How to make a treasure map using free GIS – Something for the kids! Part 2

Its great to see so many people enthusiastic about making maps with their children, as a kid I would love nothing more than making treasure maps, who would have known that I am still doing it *ahem* years on?!

So you have a map and the kids can find their treasure, what could be cooler?…….How about a web map that they can use on their mobile phone or tablet FOR FREE?

Step 1 – Add QGIS Cloud

Okay, I am assuming that you saved your map and that you have it all started up and ready to go….do you remember how we added the OpenLayers plugin?…We are going to do the same with a plugin called QGIS Cloud.

First off, go to the plugins tab and select “Fetch Plugins”.

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Look for the QGIS Cloud plugin and then select the “Install plugin” option. You may need to restart your QGIS project, so best save where you are!!

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Go to the “manage plugins” option under the plugins tab and ensure that the QGIS Cloud option is turned on.

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Once you have turned on the QGIS Cloud option and gone back to the map, you should notice that you now have some new options!! You are now cloud enabled!!

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Step 2 Using the Cloud

Now, don’t be afraid, the “cloud” is just a hard drive attached to the internet somewhere. Some companies charge money for storing your data on their hard drives/ servers but the kind guys at QGIS Cloud allow a bit of storage for free, enough to make 20 or 30 treasure maps anyhow!!

What we are going to do now is make this map available on the internet, it will have its own internet address which is based on the user account name you set up in the next step, so think carefully about that name!!

So, first let’s set up an account with QGIS Cloud. Select the “account” tab and the select the “signup” link

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Once signed up, you should find the screen changes to show you logged in.

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Now we need to send the data in the map to the cloud, to do this, we first set up a new spatial database so that the web map can read the data away from your computer.

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We then need to upload the cross to this database

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Once done, hit refresh and upload to the cloud!

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You will be asked if you want to save changes, hit yes. Note that when you save the map, you must not leave any spaces in the name and also that the name will be the name given to the web map.

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Step 3 All Done!!

That’s it!! Select the “Services” tab and then you will find a list of links to your map! Enjoy!!

ImageJust a small note, you can now download Mobile Data Collection for Android (FREE)…once logged in you can view your map(s) easily online and then add more crosses and even find your current location in relation to the cross…..maybe this could form part 3….

Nick D

How to make a treasure map using free GIS – Something for the kids!

Here in the United Kingdom, half term has hit and thousands of children are currently watching TV or playing computer games. Why not get them doing something educational and at the same time make it cool?

That is exactly what I did with my kids, we made a “Real Treasure Map” using the computer (so no need for old tea bags or flames). This uses FREE software and is a great introduction to children on how to make simple maps and you also get the fun of getting outdoors and finding your location.

Step 1 – Download Quantum GIS (QGIS)

You can download QGIS from here

I recommend using the Standalone installer and the “Lisboa” version (this is what the instructions are based on)

Step 2 – Starting with QGIS

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Once you have QGIS started, first thing to do is to change the coordinate system by pressing the little globe in the bottom right hand corner. For working in the UK I recommend that this is changed to Ordnance Survey, OSGB36.

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Step 3 – Get a treasure map background

Next up is to add the OpenLayers plugin so that you can access the Stamen Watercolour background map.

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First, select the “Fetch python plugins” tab.

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Next, add the OpenLayers plugin. Once the OpenLayers plugin has been added, go to the “manage plugins” tab to ensure that it is available (below)

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The plugin is successfully installed (above)

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Navigate down the plugins to the “Stamen Watercolor” and select.

Congratulations!! The hard bit is done, at this point you could just pint the screen and draw an “x” on, though it would be much better if we added a REAL location….

Step 4 – Find a location

Next you want to find somewhere to hunt or to put on the map, probably best to pick somewhere not too far from home so that you don’t have to explain to the kids why you can’t fly over to Australia……

Navigating around a GIS is as easy as using Google Earth once you know where everything is. Below I have highlighted the primary navigation controls.

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Once you have navigated to the region you want for your map, it’s time to start thinking about where you want to put that “x”.

Step 5 – X marks the spot

Next step is to add the “x”, to do this we need to add it as a feature called a “shapefile” (this is a standard GIS feature type).

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We need to select the “Add new shapefile” button (above) and then give the shapefile a name and provide a storage location for it (be aware that it will store up to 5 files – the shapefile, the projection, a table and 3 indexes)

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Specify the coordinate system as OSGB36

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Then provide a name for the shapefile, as you can see above, I have imaginatively called mine “cross”.

