The BBC has an interesting article about a group trying to pinpoint speicies that might soon be candidates for extinction. The idea is that if you can identify a speicies in trouble before the critical point, you can save more of them (clearly). Apparently this group has identified 20 areas that are prime for human development and thus potential species extinction.
The National Agricultural Statistics Service updated their site to include a whole host of new ways to get their data, including a fancy new mapping service. The latest data I could find on their map was 2002, but you can really get at what you want pretty easily, either map or table form. One note is that their maps are in SVG format, which is an extenstion put out by Adobe. It allows for some pretty cool dynamic quering of data but it does require a plugin. If you’re into US agricultural statistics, the site is definately worth a look. Here’s the direct link to the site.
A recent article on the National Geographic News page discusses the research done by Robert Drennon and Christian Peterson from the University of Pittsburgh comparing 3 ancient chiefdoms in a number of ways, including mapping the housing patterns and other aspects of the landscape. Their results, published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, showed a great deal of diversity between the communities located in the Oaxaca Valley of Mexico, Alto Magdalena in the Andes, and Hongshan in China. The authors noted they hoped more datasets can be collected from the sites of ancient communities around the world.
The Spatial Information Design Lab at Columbia University has been working with the Justice Mapping Center to map the phenomenon of “million dollar blocks” in US cities. These are US Census Blocks where the cost of incarcerating the residents of that block who are in prison is $1 million or more. The aim of the project is use mapping and spatial analysis to try to understand the phenomenon and offer insight that can be applied to real life policy initiatives.
Via We Make Money Not ArtÃ‚Â
The American Religious Experience at http://are.as.wvu.edu is an online journal which has been in publication for nearly a decade, which is edited by Briane Turley of WVU. In our continuing effort to support the folks we know, Mike Ferber (a fellow grad student) has recently published a review of Thomas Tweed’s newest book, Crossing and Dwelling: A Theory or Religion. Tweed is one of the first scholars of American religion to utilize a spatial model for interpreting religious diffusion and development in the U.S.
A Mexican government funded commission is moving to distribute 70,000 maps to aid people trying to cross into the US. They will feature water cache locations, show transportation routes, and locations of rescue beacons. Although I’m not an expert, this is one of the first instances I’ve heard of a government using mapping to help people leave its own country. CNN has the details
From Jesse:Ã‚Â A map of Arizona!
The University of Colorado at Boulder’s Center for Lifelong Learning & Design is working on a cool project called Silence of the Lands. Participants use handheld devices to record and geoerefence ambient sounds which are then added to a GIS to generate a collaborative soundscape. The researchers “look at digital cartography as a form of storytelling capable of pervasively feeding back social debate over long periods of time.” They have completed several thought-provoking papers on a number of research foci, including affective geography and metadesign.
Gentrification, which is basically the re-development of older urban neighborhoods into more upscale retail, professional and residential space, is an important area of study in urban geography and often a controversial issue in many cities. A recent article on the Toronto Star website discusses some of the issues surrounding gentrification in Toronto, Canada. I think a lot of the themes in this article could apply to many cities around the world.
As many of you know, GIS analysis is based on the notion that alorithms within the computer can be used to analyze the digital representations of real-world physical features such as topography that are stored in the GIS. An example of an algorithm-based analysis would be a Least Cost Path, which analyzes the elevation values between two points and calculates the path between them that would require the least cost to traverse. The cost can be defined in any number of ways. The C5 Landscape Initiative is a series of projects that explore using GIS to represent different conceptions of the landscape as we move through it. One of their GIS-related projects, which incorporates virtual hiking, is called The Other Path. They trekked the Great Wall of China and mapping it using GPS, then returned to California and used various techniques to map out a path in a virtual California landscape using a virtual hiker, “an algorithm that produces computationally derived paths from data in such a way that allows them to be re-followed through the actual world.” The analysis created a virtual path in California that matched the path of the Great Wall in China. Then, they physically hiked the path to compare the experience. It’s pretty amazing stuff and only one of their projects. They have also created the C5 Landscape Database, which has an open-source API for Digital Elevation Model processing and analysis.
The BBC has an interesting article on the scanning and modeling of heritage sites in Africa. This is along the same lines as some of the work that Sue and I have worked on here in the US and are starting to work on in Japan (now if we can just talk someone to sending us to Japan on their dime ). Much of the work to date has not contextualized the individual structures in their landscape which is what we are trying to push in the presentations we have been involved in with Trevor Harris, our committee chair.