Author Archive

AGI(S) – EEO Seminars Update

March 8, 2017 Leave a comment

Earth Observation and Spatial Analysis

February 2017 witnessed the first Festival of Creative Learning at the University of Edinburgh.  To mark this, Friday 24th saw a pairing of the first and second seminars in a special ‘Future Techniques’ trilogy held as part of this year’s EEO-AGI(S) Seminar Series.

Dr. Paul Chapman of Glasgow School of Art’s School of Simulation and Visualization (SimViz) first asked: “Virtual Reality. Temporary distraction or real opportunity?”

For those of us old enough to remember some of the mixed efforts of the early 1990s (cumbersome games console add-ons and some questionable movies! – all discussed) this was an interesting update and a reminder of how the Computer Games industry has developed at enormous pace over the last few decades.  For those new to VR this was a comprehensive coverage of hardware and software platforms (such as Google Cardboard, Samsung Gear VR and the HTC Vive offering – tipped as one VR…

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Amazon Outage makes for a Dark Cloud

March 1, 2017 Leave a comment

Earth Observation and Spatial Analysis

image1For some years now we have been led to believe that The Cloud gives us a  robust solution to providing software services (including GIS) which avoids the dangers of being dependent on individual servers, which risk loss of hardware, power supply, cooling and other points-of-failure.  This is a solution which has become increasing popular, with many organisations and services now dependent on it.  In theory, the Cloud spreads the risk over thousands of individual servers, physically located in different data centres at different sites spread across the different countries and continents.

Or that’s the theory.  The 28th Feb saw a failure of saw an outage of the US-EAST node of Amazon’s S3 service which has caused chaos across the web.  Amazon’s web services have grown from an infrastructure built to support their own online shopping business to underpin around 150,000 other web sites, services and smartphone apps around the world…

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DEFRA releases 8000 datasets

June 29, 2016 Leave a comment

Earth Observation and Spatial Analysis

Yesterday, the Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs (DEFRA) reached their deadline for releasing data under their OpenDefra project, which has made freely available around 8000 datasets since the launch of the project in June 2015.

Further details from mapgubbins

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EEO-AGI Scotland Seminar Review : Dr. Joanne Nightingale : 16th Oct

January 14, 2016 Leave a comment

Earth Observation and Spatial Analysis

What is National Physical Laboratory (NPL) and what sort of work do they undertake? We were fortunate enough to have Joanne Nightingale, Head of Earth Observation, give a fascinating seminar about what NPL does and projects she is involved with.

NPL is a world leading National Measurement Institute that aims to work towards the growing demand for high quality, robust measurements in all aspects in our lives. The uncertainty in measurement is important to consider because they want the most accurate measurement and as the saying goes “measure thrice, cut once.” As a centre for carbon measurement, they support climate change research and a low carbon emission future.

Joanne explains about the department she works in (EO, Climate and Optical Group) and how they strive to provide traceability for all EU earth observation data products for calibration and algorithms applications. This group is working on projects such as Fidelity and Uncertainty in…

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EEO-AGI Scotland Seminar Review : Cecilia MacIntyre : 2nd Oct

October 20, 2015 Leave a comment

Earth Observation and Spatial Analysis

Cecilia MacIntyre presented her talk on Scotland’s Census 2011: How National Records of Scotland are making the most of data. Few data gathering exercises of human statistics can rival national censuses for scale, attention to detail and accuracy. Unsurprisingly, wanting to know the kind of data collected in a census is not solely a recent ambition. Governments and leaders have always been interested in knowing whom it is they govern. In fact, an attempt at gathering this kind of data goes back almost 1000 years, to William the Conqueror’s commissioning of the famous Domesday Book. The UK has had a census every 10 years since 1801, with the exception of 1941 (due to the Second World War), and last Friday we were lucky enough to be visited by Cecilia Macintyre to learn a little about Scotland’s census data from 2011 and what it can offer us today.

The 2011…

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Geographer Royal for Scotland

September 17, 2015 Leave a comment

Earth Observation and Spatial Analysis

Professor Charles Withers

It was announced this afternoon by the Royal Scottish Geographical Society and the Scottish Government that our own Professor Charles Withers will serve as Geographer Royal for Scotland – a post that has been dormant for 118 years but which will provide a national and international ambassador for geography and the geosciences.

The Royal Scottish Geographical Society campaigned to rejuvenate the post at a time when geography is even more important to our understanding of the world and is being challendged as a key subject within the Scottish schools curriculum.

Professor Withers is an historical geographer who, amongst many publications and projects, has done excellent work with the National Library of Scotland (NLS) in preserving and digitising historical maps for Scotland including Charting the Nation (1999-2002) and Project Pont (1996-2001), which led directly to the world-leading services now hosted by the NLS that provides historical map layers…

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Public acceptance for UAVs ?

April 8, 2015 Leave a comment

Earth Observation and Spatial Analysis

A measure of cultural acceptance in Britain is when issues are discussed as part of the storyline in the long-running BBC Radio 4 ‘soap opera’ The Archers.  So it follows that camera-carrying UAVs (or drones as they were referred to in the programme) have definitely become mainstream when they made an appearance on the 7th April episode.

Farmer Charlie Thomas shows Adam Macy drone footage of his estate and was impressed by the quality of the images for assessing areas which had been flooded. Talking to Kate Madikane, Adam explained that it was “not that sort of drone, not armed with missiles” and described using your eyes as “the old fashioned way”.  Kate replied that they were using drones in the Krueger National Park in South Africa to stop poaching but “now they are banned, something to do with the aviation authority getting their knickers in a twist”

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