Converting JP2000, JP2 files to other formats

There is a host of good reasons why archives like to preserve their images as JP2000 or JP2 files.  The two biggest reasons are the compression saves a large amount of space and the visual quality is excellent after the compression takes place.

What is a JP2000?

The downside to these file formats (depending on who you are) is that they are not very accessible in terms of software that can view or edit.  This is especially true if you are a dedicated user of non-apple personal computers.

So what do you do when you find an amazing map on the Library of Congress site that you download as a JP2000?  Not much, unless you find some third party software that can handle this file type and convert it into a much more accessible format.  This is where the Freeware IrfanView steps up and helps us all out.

Library of Congress Map Collection Site

IrfanView is a free image viewer that allows for light editing of images as well as converting file formats.  If you do use IrfanView be sure to download the optional plugins so that you can convert your JP2000 files to something more useful to you.

1. After loading a JP2 or JP2000 file you can see the basic and clean layout of the image viewer.

2. To convert the file simply navigate to the File drop-down menu and choose Save as… Note the many file types available and options within each file type.

3. That’s it!  You’ll also notice a batch conversion option in the File menu which will perform the same operation with a few more options.  It’s also helpful if you have a large amount of images you’d like to convert!
Indeed there are a host of viewing software packages available, so if this platform does not suit your taste I’m sure you will find others!  I have had good experience with this platform because its lightweight, converts files with ease, and the batching feature is a must with large digital image collections (really helpful when you work at a Map and Geographic Information Center).  So at the very least give it a try when Photoshop won’t read your JP2000 file to get you out of a jam.  
Cross posted MT and G

How in the World #6 – Summer Solstice and the Seasons

Today is the Summer Solstice of 2010!  What’s important about the summer solstice?  It’s the day of the year when the northern hemisphere of Earth is tilted at it’s maximum extent towards the sun.  It also means the longest day of the year for those in the northern hemisphere and the shortest day of the year for those in the southern hemisphere.  From this point forward in time the Earth will slowly begin tilting its axis away from the Sun until the northern hemisphere experiences the winter solstice on December 21, 2010.  The back and forth tilting of the Earth’s axis is what creates the seasons.  Watch the following video for a simple overview of the solstices, equinoxes and seasons below.

To learn more about the sun and earth relationships check out Dr. Jane R. Thorngren’s website.

How in the World #5

… do we track where people are moving to and where they are moving from?

The map below is an interesting interactive way to show migration based on IRS Tax data!  Clear the map and choose a county to see where people are coming from and where they are going to.  For more information on the Migration Geography, follow this link provided by the BBC.

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How in the World #4

Can Saharan Dust play a role in coral reef and human health?

The below link provided by the USGS will open an overview page on African Dust. The video describes Saharan Dust transport to the Caribbean. A casual observation about locust transport from Africa to the Caribbean is very interesting!

Follow up by reading the USGS resource page at this link.

MAGIC 2.0: Using GIS to Empower K-12 Curriculum Development.


Continued integration of spatial data sets into emerging web mapping platforms has increased the opportunities for non-expert users of GIS to perform spatial analysis. These web mapping platforms have become user-friendly and can enable the development of GIS resources and maps for learning opportunities in the K-12 environment. This poster will illustrate how the University of Connecticut’s Libraries Map and Geographic Information Center – MAGIC has developed simple learning experiences using GIS data and Google Maps which can be integrated within the K-12 curriculum. Through the blog “Outside the Neatline” MAGIC hopes to display a vast array of sample lesson plans/activities which integrate Web GIS and Maps, and is developing resources which encourage educators to integrate spatial thinking skills in an interdisciplinary fashion.

Outside the Neatline is a blog that began as a collaborative effort of graduate students who work at MAGIC with an aim to give the public a better understanding of what geographers do and how to use web mapping platforms. The blog grew and potential learning applications in the classroom using this site became evident. What we hope to illuminate now is the usefulness of historic maps, digitally storing and displaying paper maps, and how they may be used in current web mapping platforms. Our delivery mechanism just happens to be Outside the Neatline, which is composed of the following features:

Did You Know?

