This is why I love maps
Ars Technica is reporting an interesting article for science, I think. Researchers at George Mason University have looked at climate reporting in the New York Times, The Washington Post, The Wall Street Journal, and USA Today between 1998 and 2010 to see how often climate change models are referenced. The answer? A depressingly few number of times – 100 out of 4,000. Why does it matter? Well, how can anyone really understand the conclusions without at least understanding some of the methodology that went into the conclusion? Without understanding the utility of models in general and climate change models in particular, it is all too easy to cast aside climate change as junky science.
If you ask me, irrespective of the climate change debate, I fear we don’t do enough to explain the science behind the conclusions, particularly with highly politically charged issues like climate change. It seems a bit disingenuous to me that we would present one argument without explaining the logic behind it. It is then up to the reader to decide which argument makes more sense to them. At the very least, we potentially raise scientific knowledge among the general population, and that can’t be a bad thing.
The U.K. is experiencing a summer of GIS with several overlapping large and unique events taking place that use geospatial tools for planning, management, analysis and public outreach. Like many instances of GIS integration for event planning, it might seem as if it happened overnight but in fact took more than five and in some cases ten years of planning and cooperation between many different organizations and agencies.
Olympic Torch and the 2012 Olympics
According to Public Service UK, The National Policing Improvement Agency (NPIA) Learning Strategy Department has trained all 250,000 police officers and staff in the UK to use geospatial tools for safety operations for the London Olympics and Paralympics. This would be a big enough job, if the London Olympics only took place in London. However, the Olympic Torch Relay travels within an hour of 95% of people in the UK. The training was available through a GIS e-learning module and provides maps and plans of venues and locations for use in operational planning, briefings and deployments.
Transportation is another big area of concern for the upcoming Olympics. The interactive map website, Get Ahead of the Games, is a collaboration between the Mayor of London, National Rail, Department for Transport, Highways Agency, and Transport for London to make planning and travel easier during the Olympics and Paralympics. It includes travel by public transport, National Rail, road and river services.
The Ordnance Survey has documented the creation of the 2012 Olympics siteusing detailed ariel imagery from 2001 through to 2010. The planning and construction of the London 2012 Games was funded by the National Lottery, the Department for Culture, Media and Sport, the Mayor of London and the London Development Agency. They presented about the “Learning Legacy: Lessons Learned from the London 2012 Games construction project“. A web-based GIS viewer and spatial visualization tool was created to all contractors to access and share information. Over 2 million individual pieces of data were created and are part of the infrastructure planning and continued venue management.
The Queens Diamond Jubilee
The Olympics aren’t the only event that has had an impact on geospatial awareness in the U.K. this summer. The National Policing Improvement Agency (NPIA) also had to prepare for The Queens Diamond Jubilee, along with routine events such as Wimbledon Tennis, Notting Hill Carnival, and football. According to a presentation entitled “Securing the 2012 Olympics: A Milestone in the UK Policing Improvement Programme” geospatial planning and integrated situational awareness has been happening behind the scenes for years before being implemented in time for the U.K.’s summer of GIS.
ESRI UK have created interactive map of the over 41,000 Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Beacons being lit on Monday, June 4th, throughout the United Kingdom, Channel Islands and the Isle of Man, along with Commonwealth and UK territories overseas. The beacon chain itself has been used for communication and celebration for hundreds of years making it a very old form of geospatial communication.
If you have watched the GeoBee then you probably feel as though you need to spend more time with your globe and atlas. It was great to see President Obama ask one of the questions showing that someone at the White House gets the importance of Geography and its impact on the world.
Apologies, but Episode 357 has been delayed by an unexpected series of events which mostly revolve around the end of Maymester and the beginning of Summer 1 classes. The episode will be up shortly.
ESRI recently sent out reminders about submitting static paper or interactive maps for the 2012 ESRI UC Map competition. This year they have added a User Software Applications contest for applications using Esri technology or customized Esri software product. The map gallery and user software application fair are huge events with hundreds of submissions, but don’t let that discourage you from submitting to their or other upcoming map contests.
The North American Cartographic Information Society (NACIS) is sponsoring its 14th Annual Student Dynamic Map Competition to promote cartographic excellence and innovation. There are two competition categories: narrative maps and interactive maps. Entries must be submitted by Friday September 14, 2012.
National Geographic has several map competitions for college and young professionals through the Association of American Geographers/Cartography award, British Cartographic Society award, and the Cartography and Geographic Information Society (CaGIS) award
The Barbara Petchenik International World Map Design Competition has a new theme for their 2013 competition: My Place in Today’s World. Many teachers worldwide use the competition as part of their geography or GIS curriculum. The rules for the 2013 competition can be downloaded in September.
And because I think that video game maps use many of the same geo-spatial skills and design techniques as other types of interactive maps, I have included video game layer map contests. The Source engine based Multiplayer game, Nuclear Dawn, has a Nuclear Dawn map contestwith prizes due by June 25. Beanstalk, a search engine optimization company, is promoting a contest to create Minecraft maps based on the beanstalk theme with prizes due by May 31st.
Whatever form they take map contests are a good way to encourage students, professionals, and the general public to think about maps in creative ways.
If you have met me, you know that I would love to teach a geography class using the book World War Z by Max Brooks, a journalist who uses a zombie apocalypse to discuss current events and world geography. David Hunter, a middle school teacher in Seattle, Washington beat me to the punch. He is asking for help on Kickstarter to create a Grade 5-8 Standards Based curriculum “Learning Geography skills through a Zombie Apocalypse Narrative”. His concept is not as far fetched as it seems. At the WV Association for Geospatial Professionals conference this week Sheila Wilson, Executive Director of the GIS Certificate Institute (GISP) started off her talk with the CDC Zombie Preparedness Guide. She talked about how in the guide a GIS team who were prepared to spatially analyze zombie hot spots, were prepared for anything. According to Cartographia, Austin TX has been prepared for a zombie outbreak since 2007.
Joking aside, I think that the zombie apocalypse creates a “sandbox” for researchers, educators, and society to analyze and understand complex, interconnected geospatial issues in a non-threatening way. I’m not the only one who feels this way. Edward Gonzalez-Tennant a geography professor at Monmouth University is hopefully going to be presenting a paper on “Popular Culture and GIS: Using Geospatial Technologies to Model and Prepare for the Zombie Apocalyze.” at the 2012 ESRI Education User’s Conference (EDUC). There is also a 2012 ESRI International User’s session dedicated to Health, Behavior, and Zombies. Preparing for zombie outbreaks on Earth is inspiring geospatial professionals to innovate and think big much like Star Trek has inspired decades of engineers.
If you want to experience your own zombie attack, Class 3 Outbreak is a zombie outbreak simulator played via Google maps at hundreds of locations world wide.