There is an article in CNN today about Brian May from Queen. “He gave up his PHD studies in interplanetary dust to help form Queen but now, almost four decades on, he has come full circle to co-write “Bang! The Complete History of the Universe” with astronomers Patrick Moore and Chris Lintott. “To me it is a spiritual force in my life,” May told Reuters at the book’s London launch.” I can’t find it on Amazon yet but will put up a link as soon as I do. I found a link to his old school papers too.
While doing research for something else I ran across some interesting sites that compare different countries. The first is Nationmaster which is “a massive central data source and a handy way to graphically compare nations.” They want to be “the web’s one-stop resource for country statistics on everything from soldiers to wall plug voltages” There is also the world values survey which includes a map of survival versus well-being. Also interesting is the Condor Project out of UW-Madison in which “The National Science Foundation (NSF) and the Department of Energy’s (DOE) Office of Science fund program to operate and expand upon the two-year-old national grid. This project collectively taps into the power of thousands of processors distributed across more than 30 participating universities and federal research laboratories. If you want to participate they have maps of all the Condor sites, which needs some help by their own humorous admission “Is the plotting accurate? Why do some points fall in the ocean? Condor pools tend to clump together. It we plotted them accurately, you wouldn’t be able to see much. So, we line up the squares in a grid so that they can be seen and counted Due to the grid structure, some squares are significantly out of position, and some, such as Miami, fall in the ocean. Our map data has several significant omissions. For example, Ireland appears to be missing.” Also funny is Wanda Wanders blog in which “she” critiques a metro map for Copenhagen. Wanda writes about sustainability and city planning on her travels.
This is an old but fun flash map of the United States that gives you a timed test to fill in the map. Its a little touchy how you drag and drop things but really fun. It was at the Pasadena IBM Users Group site. For more fun kids geography games you can also go to the U.N. kids site, Cyberschoolbus to see Daily Live and on-demand webcast of UN meetings, conferences and events or basic tools to compare country data. There is also a cartoon about the rights of workers because one day every kid will grow up to be one. The CIA kids site has a suprisingly difficult geography quiz site for young agents in training.
I was looking up information about state parks for wv and found that they are participating in geocaching. I am sure other state parks are doing this as well. What a wonderful family vacation/weekend activity or day activity if your close by. They have a link to the offical geocaching community site if you want to look up more information for your area. Fun, Adventure, Mystery, Hiking, Technology… what more could you want in a family trip. Just watch where you dig.
Finally, a home decorating use for plotters. This cool tool, The Rasterbator lets you create huge rasterized images from any picture. They give some great examples including some great uses for maps. You can also look at Crafster, a craft related forum for other ways people have used giant rasters to decorate their homes.
According to CNN, the Comair flight was using an older map of the airport when it crashed. It was a tragic and unfortunate accident which highlights the many issues involved in mapping/geography including the many hands that information must pass through, the cost of updating information etc., how to access information etc. No one knows yet why there was not an updated map.
In an ironic coincidence to Jesse’s post about BMW’s navsat system, the UK Daily Mail had an article about a study that showed the pitfalls of some current systems, the gist of which is there is no substitute for common sense and the systems are only as good as accessible information provided. Another reason why content is king.
In honor of the start of the new school year, I found out that there is a boyscout merit badge related to GIS called the Surveying Merit Badge. Part of the requirements ask boyscouts to explain what GPS and other surveying technologies,surveying careers, the importance of GPS and how it is changing the field of surveying. There isn’t a specific badge for GIS, but Indiana has asked its GIS members to act as mentors to help Boyscouts get badges related to GIS such as computers, geology, engineering, and environmental science.
Way to go! Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts, 4H’ers and all other students learning about GIS and Mapping and the people who help them get their badges!
Pluto has been downgraded to a dwarf planet by The International Atronomical Union (IAU) comprised of 2,500 astronomers from 75 countries according to Planetary Society. You can see a map of it here at but it’s funny to watch the Colbert Report on Comedy Central This is probably the most people have talked about the planets in a long time. Is it a cagey move like New Coke and they are going to quietly make Pluto a planet again in a few years.
Crop circles might be made by aliens (or creative people with long boards) but they are documented using GIS. Some crop circle sightings on the web include a firefox crop circle at Google Earth Blog. And at the crop circle connector site you can get all the news and field reports you need. They are developing a worldwide crop circle database with professional-level GIS mapping capability in order to standardize crop circle report information. They hope Ã¢â‚¬Å“This research center will also serve as a depository of information collected on historical sites, scientific reports, photos, previous field reports, the researcher directory, and links to further crop circle resources.Ã¢â‚¬? All interested researchers are invited to Ã¢â‚¬Å“locate, study, document, and share information about crop circle formations, regardless of each individuals personal hypothesis regarding the source cause of the authentic crop circle phenomenon, or their affiliations with any organizations.Ã¢â‚¬?