Book review of Tweed’s Crossing and Dwelling

TweedBookThe American Religious Experience at 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.

Maps for illegal immigration

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:  A map of Arizona!

More on soundscapes – The Silence of the Lands project

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.

Via Trends and We Make Money Not Art

Gentrification in Toronto

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.

Virtual Hiking and the C5 Landscape Initiative

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.

BBC NEWS | Virtual tour of Africa’s heritage

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.

BBC NEWS | Africa | Virtual tour of Africa’s heritage

Landscape Epidemiology and geospatial technologies

Understanding how diseases spread is not a new discipline of study, but with increased concerns about the effects of our global world on the spread of dangerous viruses like SARS, AIDS, and yes, bird flu, I thought it would be timely to mention yet another use of GIS, Remote Sensing, and other geospatial technologies: landscape epidemiology. As a discipline, it dates back to the 1960s, when the notion that understanding the landscape and environment in areas where certain diseases develop or are particularly dangerous could help in predicting where diseases will spread and how severe outbreaks will be. Satellite imagery and GIS are being used successfully in landscape epidemiology studies, and a number of examples can be found on the Web, including a GIS project mapping SARS featured at

Other examples include projects studying West Nile Virus and this 2003 project to study Ebola

The ZevRoss website has a nice overview article here

GAW Day 2: Human Geography

Although definitions vary, most agree that human geography focuses on the interactions between humans and their environment, and the spatial relationships that define and are defined by those interactions. Human geography has many sub-disciplines, from cultural geography to urban geography to historical geography and many others (Wikipedia lists 18 fields of Human Geography, and that’s not even all of them).
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