The UK Pensions Minister has proposed a plan that estimates life expectancy based on such as home location. In a BBC article, “Pensioners Could Get Life Expectancy Guidance” the Minister Steve Webb states that life expectancy planning based on data such as how long our grandparents lived is no longer a valid estimate tool. A review of articles in the BBC, Telegraph, The Mirror and The Guardian reveal that none of the articles mention aggregated spatial data, location based data, or give an indication of using classic spatial analysis, despite quotes such as ““My idea … is to say to somebody, ‘Look, someone of your generation, living in this part of the country, ……” Continue reading
The funniest quote from an article in the Fairbanks News-Miner about how “To Hunt Easter Eggs the modern way, Fairbanks students grab GPS” is “When students in Kuntz’s multi-grade class raised the idea of holding an Easter egg hunt with their buddies, fourth-grader Tanja Gens volunteered her mother, Anupma Prakash, to lead it. Prakash is a professor of Remote Sensing Geology and Geophysics at the University of Alaska Fairbanks.” The North Central Ohio Geocachers hosted a “Hunt Easter Eggs with GPS Units” event at The Crawford Park District. Danbury Park in Essex UK held a GPS Easter Egg Hunt for their Young Rangers.
Some towns are holding GPS Easter Egg Hunts for fun and to increase tourism. Many of these are more challenging than regular Easter Egg Hunts. They charge per team and require teams to bring their own handheld GPS unit. The town of Ninety Six held a GPS Easter Egg Hunt at Lake Greenwood State Park. The Vermillion River Reservation in Lorain County held one. The Northern Life Canada found that the Lake Laurentian Conservation Area combined “Easter Eggs, GPS, and Nature” into an Earth Day EGG-Stravaganza. Even REI Outdoor Outfitters held a class on Family Geocaching: Easter Egg Hunt.
One of the heralds of spring in our region is the arrival of the cherry blossoms in Washington D.C. In the past, it was difficult to time visits just right in time to see them in bloom. The Washington Post has made a crowd sourced map for Cherry Blossom Season 2014 all around the DC area.
The Washington Post make it easy to post geotagged #DCblooms photos via Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest. Phoebe Connelly, one of the map creators, created easy to follow instructions on “How to geotag Cherry Blossom Festival photos and videos on Twitter, Instagram“. A nice service that many media sites leave out of their crowd sourcing events, which makes crowd sourcing more accessible to the general population and useful as a collaborative learning tool.
The Technical Services Department at Casey Trees, a tree preservation non-profit in Washington D.C. created a “Mapping the Blossoms” tool which identifies each individual cherry tree in the D.C. Tidal Basin along with its background information who it was planted by and its geographic coordinates.
Japan’s National Tourism Site has a beautiful “The Bloom of Cherry Blossoms 2014” interactive map which combines usefulness with beautiful cartography. The most amazing Cherry Blossom Season map is Google Street View Guide to Japan: Sakura Edition.
The Xerces Society for Invertebrate Conservation is about more than just bumble bees and monarch butterflies, although these are popular citizen science mapping projects. A mind-blowing 94 percent of the more than one million species of animals in the world are invertebrates.
The Xerces Society do applied research projects to protect invertebrates ranging from how to effectively restore pollinator habitat on farms, biomonitoring of wetlands, and conserving endangered invertebrates. Established as a non-profit in 1971, the Xerces Society is working with over 40 years of data, much of it geospatial data. Their scientists and volunteers have been using GIS and mapping for many years. The Stable Isotope Project analyzes patterns of reproduction, emergence, and movement among migrant species of dragonfly at different latitudes. The Vermont Center for Ecostudies and the Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute compare the hydrogen isotope ratio in its wings to that of the water body where the insect was captured to map migratory distance.
Maps and Music are both powerful and together they can convey very complex emotions in a short span of time. The U.S. Library of Congress spent more than two years making “Songs of America“, a digital collection of over 80,000 curated recordings, sheet music, recordings and videos, interactive maps and more. Their goal is to explore America’s history through the prism of song. While the actual interactive maps that help navigate Songs of America are useful, it is the the illustrated song recordings where maps appear naturally in the context of American life and song using the Library of Congress collection that make a powerful combination.
The National Archives Blog, Transforming Classification: Blog of the Public Interest Declassification Board recently asked different listservs – “What records should the US Government prioritize for declassification?” They took suggestions from historians and the public in five categories: older records (25+ years), newer records (less than 25 years old), records relating to nuclear weapons policies (also called “FRD information”), records of general interest, and records from the various US Presidential Libraries. Continue reading
Meteorologists made the Style section of the The Washington Post today in the article, “What’s it like to be the voice of the Polar Vortex? These Weathermen Know” Giving meteorologists an introduction worthy of a movie trailer, Rachel Lubitz asks, “So, what is it like to be the voice of this polar vortex, bringing the grim news about temperatures that are flirting with — and in some cases breaking — record lows?” It is a good introduction into how broadcast meteorologists approach their jobs. But what does it take to be a broadcast meteorologist? Continue reading
As you shiver in the cold today during what The Weather Channel is predicting could be the coldest winter on record for decades in North America, reflect on the 1780 snowstorm that hit George Washington’s army at Jockey Hollow in Morristown, NJ, now a National Park that commemorates the Continental Army’s winter encampment (December 1779 – June 1780). Here the soldiers survived the tail end of what historians and paleoclimatologists dub, “the little ice age”. Continue reading
On December 26, 1917, President Woodrow Wilson nationalized the U.S railroads from 1917 – 1920 in response to the infrastructure demands of WWI. While it only lasted four years, the nationalization and standardization needed for the war effort led to innovations in railway infrastructure and planning. Railways have always been closely tied with advances in cartography, mapping, and infrastructure.
I like visiting the blog, i09: We come from THE FUTURE, for my daily dose of fun science and science fiction news. This headline, “Here’s the first look at Lego’s official Curiosity Rover Model” is how I found out about the cool Lego model created by an actual NASA Mechanical Engineer who worked on parts for the Curiosity Rover. It’s suitably accurate enough to use in any classroom because space engineers are serious about accuracy for spacecraft and LEGO spacecraft. What caught my eye was a reply post that started, “Hey, I work with the New Horizons team (Pluto 2015!), and we’re pretty jealous of the Curiosity and Hayabusa sets, so we asked one of our Lego-obsessed scientist friends to make a model of the New Horizons Spacecraft for us and submit it to Cuusoo too!” and asks readers to register at and support their LEGO New Horizons Model. Within that comment section were more discussions about the accuracy of the LEGO model and its remote sensing technology like, “The star trackers need to be a piece, or pair of pieces, with the telescopes pointing at 90 degrees relative to each other”. It’s this attention to scientific accuracy and detail that makes i09 a fun site to visit. Continue reading