NASA has just unveiled a new skin for it’s Science website. The site is serves as the public face for all the nifty scientific stuff done down at NASA central. I have to say the thing look pretty spiffy. There’s lots of useful links right off the front page, including a section for kids and for ‘Citizen Scientists’. I might start adding that title to my name… Frank, Citizen Scientist!
KidsGIS is a cool project from a group of professionals and educators out in Oregon, who have been using MapGuide Open Source tools to create an open source geospatial portal as a tool for educating kids about environmental issues and about using open source software and open data standards. The project has an impressive group of sponsors, including the Open Source Geospatial Foundation, Autodesk, the San Diego Visualization and Supercomputer Centers, URISA, local governments and schools, and private companies such as Spatial Integrators and SPATIALinfo. They’ve been working on the project since 2005, I believe, and now have a protoype up and running, using data from a project where students collected their own data from a study area along the Willamette River and its tributaries. The plans are to improve and expand the functionality of the prototype GIS applications as they move into the next phases of the project.
I really like seeing project like this that really bring together a lot of partners in education, government and industry, and promote important initiatives, like better understanding of the environment. Plus, exposing kids to open source software and letting them participate in building the tools they are using is a great educational tool in itself. So, when you get a chance, check out the KidsGIS project and see what they’re up to, or even think about how you might be able to start a project like that in your own area!
Our reader Ed found another gem in Kardi Teknomo’s Tutorials Dr. Teknomo is a research fellow at Human Centered Mobility Technologies at Arsenal Research, Austria. He has an amazing research and publication background in GIS, statistical modelling and simulation, and other topics too numerous to mention. To share some of his amazing knowledge, he has created intro tutorials on topics ranging from statistical analyses like Kernel Regression and K-Means Clustering, to Monte Carlo simulation, to GIS. And that’s just for starters. Really, you just have to check it out for yourself. I know there’s about a dozen of them I’m going to go through.
The New York Times Books section features an interesting discussion about a book entitled, The Age of American Unreason by Susan Jacoby. The thrust of the book is that current American attitudes downplay the importance of education and intellectualism. The interesting part of this is she overwhelmingly uses geographic examples as proof of her thesis. In the last year or so, there certainly have been a string of high profile instances of people on TV with depressingly poor knowledge of geography. I’m just rather curious when geographic knowledge became a form of shorthand for intellectualism or lack there of? We’ve certainly covered the issue quite a bit in the past, but I find it interesting how persuasive it has become in other circles as well.
Are you participating in the The Great Backyard Bird Count this weekend? Led by the Cornell Lab of Ornithology and National Audubon Society, with sponsorship from Wild Birds Unlimited citizen scientists of all ages from around North America count the birds in their community to better understand bird dynamics, population change, weather,… Besides the cute pictures, the coolest part is the map room which lets you create a map of your state, region, favorite bird. It’s amazing that 15 minutes observation per person over four days provided so much information. If you need help the USGS and Birding.com provide bird identification websites with birdsongs. Bird Watching — What a great way to get people interested and involved in geography!
The Library of Congress is going Web 2.0 by making some of its photo collections available online at Flickr. This is a really cool project that not only allows users to see these amazing photos, but the LOC is also hoping that the Flickr community can help them out by tagging, commenting, and even provide captions or notes for photos that may be missing this information. Flickr is also promoting this project and perhaps others by creating a new publication model called The Commons for publicly held photographic collections. The hope is that other institutions will join in the effort and add their photos. What an amazing resource this has the potential to become!
There are over 3000 photos already up in the LOC’s Flickr collection, including several series of photos from the 1940s and the 1910s. These photos are an amazing visual historical record that document the landscapes, lives, and events of American history from the local to national and events, and if you have some time you should definitely check them out and maybe even add your own tags and comments. And, if you know of any public photo collections that you would like to see online, spread the word about this project!
The BBC is reporting that NASA has put out a Request For Information for any groups or agencies who might want o create a NASA MMORPG. The idea is to create a virtual world that simulates science experiments that students can explore. Hopefully whoever gets to make the final products will include a significant geospatial portion. Look for Very Spatial to follow this fairly closely in the coming months, as it dovetails nicely in Jesse, Sue, and I’s research interests!
Attention college faculty, you may be interested in the following announcement:
The Integrated Geospatial Education Technology and Training (iGETT) project offers two-year college faculty professional development opportunities that will enhance existing Geographic Information Systems (GIS) programs by integrating remote sensing and Global Positioning System (GPS) data in ways that support workforce needs. iGETT focuses on moderate-resolution (30 m, 250 m), readily available federal land remote sensing data, such as that from Landsat, MODIS, and ASTER sensors. Topical applications include: forestry, agriculture, disaster management, natural resources management, and urban planning. Faculty who currently teach GIS at two-year colleges located in the United States are eligible to participate in iGETT.
APPLICATIONS ARE DUE BY: FEBRUARY 15, 2008
Letters of acceptance will be mailed by March 15, 2008.
Apply on line at http://igett.delmar.edu
Want to support Service at Sea? Want to visit Mexico? Anyone who donates to Service at Sea between February 2007 and January 31, 2008 will be entered for a chance to win a trip to Mexico. You get one entry for any donation up to $50 and an additional entry for every $50 after that (eg. $200 = 4 entries).
Even if you aren’t up for Mexico, this is still a great project that is definitely worth the support if you can afford it.
The folks over at Geospatial Training Services have focused their last couple blog posts on their GeoChalkboard blog on Arc2Earth. The most recent was spurred on by James’ post from April titled “The Day ArcIMS Died” and focuses on rolling out web content with Arc2Earth, the other from last week looks at using Arc2Earth to create extruded data in Google Earth. You have to love free tutorials.