There are several sites on-line where people have set up controllable Halloween decorations for various causes. Alek’s Halloween site is a little crowded but that’s part of its charm. He’s been doing it since 2005, has a Google map of the people who have participated, and all the decorations are wind-powered. Halloween Addict has a 2008 link to a “This American Life” podcast about a guy who maps Jack O’Lanterns in his NC neighborhood. Finally, A&E’s Paranormal States and Unexplained Mysteries provide the most comprehensive maps throughout their sites of any I have found on-line so far.
If you haven’t seen it already. Apartment Therapy has a post about a Dutch artist who has created real life “dead pixels” that show up on Google Earth. It is a really neat and creative example of art in a public place.
Whenever Holloween starts to come around, I always think about geography and candy. The world in a candy bar map , such as the one from Indiana and Purdue, is one of the staples of social study teacher’s everywhere. Candy Critic blog has a great discussion of candy from around the world, a map of candy travels that is the beginnings of what I thought I would find out there. Candy Addict discusses regional geography and candy which is the narrative half of what I imagined I would find. No where near it, and probably something he is tired of hearing, is Dr. Ian Candy who is a Physical Geography professor at University of London. My ultimate candy site would provide an interactive map with narrative and pictures. They might even send you a box of candy so you can have a tactile eat along.
Whenever I see articles like the one about a smart IBM guy who uses Twitter to control his house functions, it makes me think of those old Tex Avery cartoons about the home of tommorw or the clip about the future house. I can imagine it being used to prove that no matter where I am during the day, the dog is sleeping either on the couch or my bed. On a more serious note, I can see it helping with elderly relatives who want to have independence but need someone to make sure the stove is turned off. But then when you read a quote like this from the IBM website about the same guy, “How IBM’s Andy Stanford-Clark and his llamas inspired a new type of auto insurance…and other tales of innovation”, you begin to get side tracked…..
The Disney Universe is a pretty elaborate one and one of the ways they keep it running is GIS. Some of the current job openings include is a civil engineering intern with a knowledge of GIS, several GIS and remote sensing related Animal Program internships, and many actual GIS related jobs around the U.S. with Disney. None of the jobs involve creating elaborate scavenger hunts on Disney property or Disney themed GPS equipment as far as I can tell…. but wouldn’t that be cool.
An article in the U.K. Dailymail covers current research about why people walk in circles when they get lost. Although I am sure that it was written with tongue in cheek about the usefulness of this type of study, the actual results are geospatial. According to a researcher quoted in the article, ‘People cannot walk in a straight line if they do not have absolute references, such as a tower or a mountain in the distance or the sun or moon, and often end up walking in circles.’ So true in making maps, so true in real life. The funniest thing about the article is the editorial comments section by people explaining situations in which they were lost.
TreeHugger has linked to a slideshow of what they consider the world’s most interesting subway maps. It provides a good visual history of the development of the subway map and its many incarnations and interpretations. Having lived in DC, I can agree with the statement that their map is easy to use but distances are deceptively farther away than they seem.
I just went to a great ESRI session on social & environmental sustainability where researchers in areas as diverse as homelessness and toxic waste, asked the age old question of cause and effect. The interesting part was that they sought to gain depth of knowledge using GIS. As the last speaker, Dr. bossard from San Jose said about his upcoming book, Envisioning Neighborhoods, deeper understanding of places leads to wisdom. Wisdom can add to quality of life.
Way back in 2005, Sue blogged about Dave Rumsey’s huge historical map collection . I just recently stumbled on his Google map that has started with about 120 maps from his collection. The site is a little bit like a Harry Potter book or a Russian nesting doll with maps within maps within maps. I haven’t had a chance to check out his Second Life maps but I’m off to do that now.
According to a BBC report, geospatial technologies have helped determine that The Great Wall of China is A LOT longer than previously thought. They state that, “Archaeologists had lobbied for the survey to be done to provide scholars with an accurate understanding of the construction. ” The wall is actually 8,850km (5,500 miles) not the 5,000 km commonly thought.