A VerySpatial Road Trip: A Brief Update

We’re here in lovely St. Louis in the middle of day 2 of our VerySpatial Road trip.  Barb and I have been fortunate enough to have clear roads and (mostly) clear skies on the trip so far.  We’ve traveled from Morgantown WV to the New River Gorge, down to Bluefield WV, and back up to Huntington WV.  We then went on through Lexington Kentucky and stayed the night in Louisville.  Today we rolled into St. Louis at a tad past noon.  We’ve taken loads of pictures, lots of video, and been fortunate to talk to lots of people along the way.

So why am I dancing around all that and not getting a proper post updated?  Well, the one thing that hasn’t been great for us has been…. Internet (First World Problems!  Curses!!!)  I’ve got a temporary connect for a brief update.  We have loads more to post and it will be up there really soon, we promise.  We called ahead and our hotel in Kansas is going to have wired Internet, so we should be golden.  Look for a big update tomorrow with pictures and a long discussion of the great stuff we saw in WV, KY, and MO.

Let me leave you with one sneak peek of what we’ve found – Me at the stunning Kemp Mercedes Museum!  Yep, that’s 5 exceptionally rare Mercedes you see behind me and that doesn’t even count the half dozen to left and half dozen to the right found in this room!

More to come!

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Maps

Everyone has probably seen this via Google+, Twitter, or Facebook, but it is too good not to link.

The Most Popular Cars in Each State

The cartography kinda sucks, but this map on Jalopnik.com is pretty cool.  It details the most popular new cars by state.  As you can see, most of the US is fond of their F-150’s.  Toyota is big in the South East.  Subaru has Washington state locked up (not a huge surprise there).  I was moderately surprised the Accord took Pennsylvania.  Where does your state stack up on new car sales?

Airport GIS

This July it is likely that more of the passengers arriving at San Diego International Airport  are asking themselves, “How geospatial is this airport?” than at any other time of year.  Many of the over 15,000 ESRI UC Conference attendees arrive through the airport. The answer is that San Diego’s airport is very spatial and so are an increasing number of airports worldwide. Even before getting into infrastructure management, San Diego International Airport provides a SanMap interactive map for passengers, tracks California Least Tern nests on its grounds as part of the California Least Tern Endangered Species Protection Program, and uses GIS in its Airport Noise Mitigation to respond to noise complaints from surrounding neighborhoods. A common saying I was told years ago by a  U.S. Department of Transportation official is to think of an airport as a small-sized city with all the same functions and services.

I was reminded of this saying when I reviewed the 2012 “Airport GIS Program Safety Benefits: A Change in Direction” presentation that explains the eALP or airport GIS initiative. It was made even clearer in detailed presentations by AECOM on the specific steps in developing an airport GIS for California, “An Introduction to Airports- GIS/electronic ALP (A-GIS/eALP)” and Arora Engineers presentation on how to implement an “FAA AGIS and Asset Management” program. While ESRI provides case studies of airports using GIS for Aviation.

There are several conferences dedicated to aviation GIS like The American Association of Airport Executives GIS (AAAE GIS) conference which focuses solely on the use of GIS at airports such as meeting FAA requirements, facilities management, safety, and marketing or the Aviation GIS Summit. The 3DVW: Spatial Blog of Jeff Thurstan’s has a good article on the “3rd Aviation GIS Summit 2013 – Schiphol Airport, Amsterdam” in relation to GIS, 3D planning, and airports.

If you are interested in an aviation GIS career or want to know the requirements for an aviation GIS Analyst there sites dedicated to aviation jobs. On Airline Job Finder, there were many GIS analyst jobs working for GIS offices or teams of aviation GIS analysts. The American Association of Airport Executives has a list of positions open.

A VerySpatial Road Trip: Our Own Oregon Trail

We’re getting all the bits and pieces together for our VerySpatial Road Trip out west.  We’ll be taking a direct (ish) route out, stopping in the great states of Missouri, Kansas, Colorado, New Mexico, and finally to California.  Ok, so not Oregon and hopefully no dysentery 🙂  If you want to see the route, check out this Google Map!  Don’t forget to follow our path with daily blog posts, Tweets, Videos, Instagrams, Photos, Yelps, and any other method we can think to show you our trip.  Don’t be afraid to comment, email, Tweet, or any other method you chose back to us for places we should see along the way!


View Larger Map

Photo curtsy of  the State Library and Archives of Florida via their Flickr Feed.

Cat Tracks

The BBC News Science & Environment section has an article on “The Secret Life of the cat: What do our feline companions get up to?” with an interactive map of cats in a Surrey Village. It was created by BBC Two’s Horizon Program and researchers at the Royal Veterinary College. It is based on a study by Dr. Alan Wilson, an animal movement specialist, at the Structure & Motion Laboratory at the Royal Veterinary College. In his article, “Secret Life of the Cat: The Science of Tracking Our Pets“, he provides information on the technical challenges of using GPS to track domestic cats. Like many scientists working in the field, Dr. Wilson has had to develop his own tracking equipment in order to study the movement of pigeons, sheep, cheetahs, wild dogs, and of course, cats. He is currently working on developing unmanned arial vehicles for remote sensing and movement tracking. Cats are a great way to introduce the public to interactive mapping, tracking, and geospatial concepts because cats and birds are the most popular pets in the world.

The combination of cat popularity and GPS even resulted in a best selling book, “Lost Cat: A True Story of Love, Desperation, and GPS Technology” about a writer’s determination to find out what her cat did when he went off into the “wild”.  CNET has a good video, “Using GPS to Track Exactly Where Cats Creep“, about how the authors learned to track Tibi.  The convoluted way they had to map his tracks illustrates the need for education on using GIS or an easy to use cat GIS, to go along with the easy to use cat tracking GPS market.

Book Corner: Programming ArcGIS 10.1 with Python Cookbook

My fairly constant position now-a-days is “late to the game” and in this case that means that there are plenty of folks who have already shared their thoughts on Programming ArcGIS 10.1 with Python Cookbook by Eric Pimpler from Packt Publishing. Robin Wilson, with his wife, summarized by saying

Overall, the book is a very useful addition to a GIS library for people who are new to automating ArcGIS using Python, and particularly those who want to find out quickly how to automate a particular operation.

James Fee wrapped up his review by saying

So the bottom line here is this is a great introduction to ArcPy with ArcGIS 10.1. But if you’ve already started using either Python or ArcPy, you’d be best to use your time/money elsewhere.

These reviews, and others, indirectly highlight the issue of audience with each of the ArcGIS and Python books that have come out in 2012 and 2013. The books are intended for an introductory audience, but each is for a different introductory audience. Nate Jennings’ A Python Primer for ArcGIS has a strong focus on what I would consider a community college/professional development audience. Esri Press’s own Python Scripting for ArcGIS by Paul Zandbergen is geared toward an upper-level undergrad or grad course to get students who already have a strong(ish) ArcGIS background up and running with Python.
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