Bird’s Eye View is a full service GIS shop located in Albuquerque, New Mexico. We serve conservation and community organizations worldwide.

We help people communicate their ideas and data with engaging and powerful maps, offering  everything from basic cartography to web based applications.

Connect
Twitter Feed
Friday
Aug222014

FOSS4G Academy Launched

For the first time there is a complete GIS curriculum based on free and open source (FOSS4G) software! Better yet the material are freely available to everyone. The curriculum consists of five courses:

  • GST 101 – Introduction to Geospatial Technology
  • GST 102 – Spatial Analysis
  • GST 103 – Data Acquisition and Management
  • GST 104 – Cartography
  • GST 105 – Remote Sensing

Examples of FOSS4G Academy QGIS Labs

The courses were developed via the National Information Security and Geospatial Technologies Consortium (NISGTC), under the leadership of Phil Davis (Del Mar College). Kurt Menke (Bird’s Eye View), and Dr. Richard Smith (Texas A & M – Corpus Christi), authored the material which includes: theory, lecture, labs, data and task oriented video tutorials for each lab exercise.

The courses are aligned with the Department of Labors Geospatial Technology Competency Model (GTCM). The GTCM  was published in 2010 and will be revised in 2015. It describes the complete set of knowledge, skills, and abilities required by GIS professionals. It is designed around a hierarchical tiered model of knowledge and promotes use of open source technology.

 Geospatial Technology Competency Model

QGIS is the featured software for all courses. When appropriate other FOSS software’s are also included such as GRASS and InkScape.

The vast majority of US based colleges and universities use a single vendor’s proprietary GIS software, making this series of courses very unique. In fact it is the first national attempt at a completely open source GIS curriculum. By their very nature of open source software, there is no marketing engine promoting them. This has slowed the adoption and overall use of open source GIS. One hope is that this material will entice people to learn about FOSS4G. Bird's Eye View will be offering instructor led online versions of these courses in the near future.

The targeted audience is broad and includes:

  • Secondary school educators and students
  • Two and four year college educators and students
  • Students in need of GIS skills
  • Workers seeking to broaden technology skills
  • Anyone desiring QGIS and open source knowledge and skills

 

FOSS4G Academy

The courses are available online at the FOSS4G Academy. Over 2,500 students have already enrolled for these courses demonstrating how in demand these materials are. Visit the FOSS4G Academy now and explore the material!

Monday
Jun232014

Announcement: New Community Health Mapping Blog

Community Health Maps - Information on Low Cost Mapping Tools for Community-based Organizations

Kurt Menke, of Bird's Eye View, is contributing to a new FOSS4G related National Library of Medicine blog: Community Health Maps. The goal of the blog is to provide information about low cost mapping tools that can be used by community based public health organizations.  Perhaps you’ve seen the potential uses of mapping in public health, but are overwhelmed by the technology and/or simply too busy to pursue it.  I hope this blog will facilitate the use of GIS mapping for those that fall into this category.  I also hope to support those already engaged in mapping and enhance their community mapping initiatives, even if they may be using other tools.  The blog will be a mixture of mapping apps/software reviews, best practices, and the experiences of those who have successfully implemented a mapping workflow as part of their work. Training materials developed in 2013 are also available.

Monday
Mar102014

TrekWest Corridor Meeting

The Wildlands Network and friends met this last week in Salt Lake City to discuss TrekWest year 2. We were graciously hosted by Black Diamond Equipment. There were about 30 of us from 19 different organizations along the Western Wildway, aka the Spine of the Continent. John Davis was there to share his thoughts on his 10 month human powered journey to promote wildlife corridors. The focus was on protecting wildlife corridors. Stay tuned! 

TrekWest Meeting at Black Diamond Headquarters
The TrekWest crew meeting at Black Diamond Headquarters

TrekWest Priority Corridors

 

Friday
Jan032014

2013 Year End Recap

The summer and fall went by so quickly! Unfortunately this blog necessarily took a backseat to the actual work. Thankfully the holidays have given me time to reflect on 2013. Professionally it was a fantastic year filled with great projects. Below are some of the highlights, in no particular order.  

  •  ~400 maps produced
  • Modeled potential and suitable beaver habitat in New Mexico
  • Traveled to Seattle, WA and Honolulu, HI to train people in an open source data collection workflow
  • Taught the 5th installment of the Introduction to Open Source Software and Web Mapping at CNM...the best one yet!
  • Attending FOSS4G NA in Minneapolis, MN
  • Supporting the Wildlands Networks TrekWest with route maps
  • Applied GIS to a wide variety of topics: wildfire, wildlife habitat protection, public health, wilderness proposals, travel management analysis, water rights, industrial noise, and parcel mapping.

