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
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.
The Washington Post’s Wonkblog article, “10 Maps that show how much time Americans spend grooming, eating, thinking, and praying” presents some crisp maps using data from the United States Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics American Time Use Survey. The article is an interesting introduction to regional geography, but it is sometimes jarring to find a website presenting spatial information that lends itself to interactive mapping as analog maps. After spending a few seconds clicking and rolling over states before realizing the data I wanted was presented in a table at the end of the article, the analog maps raised the important cartographic question of when to use an interactive map.
Interactive maps have become such an ubiquitous method for visualizing complex spatial information that geospatial professionals sometimes don’t ask if an interactive maps is always the best one. An article in a 2013 Journal of Spatial Information Science by Robert E. Roth explores the question of “Interactive maps: What we know and what we need to know“. According to Roth, “Cartographic interaction is defined as the dialog between a human and map,mediated through a computing device, and is essential to the research into interactive cartography, geovisualization, and geovisual analytics”.
An article in Scientific America, “The Reading Brain in the Digital Age: The Science of Paper versus Screens” asks How exactly does the technology we use to read change the way we read? but it could also explain why we sometimes expect a static, analog map to be interactive.
The June 2 deadline for the Esri Climate Resilience App Challenge is fast approaching. The challenge is open to geospatial developers, of all ages from the from the private sector and the general public, to create an app using the Esri ArcGIS Platform that conveys data on climate change risks and impacts in compelling and useful ways that help citizens, businesses, and communities make smart choices in the face of climate change.
The challenge is based on Climate Data Initiative needs outlined in the Climate Action Plan developed by the Obama Administration in June 2013. A new initiative in 2014, Climate.Data.gov provides resiliency data and tools on topics such as the vulnerability of the food supply and the threats to human health from climate change. Geographic map data for climate preparedness from different agencies has been collected and is made available via the geoplatform.gov and cliamate.data.gov. Several examples of existing flood and other tools are available for developers planning to enter the challenge.
The Guardian this week has a nostalgic reflection by Rachel Hewitt asking if this is “The end of the road for Ordnance Survey? Ordnance Survey paper maps are under threat from digital devices. Rachel Hewitt celebrates an ‘icon of England’ beloved by generations of hikers, poets and artists” Continue reading
Meteorologists made the Style section of the The Washington Post today in the article, “What’s it like to be the voice of the Polar Vortex? These Weathermen Know” Giving meteorologists an introduction worthy of a movie trailer, Rachel Lubitz asks, “So, what is it like to be the voice of this polar vortex, bringing the grim news about temperatures that are flirting with — and in some cases breaking — record lows?” It is a good introduction into how broadcast meteorologists approach their jobs. But what does it take to be a broadcast meteorologist? Continue reading
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.
On December 26, 1917, President Woodrow Wilson nationalized the U.S railroads from 1917 – 1920 in response to the infrastructure demands of WWI. While it only lasted four years, the nationalization and standardization needed for the war effort led to innovations in railway infrastructure and planning. Railways have always been closely tied with advances in cartography, mapping, and infrastructure.
Today is GIS Day and it is making headlines in major newspapers around the globe. While some mainstream media sources are celebrating GIS Day by name, others are participating in spirit by having spatial news articles like the The New York Times, a newspaper of record, article on Mapping Bitcoin from November 19, 2013. But the GIS news that will make you feel warm-hearted are the regional newspapers, whose coverage is more reflective about GIS, their community, and the impact it has had on their lives. It is a true celebration of GIS Day.
The Milwaukee -Wisconsin Sentinal has an in-depth article on “Mapping the possibilities with GIS technology” that focuses on GIS in Wisconsin. The Jamaica Observer’s article states that finds that the “Gov’t wants more professionals to use GIS” The Austin Statesmen draws the community in by stating that ” GIS Day brings practical examples of geographic technology: Public-based technology used daily” While, The Salisbury Post more succinctly puts it, “Pothole? Broken street light? Report them using your phone, GIS“. Some towns such as Culpeper, even used the upcoming GIS Day opportunity to announce that their “Town launches new GIS system”
The Chattanoogan.com Business section combined two great events in one, announcing that, “Connected Tennessee Releases New Broadband Availability Figures In Support Of GIS Day 2013“. In Pennsylvania, the Governor proclaimed Nov. 20 as GIS Day, while “Local High School Students Learn About High-Tech Careers at ‘GIS Day’” including the text of Governor Corbett’s proclamation in the PENNSlyvania News & Buzz.
The future of GIS And teaching children is often the focus of GIS Day news coverage. The Caller.com highlighted GIS DAY in their Corpus Christi Photos round up with one symbolic photo of a young person, while the Killen Daily Herald states that not only did, “1,300 area sixth graders attend GIS Day” but the event is so big that “For more on GIS Day read tomorrow’s Killeen Daily Herald.”!
I will update this post throughout the day as GIS Day articles are posted online, keeping an eye on places such as the Winter Haven Library that will be holding a GIS Exhibit for the public on Thursday. Please send in your own local news.
The Wall Street Journal has an interesting in-depth report on Waste Lands: America’s Forgotten Nuclear Legacy and an interactive map of the status of cleanup by state. While they call the interactive map an “interactive database” in their document on The Journal’s Methodology, it is good to see such in-depth meta-data and open methodology being used by a news site. They discuss where they found their data, how they used it, and missing data.
The Waste Lands project is also a venture into citizen science and digital humanities because, “Now that this database has been released to the public, the Journal welcomes additional information on these sites from the public. Send relevant tips, photographs, and documents to email@example.com”
Other than not using the words spatial, geospatial, geography, or spatial database anywhere in the project, it is an excellent example of how interactive maps can be a part of the investigative journalism process and not just a visual that draws the eye to an article.