How big is it?

This is a frequent question of mine, in relation to the spatial aspect of my research. It also comes up at higher frequencies around coffee time.

The BBC have put together this interesting site, which works by simply overlaying a spatial phenomenon over a location of your choice. So for example, you could investigate the practical implications of a full-size mock-up of Stonehenge in Trafalgar Square…

Weekly resource round-up: Monday 10th May

This week’s handy things:

  1. The latest issue of Methods in Ecology and Evolution is available online, and features some interesting stats articles (‘Do not log-transform count data’ for example).
  2. Interesting paper on free and open-source geospatial tools for landscape ecology, previously posted about here.
  3. This blog post features some useful tips for academic poster design.
  4. A few conference abstract deadlines are coming up:
    1. GFOE 40th Anniversary Meeting, Giessen, Germany: 25th May
    2. Organic Matter Stabilisation and Ecosystem Functions, Presqu’île de Giens, France: 15th May
    3. BES Annual Meeting, Leeds: 10th May (today!)

Free software for landscape ecology

Ecological Informatics journal

Last year Stefan Steiniger and Geoffrey Hay published an interesting article in Ecological Informatics: Free and open source geographic information tools for landscape ecology. They introduce the concepts of free, and open-source, software and provide examples of the kinds of spatiallandscape ecology problems that can be tackled using a variety of the tools available. I think the best bits are the several tables, which provide links to many of the free GIS packages available.

There are several highly-developed spatial packages in R

R has several spatial analysis packages

The ever-expanding open-source geospatial community provides an interesting alternative to the industry heavyweight, ESRI, who plan to release the latest version of their ArcGIS package later this year. Perhaps this partly explains the unusual enthusiasm with which the open-source geospatial movement is promoted.

James Cheshire’s post on free GIS resources makes an interesting companion to this post.

PhD Introduction: a presentation

Below is a presentation I gave seven months into my PhD project, in a Lancaster University seminar. It provides a basic outline of my project, including an introduction to the fieldsite and methodology. Although a little dated now (highly relevant eight months ago!) I’ve posted it here because it’s still a useful overview and gives a sense of continuity.

Peat goes Wiki

One of the many highlights of last week’s PeatNet conference, for me, was the introduction of WikiPEATia – a new platform built at CSRC at the University of New Hampshire. WikiPEATia uses a Google Earth interface to display spatial data on peatland coverage, basal dates, and climate.

WikiPEATia in action

WikiPEATia in action

The project aims to bring together peatland datasets through crowdsourcing, so that they can be shared by a global community of researchers. The project is still at an early stage, with coverage focussed on the northern hemisphere, but this is set to change with time as more peatland researchers become aware of the project and submit their data. I’m hopeful that one of the outcomes of projects such as this one will be greater consensus within the peatland science community concerning, for example, what we define as a peatland.