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OKSCAUG, Thunder Up!

By Gregory Brunner

I was supposed to be at OKSCAUG in Moore, Oklahoma on Tuesday presenting on Mapping Russell Westbrook’s Shots with Python and ArcGIS; however, on Friday I fell through my garage ceiling and injured my left wrist, elbow, shoulder, and hip. Here’s the hole I left in the ceiling:


It was a 10 or 12 foot fall. Amazingly Miraculously, the x-rays taken at the ER show no broken or separated bones! Still, I have limited range of motion in my left arm and left hip and a lot of pain in my left arm.

For OKSCAUG I was asked to give a short 10-15 minute overview during the morning and a longer technical session in the afternoon. Below, I have linked to the presentations.

Here is the short version:


Go To Story Map

Here is the long version:


Go To Story Map

If you are a basketball fan, check them out. They were really fun presentations to put together.

I am sorry I couldn’t be there with you in Moore, Oklahoma today. I hope you can understand.

Team Basemaps

Team Basemaps is a web app that allows you to choose your favorite team, cycle through the team colors to get the map looking exactly like you want, and then save it to your ArcGIS Online account to use in maps. It uses the Vector Tile Layers in combination with the new ArcGIS JavaScript API 4.0.


I’d love to see your favorite basemap color combinations – post them in the comments!

Some information on how I created this is over on GeoNet.

Release Your New Web AppBuilder Widget in Four Steps

So you just wrote a great Web AppBuilder widget, and want to release it to the world so everyone can benefit.

Create the Widget

First create your widget, preferably using the generator-esri-appbuilder-js Yeoman Generator. That way your settings will be correct, your manifest.json file will be filled out, and your files will be in a great structure, optimized for GitHub. Speaking of which …

Upload to GitHub

Upload the file structure to a new GitHub repository. Make sure you put your GitHub repository url in your package.json file. Also make sure your file includes helpful information about the widget — a summary, features list, and, of course, a screenshot. (example)

Create a Demo App

In your GitHub repository, create a new folder called demo, do an export from your Web AppBuilder test app, and extract the HTML/CSS/JavaScript files into that folder. Add an additional task to your Gruntfile called “deploy” and have it publish your demo folder to this repository’s gh-pages branch (example). Now you have a demo of your widget if you go to (example)

For bonus, take the url of our demo app and make it the “primary url” of your GitHub repository so it’s easy for people to see your demo:


Share and Publicize

  • ArcGIS Code Sharing – Zip up your widget files and post to ArcGIS Code Sharing. In the description, link to your demo app as well as your GitHub repository (in case you update your widget on GitHub but forget to update Code Sharing in the future). (example)
  • GeoNet – Post an announcement about your new widget to the Web AppBuilder Custom Widgets Group. Upload your files if you want, or just link to ArcGIS Code Sharing and/or your GitHub repository.
  • Twitter – Tweet out a link to your new widget. Include a screenshot and the #webappbuilder hashtag.
  • Other Lists – there are a few other compilation lists out there. Most likely ArcGIS Code Sharing will be the place for this in the long-term, but for now it’s probably good to list your widget on these too.

That’s it! Now your widget is destined for fame and fortune. On to the next one!

GitHub CSV Import

github-csv-importHave you ever wanted to import issues from a different system into GitHub? I just released a new tool that will allow you to do that. All you need to do is get your issues into a simple CSV format including title, description, and the tags that you want, and the script will do the rest.


To use, just install using npm install -g github-csv-tools and then run githubCsvTools myFile.csv from the command line, referencing your CSV file that you want to import. It’ll ask you for a GitHub token, and a few other details, and then you’ll have your issues in GitHub!


Right now the tool only does importing, but more will come soon! Please leave comments here, or in the GitHub repository.

How to Map the Infrared Universe with Astropy and ArcGIS

A guest post by Gregory Brunner

I love astronomy. In a previous life, I was fortunate to study astronomy and work with some of the coolest hyperspectral data collected by the Spitzer Space Telescope. So since joining Esri five years ago, I’ve had it on my mind to use ArcGIS to map the infrared universe using observations from Spitzer Space Telescope; observations with which I already have some familiarity.

