Water World

The BBC online has a story on a composite index of “water threats” including issues such as scarcity and pollution which researchers from City College of New York presented in the journal Nature. This is not the only water data project that City College of New York faculty and students have done this year. A “Bio-Math Mapping: Water Quality Analysis of the Hudson and Gowanus,” project in Summer 2010 provided math students with a chance to participate in interdisciplinary research with epidemiology, microbiology and environmental studies through a four-week investigation of water quality of the Hudson River and Gowanus Canal.

More on Earth Observation

This week’s main topic on the podcast focused on the role of Remote Sensing and Earth Observation. It seems to have been an unintentionally timely topic as the International Astronautical Conference is going on this week (Sept 27-Oct 1). News/press has already come out of the conference about some future satellites that will be up and running in the next few years. Surrey Satellite Technology Ltd (SSTL) plans to launch 3 satellites by 2013. The sensors on these satellites will range from high resolutions (1m and 4m pixel) to moderate resolution (20m pixel) with the potential to capture 600km swaths.

In association with the announcement, Sir Martin Sweeting, executive chairman of SSTL discussed the seed money that allowed SSTL to spin off of University of Surrey going on to say: “We’re not asking government to fund grand space programmes,” he told BBC News. “But there are some technologies and some business cases that we need the help of government just to get us over the hump – to get the wheels turning.”

I still think that we should of course continue to spend government money on satellites for earth observation purposes, though I am excited about the growth of the commercial sector in this area as well.

Mapping the Segregation of US Cities

The Atlantic Wire has a short piece about a series of maps by Eric Fischer detailing racial living in 40 of the largest US cities.  Unfortunately the maps are stored on Flickr as flat files, so it’s hard to zoom in and around to see more detail.  The basic method appears to get racial information down to the housing unit so it creates a point cloud of race within urban areas.  The interesting point of this method is that most cities aren’t hard delineations of race but a much more interspersed picture, despite the example from Detroit The Atlantic Wire uses.

ESRI Map Books

A recent post on the GIS and Science blog noted that submissions are being accepted for the 26th volume of the ESRI Map Book. If you have a map made with ESRI products then you can submit your map for consideration by the end of Geography Awareness Week, Friday, November 19 at 5:00PM PST.

If you have attended the ESRI International User Conference then you probably have a copy of one of the Map Books gracing your shelf, and it is (in my opinion) the best part of the SWAG bag that you get with your registration. If you have not had a chance to check out one of the hard copies, however, you can access volumes 1 and 20-25 online. The online version provides descriptions of maps along with full views of the maps along with PDF versions of the pages from the map book. I have been using the Map Books as examples in my Intro to Cartography class to show the wide range of design approaches.

If Google Maps Were Real

Mashable (perhaps one of the cooler sites I visit each day) has a nifty story about an artist who drew Google Maps icons as if they existed in the real world.  It’s rather interesting to think about these big push pins existing in real life, or a pop-up box over a building.  Take away the surprised looking people and I think we’ll have a pretty good idea of what large scale augmented reality is likely to look in the near future.

Episode 1 of the Geospatial Revolution Project is now out!

It’s a project we’ve been excited for ever since we first heard about it, and was great to be able to interview some of the Geospatial Revolution Project team, so it’s great to be able to post that Episode 1 is now live on the Geospatial Revolution Project website!

The full episode is jut over 13 minutes, but it’s also broken up into smaller videos via YouTube for those who can’t stream the whole thing. The team have also made the episode video shareable, so spread the word and to get you started, here’s Chapter 1 of Episode 1:

Visualizing Average Days Worked and Vacation by Country

I’m a big fan of infographics, so much so that I sometimes find seeing spatial information organized in an non-spatial way (ie a map) to be the clearest way to communicate an idea.  This infographic detailing average work week lengths and average vacation days is one of the ones I think really works.  The combination of a typical ‘graph’ along with some cute graphics really makes the thing accessible.  The data does have some holes, I think, because the ‘average work week’ seems to pull down a tad.  I’m assuming part-time work is included.  It’d also be interesting to see an economic variable in there, like GDP or per capita income.  Does working harder and longer get your more money?  And I have to admit, for all my talk about infographics, the next question I have is I’d like to see it on a map 🙂