November 17th 2015 - SLUG Meeting DiGISt

The 26th Quarterly Salt Lake GIS Users Group (SLUG) meeting was held on November 17, 2015, from 11:30 am to 1:15 pm in the Saltair Room at the U of U Student Union Bldg.  There were about 130 in attendance.

This meeting’s lunch was provided by the U’s Geography Department. We had a nice buffet of pasta, veggies, bread sticks, drinks, etc. If you have any business contacts that would like to ‘sponsor’ a lunch by providing food and drinks in exchange for their advertising at the meeting, please contact Tom Toronto, SLUG Board member.



Ray Montgomery, SLUG Board

·         Welcome to all, thanks to the U’s DIGIT lab for the venue and the lunch.

·         The SLUG Board changes the Board Chair every 2 years. Ray’s term will expire in December, and Neal Fraser will assume these duties in January, 2016.

·         Ray had the current Board members stand and be introduced. These are currently: Kaitlin Barklow (UDOT); Michael Duncan (Granite School District); Neal Fraser (Gateway Mapping);  Ray Montgomery (Sandy City); Nancy Strickland (SITLA); and Tom Toronto (Tom Toronto GIS).

·         The next SLUG meeting will be on Feb 9, 2016, in the Doty Auditorium on the IMC Murray campus. Hope you will be able to attend!

·         We are always in need of presenters. If you would like to present, or suggest someone who you’d like to see present, please contact Neal Fraser, SLUG Board member.


Sponsor’s Segment:

George Hepner, Geography Department Chair, U of U  welcomed us to the U and commented about how appropriate is is for them to help sponsor SLUG during Geography Week. He also reaffirmed their desire to continue doing so each year in November.

He mentioned several of the events of the Week, including a GIS job fair. He explained the ongoing GIS programs at the U, including a new program that will let someone acquire a BS and MS in GIS in 5 years or less.  The U is now in its 3rd year of offering an MS in GIS.

Phoebe McNeally,  DIGIT Lab Director, Geography Dept  explained the U’s Capstone project, in which students will perform GIS work for outside entities for free to gain experience. Contact her for details.

UGIC:  She also gave an update of the UGIC (Utah Geographic Information Council) conference upcoming in Bryce Canyon, Utah, May 9-13, 2016. The Call for Papers is now open. UGIC is redesigning their web portal; check soon for changes.



UAV Technology and Uses

David Terry, Silverhawk Aerial Imaging

Silverhawk has 6 on staff, 3 of which are licensed pilots. They are 1 of only 12 companies in Utah (1 of 2000 in US) that have specific FAA licensing and permits to carry out certain drone-type work. He explained differences in terminology, the stringent FAA requirements, restrictions, and regulations. (The FAA only sees 2 types of aircraft- commercial and hobby.  Since a drone operated by a company is commercial, it falls under the same rules as a passenger jet, such as having to have an crash investigator come if it crashes.)  These rules are being changed.

David went through the current and future UAV output products, such as Orthophoto, DSM, Thermal, contours, and 3D.  LiDAR is still a bit beyond reach, due to the weight. They recently did a project in N. Ogden that resulted in 1.7 inch pixel imagery that is accurate to 3”. It took then only 5 hours from flight to product delivery. People had lots of questions.


Geography Humor Segment 

Ray Montgomery, SLUG Board

Ray showed a short animated video, one made by Warner Bros. starring the Wakko cast singing about the voyage of Magellan and the maps he used. Poor Magellan. You can see most of the videos we’ve shown at SLUG meetings here: Geography Humor Page


Promote Open Science in Wildfire Evacuation Modeling: An Open-Source System for Setting Wildfire Evacuation Triggers

Dapeng Li  (Student Presentation)

He showed the abilities of a system he developed in Open Source software to assist firefighters, communities, hospitals, etc. It sets buffers around any desired building or area so that if a fire crosses into that buffer, an evacuation alert is triggered. Buffer distances are set according to the types of people to be evacuated, such as more time for hospitals.  Written in C++ with a QT GUI.


Locating Medical Drones to Reduce EMS Response Times

Aaron Pulver  (Student Presentation)

Aaron explained that at present, 50,000 to 200,000 people in the US suffer a Sudden Cardiac Arrest (heart attack) each year, 70-80% of which are at home. Cutting response times to 1 minute results in 24% more people surviving it. This project looked at determining where, and at what costs, drones equipped with heart stimulators could be placed throughout the SL Valley.  He based this on future technology that allows them to fly at 60 mph. The project looked at current EMS locations, potential locations, etc.  It went through 784 iterations to determine where these could be located for various combinations of cost and % of population covered.


Comparing Urban Land Cover Types and Land Surface Temperature in the Salt Lake Valley

Joshua Reynolds  (Student Presentation)

Joshua’s project combined several sources of data to create the data he needed for this comparison of Land Cover Types and Land Surface Temps (LST). The LST is not the same as the air temperature, it’s the actual temperature of cement, trees, buildings, etc. One would assume a good correlation between vegetated/non-vegetated areas and the LSTs. 

However, this analysis goes further, to see what types of vegetation produce the best cooling effects.  So far, he has completed one of several hundred tiles in the valley.  The big limitation is not having a complete coverage of veg types for the whole valley; he’s creating these manually. Someone from a State agency spoke up, saying that they had data that might work for him.


Thank you to our presenters and our venue. If you have any ideas for a presentation or any other matter, please contact a SLUG board member.  And thanks for your interest and support!