Category Archives: Data sources

What if Google decides to discontinue Google Scholar?

Since Google discontinued Google reader I have always been wondering; what if they decide to stop with Google Scholar? If you are lucky enough to have access to an university library, you should be fine. But there are also a number of freely available alternatives. Just checking my bookmarks gave me gave me the list below. None of these tools have been able to convince me to abandon Google Scholar (to be completely fair, I haven’t tried them all out extensively), but at least if Google decides to kill of Scholar, I have somewhere else to go: Continue reading

New: Quantum map, a simplified QGIS version

An announcement on the QGIS mailing list about NIWA Quantum map made me curious. How is this going to differ from QGIS? As it turns out, NIWA Quantum map is basically QGIS with a simplified interface, i.e., it has some GIS functionality hidden or removed to be less confusing for users not familiar with GIS. They used the customization options to disable the editing functions, so users can enable that if required. I wonder though why they did not do the same with the analytical functions, rather then removing it all together.

It furthermore has a custom plugin added to provide easy access to a number of data layers for New Zealand. As these are WMS or WFS data sources, you can of course open them in QGIS too, or any WMS or WFS compatible software for that matter.

Poverty maps on HarvestChoice

Data on poverty levels, important for amongst others development study, yet very difficult to get. Sure, you can get global statistics from e.g., the FAO, Worldbank, here or here. But these give you highly aggregated data (mostly by country), not the sub-national level data often needed.

Luckily for those that need sub-national level data, HarvestChoice published in 2010 global sub-national poverty maps. The maps give the distribution of various poverty indices at sub-national level. More recently, Continue reading

Update of GADM datasets

It is always good to keep an eye on your data sources if you don’t want to miss out on new versions. Like the Global Administrative Areas database (GADM), which published version 2 of their data set earlier this year (I thought about revisiting their site after reading this post). A fairly relevant update with updated boundaries for e.g., Sudan.¬† and with level two administrative boundaries now available for most countries.

The files are available as shapefile, ESRI personal or file geodatase, Google earth .kmz file or R spatial polygon dataframe. If only they would make it available in spatialite format.. (I know, it is easy enough to import shapefiles into a Spatialite database, I am just being lazy).

 

Visualizing confidence in data on map: example of SoilWeb Mobile

See this post for a nice example how one can display the level of confidence in the data presented for a mapping unit on a map. The SoilWeb provides the distance from the nearest map unit polygon boundary. It gives the user a little more information that can be used to judge a relative degree of confidence in the returned soils data; Continue reading

Should you georeference your scientific data?

As Jeff Thurston writes in his blog, a strong case can be made for spatially enabling scientific research. This is especially true for biological / ecological research as biological processes occur across different scales. It certainly would make it that much easier to re-use or complement existing data. Not only would it facilitate collaboration amongst researchers, it would also help ‘end-users’ to find information that is relevant to them. Continue reading