This is an example for intro text books. The BBC is reporting on the use of 150 year old landscape paintings to study coastal change along parts of the English coast line. The article outlines the use of art that is similar to the use of paintings and photos to study glacial retreat in parts of Europe. Head over to the BBC article to read the details.
Scientists have figured out how to predict cholera outbreaks by looking at sea life. The idea pioneered at the University of Maryland is a rise in sea temperatures lead to the production of Phytoplankton, which are the root cause of cholera. As these phytoplankton get into the water supply, cholera pathogens are released and can lead to outbreaks. Obviously fore warned is fore armed, so this is will certainly help public health officials cope with these devastating outbreaks.
Via BBC News
If you have ever run into us at a conference, you know that at least Frank and I are not warm weather folks. On that note I want to welcome fall (in the northern hemisphere) and the cooler temperatures that it promises, once again. Along with fall we move from industry geospatial conference season back to the academic heavy conference time of year with the various AAG divisions meeting over the next 2 months around the country along with tons of other conferences happening.
For those of you down in the southern hemisphere, welcome to spring!
Just as countries are spending increasing amounts of money and resources to map their territories using high-resolution technologies such as LIDAR, some, like Ireland, are devoting significant effort to map their undersea territory (and potential resources) as well. Beginning in 2006, the INFOMAR (INtegrated Mapping FOr the Sustainable Development of Irelandâ€™s MArine Resource) project has been focused on mapping Ireland’s bays and undersea territory using LIDAR, vessel surveys, and seabed sampling.
The INFOMAR website has a web mapping application with some of the vector data related If you would like to see examples of processed LIDAR data layers of some of Ireland’s bays in Google Earth, the INFOMAR site has several KMZ files available for download here.
Google has put up an interactive Google Map where you can share Earth events and ideas with people around the world. It’s a fairly basic site, but there are some neat stuff people are planning to do. For instance in Very Spatial’s own home turf, people are planning on doing more composting. What’s going on in your area for Earth Day?
NASA has just unveiled a new skin for it’s Science website. The site is serves as the public face for all the nifty scientific stuff done down at NASA central. I have to say the thing look pretty spiffy. There’s lots of useful links right off the front page, including a section for kids and for ‘Citizen Scientists’. I might start adding that title to my name… Frank, Citizen Scientist!
The Vulcan project is an interesting project out of Purdue University. They seek to “quantify North American fossil fuel carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions at space and time scales much finer than has been achieved in the past.” They’ve just released a new carbon footprint map detailing fossil fuel based CO2 emissions from around the US. One of the interesting findings to come out of their effort is that we previously assumed that the North East portion of the country was the primary emitter in the country. Turns out while there’s a lot of truth in that, the coal fired plants of the South add nearly as much.
What’s interesting to me are the comments section of the Wired article that pointed me towards this site. People have come up with lots of interesting ways to expand and extend this research by including other bits of data, particularly human geography pieces.
While looking for some sample GIS data for a demo, I ran into the US Atlas of Renewable Resources, a project of the National Renewable Energy Laboratory. The atlas (which is still under development) includes a web mapping interface that show the geographic distribution of wind, biomass, geothermal and solar resources, and the NREL site also has data available for download. The Atlas of Renewable Energy is one of several GIS projects and data sets available from NREL, so if you are interested in mapping or GIS analysis related to renewable energy sources here in the US, it’s a good place to start.
The melting of Arctic ice, coupled with other factors such as the push to discover more oil reserves to exploit, is spurring new efforts to map the Arctic. A US team recently completed a survey of a huge underwater peninsula, known as the Chukchi Cap, on the northern side of Alaska and found that it is actually over 100 miles longer than previously thought. Under certain criteria, a country can claim ownership of the sea floor off its coasts, and exploit the resources beneath it. Other countries, such as Canada and Russia, are also mounting expeditions to explore and map areas of the Arctic off their coast.
While these mapping expeditions are providing us with new information about the geography of our planet, unfortunately they are also opening the way to further depleting our finite resources.
via Nature News
The Woods Hole Research Center has been working on the â€œNational Biomass and Carbon Dataset for the year 2000 (NBCD2000) and have just released datasets from the first nine project mapping zones. All NBCD2000 data products can be downloaded on a zone-by-zone basis from the NBCD2000 project website. The datasets are free, but you do have to register at the site. The NBCD project is a really impressive undertaking, utilizing data from Landsat and SRTM, and derived data products like the National Land Cover Dataset 2001, LANDFIRE (vegetation), and the National Elevation Dataset to model biomass zones.
The team’s hope is to continue releasing datasets approximately one every week or so, until the project is completed sometime in 2009. There is an online mapping tool for viewing and querying the progress of the NBCD zone mapping (although it did not seem to be working correctly when I visited the site). A static map image of the current progress can be found here.