Take the way back machine to the first GIS Day in Spring of 1999. ESRI ARC News Online announced GIS Day 1999 Slated for November! According to the press release, ESRI told users to “Get ready to learn more about GIS and geography. The National Geographic Society, the Association of American Geographers (AAG), and Esri are announcing the first annual GIS Day to be held November 19, 1999–the Friday of Geography Awareness Week (November 14-20, 1999)”. According to Jack Dangermond, “The idea behind GIS Day is to create a single, worldwide event that effectively communicates the benefits and significance of GIS to the rest of society. There are about half a million GIS users in the world, but most of the public is unaware of this growing technology.” It is difficult to comprehend that in the span of a little more than short years since that inaugural GIS Day, the world has experienced what Penn State calls the geospatial revolution significantly impacting the number of GIS users worldwide. Continue reading
Each year the number of media sources using interactive election maps increases, from search engines like Bing Elections to newspapers of record like the New York Times Elections 2014, to public television like PBS.org, or media like USA Today. Even Facebook has added an ‘I voted‘ button. Some are created in-house using geospatial software like ESRI GIS for Elections and Redistricting, others use mapping software like Google Maps, but interactive election maps are so important to election news reporting there is a market for companies like InstantAtlas, Axismaps, and others to sell election results reporting tools. In 2012, Visual.ly provided a critique of Eight Different Takes on Presidential Election Maps, which remains relevant to the U.S. 2014 mid-term elections.
However, an Electoral College Map Activity from Colonial Williamsburg for the election of 1800, 270 to Win’s historic presidential election maps, and a project on A New Commonwealth Votes: Using GIS to Analyze the Politics of Turn of the Century Massachusetts demonstrate that mapping and GIS are engaging no matter the time period or the election. Although it is nice to see an elected officials office littered with maps whether they be on multiple monitors or strewn around the office as In Jefferson’s Cabinet, 1803.
DigitalGlobe, a commercial high-resolution earth imagery company, launched its aptly named e-magazine, PERSPECTIVES, today. The trade magazine provides 52 pages of stunning imagery and detailed information on the satellite imagery and remote sensing industry. Although it focuses on DigitalGlobe technologies, the magazine provides insight into a broad swath of topic areas from mineral exploration to infrastructure to penguin migration. PERSPECTIVES will provide articles, case studies, and technical papers in their upcoming issues.
NASA has posted two news items that illustrate the large amounts of data that they are generating. NASA| The Data Downpour is a video describing how the GPM constellation turns observed radiances and reflectivities of global precipitation – falling snow and rain – into data products. They detail this huge task in “GPM Mission’s How-to Guide for Making Global Rain Maps“. NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center, Precipitation Processing System (Greenbelt, Maryland) is tasked with compiling remote sensing data from NASA and the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency. The data set will eventually become one unified global data set. A simplified version of a very exacting process, as any geospatial professional will tell you. Continue reading
Geospatial technology is changing the legal environment in several distinct ways that have made the news recently. The first is the relatively new legal speciality of Spatial Law. According to GeoLaw, a Virginia law firm specializing in geospatial legal issues or Spatial Law, the rapid growth of geospatial technology has created the need for specialized knowledge of location based privacy, intellectual property rights in geospatial datasets, liability over spatial data, geo regulations, and national or other security issues. GeoLaw maintains a Spatial Law and Policy Blog on Legal and Policy Issues associated with geospatial data and technology. It is the blog that you are directed to from The Centre For Spatial Law and Policy which educates lawyers, businesses, government agencies, policy makers and others on the unique legal and policy issues associated with geospatial technology. Batchgeo maintains a map of top spatial law and policy stories around the world that the public or geospatial professionals can contribute, while it isn’t extensive it has current news for 2014. Continue reading
Massimo Vignelli continues to inspire cartographers, graphic designers, and artists with his New York City Transit Authority map standards. Artists, Niko Skourtis, Jesse Reed, and Hamish Smyth found a first edition Graphic Standard Manual designed by Vignelli in a locker beneath some old gym clothes. According to an article in designTAXI, “Massimo Vignelli’s NYCTA Graphics Standards Manual Tweeted Page-By-Page“, the “The Standards Manual” project started on August 11 asks people to share the Standards Manual on Twitter, Facebook, and Pinterest.
It sounds like fun project and inspires its own question, “What other cartographic and geospatial manuals are gathering dust in old offices and on bookshelves that are worthy of being tweeted page-by-page?”
The diaries from sea voyages are thrilling, especially those that study marine biology. From the first entry setting down the base coordinates to later entries listing nautical miles traveled. Although they take place almost two hundred years apart, two sea voyages are available online this week, Darwin’s Beagle Library from Darwin’s voyage (1831) and Clean Our Oceans Refuge Coalition (COORC) Alguita Expedition to the Great Pacific Garbage Patch (2014).
The Washington Post’s Wonkblog article, “10 Maps that show how much time Americans spend grooming, eating, thinking, and praying” presents some crisp maps using data from the United States Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics American Time Use Survey. The article is an interesting introduction to regional geography, but it is sometimes jarring to find a website presenting spatial information that lends itself to interactive mapping as analog maps. After spending a few seconds clicking and rolling over states before realizing the data I wanted was presented in a table at the end of the article, the analog maps raised the important cartographic question of when to use an interactive map.
Interactive maps have become such an ubiquitous method for visualizing complex spatial information that geospatial professionals sometimes don’t ask if an interactive maps is always the best one. An article in a 2013 Journal of Spatial Information Science by Robert E. Roth explores the question of “Interactive maps: What we know and what we need to know“. According to Roth, “Cartographic interaction is defined as the dialog between a human and map,mediated through a computing device, and is essential to the research into interactive cartography, geovisualization, and geovisual analytics”.
An article in Scientific America, “The Reading Brain in the Digital Age: The Science of Paper versus Screens” asks How exactly does the technology we use to read change the way we read? but it could also explain why we sometimes expect a static, analog map to be interactive.
The Cornell Lab of Ornithology has introduced some very exciting backyard citizen science applications that utilize remote sensing data. One of them is The YardMap citizen science project funded by the National Science Foundation Information Education Program or advancing informal STEM Learning (AISL), as it is known now. YardMap is designed to cultivate a richer understanding of bird habitat, for both professional scientists and people concerned with their local environments. It is also a great way to make your yard bird friendly. So far they have had 8098 YardMaps drawn using the YardMap Tool.
Today is World Fish Migration Day 2014. It is a one day global initiative to create awareness of the importance of open rivers and migratory fish with over 70 organization supporters worldwide. It is also a very geospatial day because much of the outreach, education, and work being done is spatial. If you want to find an event going on in your part of the world today, they have an event map of World Fish Migration Day activities. Continue reading