you to build your own Street View experiences to do just that. Using a new feature in our Views community, you can easily connect your photo spheres to create 360º virtual tours of the places you love, then share them with the world on Google Maps.

Creating Street View from your photo spheres is as easy as connecting the dots into what looks like a “constellation” of stars. You can even connect your photo spheres to our own Street View panoramas.

To get started, just create photo spheres using your Android phone or a DSLR and then share them on Views. Next, select the photo spheres from your profile and use our new tool to connect them together (as seen in the example above). Once your photo spheres are connected and published, people can navigate between them on Google Maps, just like they can in Street View. Please visit the help center to learn more about connecting photo spheres.

Above this Street View experience from photo spheres have been created with both  Android phone (Nexus 4) and  DSLR camera. Now everyone can virtually explore this beautiful location visited on user’s last vacation.

Google are excited to see the different types of Street View experiences that everyone will contribute. For example, this feature can now enable environmental non-profits to document and promote the beautiful places they strive to protect. It also opens up a new tool for photographers to showcase diversity in a specific location — by times of day, weather conditions or cultural events — in a way that Street View currently doesn’t cover.

And, just like with Street View, you can embed Google’s interactive viewer on your own website or build applications with it using the Google Maps API. You can learn more about solutions for developers.

It is being hoped that this new feature will enable people to share and witness the beauty and breadth of our planet through Google Maps. Whether you’re photographing exotic islands or your favorite neighborhood hangout, mountain peaks or city streets, historic castles or your own business, we’re thrilled to see the places you love coming to life on Google Maps.

Source:

Detecting Forest Cover Change by High Resolution Space Imageries

Dr. Matthew Hansen at the University of Maryland, we’ve built the first detailed maps of the world’s forests, from 2000-2012, documenting and quantifying forest landscape changes such as fires, tornadoes, disease and logging.

The most significant findings were that the overall rate of tropical deforestation is increasing, and global forests have experienced a net loss of 1.5M sq km during 2000-2012 due to both natural (disturbance) and human causes. That’s a loss of forested land comparable in size to the entire state of Alaska.

A little more than 300,000 square miles of forest was established or replanted worldwide between 2000 and 2012. Unfortunately, almost 900,000 square miles was destroyed during the same time period — logged, ravaged by fire, or attacked by insects.

Those are the main conclusions of a study that examined hundreds of thousands of images snapped by the U.S. government’s Landsat satellites. Academic researchers partnered with Google staff to produce stunning maps displaying the world’s forests and areas that have been deforested or reforested since 2000. Those maps were used to produce the following short videos:

About a third of the deforestation occurred in the tropics, and half of that was in South America. Logging and clearing of land for farming were responsible for much of the loss. Hearteningly, the researchers found that deforestation has been slowing down in Brazil, where worldwide concerns about the loss of the Amazon have helped spur domestic efforts to save the rainforest. But that slowdown was offset by increasing losses in other countries.

 

“Although Brazilian gross forest loss is the second highest globally, other countries, including Malaysia, Cambodia, Cote d’Ivoire, Tanzania, Argentina, and Paraguay, experienced a greater percentage of loss of forest cover,” the scientists wrote in the paper, published Thursday in Science. “Given consensus on the value of natural forests to the Earth system, Brazil’s policy intervention is an example of how awareness of forest valuation can reverse decades of previous wide-spread deforestation.”

The tropics lost more forest cover during the study period than any other region. The second-worst hit were the boreal forests of spruce, fir, and larch in and around the Arctic, with fire the leading cause. Previous research has shown that these forests are burning at a rate not seen in at least 10,000 years, with climate change increasing temperatures and drying out the landscape.

That wasn’t the only worrisome climate-related finding in the new paper. The mountains of the American West are losing forests due not only to logging, but also because of fire and disease — with mountain pine bark beetles marching up mountains as temperatures warm, feasting on banquets of ill-prepared pines.

The loss of forests is making it even more difficult for the Earth to suck back up all the carbon dioxide that we’re pumping into its atmosphere.

Source:

10 ArcMap Productivity Tips You Can Use Now

Here are some tips you can try out in ArcMap right away. The 10 shortcuts below can shave milliseconds off common tasks, and hey, milliseconds count when you’re trying to get stuff done. You just may be able to get to lunch five minutes earlier and beat the crowd.

Working with Maps

  1. To activate a data frame, hold down the Alt key and click the data frame name.
  2. To create a copy of a layer within the same data frame, hold down the Ctrl key and drag the layer up or down. If multiple layers are selected, you can copy all of them at the same time by Ctrl-dragging. (When dragging a layer into a different data frame, the layer is copied by default. If you want to move a layer to a different data frame, hold down Ctrl while you drag it to the new data frame.)
  3. Hold down the Alt key and click a layer name to zoom to the extent of that layer.
  4. Select (click) a layer and press Enter to open its layer properties dialog box. Map and table open in ArcMap 10
  5. Hold down the C key while any tool is active to pan the map. Hold down X to zoom out, and Z to zoom in. This shortcut is especially useful when you need to select features that are geographically disbursed.


