Posts in category GIScience

December 29th, 2010

My work at the University of Luxembourg focuses on developing a residential model utilizing economic theory for agent location. Agents locate depending on many internal (family) and external (environment) factors. An import consideration for any household is a location’s accessibility to public (train station) and private (shopping) services and work. In order to determine the accessibility of a location you must determine the distance, time and/or cost of reaching all desirable locations.


November 5th, 2010

Joining data in ArcGIS is a fundamental task for analysis. It allows database type joining operations in a versatile and simple manner. This process can however fail inexplicably, or so it seems, causing great frustration and anger.

March 17th, 2010

Network Analyst is a fun package to explore. It allows the calculation of much more meaningful distances than a buffer can accomplish. Of course with more power and potential comes more difficulty/buggyness and errors to be encountered. I was using ArcGIS’s Network Analyst (NA) extension to calculate the distance from residential blocks to various amenities using the ‘Find Closest Facility’ method. I was encountering significantly high failure rates – 90 percent of the blocks failed to find a facility.


March 17th, 2010

I had mentioned my desire to revamp the map I made in 2003 regarding Olympics bidding and hosting world distribution. I found my old files and updated the data using They have more precise information than

I expected it to be easy to greatly improve the design but found it actually rather difficult. The map does not have a large amount of information – especially in Africa which is in the centre of the map. It looks quite bare. The original had too much contrast so I darkened the oceans and countries who have never bid for an Olympic. I debated between lightening up the whole map but chose to stick with the pastel colour scheme. Using a colour matrix requires the difference between colours to be clearly visible. Besides thickening some lines and nudging elements around I also updated the map to contain the bidding and hosting information from 2008-2016. I did’nt feel there was too much I could do. Here is the updated Olympics Distribution Map.

(Very large size is available as well)

February 11th, 2010

olympic distribution map

In my last year at the University of Victoria I completed a thematic map for a cartography course with Peter Keller. It was definitely one of the courses I most enjoyed in my degree. The course looked heavily at concepts from Edward Tufte’s The Visual Display of Quantitative Information and Mark Monmonnier’s How to Lie with Maps.

For my final project I made a map of the world distribution of Olympic games as well as the finalists vying for the games. The age of the map is quite apparent since as of 2010 it omits Vancouver 2010, London 2012, Sochi 2014 in Russia, and Rio 2016 as well as the associated bids.

Looking back at it now I’m tempted to make changes. It looks so lifeless and sparse. I was quite proud of this map at the time in 2003 and actually won a prize by the Canadian Cartographic Association.

February 1st, 2010

drastic interface

As part of my research project for the Canadian Water Network (CWN) I developed an SVG/JavaScript application that introduced people to some of the factors that can determine groundwater vulnerability to contamination. Following an explanation of what the factors are and how they are weighed, the site presents the Town of Greater Oliver in an interactive ‘layer’ map.

As part of my Masters research this interface was originally heavily embedded in JavaScript to track user behaviour – duration of use, mouse movement, and button clicks/location. The results of the research were inconclusive due to the superfluous manner in which the participants, first year geography students, completed the exercises. Perhaps the interface is partially responsible – but without further testing we will never know. Give drastic a try.

January 11th, 2010

One of the most satisfying activities when using a GIS is using your own data. Typically this is in the form of lat/long coordinates from a map or a GPS unit. The next step is to import the GPS data/coordinates into ArcGIS: