Blue Marble Monthly — May 2018

Blue Marble Monthly - satellite imagery

News on a Pulitzer Prize-Winner, GIS for Renewable Energy, and a Chance to Win a Copy of Global Mapper

A long time ago (in a galaxy far, far away*), wind-driven machines were widely used as a reliable and clean means of generating energy. The picturesque windmills scattered throughout the low countries of Europe provide historic evidence of wind energy being used for centuries. Fast forward to today, far more advanced wind power is being produced as a solution to modern energy challenges.

During the second week of May, Blue Marble will send a team to the AWEA Windpower Conference in Chicago to showcase the expanding use of Global Mapper in the wind energy sector. In this edition of Blue Marble Monthly, we explore some of Global Mapper’s spatial data processing and analysis capabilities that have proven to be indispensable for renewable energy planning and development.

We also share some exciting news about how Global Mapper Partner Aerial Filmworks won a Pulitzer Prize, and as always, we test your geographic aptitude in the Where in the World Geo-Challenge.

*May the fourth be with you.

Aerial Filmworks

USER STORY | Aerial Filmworks Wins Pulitzer Prize

Blue Marble is pleased to pass along our sincerest congratulations to our partners at Aerial Filmworks, who, in collaboration with USA Today, were recently awarded a Pulitzer Prize in the Explanatory Reporting category for their project entitled “The Wall”. Their work involved a comprehensive analysis of the impact of the proposed border wall between the U.S. and Mexico. Using a custom extension in Global Mapper, Aerial Filmworks technicians generated real-time, augmented reality overlays on aerial video that visually depict the border location.


On Friday, June 8th, Aerial Filmworks will be hosting a special Blue Marble User Conference (BMUC) in Los Angeles. This event will provide an opportunity to learn about the behind-the-scenes details, and the important role of Global Mapper in the project.  Click here to register for BMUC.

wind farm in Global Mapper

PROJECTIONS | Global Mapper for Wind Energy Planning

In this blog entry, we explain the online resources and tools available through Global Mapper that can help estimate resources and terrain modifications, and create a visualization of the preliminary plans of a wind project. We’ll do this by simulating a simplified planning process for a wind farm to arrive at a 3D visualization of the project.


slope direction shader in Global Mapper

DID YOU KNOW? | The Slope Direction Shader

Digital Elevation Models are a peculiar variant of raster data. While they are comprised of an array of pixels, similar to an aerial image, the pixels do not typically contain a prescribed color. Instead, the visual representation of the data is dynamically controlled and Global Mapper includes numerous options for customizing the elevation display. Did you know that you can also adjust the rendering to reflect the local slope characteristics? One of the options is to display the azimuth or bearing of the slopes using a customizable color scheme. This allows you to quickly and easily discern south facing slopes (or north-facing in the southern hemisphere) as optimal sites for a solar power installation.



OUR TRAVELS | Blue Marble Racks Up Air Miles in April

The Blue Marble office was particularly quiet in April. Offices sat empty, parking was easy to find, and there was no line for the microwave at lunch time. The reason for this relative tranquility was because many of us had been dispatched to various distant outposts around the world on company business. During the month, Blue Marble sent teams to the Netherlands, Malta, Australia, Florida, New Zealand, New Orleans, and several other locations. On returning, we asked each to share some highlights of their travels.


 view shed tool in Global Mapper

VIDEOS | The Visual Impact of an Energy Project

In this 3-minute video, we follow the steps for conducting a view shed analysis that allows us to see the visual impact of a project like a wind or solar farm. The tool highlights the clear line of sight of an installation by using elevation data, the project’s location, height, and radius.

This and previous Blue Marble Webinars and Webcasts can be viewed at Blue Marble YouTube Channel and on the Webinars page on the Blue Marble web site.



Where in the World Geo-Challenge

April’s Geo-Challenge saw another potential flashpoint. While the push-pin indicating the location of a cape was intended to be planted on the Cape of Good Hope, representing the southwestern tip of the African continent, many correctly pointed out that Cape Point is but a few hundred meters away so, after lengthy adjudication, it was decided that both were acceptable. Crisis averted! Check out the answers here to see how well you fared with the other four locations. The winner for April and recipient of a copy of Global Mapper is Matt Leavitt.

