Geospatial and Mappable Data Sources

Data Resource Description
AirData Beta Open data for international development
Buenos Aires Data Buenos Aires Open Data Portal
Center for National Geographic Information Download center for National Center for Geographic Information (CNIG)
Columbia University Geospatial Datasets Digital Social Sciences Center for New York City Numeric and Spatial Data
GeoBlacklight A multi-institutional open-source collaboration building a better way to find and share geospatial data
GeoData Greek open source geospatial data
GeoGig Open source geospatial data management tool
Global Administrative Areas Spatial database of the world’s administrative areas and boundaries
The Global Biodiversity Information Facility GBIF provides a portal to thousands of collections, and millions of biodiversity records, for nature-based data
Global Forest Watch Global Forest Watch open data portal, partnered with the World Resources Institute
Global Terrorism Database Database information of domestic and international terrorist events around the world
The Guardian Datablog Analysis of popular American and international news resources
Harvard Election Data Archive Excellent source of elections data for races around the United States U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) datasets. Additionally, viewHUD opendata
IDEE Metadata Catalog The Spanish Spatial Data Infrastructure catalogue of geographical metadata
International GIS Data University of Pennsylvania International library of GIS data
International Monetary Fund IMF eLibrary of datasets and publications
Land Matrix Land Matrix data points by targeted region
List of GIS data sources A list of GIS data sources (and geoportals) from Wikipedia
National Weather Service GIS Data Portal National Weather Service downloadable datasets in GIS formats (shapefile, web services, and KML)
Natural Earth Data Data for borders, coastlines, cities, and many other useful collections
New York City DOT NYC Department of Transportation open data access
New York City Polygons NYC Department of City Planning district and metadata shapefiles
NYC OpenData New York City datasets including information about business, government, education, environment, health, housing, and so on
Open Data BCN Open data catalog from Barcelona’s City Hall service
OpenDataCache A list of cities with open data portals. Note: Most of this data is not explicitly geographic, but useful if you want to use this data as a resource to create your own datasets
OpenStreetMap City data, including polygons for neighborhoods and cities, roads, and even lampposts
Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development OECD publisher of books and journals related to countries, economic surveys, and public policy data
OSM Building Footprints Interactive example of an overpass turbo query
Points Data The “all_month.csv” download file, containing example earthquake data
Polygon Data City Lots shapefiles, provided by the City and County of San Francisco
Portal de Datos abiertos del Ayuntamiento de Madrid Open data catalog provided by the Madrid City Council
United Nations UN public databases and country data services information
United Nations WHO United Nations World Health Organization data repository for Global Health Observatory (GHO) data
US Census American Fact Finder A step-by-step guide from the United State Census Bureau for locating and downloading geography datasets
US Census Tiger Boundary Files Spatial extracts from TIGER (Topologically Integrated Geographic Encoding and Referencing) products
US Climate Data Data and resources related to climate change, provided by Data.GOV
US Election Data The Harvard Election Data Archive website, which contains data from United States elections
US Federal Reserve Economic Data Economic research data from the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis, Missouri
US Government The home of the U.S. Government’s open resources for data related to agriculture, ecosystems, education, health, finance, energy and so on
USGS National Atlas The National Map source for topographic information
World Bank World bank open data about development in countries around the globe
World Geospatial Datasets Countries, cities, codes, flags, languages, latitude/longitude, etc.

Source: CartoDB

Mounting mobius on goodluckbuy gimbal 2st way

A cheap Mobius GoodLuckBuy gimbal

After searching for a cheap gimbal for my mobius camera my eyes fell on a mobius goodluckbuy gimbal which is in theory is designed to be used with a GoPro camera but I read in the comments that it can be used with a mobius camera as well. So I bought one with just 55$ (44€). That included both the 2 motors and the controller. It’s a bit on the heavy side but for 55 dollars that was the best value for money gimbal I have found around.

