Sherlock Holmes and GIS

If Sherlock Holmes was alive today, like he is in the modern day Sherlock TV Show, he would use geospatial technologies and extensive closed circuit camera systems (CCTV) to solve crime. This isn’t purely speculation, because as co-creator of the tv series Steve Moffat points out, Sherlock Holmes was a modern detective during his time. In today’s world, law enforcement face cuts and are looking for solutions such as London’s Metropolitan Police Service using special or volunteer constables to cut costs. It provides hands-on training for volunteers who might later decide to pursue it full time. The London Metropolitan Police Department or “Scotland Yard” invented the crime analysis pin map in the 1820’s and continue to utilize the most updated GIS technologies. Internet Eyes is a controversial effort to allow the public to “to monitor live CCTV feed from our Business Customers, and notify them the instant a crime is observed” for a reward. It’s not difficult to imagine Sherlock Holmes using modern day geospatial technologies to solve crimes. As Holmes cried in the Adventure of the Copper Beeches, “Data! Data! Data!” he cried impatiently. “I can’t make bricks without clay.” — a true geospatial analyst at heart.

Great Migrations

If you are tuning in tonight to watch The Great Migrations series, National Geographics’ largest programming event, you might want to watch the “Making National Geographic’s Great Migrations” on NatGeo News which discusses the five years and hundreds of people involved in its production or check out the educators’s resources. National Geographic also offers a demo of their Great Migrations Game to try out. The series itself is possible due to one of the first remote animal tracking technologies created by Rory P. Wilson, a biologist at Swansea University and chief scientific advisor on the film, while working on his dissertation on penguins in South Africa.

Spooky 3D buildings

Although this post is a little late for Halloween, I’d like to think of it as a project to start now for next October. Ray Keim of Paper Model Purgatory at Haunted Dimensions creates printable 3D papercraft models of spooky buildings he has crafted including New Orleans Square and the Bates House. If you are more inclined to ghostly gingerbread houses, he has plans for those too. He states that “I created these models for entertainment purposes only. They represent months of work, taking hundreds of hours to design.
I am now offering them for free to any mansion fan who would like them, as a token of appreciation for all the phenomenal support I have received since starting this site, and also in the hopes that it will encourage others to share their art and ideas freely online.” There is an interesting panel with Ray Keim so, “You want to be a theme park designer” from Inside the Magic. It illustrates huge scope for 2D and 3D visualization as a career and a hobby.

Virtual test-drive

According to MarketWatch, Mitsubishi will be offering the world’s first online test drive of an Outlander Sport Nov.1 – Nov.10, 2010 on their website. The advertising concept was created by 180 LA and B-Reel, a hybrid production company. B-Reel has created an evocative, interactive, music video for Arcade Fire, The Wilderness Downtown personalizing the video by hometown or location. The types of jobs open to creative people with geospatial skills keeps expanding as geospatial technologies become an expected part of everyday life. It is interesting to see how marketing to a person’s personal location is changing advertising. What a challenge.

Haunted Apps

Haunted places, there’s an app for that, really. When I went searching for haunted places apps for Halloween, I thought that there might be one or two apps out there. Instead I found several categories of haunted apps. First there are the local area apps such as the WeirdNJ which is a guide to NJ legends like the Jersey Devil. Haunted historic tour apps like the WickedWalks app for New Orleans, Savanah, Key West, and New York. Traditional haunted apps like what is happening in Salem, Massachusetts.The SyFy Ghost Hunters show has a haunted house finder app. But probably the most useful of all is the haunted hotel stay apps so that you know where to stop or not, on your next trip out of town. Don’t bother asking if there is a app for trick-or-treating. Iconosys, Inc is offering a free app trick-or-treat app to track your child using your smart phone through Halloween.

To Mars and Beyond

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 Legend of Lillian Alling

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.

Water World

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.

Raster Challenge

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.