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Esri Geodatabase Archive Updated

James Fee's Blog - Tue, 2015-08-25 16:43

Something I started in 20061 is still widely used.  I created it originally as I was trying to create ArcGIS 9.1 Personal Geodatabases with ArcGIS 9.2.  It wasn’t possible then to create older Geodatabases but Esri eventually added in functionality to create older versions.  The reason we need these is that you can use older Geodatases in newer versions of ArcGIS but not the other way around.  So if you are on ArcGIS 10.2 and your client is on ArcGIS 9.3, you’ll have a problem sharing data.  But if you have a 9.3 version Geodatabase, then you can save your data to that version and share away.

I like this archive because each one of these Geodatabases was created with that version of the software.  They will work perfectly since they are natively created. So next time you need to have a 8.3 Geodatabase2, you’ll have a native Geodatabase to work with.  Bookmark and use!

Special thanks to @GIS_katie for providing the updated blank ArcGIS 10.3 File and Personal Geodatabases.

  1. Take a look at the url to see what it was originally about

  2. You totally know that day will come

Google Map Maker is Officially Back in the USA

James Fee's Blog - Tue, 2015-08-25 14:32

Well good news for those who want to help a down on its luck company like Google update their maps.

Google Map Maker, the tool which allows anyone around the world to contribute information to Google’s worldwide map, has re-opened in 45 countries after going live again in 6 countries two weeks ago. The product was temporarily shut down in May after it was discovered that some nefarious edits to the map, like geographic polygons shaped to depict an Android peeing on what is ostensibly an Apple logo, were being approved.

If you want to help Google, just go to Google Map Maker and start editing.  Just know your edits will get locked up and used to make a ton of money.  Here in the USA you can’t create polygons yet but I suppose that will be back soon.

Google Maps Gets Lost in Photos

James Fee's Blog - Tue, 2015-08-25 10:00

Look I love iOS but I still use Google Maps as much as possible because it works better than any other mapping service out there.  But I’m beginning to wonder what Google is thinking by adding some new features.

Now Google is looking to capitalize on this ongoing trend with a new feature in Google Maps that encourages users to share their “foodie pics” with others by posting the photo to Google Maps itself.

It could be that I live in a car town and navigation is the reason I use Google Maps but the idea that I would use my mapping app to take pictures of food is a bit out there.  I mean don’t they have their own social media network to handle this?  Oh right

VIDEO: 'Dangerous' whale rescue takes two days

BBC Science/Nature - Tue, 2015-08-25 08:48
A team of marine life rescuers spend two days in freezing Icelandic waters to free a whale that had become entangled in fishing gear.
Categories: NEWS

How a tiny backpack could solve the mystery of mass bee deaths

BBC Science/Nature - Mon, 2015-08-24 23:25
This could be how to solve the mystery of mass bee deaths
Categories: NEWS

AAA’s TripTik Still a Thing

James Fee's Blog - Mon, 2015-08-24 21:00

It’s always interesting to hear about the latest mobile mapping apps but I thought this was interesting.

Its signature TripTik is still going strong, the auto club says, even in the age of in-dash GPS and Google Maps. The TripTiks come free with AAA membership.

AAA is not only still making TripTiks but they are still giving them out free.  Given the article doesn’t give ages but they sound from the older generation.  TripTik is still around but it’s day is numbered.

ArcGIS Server Revisited

James Fee's Blog - Mon, 2015-08-24 16:59

Legacy GIS SystemWe were talking this weekend about how much serving up GIS data has changed in the past 3 years.  GIS Server used to be so important to many of my friends companies to the point they spent tens of thousands of dollars on it a year.  But no longer, each one said that they stopped paying for server because they all use other options.  Now before I go on, I want to say this isn’t about sales data of Esri products.  It’s more about changes in how people are sharing spatial data.  Feel free to replace ArcGIS Server with your favorite GIS server package1.

I gave a talk years ago about something we did at the GNOCDC mapping recovery from Hurricane Katrina.  You can see the slide deck here and watch the video here.  Basically it was the seeds of what we are going through right now.  It wasn’t that what we were doing back there was very unique, it was just a realization that GIS can’t be hosting “enterprise” data in a “workgroup” environment.  Just like Katrina basically broke the GNOCDC GIS servers, it has become clear that there is almost no way for an organization to use classic GIS servers without putting a lot of load balancing and networking decisions in front of them.

For most companies this is just way too much infrastructure and licensing costs.  We’ve seen the rise of CartoDB, Mapbox and ArcGIS Online2.  Each has pluses and minuses and while there is overlap, they all do things unique to themselves.  But what the big attraction for each is that you don’t have to manage the constellation yourself.

The biggest drawback each said was the unknown in licensing.  Most hosted GIS plans are costed in ways that GIS people aren’t familiar with.  Mapviews?  Nobody has analytics on that until you put it in these services.  100,000 map views sounds huge doesn’t it?  But how do you really know?  Service credits?  We’ve wondered what that even means for years.  But I’d wager beers that even with the unknown, you’ll still save money over your ArcGIS Server license or other maintenance you pay for hosting your own GIS server.

