Geography Jokes

Something that I’ve wanted to post for a while is Reader’s Digests 50 jokes for 50 states competition. You can be entered in a chance to win $1,500 for a funny but family friendly joke about your state. According to their introductory paragragh, jokes show “the U.S.A. is one big, happy dysfunctional family” It might be great fun for family reunion to come up with jokes (or maybe not). According to a 2002 scientific study the funniest joke in the world was a hunting joke seen here. In case you were wondering there IS a geography joke site which includes funnys such as: Q:What do an astrologist and a cartographer have in common? A:They both specialise in projections.

Coronation View

If you are a fan of Coronation Street, the award winning Manchester soap opera, then you will love Google Street Views new view of The Street. I imagine since it has been running since 1960 it will feel very familiar to many people. I went lookingn to see what other famous fictional street views I could find. Althogh I did find Digg’s Total Film 25 Famous Movie Locations on Google Street View, I didn’t find Sesame Street or any soap opera towns like Salem. Maybe I should try to look for Smallville?

DARPA Network Challenge

The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) today announced the DARPA Network Challenge to mark the 40th anniversary of the Internet. The competition requires participants to discover the exact position of 10 large, red weather balloons that DARPA will place in undisclosed locations across the continental United States. The first person to identify the location of all the balloons will win a $40,000 cash prize. The balloons will be positioned on December 5, 2009.

As straight as the pigeon flys…

The U.K. Daily Mail must have a geographer on staff because they always have interesting geospatial related stories. They recently have an article about a white water rafting company in Colorado that is using a “pigeon express” to deliver memory cards to the their home base. According to the article, Rocky Mountain Adventures found that trained pigeons were the quickest way cover the 30 miles to Fort Collins to get pictures developed before rafters got back to town. They follow in the great tradition of other homing pigeons such as Cher Ami, who during WWI flew 12 critical missions and was presented with the French Croix de guerre. The American Racing Pigeon Union (Homing Pigeons) which has been active in several forms since 1872 is still going strong today. All registered pigeons have a GPS chip on its leg band and electronic monitors, landing pad scans, and software keep track of race times and competitions.

UK Crime Maps

Whenever anyone creates a crime map for an area, it always seems to raise the same questions about house values, safety, etc. According to the UK Daily Mail, The Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) believe a new interactive crime map could seriously hurt home values. The National Policing Improvement Agency provides information on crime and antisocial behaviour in England and Wales. The UK Home Office offers a crime mapping tool allows users to create maps showing counts and rates of crime at local authority level for England and Wales. What is especially interesting is that they ask users to provide feed-back of experience using the tools. The BBC has its own crime statistics map in its The Truth About Crime section. The U.S. National Institute of Justice has a good overview of crime mapping including reviews of a book titled, “Mapping Crime: Principle and Practice”

White Horse Revival

According to the Daily Mail, the famous Alton Barnes white horse landmark is being restored with 150 tons of chalk. It was last refreshed 25 years ago. A recent story in the Telegraph states that an older landmark, Osmington White Horse, was damaged by a 1989 attempt to refresh it as part of a television challenge involving teams of Scouts. I wonder if geospatial technologies have improved our ability to identify and possibly repair megalithic and similar sites.

Autumn and GIS

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.

USDA Crop Explorer

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.