Working with Tables

  1. To quickly open a table, hold down the Ctrl key and double-click a layer or table in the Table of Contents; alternatively, select the layer or table and press Ctrl+T.
  2. Outside of an edit session, press the spacebar to select or unselect a row.
  3. Press Ctrl+U to switch (reverse) a selection.
  4. Double-click a field name to sort the field in ascending order. Double-click the field name again to sort in descending order.
  5. Click a field name and press Ctrl+H to turn off (hide) the field. (To display the field again, go to the layer properties dialog box > Fields tab, check the field name, and click OK.)

You can find these tips and many others in the ArcGIS for Desktop Help.

GIS Day, 2013 – Discovering the World Through GIS

GIS Day is a global event that celebrates the real-world benefits of geographic information systems (GIS) – the use and analysis of mapping technology for decision-making and data visualisation. Individuals, businesses, governments, charities…everyone can benefit from GIS. GIS Day provides an international forum for users of geographic information systems (GIS) technology to demonstrate real-world applications that are making a difference in our society. Organizations all over the world that use GIS, or are interested in GIS, participate by holding or sponsoring an event of their own. In 2005 more than 700 GIS Day events were held in 74 countries around the globe.  The first formal GIS Day took place in 1999. Esri president and co-founder Jack Dangermond credits Ralph Nader with being the person who inspired the creation of GIS Day. He considered GIS Day a good initiative for people to learn about geography and the uses of GIS. He wanted GIS Day to be a grassroots effort and open to everyone to participate.

GIS Day is held the third Wednesday of November each year, during Geography Awareness Week, a geographic literacy initiative sponsored by the National Geographic Society.

GIS Day is One Fun Day to

  • Celebrate GIS with everyone
  • Discover and explore the benefits of GIS
  • Showcase the uses of GIS
  • Build and nurture your GIS community

Future Dates

  • 2013 – Wednesday, November 20, 2013
  • 2014 – Wednesday, November 19, 2014
  • 2015 – Wednesday, November 18, 2015
  • 2016 – Wednesday, November 16, 2016
  • 2017 – Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Find the GIS Day Events Around the Globe

GISday Map – an Instagram Experiment

Something The Entire World Should See

North East of Hawaii, the ocean currents form a giant whirl pool of debris from around the Pacific, the scientific name is called the North Pacific Gyre. It’s one of the largest ecosystems on Earth, comprising of millions of square kilometres. Today it’s better known as “The Great Garbage Patch,” an area the size of Queensland, Australia where there is approximately one million tonnes of plastic spread  throughout the ocean. Drag a net in any area of this part of the ocean and you will pick up toxic, discarded plastic. Photographer Chris Jordan has documented this phenomenon.

 

The desire to change these things will put the human race on a journey to do so, and we are in the midst of it.

Why is Antarctic sea ice growing?

'This winter there was more sea ice than ever in Antarctica'-Guy Williams
‘This winter there was more sea ice than ever in Antarctica’-Guy Williams

Recently NASA reported that this year’s maximum wintertime extent of Antarctic sea ice was the largest on record, even greater than the previous year’s record.

This is understandably at odds with the public’s perception of how polar ice should respond to a warming climate, given the dramatic headlines of severe decline in Arctic summertime extent. But the “paradox of Antarctic sea ice” has been on climate scientists’ minds for some time.

Continental v. sea ice

First off, sea ice is different to the “continental ice” associated with polar ice caps, glaciers, ice shelves and icebergs. Continental ice is formed by the gradual deposition, build up and compaction of snow, resulting in ice that is hundreds to thousands of metres thick, storing and releasing freshwater that influences global sea-level over thousands of years.

Sea ice, though equally important to the climate system, is completely different. It is the thin layer (typically 1-2m) of ice that forms on the surface of the ocean when the latter is sufficiently cooled enough by the atmosphere.

From there sea ice can move with the winds and currents, continuing to grow both by freezing and through collisions (between the floes that make up the ice cover). When the atmosphere, and/or ocean is suitably warm again, such as in spring or if the sea ice has moved sufficiently towards the equator, then the sea ice melts again.

Antarctic v. Arctic

Secondly, we need to understand that the Arctic and Antarctic climate systems are very different, particularly in sea ice.