DJI Phantom Brushless Gimbal Camera Mount w/ Motor & Controller for Gopro3 FPV Aerial Photography


Simple structure and light weight,CNC aluminum alloy structure
Brushless motor direct drive
With anti-vibration rubber balls,easy to adjust
Compatible with Gopro 3,2,1
with 2pcs 2208 motors
with latest V2.3B5 firmware gimbal controller, sensor, no need upgrade (SKU: 101101)
with motor protector which can help heat dissipation
230/300gram with/without Gopro hero 3
260 grams with a mobius

GoodLuckBuy gimbal for my mobius camera
GoodLuckBuy gimbal for my mobius camera

I attached my mobius on the edge of the gimbal’s base  and I watched over to balance the camera the best I could. I did that because the less effort the gimbal takes to balance the camera the less energy it wastes to do that.

Goodluck buy gimbal - Mobius - DJI F450
Goodluck buy gimbal – Mobius – DJI F450OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Connections: I connected the pins A0..(see below)

I accidentally connected the gimbal to the wrong pins (although I had read not to connect it to NC pins but I was in a hurry and the numbering on the case was misaligned) and I “burned” my APM (original one). So I had to buy new APM board (a clone one this time see here) and I started again (more carefully this time).

Be careful when connecting your gimbal to your APM not to connect it to the NC pins


15/11/2015 Update:

For my new Tarot 650 I changed the way that mobius is mounted on the Mobius GoodLuckBuy gimbal and also I created some sort of a base for the gimbal to sit on the downside tubes of the frame.

I tried 2 ways of mounting the mobius on the goodluckbuy gimbal.

I think I will stick with the second way. In order for this to work I had to change the sensor orientation through the SimpleBGC GUI . So I connected the board on my pc and changed the right axis to -Y from -X it was.


I also connected the pitch RC control from the A0 signal pin to channel 6 of my PPM FRSKY D8R receiver and it worked fine. Here are the initial settings where things works fine but needs some fine tuning.

Goodluckbuy gimbal simplebgc settings for mobius
Goodluckbuy gimbal simplebgc settings for mobius

Tarot 650 – PixHawk – Sunnysky X4108S 480kv – 15×5.5 props – Quadcopter setup

After flying the Reptile 550 and the DJI Flamewheel 450 frames I decided to move on with the Tarot 650 frame which will give me the opportunity to try bigger motors and propellers for maximizing the flight duration. This is what I am expecting:

Ecalc Tarot 650 2x4s 5000 batteries, Sunnysky 4108 480kv and Tarot 15z5.5 props
Ecalc Tarot 650 2x4s 5000 batteries, Sunnysky 4108 480kv and Tarot 15z5.5 props

Parts List

The following list contains affiliate links.

Frame: Tarot 650 IronMan

Motors: 4x Sunnysky X4108S 480kv

ESCs :ZTW Spider Series 30A OPTO Multi-Rotor ESC 2~6S (SimonK Firmware) ( I had those from my f450 setup)

Propellers: Tarot 1555 Folding props

Flight controller: Pixhawk PX4 2.4.8 Flight Controller 32 Bit or PixHawk (HKPilot32 – clone)

Telemetry: 3DR telemetry 433 Mhz

GPS: Ublox NEO-M8N

Battery: Turnigy 5000 4s 30C

Radio transmitter: Turnigy 9XR

Radio receiver: FrSky D8R-II PLUS 2.4Ghz 8CH 

Gimbal: 2-axis gimbal for go pro

Cameras: Mobius for video and Canon S100 for photos

Build History

24/3/2015 Tarot 15×5.5 folding propellers are here

Tarot 15x5.5 folding propellers
Tarot 15×5.5 folding propellers

3/4/2015 Sunnysky X4108S 480kV motors have arrived

20/10/2015 Assembling the Tarot 650 frame and mounting the motors and props

The assembly of the Tarot 650 was pretty easy. I had watched some youtube video guides and had not problem at all. After assembling the main frame I started mounting the motors. Only 3 holes were aligned between motor and mount but that’s enough I guess

23/10/2015 Lengthening ESC’s wires so that they can pass through the tubes and reach frame’s centre

In order to pass the wires through the tubes of Tarot 650 you should lengthen the ESCs’ wires. So after an hour of soldering I was ready to start dealing with the connections.

26/10/2015 Installation of the power distribution board – Connection of APM – RC – GPS etc

I had a problem with the ESCs syncing with the motors. I set the Demag compensation to off and the motor timings to High and the motors worked like a charm.

I flew my tarot 650 yesterday and accomplished flights of 13-14 minutes per battery (1000 mA remained in the battery). Loiter mode was fine. Just some fine tuning needed.


