Spatial Humanities SIG at the ESRIUC

Since the AAG/UVA sponsored Geography and the Humanities session back in 2007 there has been an ever growing conversation about the use of spatial technologies in the humanities. UVA’s Scholars’ Lab Institute for Enabling Geospatial Scholarship which has taken place over the last few months, including a round earlier this week, is an example of an open event that focuses on these discussions. There have been a few other small group workshops over the last year or so as well, that are yielding papers and books like the upcoming Spatial Humanities book.

With the ESRI International User Conference just around the corner in July, it seems like a good time to try to pull together those folks who will be in San Diego who has an interest in Spatial Humanities. We have a Spatial Humanities special interest group meeting scheduled for Tuesday July 13 at 5:30 in Room 30D of the SDCC. We currently have one of the co-editors of the Spatial Humanities book who is going to talk about what they came up with and talk about in the text. Then there will be lots of time to break up and talk about some specifics. We look forward to seeing all of the folks who are interested in the intersection of GIS and the humanities at the meeting. Keep in mind that if you are sticking around to the end of the EdUC on Tuesday you should come by.

AVSP Live! 5th Anniversary edition

With the ESRI International User Conference agenda available some folks may be picking through sessions and planning out their very busy week in July. We just wanted to take a moment to suggest that you put our 5th anniversary live show on your calendar for the week. We will be meeting in Room 30E of the SDCC on Wednesday, 14 July at 5:30 PM to discuss the UC, geospatial data, and the continuing changes in the mobile world. We plan to have some great guests for the live show, but we are still too far out to have final thumbs confirmation from our guests…so you just have to wait to find out who we will have on the mic with us. It really has been handy for ESRI to shift the UC to match our anniversary the last couple of years.

We will also have door prizes this year and will be announcing the winner of our 5th anniversary contest during the live show (more details on the contest this weekend)…AND we will have some sort of edibles there that will at least match last years cupcakes.

We hope to see you there!

Com.Geo program available

In case you wondering what was going to be taking place next month at COM.Geo in Washington DC, the program is now available. It looks like a fairly interesting and diverse program that covers a lot of the current issues from a mixed perspective that seems to capture academic, industry, government, and NGO work.

You should take a look to see if it might be a good conference for you.

PlaceCamp and call for organizers

I would like to announce a plan, or at least the idea of a plan, for the upcoming ESRI International User Conference and beyond…PlaceCamp. PlaceCamp is intended to be a way to get people talking about how we can use geospatial data and technologies and Geography concepts in the humanities in an unconference-y environment. There have been a few articles, books, and conferences that touch on the topic, but they often stop short of the putting heads together stage of bringing people and ideas together and moving them forward. Since Sue and I are coauthors with our advisor on a chapter in the upcoming Spatial Humanities text, I thought it was time to get into the trenches with some of the ideas that kicked off the workshop which led to the book (and the series that will build from it).

PlaceCampMini (aka the Spatial Humanities SIG at the ESRIUC) will be Tuesday 13 July from 5:30 to 7:00 at the San Diego Convention Center and will vary in format depending on the interest and attendance. Since most barCamp events happen over a day or two, I since this initial foray as a planning session where people can meet, share ideas, and kick off collaborations. If we get a small group in attendance then we will go panel style, if we have 20 or more then we will do the ‘break into topical groups’ approach. Before we make too many plans however, I would like to extend an invitation to anyone who is interested in being part of an organizing committee for PlaceCampMini. If you are interested please contact me at jesse at veryspatial dot com.

Beyond San Diego, there are also the initial plans for a PlaceCamp on the east coast in the coming months that will be a full day (or two) affair, so let me know if you are interested in sharing the organizing load, have an ideal location (currently thinking Raleigh, Charlotte, Wilmington or Myrtle Beach for my own convenience), or would like to be a PlaceCamp sponsor.

Just a heads-up, if the idea of PlaceCamp is grabbing your attention you may want to check out THATcamp as well.

Celebrate Earth Day – Enjoy Great Images of Our Earth!

As I sit here STILL trying to fight off whatever cold/flu combo I brought back from AAG, I thought I would point out some great galleries of imagery of our Earth, from both government EO programs like NASA to private firms like GeoEye. Browsing through these galleries of amazing images of the Earth is a good reminder of why we observe Earth Day in the first place…

GeoEye High Resolution Image Gallery

NASA Earth Observatory


ESA Multimedia Gallery

DigitalGlobe’s Earth Day 2010 Flickr gallery

SIC Corp (Imagery reseller) Gallery

There are lots of other great sources of awesome Earth Observation imagery out there, so see what else you can find!

