BBC News has a nice article about MetroQuest, a software application that uses a Sim City-like visual interface to allow users to model how urban planning decisions might affect the city over the next 40 years. MetroQuest has been used by planners in several places, including Manchester, England and Bali in Indonesia. By allowing users to visualize geographic information in ways that more closely represent real-world features, tools like MetroQuest can help increase participation in planning decisions by reducing the level of cartographic expertise required to understand what it is being represented. There’s a whole subdiscipline known as PGIS, or participatory GIS, that looks at ways to include the public in decision-making processes that are supported by GIS, and visualization tools like MetroQuest would fit right into those types of projects.
The Bio Mapping project is an example of creative research that seeks to combine information gather about our bodies’ measurable responses to the world around us, and how those responses vary across space and time.
According to the project’s website: “The Bio Mapping tool allows the wearer to record their Galvanic Skin Response (GSR), which is a simple indicator of emotional arousal in conjunction with their geographical location. This can be used to plot a map that highlights point of high and low arousal. By sharing this data we can construct maps that visualise where we as a community feel stressed and excited.”
The test example on the site shows an individual’s path around London displayed in Google Earth as a 3D path, with the peaks representing high stress areas. Although it seemed a little out there at first, something like the Bio Mapping project could have real applications in areas like the studies of communities’ perceptions of fear or comfort and could help with things like crime prevention or community improvement.
This morning, I saw an article at the Detroit Free Press website about one of our own faculty here at WVU and, of course I just had to post about it. Dr. Ken Martis is a well-known geographer whose research interests include political and historical geography, and he has been a professor here for many years. The interview was for Gannet News Service, so the article has been picked up by a number of media outlets. The focus of the interview is a Q & A about the changing regional aspects of US politics.
Dr. Steven Huffman has posted a series of maps of the world’s language families, based on Merritt Ruhlen’s “A Guide to the World’s Languages”, as a project using Global Mapping International’s (GMI) World Language Mapping System (WLMS). This is a commercial product which offers language data in GIS point and polygon format. A selected set of Dr. Huffman’s maps are available for download in PDF format, but the ArcGIS project files and other data will only work for users with a WLMS license. Still, if you’re a researcher who’s involved in language research, this might be something you want to check out.
Oberlin, Ohio to be exact. A little west of Cleveland. Full Circle Fuels is a quaint little station from the 1950′s that has converted itself into an alternative fuels spectacular. They currently or are about to stock all sorts of biodiesel and ethanol/diesel mixes for your converted supper SUV. Don’t have one of those, you say? No problem! Turns out the fellows at FCF will convert it for you in their garage! They also have some fairly eco and community friendly plans in the works, including:
- Plans an auto repair self-help clinic for low-income residents
- Is a pick-up and drop-off location for a local car-sharing program
- Collects waste cooking oil from local establishments for use in converted vehicles and for biodiesel production
As one who drives one of those big honkin’ diesel trucks (what can I say? I live in the country), I can tell you I’d love to make a trip up to their place sometime and get a conversion kit. Now if they’d just setup a station around here so I can get the fuel…
3PointD linked to this article from CRIEnglish.com about several projects under way to digitially recreate a number of China’s endangered or destroyed cultural resources. Among the projects are stuctures at Wudang Mountain, Yuxu Palace, and a number of sites in the Three Gorges area, where the filling of the huge reservoir behind the Three Gorges Dam will submerge thousands of important archaeological and cultural sites. While recreating archaeological features and historic and prehistoric structures digitally is certainly not new, numerous sites in China are in danger or have already been destroyed by looting, development, neglect, and natural disasters, and little is ever known about them, so at least some of these important cultural sites will be preserved virtually.
This is a nice mashup for the politically minded out there. You input your zipcode and it spits back a map showing political contrabutions to either of the two major parties during the 2004 Presidential election. It’s rather interesting to see how much was garnered by each party in your area. We warned, it looks to be a beta and it has been Dug, so it may be slow to respond!
The Times online has a rather amusing article on the dangers of relying on our technology too much. Apparently quite a few drivers have ignored road signs and conditions in favor of their navigation systems and they’re ending up in a river! On the bright side, it has boosted the local economy in the form of 25 pound charges for towing the cars out.
Here’s an interesting site that shows the US broken down by religion. Unfortunately, the maps are all stand alone GIF files, one for each denomination. It would be interesting to see this on an interactive online map. Given that, the maps are pretty interesting to see.
Jesse’s note – Also check out the IMS based North American Religious Atlas hosted by the Polis Center at IUPUI
For those of you who live and travel in California, the Invisible 5 Audio Project is a unique self-guided audio tour of the landscape along I-5 between San Francisco and LA. What makes it different is that it is put together by a collaborative of environmental and other watchdogs groups to give a very different perspective on the I-5 corridor, including pollution, water issues, and other political and social issues. Even if you don’t have first-hand knowledge of the area, check out the site and read about the Invisible-5 project. It’s definitely a unique and ambitious project.