This post provides an overview of all the (hopefully) useful things you can read about on the blog.

In its short and happy life the GIS Blog has certainly done a lot for me.  It’s made it a lot easier to respond to many common questions (like mapping to the J: drive – see how easy that was?), answering some common “How do I…?” queries and also allowing us to introduce some interesting uses of GIS.  The blog pages have recently been revamped to be a bit easier to read so in this post I’ll group together some of the more important and useful links for your one stop shopping enjoyment.


Spatial Data and Web Services

How to access data on the Lincoln network – how to map to the J: drive and access our data.

Data available on the Lincoln network – a summary of spatial data on the J: drive.

Data available on the Internet – online data portals where you can download data (, LINZ data service, Landcare data portal, etc.)

Web Services (and Canterbury Maps) – an overview of ECan’s map portal and introduction to web services (how you can add online data layers to your map).

Web Feature Services, part 1 and part 2 – how to add raw data from the internet to your map for analysis.

Our (Web) Maps – an overview of some of the online maps we provide from our local GIS server (under reconstruction just now).

Anatomy of a Web Map – deconstructing a web map so you can understand how they work.

ArcGIS Toolbars and Menus

The Tools Toolbar

The Standard Toolbar

ArcMap Menus

ArcGIS Pro – a new window on the world

Tips and Tricks

How to:

Online Training for ArcGIS

Interesting Uses of GIS

Mapping the Census – an example of using freely available census data from StatsNZ to create your own maps.

GIS and Precision Agriculture – discusses how GIS fits in with the increasing use of precision agriculture

Spatial Thinking – the Legal Case – spatial thoughts on a recent study of the geographic distribution of justice.

Sticking to the (Python) Script – an example of using a Python script in some spatial analysis

A Map of a Disaster  – Napoleon’s invasion of Russia in 1812 was an unmitigated disaster.  Charles Joseph Minard’s 1861 figurative map is arguably one of the most famous maps in the world.

The Spatial Smoking Gun, part1 (analysis) and part 2 (web mapping) – These posts detail the spatial analysis around the proximity of tobacco outlets around secondary schools using geocoding and spatial joins (part 1) and how we shared the results with colleagues and end users.

Spatial Aspect of Gallipoli, part 1 (the Big Picture) and part 2 (the beach landing at Anzac Cove).  These posts look at some important spatial components of the Gallipoli Campaign with a focus on the beach landing on 25 April 1915.

Home on the Range – mapping animal home ranges from GPS point data.

GIS in Action – Crowd sourced, online humanitarian mapping.  Here we look at a few examples of some online web applications where citizen mappers can contribute to humanitarian projects, and Nepal’s earthquakes in particular.

Opening Up Open Street Map – how global data can be downloaded from Open Street Map.

Thousand of Tiny, Luminous Spheres – LiDAR data basics.

Cholera, Spatial Thinking and John Snow: Soho 1854 – how a sever outbreak of cholera in London’s Soho led one man to link cholera to contaminated water by applying some crucial spatial thinking.

Fun with Cholera! – despite there not really being anything fun about cholera, this post looks at different ways we could map the data from the cholera outbreak John Snow investigated.

The GIS Detective – use of LiDAR data to better understand a tunnel gully.

Star Trek at 50 – location in the Star Trek universe

A Smokin’ Script – how a Python script saved me hours on rerunning some analysis on tobacco retailer proximity to people trying to quit smoking.

Cave Orcs and Riverbeds – how we are using a hand-held laser scanner to capture high-resolution elevation data from a scale model of the Waiho River.

Don’t let that dragonfly get away!  Offline data collection using a GIS app in Vanuatu

Taveuni – An Island Torn in Two Dragonfly observation data from Taveuni ends up at opposite ends of the world because of a coordinate system problem.

Where there is no elevation – using space shuttle data to attach elevations to dragonfly observations.

Keeping your feet dry with Mosaic Datasets – managing large collections of raster grids in a mosaic dataset structure.

Droning on… – an overview of the outputs we can get from our UAV.

Election 2017: Counting on the Maps – standard election maps often exaggerate the outcomes so in this post we look at using cartograms to present more realistic results.

An Embarrassment of Contours – a quick and easy GIS job of winnowing down a set of 43 shapefiles to just what was needed.

Some Very Cool Data – using LiDAR data from Antarctica to create a high resolution DEM

A Cautionary Tale of Tahr – simple mistakes can seep into your maps – this post covers one of those as a cautionary tale.

Lost in the Arctic – the challenges of mapping polar regions and making effective cartographic choices.

Deleting Smokers – Part 1 – This is the first post in a series that follows the development of a Python script for some analysis.  A good place to start if you’re having trouble sleeping.

Which Way to Mecca? – With the start of Ramadan only a week away we look at finding the direction to Mecca from Christchurch – and it’s not quite what you would expect.

Two NZs? – One isolated map is trying to reverse the trend of NZ getting forgotten on world maps.

Turning the Tables on Tourism – using data from the tourism industry, this post looks at mapping the contribution of domestic and international tourists to regional GDP.  And there are some pie charts involved!

Being Fair to Covid-19 – when mapping something like Covid-19 infection rates, it pays to map values in a fair and comparable way.

Where the Wild Sub Clover Grows – in mapping ideal areas for planting sub clover, we look into how to avoid potentially ambiguous results in analysis

Mapping Covid-19 Vulnerability – As part of an ERST202 class project, we developed a model of different areas’ vulnerability to a second wave of Covid-19.

SOSC301 Web Map – here we develop a web based app for SOSC301 students to use on a field trip with their smartphone.

Remote Sensing Analysis

Wavelengths – We begin looking at the properties of remotely sensed images and how they can be used in GIS.

Enhance! – using pansharpening to improve the resolution of satellite imagery.

The grass is always greener, isn’t it? – using remotely sensed imagery to derive a widely used vegetation index, the NDVI.

Join the Band (Combinations) – changing satellite image band combinations to highlight different features on the land surface.

Geodesy – mean sea level, coordinate systems, and the shape of the earth

Keeping Our Heads Above Water – some discussion about sea level – not as simple as you might think.

…And Standing Up Straight – gravity, mean sea level, the geoid and all that.

The Evolution of a Map – details the back and forth, iterative process of creating a map from an idea (and data) to a final publishable map.

I Can See for Miles and Miles and Miles – using the Sky Tower observation deck we look at how the curvature of the earth affects viewsheds.

Map Projections: