Category Archives: Personal Life

Install GDAL on Mac OS X (Mavericks)

I have Quantum GIS on my Mac.

I also used to have GDAL – or rather, I do have GDAL, because QGIS does not work without GDAL?

However I’ve been unable to use GDAL recently.  So, I went to install it again. 

The first time, I think I went through Kyngchaos. Which was not easy. 

The second time, now, I’m going to use Homebrew. Because it is easier.  

Actually it’s outlined here: https://trac.osgeo.org/gdal/wiki/BuildingOnMac

Here’s what I did:

tjessel:~ apple$ brew install gdal

Then it does all this stuff:


 

==> Installing dependencies for gdal: giflib, lzlib, proj, libgeotiff, ge

==> Installing gdal dependency: giflib

==> Downloading https://downloads.sourceforge.net/project/giflib/giflib-4.x/gifl

######################################################################## 100.0%

==> ./configure –prefix=/usr/local/Cellar/giflib/4.1.6

==> make install

🍺  /usr/local/Cellar/giflib/4.1.6: 39 files, 720K, built in 69 seconds

==> Installing gdal dependency: lzlib

==> Downloading http://download.savannah.gnu.org/releases/lzip/lzlib-1.5.tar.gz

######################################################################## 100.0%

==> ./configure –prefix=/usr/local/Cellar/lzlib/1.5 CC=clang CFLAGS=

==> make

==> make check

==> make install

🍺  /usr/local/Cellar/lzlib/1.5: 9 files, 152K, built in 8 seconds

==> Installing gdal dependency: proj

==> Downloading https://downloads.sf.net/project/machomebrew/Bottles/proj-4.8.0.

######################################################################## 100.0%

==> Pouring proj-4.8.0.mavericks.bottle.tar.gz

🍺  /usr/local/Cellar/proj/4.8.0: 47 files, 5.7M

==> Installing gdal dependency: libgeotiff

==> Downloading http://download.osgeo.org/geotiff/libgeotiff/libgeotiff-1.4.0.ta

######################################################################## 100.0%

==> ./configure –prefix=/usr/local/Cellar/libgeotiff/1.4.0 –with-libtiff=/usr/

==> make

==> make install

🍺  /usr/local/Cellar/libgeotiff/1.4.0: 70 files, 5.8M, built in 37 seconds

==> Installing gdal dependency: geos

==> Downloading http://download.osgeo.org/geos/geos-3.4.2.tar.bz2

######################################################################## 100.0%

==> ./configure –prefix=/usr/local/Cellar/geos/3.4.2

==> make install


 

The installation stopped here for a while. 

 3:32 PM. Seems to be hung up.  Maybe I should give it some time? Seems to have finished up at 3:42 or so.

I’m pasting the rest here: 


 

🍺  /usr/local/Cellar/geos/3.4.2: 385 files, 8.4M, built in 10.4 minutes

==> Installing gdal dependency: freexl

==> Downloading http://www.gaia-gis.it/gaia-sins/freexl-1.0.0g.tar.gz

######################################################################## 100.0%

==> ./configure –prefix=/usr/local/Cellar/freexl/1.0.0g

==> make install

🍺  /usr/local/Cellar/freexl/1.0.0g: 10 files, 144K, built in 25 seconds

==> Installing gdal dependency: libxml2

==> Downloading ftp://xmlsoft.org/libxml2/libxml2-2.9.1.tar.gz

######################################################################## 100.0%

==> ./configure –prefix=/usr/local/Cellar/libxml2/2.9.1 –without-python

==> make

==> make install

==> python setup.py install –prefix=/usr/local/Cellar/libxml2/2.9.1

creating build/temp.macosx-10.9-intel-2.7

clang -fno-strict-aliasing -fno-common -dynamic -arch x86_64 -arch i386 -g -Os -pipe -fno-common -fno-strict-aliasing -fwrapv -mno-fused-madd -DENABLE_DTRACE -DMACOSX -DNDEBUG -Wall -Wstrict-prototypes -Wshorten-64-to-32 -DNDEBUG -g -fwrapv -Os -Wall -Wstrict-prototypes -DENABLE_DTRACE -arch x86_64 -arch i386 -pipe -D_REENTRANT=1 -I/usr/local/Cellar/libxml2/2.9.1/include/libxml2 -I/Applications/Xcode.app/Contents/Developer/Platforms/MacOSX.platform/Developer/SDKs/MacOSX10.9.sdk/usr/include -I/System/Library/Frameworks/Python.framework/Versions/2.7/include/python2.7 -c libxml2-py.c -o build/temp.macosx-10.9-intel-2.7/libxml2-py.o

clang: error: unknown argument: ‘-mno-fused-madd’ [-Wunused-command-line-argument-hard-error-in-future]

clang: note: this will be a hard error (cannot be downgraded to a warning) in the future

error: command ‘clang’ failed with exit status 1

Error: Homebrew doesn’t know what compiler versions ship with your version

of Xcode (5.1.1). Please `brew update` and if that doesn’t help, file

an issue with the output of `brew –config`:

  https://github.com/Homebrew/homebrew/issues

Note that we only track stable, released versions of Xcode.

Thanks!

READ THIS: https://github.com/Homebrew/homebrew/wiki/troubleshooting


 

So that was a lot easier than I remember the Kyngchaos method… I hope that this works. I think I need to check the version. 

I think this is how you do it. 

http://www.gdal.org/gdal-config.html

It’s possible I missed a key step, because I typed “gdal-config –version” and did not get anything back… I dug through some old notes and found a link to this site:

https://sites.google.com/site/eospansite/installinggdalonmacosx

Which said a final step was to open the Terminal and type in:

export PATH=/Library/Frameworks/GDAL.framework/Programs:$PATH

Seems to have worked; I typed in gdal-config –version and got a result:

tjessel:~ apple$ gdal-config –version

1.10.1

Hopefully this means my GDAL installation is working again!

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Thoughts on Importance of Online Portfolio Building

Hi Dr. Bishop and Prof. Dodsworth:

I have a postcard in the mail informing me that a selection has been made for GIS Stormwater Administrator that I applied and interviewed for (it wasn’t me).

In a lot of ways, it was a GIS librarian position; they needed traditional GIS analysis skills but also data management and data curation skills, along with education and outreach skills.

There were 20 well qualified applicants and I think it reflects well on SIS that I even got an interview.

However, in reflection I feel I should have brought printouts of work I have done to provide concrete evidence in response to the question, “how are your map making skills.”  I’ve been told to bring along examples to interviews in my geography classes – I’m not sure why I didn’t do that for this interview.

The next best thing to a printed map would be a robust online portfolio.  To be honest I’ve made tons of nice maps in my GIS classes, but getting the labs done is so mentally draining that I rarely re-visit them to present in an online portfolio.

I’m trying to do a better job about getting my work online.

However, I wanted to encourage you both as GIS instructors to try and build creating an online portfolio into your coursework.

I saw this example from the graduate certificate program I’m getting into at UWF –

http://uwf-gis.blogspot.com/

In sum, I think it would be very helpful for students to have a GIS online portfolio as part of the normal coursework.

Thanks,

Tanner​

Sandy Point National Wildlife Refuge

Upon termination of the NBII program, I was out of work, and beginning to feel out of luck.

I’d applied for two positions with the Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation – although I’d backed out of consideration for one as taking that post would preclude me from pursuing a higher-paying post in the same agency.

I won’t get in to the unemployment division’s practices concerning referrals.  However, the market was saturated. I’d put all my chips in one pile hoping the NBII wouldn’t get axed, but it did.  And no one was hiring former Web content managers with a Bachelor’s in biology, at least not in Knoxville, my home since 2002.

Struggling to find work, I knew I needed to make myself more competitive.  So, while continuing to look for work, I enrolled in night classes at the University of Tennessee’s College of Agriculture and Natural Resources.  I hoped I could work my way through one course at a time as a non-degree seeking student, then eventually transfer my credits towards a Masters Degree.

My first course as a graduate student was Dr. Matthew Gray’s “Amphibian Ecology and Conservation.”  Taking the class would serve two purposes: I’d gain 3 hours of graduate credit, and I’d have 6 credits in organismal biology (I’d taken comparative invertebrate biology as an undergrad). I’d noticed many job postings required a minimum of six hours of credit – so picking up this course would help me.  I also knew Dr. Gray from volunteering with Southeast Partners in Amphibian and Reptile Conservation.  He had a lab, and I was snooping around for funding – with good reason.  That single graduate level course cost $1,600 in tuition and fees – another reason to possibly work for TDEC – a state employee tuition reduction.

My approach was two-pronged.  If I couldn’t find work or compete for available jobs based on experience, I’d volunteer with wildlife jobs to gain experience.  I already volunteered at the Knoxville Zoo.  I’d heard about the student conservation association, and thought that volunteering for the SCA would allow me to gain “free” training in wildlife and conservation.  So I applied to posts all over the country – Oregon, North Carolina, Georgia, Florida.

I found even landing volunteer work was competitive. My SCA advisor forwarded my application to several sites – and I interviewed for one nearby in Asheville.  The work sounded amazing – botany field work in two National Park units in Tennessee, and one in North Carolina, as part of the Appalachian Highlands Inventory and Monitoring Network.  I’d worked with databases, herbariums, and geographic information systems as part of my work with the NBII, but hadn’t taken any botany courses.  I also hadn’t taken any formal GIS courses.  In the end I was competitive, but was still beaten out.

I needed a new strategy.  I noticed a sea turtle monitoring position for the summer with the Fish and Wildlife Service.  It looked amazing, too.  Since I already loved reptile and amphibian conservation, and worked with endangered turtles and tortoises at the Knoxville zoo, I thought it would be a good fit. But there was a catch.  It was open to “local candidates only.”

But if anything, I’m tenacious.  I wrote to my SCA advisor, Gary Rowe, and posed a question.

I have a friend who lives in St. Croix, Virgin Islands. Assuming I could work out some kind of living arrangement with her, would I be able to apply for a “Biological Intern (Local Candidate Only)” position, PO-00064339  Thanks, Tanner

Gary wrote back.  If I were willing to become a resident of the Virgin Islands on my own dime, then yes, I could apply.

So in the early days of 2012, fresh off of being rejected by the Appalachian Highlands Inventory and Monitoring Network, I hatched a scheme.  I looked for a place in Frederiksted on the West end of St. Croix.  I found a place on Rainbow Beach – which, due to incorrect spatial data courtesy of Google, I thought was connected to the Sandy Point NWR by a road – veteran’s boulevard (It’s not). However, it was the closest place on craigslist advertised.  In fact, as I recall it was the *only* place advertised.  You have to remember – summertime is the off-season.

It’s on Craigslist today – “Oceanview” <http://virgin.craigslist.org/apa/4533794132.html>. From the photos, you can see why I was interested.  And, the owner, Michele Stone, is a dive instructor and fan of Sandy Point.  So, after making and inquiry and being disappointed about the initial price – “how long is long term?” – there was a price break for predictable rents.  Three months didn’t cut it, but Michelle made me a deal after learning that I was volunteering with the turtles.  If I could get the position, then I could have a place to live.

I wrote back to my SCA advisor that I’d found a place and added:

My opinion is the practical experience is worth the cost of the airfare to St. Croix and housing.  If there’s a shortage of “resident” applicants I’d like to be considered.

I was keeping my options open – going over my e-mails I noticed I added a comment that I’d added some other sea turtle internships, and one related to GIS in my home state.
Gary was a great advocate for me and forwarded my name as a “local candidate.” The SCA suggests you contact the host site – so I did.  I e-mailed, and I called.  I left a message.  The fact is, the staff at Sandy Point pulls double duty as law enforcement officers AND wildlife biologist – so you can see why they were interested in student conservation volunteers.
I sent a message to Claudia Lombard, Sandy Point Biologist on March 26, 2012:

Hi Claudia, 

I’m excited to see my SCA application was forwarded for your consideration at Sandy Point National Wildlife Refuge.

As you look over my application, I wanted to point out that while I’m a graduate student at the University of Tennessee, I do have local housing lined up in Frederiksted near Dorsch Beach should you find my skills and interests best meet your needs.

Hopefully it’s evident from my volunteer work related to herpetofauna, but I want to highlight my strong interest in working with wildlife, habitat restoration, and curbing invasive species.

I’ve applied to several wildlife technician jobs, but found that despite my undergraduate degree in ecology and professional experience working on a team as a biodiversity scientist, practical experience with wildlife is critical for my resume to even be forwarded to federal agencies. My personal commitment to putting my skills to use to benefit wildlife will hopefully set me apart from other applicants. 

I’d appreciate the opportunity to speak with you to answer any questions you may have about my application, work ethic, and physical aptitude. 

Thank you,

Tanner Jessel

There was nothing else to do but wait and watch as positions I’d applied for were filled. I studied for my night class, I volunteered on local conservation opportunities with the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency (relocation of Tiger Salamander larvae in Sevier County by the way – amazing), and I looked for local jobs. Weeks passed.
On April 18, I got a message from the SCA. I’d been selected. My starting date would be May 7, the Monday after my final exam for my evening course. I booked a flight to St. Croix on May 5, a Saturday, so I could get settled in. Still, my luck seemed too good to be true – in fact I wrote to Claudia:
This may seem an overly worrisome thought, but I know the SCA Web site recently underwent a revision and they’ve had some mistakes with their system – so before I ask you where I should report for duty on Monday, I should probably confirm that you are actually expecting me as an intern this summer?
Claudia wrote back:
Stop worrying. . . .you’re in and you’re on!
It turns out, calling was a difference maker.  The four students who called were selected – it made knowing who really wanted the volunteer experience easier for Claudia.
Looking for information about Sandy Point and the SCA – I came across this post on the SCA’s web site: “Top Ten Awesome Internships for 2012.”

4. Do you live in the Virgin Islands? And are you interested in working with sea turtles? Sandy Point National Wildlife Refuge is looking for some local conservationists to work as Outreach/Education and Biological Interns. You will work on nighttime sea turtle monitoring, and nighttime youth and community education programs to learn about nesting sea turtles. You might also conduct hourly foot patrols of the 4.6 km refuge beach area and learn about nest management.

Don’t live in the Virgin Islands? We don’t either. But you can search for local internships near you and make a difference in your community this year!

The anwer for me was no, no I did not live in the Virgin Islands.  But I did for the summer. I take to heart the idea that we make our own destiny.  Perhaps it’s tenacity, perhaps it’s the American way. When life hands you lemons, make lemonade. Pull yourself up by the bootstraps.  Short of giving up, I did everything I could – applied, called, e-mailed.

The Great Recession was tough. I was insulated in a contract position, and Knoxville itself fared well, but I was feeling it.  People are still feeling it. Not everyone can fly off to the Virgin Islands for career training. But it was the distance I was willing to go to get, essentially, free job training – while also volunteering to conserve reptiles.

As can be expected, the experience was more rewarding than I could imagine.  Stars seen from a midnight beach in the Caribbean Sea are hard to forget  – on switfly shifting sands carried by persistent waves, at the point of a narrow volcanic outcropping, the “island earth” is best experienced on the precipice to the deep that is Sandy Point. Pair this with prehistoric creatures lumbering up from the ocean depths to carry out a ritual passed down from before the dawn of the dinosaurs; near collisions with nervous hawksbills; “dawn turtles” and lost turtles, hatchlings and night herons; the Mule, ground lizards, jack spaniards, mongeese, and many more stories from Sandy Point and beyond that marinate in memory, asking to be written down.

Leatherback Sea Turtle returns to Caribbean sea at Sandy Point National Wildlife Refuge.

Photo taken with permission of U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service during course of monitoring activities. Flash was not used.

U.S. Virgin Islands Benthic Habitat Spatial Data

Web Site Owner: National Ocean Service

I am enamored of this dataset; it is essentially “marine ecological regions” for U.S. territorial holdings in the Carribean (Puerto Rico, U.S. Virgin Islands):

http://ccma.nos.noaa.gov/products/biogeography/benthic/data

Along with simply satisfying curiosity, I think it might be useful for understanding the spatial distribution and preferred habitat of invasive lionfish in the Virgin Islands, in a broad sense.

Pairing occurrence records with habitat classifications may provide useful insights.  There is a Java application called Weka that can reveal clustering in your data.

By pairing this data with the names of the delineated habitat, I believe the tabular data within the spatial dataset can reveal any natural clustering (Although the clustering may be biased towards popular dive / snorkeling sites).

Another interesting data point which clustering can reveal is the depth at which the animals are most often found. However, this again may simply be a reflection of the “preferred depth” of divers (e.g., not greater than 30 m).