Over the past few months I’ve been exploring the various Python packages that I could use for astronomy. Having not done anything with astronomy for the past eight years, I was very pleased to discover astropy and I immediately saw that there was potential for me to use astropy and arcpy to bring observations (i.e. images) from Spitzer Space Telescope into ArcMap. So I decided to devote some time to figuring out how to use astropy and arcpy to bring these images into ArcMap and work towards creating some spectacular maps of the nearby infrared universe.

It might not sound too practical to use ArcGIS to look at observations from a space telescope; however, I think that the image processing capabilities in ArcGIS could be really powerful tools to use to create a large scale map of the universe. So the idea I’m putting forth isn’t just to look at some nearby galaxies in ArcMap, but that using Python with ArcGIS, we could make some spectacular and interactive maps of the universe.

Composite of GLIMPSE I and II and MIPSGAL data of the Milky Way galactic plane

Astronomy from the Perspective of a Geographer

Back in my grad student days (2005 – 2008), SOAImage DS9 was the default viewer for astronomers and IDL was the most common programming language and environment. Images taken by CCDs on telescopes were generally delivered as FITS files and to my knowledge they still are. I’ve never seen FITS files used in GIS; however, I have noticed that GDAL does support reading FITS files. That being said, I have not been able to read a FITS file into ArcMap and would venture to say that the FITS file reader has not been implemented. For this blog post, I’m going to describe how I used astropy and arcpy to convert images of M51 (NGC 5194) from FITS files to TIFF files and how I manipulated the coordinates in order for the images to project in ArcMap as they would in DS9, or for that matter, on the sky.

Image of IRAC1 band of M51 in SAOImage DS9

In future posts, I plan to demonstrate how I batch downloaded these images from the Spitzer archive and how I mosaicked images from the GLIMPSE and MIPSGAL surveys into a map of the galactic plane. So if you find this post intriguing, come back soon to learn how to create more really beautiful maps of the sky.

The Data

I used the Spitzer Infrared Nearby Galaxies (SINGS) Infrared Array Camera (IRAC) data for M51. M51 is particularly striking when seen in the infrared, so I thought it would be a good galaxy to start with. I am also familiar with the observations.

I downloaded the four IRAC images. The numbers in the filename correspond to the band on the Infrared Array Camera. The wavelength corresponding to IRAC channels one through four are 3.6, 4.5, 5.8 and 8.0 microns respectively.

Image of M51 in the visible and infrared wavelength ranges

Imports and Environment Variables

To map the infrared universe, I needed to import numpy, astropy, sys, os, and arcpy. From astropy, I used the capability to handle FITS files and the utilities to work in the world coordinate system (WCS) projection. Here are my imports:

from __future__ import division

import numpy
from astropy import wcs
from import fits
import sys
import os
import arcpy

I set some arcpy raster environment variables because I did not want to calculate pyramids or raster statistics. That’s something I don’t typically do, but I wasn’t happy with how the pyramids looked, so I opted to omit them knowing that I could always calculate them later.

arcpy.env.pyramid = "NONE"
arcpy.env.rasterStatistics  = "NONE"


I knew I’d be reading and writing a bunch of image files. I had a folder that contained all of the input FITS files (input_image_path), a folder that I wrote the individual images out to as TIFFs (output_image_path), a folder where I wrote the four band composite images for a galaxy (composite_image_path), the number of bands (num_bands), and the instrument name (instrument). The galaxy name (galaxy) was also a variable. At the end of the post, I’ll show how I used a list of galaxies to loop through the 75 SINGS galaxies to make 4 band composite images of each of them. The composite image file (composite_filename and composite_path_and_name) are both dependent on the galaxy name.

output_image_path = "C:/PROJECTS/R&D/ASTROARC/SINGS/TIFF/"
input_image_path = "C:/PROJECTS/R&D/ASTROARC/SINGS/FITS/"
composite_image_path = output_image_path + "COMPOSITES"
num_bands = 4
instrument = "IRAC"
galaxy = "ngc5194"
composite_filename = galaxy + "_" + instrument + "_" + str(num_bands) + "Bands.tif"
composite_path_and_name = os.path.join(composite_image_path, composite_filename)

I also had a few lines to check and make sure the output image folders exist before writing to them.

if not os.path.exists(output_image_path):

if not os.path.exists(composite_image_path):

For Galaxy NGC5194…

I needed to loop through all four bands, define the input FITS filename (input_filename), a temporary output filename (temp_filename), and a “georeferenced” output filename (output_filename). I also had to join the filenames to their folders.

for num in range(1,num_bands+1):
    input_filename = galaxy + "_v7.phot." + str(num)+ ".fits"
    temp_filename = input_filename[:-4] + 'rev.tif'
    output_filename = input_filename[:-4] + 'rev.WCS.tif'
    temp_file_and_path = os.path.join(output_image_path, temp_filename)
    output_file_and_path = os.path.join(output_image_path, output_filename)
    input_file_and_path = os.path.join(input_image_path, input_filename)

Bear in mind as you read this, everything is being done within this for loop until I composite the bands.

