Amazon GIS

I haven’t highlighted a really good GIS project in awhile, so I thought I’d mention the Amazon GIS project, run by the Smithsonian Institution and other collaborators. They have spent years mapping the Amazon’s resources and have a number of Internet map services in conjunction with ESRI, World Wildlife Fund, the USGS, and Conservation International that cover data themes such as land cover, hydrology, elevation, satellite imagery, and parks. While they’re not the fanciest mapping applications, I really think it’s an important project that shows how GIS can be used in conservation. Also, they probably have the coolest GIS lab location – the Amazonia exhibit building at the National Zoo!

Biodiesel Station in Ohio

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…

CloudSat and Calipso satellites successfully launched

I didn’t get a chance to blog this earlier because of our slow internet connection in San Juan, but NASA’s 2 new cloud monitoring satellites, CloudSat and Calipso, were successfully launched Friday morning after some difficulties they delayed their originial launch date. What’s cool about these satellites is that they are carrying instruments that can view clouds in 3D, which will hopefully give scientists new perspectives on how clouds and airborne particles like aerosols impact weather and climate.

Via CNN.com

North American Paleogeography Maps

A couple of days ago, the Cartography blog linked to Dr. Robert Blakely’s site with over 40 amazing maps of the paleogeography of North America. As archaeologists in our previous lives, Jesse and I really thought they were just great, but I think anyone will appreciate these maps, so definitely check this site out.

California Car Culture Could Heighten Earthquake Woes

Sorry for the excessive alliteration there, but it sums up this article quite nicely, I think. It appears that the infrastructure that surrounds car ownership does more than generate excessive amounts of smog. Carports, garages, overpasses and the like could pose a significant risk to California residents should a massive earthquake like San Francisco’s 1906 quake strike. I think we’ve all seen the historic footage of the Golden Gate Bridge shaking like a polaroid picture. Imagine that happening anywhere around the state and you can see the concern!

NASA satellites helping to monitor Great Barrier Reef

CNN.com featured an article today about NASA’s role in a global effort to monitor the Great Barrier Reef off Australia. NASA’s Terra and Aqua satellites, part of the Earth Observing System (EOS), are used to capture frequent data on ocean surface temperature and color, which are important indicators of the health of the reefs and the algae that essential to the coral. If water temperatures get too high, the algae are forced out of the coral, which become bleached and can eventually die.

USGS releasing Google Earth Virtual Tour of 1906 San FranciscoEarthquake

According to a USGS press release from yesterday, a Google Earth-based virtual tour of the devastating 1902 San Francisco will be announced during a press conference which was scheduled to start at 10am. The feed from the news conference was supposed to stream live from the USGS website, but I was finally able to connect and there is nobody in the room (some music is playing .

Update: It is starting now….10am Pacific Time……I am watching now

Update 2: The Virtual Tour webpage is now live on the USGS website.

Via OgleEarth

True Source of the Nile?

It seems that a team of explorers from the UK and New Zealand, equipped with GPS, recently completed a harrowing journey to what they are calling the ‘true source’ of the Nile River in the Nyungwe rainforest in Rwanda. The expedition took 80 days, and based on their GPS readings, the team believe the Nile is actually 66 miles longer than previously thought. It will be interesting to see how their work is received…

Via MSNBC.com