 Suitable Beaver Habitat

 

A tour of the Moana Lo'i (tarot field) and native Hawaiian permaculture


TrekWest Route map

Monday
May272013

FOSS4G-NA 2013

I just returned from my favorite conference, The North American conference on Free and Open Source Software for Geospatial (FOSS4G-NA). I know it's a mouthful. But it's a gathering of the brightest FOSS4G developers (aka geeks), and has a friendly atmosphere of collaboration and openness.  It covered two and a half days and included: pre-conference workshops, multiple plenary sessions, five concurrent paper sessions, lightning talks, code sprints, a Gala Event, panel sessions, and birds of a feather sessions. It was my first time in Minneapolis since the inaugural 2003 Mapserver Users Meeting and it was nice being back. 

One day standing in line for lunch I met two guys who were also in attendance 10 years ago, but we'd never met before. It was the guy in front of me and the guy directly behind me. We ended up eating together. What are the odds of that? It's those little moments of connection that make these events so much fun.

This year I noticed an even more distinct focus on web mapping technologies, and web development, than usual. With QGIS 2.0 just about to release it would have been great to hear a state of QGIS talk. I'd also really appreciate more sessions on spatial analysis. Maybe I'll need to sign up for one next time. After all there is more to geospatial than web development.

The opening plenary was one of the highlights. Erek Dyskant covered use of FOSS4G technologies behind the Democratic National Committee's recent presidential campaign. A stack of FOSS4G software was developed including PostGIS, QGIS and web services. This stack allowed access to current campaign related data in near real time to all nationwide staff. Field offices were then in a great position to prioritize door knocking and calling campaign, and maximize resources.

Another session of note had an educational focus with papers titled: The New Users, Adapting Web Mapping Curriculum to Open Source Technologies, and Building a Geospatially Competent Workforce with FOSS4G. This was especially interesting for me as I strive to keep my Introduction to Open Source GIS and Web Mapping course current in a rapidly changing field. I also heard valuable updates on MapServer, GeoServer, MapBox, OpenGeo, GDAL/OGR, Leaflet and OpenLayers 3.

Steve Lime and Daniel Morissette answering questions about MapServer

The final session was a panel discussion on the use of FOSS4G in state and local governments. It was an interesting frank discussion. On one side it was about the political and bureaucratic hurdles in the way of organizations adopting FOSS4G. On the other were success stories of FOSS4G being utilized in state governments.

The Gala was held at the Mill City Museum in the ruins of the Gold Medal Flour mill on the Mississippi River. A gorgeous site. Seeing voluminous water is a treat coming from drought stricken New Mexico.

The ruins of the old Gold Medal Flour Mill

The view of the Mississippi River from the 8th floor of the old mill.

Plus I met a bunch of new folks! Kudos to the organizers for putting on another great show. It was a great conference!

************************************************************

END NOTE: If you're a geo-geek and into exercise you've got to get a Suunto Ambit. Here is the data from my walk back to the conference hotel from the Gala Event. I wasn't wearing my heart rate monitor, but it still collects elevation, barometric pressure, GPS, elevation, speed, temperature etc., and allows export to KML. Oh and you can navigate with it and it has a compass. 

My walk back to the hotel from the Gala event recorded with my Suunto Ambit GPS watch

 

Sunday
Apr282013

Low Cost Tools for Mapping Community Public Health

The past week was spent conducting training sessions on how to use a low cost workflow for public health mapping in minority communities. Trainings were conducted at two sites. The first site was the Urban Indian Health Institute in Seattle, Washington. They are monitoring noise pollution in urban indian populations. The other Papa Ola Lokahi in Honolulu, Hawai'i. They are working on a community public health assessment. The workflow starts with data collection using iPhones/iPads, moves into working with the the data in QGIS and finally data presentation via GIS Cloud.

 

Taking GPS and decibel readings in Seattle.There is an ever expanding ecosystem of geospatial apps for iOS. For this project we are evaluating EPICollect and GIS Pro. EPICollect is a free app designed to collect point data with a custom form. GIS Pro is a very expesive app. However, with the price comes a very intuitive and robust data collection system. 

An assortment of mapping apps for iPad

Once data is collected QGIS is used to combine the data with other organizational datasets, conduct spatial analyses and prepare maps. GIS Cloud is being used for final online presentation.