As a young girl reading OMNI magazine, I couldn’t imagine saying no to a one way trip to explore space. I’m a little older now and would ask more questions, such as the ones posed in Cosmic Logic on MSNBC. It discusses a paper written by Dirk Schulze-Makuch, Washington State University and Paul Davies, Arizona State University for The Journal of Cosmology about the real life logistics for Mars colonization. They aren’t the first researchers to consider the real life logistics of space travel. For several years, NASA has asked researchers and industry to come up with solutions for everything from cryogenics to remote healthcare to the politics of joint military/scientist ventures. It might not be Stargate but it made my heart jump a little bit when I played the free multi player on-line Moonbase Alpha game developed by NASA and the U.S. Army to realistically simulate space colonization. The game is fun to play but at first I was frustrated because you couldn’t carry the whole toolbox with you to fix pipes. But Frank pointed out that there is no magic bag of holding in real-life and this game is an accurate depiction of the challenges colonists will face. Among the many experts required, they will need good cartographers, engineers, biologists, mechanics, and especially welders with a steady hand.
The Globe and Mail has a story about Lillian Alling, an adventuress who mapped out a route across North America to Siberia by foot and became a legend. According to Tom Hawthorn, “Her story – a mystery with a beginning but no certain end – has inspired novels, films and an opera, which is to debut in Vancouver later this week.” The Vancouver Opera’s Lillian Alling is about Lillian Alling who came to New York City to find a man called Jozéf and walks across North America to find him. The Vancouver Opera has a http://vancouveropera.blogspot.com/2010/07/why-lillian-alling-book-club.html which reviews books on the Canadian immigrant experience, women travelers, and her legend itself. Several blogs and books are dedicated to Lillian Alling including one called “Walking Home” by Susan Smith, The Woman Who Walked to Russia: A Writer’s Search for a Lost Legend
by Cassandra Pybus which was the first historical book which follows Lillian Alling’s journey.
Don’t let the lolcats of Icanhascheezburger fool you, Graphjams showcases some pretty sophisticated presentations of spatial data. This post of Red Riding Hood, created as a Swedish Future Short in 2009, is a great example. It was inspired by Royksopp’s Remind Me 2005 video. Other funny It would be nice if GraphJam’s Chart Builder included an easy to use map section.
The BBC online has a story on a composite index of “water threats” including issues such as scarcity and pollution which researchers from City College of New York presented in the journal Nature. This is not the only water data project that City College of New York faculty and students have done this year. A “Bio-Math Mapping: Water Quality Analysis of the Hudson and Gowanus,” project in Summer 2010 provided math students with a chance to participate in interdisciplinary research with epidemiology, microbiology and environmental studies through a four-week investigation of water quality of the Hudson River and Gowanus Canal.
It’s time to put your raster skills to work in time to get a Nintendo DS for the holidays. Crafster, Cooking Mama, and Nintendo DS have announced a contest to create a pixel project of Mama. It is to publicize the new Crafting Mama game in which you are challenged to “Learn 40 different projects across a huge variety of crafts: make aprons, mini Mama dolls, birdhouses, patchwork quilts, jewelry, mugs, candles, kaleidoscopes, flower decorations, and so much more!” They explain: What is a “pixel project”? A pixel is a single point in a raster image. So a pixel project is that same concept, but on a larger scale. You could break out the Rasterbator, raster maker.
The Wall Street Journal has an article that highlights the money to be made in the convergence of real places and their virtual counterparts in games. Much like many seaside resort towns the beautiful Atami hot springs used to be Japan’s honeymoon spot but due to competition from Hawaii and Australia was experiencing a serious downturn. However, in the Japanese dating-simulation game LovePlus+ Atami is still a vibrant, romantic destination for virtual steady girlfriends and their real life boyfriends. The town of Atami hit on a great marketing strategy when they decided to recreate the virtual experience in real life by creating a LovePlus + destination vacation. Much like how movies such as Twilight can create tourism for their respective locations, games are another great tourism cross over idea. This should be in every great marketing textbook next to the Got Milk? Campaign and movie product placement.
Several crafty types have created homemade moving compass wedding invitations for their weddings including a heirloom quality one made of recycled chip board, a super fun interactive one posted on Crafster with a great compass related poem, and some artistic hand drawn maps and compass invitations by Pier Gustafson. On the basic logistics side, many wedding sites are offering free wedding mapper tools to create wedding directions on-line or to insert into invitations such as a cute one from WeddingMapper, MapIcons which lets your replace standard Google icons with wedding related ones, and custom wedding maps by Natalie Michelle on Etsy. Of course there are a number of GIS people who have proposed spatially including Cathy & Brian’s heart shaped Finger Lakes, Leslie and Michael’s Street View proposal, and Derek & Kristen’s Garmand GPS proposal. I don’t personally know any of these people but congratulate them and offer my own compass related quote, “Love does not consist of gazing at each other, but in looking together in the same direction. ~Antoine de Saint-Exupery”.
FlowingData is a fun website created by a Ph.D candidate in statistics that “explores how designers, statisticians, and computer scientists are using data to understand ourselves better – mainly through data visualization”. If you think statistics is a dry topic, its probably because you haven’t seen this website. It’s amazing what decent data visualization does to make it easier to keep your eyes focused on data. He has a discussion of tables as visual obstacles to understanding data and an awesome quote, “Suppose that you are reading an article and the text refers you to a table on the next page. Before you turn the page, what are your expectations of the table? Chances are, you would like it to communicate trends and patterns. Chances are, too, that it will fail and simply deliver numerical minutiae.” I could reference some of the data he has explored in the past such as elevation data to show data but instead I want to focus on these fun visualizations — the history of the Beatles through their hair (time series) and How to win rock-paper-scissors every time (fun and educational). I think it would make a cool t-shirt like the rock-paper-scissors-lizard-Spock one at ThinkGeek.
Apartment Therapy has an entertaining post about a baby name map which is a mash up of the most popular baby names around the world. There are also baby name sites, like Baby Name Guide, that have categories dedicated to geography names or geo-names. Public Profiler has a cool tool to look up surnames by map and statistics.
At the request of a friend, I went looking for anything relating to Walt Disney and geospatial technologies. I found a cool internship at Disney for a civil engineering intern which asks for GIS skills. Apparently there are ways that affectionately called geo-nerds have fun at Disney World resorts that other people don’t such as finding all the marks placed by Disney surveyors in Disneyland and Walt Disney World compiled in one spot by Patty Winters. ESRI has case studies of the history of Anaheim, CA, City of Celebration FL, Disney, and GIS. Rand published a fascinating case study of Walt Disney World Resort and Environmental Management. I also found out the Walt Disney Resorts hold several GIS training conferences a year on varying topics including the American Water Association Conference on GIS & Water Resources. Which until I had read the case studies which talk about Walt Disney properties as being the size of Pittsburgh, might have seemed gratuitous, now it only makes sense.