Step 6 – Make the “x” a cross

At the moment, the symbol is a little circle which doesn’t look very pirate like, so we are going to change it to a very pirate red cross.

First click on the little circle symbol underneath the text for the symbol as shown in the image below

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Once you are through to the symbol menu, select the “hammer” symbol, this will take you to the symbol editor.

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If you select the “x” in the array of symbols, you will see the symbol change. Change the size of the font to 6 or 8 and then change the border colour and fill colour to red.

Select okay and you are ready to add the “x” to the map.

Step 7 – Put yourself on the map

Everything is now ready, all that is left is to do a few more clicks and the map will be complete, so hang on in there, you’ve done brilliantly to get this far.

First, ensure the “cross” (or whatever you have called it) layer is selected, then click on the toggle editing.

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Once you have done this, select edit feature, this will allow you to place your “x”, so ensure you know exactly where you want to put it but don’t worry if you get it wrong, you can always press CTRL+Z to undo and place it somewhere else.

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Once placed and you are happy with it, click on the save edits button (between the toggle editing and edit feature buttons). You can then deselect the toggle editing button.

Step 8 – Save your map as a picture

All done!! Well done for getting to this point, its pretty much the same procedure that Ordnance Survey use for adding trees, stones, pillar boxes and other features to a map, only difference is, you map is COOL!

To get your map out as an image, there are several methods, for this, I will show you the quick and dirty method (which works). Though to make it look super amazing I would recommend trying the “Print Composer”.

Go to the file tab and select “save as image”. Select your location and type, then save!Image

You should now have an image in the location you specified which you can use for your treasure map!!

But where is it? Did you remember to take the coordinates?

Step 9 – The true location of the “x”

Before you close everything down, put the mouse over the cross again and have a look at the bottom right of the screen, the numbers should show the British National Grid coordinates of the “x”

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Using these coordinates you can use a GPS to locate the “x” or even teach how to use grid coordinates from an old Ordnance Survey paper map…either way, the kids will enjoy finding the “x” which they have put on the map.

With a little planning you can always bury something in a location and then go hunt on the treasure map or even turn a boring trip to a museum or historic place into an adventure by putting the location on the map and letting the kids help navigate…..

Nick D

OS OpenData through ArcGIS Online!!

A lot of you already know about this and I’m feeling pretty left out that I didn’t know, nope I take that back I am downright angry that I didn’t know.

What am I talking about? Almost all the OS OpenData is available free through ArcGIS Online to ESRI UK customers, not only that, they had created greyscale versions of some of the data…..something I normally spend a few days over on each refresh of the data….WHY WASN’T I TOLD??!!

Okay, so anger to one side, this is a great resource, ready symbolised basemaps, no need to load the data to your system or worry about the amount of space you are going to have to explain away to IT.

ESRI claim that the OS Open Data basemap is derived from enhanced vector versions of OS OpenData products Strategi and Vector Map District. Enhancements include additional road and street labels at mid- and large scales to improve the level of content. The basemap is designed to be used as a backdrop to analysis and any additional overlaying data layers. The subtle cartographic design provides clean and consistent mapping from small to large scale.

Have a look at these examples:

 

Open CartoOpen BackgroundOpen Greyscale
 Click thumbnail to launch an interactive map

What else is available?

As well as the OS Open Data Base map, there is a plethora of other useful free OS Open Data products, ideal for basemaps, mid scale interrogation or reference:

I take back some of my earlier comments about ESRI not giving you much for your money. To have invested the time and storage space to put this on their servers and then to provide this as a free service, ESRI has shown that they are starting to understand their customers.

Here is some further information on the Open Data basemap from the ESRI website:

OpenData Basemap information

Features & Benefits

High-resolution raster backdrop map data includes:
  • a comprehensive range of features such as railways, airports, ferries, cities, towns, other settlements and geographic names.
  • full Great Britain coverage
  • uncluttered and clean mapping
  • small to large scale

Description

As one of a range of backdrop basemap services developed by Esri UK, GB BaseMap is derived from enhanced vector versions of OS OpenData products Strategi and Vector Map District. Enhancements include additional road and street labels at mid- and large scales to improve the level of content. The basemap is designed to be used as a backdrop to analysis and any additional overlaying data layers. The subtle cartographic design provides clean and consistent mapping from small to large scale.

