The Foliage Network is a site that uses citizen scientists or foliage watchers to give them up to date reports on autumn leaves throught the U.S. and sends it to newspapers, television stations, and web sites. Highlighting the importance of participatory GIS is the fact that they can’t report on Delaware, Minnesota and Rhode Island because they don’t have any volunteers from those states. Anyone have any thing to report on how the fall leaves look there? Other countries that have fall foliage tours include the U.K., Transylvania, and Canada among others.
The United States Department of Agriculture Foreign Agriculture Service in partnership with NASA has a Crop Explorer mapping global food supply by region. It can be searched by region or commodity. One of the things I found most interesting was the visitor’s map which shows where people who visit the site are logging in from by date and country location.
I was looking up some old movies online and found tons of fun information on movies and their associated landmarks or states. Rotten Tomatoes has a fun “50 Movies for 50 States” U.S. map. It has some obvious ones like Kansas and the Wizard of Oz or Oklahoma and Oklahoma! but also many that you go “That’s right” when you click on them. I found that there are other people such as Scott Myers at NC-Chapel Hill and Matt Soergel of the Florida Times who have made their own lists. WebUrbanist has a creepy list of abandoned places used in movies, just in time for Halloween.
ABC News has a revisited the story of escape maps and tools hidden inside Monopoly games during WWII. According to the article, “The British secret service conspired with the U.K. manufacturer to stuff a compass, small metal tools, such as files, and, most importantly, a map, into cut-out compartments in the Monopoly board itself.” A very cute story about what happened to RAF escape maps after WWII is a picture in the book, “To The End Of The Earth” by Jeremy Hardwood, which shows women in 1945 buying a maps as scarves. A more in-depth story is in the book “The Game Makers: The Story of Parker Brothers, from Tiddledy Winks to Trivial Pursuit”. The Ebay U.K. site has many silk-printed escape maps for sale on their website.
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.