The “Did you know” segment of Outside the Neatline features how GIS professionals use geography everyday by professionals in the industry. Additionally, this category reports on news items, opportunities, and innovations in the field of Geography. These items are worth reporting on as it demonstrates that geographical concepts have concrete applications in the world outside of the classroom.

How in the World?

Demonstrates how geographic information from everyday sources (paper maps, GPS, literature) can be transformed into digital geographic information for use in a Geographic Information System. The importance of this category shows students that current digital geographic information comes from existing primary and secondary print resources.

Map of the Week

Map of the Week draws its strength from bundling together many different content areas with a map as the common element. The featured map captures many different elements:


Maps are inherently temporal, freezing a moment in time. Often the maps content are directed by the context of when and where they were created. Outside the Neatline takes advantage of this information and provides a brief historical summary, web links to significant events, figures, and places related to the map, and when available photographs to illustrate the importance of that map.

Reading and Writing

The “Map of the Week” web feature is created in such a manner that there is much more then images to peer at. As described in the history portion a brief written history is included with web links to other informational websites. When available, a Google Book will be embedded on the “Map of the Week” page that is directly related to the map. While reading skills can be increased by an exposure to new vocabulary, improving writing skills is not out of the question. The creators of Outside the Neatline envision instructors using the “Map of the Week” posts to act as a springboard for creativity by inspiring writing exercises related to the story that a map can tell. The students imagination is clearly the only limit.

Science and Math

While there is much to be said about the science of map making, the content of the maps is what will spur scientific inquiry. Maps of precipitation, temperature and vegetation types could easily be integrated into climate and weather units. Distribution maps of tsetse flies and incidence of sleeping sickness infections in Africa lend themselves to discussions on human /environment interaction and biology. Even railroad maps can begin a dialog about the steam engine and the Industrial Revolution.

The next two sections are examples of how Web 2.0 GIS technology can be leveraged in the classroom.

Google Maps GIS Exercise

The following is an excerpt from an Outside the NeatlineHow in the World?” blog post. The object of the page is to act as a spring board activity and to show users that the average person can access GIS data just as easily as mapping professionals.

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Congratulations, you are now an experienced GIS user! In this exercise you have loaded, queried, and analyzed a GIS data layer! Now you can experiment with MAGIC’s other data layers and have fun making maps.

This activity has engaged the students and sets them up to find and give directions, search for adjacent places, plan how much money Jeff and Brandon will need for fishing equipment, and write about Jeff and Brandon’s fishing adventures!


Map of the Week

The “Map of the Week” blog entry begins with a unique featured paper map from the MAGIC map collection. A brief introduction to the map outlines the origins and historical significance of the map to give it proper context. Individual features are selected from the map and highlighted in the blog entry. Each highlighted feature is linked to other websites that provide a greater depth of information.

The objective is to use the map as an aggregator of digital data . The strength of the “Map of the Week” blog entry is it’s ability to act as what others may term as a webquest or web assignment home page. Unlike the older concepts of webquests, a live blog in the Web 2.0 era allows educators to embed their own content, or content from Google books, or Google maps, or video from related sources on the internet. Additionally, in a Web 2.0 world, students can create their own map of the week!

See Below for a “Map of the Week” blog entry that leads into a Map Mash – Up of Chicago, Illinois.

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Map Mash-ups

A Google Map Mash-up is created by georeferencing and placing user created maps content in Google Maps web mapping engine. These are powerful learning tools on their own that can highlight the differences and similarities of a place over time. Additional custom content can be added to these maps in the form of KML layers.

Below is an example of a map mash-up created to supplement a “Map of the Week” blog entry on Chicago during the Worlds Fair in 1893. Places and addresses can be searched on this map using Google Maps geocoding engine and then compared to modern satellite or map layers.

The example below demonstrates the above capabilities in addition to how points of interest can be exported as KML layers that also have HTML pop up balloons that link to outside sources for further information.

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The previous examples are only a sample of what is possible in the classroom using Web 2.0 technologies in conjunction with geographic content. While these developments are exciting there are still more innovations on the horizon.

An innovation of interest is development of mobile technologies. Since these have become ever more prevalent the possibilities of Geo-Web 2.0 are only limited by the imagination.

