GIS and GeoWeb Technologies

Eva Dodsworth

Since the emergence of easily accessible dynamic online mapping tools, there has been a drastic increase in geographic interest and awareness. Whether for personal, social, professional or academic uses, people are using Geographic Information System (GIS) technology to communicate information in a map format. Whether it’s using Google Earth to study urban change, or creating Google Map Mashups to deliver library resources, more and more members of society are turning to mapping programs for their visualization needs. With so many using GIS technology in their daily lives, library staff are now more than ever assisting library clients with their mapping queries.

This course will introduce students to a variety of mapping tools and GIS technologies such Google Earth and the creation of dynamic KML files; ArcGIS Online and webmap publishing; Google Fusion Tables and geocoding; and GIS fundamentals with geospatial data creation. Students will be able to apply their GIS skills in their reference work, in digitization projects, in webpages, in library instruction, and more.  Through hands-on exercises, pre-recorded demonstrations and lectures, students will receive a thorough overview of mapping resources that will enhance and expose their library’s resources.


– How to enable offline maps in your Google Maps app –

– Huge news – Google Earth Pro, which used to cost the public $400 is now free! What does that mean for you? Extra features! You can import GIS files, tables, and export animated movie files!

– Don’t live in Canada?  Too bad! Google Maps plots best tobagonning hills in Canada!

– a map of 19 countries that were named after specific people –


Maps that shaped the world



Content for Week Two – February 9th – February 15th

Week Two:

Podcast includes:

  • Citizen Mapping
  • OpenStreetMap – crowdsourcing
    more heads are better then one
    NYPL geomapping volunteers.

citizen crime reporting app for NYPD

when the jet disappeared, crowdsourcing for parts on the satellite maps of the ocean

potholes map

maps of the threes. emerald bug in Mnpls

how does foursquare and checkins in FB and Google +fit it

  • Google Earth
  • Assignment

Podcast and Powerpoint can be accessed from:

Tutorials: Google Earth


1.       Discussion question:

Discover some citizen mapping projects that you are interested in OR

Contribute your local knowledge to Google Map Maker AND Share with the class online

2.       Google Earth Map

Please complete the tutorial and then create a map in Google Earth with the following components:

  • A title
  • A written introduction to your project
  • At least five placemarks, embedded with html tags, and images, if possible.
  • Imported KML file(s) file format by GEarth, but other apps is using it. using notepad or MS Word, one can create KML file.
    screen overlay, can be text, image, anything. legend. HTML code.
  • A screen overlay  (i.e. a legend)

areal photography.

images from the library, Google is willing to buy them. citizen mapping. scanning and uploading.

geographical and societal awareness.

Gallery: 360Cities.

google street view – historical views

Google Earth Mapping

Submit online as a KML/KMZ file

I had the opportunity to experience a gizmo that can be used to display a variety of mapping projects, including citizen mapping: Science on a Sphere. It is a sphere on which you can project static maps or animations. The one I saw, in the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s facility on Ford Island in Honolulu, displayed animations showing the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami and the 2011 tsunami in Japan, as well as airline flight paths, ocean currents, polar ice cap change over time, and many other types of geospatial data.

The Great Backyard Bird Count actually starts today and runs through Monday, February 16th. At a minimum, it only requires 15 minutes of observation on any or all the days:

Happy Cow is a site well-known to many vegetarians/vegans for finding restaurants which I’ve used when travelling. Users can submit reviews and/or restaurants that they’d like profiled (although the site reserves the right to approve or not the listing). 


wq and leaflet – a framework that could catch on
by Timothy Clarke – Thursday, February 12, 2015, 2:21 PM

One of the impediments to citizen mapping is the line-of-sight cell tower limitations of mobile phones, or the wifi requirements for other mobile devices.  Citizen mapping in urban and suburban environments is well-served by mobile devices, but what about natural areas, dense leaf cover, or extreme topography?  Even if obtaining absolute mapping coordinates isn’t the issue, much crowdsourcing assumes an ability to connect back to a central data repository (e.g., a web database, ‘the cloud’).  Equipment that can interact with GPS satellites and support data capture is typically expensive and generally requires proprietary software.

wq ( is a framework that is ‘device first’ and ‘offline-enabled’.  It attempts to leverage several open source technologies to build an entire mobile solution that can support citizen science data collection work, and then synchronize with a central repository once the device (and operator) return to an area served by cellular or wifi networks.