At the risk of inciting more controversy, why not try your luck in May’s challenge.


See complete terms and conditions here.

Events | Where Blue Marble Will Be Next

Upcoming Events

AWEA WINDPOWER Conference and Exhibition 2018
Chicago, IL | May 7 – 10

GEO Business 2018
London, UK | May 22 – 23

International Society of Photogrammetry & Remote Sensing Conference
Riva del Garda, Italy | June 4 – 7

Anaheim, CA | June 5 – 7

Blue Marble User Conference in LA
Los Angeles, CA | June 8

European Association of Geoscientists & Engineers Annual 2018
Copenhagen, Denmark | June 11 – 14


Blue Marble Traveled the World in April 2018

David McKittrick | Projections
Blue Marble’s Senior Applications Specialist David McKittrick traveled to Malta for training in April.

Between attending geospatial conferences and conducting Global Mapper training, the Blue Marble team does a fair amount of traveling around the world throughout the year. April was an especially busy month with eight members of our staff out of the office on business trips. When a team members returns, they usually write a report on the business aspects of their trip: which customers they connected with; the success of a training class; or what new potential sales leads they uncovered. What the report usually doesn’t include is what they did for fun during their down time.

In this blog entry, we hear from team members who traveled to Australia, New Zealand, Amsterdam, Malta, and New Orleans, and learn a little bit about what goes on after hours on a Blue Marble business trip.

Jeff Hatzel
Jeff explored Piha Beach in New Zealand.

Jeff & Myles go to Australia:

Applications Specialist, Jeff Hatzel and Reseller Account Manager, Myles Labonte traveled to Australia and New Zealand for the GeoSmart Asia’18 & Locate 18 Geospatial Conference, and to conduct two Global Mapper training courses.

“After nearly 25 hours of travel, Myles and I hit the ground running with a three day conference and a public Global Mapper training class in Adelaide. Adelaide was a great city to visit and is walkable and very accessible. I ate all sorts of great food and sampled some local beers and wines. We visited a local conservation park to see and feed some local wildlife, and even went for a swim at the beach. The unseasonably warm heatwave left us a bit surprised at the chilly ocean temperatures!

Jeff Hatzel
A kangaroo in Cleland Conservation Park in Australia

Once our time in Adelaide came to an end, I had a relatively short flight over to Auckland, New Zealand for a training course with the New Zealand Department of Defense. Auckland is another wonderful city to visit. Situated right on the ocean, it is full of restaurants, shops, and offers many activities. Everyone I met said I had to go tramping!?!

It turns out tramping is a term used for hiking, which is much more in line with my interests! I visited two small islands just off the coast which, were almost visible from my hotel. Rangitoto is a relatively young volcanic island covered in thick forest, whereas Motutapu is an older island; grassy and open to agriculture. The two sitting side-by-side are a great contrast and make for a beautiful tramp …or hike! Before my evening flight home, I spent the day exploring Piha Beach, which is covered in black sand, large rocks, and forested cliffs!

This trip allowed us to meet one of our largest user bases; getting to know our users and their local industry first hand. We were fortunate to have a moment of free time to explore a bit of what the cities and regions had to offer too!”

-Jeff Hatzel

Katrina Schweikert
Katrina and Danielle took walks along the river during their stay in New Orleans.

Kat & Danielle go to New Orleans:

Applications Specialist, Katrina Schweikert and Operations Manager, Danielle Caron flew to New Orleans, Louisiana, for the American Association of Geographers’ Annual Meeting.

“It was great fun to see 7,000 geographers stumbling into a jazz festival. But we didn’t need to go too far away from the hotel to see the heart of New Orleans — from bustling streets to a quiet garden patio oasis. I think my favorite part was exploring the iconic and historic verandas on the quieter residential streets just outside of the main thoroughfare. We also had some excellent food, especially seafood. We were a bit surprised at the amount of advertising for Maine lobster.