Future releases from MAGIC include smartphone applications that allow access to:

  • Google Map Mash-up Campus Bus Routes
  • Google Map Mash-up Campus Building Maps
  • Academic Calendar
  • Outside the Neatline Blog and “Map of the Week” interdisciplinary posts.

We are most excited about using the smartphone to access Outside the Neatline and MAGIC historical maps via Quick Response (QR) bar codes.

The possible use of QR Codes for creative use in the classroom is an avenue we are looking forward to exploring further. We envision a geography treasure hunt where students find and access web maps and geography blogs using an enabled smartphone. QR codes are easily created and can be used so that individuals could access maps and other spatial information in near real-time.

By the way, the QR code below are active and will lead you to some of our URL’s. Go ahead, give it a try!

How in the World? #3 – Georeferencing

In our first “How in the World” we showed you how a paper map is scanned and converted into a digital image. The map has geographic information drawn on it, but once it’s scanned it’s still just a picture. How can we place the image so that its extent is defined in physical or geographical space? We georeference it, that’s how!

Remember our Map of the Week featuring Sachemdoms, villages and trails? It began as a paper map, now it’s a digital masterpiece! All it took was:

  • A vector file (most commonly referred to as a Shapefile or Coverage)of Connecticut with latitude and longitude information stored within,
  • Our scanned Image,

  • And GIS Software.

Basically, we display both images on the computer screen and stretch them so the boundaries match and then tack them in place. When we tell the software to save the original paper map image, it also saves the latitude and longitude information with it. This information allows us to use it in other GIS programs or Google Maps! Watch this video to see how we georeference a paper map!


How in the World #2

How in the world can the average person access GIS data just as easily as mapping professionals?

In the last “Did You Know?” We introduced GIS (Geographic Information Systems), how it works and what it is used for. Today we would like to show you how to retrieve and view GIS data. You might ask yourself how you can do this without specialized GIS software. No worries, we’ll show you how. All you need is your internet browser!

First, navigate a separate internet browser window to , once there click on GIS Data located on the top navigation bar

On the next page you will see several icons shaped like the state of Connecticut with categories listed beneath. Today we’re not interested in roads or political boundaries, Brandon and Jeff are going fishing! Jeff knows there are lots of boat launches on the coast but he can’t remember if there is one near Point Bluff State Park. To find out if there is a boat launch click on the Places data category on the right hand side:

This will take you to the places data on the GIS Data page where you’ll find a GIS data layer for Boat Launches! Listed information includes the date, the source (in this case the Connecticut Department of Environmental Protection), and data formats. Today lets preview this data in Google Maps, so on the right hand side of the screen click on the map preview icon:

Your internet browser will now display all of Connecticut’s boat launches in Google Maps:

Let’s check out if Bluff Pont State Park has a boat launch, look at the listing of boat launches on the left, Click on Bluff Point Boat Launch. A balloon will appear on the map giving the location of the boat launch. So we’re done right? We now know that there is a boat launch at Point Bluff State Park. But what if we need bait or fishing tackle while we’re out fishing? Let’s use Google Maps to find out.

On the Bluff Point Boat Launch Balloon, click search nearby. In the text box type Tackle Shop then click the search button.

Google Maps will now display all the tackle shops in the vicinity of the Bluff Point Boat Launch. By clicking on any of the markers a balloon will display the tackle shops name, address, and phone number. You’ll also have the option to get driving directions!

Congratulations, you are now an experienced GIS user! In this exercise you have loaded, queried, and analyzed a GIS data layer! Now you can experiment with MAGIC’s other data layers and have fun making maps. Now you can love geography as much as Brandon and Jeff do!

How in the World?

How does an old paper map become a digital image that can be used on the internet and in GIS?

First the map is selected and brought back to Brandon’s work station

Brandon carefully aligns the map in the scanner so it is nice and straight

After the map has been loaded into the scanner, Brandon tells the computer to scan the image

The scanner sends the digital information to his computer screen where an identical image of the paper map is created

Using software designed to adjust photos and images Brandon makes sure the image is straight and readable. The image is then saved and able to be viewed on computer screens.

In the next “How in the World?” we’ll show you how we give the scanned map geographic reference data so that it can be used in a GIS.