I installed a goodluckbuy gimbal for the mobius camera. You can find here more information about the process.

Mounting mobius on goodluckbuy gimbal 2st way
Mounting mobius on goodluckbuy gimbal 2st way
atlas print composer highlight

How to highlight the printed feature when printing in atlas print composer QGIS

Lately, I wanted to export a map from qgis to a pdf displaying each one from the 200 features I had. So I wanted to print 200 pdfs and for that I used atlas feature of the print composer where you can automatically print each feature of your layer. And I’ve got the job done but I also wanted to get the printed feature highlighted or differ in some way. Something you can’t get done from the print composer environment.

So if you want to highlight the selected feature when printing in atlas print composer you should do the following:

1. Into QGIS Main Window –> Layer Properties –> Style we choose Rule-Based from the dropdown and create a new rule with the color we need and as rule we set the following $id=$atlasfeatureid

2. Then go to print composer choose Atlas preview and view the changes.

atlas print composer highlight
How to highlight the printed feature when printing in atlas print composer QGIS

DIY Dollhouse

This is  how I made a 80×120 cm dollhouse for my 2 girls by using basic tools and paint colors from their rooms I already had . I used cheap softwood (pine) and glue + nails for the joints. I had a initial plan created in Sketchup and I sticked to it with minor changes.

The result isn’t 100% perfect but it doesn’t have to be, to give your babies endless fun and make you happy for that.



Router (not necessary)

Circular Saw (not necessary if you buy the wood precut)


Lot of Clamps



30cm width pinewood

Wood Glue


Paint colors (already owned)


Flashing a Turnigy Plush 25A ESc with tha BlHeli firmware

Flashing Turnigy Plush 25A Silabs ESC with the BLHeli Firmware

29 January 2015

This is how I flashed my Turnigy Plush 25A (Silabs) ESCs with the BLHeli firmware. BLHeli Firmware is the alternative of SimonK to the ESCs with a Silabs chip, and offers higher response of the motors from the stock firmware. It also offers a GUI to program the ESC and lots of features to tweak from.

Required tools/materials/software

  1. Soldering iron
  2. Arduino UNO
  3. Turnigy Plush (Silabs) 25A ESC
  4. Jumper cables (3 for each ESC)
  5. BlHeliSuite


  • Solder the 3 jumper cables to the pins as shown in the following picture. Purple is the C2D and goes to the MISO pin of the ICSP port of Arduino – Green is the C2CK and goes to the MOSI pin and the Red is the Ground.
Flashing a Turnigy Plush 25A ESc with tha BlHeli firmware
Flashing a Turnigy Plush 25A ESc with tha BlHeli firmware – Purple is the C2D and goes to the MISO – Green is the C2CK and goes to the MOSI pin and the Red is the Ground.
  • Connect the plugs to the Arduino Uno
image from



  • Connect the Arduino to your computer
  • Connect your lipo to the ESC
  • Download and Start BlHeliSuite.exe
  • Menu “ATMEL/SILABS” -> “SILABS Serial Interface”.
  • Tab “Interfaces for Silabs” will show up. Select the port that the Arduino is connected to.
  • Select “ATMega328P” and click “Make Arduino General”.
  • Select “Arduino_m328P_16_MULTI8v12100.hex” from the new windows.
  • Hopefully the Arduino Firmware is uploaded to the Arduino.
  • Tab “Silabs BESC Setup” Choose the port that the Arduino is on and press connect.
  • Then press Flash BLHeli –> Choose your ESC. I chose the Turnigy Plush 25A Multi hex 12.2 version hex.
  • Now by pressing the “Read setup” you get your ESC’s settings.

After flashing all of the ESCs with the BLHeli firmware I did a throttle calibration through my APM 2.6 and everything worked flawlessly. And the difference from the stock firmware was huge


ZnDiy-BRY APM 2.6 side by side with 3DR Robotics' (with case)

ZnDiy-BRY APM 2.6 clone compared with the 3D Robotics original one

Today, 3 weeks (which is good!!) after having ordered an APM 2.6 clone from DealExtreme for 39 euros it finally arrived. This clone is manufactured by a company in China named ZnDiy-BRY and it came in a box (!!) including: the APM board in its case and 5 pairs of DuPont signal cables (9cm). So lets’s see the 39 euros ZnDiy-BRY APM 2.6 clone compared with the 3D Robotics original one (120 euros).

