A new business looks for site specific information as it considers a move to rural Oregon. A community leader facilitates a discussion of a controversial natural resources issue with imagery and habitat data for the area in question. The need for timely, high quality, spatial datasets and imagery is growing every day. But identifying where these are located can be time consuming. And, because they are usually very large, distributing them can be cumbersome. There is often an unnecessary duplication of effort in the process. At the root of the solution to these problems is the creation of basic imagery data (and metadata) that adhere to a common standard upon which organizations can build by adding their own detailed datasets throughout the state, and a reliable tool, accessible 24/7, which allows users anywhere in the state to select an area of interest, compress the data and metadata associated with it, and send it for use in another application – a tool to “clip, zip, and ship” for later use.
The Oregon Imagery Explorer (along with the Oregon Spatial Data Library mentioned last month) is intended to be part of this solution. Launched in October 2007, its development is part of a collaboration with the Oregon Geospatial Enterprise Office (GEO) and their GIS Utility Initiative, navigatOR.
Everyone from the local GIS officer to the local citizen can use the Oregon Imagery Explorer. If that person is you, begin by selecting the link to “view/download imagery” and follow the steps. Currently the 2005 National Agriculture Imagery Program (NAIP) high resolution (0.5 meter) color aerial photography is available for the entire state and in the spring of 2010 the NAIP data for 2009 will also be available.
To view the NAIP imagery, first launch the “Image Viewing and Extraction Tool.” You will see an interactive map containing images that are available for viewing and downloading. Locate an area of interest by panning, zooming, or searching for a specified location. If you would like to extract only part of the image, draw a clip rectangle defining the region to be extracted. Once you have placed your first “order” for imagery, your settings such as output format and projection will be remembered for future orders if requested. Tutorials are available at http://oregonexplorer.info/imagery/about/about.aspx?Res=17225.
Making this data available via the Web eliminates the need for duplicate acquisition, storage, and distribution efforts, thus saving taxpayer dollars. The broad functionality of this public tool provides advantages for users. As available datasets the Oregon Spatial Data Library grow in number, so too will the value added from the imagery explorer.
For the natural resource professional with GIS experience, the new Oregon Spatial Data Library will provide a convenient way to find, access, and share geospatial data. It includes all available statewide “framework” data. These serve as “base data” for a variety of Geographic Information System (GIS) applications. Framework datasets include administrative boundaries, transportation, land use and ownership, water, hazards, and wetlands. Currently, more than 200 datasets can be accessed and downloaded from the Oregon Spatial Data Library.
- Users can select an area of interest from a map or by a location, select that area from the database, compress images for efficient transfer, and electronically transfer the files.
- Oregon Hazards Data is currently “featured” on the site. And from there, users can link to the Hazards Reporter tool and create reports of known hazards in specific areas.
The site, launched in November, is a partnership between Oregon State University Libraries, Institute for Natural Resources, and the Oregon Department of Administrative Services Geospatial Enterprise Office (DAS-GEO). University of Oregon Libraries is also a collaborator, and will contribute additional geospatial datasets to the Oregon Spatial Data Library.
More on this at a later date, but if you need to locate spatial data for Oregon — give it a try at http://spatialdata.oregonexplorer.info. But this begs the question: Does the Oregon Explorer offer anything for a spatial data novice, like me? Yes — mapping tools!
Mapping and other tools are associated with each Explorer site. For now, let me just introduce you to the one you will find on the Oregon Explorer under “Maps.”
As a novice, one option I have is to investigate some ready-made mapping options (where a subject such as fish passage or water quality is predefined). I need only indicate where to map. The next option I have is the basic maps tool. This lets me pick and choose from predefined information layers (e.g. Land Ownership & Coho Salmon, counties, etc.). In both cases:
- I pick an address or place name OR select all of Oregon and then
- I view my map, decide if I want to add something else (a highway overlay; a topo map background) and then click on “create PDF” and “email” to myself or someone else.
If I want additional options, I can use the advanced mapping tool or use the link to a short mapping tools tutorial that will make me feel comfortable with mapping terminology and the use of the specifics of the advanced tool.
You can’t break the mapping tool, so use it and/or show it to others!