OPEN DATA WORKSHOP blog.zolnai.ca@azolnai
Greetings!Youare here because youwishtolearnabout using(near) free mappingtoolsanddatato
helpyou engage asgeo-aware citizens,curiousmindsoranyotherreasonyoumay have…Bravo!
A “GeologistandGIS-erover30 years”,I have writtenclass-notesbefore:one setIcurrentlypresentas
Information.The firstisone of the data sourceshere:over15 yrs ago I founda free-to-use¼Mpoint
datasetto stress-testathen-newdataformat.The secondone wasEast Angliahistoricagricultural
history:almost10 yrs ago the local Ordnance Surveyreleasedparishframework.Andthisisathirdone:I
subsetArctic& Antarctic ship& weatherdatasetstopostas polarmaps withcomplementarydata.
Serendipityhaditthatjust as I bloggedthe resultsandthe topic,along-time friend&GIS educatorAnn
Johnsonquipped:“WhatI'mworriedaboutispeople usingGoogle EarthandArcGIS Online todo
analysisusingWebMercator.Esri has some linksthatsuggestitshouldnotbe used - area in particular,
but alsodatumshifts.Anyway,isthisanissue ornot?”.That spurredme to extendmylong-form
The climatological database forthe world’soceans, CLIWOCcompiledthe world’soceansmeteorological
database from1750 to 1850. The Dutch Meteorological Institute ledthe digitisingof tall shipscaptains'
logbooksmostlyfromBritain,France,Holland&Spain - cruciallyconsideringtheirmanyvoyages,this
didnot include datafromPortugal - pre-1850 climate dataalongshipstracks complementthe more
widelyavailableoffshore andonshore climatedataworldwide after1850.
From NorwegianPolarInstitute website,"Quantarcticaisa collectionof Antarcticgeographicaldatasets
whichworkswiththe free,cross-platform, open-source softwareQGIS.Itincludescommunity-
basemap.Bestof all,Quantarcticais free todownloadandre-distribute."
To quote anotherGIS educator, Michael GouldremindedusatRogerTomlinsonPrize Lecture inLondon
yesterday"thatanyone canhave free accessto high-resglobal GISdatathat Esri spendsmillionson
annually,viaArcGISOnline" –providedyougetanArcGIS Online account,whichiseasybutcompulsory.
Andlast butnot least,asESRI Chief Scientist DawnWrightquipped“the world'soceanscomprise 75%of
the Earth's surface,yettheyyieldonly5% of data”: thisclimate dataset,while confinedof necessityto
shipstracks,not onlycoversa sparselydocumentedgeographybutalsofrom170 to 270 yearsago!