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First Call: Training Course – QGIS For Biologists, September 2016

1 Aug
Training Course – An Introduction To Using QGIS In Biological Research
GIS In Ecology will be holding an introductory training course for those who wish to learn how to use the free, open-source GIS software QGIS (also known as Quantum GIS) in all aspects of biological research. The course will be held in Glasgow on the 19th and 20th of September 2016, and it will be taught by Dr Colin D. MacLeod, who has more than 15 years experience in using GIS for a wide variety of biological purposes.

This course is aimed at those just starting to use GIS in their research and who have little or no existing knowledge of this subject area, those who are looking for a free, open source GIS solution for their biological research, and at existing users of commercial GIS software, such as ArcGIS, who wish to learn how to do GIS using QGIS software.

The practical exercises on this course will be based on those in the recently published ‘GIS For Biologists: A Practical Introduction For Undergraduates’ by Dr MacLeod, and a free copy of this book will be provided to all participants.

Attendance will be limited to a maximum of 15 people, and the course will cost £295 per person (£200 for students, the unwaged and those working for registered charities). To book a place, or for more information, visit the course’s webpage ( or contact

To attend this course, you must bring your own laptop computer and have a working copy of QGIS 2.8.3 pre-installed on it. You can find information about how to get this version of QGIS by visiting At the end of the course, all attendees will receive a certificate of attendance and completion.

Glasgow has great transport links and is within half a days travel by car or by fast train links from most cities in the UK.  For example, it can be reached in as little as 4h 30mins from London by train. It can also be reached by direct flights from many European cities and the flight time is generally under four hours.

The course will be held in central Glasgow at the IET Glasgow Teacher Building (14 St Enoch Square, Glasgow, G1 4DB, UK).

Attendees will be responsible for their own accommodation. However, Glasgow provides a wide range of accommodation options to fit most budgets. 


Game of Life – Raster edition

11 Mar

The ‘Game of Life’ is an addictive little concept which can be used to explore the limits of what is alive and what isn’t through developing the connected concepts of cellular automatons and Artificial Life (AL). I’ve always been more of a fan of AL than AI (artificial intelligence), and thought that it had more to tell us about the world around us than AI ever could. It’s great to see that the ‘Game of Life’ (which, for those who might be interested, is loosely based on the ancient game of ‘Go’) can now be played in QGIS. I hope this inspires others to become interested in this somewhat neglected topic.

How to connect the Trimble R1 GNSS to your Windows 7 or Windows 8 tablet via Bluetooth

11 Mar

Connecting external positioning devices to your computer for data collection and retrieval can always be a bit tricky, but here’s some useful advice for Trimble users.

An unofficial guide on how to connect the Trimble R1 GNSS to your Windows 7 or Windows 8 tablet via Bluetooth.

The R1 GNSS will also provide high accuracy positions to :

  • Android 4.1x and later
  • Windows Embedded handheld 6.5
  • iPhone 6 Plus, iPhone 6
  • iPhone 5s, iPhone 5c, iPhone 5
  • iPad Air, iPad Air 2
  • iPad mini with Retina display
  • iPad (4th generation) • iPad mini

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Spatially Prioritizing Seafloor Mapping for Coastal and Marine Planning

11 Mar

This new book looks like it might be quite useful for those interested in marine spatial planning.

GIS and Science

Coastal ManagementCoastal Management, published online 13 February 2015

By Tim Battista and Kevin O’Brien

“Coastal and marine areas provide vital services to support the economic, cultural, recreational, and ecological needs of human communities, but sustaining these benefits necessitates a balance between growing and often competing uses and activities. Minimizing coastal zone conflict and reducing human-induced impacts to ecological resources requires access to consistent spatial information on the distribution and condition of marine resources. Seafloor mapping provides a detailed and reliable spatial template on the structure of the seafloor that has become a core data need for many resource management strategies. The absence of detailed maps of the seafloor hinders the effectiveness of priority setting in marine policy, regulatory processes, and marine stewardship.

Spatial prioritization results from Hot Spot Analysis. Spatial prioritization results from Hot Spot Analysis.

“For large management areas, the relatively high cost of seafloor mapping and limited management budgets requires careful spatial prioritization. In order…

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Introducing the New Esri Science Kit

11 Mar

This seems an interesting addition to the ERSI licence options for scientific ArcGIS-users.

GIS and Science

Also known as the Science Organization Site License, the new Esri Science Kit is designed to deliver easy access to the full suite of GIS technology to researchers.

As entities of universities or as standalone organizations, researchers at a small non-commercial, science organizations or research institutes are unique in that they not only conduct research, but may also coordinate diverse sectors (government agencies, NGOs, small businesses, etc.), build consensus among experts, and pay special attention to GIS project implementation, tool development, and technology transfer. These science organizations are typically much smaller than a university (e.g., 50 to 500 employees).

In terms of licensing of Esri technology, these science organizations may fall through the cracks (i.e., they may not be affiliated with a university, not truly a government agency, not truly a conservation or humanitarian non-profit, and if part of a university, may be located off-campus and thus have difficulties getting…

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Go2streetview plugin for QGIS

7 Mar

This is a third potentially useful plugin for QGIS , this time for working with information from Google Street View (amongst other things).


A very handy plugin for QGIS I use day to day is go2streetview by Enrico Ferreguti. The plugin adds an icon to the tool bar in QGIS and when selected I can click a road or street on a base map and a window will open that displays the Google Street or a Bing Maps Bird’s Eye view of the location. The camera’s direction and location is highlighted by a blue marker. I use the plugin when tracing boundaries of parks, open spaces and foot paths from aerial imagery. If the imagery is blurred or the view is obscured by trees, I click a point on a nearby street to see the location up close. The plugin works wherever Google Street view and Bing Birds Eye has coverage.

For example, in the screen-shot below notice there is a footpath leading to a bus shelter that’s not mapped by OpenStreetMap…

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Surface Temperature from Landsat Data: a New Lab Using the Semi-Automatic Classification Plugin

7 Mar

Here’s another potentially useful plugin for QGIS for working with remote sensing data, this time from Landsat.

A very detailed tutorial for deriving surface temperature from Landsat data using QGIS and Semi-Automatic Classification Plugin.

Source: From GIS to Remote Sensing: Surface Temperature from Landsat Data: a New Lab Using the Semi-Automatic Classification Plugin.

Download the tutorial pdf (link)

In a previous post I have illustrated how to estimate land surface temperature using Landsat images and the Semi-Automatic Classification Plugin.
I was very pleased when Katie Fankhauser, a graduate student at Portland State University, informed me that she was preparing a lab, inspired by that tutorial, about how to determine ground surface temperature using satellite imagery and my plugin.
The document that she prepared provides background information about remote sensing and Landsat imagery (such as conversion of Landsat images to TOA reflectance and brightness temperature), and describes all the required phases about:
– download of software and data;
– data processing and supervised…

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