Life as a grad stu­dent, as many of you already know, is a con­stant bat­tle with com­plet­ing assign­ments on time, keep­ing up the grades for future fund­ing oppor­tu­ni­ties and get­ting enough sleep. My first semes­ter in the Mas­ter of Spa­tial Analy­sis pro­gram is near­ing its end in what seems like the short­est semes­ter of school I’ve ever taken. Dur­ing this time I have had the plea­sure to strengthen some of my skills in the R lan­guage for sta­tis­ti­cal com­put­ing for the pur­pose of water qual­ity trend analy­sis (SA8904GIS Project Man­age­ment). This post will show how I have used R for water qual­ity trend analy­sis, using pub­li­caly avail­able data from the USGS (due to a NDA that pro­hibits me to share my school work).

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The Afghan War Diary, made avail­able by the Wik­ileaks group, is the dis­clo­sure of inter­nal US Mil­i­tary logs. Wik­ileaks has been known to release data that con­tains lat­i­tu­di­nal and lon­gi­tu­di­nal infor­ma­tion use­ful for spa­tial analy­sis. I’ve taken the lib­erty to map the some-76,000 mil­i­tary logs.

The mil­i­tary logs are a col­lec­tion of top secret clas­si­fied cor­re­spon­dences that detail var­i­ous mil­i­tary encoun­ters and sit­u­a­tional reports. Some of the most pop­u­lar head­ings in the log are: ene­mies killed/wounded in action, friend­lies killed/wounded in action and report­ing unit (squad/other).

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Work­ing with the Crime Sever­ity Index has been an inter­est­ing exer­cise. The data are avail­able through Sta­tis­tics Canada, which tracks police-reported crime sever­ity as well as the vol­ume of reported crimes. The Crime Sever­ity Index offers a sec­ondary mea­sure that helps us to under­stand more about the crimes com­mit­ted per Province. Gen­er­ally speak­ing, sever­ity of crime is not cor­re­lated with the vol­ume of crime com­mit­ted, but there are cer­tainly some out­liers. We inherit the inabil­ity to deter­mine whether or not these cor­re­la­tions actu­ally prove to be true when study­ing data aggre­gated to such a large (Provin­cial) extent. Con­tinue reading »


Not unlike other super­stores around the world, Costco’s pres­ence has had some­what of a pro­found impact on our con­sumeris­tic lives. The abil­ity to pur­chase goods at larger than nor­mal quan­ti­ties, some­times well below aver­age retail value, makes it an attrac­tive shop­ping expe­ri­ence. The first Costco opened in San Diego, Cal­i­for­nia, 1976. It’s growth shows wildfire-like spread through­out the United States west coast. It is only in the mid-to-late 90’s which show remark­able expan­sion of Costco loca­tions to cen­tral and east­ern United States.. Con­tinue reading »


Some­times we stum­ble upon inter­est­ing things and we don’t nec­es­sar­ily know how we should use what we have just found. A series of maps; snow cover in Canada was an inter­est­ing find but not really all that use­ful for any of my per­sonal projects. How­ever, I even­tu­ally came back to it when I real­ized that not all geo­vi­su­al­iza­tions occur within a GIS envi­ron­ment. Con­tinue reading »


There exists many meth­ods for geo­vi­su­al­iza­tion of spa­tial phe­nom­ena. As talked about a few weeks ago, pop­u­la­tion den­sity can be mapped out using car­tograms, or by other more clas­si­cal meth­ods, such as the chloro­pleth and dot den­sity tech­niques. Another method is shown below, whereby pop­u­la­tion den­sity is explored as a 3-dimensional poly­gon extru­sion. This has been com­pleted using Arc­Globe with ESRI basic world population-by-state data. Have a look at the video below! Con­tinue reading »


Open, free and pub­lic. Three terms, which when appear­ing before the word “GIS” make geo­g­ra­phers feel all warm and fuzzy (I think?). Geospa­tial data can be very costly, but free alter­na­tives may be suit­able, if not as use­ful, as their expen­sive coun­ter­parts. There­fore, its worth­while know­ing what data is avail­able for pub­lic con­sump­tion. I have com­piled a list of the open GIS data resources that I fre­quently make use of in my per­sonal projects. Hope­fully they become as use­ful to you, as they are to me. Con­tinue reading »


A week was spent in Mon­tréal, win­ing, din­ing and explor­ing both old and new. While there, Heather and I had the oppor­tu­nity to do some geo­caching. Not only was this a new expe­ri­ence for Heather, it was also the first time I had been out geo­caching in almost 10 years. Only now do I remem­ber how frus­trat­ing it can be when you can’t find any of the geo­caches you have set out to look for. Heather and I man­aged to locate 1 of 7 geo­caches dur­ing our trip and we took plea­sure out of find­ing it in the mid­dle of a con­crete jun­gle. Con­tinue reading »


Open FlightsAfter hav­ing seen the many iter­a­tions of the global con­nec­tiv­ity map, I have decided to give it a try myself. The maps are being pro­duced using this data, which offers pub­lic air-traffic data in tab­u­lar for­mat. The data is avail­able in three cat­e­gories: air­ports, air­lines and routes. The air­ports and routes data can be manip­u­lated, com­bined and cleaned-up to cre­ate a com­pli­men­tary table that lists the lon­gi­tude and lat­i­tude of each flights ori­gin and des­ti­na­tion. This allows us to con­nect each flight ori­gin and des­ti­na­tion. How­ever, straight lines of Con­tinue reading »


As our trip to Mon­tréal nears, Heather (my girl­friend) and I have been stu­diously keep­ing track of the places that we would like to explore. One thing is for sure, we are going to be more than pre­pared because we are using google fusion tables. May it be a raved about restau­rant or a gro­cery store that is clos­est to our hotel, we have every place of inter­est acces­si­ble online as a map or in tab­u­lar for­mat. Con­tinue reading »