Verify Satellite Imagery for HOT (it’s easy, no sign-up even!)

Help identify whether satellite images of South Kivu, Congo (DRC) can be used for humanitarian mapping or, if the images contain clouds, just click the no/bad imagery button.

The images with no clouds will be used to draw maps that humanitarian organizations will use to direct resources more efficiently. Click on it and take 25 seconds to burn through a few images. If you’re interested in getting more involved with humanitarian mapping (which is free/easy for you and very helpful for everyone else), shoot me a message.


Alberta Election Poll Infographic (click here)

Spent a couple hours putting this image together, It’s not really a map, but I created the whole thing in QGIS and was pretty impressed with how much image editing you can do.

Poll Map

Poll results can be found at

I try to take polls with a grain of salt, especially when talking about the NDP and a provincial election (see 2013, BC).

Blender Tutorial

Must learn…


As promised several months ago, I’ve finally put together some instructions on how to create shaded relief using Blender. I’ve created a 72-minute, six-part video series that walks you through the process (don’t worry; it doesn’t take that long to do it every time, just your first time). Please share it around! I’d love to see other people making use of this technique, and extending it beyond what I’ve done.

NOTE: Since I put together this video series, some of my colleagues have made some great contributions that you should be aware of. First off, Ryan Lash (@RRLash) has put together an awesome step-by-step explanation of everything that goes on in the videos, so that you don’t have to hunt around to find the step you missed: Second, check out the comments below. Morgan Hite has been using BlenderGIS to ease some of the issues with Blender…

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A Little Piece of Home

Great style on this map

Daily Zooniverse


I was extremely chuffed to find this map on Science Gossip. Not just because I’m a huge map geek, but because in the top left it shows part of the remote and beautiful Isle of Coll. This small island off the west coast of Scotland is where my Mum grew up, and holds a very special place in my heart. It’s great to find something in a Zooniverse project that really means something to you. See what you will find today at

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5 UNBELIEVABLE Things To Do With Your Left Hand Before You Turn 30, First You’ll Be Shocked, Then You’ll Be Inspired

A lot of people are right handed, leaving many to ponder the question “what’s the other one for anyway?”

These 5 life hacks are guaranteed to make your day go by 5 times faster, giving you time to read the rest of my blog and subscribe to receive future posts.

#5. Check the time

Improper use of a wrist watch

Lots of right handed people wear a watch for telling the time these days, especially since cell phones are too cumbersome and you can’t rely on “Apple” to tell the truth about where the sun is. Try putting the watch on your left hand, it’ll make using a pencil a lot less cumbersome, and you’ll be able to check the time while jotting down that new manifesto on the bus.

#4. Cut paper twice as fast

Super fast cuts with two pairs at once

Buy yourself a pair of left-handed scissors, you wont believe how much paper you can cut by using two pairs at the same time. That’s four blades working for you, making your daily paper cutting four times as quick. Recycling is now a breeze, thank me later 😉

#3.  Brush your teeth

The old way to do it.

This one is a no brainer. Brushing your teeth with your left hand frees up your right hand to do all the flossing, and since a toothbrush isn’t hand-specific (flossing is) you’ll be out of the bathroom in no time. ***PRO TIP: Use floss-sticks for a 15% time savings***

#2. Get a cool tattoo

A look that will never get old (and isn’t already either).

Instead of walking around with a boring left hand, why not jazz it up a little? Everyone likes a classic so stick to the asian characters, or generic stars. All of a sudden you’ll have something to talk about while other people embarrassingly hide their plain skin pigment left hand.

#1. Learn to snap

Regain the lost art of left hand snapping.

It’s a well known fact that 97% of people never learn to snap the fingers on their left hand. This is because biologically speaking the right eardrum is more sensitive, so when people snap for the first time, there is a positive feedback loop due to the proximity of the fingers to the right side of the head. Take some time and practice pressing your left thumb and middle finger together. With enough pressure (and practice) your fingers will slip off of each other and produce a loud clicking noise. ***PRO TIP: Put your hand near your right ear to get the ball rolling***

Once you’ve mastered the left-hand snap, try doing it at parties, in church, and as often as possible – Trust me, people can’t resist the fun-loving noise of a left handed finger snap.

I’m not sure if these life hacks will work for left handed people as well as they will for right handed people. So if any lefties can send me a message, I’ll be glad to update my post ASAP.

Make the best of these tips, and spread the word. Left hands have gone unused for too long.


This post was inspired by my new favourite website, the clickbait headline generator, take a look but don’t forget to look at the rest of my blog first.

Echosec – the drug finder

Echosec is an amazingly powerful tool that I first discovered while visiting Victoria and doing research on a local company nearby.

Echosec logo
Echosec Logo

The way it works is you select an area of the world from a map by drawing a shape with basic selection tools. Once your area is identified, all of the publicly available social media that contains a geotag will be presented to you in an easy to navigate page. This includes Tweets, Instagram posts, Picassa/Flickr photos, Youtube videos, and more. The free version is available here but is limited in the results it gives.

Here’s what the map looks like when you make a selection:

Example of how to select an area
Example of how to select an area

And here’s a screenshot of some of the results, photos from the recent Fan Expo event that happened at the Convention Centre:

Example results showing some pics from the recent FanExpo
Example results showing some pics from the recent FanExpo

Other than now having the ability to spy on your friends, Echosec is being used in very creative ways to help police. This article from 2014 shows a possible workflow, with real evidence, of how a police force might investigate the public social media feeds to find more concrete evidence of illegal activity.

A little bit big-brother? Definitely. But it’s probably not in your best interest as a drug dealer to geotag and Instagram the progress of your illegal plant operation.

Maps continue to amaze 🙂



Missing Maps in MSF Donor Magazine

MM Van
Missing Maps Vancouver

Claudia Blume, Press officer for Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) (AKA Doctors Without Borders) contacted me in December 2014 to talk about the Missing Maps project. She was writing an article for the MSF Canada Magazine: DISPATCHES. We chatted through Skype since she was in Toronto, on the opposite side of the country.

Title of Dispatches Magazine
Title of Dispatches Magazine

I told her about how we organized the Missing Maps event and the future plans for the project. It was a big time success way back in November and I’m really looking forward to hosting another event. Anyway you can read the Spring 2015 edition of DISPATCHES here.

If you would like to learn more or become a part of the organization process for the next event, don’t hesitate to send me an email at christianghill {AT} gmail {DOT} com or through this blog.


Exploring GIS and Cartography