Katrina Schweikert
A jazz performance near the hotel Kat and Danielle stayed at in New Orleans

We also got to catch part of a jazz festival that was going on nearby. We saw some impressive boats in the river where the decks appeared to be at waist level as we looked out.

Then, of course, we got to do a bit of shopping for some masquerade masks and beignet mix to bring a bit of New Orleans back home.”

-Katrina Schweikert

Patrick Cunningham
Patrick and Sam stayed in the Hilton Amsterdam when they attended the Commercial UAV Europe Conference.

Patrick & Sam go to Amsterdam:

Blue Marble President, Patrick Cunningham and Product Manager, Sam Knight traveled to Amsterdam for the Commercial UAV Europe Conference.

“Amsterdam ranks high on the list of the worlds iconic cities and there is no better time to visit than in spring. The weather is mild, the summer crowds have not yet arrived and the flowers are blooming. We were in town for the Commercial UAV Conference and to visit some of our key clients in the area. The conference was a resounding success with Global Mapper’s new Pixels-to-Points tool receiving a lot of accolades from the conference delegates.


Patrick Cunningham
Blue Marble Product Manager Sam Knight (far left) and Blue Marble President Patrick Cunningham (second from left) and the company’s Japanese partners at the Commercial UAV Conference in Amsterdam

Our hotel was the Hilton Amsterdam, which is famous for being the location of John Lennon and Yoko Ono’s Bed-Ins for Peace demonstration. Most mornings began with a run in in Vondelpark, in the heart of Amsterdam near the museum district. A great way to start the day.

Patrick Cunningham
Vondelpark in the heart of Amsterdam near the museum district

Amsterdam is a walkable city and Sam and I decided to forgo motorized transport and travel the mile or so to and from the conference venue on foot. This gave us an opportunity to see the city up close and personal, with its unique architecture, weird road signs, proliferation of bicycles, and, of course, expansive flower beds.”

-Patrick Cunningham



David McKittrick | Projections
A view in the historic walled city of Valletta in Malta where David lead a LiDAR training class.

David goes to Malta:

Senior Applications Specialist, David McKittrick flew solo to Malta for a Global Mapper training class.

“Of all of the far-flung locations in which we have conducted Global Mapper training classes, Malta is arguably the most alluring. This tiny cluster of limestone islands situated in the central Mediterranean between Italy and Tunisia, has a long and colorful history, with the legacy of each successive occupying force woven into the cultural fabric of the archipelago.

David McKittrick | Projections
David and the trainees of a LiDAR Module class in Malta

The five-day training class was delivered at the request of the Maltese Government Planning Authority in the capital city of Valletta. Covering all aspects of Global Mapper and the LiDAR module, the course provided hands-on instruction focusing on the Authority’s specific needs and requirements. Being a small country, the Maltese GIS data administration has been able to collect and process high quality data for the entire nation and we were able to integrate some of their local datasets into the class.

David McKittrick | Projections
Republic Street in Valletta, Malta

After hours, there was plenty of time to explore the environs of Valletta, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Covering less than one square kilometer, this historic walled city is rich with cultural landmarks, medieval architecture, quiet parks, and stunning vistas. At dinner time, the cultural melting pot became even more evident with Middle Eastern, North African, and Southern European influences creating unique dining options. Because the British were the last occupying power to leave the island before its independence in 1964, it is even possible to eat fish and chips with a pint of real ale while sitting next to a gleaming red telephone box. Just like London. Except for the weather, of course!”

-David McKittrick

Blue Marble is Hiring!

Do you want to join the Blue Marble team and potentially travel for work? Blue Marble has a few job openings on their website.

Using the View Shed Tool in Global Mapper

In this 3-minute video, we follow the steps for conducting a view shed analysis in Global Mapper that allows us to see the visual impact of a project like a wind or solar farm. The tool highlights the clear line of sight of a project by using elevation data, the project’s location, height, and radius.

Where in the World April 2018 Answers

How Well Did You Do?

Name the capital city – Panama City












Name the mountain – Etna












Name the country – Bolivia












Name the island – Ellis Island












Name the cape – Cape of Good Hope or Cape Point