Call for participants – AAG 2011 session

I am putting together a session on Geography outreach efforts for the upcoming AAG meeting in Seattle in April. The focus will be on how different people or organizations are approaching outreach in Geography including topics such as connecting with new communities, informal audiences, creating lesson plans, using technology to encourage understanding, or anything that might help others as they plan their outreach efforts. With efforts from GIWIS to the GTCM coming to bear over the last few years we have a unique opportunity to build on formal recognition of the jobs available and technologies connected to Geography to build public interest in Geography, geographic concepts, and spatial thinking in general. My hope is to have a paper session followed by a panel session to open the conversation more broadly and consider how to support current and future outreach efforts. I will add the session to the proposed sessions on the AAG site in the next couple of weeks.

If you are planning to attend the AAG and you are interested in taking part in the session please contact me at jesse (at) veryspatial dot com.

Urbagrams – Mapping the social city

In order to investigate the idea of a social archipelago, the notion that our cities are “fragmented islands of social activity separated by large areas dedicated to commercial workplaces, flows of vehicles, residential sprawl or industrial sites.” Anil Bawa Cavia analyzed more than a million Foursquare check-ins in a number of cities and mapped those data as points to create a series of social activity density maps, which he calls urbagrams. By looking at the resulting maps for cities such as New York, Paris, and London, we can get a picture of the spatial distribution of social activity through Foursquare, and see where social activity is clustered and how the patterns differ from city to city.

Via Gizmodo

Raster Challenge

It’s time to put your raster skills to work in time to get a Nintendo DS for the holidays. Crafster, Cooking Mama, and Nintendo DS have announced a contest to create a pixel project of Mama. It is to publicize the new Crafting Mama game in which you are challenged to “Learn 40 different projects across a huge variety of crafts: make aprons, mini Mama dolls, birdhouses, patchwork quilts, jewelry, mugs, candles, kaleidoscopes, flower decorations, and so much more!” They explain: What is a “pixel project”? A pixel is a single point in a raster image. So a pixel project is that same concept, but on a larger scale. You could break out the Rasterbator, raster maker.

Research or Teach…that is the question

Apparently it has been a busy couple of days in the UK with the Business Secretary and Science Minister having a go at academic research spending and the shift over the last decade or two toward a research focus over teaching in universities. It is somewhat surprising that these direct statements haven’t been made before now given the economic climate. Even within academia you see the tensions between “research schools” and “teaching schools” and the implications of the monikers they carry. Your homework is to contemplate this tension that exists between funders, researchers, teachers, and students, and consider how this comes together to impact Geography. We will discuss our take(s) on this tension either in this week’s podcast or in a Special Episode next week. If you have a strong opinion feel free to call us and leave a voicemail or email us.

As a counterpoint, the BBC today posted a portion of a video conversation with Stephen Hawking supporting the role of research to society. Overall, evocative stuff!

Esri UC 2011 Call for Presentations now open

That’s right, for all you Esri users out there, it’s already time to start thinking about next year’s User Conference. The Call for Presentations is now out over on Esri’s conference website, and abstracts are going to be due on October 15th. So if you’ve got a great GIS project or topic you want to share, start getting your abstract together.

We always have an amazing time at the UC, we get to do a great Live Show and try to present something every year, so hopefully we’ll get to see a lot of you fellow GISers at the 2011 event!

The State of Mapping APIs.

Adam DuVander over at O’Reilly has written a decent summation article on the current state of mapping apis in the world.  It’s a short read and highlights some issues, but I think the more important take-away is the lack of cross pollination between geographers and internet mappers.  He doesn’t even discuss ESRI’s api, for instance, and it offers many of the capabilities for which Adam is asking.  There’s simply too much stove piping between the ‘experts’, meaning traditional geospatial experts, and the ‘amateurs’, which are mostly people coming from more traditional computer backgrounds.  Unfortuantely, I fear it might be on the shoulders of the geospatial experts to teach the rest that what we do is important and relevant.  Otherwise we’re libel to see much re-inventing of our spatial wheels… except maybe with added spinners.

Virtual Tourism = Real Tourism

The Wall Street Journal has an article that highlights the money to be made in the convergence of real places and their virtual counterparts in games. Much like many seaside resort towns the beautiful Atami hot springs used to be Japan’s honeymoon spot but due to competition from Hawaii and Australia was experiencing a serious downturn. However, in the Japanese dating-simulation game LovePlus+ Atami is still a vibrant, romantic destination for virtual steady girlfriends and their real life boyfriends. The town of Atami hit on a great marketing strategy when they decided to recreate the virtual experience in real life by creating a LovePlus + destination vacation. Much like how movies such as Twilight can create tourism for their respective locations, games are another great tourism cross over idea. This should be in every great marketing textbook next to the Got Milk? Campaign and movie product placement.

Great video introduction to the National Map

One of the fun things I get to do in prepping for my classes is getting to look at all the amazing video resources out on the interwebs for Geography and geospatial technologies. While putting together my Intro to Mapping lecture, I remembered this great 6-minute video introduction to the National Map, including a little bit about the history of the USGS’s role in mapping the US, how digital technologies are changing mapping, and the development of the National Map and its functionality. Even if you saw the video when it came out back in January, it’s still a great reference for what the National Map is all about.