  • By comparing them side by side there is a difference in their size but this is only bacause the pins are on the side and not on top like the ZnDiy-BRY’s.
ZnDiy-BRY APM 2.6 side by side with 3DR Robotics' (with case)
ZnDiy-BRY APM 2.6 side by side with 3DR Robotics’ (with case)
  • Without the case as we can see the two boards are identical except from the placement of the pins.
ZnDiy-BRY APM 2.6 side by side with 3DR Robotics' without case
ZnDiy-BRY APM 2.6 side by side with 3DR Robotics’ without case
  • After weighting the 2 boards with or without their cases I found that there weren’t any differences. So the board without the case weighs 17 grams and with it 32 grams.
  • Someone can easily recognize the cheap plastics (from the case to the dupont clips) but I believe if you treat them gently they will be just fine.

So, I connected the APM 2.6 clone into my computer and I updated the firmware to 3.2, the lights work fluently and it the gyroscopes respond to my moves as expected. The only thing left is to fly with controller and see what happens.

How to install CHDK on a Canon camera

This post is about how to install CHDK on a Canon camera quickly and easy. All thanks to the great software STICK written by Dave Mitchell.

But first of all:

What is CHDK?

  • Canon Hack Development Kit
  • Temporary – No permanent changes are made to the camera.
  • Experimental – No warranty. Read about the risks in the FAQ
  • Free – free to use and modify, released under the GPL.


  • Professional control – RAW files, bracketing, full manual control over exposure, zebra mode, live histogram, grids, etc.
  • Motion detection – Trigger exposure in response to motion, fast enough to catch lightning.
  • USB remote – Simple DIY remote allows you to control your camera remotely.
  • Scripting – Control CHDK and camera features using uBASIC and Lua scripts. Enables time lapse, motion detection, advanced bracketing, and more.


STICK app - Install CHDK on your canon camera

CHDK is the way to go when you want to shoot aerial photos from a quadcopter and you want the lens to be retracted after you take off and then to shoot photos every 2 or 3 seconds to get the pictures you want for your project. Or you if you want to control your camera (when to open its lens or when to shoot a photo from your Transmitter)

In you can find all the info you want about if your Canon supports CHDK and which version of CHDK you should install with intructions about how you do it and how to use it after the installation.

But the easy way to go is downloading the STICK software from here. STICK is written in java and it’s a 4 step application:

  • Step 1: Drag and drop a photo on the box and the application automatically informs you about the camera you own
  • Step 2: You choose and download the appropriate build for your camera
  • Step 3: It analyzes your card
    Step 4: It prepares(partition formatting and making bootavle as necessary) and then CHDK is installed.

Don’t forget to lock your sd card before inserting into your camera.

sunnysky 2212 980kV motors for quadcopter

SunnySky X2212 980kV for my light quadcopter (DJI F450)

SunnySky X2212 980kV is the motor I chose for my medium weight quadcopter (Frames:Reptile 550 and then the DJI F450). I found them for 13 euros each from Banggood. They need 2s or 3s batteries to run but after some research I read that they work also on 4s batteries giving more power. I also read that the best propellers you can work on these motors are the APCs 10×4.7 which I bought from TowerHobbies for 4 euros each set (2 propellers – one pusher – one normal).

Sunnysky X2212 kv980 are silent and powerful motors for quadcopters of diagonal length 450-550 and with total weight of about 1400 grams. They weigh 56g each. With a 3s battery and 10×4.7 propellers they give maximum thrust of 870 g which lifts easily a 1400+ quadcopter. I have tested them with a AUW of 2100 grams and it started ascending at a throttle of 60% and hover at 66%. It was underpowered but it flew.

Some people are complaining about the motor’s bearings failing sometimes. For that reason I have purchased some bearings and clips to have spare and change when needed (after a major crash). Here is a video showing you how to change the bearings. It’s not the most professional video out there and it have mistakes but it gives you something to start with.

Scorpio bearing oil

Bearings R2zz and R2-5zz from

Traxxas E-Clips/ C-Rings Z-TRX1633