Archive for December, 2012

Good web sites for free GIS data

We are always on the lookout for free data sources.  Here are two sites that are worth checking out:

Depiction Donates $15,000 worth of software to the Red Cross – Press Release

Depiction Inc., an Everett-based software firm, has donated 500 software licenses valued at $15,000 for its Depiction Prep software in support of the American Red Cross’s “Safe In The Sound” program.  The software will in turn be donated to interested non-profit organizations who participate in Red Cross’s preparedness outreach program “Safe in the Sound”. Eligible organization include:  non-profit organizations dealing with vulnerable populations, organizations that serve senior citizens, churches, schools, and other similar organizations who participate in Red Cross community disaster education programs.

Depiction software allows anyone to plan, prepare, and respond to disasters and other events that might otherwise impact employees and the company’s ability to stay in business. It allows businesses, schools and non-profits to develop their own disaster plans—a critical need in the face of almost any crisis situation.

“We’re extremely pleased to partner with Depiction,” said Red Cross Regional Executive Chuck Morrison. “Having these licenses will allow us to help local groups prepare to handle flooding, earthquakes, fires, and other major disasters – almost any emergency likely to strike this region.”

The software will help organizations:

  • Put together an emergency kit
  • Track the kit digitally; stock it with detailed area preparedness maps, food and water.
  • Make a plan
  • Determine where to meet if you can’t get home;
  • Determine the best route between home, school and work if the major roads are blocked
  • Stay informed
  • See the potential hazards in your area, and play ‘what if?’ with possible disasters and scenarios.
  • Become involved
  • Put together a map your neighborhood preparedness training.

Snohomish County organizations interested in discussing their need for a license to use this software should send an email to Chuck Morrison (

Doomsday Preppers Bug Out Routing

Not sure how many of you have watched Doomsday Preppers on the National Geographic Channel, but one of the main topics of concerns for all preppers is bug-out routes.

Both Depiction and DepictionPrep offer a great way to plan for these bug-out routes.  The great advantage both software packages have over other mapping software is the ability to show multiple bug out routes on the same maps. Also both products will automatically determine the best route from point A to point B.  In addition you could do what-if scenarios and explore alternate routing if key bridges were out. Not only can you show vehicle routing but you could also show walking routes on the same maps. Depiction and DepictionPrep are the ideal bug-out planning tools for all Doomsday preppers.

New Webinar Videos now online

Videos of our November 28th and December 5th webinars are now available on our web site. The November 28th webinar covered Depiction and OpenStreetMaps and the December 5th covered how to download higher resolution elevation data form the National Maps website.

101 Webinars

New WMS Sources -Nexrad and NWS Ridge Radar

One of the advanced features of Depiction is its ability to bring in data and images from WMS sources.  But   WMS formatting is a bit esoteric and I am still trying to figure it out.  However, I had a customer recently tell me how NexRad ridge radar was very valuable to them. So I started a search on the interenet and I found a couple of promising sites.

There is this site which lists several WMS services.

However of all the sources give I only had success getting one to work so far.”,

If you go to the Add Menu and enter this URL and select WMS and then hit the show content buttons you will get a list of layers.  I chose the first one

I then selected Auto Detect and hit the add button.

And this was the result

Then after a bit more searching, I found this site.

They list several WMS sources but I chose this one and entered the URL in to the add menu.”,

This time I chose the last layer listed and got this image.

It should be noted that all of these images are snapshots as of the time you grab them.  You can continue to grab new snapshots and each one will come in as a separate image in a new revealer.

I as of yet don’t fully understand what all of the layers are.  Maybe some of you that are more familiar with the NEXRAD service can enlighten the rest of us.  I will continue to try and educate myself about WMS and these sources but in the meantime, I thought that those of you that are interested in current weather might be interested in these.  It would be great if any of you could add to this knowledge by making posts to the  support page telling what you found out. Put the info in as an idea.