I haven’t highlighted a really good GIS project in awhile, so I thought I’d mention the Amazon GIS project, run by the Smithsonian Institution and other collaborators. They have spent years mapping the Amazon’s resources and have a number of Internet map services in conjunction with ESRI, World Wildlife Fund, the USGS, and Conservation International that cover data themes such as land cover, hydrology, elevation, satellite imagery, and parks. While they’re not the fanciest mapping applications, I really think it’s an important project that shows how GIS can be used in conservation. Also, they probably have the coolest GIS lab location – the Amazonia exhibit building at the National Zoo!
Dr. Steven Huffman has posted a series of maps of the world’s language families, based on Merritt Ruhlen’s “A Guide to the World’s Languages”, as a project using Global Mapping International’s (GMI) World Language Mapping System (WLMS). This is a commercial product which offers language data in GIS point and polygon format. A selected set of Dr. Huffman’s maps are available for download in PDF format, but the ArcGIS project files and other data will only work for users with a WLMS license. Still, if you’re a researcher who’s involved in language research, this might be something you want to check out.
Here’s an interesting site that shows the US broken down by religion. Unfortunately, the maps are all stand alone GIF files, one for each denomination. It would be interesting to see this on an interactive online map. Given that, the maps are pretty interesting to see.
Jesse’s note – Also check out the IMS based North American Religious Atlas hosted by the Polis Center at IUPUI
The Hive Group created this cool visualization of population facts for the world’s countries using 2004 CIA Factbook data. In addition to representing countries in a tree structure that can be organized by continent, area, population or density, there are also slider filters that let you zoom up and down the tree structure. Definitely worth checking out.
A couple of days ago, the Cartography blog linked to Dr. Robert Blakely’s site with over 40 amazing maps of the paleogeography of North America. As archaeologists in our previous lives, Jesse and I really thought they were just great, but I think anyone will appreciate these maps, so definitely check this site out.
BBC News provided an article on a project led be University of Leeds and University of Nottingham and 19 other organizations that seeks to map underground utilities in the UK. The goal is to create a 3D subsurface map to within 5cm that can be used on portable devices to support utility workers. I couldn’t find details, but there is fairly general information on the project on a couple pages if you would like to search, but the BBC article is a good overview.
OK, there are some really cool maps out there, but I don’t know how many could beat this: a nanoscale ‘map’ of the Americas, done by Paul Rothemund from the California Institute of Technology. He has invented a process he calls ‘DNA origami’ which uses strands of DNA to create 2-dimensional patterns, which he expalins in an article about his research on the Nature website. You definitely have to check this out.
Hugo at UNEP/GRID-Arendal was kind enough to share a press release on a project he is working with us. The focus of their center is to provide generally understandable representations of scientific information. Their new maps and graphics site is a clearinghouse of many of these representations that takes advantage of web mapping with some back-end GIS in addition to providing static graphics. Overall, this is a great resource and will probably be especially useful for the classroom.
Maps and Graphics at UNEP/GRID-Arendal
UNEP/GRID-Arendal Maps and Graphics library.
Ok, it’s a fluff piece, but it’s a cute fluff piece.