El McQuade

Software Engineering

My First GIS Project

It started with a seemingly inconsequential exchange of messages. I sent a photo* of a neighbourhood cat looking particularly cute this morning to my friend Tom. He replied:
Screenshot of messages. Message 1: "Excellent!"; Message 2: "Urban Street cat 🐈"

A while back, I discovered that the Canary Islands has a freely available Geographic Information System (GIS) web tool: visor.grafcan.es

Whilst experimenting, I found that one of the map layers shows the land that is classified as rural (as opposed to urban, or at least, non-rural). This stuck with me at the time, because some of the COVID rules for mask wearing in Spain were based on whether you were in a rural or urban area.

Now, I live on the outskirts of town, and I started to question whether Tom’s 2nd message was, in fact, accurate.

So, I fired up the GIS browser. This is my neighbourhood in San Cristóbal de Laguna, with the rural land layer selected:

Map of northeast La Laguna de Tenerife, denoting rural and non-rural areas

Source of geospatial data: www.grafcan.es

I knew exactly where I’d seen the cat (and the photo is geocoded), so I zoomed into that area. Here you can see the result:

Zoomed in map of northeast La Laguna, showing 🐈 just inside border of rural land

Source of geospatial data: www.grafcan.es

Sorry Tom. Actually, that isn’t an urban street cat, after all.

*I’m afraid in the interests of privacy, I can’t show you the photo. However, I have commissioned an interpretation from a prestigious artist. I hope this suffices.

Pen drawing of 'wiskers' the cat

Image © Freya