A podcast delayed

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.

Dude, Where’s Your Map? Map Contests

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.

 

Zombies and Geospatial Analysis

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.

Trimble to acquire SketchUp and 3D Warehouse

I am floored! We talk all the time about the use of SketchUp in building out virtual worlds and have just taken for granted that it was tied in to Google’s draw for Earth and Maps. Apparently that was not such a given.

Trimble will be adding SketchUp and the 3D Warehouse to its growing pantheon of applications. There are of course short and long term questions from a users perspective regarding the availability of the free version, the licensing costs for the Pro version, the terms of use/copyright rights for 3D Warehouse content, and of course the direction of the software in the future. On the other hand, I am excited about the potential for a tool with the easy to use UI of SketchUp with a better/tighter coupling with GIS applications. Or, how about the ability to use data from existing Trimble hardware and software to streamline model generation.

The SketchUp acquisition is just the most recent in a line of notable acquisitions that include eCognition for Remote Sensing and PeopleNet for logistics, as well as others that link to SketchUp’s potential such as BIM and StruCAD.

These software trends have been on top of Trimble’s growing GNSS and a related hardware offerings.