Reading FITS File with Astropy

For each image file, I opened the file header and image data.

hdulist =
w = wcs.WCS(hdulist[0].header)
image = hdulist[0].data

I used the image shape to define the pixel coordinates I’d use to reference the image. I needed the data as a numpy array to get the WCS coordinates and a string to pass to the Warp tool. I used the pixel coordinates to get the world coordinates at those points too.

pixcrd = numpy.array([[0, 0], [0, image.shape[0]],[image.shape[1], 0],
            [image.shape[1], image.shape[0]]], numpy.float_)
#Convert to string
pixcrd_string = '0 0;' + '0 ' + str(image.shape[0]) + ';' + 
            str(image.shape[1]) + ' 0;' + 
            str(image.shape[1]) + ' ' + str(image.shape[0])

# Convert pixel coordinates to world coordinates
world = w.wcs_pix2world(pixcrd, 1)
#Convert to string to project/warp in arcpy
coordinate_string = str(-1*world[0,0]) + ' ' + str(world[0,1]) + ';' + 
            str(-1*world[1,0]) + ' ' + str(world[1,1]) + ';' + 
            str(-1*world[2,0]) + ' ' + str(world[2,1]) + ';' + 
            str(-1*world[3,0]) + ' ' + str(world[3,1])

# Convert the same coordinates back to pixel coordinates.
pixcrd2 = w.wcs_world2pix(world, 1)

These are the coordinates that I used to “project” the M51 images.

Converting to TIFF

I needed to write the images out as “georeferenced” TIFF files. I flipped the y-axis of the image, defined the pixel data type to be 64-bit floats, then wrote the raster to disk.

#Converting raster to TIFF image
assert numpy.max(numpy.abs(pixcrd - pixcrd2)) < 1e-6
#Reversing the array
flipim = numpy.flipud(image)
#Writing the array to a raster
double_image = numpy.float64(flipim)
myRaster = arcpy.NumPyArrayToRaster(double_image)

Here’s the IRAC1 image in ArcMap:


If I didn’t flip the y-axis (numpy.flipup), the output image would have looked like:


Finally, I Warped the image in order to give it WCS coordinates and deleted the temporary image (temp_file_and_path).

source_pnt = pixcrd_string
target_pnt = coordinate_string
arcpy.Warp_management(temp_file_and_path, source_pnt, target_pnt,
            output_file_and_path, "POLYORDER1","BILINEAR")
#Deleting the unreferenced image

Composite Bands

I composited the four individual images into a single raster that has four bands.

arcpy.env.workspace = output_image_path
rasters = arcpy.ListRasters(galaxy + "*", "TIF")

Note that this happened outside of the for loop (for band in num_bands).

I didn’t define the projection, so in ArcMap, M51 looked a little bit squished compared to the Spitzer image that I showed at the top.


If I defined the projection to be WGS 1984, the image would look very similar to the image at the beginning of this post. I defined the projection when I added the galaxies into a single mosaic dataset.

Creating the Mosaic Dataset and Adding the Images

I then added the composite 4-band image into a mosaic dataset where I set image projection to be WGS 1984.

