2008 NAIP GeoTIFFs now available from WisconsinView

The 2008 NAIP DOQQ GeoTIFFs are now online at WisconsinView through the “Imagery Downloads” link.  Thanks to WI-FSA for providing the imagery; thanks to the DNR for coordinating delivery to WisconsinView.  Currently native UTM projected images are available.  A WTM version is in the works. See http://tinyurl.com/yaexqj6.

In other news, yesterday WisconsinView logged its 8,500th registered user.  To see the map of recent new users go here:

Lewis to deliver keynote on GIS Day


Professor Phil Lewis, author of Tomorrow By Design, is a well-known figure in the landscape architecture and planning professions and is recognized as the ‘Father of the Environmental Corridor.’ Beginning in the late 1950’s, Prof. Lewis has pushed the envelope of environmental thought by challenging the public views of and institutional thought on natural and cultural resources. Over the years Prof. Lewis has developed and refined these environmental concepts into a regional design process. By addressing issues at the regional scale, environmental and cultural resources can be identified, preserved, and incorporated into urban and rural growth patterns. Additionally, interdisciplinary expertise and public education have been key components in Phil’s approach to regional design. As a past professor of landscape architecture at Harvard University, the University of Illinois, and emeritus professor of the University of Wisconsin, in addition to his private and public work, Phil continues to have a great impact on the profession and the future of urban/rural environment.

Geoscience 390 – Check it out

In Spring 2010, we will be offering Geoscience 390 – Global Geophysics.

Here are the top 10 reasons to register for this course:

10. Find out if you want to major in Geology and Geophysics by taking an intermediate-level course in Geoscience that has no pre-requisites in the department*.

9. Geoscience 302 (Chemistry and Physics of the Earth’s Interior) will not be offered in academic year 2009-2010.

8. Geoscience 390 will count as a substitute for Geoscience 302 to meet the requirements for the major in Geology and Geophysics.

7. Learn about The Plate Tectonic Theory from Prof. Chuck DeMets, the author of the best available models for describing the plates’ motions.

6. Learn about gravity, seismology, geodesy, magnetic anomalies and heat flow without having to take a hard math class.

5. Learn how to use Matlab to make cool figures to show off your data.

4. Use a new textbook (Kearey et al., 2009) with excellent figures.

3. Find out what all those folks huddling over computers in the east wing of the first floor of Weeks Hall are working on.

2. Learn why the acceleration due to gravity is not always 9.800 m/s/s everywhere.

1. Learn to interpret a beach-ball (a.k.a. earthquake focal mechanism)

More information may be found at http://www.geology.wisc.edu/~feigl/390.html.  Questions? Please feel free to contact one of us.

Professors Chuck DeMets and Kurt Feigl

*One semester of calculus is a pre-requisite, though.

Take the SIAC survey!

An informal SIAC planning team recently pulled together an online survey to learn more about faculty and staff on campus who use geospatial technologies.  The purpose of the survey is to find out “who’s who” in campus geospatial, and begin assembling a directory of people and expertise for the SIAC website.  The team also hopes to learn more about geospatial data producers and consumers on campus, and their interests in the UW Spatial Information and Analysis Consortium.

UW faculty and staff are encourage to visit the survey at the following URL.  Don’t worry, it’s short!


UW-Madison event to feature hi-tech mapping

MADISON – An event scheduled for November 20th on the UW–Madison campus will bring together experts from around Wisconsin to show off the latest in technologies and projects that utilize high-tech mapping tools called geographic information systems or “GIS.”

Five years ago, you would be hard-pressed to find a navigation system in most cars on the road.  Now, there’s one on almost every dashboard.  Even our cell phones can tell us where we are these days.

“Most people don’t realize where the maps, or more accurately, the map data, come from when they look at Google Maps or a vehicle navigation system” explains Karen Tuerk, organizer of the UW–Madison Geographic Information Systems Day. “The reality is, Web sites like Google Maps and Bing Maps are only the tip of the proverbial iceberg when it comes to the power of geographic information.”

“The mapping industry has come a long way over the last 20 years” says Tuerk.  “In the past, cartographers were widely known for their graphic design skills and attention to detail.  That’s still true.  But today you are just as likely to find cartographers with backgrounds in computer science, databases, and programming.”

In fact, the U.S. Department of Labor identifies the field of “geospatial” information technologies as a high-growth job industry with a better-than-average outlook for the future. This distinction is shared with biotechnology, another hot field on the UW campus.

Andrew Swartz, GIS Coordinator for the City of Sun Prairie, describes the importance of GIS to his city’s business: “For example, we use GIS extensively to map ash trees. This allows us to track the age, condition, and size of the trees, along with ongoing inspection results.  If the Emerald Ash Borer makes it to our area, GIS puts us in a much better position to react quickly to the situation and manage the impact.”

Sun Prairie also has mapping systems on their fire trucks, allowing personnel to find the site of the fire, see detailed information about any hazardous materials stored in the building, and view floor plans, pre-planning information, and aerial photographs.  “In that sense,” Swartz explains, “the map is an important window into to a much deeper database of information.”

During the GIS Day exposition, over 40 organizations will share how they are using GIS for management, decision-making, planning, geographic analysis, mapping, and education.  The event will also feature a map gallery (both paper and interactive) and exhibits about the history of mapping in Wisconsin.

In addition to the exposition, an introductory GIS workshop will be held from 4:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m. in Science Hall for UW students, staff and the general public. Anyone interested must pre-register for the workshop by November 18th at www.geography.wisc.edu/GISDay. No registration is required for the main event.

GIS Day is an international day of education about Geographic Information Systems and geography.  Thousands of organizations around the world hold local events such as open houses, hands-on workshops, community expos, school assemblies, and more.  GIS Day is part of National Geography Awareness Week.  The UW event is sponsored by the UW–Madison Department of Geography.

If you go:

Public parking is available in the City of Madison State Street Ramp at 415 N. Lake Street.  Exhibits will be in Great Hall of the UW Memorial Union, 800 Langdon Street, from 9:00 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.  The event is free, and open to the public. www.geography.wisc.edu/GISDay.