Industry

Central Government, Defence, Education, Insurance, Local Government, Public Safety, Utilities, Private sector

Category

Background mapping

Data Type

Cached map service

Coverage

Great Britain

Cache Scales

This map service is cached at the following scales:
10,000,000 – Strategi
5,000,000 – Strategi
2,500,000 – Strategi
1,000,000 – Strategi
500,000 – Strategi
250,000 – Strategi
100,000 – Strategi
75,000 – Strategi
50,000 – Strategi + VectorMap District
25,000 – VectorMap District
10,000 – VectorMap District
5,000 – VectorMap District

Update Frequency

Annual

Coordinate Reference System

British National Grid (OSGB36)

So what are you waiting for?? Regi8ster and get using it now!

Nick D

QGIS Flickr Group

The excitement is definitely growing and now that the alpha control is present (see the cool glow map on Nathan Woodrows’ blog) it’s time to revisit the gallery!!
Thanks to Anita for another great blog

Free and Open Source GIS Ramblings

The excitement about the upcoming 2.0 release is growing and to add some fuel to the fires, Mathieu founded the QGIS Flickr Group. Anyone can join and add their maps done with QGIS master.

I’m looking forward to seeing what you have come up with. Please note that this group is meant for maps only (therefore no screenshots of the application please).

View original post

QGIS Flickr Group

The excitement is definitely growing and now that the alpha control is present (see the cool glow map on Nathan Woodrows’ blog) it’s time to revisit the gallery!!
Thanks to Anita for another great blog

Free and Open Source GIS Ramblings

The excitement about the upcoming 2.0 release is growing and to add some fuel to the fires, Mathieu founded the QGIS Flickr Group. Anyone can join and add their maps done with QGIS master.

I’m looking forward to seeing what you have come up with. Please note that this group is meant for maps only (therefore no screenshots of the application please).

View original post

You'd be lOSt without us

You may be aware, Ordnance Survey are going on the road and raising awareness of how their data is used….I initially thought “Why? They are Ordnance Survey!” but it is all too easy to forget how their data is integrated into everything, from your SatNav, through to your car insurance quote!

Ordnance Survey have done a great job of putting together a website to kick things off (I have been lucky enough to be asked to write some text for them) . I think this will be a good page to keep an eye on to see where this goes, interesting stuff……

From the Ordnance Survey blog today 23rd May:

If you are a regular reader of our blog you will know about the wide range of things we get up to and about how our data is used in all manner of things from helping determine insurance premiums to working out which properties are likely to be affected by flooding, from getting your supermarket shopping delivered to the satellite navigation system in your car.

However, you’d be among a very few people in the country who are aware that we are involved in so many things. Sadly, the majority of people only know Ordnance Survey for our popular pink and orange outdoor leisure maps – OS Explorer Maps and OS Landranger maps  – and although they might know that we offer a mapping app for iPphones and iPads and an online portal, they probably don’t know about all the ways our data is used in our everyday lives.

But we have plans to change that!

And this week, we’ll be taking to the road to explain more about our data and how it gets used in our everyday lives and how, as a nation, we’d be lost without Ordnance Survey!

So, if you are heading to the Hay Festival, do visit our stand and meet the team. We’ll be there until Sunday 2 June chatting to people and running an interactive quiz to test your knowledge of what we do and how our data is used – with the opportunity to win some great prizes!

We’ll be explaining all the ways our data is used – by councils to save money through running services like waste collections more efficiently to insurance companies tackling fraud and making sure that your insurance is relevant to your location. We’ll be talking about some of the great case studies we have of our data being used to combat obesity in children, both by Change 4 Life, the Department of Health’s campaign and by a local authority who discovered (using a map) that in deprived areas, nearby takeaway restaurants were being used as an alternative to school lunches.

We’ll also be running a series of map reading workshops, helping you to understand the basics of navigation, sponsoring some author sessions and asking you to create your very own custom made map symbol!

Below is an extract of the “You’d be lOSt without us” page:

Logo

Our digital mapping data is used to support a whole range of activities and services which you might not be aware of.

From providing the data used by satnavs in cars to supplying information that means your insurance premiums can be tailored to your location, our data is working behind the scenes in everyone’s lives.

In fact, we’d all be pretty lost without Ordnance Survey’s digital map data.

In car sat-nav

Call centre representative at work

Imagine a world where the fire engine couldn’t find its way to you in an emergency, where town planners don’t know where main roads and pipes are, where outdoor enthusiasts can’t rely on maps to get them up (and down) mountains, and where houses are built without any understanding of how the location will affect the lives of residents. Powering the search engines, helping the supermarket or pizza delivery guy deliver to your front door at the time you are expecting, digital location data is a fundamental part of how this country works.

