GIS and Today’s Technology: A Beneficial Duo

Note: This is the last post by our Spring intern Aleigha. A big thanks to Aleigha and good luck after graduation.

The significance of location services, prominence of maps, and apps that allow us to familiarize ourselves with geographic locations is on a steady rise. Where we used to depend on paper, or some form of tangible maps or listed directions, technology has drastically increased the demand to have those exact same directions or maps accessible to mobile phones, and other electronic devices such as tablets, and portable GPS gadgets. Location based technologies are always evolving. A perfect example of this would be Mapquest, which was extremely popular at one time but is now a thing of the past. In its place, LBS like Google Maps for Android, Foursquare, and Geoloqi have cropped up – for now.

Geographic Information Systems, otherwise known as GIS, can be described as the computer systems that allow information from maps, objects and routes, and other related subjects such as cartograms, charts, and 3D diagrams to be stored and accessed on a regular basis. The technology used in today’s mapping processes has made the ease of access more readily available and demanding. The Internet and other technological advances had a dramatic impact of all GIS related activities, and also on those who use the product. Termed Web 2.0 in 2005, the second stage of Internet development was characterized by the growth of dynamic user-generated content. Undoubtedly, it is becoming more common for EVERYONE to do or desire to do EVERYTHING electronically, not just GIS professionals.
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Remote Sensing in a Nutshell

According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), remote sensing is a science that obtains information regarding objects or areas from a distance,  typically using aircraft or satellites to take radar or infrared photography. In 1972, a joint initiative between the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) and NASA launched the first earth resource satellite (Landsat-1). The Landsat Project is the world’s longest continuously acquired collection of space-based moderate-resolution, land remote sensing data.  The remote sensing data collected has been used by agriculture, commercial, education,  emergency response geology, government, forestry, industry, and military and many other communities.

According to the International Society for Photogrammetry and Remote Sensing (ISPRS), satellite observation has several advantages. It allows users to observe a broad area for a long period, including change detection and invisible information on the electromagnetic spectrum without visiting the area.
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Elmhurst College’s Digital Earth MOOC

If you are attending the upcoming 2015 Association of American Geographers (AAG) annual meeting in Chicago, IL this year, Elmhurst College is one of the Chicagoland colleges doing noteworthy work in GIS and Geography that you might want to stop by and visit. Elmhurst College’s School for Professional Studies is offering a FREE 4-week (March 1-March 28), Massive Open Online Course (MOOC) on Skills for Digital Earth designed to introduce how location technologies are used in society.  The course will be taught by Judith Bock, Program Director, Department of Geography and Geosciences at Elmhurst. The MOOC is designed for those with no prior experience with geographic information systems (GIS) software all the way to advanced users. Continue reading “Elmhurst College’s Digital Earth MOOC”

Internship Experience: National Holocaust Museum

According to a 2013 poll of GIS professionals on GIS Lounge, half of the respondents held a GIS intership at the start of their career. Andrew Fomil is a good example of how geospatial professionals use interships to get started. A young GIS professional, he has worked at ESRI D.C. (paid internship), American Geophysical Union, and Thomson Reuters, but he got his start with an NSF GIS Internship at the National Holocaust Museum. He is currently a graduate student finishing his Geography/GISc Master’s Degree at West Virginia University which he hopes like many students, along with his work experience and portfolio, to qualify him for more advanced projects and GIS management. Here he answers some questions about his experience. Continue reading “Internship Experience: National Holocaust Museum”

Soft AI (artificial intelligence) and Spatial Technologies

As the Wall Street Journal has stated yesterday, “‘Soft’ Artificial Intelligence is Suddenly Everywhere”  Also called weak or narrow AI, soft artificial intelligence is the ability of a computer or other machine to perform complex activities that are “inspired by but don’t mimic, the human brian”.   The media coverage of soft AI, like coverage of many new technologies, focuses on computer science and engineering, but many of the technologies they use as examples, from satellites, cars, wearable technologies, to encompassing city systems and space travel, are in fact geospatial technologies.  openshaw_ai Continue reading “Soft AI (artificial intelligence) and Spatial Technologies”

The Wright Brothers and Remote Sensing

Today in history, most people celebrate the invention of the airplane. Along with asking the popular question – Did the Wright Brothers invent anything else?  On December 17, 1903, the Wright Brothers were the first to fly a controllable self-propelled airplane. However, geospatial professionals also celebrate the Wright Brothers contribution to the field of remote sensing.

wrightbrothers.info
wrightbrothers.info

 

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GIS DAY 15th Anniversary: Take the way back machine

Take the way back machine to the first GIS Day in Spring of 1999. ESRI ARC News Online announced GIS Day 1999 Slated for November!  According to the press release, ESRI told users to “Get ready to learn more about GIS and geography. The National Geographic Society, the Association of American Geographers (AAG), and Esri are announcing the first annual GIS Day to be held November 19, 1999–the Friday of Geography Awareness Week (November 14-20, 1999)”.  According to Jack Dangermond, “The idea behind GIS Day is to create a single, worldwide event that effectively communicates the benefits and significance of GIS to the rest of society. There are about half a million GIS users in the world, but most of the public is unaware of this growing technology.”  It is difficult to comprehend that in the span of a little more than short years since that inaugural GIS Day, the world has experienced what Penn State calls the geospatial revolution significantly impacting the number of GIS users worldwide. Continue reading “GIS DAY 15th Anniversary: Take the way back machine”

Maps and U.S. (Mid-Term) Elections

Each year the number of media sources using interactive election maps increases, from search engines like Bing Elections to newspapers of record like the New York Times Elections 2014, to public television like PBS.org, or media like USA Today. Even Facebook has added an ‘I voted‘ button. Some are created in-house using geospatial software like ESRI GIS for Elections and Redistricting, others use mapping software like Google Maps, but interactive election maps are so important to election news reporting there is a market for companies like InstantAtlas, Axismaps, and others to sell election results reporting tools.  In 2012, Visual.ly provided a critique of Eight Different Takes on Presidential Election Maps, which remains relevant to the U.S. 2014 mid-term elections.

However, an Electoral College Map Activity from Colonial Williamsburg for the election of 1800, 270 to Win’s historic presidential election maps, and a project on A New Commonwealth Votes: Using GIS to Analyze the Politics of Turn of the Century Massachusetts demonstrate that mapping and GIS are engaging no matter the time period or the election. Although it is nice to see an elected officials office littered with maps whether they be on multiple monitors or strewn around the office as In Jefferson’s Cabinet, 1803.

jefferson

DigitalGlobe introduces PERSPECTIVES Magazine

DigitalGlobe, a commercial high-resolution earth imagery company, launched its aptly named e-magazine, PERSPECTIVES,  today. The trade magazine provides 52 pages of stunning imagery and detailed information on the satellite imagery and remote sensing industry. Although it focuses on DigitalGlobe technologies, the magazine provides insight into a broad swath of topic areas from mineral exploration to infrastructure to penguin migration.  PERSPECTIVES will provide articles, case studies, and technical papers in their upcoming issues.

 

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