I’m stretching here, so if I get stuff wrong, please don’t yell.  Still, I’ll take a pass at generally describing the framework and its related technology stack.

wq relies upon python, and a web framework called django for building offline-capable web apps that can run on iOS and Android devices.  These web apps, then, rely very heavily upon javascript, particularly requirejs ( and mustache (, for the templates that permit quick and (somewhat) painless web application development.  Data visualization relies upon d3.js (, and geography makes heavy use of Leaflet ( — maybe the most pertinent layer of the stack for those of us in this course.  If you’re not familiar withLeaflet.js, check it out!

Finally, wq extends several other open source technologies to enable synchronizing between a central data repository and multiple mobile devices in the hands of citizen mappers.  Lastly, wq employs a set of tools to more easily build and distribute customized mapping apps that can be served from Apple’s app store, Google Play, etc.

What wq intends is to allow highly specialized citizen science/citizen mapping apps to be more easily and quickly built, based upon a solid collection of aligned F/OSS tools.  Ideally, an app can spin up quickly to respond to a particular need (e.g., a pipeline spill), or a specialized audience (the run up to a public comment period for a development project), or even something like a high school field trip or higher ed service learning project.

Some examples of citizen mapping projects already built upon wq are here:


Creating a walking tour map with Google Earth_2014


Week 3

Podcast includes:

  • Geocoding
  • Georeferencing
  • Spatial Data Formats
  • Geospatial Data Online
  • Discussion Question

Podcast and Powerpoint available from:

Tutorials: BatchGeo (optional); Google Fusion (optional)

enter Xcel data, and export KLM file ready for google map and/or google earth

store maps online, no latitude needed.
visualize geospatial data by map
spatial analysis by mapping different layers together
showing data by map, graph or chart
e.g. how many cars cross specific point
crowdsourcing: spotting butterflies, using fusion tables to map the spices and sightings

students: journalism, history, geography.

Georeferencing (geocoding – data, geo referencing – image)
historical air maps or photos are much more useful when they are georeferenced.
Photos from different year is difficult to lay over one another without referencing. the only reference might be the river. usually reference the four corners, but sometimes river. Using GIS program to determine the longitute/latitude for each corner. sometimes only farmland and it is impossible


2 Comments on GIS and GeoWeb Technologies

  1. Plamen Miltenoff
    March 10, 2015 at 2:31 pm (6 years ago)

    From: [] On Behalf Of Katherine Hayes
    Sent: Tuesday, March 10, 2015 9:17 AM
    Subject: Digital topographic analysis workshop, May 14-15

    A topic that may be of interest, especially for those working with landscape perspectives. Please note, the second day’s workshop has limited space and grad students are prioritized, but the first day presentations are open and promise to be very interesting!

    We are pleased to announce a special 2-day Archaeological Sciences Interdisciplinary Group (ASIG) workshop later this Spring (May 14-15), in partnership with the university’s U-Spatial center, aimed at teaching interdisciplinary researchers how to use satellite imagery, LiDAR data, and terrestrial laser scanning (TLS), to create high resolution maps for research (or preservation/planning) purposes.

    Online registration is now open and information can be found at the following url:

    The first day will consist of a series of talks by UMN and local industry specialists in LiDAR, TLS, and satellite imagery, including Joel Nelson (Soil Water Climate), Joe Knight (Forestry), Karen Gran (Geosciences, Duluth), Shashi Shekhar (Computer Science), David Maki (Archaeo-Physics) and Paul Morin (Polar Geospatial Center), and will also include a TLS demo.

    The second day will consist of an all-day hands-on workshop in U-Spatial’s computer labs. Part 1 (approx. 2 hours) will cover satellite imagery: Students who have submitted descriptions of their research site(s) prior to the workshop (as part of the registration process) will have DigitalGlobe Basemap data available to them for this area during the workshop. Part 2 (approx. 5 hours) will cover LiDAR data: students will learn how to find, download, and use LiDAR data.