Aerial frame for Sandy Point NWR: http://www8.nos.noaa.gov/biogeo_public/aerial/viewer.aspx?source=usvi&id=244

Knoxville REI “Flagship Presence” Proposed for Standard Knitting Mill Site

Here is an e-mail I sent to REI – South retail director Gail Kirkland.  The original e-mail contained hyperlinks – I’ve added a few here as well.  Also – I quoted 20 miles as the total mileage for the Urban Wilderness.  I was wrong – it’s over 40 miles of trail just outside downtown Knoxville.

From: Tanner Jessel
Date: Sat, Aug 17, 2013 at 4:14 PM
Subject: Re: Knoxville location
To: Gail Kirkland
Cc: Madeline Rogero, Nick Della Volpe

Hello Gail,

Thanks for taking the time to write on a weekend.

I realize you are busy so I appreciate it.

I’m a fan of spatial data analysis so I appreciate your reasons for choosing Papermill Plaza. But I think Knoxville is a place that has some other variables at play that may not have appeared in your analysis – and I’d appreciate your considering an idea I had for REI.

The reason I wanted to talk to you is I admire REI for restoring historic properties like the Old Mill in Bend Oregon and Traction Powerhouse in Denver.

I think a similar opportunity exists in Knoxville at the former Standard Knitting Mill – a historic textile mill built in the 40s that earned Knoxville the title “the underwear capital of the world.”

Today, Knoxville’s trying to establish itself as an outdoor recreation mecca with urban trails and corridors including an “urban wildernesss“- a network of trails totaling 20 miles on 1,000 acres just across the river from downtown.

Apart from being a 10 minute drive further east for the lucrative West Knoxville market, the knitting mill has the characteristics of Papermill Plaza – plus some unique features you may not have considered.

First, it’s on the way to the Smokies for most residents of all points West headed there. Second, it’s 20 minutes west from Bass Pro Shops and exit 407 in Sevierville. It’s easily integrated into the existing downtown Knoxville shopping scene via a free trolley system – perhaps an “Outdoor Adventure Express” linking the location to Knoxville’s Waterfront. It’s right on the greenway and creek that could one day be a blueway. It’s a short hop from the “Outdoor Knoxville Adventure Center” and University of Tennessee campus – also served by the free trolley system.

It’s big, highly visible off the interstate with two nearby interchanges, and has some development incentives as it’s in an “empowerment zone” with available tax increment financing.

It’s so big (over 400,000 square feet), you could have an indoor whitewater kayak circuit for people to test out equipment. So big you could install an indoor mountain bike course for teaching and trying out equipment, or synthetic ski slopes or climbing walls. Think of the U.S. National Whitewater Center (albeit on a smaller scale) and the mountain biking trails around the Denver store.

I know a big part of REI’s mission is education. I also know for REI and other outfitters to continue doing business – you need to engage young people and create a culture of outdoor enthusiasm to drive purchases of outdoor gear. At this space I’m suggesting for you, you have the room and amenities (greenway, urban wilderness, creek) to do a great outreach – plus the opportunity to lure visitors from exit 407 and serve as a launching point for Smokies excursions, or even guided trips into the Urban Wilderness.

Knoxville is pushing hard for this “outdoor adventure” identity and I think that local policy makers would want to support you on an idea like this. It’d just take a brand like REI to make it possible.

In conclusion I’d really like you to look at making something more than a retail experience in Knoxville- please look at making a retail destination – a regional landmark that draws people in to both the store and the outdoor lifestyle. Bass Pro shops is a real “pro” at that – their store at Exit 407 20 minutes east of Knoxville has an aquarium with indoor waterfall. I know that’s not exactly REI’s style, but you have an opportunity here to make something that is a regional destination, aligned with the City’s aspirations to be a regional outdoor recreation destination.

Thanks for hearing me out. I respect that you’re locked into a lease, but if the store does well and you’re open to having a “flagship” presence in the Knoxville area similar to your Denver “flagship” store, I believe the local membership and community would wholeheartedly – and I’ll even venture to guess financially via incentives or perhaps partnerships – support you.

I’m CC’ing Knoxville Mayor Madeline Rogero and 4th District City Councilman Nick Della Volpe on this suggestion. They are familiar with me from my work on the Greenways Commission.

Thanks again and have a great weekend,

Tanner