Wednesday, July 10, 2013

The End or A New Beginning

Dear Blog Readers,

We regret to inform you that the Iowa GIS Service Bureau Blog will be discontinued.  Due to lack of funding, the Iowa GIS Service Bureau is unfortunately going to have to close the door on this chapter of Iowa's GIS service.  It's been fun, we have enjoyed promoting GIS (and metadata) to state and county agencies!

Don't worry we are still around. Evan is coordinating GIS at a city in the Des Moines area.  Amy is an employee of the ISU GIS Facility.

Do not fret, we may be cooking up a new GIS blog soon.  Check back soon for details.

So long, farewell!

Thursday, May 23, 2013

High Resolution Land Cover!

Looking for an Iowa landcover layer to improve your analysis?  How about a one meter resolution landcover layer with 15 unique classes?   The Iowa DNR is currently developing a statewide high resolution landcover layer that is partially available for download on the the Iowa DNR GIS Library.  Below is a sample image of the data.
The layer identifies corn, soybeans, grass, coniferous forests, structures, and other identifiable landcover. About half the state is complete and available for download.  All counties colored yellow in the below map are completed and available.  In the DNR GIS Library navigate to the county folder of interest and download the file beginning with "HRLC_2009".  The legend will give you a general idea if your portion of the state is close to complete. 

If you have any need for a landcover information, download a county and test it out.  It might prove pretty useful! 

Friday, May 17, 2013

Viewing Almost 30 Years of Change!

Landuse change is usually important, sometimes interesting, and often just plain cool!  There have been a number of Internet articles lately touting Google's Earth Engine.  It highlights large scale examples of landuse change using timelapse Landsat imagery.  One of the publicied examples (seen below) shows how irrigation can change a desert landscape into an agricultural landscape.
The resolution of Landsat imagery isn't great, but you can view imagery for anywhere in the world from 1984 to 2012.  To see urban sprawl in Iowa, a great example is the west side of the Des Moines metro area.  Below you can see the westward expansion from 1984 to 2012.
Check it out!

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

ESRI's Community Basemap now includes Iowa State University

This spring members of the Iowa State University campus worked to create a detailed map of their campus for inclusion in ESRI's Community Basemap (World Topographic Map). A lot of effort was invested to create an accurate representation of the campus.  Not only were buildings, streets, and important landmarks such as the Campanile and Lake Laverne identified, finer details like trees, shrubs, and fencing were also included. As you will see from the pictures below, this was quite an extensive effort! (Click on each picture for more detail.)

This map shows where Iowa State University is located within Ames, Iowa (the purple areas in the center).

As you can see there is an incredible amount of detail, this shot is of Central Campus, notice the trees and fencing details.
Here is a view of Jack Trice Stadium and Reiman Gardens - notice the detail in parking stalls, garden pathways, and landscaping.

To view it for yourself, follow this link: and then type Ames, Iowa into the search bar on the top right corner of the screen.

Monday, May 6, 2013

Helpful Materials for Making Metadata in ArcMap

Have you had issues transferring metadata from ArcMap 9.X to 10? The Central Florida GIS Workshop has some useful tutorials and discussion for creating metadata in ArcMap 10x. They discuss how to create metadata from scratch as well as how to edit previous versions of metadata from ArcMap 9.3, etc.
I think these tutorials will be especially helpful for those people that tell to me that they can no longer see any of their metadata since they upgrade to ArcMap 10x.  These tutorials will help you see the metadata again (it's a matter of turning on the right settings) and learn how to edit that metadata further. They also provide details on how to create metadata from scratch using ArcMap 10 as well as information about the EPA Metadata Editor.   Follow this link to view the training materials.

And as always...don't duck the metadata!

Thursday, May 2, 2013

Caution Karst Below!

Sinkholes have been a hot topic in the news recently, click here for a story from Illinois.  Did you know we have them here in Iowa?  They're actually quite common in northeast Iowa and stretch down to southeast Iowa.

Photograph from Northeast Iowa RC&D website:

Sinkholes commonly form when the earth beneath the surface erodes away forming a gap that the surface can slowly recede or quickly collapse into.  Because they are an easy path for water to drain from the surface, the Iowa Department of Natural Resources maps sinkholes in Iowa to protect groundwater from high levels of manure contamination, investigate how chemical runoff can affect ground water, and to better understand the geology of Iowa.
The image above uses DNR data to show areas with sinkhole potential in Iowa.  Area identified as green is within 1000 feet of a known sinkhole, and the blue shows area greater than 1000 feet but less than a mile from a known sinkhole or an area with carbonate bedrock close to the surface.

The layers are available in the DNR GIS Library if you want to examine them yourself (Potential Karst, Current and Historic Sinkhole Points, Current Sinkhole Polygons.)

Is your home near a sinkhole?

Monday, April 22, 2013

Time to check in - How are you doing on the metadata resolution?

We are almost one third of the way through 2013.  How are doing on your metadata resolution?

What were your goals for the year?

Mine were:

On the first goal, I am doing okay...I've done about 50 records so far this year. Each record requires some tweaking - adding titles and links. My goal for this next third of the year is to do 10 records each week for the next ten weeks and then re-evaluate.  I might also try to get some help on this task.  If you are interested let me know...I would like to have a fun event with pizza.....and metadata!

On my second goal, the blog posts haven't been keeping up with our progress.  But the great thing is we are only one third of the way through the year so I can do better.  Some good metadata topics that will be coming your way include a review of the new USGS Metadata Wizard Tool, discussion of EME 2.0 release (EPA Metadata Editor), as well as some news stories about metadata progress in Iowa, perhaps a metadata joke or two, and tricks and tips for writing metadata using different tools.