    Kat Hayes
    Associate Prof. of Anthropology
    University of Minnesota, Twin Cities
    386 HHH Center
    301 19th Ave. S.
    Minneapolis, MN 55455
    To unsubscribe from this group and stop receiving emails from it, send an email to

  2. Plamen Miltenoff
    March 10, 2015 at 2:34 pm (6 years ago)

    Justin Schell
    CLIR Postdoctoral Fellow
    Digital Arts Sciences + Humanities (DASH)
    University of Minnesota Libraries
    PhD, Comparative Studies in Discourse and Society
    University of Minnesota

    ———- Forwarded message ———-
    From: U-Spatial
    Date: Mon, Mar 9, 2015 at 1:29 PM
    Subject: March Events from U-Spatial
    To: Justin

    Spatial Happenings on Campus | Click to open this email in your browser

    March Events from U-Spatial
    Spatial happenings at the University of Minnesota, March 2015

    University of Minnesota is Spatial: GIS and Mapping to Enhance Your Work

    Thursday, March 12th, 12:00 pm
    Kirby Plaza, Room 175, UMD Campus
    or streaming via UMConnect:

    Stacey Stark, MS, GISP, Director of the Geospatial Analysis Center (GAC) in the College of Liberal Arts at the University of Minnesota Duluth, will discuss the basics of geographic information systems (GIS) and spatial resources at UMN. She will demonstrate where and how geospatial data is being used infacilities and operations, student life, alumni relations, and other UMN campus activity. There will be a review of the available resources (data, tools, and expertise) and access to them at UMN.
    No background in GIS is necessary! Come to learn how maps and geographic data affect our everyday work lives.

    This Brown Bag session will be available on the P&A Senate website 24 hours after the presentation.

    Minnesota Geospatial Intelligence Information Office (MnGeo) Emergency Preparedness Committee Meeting

    Thursday, March 12th, 2:00 pm – 4:00 pm
    Learning and Environmental Sciences R350, St. Paul Campus
    or online via MyMeetings:

    This meeting is open to the public and will include a meet and greet, discussion, and tour of the Polar Geospatial Center, in addition to the regularly scheduled meeting agenda.

    Web Mapping 101: Creating Online Maps

    Wednesday, March 25th, 9:00 am – 12:00 pm
    Wilson Library, UMN West Bank
    Register Online

    This free 3-hour workshop introduces participants to creating online maps using Esri’s ArcGIS Online platform. Through a combination of presentations, demonstrations, and hands-on exercises, participants will learn the foundations of designing and sharing online maps. Topics covered include preparing data for use, accessing data on the web, working with thematic and reference maps, and creating and sharing well-designed online maps.

    SQL 101: Spatial Data Revealed

    Thursday, March 26th, 9:00 am – 12:00 pm
    Wilson Library, UMN West Bank
    Register Online

    We work with Geodatabases and shapefiles every day, but have you ever wondered about how the data is stored in a Geodatabase? Or did you know you can use SQL to perform spatial queries such as buffering, clipping, and measuring distances? This workshop will look under the hood of the Geodatabase to see how spatial data is stored and how to work with spatial data directly.

    This hands-on workshop will look at the different standards for storing spatial data (shapefiles, databases, and file formats) and will assess the advantages and disadvantages of each format. We will use SQL commands to query and visualize vector data. With this information you will be able to better manage and work with your spatial data.

    Note: This is an intermediate level course.

    GIS Networking and Career Fair

    Monday, March 30th, 11:00 am – 4:00 pm
    Mississippi Room, Coffman Union, UMN East Bank

    The goal of this career fair is to build a bridge between GIS/Geography students and employers around the region, granting the opportunity to network, exchange job opportunities and resumes, and share research and technologies being used in both the professional and academic worlds. Events will include speakers, vendor booths, a poster contest with prizes, free headshots, and one-on-one resume reviews.
    For more information, visit

    Changing Geography by Carl Steinitz

    Monday, March 30th, 6:00 pm
    100 Rapson Hall, UMN East Bank

    Geodesign has emerged as a new area of activity over the last decade, combining the analytical power of geographical analysis and geographical information systems (GIS) with the synthesizing power of urban design, landscape architecture, and planning. With applications across many fields, Geodesign also offers a way of bringing together disciplines to deal with the grand challenges we face on this planet. Carl Steinitz, a professor emeritus from Harvard, is the world’s leading Geodesign thinker and practitioner and the author of the major book in the field, “A Framework for Geodesign.” He will be speaking on the topic of GIS and design methodology applied to regional planning and development issues.

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