More Geo…rgous Gifts

It seems like once you start looking geo gifts are everywhere. Here is a topology ring which “encircle the finger like hills and valleys circumnavigating the globe” also in the topography theme is a torquise ring which looks like “any given segment of a topographical map”. I don’t know how much they really resembe topography, but it shows that the idea of geography is romantic enough for jewelry. Maybe it conjures up images of travel. There is also a cool map of the U.S. made up of license plates from each state.

Ocean update: Walrus and Norsemen

Several articles in the BBC wrap up GIS related posts that were made earlier in this blog. The first is scientists tracking walrus migration using satellite tags. Over the past several months, the BBC has kept an on-line journal and map highlighting the adventures of scientists “in the wild”. The best quote is, “One year, we were in west Greenland trying to find walruses. We were amongst the ice-packs when the wind suddenly changed and we got stuck in the ice. We sat there for two weeks until the wind changed back, by which time we had to return back to port.”

Another type of migration taking place is the largest replica Viking ship is sailing to the British Isles from Norway. Unlike the original Vikings who navigated by the stars, the ship is using Satellite navigation equipment

Friendly Floaties

If you haven’t ever heard of this really fantastic story of the “friendly floaties” you need to check it out. Oceanographers have been tracking the bathtub toys for over fifteen years, using it to predict then prove many theories about currents. Wikipedia sums it up succinctly, “Seattle oceanographers Curtis Ebbesmeyer and James Ingraham, who were working on an ocean surface current model, began to track their progress. The mass release of 29,000 objects into the ocean at one time offered significant advantages over the standard method of releasing 500–1000 drift bottles. The recovery rate of objects from the Pacific Ocean is typically around 2%, so rather than the 10 to 20 recoveries typically seen with a drift bottle release, the two scientists expected numbers closer to 600. ” I found two kid’s books about the floating ducks (why not the turtles or the beaver?) One is written from a plastic ducks point of view called DUCKY by Eve Bunting. Another is written by an author I love called 10 LITTLE RUBBER DUCKS by Eric Carle, who also wrote The Very Hungry Caterpillar.

Now that’s advertising…

The UK Daily Mail is reporting on an advertisement that can only be seen from the air by passengers flying at Gatwick airport. It brings up many spatial rights and use issues since the town is fining the company that created it while they maintain, “We are operating quite within our rights. We produce adverts that are only visible by people in the air. If the council own the rights to the airspace then we would be happy to hear from them,” he said. Large companies like unilever have used the company to create similiar ads.


It took ten years and four universities to create some really cool 3D models of ancient Rome called Rome Reborn. It’s not just the 3D images that are fascinating but also the works in progress pictures they took of themselves during the project. It illustrates the detailed work involved in what many people think should be an instantaneous job.

Eat Local

The benefits of eating locally has been in the news lately. I decided to look up what I would have to do to eat locally. 100 mile diet uses google maps to give you a 100 mile local eating radius. It actually includes more places than I thought and redefines by limited definition of local. Hmmm, it makes eating locally look doable. Of course, I don’t live in Vancouver, that’s just their demonstration map.

The future of GIS technology

Inspired by an old Numb3rs episode on schools and rfid, I started to see what GIS related technologies are being used in schools. According to the BBC, a U.K. based company, Edexcel, has created technology to rfid tag exam papers. U.S. company, aptly named Graffiti Tracker inc. has created technology to track, analyze, and reduce graffiti. You can watch their case study. It has become almost routine for new school buses to come with GPS tracking. Student tracking is gaining momentum in schools. The increased use of technology in schools has caused controversy, some people argue that they aren’t cost effective or infringe on privacy rights. Others, like some bus drivers, believe technology will be used to justify lower salaries or hiring less employees. I wonder if kids who use GIS technologies so seamlesslly in everyday life, will be so tech savvy they will push technology to a higher level then anyone can imagine in highschool (even grade school) and later in life as working professionals.

Angelina Jolie and Geographic Tattoos

It’s all over the tabloid news. Angelina Jolie showing off her new tattoos – geographical map coordinates of her children’s country of birth. Does anyone want to check that they are correct? What is funny is the amount of bloggers and journalists asking “what do they mean” and “the secret of angelina’s tattoos revealed”. She’s a walking geography lesson.