NOAA Height Modernization Program

Last year I wrote about how our datums are changing.  NOAA is working on recalibrating the nation’s elevation data as part of its update to the National Spatial Reference System, expected in 2022/23.  The height modernization program corrects local elevation data which has not been updated since 1988.  GPS and gravity mapping are being used to update elevation.  Continue reading

EarthSky Stargazing

EarthSky’s interactive map will help you find the perfect spot to celebrate the summer nights as you look skyword.  This resource tracks publicly accessible stargazing spots around the world.  The site gathers an impressive array of locations.  Visitors will find a world map with pins marking spots of interest.  Click on a pin to reveal an address, directions, and a brief description.  Do you have a favorite spot of your own that you want to share?  The “Recommend a Place” button brings you to a submission form.  Check it out!



GIS professionals are invited to take URISA on a test drive for the ‘better’ half of 2020.

Because membership dues are pro-rated according to the date of purchase, you can join now through June 30 at half-price and take advantage of member benefits for the rest of the year.

Consider individual or organization membership:

Take advantage of free and discounted education and training; professional development opportunities; and a welcoming community.

Check it out today:

Python Scripting for ArcGIS Pro

ESRI Press is releasing two a new books in July, titled Python Scripting for ArcGIS Pro and Advanced Python Scripting for ArcGIS Pro.

pythonscriptingl Python Series Ideas

Like the book before them written for ArcGIS Desktop (Python Scripting for ArcGIS), these books guide you through similar exercises using ArcGIS Pro.

The Python Scripting book guides you through using Python, step by step, and will teach you how to write scripts that work with spatial data in ArcGIS Pro.  You will learn to automate geoprocessing workflows, increasing efficiency and saving time.  Things you will learn include:

  • Set up a Python editor.
  • Automate geoprocessing tasks.
  • Explore and manipulate spatial and tabular data.
  • Work with geometries using cursors.
  • Work with rasters and map algebra.
  • Automate mapping tasks.
  • Handle debugging and errors.

After mastering what you learned in the Python Scripting book, you can take your scripting skills to the next level with the Advanced Python Scripting book.  This book teaches you how to work with Python toolboxes, create and share script tools, manage Python packages and environments, work with Jupyter Notebook, use ArcPy and ArcGIS API for Python, and much more.

Python Scripting for ArcGIS Pro comes in both print and e-book versions, 420 pages, $79.99 retail and about $52 on Amazon for pre-ordersAdvanced Python Scripting for ArcGIS Pro also comes in both print and e-book versions, 290 pages, $69.99 retail and the same on Amazon right now.

COVID-19 Trends for US Counties

While we slowly open up again, there is that looming possibility of a COVID-19 second wave.  Data analysts have been crunching the numbers to see if they can identify any signs of a pending resurgence.  Check out this interactive map that shows daily data by US Counties, which include trends, days since last new case, recent outbreaks, active cases per 100,000 people, mortality rate by trend, deaths per 100,000 people, deaths as % of total cases, and state summaries.


Forest Inventory & Analysis Factsheet

If you are interested in exploring forestry statistics in your home state, you might enjoy the Forestry Inventory & Analysis Factsheet.  The resource provides “a brief overview of forest resources in each state based on an inventory conducted by the FIA program in cooperation with each State forestry agency.”  Factsheets were created using data from the USDA Forest Service’s Forest Inventory and Analysis database.  To explore the data, toggle over the map and click on a state, or use the dropdown bar in the lower left-hand corner to select a state from the alphabetized list.  Check it out!


Weather Spark

Are you a weather fanatic?  If you don’t know about Weather Spark, you should check it out.  It is a wonderful website that offers detailed summaries of typical weather anywhere on Earth.  From the home page, you are invited to enter a location in the search bar or to choose among major cities, and you can also search via an interactive map (linked below the city list) or view a randomly selected place. Each location in Weather Spark’s database has a vast amount of information concisely presented through colorful graphics and text descriptions, including average temperatures, humidity, solar energy, and much more, with reports available for a yearly, monthly, or daily time frame. You can also compare the average weather for multiple locations simultaneously. Check it out!