MAGIC WMS Server Migration and Upcoming Changes

WMS LayersThe Web Mapping Server (WMS) and MAGIC 2.0 Online Maps server has provided us with 5 years of reliable service but the time has come to migrate to a new server environment which enables more capabilities in support of digital scholarship and spatial analysis. While we have been planning to migrate from this server, recent developments and stability issues are requiring us to expedite this move with the new WMS and maps interfaces being available to the public by September 1, 2013 and the former server will no longer be available as of September 1, 2013.

Over the next two weeks, MAGIC will be migrating all of our WMS layers to GeoServer, an open source WMS server which offers additional capabilities versus our current server. During this migration process each of the interactive map mash-ups provided by MAGIC will be updated to incorporate layers from our new GeoServer. We will also be replacing the MAGIC 2.0 Online Maps with interactive maps which will offer additional capabilities while providing the core functionality of the current MAGIC 2.0 Online Maps interface.

We will post updates, new links, and more details about this migration to our blog, Outside the Neatline, so stay tuned for more details.

We want to thank all of the staff at Progeos for their help with this migration and for hosting and supporting the MAGIC WMS Server these past 5 years and the UConn Libraries IT staff for configuring our new WMS Server and mapping platform.

Coastal imagery for Connecticut

Recently, imagery available at the Map and Geographic Information Center (MAGIC) here at UConn has been used to map and understand shoreline change in Connecticut. Many different series of historical aerial photographs are available on the MAGIC website, in addition to infrared coastal photography which allows for an easier visual comparison between water and land. View our various indexes here: and an introduction to the imagery by Michael Howser here.


1934 aerial photograph – Bluff Point State Park, Groton


1995 aerial photograph – Bluff Point State Park, Groton











Back in May, WFSB, a local news station, ran a story on Joel Stocker at UConn’s CLEAR (Center for Land Use Education and Research). Stocker & CLEAR are using some of MAGIC’s imagery as well as historic maps to look at shoreline change in Connecticut from as recently as hurricane Sandy all the way back to the 1800s.

Last week, “A MAGICal look at the shore,” an article written by Suzanne Zack in Wrack Lines, the official magazine of the Connecticut Sea Grant program, discussed how using MAGIC’s imagery can inform planning and management decisions by tracking changes in the past.

Another excellent resource in looking at coastline change is NOAA’s Digital Coast, which offers free LiDAR (Light Detection and Ranging) data that can be downloaded and processed. Pre- and post-Sandy LiDAR datasets are available in LAZ format, the zipped standard for LAS files. LAZ files can be unzipped using LASzip. The LASzip website also allows you to batch download LiDAR files available via Digital Coast, as well as other states like Alaska, Minnesota, Virginia, and others. If you’re interested, here are some basics about LiDAR from ESRI.


Poverty rates decline when off-campus students are excluded

Astudentpoverty new working paper has been released by the US Census Bureau. According to the Census Bureau, the paper, called Examining the Effect of Off-Campus College Students on Poverty Rates

“found significant changes to poverty rates when off-campus students were excluded, especially for cities with large student populations. The paper, from data collected during the American Community Survey from 2009 to 2011, analyzes the impact of college students who are not living with relatives on the poverty rates of states, counties, and places where the schools are located. Forty-nine cities (with populations greater than 100,000) had significant declines in poverty rates when off-campus college students were excluded. The working paper includes an extensive set of tables showing poverty rates with and without off-campus college students for all states and for all counties and places with populations greater than 20,000.”


For more information, read the Random Samplings blog post

John Thompson confirmed as new Census Bureau director

From the Census Bureau:

CensusBureauThe United States Senate confirmed John H. Thompson on August 1 as the new director of the U.S. Census Bureau by unanimous consent. Thompson, who was nominated by President Obama on May 23, 2013 has been an executive at the National Opinion Research Center for the past 11 years, serving as president and CEO since 2008.
Before joining NORC at the University of Chicago, Thompson was a Census Bureau employee from 1975 to 2002 and oversaw the 2000 Census. He succeeds Robert Groves, who left office in August 2012 to become provost of Georgetown University. Following the departure of Groves, former Deputy Director Thomas L. Mesenbourg served as Acting Director. Mesenbourg had previously announced his long-planned retirement, which is effective August 2.

As Census Bureau Director, Thompson will oversee the nearly 180 surveys the Census Bureau conducts annually. He takes office at a critical juncture in the planning process for the 2020 Census, as the agency begins researching and testing new and more cost-effective methods that potentially will save billions of dollars.

“I congratulate John Thompson on his confirmation as director of the U.S. Census Bureau, and thank the U.S. Senate for confirming him quickly. Given his previous roles at the Census Bureau beginning in the 1970s, I have full confidence that Mr. Thompson will be a tremendous leader of one of the nation’s premier statistical agencies,” said Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker.

“The Census Bureau produces a wealth of data that are critical to America’s public and private sector leaders as they make decisions about economic development that will create jobs. I am committed to ensuring that the Census Bureau has the resources it needs to continue supplying essential data to businesses and government leaders. I look forward to working with John Thompson and his team as they undertake the years of preparations required for a successful 2020 Census and continue to develop innovative ways to produce and distribute vital information,” added Secretary Pritzker.

“It’s a tremendous honor and privilege to return to public service as the Director of the Census Bureau, one of the most important organizations in the federal statistical system, as well as a place that holds warm memories for me,” said Thompson. “As America forges its data-driven future, the Census Bureau must lead the way by tracking emerging trends, developing more efficient processes and embracing new technologies for planning and executing the 2020 Census and its other surveys that are so important to the nation. As Director, I will use all of my skills, intellect and experience to foster a culture of innovation and adaptability that allows the Census Bureau to serve the public’s needs and meet the challenges of this dynamic new environment.”

Thompson participated on 2010 Census design and review panels sponsored by the Committee on National Statistics. He is also an elected fellow of the American Statistical Association, and has been elected to serve a three-year term as a member of the Committee on National Statistics at the National Academies of Science. He holds bachelor’s and master’s degrees in mathematics from Virginia Tech.