Thursday, August 3, 2017

GIS 5103: Module 11- Sharing Tools

Good evening UWF,

This is my final module blog post related to lab assignments for the summer semester!  I am very relieved because this class has seriously kicked my butt and left me feeling frustrated more often than not.  I will be glad to move on from this class for sure.

Once again, I have an error in my script that I cannot work around.  I received some feedback from student discussion on how to possibly fix my error, but to no avail.  My error message that I can't get past is displayed below.

This assignment isn't due for another six days, but I have had enough of dealing with error messages, so I am ready to move on and get this assignment over with.  I want to focus the remaining time I have available for this class by studying and taking the final exam and working on my final project.  

This assignment dealt with creating a script tool and saving it within a toolbox, and then sharing the toolbox.  I was able to successfully complete all other portions of this assignment in terms of metadata updates, etc.  I felt that utilizing the sys.argv[]  inputs were tricky and unnecessary for this lab assignment.  No examples of this type of action were given in the exercise so I feel that we shouldn't have to be required to utilize this "new" material for our actual assignment.  This was the part that I couldn't get past for this assignment.

-Matt Griggs

Monday, July 31, 2017

GIS 5103: Module 10- Creating Custom Tools

Good evening UWF,

This week I finally was able to finish a lab assignment with no errors in my code!  I am very relieved, especially with the end of the semester approaching.  I want to be feeling confident towards the end of the class period so that I feel more accomplished and more ready to take on the final quiz and final project.

This week's lab dealt with using ArcCatalog and ArcMap a little more which I liked.  I have a very difficult time work exclusively in Python still, so any break from it is a welcomed relief.  What was nice about this lab was that the setup was already created, we just had to edit the existing code.  The lab directions gave excellent directions on utilizing functions in ArcMap and ArcCatalog to make sure that data and geoprocesses were inserted accurately.  A multi clip tool was the ultimate creation from this lab, as shapefiles of roads, rivers, etc. in Mexico were clipped around the boundary of Durango.

The lab required 2 screenshots this week.  The first one shows the setup dialog window of my script tool after I set up my parameters for it.  This screenshot tells me that the script tool is ready to run initially.

The second screenshot is a results window of my script tool running successfully.  All of the clipped features are shown as being successfully completed.

-Matt Griggs

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

GIS 5103: Peer Review Assignment #2

GIS 5103
Peer Review Assignment #2
Matt Griggs

                I recently went back home to Ohio for vacation a week ago.  I missed seeing the farmland and the hills that make up the majority of the terrain in my hometown.  I was explaining to my younger brothers that some of the hilly parts of our area were formed by glaciers many years ago and they had a hard time believing me.  Our conversation about this topic piqued my interest enough to write this peer review assignment about glacial deposits and some GIS scripting work that has been associated with this topic of interest.
                My reviewed article deals with a mountain range in Nevada, and how GIS and scripting was used to analyze the composition of the mountains to verify that they have been carved out by glaciers.  2003 was a year that I had just been exposed to what GIS was, so it was a flashback of sorts to hear this article talk about ArcView GIS.  The article also does a fantastic job or providing useful background information into the geology and science of glacial formations.  I find it hard to believe that glaciers once existed in present day Nevada, just like my brothers found it hard to believe that glaciers existed in Ohio.
                The geoprocessing and script creation involved in this analysis seems very thorough for even today’s standards, so I can’t imagine how tedious of a process a lot of the work was that was involved in this project.  Striations from rock samples were collected and images of these striations were scanned into a computer.  Upon completion of this process, the striations were digitized within an Adobe platform.  Then according to Van Hoesen and Orndorff (2003), “to automate the process of surface-striation analysis, we modified an autorotation script written by Bill Chappell (getgraphicmarkerrotation.ave) downloaded from the Environ-mental Systems Research Institute (ESRI) ArcScripts website. We modified the script to perform the following functions: (1) add a column of ID numbers to the existing feature-attribute table for the digitized striations; (2) measure the orientation of digitized striations relative to an arbitrary reference point at 0° north; and (3) add those values to a new column in the feature-attribute table. Exporting the image from Adobe Illustrator as a *.dwg file proved to be the easiest method of importing the striations into ArcView”.  I find this method of preserving digitization and automating ID numbers to be very clever for back in 2003.  GIS was not near as advanced back then as it is today.  The fact that the article seems to spell “Environmental” incorrectly in ESRI’s acronym is further proof of how unknown GIS was as whole still in 2003.  Even with the older GIS technology in use, the script performed did a great job cataloging all of these unique striations.  It is impossible to identify a specific striation visually I would think in terms of memorizing where that mark occurred on a specific rock formation. 
                Upon the completion of the digitizing the article specifically mentions that Adobe was the preferred digitization method over ArcView GIS, but running the script had to be done in ArcView GIS because the script was developed from the previously mentioned ESRI product.  I like that the authors both give their preferred opinion on how to utilize and analyze spatial data.  There is no right or wrong method in utilizing GIS to meet a user’s desire.  GIS is a great tool for novice user and advanced users, and I think this article hints at the author’s initial use of GIS which is great.  I always appreciate reading about GIS being incorporated in traditional non-GIS analyses or experiements.
                The article concludes that upon completion of digitizing, script running, shapefile creation, and table generation that the northern face of the Spring Mountains showed specific signs of glacial evidence.  This tedious and monumental analysis was benefitted greatly by incorporating GIS.  Van Hoesen and Orndorff (2003) explain further by saying “the original methodology employed to determine the orientation of digitized striations was time-consuming and inefficient. Using an ArcView script, we stream-lined the measurement process, allowing us to study multiple clasts more efficiently”.  Being able to read about improving productivity using GIS is a major factor as to why GIS was created in my opinion, so I was glad to read about all of the positive comments that the authors made in this article.

