Solving Spatial Problems
Welcome to North Arrow Research, a Vancouver-based company that develops innovative mapping tools, specializing in environmental research using GIS. This includes ecological modelling, habitat identification, and at a broader scale, information systems that organize and share spatial environmental information.
North Arrow Research is led by Philip Bailey.
Philip is passionate about solving complex spatial problems. For the last 17 years Philip has worked in various fields – but never far from developing research GIS applications and spatial decision support systems.
Philip has concieved, designed and lead the development of several innovative research GIS tools, most notably the River Bathymetry Toolkit, which he continues to work on in collaboration with ESSA Technologies and the US Forest Service. Other work has included designing multi-disciplinary online data portals, again mainly for science-based environmental managers. Philip was also the leading information management strategist for the CIDA-funded Vietnam Environmental Governance Project (VPEG. He is currently adjunct professor in the School of Resource and Environmental Management at Simon Fraser University, in Burnaby, BC, Canada and in the Department of Watershed Sciences at Utah State University.
Philip has a PhD in GIS and remote sensing from the Department of Geography at the University of Southampton, UK, and a Joint bachelors in Geography and Topographic Science from the Swansea University, Wales. Prior to starting North Arrow Research, he was Managing Partner and team lead of the Environmental Information Systems Team with the firm ESSA Technologies.
Philip is also a trained elephant mahoot.
An open source, free ecological simulation modeling software package.
Our Habitat Modeling software is an open, flexible ecological simulation modeling environment. It calculates the area of usable habitat for a particular organism based on a set of physical relationships. Originally developed for modeling anadromous fish habitat, the software is entirely generic and can be used for any species and lifestage.
The software takes either tabular or spatially explicit inputs that represent physical conditions (e.g. depth, velocity and substrate) and combines them using user-defined habitat suitability curves. Typically these curves are obtained from empirical studies published in the literature and take the form of continuous or categorical utilization curves. A rich user interface allows users to create and manage the curves, link the curves to their data and then batch run simulations.
A simple, fast utility for processing, converting and restructuring raster GIS datasets.
Our Raster Manager was borne out of a simple necessity… the need for straightforward, fast and free processing of raster GIS datasets. It is a command line geoprocessing utility layered on top of the free and open source Geospatial Data Abstraction Library (GDAL). The Raster Manager is also available for free under the GPL open source license.
The Raster Manager currently supports the following operations:
- Raster property output (spatial extent, data type etc)
- Bilinear resampling (copy a raster to a different spatial extent and/or cell size)
- Copy rasters (while controlling the output spatial extent)
- Mosaic several rasters together
- Make two rasters concurrent (i.e. identical spatial extents)
- Maske one raster using another raster as the mask
- Setting areas of a raster to NoData based on a user-input threshold
- Basic cell math, including (add, subtract, divide, multiply, power, sqrt)
- Export a raster to a PNG graphics file
- Converting a CSV file to a raster
We develop the GCD ArcGIS add-in and can help you get up and running with this tool.
Geomorphic Change Detection Tool
The GCD software was developed primarily for morphological sediment budgeting in rivers. The volumetric change in storage is calculated from the difference in surface elevations from digital elevation models (DEMs) derived from repeat topographic surveys.
As each DEM has an uncertain surface representation (which might vary in space and time), our ability to detect changes between surveys is highly dependent on surface representation uncertainties inherent in the individual DEMs. The fundamental problem is separating out the changes between the surveys that are due to geomorphic change as opposed to noise in the survey data. GCD provides a suite of tools for quantifying those uncertainties independently in each DEM and propagating them through to the DEM of difference. The program also provides ways for segregating the best estimates of change spatially using different types of masks. The overall suite of tools is more generically applicable to many different spatial raster-based change detection problems.
The GCD Software was originally developed by Dr. Joe Wheaton (Utah State University Department of Watershed Sciences) and James Brasington (Queen Mary University). The latest version can be downloaded from Dr Wheaton’s web site.
We develop the RBT ArcGIS add-in and can help you get up and running with this tool.
River Bathymetry Toolkit
The River Bathymetry Toolkit (RBT) is a custom GIS application that identifies, measures and characterizes river channels. Starting with just a digital elevation model (DEM) that captures the bare earth terrain, the RBT makes it possible to create water extent polygons at any water stage and then layout centerlines, thalwegs and cross sections. These outputs are generated with many commom river channel measurements including max depth, mean depth, hydraulic radius, wetted width etc.
