Why OpenStreet Map Matters

I really liked this essay by Serge Wroclawski on why OpenStreet Map matters, which I found through the Gizmodo reprint. To be honest it doesn’t exactly say anything ground breaking for geographers, but it does so in a nice, concise presentation that anyone who isn’t a geographer can follow. The punchline of the piece is that OpenStreet maps matters because no one company should own/control ‘place’. Serge uses the analogy of time standardization from the 19th century to get the point across. It’s a neat idea and one I think we can adopt more fully when trying to explain some of these critical issues to the non-geographers in our lives.

A Very Spatial Road Trip: Across the US – Pre-planning

AVSRT_Photo

Howdy everyone!  We’re beginning the hard planning push for A Very Spatial Road Trip: Across the US!  Barb and I are excited to take our road trip across the US on our way to the ESRI User’s Conference.  We’ve got our big virtual paper map with our big virtual ‘paper’ pins and we’re ready to stick’em in the board.  We’ll be taking videos, photos, and journal logs along the way and updating the road trip as we go so you can chart our progress.  We’ll want to hit exciting and interesting stops along the way and we want you, dear listeners/readers, to give us suggestions.  We’ve already been invited to visit a GIS shop in Oklahoma City!  If you have any good ideas for places we should see, whether it be a natural wonder, a local point of interest, a decent bar-bq joint (shhhh!  don’t tell Barb, but the sub-subtitle to our journey is a Bar-BQ Bash Across America) or your GIS shop, then either email me at frank@veryspatial.com or post a comment to any posts titled: A Very Spatial Road Trip.

We’re off in just under a month, so get those suggestions in.  We look forward to seeing you America!

Image courtesy of the Library of Congress Photo Collection

John Snow Meme

I humbly submit to the geography faithful these two memes I just created

cholera-is-coming

you-know-nothing-john-snow

EDITED:

One of our readers, Catholicgauze as he likes to be called, has crafted this in response. Bravo!

snow 2

Let’s keep the ball rolling everyone! 🙂

Moon’s Gravity Mapped To The Micron

Gizmodo has a really cool article about NASA’s attempts to map the moon’s odd gravity down to the micron. Two orbiters around the moon are part of the GRAIL program have been tasked with measuring the moon’s micro gravity in an attempt to understand the moon’s interior structure. The two orbiters have been collecting data since New Year’s day, 2012, so they’re about to hit their one year mark (and thus potentially get to sign up for medical insurance 🙂 …. is this thing on?) One of the neater aspects of this program is that the orbiters are fitted with remote cameras. Middle school kids actually get to control the cameras remotely for science projects at school. It’s all part of NASA’s MoonKAM (Moon Knowledge Acquired by Middle school students). Man, I wish there had been stuff like this when I was in middle school….

Why Red States Are Red And Blue States Are Blue

Has anyone else given this a lot of thought? Why does red = Republican and blue = Democrat in the US? Would it surprise you to find out that convention really didn’t fully catch on until as late as 2000? I can remember as a kid seeing a sea of blue on TV when Reagan got elected in 1980. Then I remember seeing a sea of red when he won again in 1984 with 49 of the 50 states and it kinda confused me. Well my confusion has been cleared thanks to this wonderful article by The Smithsonian. Take a few minutes and read all about the history of this cartographic phenomena in US political mapping. I personally really enjoy the side stories for the ‘why’ that are easily debunked. It makes for fun reading!

Also – if you’re eligible to vote in the US, go out and vote!

Sandy Explained

NASA has given a great explanation of how and why Sandy behaved the way it did. Score several for remote sensing, climate science, and meteorology!

Via Gizmodo

Google Adds Amber Alerts to Maps and Search Results

Google has started adding Amber Alerts to its map and search results. They’re doing this through a partnership with the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children. Basically, they’re combining the local search information with NCMEC’s Amber Alert system. It should include any descriptive information and how to contact the system if you happen to know anything about the missing child.

It’s good to see companies using their technology to help communities and I hope other companies help these efforts in any way possible.

Scientists Convicted of Manslaughter for Failing To Predict Earthquake

We’ve been following this news item for some time, and I have to say I, for one, never dreamed these scientists would be convicted. An Italian judge has decided six scientists and one government official are criminally negligent for failing to predict the L’Aquila earthquake. They face up to 6 years in jail for their actions. The judge was quick to point out the verdict isn’t based so much on the lack of prediction as their failure to adequate phrase their warnings in a sufficiently alarming way. It isn’t too much of a stretch to say this is going to have a drastically chilling impact on scientific reporting, particularly in Italy. I’d like to say something hopeful out of this, but frankly it is all quit too depressing.

Clever Google Maps Manipulations by Christoph Niemann

The Path to Rebates

Anyone who spends more than an hour around me knows I like clever word manipulations. Yep, I find them punny. Christoph Niemann has just taken this to a whole new level with Clever Google Maps Manipulations. Some of them are funny (like My Way or the Highway) and some of them are pretty nifty visual illusions. I personally like the one above best as I’ve gotten HORRIBLY lost on Mail-In Rebate Way on more than one occasion. Either way, they’re a good reminder that maps can be as much art as information.