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
Massimo Vignelli, the Italian graphic designer who created the famous helvetica subway maps of New York City and Washington D.C, train stations in Italy, and other pared down cartographic designs, is gravely ill. Graphic design blogs such as Quartz, Creative Review, and Gizmodo are forwarding on a request by his son, Luca, Massimo Vignelli asking us to “Send a card to the man who put Helvetica on your subway map” A 2012 New York Times article, “The Subway Map that Rattled New Yorkers” describes the impact, controversy, and legacy that Vignelli’s System Map created, when it was revealed in 1972.
Vignelli has strong connections to cartography and design, among them, a long time friendship with Richard Saul Wurman, another New York City guidebook designer, whom he said was “on the cutting-edge side, where the fun is.” The documentary Design Is One: Lella & Massimo Vignelli describes the life and careers of Vignelli and his wife, designer Lella.
Please send your notes, letters, cards etc to:
130 East 67 Street
New York, New York 10021
The June 2 deadline for the Esri Climate Resilience App Challenge is fast approaching. The challenge is open to geospatial developers, of all ages from the from the private sector and the general public, to create an app using the Esri ArcGIS Platform that conveys data on climate change risks and impacts in compelling and useful ways that help citizens, businesses, and communities make smart choices in the face of climate change.
The challenge is based on Climate Data Initiative needs outlined in the Climate Action Plan developed by the Obama Administration in June 2013. A new initiative in 2014, Climate.Data.gov provides resiliency data and tools on topics such as the vulnerability of the food supply and the threats to human health from climate change. Geographic map data for climate preparedness from different agencies has been collected and is made available via the geoplatform.gov and cliamate.data.gov. Several examples of existing flood and other tools are available for developers planning to enter the challenge.
Today, NASA, geospatial scientists, and people from around the world celebrate the first time that we saw Earth, in a now familiar view, from space. Astronaut Alan B. Shepard, Jr., the first American in space, took the famous photo from the Freedom 7 Mercury capsule on May 5, 1961. The Space Fellowship website and community discuss “The Pioneering Mercury Astronauts Launched America’s Future” . The Kennedy Space Center Historical Archive of Manned Space Flights gives a detailed mission objective for the Freedom 7 from May 5th. If you want to relive the moment, Extreme Tech provides a live video feed of Earth from Space, as part of the High Definition Earth Viewing experiment.
The Federation of American Scientists has an information rich remote sensing tutorial that states, “Before entering this Overview, ponder this slogan: REMOTE SENSING is the BACKBONE of the SPACE PROGRAM”. The backbone of modern remote sensing might well be education, innovation, and experimentation – Alan B. Shepard said that , “The first plane ride was in a homemade glider my buddy and I built. Unfortunately we didn’t get more than four feet off the ground, because it crashed.” Educators, citizen scientists, and hobbyists of all types are creating hands-on remote sensing and unmanned vehicle education that will inspire the next generation.