The Globe and Mail has an interesting article on the new cartography aka neogeography. You might want to head over and check it out.
I love cool projects that really show science at work, especially when they include education for kids and the general public, and the Lost Ladybug Project is one that I really like. It seems that researchers noticed that native species of ladybugs are disappearing (largely being replaced by Asian ladybugs that were introduced into North America by the USDA to combat crop pests) and nobody knows for sure what happened to them. Especially of interest is a species known as C-9 (for its nine spots), which used to be so common that it was made the state insect of New York in 1989. Unfortunately, there hadn’t really been a confirmed sighting of C. 9 ladybugs since the 1970s and a survey in 1992 could not find a single one. However, one of the big problems with field surveys is that there is always too much ground to cover and not enough people, so entomologists at Cornell University came up with the idea of the Lost Ladybug Project, which is being supported by a large grant from the NSF. Basically, the idea is to get as many people out there looking for ladybugs, and documenting the specimens they find with pictures, which are then uploaded to the Lost Ladybug website. Anyone can help, and you can get all the particulars here
(There is a simple Google Maps mashup showing the locations of some of the ladybug finds, but there is so much more they could be doing with the mapping end of this project, so I hope there are plans to improve it)
We often talk about our ever greening ways in our daily lives at the VerySpatial office, but we are still pretty much light weights. Our lack of weightiness is reinforced when I watch Discovery’s newish channel, Planet Green. Topics cover the gamut from greening your home, your meals, and to your general lifestyle. If you have access to Planet Green (channel 194 on DishNetwork) check it out and see if it gives you any ideas on greening your life.
Another great art as education/activism has apparently been going on this summer and will be continuing through the fall and into next year. The project, CoolGlobes: Hot Ideas for a Cooler Planet, is an exhibit that began in Chicago last summer (’07) that features sculpted globes, each about 5 feet in diameter which were intended to “to create awareness and provoke discussion about a potential solution to global warming”. Some of the globes are currently on display in Washington DC and San Francisco with an exhibit coming soon to San Diego and to London in 2009. If you see one of these exhibits, send us a picture of video.
The RGS-IBG along with Wiley-Blackwell have released Publishing in Geography: A Guide for New Researchers. The 64 page guide is available for free both through an online viewer and a handy downloadable PDF version. The publisher suggests that their “aim was to create an accessible guide to showcase the best ways to publish, and to encourage new researchers to publish their research.” No matter what level of the publishing process you are at this might be a handy guide to look through. The document, as expected, focuses on formal publishing in print journals, but there are sections on electronic journals and the relatively new Open Access models that exist. The fact that the guide mentions these at all is promising in my view, but that’s just me
If you have any mild interest in genealogy, then check out this name checker application. You enter in your surname and it reports back to you the places in the world where your last name is most popular. Mine showed some surprising results – for a French last name, there aren’t any listed in any French speaking places! The US has the lion’s share, which wasn’t exactly unexpected. However, apparently there are a lot in the UK and Argentina. Who knew? If you click on the map and drill down, you can ultimately get to county level data (or equivalent) for much of the world.
Be warned, however, their data is questionable. They say the data comes from telephone directories or election registers from 2000-2005. However, there are no people listed with my last name living in the place I’ve lived for the last 8 years! So at least one data point is missing!
For those of you interested in modern Cultural/Political Geography goings on I would like to remind you of a podcast I pointed out last Spring…The Plaid Avenger Plaidcast. After a summer hiatus, class is back in session and the PlaidAvenger has once again donned his mask to provide his unique take on Geography. This podcast, which is intended to support a particular professor’s class on World Regions, provides some great background and insight into current events and provides a wealth of information in an amazingly digestible way for anyone. After getting the Plaid Avenger to attend the New Media panel at the AAG in Boston it is clear that John is simply a tremendous presence in the classroom and out and that Katie has her work cut out for her as an editor.
CHECK IT OUT!!!
At least the good people at Wanderlust would say. That site shows you the travels of famous journeys throughout the world. It’s kinda fun to trace the routes of, say, Amelia Earhart or Marco Polo and see where they overlapped. The site traces the routes at the world level, then allows you to zoom in for deeper views of specific places around the world. Its a nice flashy interface and a good way to explore geography and history and the journeys those created.
And it was really, really, really, really hard for me to NOT put a Journey song quote as the title instead of the Chinees proverb I chose.
Remember back in april we reported about Sensisphere’s new touchable display that’s in the form of a hemisphere? Well apparently the good people at Microsoft do (they got the idea from reading our blog, I’m sure of it ;)! Gizmodo is reporting that Microsoft is going to unveil a new spherical multi-touch Surface product next week at the Microsoft Research Faculty Summit 2008. It should be immediately recognizable to pretty much anyone reading this blog how ultra cool one of these will be. Imagine one of these in every classroom!
Hopefully they’ll bring some of this stuff to the ESRI UC this year so we can check it out. You can bet I’ll be asking around the Microsoft booth this year to see what they can tell us about this product.
Urban and Regional Information Systems Association is a multidisciplinary group that has been around since 1963. In their own words:
URISA promotes the effective and ethical use of spatial information and information technologies for the understanding and management of urban and regional systems.
The association supports this mission in many ways and is very active with several publications per year including their journal, newsletter and conference proceedings. URISA organizes several conferences each year such as their annual conference, the Caribbean GIS conference, GIS in Public Health and their new Leadership Academy series. While the organization itself is international in reach, it focuses on North America and has regional chapters throughout the US, Caribbean, and Canada. Perhaps the association is best known outside of its membership for its survey of the GIS profession which it conducts once every three years which has acted as a guideline for professional expectations and a metric for companies to consider when hiring. Membership isn’t too expensive and is especially reasonable for students and comes with subscriptions to URISA’s journal and newsletter.