In the Arctic, sea ice forms in an ocean roughly centred on the North Pole that is surrounded by continents. A relatively large (though diminishing) proportion of the ice persists over multiple years before ultimately departing for warmer latitudes through exit points such as Fram Strait between Greenland and Svalbard.

In the south, on the other hand, sea ice forms outwards from the continental Antarctic Ice Sheet, where it is exposed to and strongly influenced by the winds and waters of the Southern Ocean. Here, there is a much stronger seasonal ebb and flow to sea ice coverage as over 80% of the sea ice area grows each autumn-winter and decays each spring-summer. This annual expansion-contraction from about 4 to 19 million square kms is one of the greatest seasonal changes on the Earth’s surface.

Area v. volume

Finally we need to remember that “extent” or “areal coverage” is only one way with which we monitor and study sea ice.

Sea ice turns out to be a very complex and variable medium that is very difficult to observe over large-scales. It is also constantly moving and restructuring. Until we achieve the “holy grail” of monitoring total sea ice volume from space and how it changes over time (and there are great steps towards this with European Space Agency’s environmental research satellite CryoSat-II), we are limited to interpreting its global behaviour through area.

What happened this winter?

This winter, the maximum total Antarctic sea ice extent was reported to be 19.47 million square kilometres, which is 3.6% above the winter average calculated from 1981 to 2010. This continues a trend that is weakly positive and remains in stark contrast to the decline in Arctic summer sea ice extent (2013 was 18% below the mean from 1981-2010).

To further complicate this picture, we find this net increase actually masks strong declines in particular regions around Antarctica, such as in the Bellingshausen Sea, which are on par or greater than those in the Arctic.

So while there is much greater attention given to the Arctic decline and the prediction of “ice-free summers” at the North Pole this century, Antarctic climate scientists still have their work cut out to understand the regional declines amidst the mild “net” expansion occurring in the southern hemisphere.

Here are some of the leading hypotheses currently being explored through a combination of satellite remote sensing, fieldwork in Antarctica and numerical model simulations – to help explain the increasing trend in overall Antarctic sea ice coverage:

  • Increased westerly winds around the Southern Ocean, linked to changes in the large-scale atmospheric circulation related to ozone depletion, will see greater northward movement of sea ice, and hence extent, of Antarctic sea ice.
  • Increased precipitation, in the form of either rain or snow, will increase the density stratification between the upper and middle layers of the Southern Ocean. This might reduce the oceanic heat transfer from relatively warm waters at below the surface layer, and therefore enhancing conditions at the surface for sea ice.
  • Similarly, a freshening of the surface layers from this precipitation would also increase the local freezing point of sea ice formation.
  • Another potential source of cooling and freshening in the upper ocean around Antarctica is increased melting of Antarctic continental ice, through ocean/ice shelf interaction and iceberg decay.
  • The observed changes in sea ice extent could be influenced by a combination of all these factors and still fall within the bounds of natural variability.

The take home messages is that while the increase in total Antarctic sea ice area is relatively minor compared to the Arctic, it masks the fact that some regions are in strong decline. Given the complex interactions of winds and currents driving patterns of sea ice variability and change in the Southern Ocean climate system, this is not unexpected.

But it is still fascinating to study.

Further Reading

 

Free Training Oppertunity for Students on Open Street mapping

Along with GFDRR (https://www.gfdrr.org/) as part of their OpenCities initiative (http://opencitiesproject.com/cities/dhaka/) we are hosting a half day hands-on training session on the crowd-sourced OpenStreetMap platform on Saturday 2nd November from 10 am to 2 pm at the World Bank Office (E-32 Agargaon, Sher-e-Bangla Nagar) covering the following:

  1. OSM Basics: How it works, it’s many uses & opportunities … as well as it’s limitations.
  2. OSM Excursion: An outdoor exercise to collect data using a clever tool designed to simplify geographic data collection.  
  3. OSM Editing: The process and the differences with traditional GIS editing.

Grateful for confirmation of your participation to Tahsina Akbar on tahsinabd88@gmail.com  . This will be a practical ‘hands-on’ session so we would request you to please bring your own laptop. 
Thanks kindly, Mark

PS – There is an excellent status report on OSM at http://www.mapbox.com/osm-data-report/

osm

The Places Europeans Actually Discovered, Mapped

The tiny islands that European explorers really did discover.
120815_MOTW_discoveries.png.CROP.article920-large
In recent decades, respect for European explorers, such as Christopher Columbus, has waned, likely because these once-romanticized swashbuckling adventurers killed people, eradicated cultures, and “discovered” places that people (for example, the natives) already knew about. They did make some discoveries, though—lands never inhabited or where the inhabitants were already dead before Europeans made landfall.The map above, from historian and cartographer Bill Rankin, shows those places and the country that discovered each.
http://www.slate.com