Friday, July 18, 2014

Imagery Resources

Over the last ten years or so, there's been an explosion of imagery available to every day users. Free to use imagery has come from from Google Earth and Maps to the APIs to APIs available through other providers like Bing, Yahoo! and Apple. But perhaps one of the most interesting things, to me at least, is the availability of tools to manipulate and control your own imagery, and combine imagery from different sources. I thought I'd highlight a few here, not at all in an exhaustive way or in any particular order.

Map Knitter by Public Lab comes out of the mapping tools they developed, DIY balloon and kite mapping. But the tool would also be useful for those doing mapping with private drones, such as the Parrot Drones, any one of a number of other drones, or DIY drones. Public Lab also produces the Spectral Workbench for people to "Use a homemade spectrometer to scan different materials, and contribute to an open source database."

Of course I'd be remiss if I didn't mention Google's efforts to make imagery available through its new Google Maps for Business Imagery program. And Google Earth Engine which allows you to do "A planetary-scale platform for environmental data & analysis."

I've been playing around with PostGIS, an extension for PostGreSQL. PostGIS is probably the best relational database for vector data. A couple of years ago, they started a raster project. I've not seen any progress recently, but it's worth keeping an eye on.

And of course books have been written about GDAL, the Geospatial Data Abstraction Library. Powerful, with lots of scripts written for it. Definitely not for the faint of heart though. There's a great set of python scripts to do raster data manipulations.

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