Spatial Data from an ArcGIS Story Map

Many thanks to Jonathan Chang for getting me most of the way to this goal! I am sharing some details of the process of identifying the URL here. Check out the linked tutorial; I am illustrating some of the steps to get to where you can find the API.

  1. Right-click on the Story Map web page and select “Inspect”
  2. Select the “Network” tab in the console
  3. Filter by “Fetch/XHR”
  4. Refresh the page
  5. Scroll down to the layer you want, and watch for “FeatureServer” in the “Name” field
  6. Right click this entry, “copy URL” and paste into the browser, and delete the string including and after the ?
  7. This should get you to the API where you can see the layer list; is your layer of interest there? If so, it is followed by a number in parentheses. Click on it, and this is the URL you can use with the esridump tool


Well, good thing I went out to take pics of the grass panicles in my yard because the guy came to cut it today. Ultimately want to be lawn free, and the good news is, I didn’t find any Bermuda grass! I used iNaturalist and some lawn grass ID web pages to zero in on that it appears I have Kentucky bluegrass, tall fescue and sweet vernal grass (broadly considered cool weather lawn grasses). However and unfortunately, the only place I’ve found Bermuda grass is in my potted plants. This is likely due to that I supplemented my potting mix with the fill dirt that contractors brought in after my water line installation. Still positive news is that it is very clay-heavy and outside, not much is growing in that stretch (including Bermuda grass). I bet there’s a seed bank in there sadly. Yet, it hasn’t made much of a move this year, and let’s hope it stays that way.

RGEE on Ubuntu with your Conda environment

  1. Create a Google Earth Engine account: get to the place of where you can login to the coding console. If you use the package to help you get setup with an account, it will not take you through the final step(s). I went through this process while creating a new account, and though there is currently a bug with authentication, this was causing me more headaches than I was realizing.
  2. Setup a conda environment (I used miniconda):
    • create and activate your environment
    • install python
    • conda install numpy
    • conda install earthengine-api==0.1.370
  3. Install the following dependencies if you don’t already have them. You also might run into a bear of a problem with protobuf, protoc, libprotoc etc. If so, activate your conda environment and roll back protobuf to pip install protobuf==3.20.3
    • gdal-bin
    • libgdal-dev
    • libudunits2-dev
  4. Edit your ~/.Renviron file to include the following (or create it if it doesn’t exist):
    RETICULATE_PYTHON="path to your conda env python install" RETICULATE_PYTHON_ENV="path to your conda env"
  5. Install reticulate R package
  6. Install rgee R package
    • use install_ee_set_pyenv() with your environment settings as above
    • ee_Authenticate()

This should get you to the point of having rgee run off your own custom Python environment, with the downgraded version of the Earth Engine API required to authenticate at the time of this writing. A workaround for the bug in initializing GEE is starting your script as follows (bypassing ee_Initialize()):
ee$Initialize(project='your project name')

You will also have .Renviron entries for Earth Engine now. This final step is one I’m unsure of: if you haven’t manually created a legacy asset folder, you may from here be able to run ee_Initialize() and create one. I had created one, and so I got caught in a loop of it saying it already existed while wanting me to create one. So, in short, I’ve never really been able to successfully run ee_Initialize() and the package author is at a point of not even wanting to maintain it anymore. The problem here is that you don’t get this file generated: .config/earthengine/rgee_sessioninfo.txt

So, you can make your own structured as so:

“user” “drive_cre” “gcs_cre”

The path to your credential file is the one you created to authenticate earth engine, somewhere in that folder. (Save a copy elsewhere to to move back into that path, because I’m not sure the file persists between sessions.)

Best Birds of 2024 – Running List

I start this as a placeholder blog annually to keep track of bird sightings and dates, to summarize at the end of year! Today it truly begins…

  • 4/6 – I dragged my non-birder beau up the Hillview Natural Trail (and through the paved trail) at Eisenhower Park (San Antonio, TX) to get a glimpse of my lifer golden-cheeked warbler!
  • 5/17- Josh Gant found an incredible record of common swift at the Meadows, during the spring festival! What a crowd-pleaser, to say the least!

…more to come…and to be fully fleshed out in a NYE post!

Skua Inspo – March

It appears that the last MD pelagic to have a great skua this month was Mar 1 1992 and there were 2 birds seen then! Notes variably place the records at Elephant’s Trunk and near Baltimore canyon, but all records appear to be during a 12 hr trip. Similarly, there were several birds per trip in the 70s. On Mar 15 1996, there’s a record from a Montauk pelagic, and the Mar 4 1995 notes are one of my favorites:

Life bird. Adult; 63 miles out, at north end of Block Canyon. Most-wanted species by most on this trip. We approached a trawler and started chumming. The bird appeared out of nowhere, circled the chum slick, dove on a few gulls, then began picking up its own fish in the slick. From JA’s notes: The Great Skua was found amongst hundreds of GBBGs, lesser numbers of HERGs, and about 15 NOFUs that were loitering around a commercial trawler. After “stealing” the birds from the trawler, we watched the beast for about one half hour and then finally left it.” Much jubilation ensued.

Patricia Lindsay

Pelagic <3

I thought it was only fitting to adorn the title of today’s post with the icon of the month! My heart was warmed by scores of alcids today! I stuck with pretty much the layer formula that works for me:

  • Eddie Bauer duffel coat (below the knee 650 down parka)
  • Faux fur hat with ear flaps and chin strap
  • Cape May whale watch & research center buff (represent!)
  • Down knee-length vest
  • Heaviest smart wool base layer
  • Outdoor fleece-lined leggings (Avalanche)
  • Arctic muck boots
  • Weather-proof gloves
  • Hand warmers
  • Costa sunglasses

This time I tried my heated socks, but the battery on one of them is faulty, and the other didn’t last the whole day. So, I’m going back to my Comrad wool compression socks; they did the job last time so I shouldn’t have veered. Also, I’m going to look for cold weather convertible mitten gloves next time.

Skua Inspiration

As I psych myself up for yet another pelagic season in the north Atlantic, I review this month’s “nearby” skua sightings. On Valentine’s Day 1991, be still my heart: it appears a record from shore at Manasquan inlet NJ (among others that year) was accepted to genus level. Other encouraging records:

  • Feb 6 2016: pelagic out of Cape May
  • Feb 19 1995: This was a day trip that left from Cape May and encountered a great skua at 19 fathom seamount off DE I’m curious about what appears to be a very early departure time. I wonder if we could swing or would consider that for our current trips, and of course what difference it makes?
  • Feb 26 1995: This was another day trip that appears to have gone out of MD, but for what it’s worth (if anything) we sometimes eek into MD waters
  • various records before my time at the MD pelagic general hot spot: the most enticing details here are the number of birds recorded on trips in the 70’s!
    • Valentine’s Day 1982
    • Feb 1 1976
    • Feb 9 1975
    • Feb 7 1975
    • Feb 2 1975
    • Feb 1 1975: a total of *9* birds are reported 67-111 km E of Ocean City
    • Feb 3 1974

So yet again, I budget for a ticket and get my seasickness medication in order to plan for more days at sea…