The starting point for most RBT analysis is detrending - the process of removing downhill elevation loss moving downstream. Once the DEM is detrended it is then possible to treat the channel as a groove in a flat surface. The RBT includes tools for interactively finding useful water stages such as bankfull. From here, several visualization and export tools allow users to see how the channel is configured and extract the features that are important to them.
The RBT is available in two versions; the Desktop RBT is an ArcGIS add-in and comes with a rich user interface for defining inputs and exploring outputs. The command line RBT operates on GIS data directly and is mainly intended for batch processing. Both versions require ArcGIS 10.1 Advanced as well as Spatial and 3D Analyst licenses.
The RBT was conceived by Jim McKean and Philip Bailey and is under current development by North Arrow Research, ESSA Technologies Ltd and the Rocky Mountain Research Center of the United States Forest Service. The latest RBT version is available for free from ESSA’s web site.
Funding for the RBT was provided by the Bonneville Power Administration (BPA Proposal # 2011-006-00 & BPA Project: 2003-017-00 ) and NOAA as part of the CHaMP (Columbia Habitat Monitoring Protocol), as well as financial contributions by North Arrow Research and ESSA Technologies.
The consulting services and solutions that we provide fall under the following major categories:
We build several cutting-edge tools for processing and analysing spatial data.
GIS Tool Development
We develop several GIS software tools focused on ecological management and GIS data processing.
The River Bathymetry Toolkit (RBT) is an ArcGIS pluggin that manipulates topographic data (collected from field surveys, bathymetric sonar or LiDAR) and produces spatial data products that help scientists interpret the geometry of rivers. The RBT can be used to automatically produce common hydrologic datasets such as cross sections and centerlines, as well as produce sophisticated maps of geomorphic features that are used by various fish species. The RBT is developed in association with ESSA Technologies Ltd. A console version of the RBT has also been developed for batch generating the same river geometry metrics on thousands of sites as part of the Columbia Habitat Monitoring Program (CHaMP).
The Geomorphic Change Detection (GCD) application is also an ArcGIS pluggin that analyzes digitial elevation models (DEMs) over time to quantity the amount of change while explicitly accounting for uncertainty in the original surfaces. The GCD was conceived and designed by Dr Joe Wheaton within Fluvial Habitats Center at Utah State University. We develop the GCD in association with ESSA Technologies Ltd.
North Arrow Research also provides the GIS community with several open source tools for working with spatial data. The Raster Manager provides numerous raster processing tools for elementary operations such as adding two rasters together, finding the minimum value etc. It’s a command line tool built on GDAL open source GIS technology and targeted at users needing simple, powerful, open access to image-based GIS.
Our Habitat Model software is another open source tool that provides spatial and non-spatial habitat modeling. It uses utilization curves to calculate a habitat suitability index. The input parameters, curves and weights are user-defined, meaning that the software can be used to model habitat for practically any species and lifestage.
Learn how to integrate and leverage the full power of spatial information within your organization.
We help clients with their plan and implement their strategy around Geographic Information Systems (GIS). This involves capturing organizational and user requirements and then designing a way forward for an organization to leverage the full power of their spatial data. We work with historical data as well as helping to design data capture strategies for new projects.
Organize, store, share and visualize your data to enable better decision making.
From database design to online cartography, we help clients leverage the full power of their information. We use tried and true techniques for learning what data you use and how you want to use it. From here, we then go about designing the simplest and most effective database strategy that meets your needs. The key is understanding where your data currently fall down, and fail to answer your pressing management decisions. Understanding this enables the database and tool design to focus on providing answers rather than simply being a warehouse for data.
On the CIDA-funded Vietnam Environmental Governance Project (VPEG), Philip Bailey led the information strategy component of this joint venture between SNC Lavalin and ESSA Technologies. Over a five year period Philip collaborated with several Vietnamese government and private entities to build a strategy for organizing information related to industrial pollution. Philip coordinated the design, development and rollout of four online database tracking tools and ran numerous workshops to faciliate their adoption.
We have developed and delivered several professional-level courses on various GIS subjects. These short 2-4 day courses are custom designed for clients and typically focus on the use of spatial data for decision making and/or one of the GIS tools that we develop. Our courses are extremely hands-on and often use client data for the exercises.
We have developed and delivered several professional-level courses on various GIS subjects. These short, typically 2-4 day, courses are custom designed for clients and typically focus on the use of spatial data for decision making and/or one of the GIS tools that we develop. Our courses are extremely hands-on and often use client data for the exercises.
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North Arrow Research Ltd. Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada Phone: +1 (604) 338-2924 firstname.lastname@example.org