Fire engine

Roadworks

Hiker in morning sunshineCourier delivering a parcel

And local authorities are using our data to help make efficient decisions, from whether local children need another takeaway restaurant next to their school or where health visitors should target their resources to improve immunisation rates to keep everyone safe from routine diseases. They use our data to plan the routes school buses take and make bin collections the most efficient they can be!

Our data helps the NHS decide where to put services, such as family planning clinics or rehab centres, so they get used by the right people.

It is also used by commercial companies to improve the services they sell to you. From insurance companies knowing whether your house is likely to be affected by flooding to financial services companies tackling fraud, our data underpins the systems and processes which we’d be lost without!

Girl at laptop

School bus header sign

First response motorcyclist

Fraud - shredded paper

You’d be lOSt without us

You may be aware, Ordnance Survey are going on the road and raising awareness of how their data is used….I initially thought “Why? They are Ordnance Survey!” but it is all too easy to forget how their data is integrated into everything, from your SatNav, through to your car insurance quote!

Ordnance Survey have done a great job of putting together a website to kick things off (I have been lucky enough to be asked to write some text for them) . I think this will be a good page to keep an eye on to see where this goes, interesting stuff……

From the Ordnance Survey blog today 23rd May:

If you are a regular reader of our blog you will know about the wide range of things we get up to and about how our data is used in all manner of things from helping determine insurance premiums to working out which properties are likely to be affected by flooding, from getting your supermarket shopping delivered to the satellite navigation system in your car.

However, you’d be among a very few people in the country who are aware that we are involved in so many things. Sadly, the majority of people only know Ordnance Survey for our popular pink and orange outdoor leisure maps – OS Explorer Maps and OS Landranger maps  – and although they might know that we offer a mapping app for iPphones and iPads and an online portal, they probably don’t know about all the ways our data is used in our everyday lives.

But we have plans to change that!

And this week, we’ll be taking to the road to explain more about our data and how it gets used in our everyday lives and how, as a nation, we’d be lost without Ordnance Survey!

So, if you are heading to the Hay Festival, do visit our stand and meet the team. We’ll be there until Sunday 2 June chatting to people and running an interactive quiz to test your knowledge of what we do and how our data is used – with the opportunity to win some great prizes!

We’ll be explaining all the ways our data is used – by councils to save money through running services like waste collections more efficiently to insurance companies tackling fraud and making sure that your insurance is relevant to your location. We’ll be talking about some of the great case studies we have of our data being used to combat obesity in children, both by Change 4 Life, the Department of Health’s campaign and by a local authority who discovered (using a map) that in deprived areas, nearby takeaway restaurants were being used as an alternative to school lunches.

We’ll also be running a series of map reading workshops, helping you to understand the basics of navigation, sponsoring some author sessions and asking you to create your very own custom made map symbol!

Below is an extract of the “You’d be lOSt without us” page:

Logo

Our digital mapping data is used to support a whole range of activities and services which you might not be aware of.

From providing the data used by satnavs in cars to supplying information that means your insurance premiums can be tailored to your location, our data is working behind the scenes in everyone’s lives.

In fact, we’d all be pretty lost without Ordnance Survey’s digital map data.

In car sat-nav

Call centre representative at work

Imagine a world where the fire engine couldn’t find its way to you in an emergency, where town planners don’t know where main roads and pipes are, where outdoor enthusiasts can’t rely on maps to get them up (and down) mountains, and where houses are built without any understanding of how the location will affect the lives of residents. Powering the search engines, helping the supermarket or pizza delivery guy deliver to your front door at the time you are expecting, digital location data is a fundamental part of how this country works.

Fire engine

Roadworks

Hiker in morning sunshineCourier delivering a parcel

And local authorities are using our data to help make efficient decisions, from whether local children need another takeaway restaurant next to their school or where health visitors should target their resources to improve immunisation rates to keep everyone safe from routine diseases. They use our data to plan the routes school buses take and make bin collections the most efficient they can be!

Our data helps the NHS decide where to put services, such as family planning clinics or rehab centres, so they get used by the right people.

It is also used by commercial companies to improve the services they sell to you. From insurance companies knowing whether your house is likely to be affected by flooding to financial services companies tackling fraud, our data underpins the systems and processes which we’d be lost without!

Girl at laptop

School bus header sign

First response motorcyclist

Fraud - shredded paper