Monthly Archives: December 2012

Santa sightings

It seems appropriate that we leave you with something festive and fun before we take a break here at Cranfield University for Christmas and New Year. We’ve pooled together our mapping and data processing expertise and are proud to present you with The Unofficial Santa Sightings Map, 2012. The map takes its data from Twitter in the form of geotagged tweets posted over the past few days. It would appear Santa’s been doing a fair bit of travelling this week, with a surprising number of sightings as far north as the Highlands of Scotland.

A very merry Christmas and happy New Year to you all, see you in 2013.

Santa sightings, 2012

Santa sightings, 2012

LandIS – Cranfield’s unique Land Information System

Slide4Cranfield University is fortunate in having the responsibility for operating one of the largest land information systems of its kind in europe. The Land Information System ‘LandIS’ is recognised by the UK Government as the definitive source of national soils information. Its origins reach back as far as the 1930s, when the first systematic collection of soil information in both England and Wales was commenced with the data being gathered requiring storage and codifying.

LandIS enables national soil information to be used by a broad range of users to guide better management, protection and use of our environmental resources. The information LandIS contains forms a valuable base from which to develop interpretive GIS models in support of all land use sectors. Applications include land management, crop suitability, pollution transport, pesticide leaching, nitrate sensitivity, land use policy, soil quality and protection, erosion, contamination, land degradation, waste disposal and climate change impact. LandIS information is used by Crown users and their contractors, researchers and consultants. Access to the data is strongly encouraged from students and academics, and a number of arrangements are in place to provide free or preferential access to the data.

Significant developments in recent years have enabled the effective use of appropriate soil data by non-specialists in a variety of forms. These include the popular Soilscapes Viewer, which has become an established, well-tested resource, used by both the general public, as well as many levels of government as a means of accessing simplified soils data for given areas. The Soil Site Reporter offers, in parallel, more detailed information reports on the soils surrounding a particular site including interpretations for vulnerability to subsidence, flooding, pesticide leaching and runoff, texture, hydrological properties and chemical elements in topsoil. The Soils Guide provides interactive details of the soil types of England and Wales. Access also remains to the core thematic datasets for direct integration with other user’s modelling tools and data holdings.

Mobile mapping

TApple_Map_Luton_she competition in the field of mobile mapping is heating up! Today sees the launch of the Google Maps service back as an ‘app’ on the new iPhone 5 operating system. The Apple mapping app has come in for some stick in the press of late, and certainly some of the geolocations do need updating and correcting. We searched for nearby ‘Luton’ and it appears in Devon rather than Bedfordshire – these, and similar blips, are of course teething issues and hopefully will be dealt with swiftly.

Of course, with the opportunity to link services and to gain valuable user-preference information, there is a battle ongoing for providing the best mobile mapping – good news for us!

Cranfield to launch new MSc in Environmental Informatics – intake September 2013

Cranfield University is due to launch a new MSc in ‘Environmental Informatics’ from September 2013. ‘Big data’ is being constantly gathered by real-time sensors, data loggers, satellite and aerial remote observation platforms, machinery and simulation outputs, such as climate-change models. Spatio-temporal knowledge from this data is required to improve our understanding and management of environmental systems and new informatics techniques can help achieve this. However, the sheer volumes of such data challenge traditional methods for structuring, manipulating and outputting information for decision support. Environmental Informatics will teach key skills and techniques such as data mining, statistical interpretation, visualisation and predictive analytics for handling such ‘big data’.

Graduates of the Environmental Informatics MSc will possess the practical skills and capabilities necessary to manage and manipulate ‘big data’ and deliver online web services, providing access to effective information tailored to the management of environmental systems.

This course prepares you for a career in environmental informatics, nationally and internationally, and across a wide range of industry, government, consultancy, utility and research organisations, addressing issues such as climate change, flood risk assessment, tropical deforestation, transportation, smart navigation systems, disaster response management, recreation, property management and telecommunications.

Full and part-time students will gain skills and knowledge delivering significant business benefits to their employers, promoting progression to more senior future roles.

Blogging with maps II

What’s the best way to embed a map in a post? There are lots of choices available for sure! For this post on Cranfield University’s GeoThread blog, we’re trying out the Comprehensive Google Map Plugin. This provides a lot of the Google Maps API functionality as a simple WordPress plugin.