coordinate_sys = "PROJCS['WGS_1984_Web_Mercator_Auxiliary_Sphere',GEOGCS['GCS_WGS_1984',DATUM['D_WGS_1984',SPHEROID['WGS_1984',6378137.0,298.257223563]],PRIMEM['Greenwich',0.0],UNIT['Degree',0.0174532925199433]],PROJECTION['Mercator_Auxiliary_Sphere'],PARAMETER['False_Easting',0.0],PARAMETER['False_Northing',0.0],PARAMETER['Central_Meridian',0.0],PARAMETER['Standard_Parallel_1',0.0],PARAMETER['Auxiliary_Sphere_Type',0.0],UNIT['Meter',1.0]];-20037700 -30241100 10000;-100000 10000;-100000 10000;0.001;0.001;0.001;IsHighPrecision"
imagery_spatial_ref = "GEOGCS['GCS_WGS_1984',DATUM['D_WGS_1984',SPHEROID['WGS_1984',6378137.0,298.257223563]],PRIMEM['Greenwich',0.0],UNIT['Degree',0.0174532925199433]];-400 -400 1000000000;-100000 10000;-100000 10000;8.98315284119522E-09;0.001;0.001;IsHighPrecision"
mosaic_gdb = r"C:\PROJECTS\R&D\ASTROARC\SINGS\Spitzer.gdb"
mosaic_name = "SINGS"
mosaic_dataset = os.path.join(mosaic_gdb, mosaic_name)
arcpy.CreateMosaicDataset_management(mosaic_gdb, mosaic_name, coordinate_sys,
        num_bands="", pixel_type="", product_definition="NONE",
arcpy.AddRastersToMosaicDataset_management(mosaic_dataset, "Raster Dataset",
        composite_image_path, "UPDATE_CELL_SIZES", "UPDATE_BOUNDARY",
        "NO_OVERVIEWS", "", "0", "1500", imagery_spatial_ref, "#", "SUBFOLDERS",

This should render the images very similarly to how you see it above in the NASA press release image. Here’s M51 in the mosaic dataset with the band combination set to use IRAC4 (red), IRAC2 (green), and IRAC1 (blue) as the band combination.


Mosaicking All 75 SINGS Galaxies

I structured the code so that I could do this for all 75 SINGS galaxies. In fact, I downloaded them all using the Python requests library and inserted a for loop where I defined the galaxy name and used the galaxy list as the input to the for loop.

galaxy_list = ['ngc0024', 'ngc0337', 'ngc0584', 'ngc0628', 'ngc0855', 'ngc0925',
            'ngc1097', 'ngc1266', 'ngc1291', 'ngc1316', 'ngc1377', 'ngc1404', 
            'ngc1482', 'ngc1512', 'ngc1566', 'ngc1705', 'ngc2403', 'ngc2798',
            'ngc2841', 'ngc2915', 'ngc2976', 'ngc3049', 'ngc3031', 'ngc3034',
            'ngc3190', 'ngc3184', 'ngc3198', 'ngc3265', 'ngc3351', 'ngc3521',
            'ngc3621', 'ngc3627', 'ngc3773', 'ngc3938', 'ngc4125', 'ngc4236',
            'ngc4254', 'ngc4321', 'ngc4450', 'ngc4536', 'ngc4552', 'ngc4559',
            'ngc4569', 'ngc4579', 'ngc4594', 'ngc4625', 'ngc4631', 'ngc4725',
            'ngc4736', 'ngc4826', 'ngc5033', 'ngc5055', 'ngc5194', 'ngc5195',
            'ngc5408', 'ngc5474', 'ngc5713', 'ngc5866', 'ngc6822', 'ngc6946', 
            'ngc7331', 'ngc7552', 'ngc7793','ic2574', 'ic4710', 'mrk33', 'hoii', 
            'm81dwa', 'ddo053', 'hoi', 'hoix', 'm81dwb', 'ddo154', 'ddo165', 'tol89']   

for galaxy in galaxy_list:
    #Do everything I described above!

In the end, I had 75 4-band composite images in a single a mosaic dataset. I shared them as an image service and put them in this storymap:

Go to Storymap

I’m only highlighting 12 galaxies here, but if you want to see them all, go to this webmap and search around the image service table.

Still to Come…

I got really into this when I worked on it last summer but the code isn’t too clean. I thought about making a Python class for every Spitzer Legacy Program I wanted to look at, but I didn’t get too far with it. My code is on github. I think I’m going to devote another post to show how I created some beautiful maps of the galactic plane from the MIPSGAL and GLIMPSE surveys (like the one at the beginning of the post and this one below).

View larger map

In that post I’ll go through how I scraped the MIPSGAL and GLIMPSE archives with BeautifulSoup and requests. Let me know if you thought this was interesting! I’d love to build a more complete map of the sky and even think about how to do things like crowdsource the sky with other observations of space, so if this topic interests you or if you have links to other people who are doing something similar, please let me know!

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Gavin Rehkemper

JavaScript, WordPress, and GeoDev