AAG 2010 – Where we were

That is it for the VerySpatial crew for the 2010 AAG in Washington, DC. Posters were stood beside, papers were presented, panels were discussed, and podcasts were recorded. We walked away with the fewest podcasts of any AAG, so if we missed you and you would like to talk about your presentation, topic, or product then contact us and we can plan a phone conversation.

We hope that those of you still in DC enjoy the rest of the conference. See you next year in Seattle.

AAG 2010 – Where we will be

Howdy! We will be traveling and conferencing over the next few days in Washington, DC at the annual meeting of the Association of American Geographers. If you will be there presenting or just hanging out grab us and say ‘hello’, or better yet grab us and tell us (and our microphones) what you are doing at the conference. As for us, this is where we will be presenting during the week. Click the title below to get location and time details.

Jesse – 12:40 Poster Session – It’s OK to play with your data: Exploring local data to find new questions
Barbara – 12:40 Paper Session – Geography, Geovisualization, and the New “New Journalism”
Sue – 2:40 Poster Session – It’s All About the Journey: the role of spatial narrative in the experience of immersive virtual world simulations

Jesse, Jeff Dunn, Frank, Sue and YOU – 8AM Panel Session – Digital Media and Learning in Geography
Frank – 12:40 Paper Session – A geography of taste: fair trade coffee and spatialized tag clouds

Inventor of Rubik’s Cube to appear at USA Science and Engineering Festival

You may remember that we’ve mentioned the USA Science and Engineering Festival, which will be held in October in Washington, DC. It is a great idea to celebrate science and engineering, and raise awareness of the importance of STEM education here in the US. There’s already a great lineup of universities, public agencies and private firms participating, and I’m hoping that there will be a strong showing from the Geography, GIS and geospatial community. So far, though, the long list of prestigious participants, like NOAA, NASA, Microsoft, Lockheed Martin, the American Museum of Natural History, UC Berkeley, etc. doesn’t include any of the big players in the geospatial community, even though STEM education will be crucial in training the next generation of workers for the geospatial industry. Still, there’s plenty of time to get involved!

As part of the festivities, there will be a You CAN do the Rubik’s Cube Tournament, with cash prizes and lots of fun for all! The tournament is only open to youth organizations in the Greater Washington, DC area, but the inventor of the Rubik’s Cube, Dr. Erno Rubik, will actually be at the Science and Engineering Festival to meet the winners.

There are tons of other events planned for the Festival, culminating in the USA Science and Engineering Festival Expo on the National Mall on October 23 and 24th. So, if you can get to DC, you definitely have to check out the festival, because it’s shaping up to be a pretty amazing event!

Come one, come all

Ladies, gentlemen, and children of all ages, we would like to invite you to attend a session at the AAG in Washington, DC next Friday (April 16) at 8AM (if you are attending the conference of course). The panel session is entitled Digital Media and Learning in Geography (abstract below) and it will take place in Marriott Ballroom Salon 3, Marriott Lobby Level. The panel participants will be Jeff Dunn, Frank Lafone, Sue Bergeron, Jesse Rouse, and you (I mean a panel is just a reason to talk to other people about a topic we are interested after all). We will spend the first 20-25 minutes of the panel giving you a glimpse at some of the aspects of general DML conversations and how Geography can take advantage of everything from New Media to social networks, 3D games to our very own LBS, followed by a general discussion amongst those interested in sharing their questions and experiences.

We hope to see you there!

Digital Media and Learning in Geography
The concept of digital media and learning (DML) emerged in the last few years to try to characterize the broad range of digital resources that are being used in formal and informal education. From video games to online social media, the use of digital media is no longer a question of digital divide, but one of how do I keep up. As educators interact with their audience of ‘digital natives’ the preparation that equipped them for brick and mortar settings often leaves them ill prepared for the expectations of many of their tech-savvy students. The question of how to incorporate the digital technologies that our students are now expecting into their education leaves many an educator shell-shocked. Fortunately, in Geography and related disciplines, we can approach the issue with a full arsenal of digital technologies from GIS to GPS to web maps and virtual globes. We even have ready access to presentation technologies through New Media technologies such as blogs, podcasts, YouTube, Facebook, and Twitter. However, there seems to be some question as to how to incorporate these technologies, whether spatial or presentation, outside of the traditional classroom and lab experience to provide broader access to formal education, let alone the potential for external informal audience. This panel will focus on the wealth of DML technologies geographers have access to and how they can be used to educate a new generation of learners, whether in or out of the classroom.