AAG New Media session recap

I am a bit behind in posting a roundup of the New Media session from the AAG, but we had great participants, a good (if small) audience, and a terrible time (supper time). The line up was:

Sue Vajoczki – McMaster University
Adena Schutzberg – Penn State and Directions Magazine
Sue Bergeron – WVU and VerySpatial
Katie Pritchard – Virginia Tech and the Plaid Avenger Plaidcast
John Boyer – Virginia Tech and the Plaid Avenger Plaidcast
Jesse Rouse – WVU and VerySpatial

(unfortunately Patrick was stuck in NC)

The session focused on the intersection of New Media and education. Sue V. started us off with a discussion of how New Media are being adopted and implemented at McMaster. It seems like a great approach which has received support from faculty, students, and administrators. They will be releasing their findings in an upcoming report (I will link to it once it is available). Adena spoke about the role of online ed technologies, moving from the brick and mortar to the online campus. John and Katie spoke about how an external podcast can invigorate student learning and how New Media offers an immediacy that a textbook can never parallel. The discussion went on for a couple of hours and Sue B. and I kicked in the ideas that you have heard so often from us on the podcast. Unfortunately, I was out of it enough that even though I had 2 records set up, I forgot to turn either of them on…oops.

Plans have already begun for the fourth New Media session that will probably turn more toward the MacArthur Foundation’s idea of Digital Media and Learning (DML), and I will put out the call for participants in the fall.

A true armchair traveler

I found the CNN news story about a Lonely Planet writer who wrote about Brazil, Colombia, the Caribbean, Venezuela, Chile and South America possibly without ever leaving San Francisco fascinating. Although it harkens back to the 1700 -1900’s when some travel writers wrote completely inaccurate travel guides about countries they had never seen, technology has made it possible to be more “spot on” without ever leaving home. I wonder if someone could write a travel guide using nothing but something like Google Earth as a reference. I wonder how accurate it would be? In case you want to be a travel writer there are actually programs out there such as the Nottingham Trent Centre for Travel Writing Studies

Our Tuesday presentation at AAG

For those of you in Boston, Sue and I are coauthors (though I left off our names when I submitted it) with Trevor Harris in the session “The Participatory Geoweb” at 4:20 this afternoon. It is pretty much an extension of our book chapter from last year. Later this week Sue and I both present at 10:00 on Friday in our respective paper competitions and of course late Thursday afternoon is the New Media Panel. Hope to see you there.

Library of Congress Experience Goes Live

The Library of Congress has just released a new feature called the Library of Congress Experience. The idea is to place digital collections of some of the Library’s original works online to allow the public a way to interact with the information. The Experience starts rather small, but it is noteworthy that they decided to include a heavy geographic Experience from the onset. Check out “Exploring the Early Americas”, which features “…the Library’s 1507 Waldseemüller map [the first to use the name “America”] with the cartographer’s 1516 Carta Marina in an interactive display enabling you to explore both maps and the knowledge they embody…”

Nonprime Mortgage Maps

As geographers, I know everyone out there is thinking, “I get the the home buying industry in the US is imploding like a black hole, but I still am having trouble understanding what’s going on.” Fear not dear reader, the wonderful people at the Federal Reserve have given us – Dynamic Maps of Nonprime Mortgage Conditions in the United States! Now you can browse the mortgage meltdown in map form. All of the maps are color ramps with a few layers of reference data to help you find your way. You can search by zip code as well. My only issue with the maps themselves lies with the fact that it’s hard to see a lot of the graduations in the ramps, especially for themes with lower absolute numbers.

The Geography of a Garbage Island

Recently massive plastic patches such as the one in the North Pacific Gyre, which is estimated to weigh over 3 million tons and covers an area twice the size of Texas, have gained international attention. According to researchers, this happens due to a clockwise trade wind that encircles the Pacific Rim. Today has a good video which describes it. VSB has a science lesson plan which explains ocean currents by using the floating rubber duckies we blogged about last year.

The 23nd International Conference on Solid Waste Technology and Management

I just came back from the The 23nd International Conference on Solid Waste Technology and Management at Widener University in Philadelphia. I presented with the Monongalia County Solid Waste Authority from WV and people from all over the world sang “Country Roads” to us. What is Solid Waste you ask? and What does it have to with anything spatial? For the purposes of the conference solid waste was very broadly defined from municiple solid waste (trash,recycling…), industrial (waste from manufacturing processes,Mining and mineral wastes…), specialized (agriculture…), facility siting and regulations, geotechnical topics, EU directives and much more. Spatial analysis is a very important component of solid waste management. I talked with the MASA group based in France which developed a waste management optimization tool for route analysis. They said that most places still design their collection routes by hand which works suprisingly well considering, some have begun to use GIS which has helped tremendousy. However, they (obviously since its what they sell) believe that an optimization tool that takes into account turns/single/doubleside collection…) with a GIS component (ESRI) can reduce the environmental impact and increase efficiency. they had also attended the ESRI conference in Switzerland. Other presentations focused on GIS and natural resources, spatial based selection of anaerobic digestion feedstock in California, Application of remote sensing and GIS techniques for disposal of wastes in India and other equally fascinating topics. You might be working in solid waste technology and management and not even realize it. I hope to see you at this conference next year.

Anyone up for an AAG geoblogger meetup

With the AAG only a couple of weeks away I was wondering if anyone was up for a meetup. Whether you are a geoblogger or someone who likes to follow the blogs let me know if you are interested. If there are at least a few folks interested then I will try to find a place to get together. The New Media panel session will be on Thursday April 17 at 5:20 so I would suggest Thursday evening around 8:00.

If you are interested then leave a comment, email Sue or me, or Skype me.