In celebration of GIS Day 2015, Astron’s Geospatial team decided to take a look at some of our own spatial data to see if there were any interesting stories to be found. We use a variety of electronic GPS-enabled devices to capture spatial data in the field; these range from basic handheld GPS units for capture of track logs and waypoints, to Android- and Windows-based PDAs and tablets for capture of detailed attribute data, to differential GPS units that capture spatial data to a very high degree of accuracy and precision.
We have long used basic hand held GPS devices for quick and simple capture of waypoints in the field - since 2010 we have been gradually using them more and more to capture track logs, which we use to add value to our field based products and services. Track logs give us and our clients a simple and reliable way of quantifying survey effort, whether we are mapping or controlling weeds, searching for conservation significant flora and fauna or mapping vegetation or habitat. They’re an excellent tool for visually assessing where we’ve been on a given survey, and we also use them as an added layer of quality control for our other digital spatial datasets.
We decided that the archive of track log and waypoint data would be a great place to start and it might give us a picture of where our scientists have worked over the last six years. By batch converting the raw GPS data files into a more GIS-friendly format, we were able to merge them into a single spatial dataset consisting of nearly seven and a half million points! From there, we produced the simple but effective point density map that you see here.
This map shows Astron’s long and proud history of working in Western Australia, largely in the Pilbara where we were founded 30 years ago.
We’re looking forward to working more on this dataset in the coming months – stay tuned!