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Andy Rowan

Instructor in the Continuing Professional Education program, 2001 Ph.D. graduate

What do I do here?

I teach several courses in the Continuing Professional Education Program in Geomatics, which offers evening and day-long courses in various GIS, remote sensing, and GPS topics leading to a Professional Certificate in Geomatics. I used to be responsible for the whole program, now I just teach and advise on the curriculum, I don't do the administrative part any more.

Up until May 2001, I was also working toward a Ph.D. in Environmental Science, developing a software system for water quality modeling that joins a watershed (nonpoint source runoff) model and a groundwater model using the GIS. The models are SWMM and MODFLOW, and they are joined by a windows program called the "Multiple Model Broker" that allows them to run simultaneously and communicate with each other while they run. It also has some modest GIS functions built in that were done using MapObjects. I have now finished that (hurray!) and have the degree in hand. If you're interested, I've put my dissertation and the modeling system itself up on the web for all to use.

My new day job is in state government. I'm Director of the NJ Office of GIS, which is the office responsible for statewide coordination of GIS activities.

If you use ArcView 3, here's a useful little thing, a modification of an ESRI script. It's an Avenue script for doing hotlinks to virtually any kind of document. It just uses the filename extension to launch whatever program is registered for that document type. I've tested it with AutoCAD, Word, Excel. (Sadly, it only works in microsoft windows, which is a concept that bugs me but I don't have time for that particular windmill.) Here is the file. It has some minimal documentation embedded as comments. Basically you just attach it to the hotlink button and it works.

I've also got a revised version I made of the standard avenue script for calculating polygon areas. It deals automatically with whatever the map units are, it's a little more sensible about what it asks you to confirm, and the error messages actually mean something to an ordinary user. That one is here.

A very long time ago, I wrote some scripts that ease the process of converting GRASS GIS data to ArcInfo. Chances are slim that you'd need to, but you're welcome to use them.

Also probably obsolete now: The buffer capability in workstation ArcInfo was limited, so I wrote an AML that creates multiple buffers (at different distances) in one coverage, and also includes the original polygons (if the input is polygons). The buffering in ArcView 3.2 does most of this now, but you're welcome to use that too. Click here to download it. (Your browser may just display it, but then you can do "save as".)

More GIS stuff: USGS started releasing their DEM data in a new format, the raster component of the Spatial Data Transfer Standard. Nowadays most GIS systems have translators that can deal with the new format, but some don't. But someone clever (the late Sol Katz at the US Bureau of Land Management, we will miss him) wrote a program that runs on a PC that translates the new format back into the old DEM format, SDTSEDEM and another one that translates the new format into the ascii grid format that workstation ArcInfo can import, SDTSEARC . I have extensively tested either of them, so I can't vouch for whether they always work, but here is an article at ESRI about using sdtsedem. I think these were the last versions that Sol wrote. The canonical source seems to be ftp://ftp.blm.gov/pub/gis/sdts/dem, and you can get the c source there also, if you want. ESRI also has a user-contributed tool in their ArcScripts section that uses Sol's engine with an Avenue front end. It installs as an extension to ArcView. I haven't used it.

Here is a good example of how not to display quantitative information on a map. (Scanned out of Sierra Magazine.)


I used to have a link here for people to send me e-mail, but the robots of the spam artists kept finding it and I started getting too much junk mail. If you want to e-mail me, my address is rowan AT crssa DOT rutgers DOT edu

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