We’re at a crossroads here.  People have begun to start realizing standing up ArcGIS Server, Geoserver or other map servers makes little to no sense in the new marketplace.  Paying for hosting maps is cheaper in the long run, has more availability and is easier to use that classic self hosted mapping solutions.  ArcGIS Online for all it’s confusion is beginning to be leveraged by users and everyone I knew at the Esri UC knows what CartoDB and Mapbox do.  Back in the old days of WeoGeo, we had to prove what we know now every day.  The cost of “doing it yourself” is magnitudes higher than paying for hosting.

Tide is changing…

  1. title is a bit of SEO, right?  Heck I’m not even talking about ArcGIS Server in this post.

  2. or whatever it is called these days

Increasingly Severe Disturbances Weaken World's Temperate Forests

USGS News - Mon, 2015-08-24 13:00
Summary: A new paper published today in Science magazine has synthesized existing studies on the health of temperate forests across the globe and found a sobering diagnosis

Contact Information:

Carlos Milán, USFS ( Phone: 510-883-8855 ); Paul Laustsen, USGS ( Phone: 650-329-4046 );



Drought- and bark-beetle-induced mortality in high- elevation whitebark pine (Pinus albicaulis) forests, northern Warner Mountains (Drake Peak), Oregon. (High resolution image)

SEQUOIA AND KINGS CANYON, Calif. — A new paper published today in Science magazine has synthesized existing studies on the health of temperate forests across the globe and found a sobering diagnosis. Longer, more severe, and hotter droughts and a myriad of other threats, including diseases and more extensive and severe wildfires, are threatening some of these forests with transformation. Without informed management, some forests could convert to shrublands or grasslands within the coming decades.

“While we have been trying to manage for resilience of 20th century conditions, we realize now that we must prepare for transformations and attempt to ease these conversions,” said Constance Millar, lead author and forest ecologist with the USDA Forest Service’s Pacific Southwest Research Station.

Many forests are remarkably resilient, re-growing after years of logging. Yet, the researchers note from review of the enormous body of work on the subject, climate change and rising global temperatures are giving rise to “hotter” droughts — droughts that exhibit a level of severity beyond that witnessed in the past century. During a hotter drought, high air temperatures overheat leaves and also increase the stress on trees by drawing the moisture from their tissues at faster rates than normal. Snow that would normally act as emergency water storage for trees during the dry season instead falls as rain. 

Combined, these factors may cause abnormally high levels of forest mortality during hotter droughts.

“Some temperate forests already appear to be showing chronic effects of warming temperatures, such as slow increases in tree deaths,” said Nathan Stephenson, coauthor and ecologist with the U.S. Geological Survey. “But the emergence of megadisturbances, forest diebacks beyond the range of what we’ve normally seen over the last century, could be a game-changer for how we plan for the future.”

Chronic stress from drought and warming temperatures also expose temperate forests to insect and disease outbreaks. And as temperatures rise in many regions, fires grow in frequency and severity causing losses in private property, natural resources and lives.

Losing temperate forests to worsening droughts, megafires and insect and disease outbreaks could lead to widespread losses of forest ecosystem services like national park recreational areas, the researchers caution. Forests also play an important role in storing atmospheric carbon dioxide and watershed protection, for example. The scientists encourage future studies identifying forests most vulnerable to the effects of mega-disturbances. In some cases, forest managers may be able to preserve ecosystem services like carbon storage as temperate forests transition to new ecological states.

The paper “Temperate Forest Health in an Era of Emerging Megadisturbance” was released in the journal Science. 

The Forest Service Pacific Southwest Research Station, headquartered in Albany, Calif., develops and communicates science needed to sustain forest ecosystems and other benefits to society. It has research facilities in California, Hawaii and the U.S.-affiliated Pacific Islands. 

VIDEO: Exploring England's coastal wildlife

BBC Science/Nature - Mon, 2015-08-24 01:01
Wildlife in the British countryside has been exhaustively catalogued, but the same is not true for wildlife off the coast.
Categories: NEWS

VIDEO: The highs and lows of BBC weather forecasts

BBC Science/Nature - Sun, 2015-08-23 06:51
As the Met Office loses the contract to provide data for the BBC it has held since 1922, we look back at the art of delivering the weather forecast.
Categories: NEWS

Hangouts with James Fee Season 4 is Arriving Soon. I Need Your Help!

James Fee's Blog - Fri, 2015-08-21 14:15

Since I’ve decided to break Hangouts with James Fee into Spring and Fall “seasons”1 the summer has been left to swimming and vacations.  But with Fall around the corner 2 it’s time to get serious about scheduling the next batch of hangouts.  I asked for feedback from people last season and it was a great help.  For the fall though I’d love to interview people who haven’t been on the show before or are not as well-known.  If you can email me with suggestions (heck include yourself if you want) I’d really appreciate it.  My favorite Hangout from last spring was with Lyzi Diamond and I’d love to have more like that.

  1. sounds official doesn’t it?

  2. temps in Tempe have dropped back down below 110F

'Oldest' message in a bottle found

BBC Science/Nature - Fri, 2015-08-21 11:40
A message in a bottle that washed up more than 108 years after it was thrown into the sea may be the world's oldest, a marine association says.
Categories: NEWS
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