Article Reviewed:  Van Hoessen, John G. & Orndorff, Richard L. (2003).  Using GIS to Evaluate an Enigmatic Diamicton in the Spring Mountains, Southern Nevada.  Professional Geographer, 55(2), 206-215.

GIS 5100: Lab 8- Damage Assessment

Good morning UWF,

This week's lab was my favorite of the class so far this summer semester.  It might be my favorite lab assignment that I have worked on throughout the entirety of my Master's program so far as well.  The lab dealt with analyzing storm damage from Hurricane Sandy.  Multiple parts made up this lab, starting with tracking the storm and its path, to creating damage assessment data for areas impacted by the storm.

The damage assessment analysis was thoroughly explained in the lab.  I liked how the lab allowed us to use our own interpretation of damage values for buildings based upon perceived water and wind damage.  This should allow for very unique datasets amongst myself and other classmates.  In general (not just for damage assessment data), I thought that the data creation process in terms of field and domain creation was and is a great building block going forward for my tasks at work and future assignments in other classes.  Understanding parameters of data is very important before diving into the data and messing with it, and I think that this lab does a great job of helping us as students understand this process.

The map deliverables for this blog post are a little unclear to me, so I am going to post what I believe to be are the correct deliverables.  The two screenshots below show the domain values of the Structure Damage Assessment layer that was created for this lab, and their symbology and placement on the map.

The third screenshot reflects my summary totals for parcels within the Damage Assessment Study Area.  A total count is given for parcels in this study area in terms of damage value and distance from the coast.  This summary table gives a slight correlation to increased damage as you get closer to the coastline.

-Matt Griggs

Monday, July 24, 2017

GIS 5103: Module 9- Working with Rasters

Good evening UWF,

This week's lab was another failure on my part, as I was unable to generate the module deliverable of a new raster combined from 5 previous created rasters.  I'm still just not savvy enough to get around little errors in my codes .  I'm not great at using the Debugger tool either as the language that is shown to me really does me no good in determining what I need to fix.

I got confused a little bit with this lab in terms of order of execution.  It looked like a few coding direction examples in the lab exercise differed from the lab assignment direction examples.  The way that I learn is visually and very methodically, so this changeup in direction examples is hard for me to overcome.  I don't like to deviate from step-by-step directions and guidelines, and I felt that this lab did that a little bit compared to what we practiced in the lab exercise.

Once again, I have no deliverable to display in my blog post.  The error message showing up in my code is 'bool' object has not attribute 'save'.  I googled for multiple hours on how to get past this, but could not come up with a suitable answer that made sense to me or nor could I find a workaround.  I gave this lab all that I had though in terms of attention and effort, so I am proud of the script that I made anyway, even if it doesn't work properly, or at all.  The language contained within it makes a little sense to me this time.  It's a shame that I can't work past this error as I feel that I am somewhat close to completing this lab fully.  I haven't been able to complete a full lab in a while due to the challenging nature of them and my learning threshold in this class.

-Matt Griggs

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

GIS 5100: Lab 7- Coastal Flooding

Good afternoon UWF,

This week's lab dealt with looking at two different coastal flooding scenarios.  The first scenario dealt with sea level rise in Hawaii and the second dealt with sea level rise in Florida.  The labs differed in analysis based upon what is affected with the sea level rise.  In the Hawaii example, the lab focused on populations affected.  In the Florida example, the lab focused on buildings affected.

Each lab dealt with looking at DEM rasters to assign elevations along the coast of both Hawaii and Florida.  Different sea level or storm surge elevations were used to model areas that could be under water if a flooding event occured.  The Florida example was easier for me to work with because there were no table joins to be made.  The analysis just used vector and raster data mostly.  The Hawaii example require way too many table joins between census block and census tract data.  I don't understand why the lab didn't just allow the user to perform the surge analysis on tracts only or blocks only?  Anyway, my map deliverable is displayed below.  It shows the areas affected in Honolulu in terms of storm surge and what the population density is like in these surged areas.

-Matt Griggs

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

GIS 5103: Module 8- Working with Geometries

Good afternoon UWF,

I had a little more success with this week's lab compared to last week's, but my overall demeanor is still poor when it comes to success in this class recently.  This week's assignment dealt with working with geometries.  The ultimate goal was to create a list of XY points for vertices and apply them in a polyline shapefile.  I was able to generate a full script this time, but could not get past an error message relating to the shapefile that I was trying to write to.  The error message is below.

Part of me thinks that the error message relates to the fact the code can't find my rivers polyline shapefile because I have it mentioned as being stored in a file path that is not "S:/GISProgramming/Module8/Data".  Multiple times I verified that I did have my path correct and I still got this same error.  So I'm not sure what to do anymore for this script.  I tinkered around with some other syntax but nothing got me past this step, which is really embarrassing as this is probably and "easy fix" for most of the students in the class to work through.

I feel better about this week though because my effort was a lot better.  I am not super concerned about getting excellent grades in this class, I just want to pass with a B.  Programming is not my specialty and I struggle a lot with it.  Frequently I turn in incomplete module assignments, but I do the best that I can for what I am able to comprehend.  I really hope that this class gets back to using ArcGIS a little more instead of relying heavily on PythonWin.  I thrive better in an ArcMap environment like ModelBuilder.

-Matt Griggs