We’re getting all the bits and pieces together for our VerySpatial Road Trip out west. We’ll be taking a direct (ish) route out, stopping in the great states of Missouri, Kansas, Colorado, New Mexico, and finally to California. Ok, so not Oregon and hopefully no dysentery If you want to see the route, check out this Google Map! Don’t forget to follow our path with daily blog posts, Tweets, Videos, Instagrams, Photos, Yelps, and any other method we can think to show you our trip. Don’t be afraid to comment, email, Tweet, or any other method you chose back to us for places we should see along the way!
The BBC News Science & Environment section has an article on “The Secret Life of the cat: What do our feline companions get up to?” with an interactive map of cats in a Surrey Village. It was created by BBC Two’s Horizon Program and researchers at the Royal Veterinary College. It is based on a study by Dr. Alan Wilson, an animal movement specialist, at the Structure & Motion Laboratory at the Royal Veterinary College. In his article, “Secret Life of the Cat: The Science of Tracking Our Pets“, he provides information on the technical challenges of using GPS to track domestic cats. Like many scientists working in the field, Dr. Wilson has had to develop his own tracking equipment in order to study the movement of pigeons, sheep, cheetahs, wild dogs, and of course, cats. He is currently working on developing unmanned arial vehicles for remote sensing and movement tracking. Cats are a great way to introduce the public to interactive mapping, tracking, and geospatial concepts because cats and birds are the most popular pets in the world.
The combination of cat popularity and GPS even resulted in a best selling book, “Lost Cat: A True Story of Love, Desperation, and GPS Technology” about a writer’s determination to find out what her cat did when he went off into the “wild”. CNET has a good video, “Using GPS to Track Exactly Where Cats Creep“, about how the authors learned to track Tibi. The convoluted way they had to map his tracks illustrates the need for education on using GIS or an easy to use cat GIS, to go along with the easy to use cat tracking GPS market.
My fairly constant position now-a-days is “late to the game” and in this case that means that there are plenty of folks who have already shared their thoughts on Programming ArcGIS 10.1 with Python Cookbook by Eric Pimpler from Packt Publishing. Robin Wilson, with his wife, summarized by saying
Overall, the book is a very useful addition to a GIS library for people who are new to automating ArcGIS using Python, and particularly those who want to find out quickly how to automate a particular operation.
James Fee wrapped up his review by saying
So the bottom line here is this is a great introduction to ArcPy with ArcGIS 10.1. But if you’ve already started using either Python or ArcPy, you’d be best to use your time/money elsewhere.
These reviews, and others, indirectly highlight the issue of audience with each of the ArcGIS and Python books that have come out in 2012 and 2013. The books are intended for an introductory audience, but each is for a different introductory audience. Nate Jennings’ A Python Primer for ArcGIS has a strong focus on what I would consider a community college/professional development audience. Esri Press’s own Python Scripting for ArcGIS by Paul Zandbergen is geared toward an upper-level undergrad or grad course to get students who already have a strong(ish) ArcGIS background up and running with Python.
Frank very jokingly sent me an io9 article on Science’s 2013 “Dance Your Ph.D.” Contest in which Ph.D’s, past or present, can win $500 for conveying their Ph.D concept through interpretive dance. The Grand Prize winner will present at the TEDxBrussels. I told him, the joke is on him, because the geospatial has always led itself to the beauty of dance. One of last year’s winners, Riccardo Da Re, created a video on “Governance of Natural Resources: Social Network Analysis and Good Governance Indicators” that many of us that work in the public sector and GIS planning would probably rather sit through than another three hour meeting on how organizations work together. Penn State has a website dedicated to “Teaching World Music with Geospatial Technology” that includes many innovate lessons.
In 20012, Sarah Bennett , a Ph.D student from the University of Wisconsin, presented her poster on “Mapping the Qualitative Spaces of Dance” at the 2012 Association of Geographers (AAG) Annual Meeting. She used cartographic design techniques to map a relationship between the body and space in dance. Her poster was very popular because everyone who passed it wanted to try out her concepts. A 2012 GIScience paper titled, “RElative MOtion (REMO) Analysis of Dance” explored how geospatial methods could help better understand the movement of dancer’s including their azimuth and other patterns.
Sometimes it is just for the fun of it. The Land Surveyors United enjoyed the video on “How to Make Your Backhoe Dance” enough to put it on their official website. National GIS conference often feature dance such as the recent NGIS conference were Shiva dance troupe performed and the ESRI User’s Conference that often feature themed dances, such as the 2009 Southern Hemisphere parade. Of course, I have to include Frank’s talking head dance at a geospatial conference.
As promised we have narrowed down the details for this year’s meetup in San Diego and we are (hopefully) making it easier for folks to let us know they are planning to attend. First, the details:
Just as last year we have limited capacity due to the size of the condo, so we have 12 spots open currently. To claim one of the spots, visit the VerySpaital.com site and in the right-hand sidebar go into the AVSE Registration. If you have a group coming to San Diego, please register each person. Last year we had a couple of spots left, so bring your comrades.
Since the venue is ‘key entry’ we will email around the details to get in early that week (basically call us when you get there and we will run down and let you in). We looking forward to seeing some of you again and meeting some new folks as well.
It isn’t often in geography that you are able to get a 1:1 ratio on anything but a post this week by Luke Y. Thompson about the classic table top game The game of LIFE shows that Yoron Island in Japan is going to give it a try or “Super Terrific Japanese Thing: Yoron Island to become Real-Scale Game of Life.” The post references news by RocketNews24 and Yoron Island Tourism. The shape of Yoron Island mirrors the shape of the game board in the The Game of LIFE. The Yoron Town Chamber of Commerce youth were brainstorming ways to increase tourism, since the island is still in reconstruction following typhoons last year. At the same time, Hasbro’s game of The Game of LIFE is celebrating its 45th anniversary this year and is enjoyed by families across Japan and the world. Therefore, they decided to create a real life – “Game of Life Island, Yoron.” Visitors to the island will be able to play LIFE in real scale from July 20, 2013 – September 16, 2013. Yoron Island is part of the Amani Islands Quasi- National Park and is located in the Kagoshima prefecture. Kagoshima is home to Kagoshima University and the Kagoshima Institute of GIS and GPS Technology.
The question of what size would a game environment be to scale in the real world is one that gamers and artists often ask themselves. In 2011, artist Aram Bartholl provided a good background essay on why he wanted to build a full-sized Counter-Strike game map in the Game Informer Show. In his proposal, he says that games are a form of cultural heritage because millions of people have a shared spatial memory of the game space. While he was talking about 3D game environments, this is could possibly be even more true of older board games such as LIFE.
I love cars. I’m a proper gear head, or petrol head if you’re in the UK. Each and every year, I eagerly gobble up all the new cars news from the various car shows from around the world. Designers and engineers are always tweaking this and playing with that, trying to eek out more power, better fuel economy, and prettier designs to get the public to buy. And I can’t get enough of every little change, every little evolution, every revolution of car design and technology. It isn’t just the supercars that cost 80 bagillion dollars and I couldn’t hope of buying sans a really lucky lottery ticket. I dig the small cars that designed for the intro market (current object of fascination – Fiat 500 now available in the States). I dig the cheap rear wheel drive sports cars for the people under a tight budget (I lust after the new BRZ/FR-S/GT86). Even the idea of a returned Ford Ranger pickup gets my heart a racing. I just love all cars.
As much as I love all these new cars and their ever greater technology, my real car passion is in the classics. Every year for the last three years, you’ll see my ESRI User’s Conference badge reads, “Ask me about classic cars”.I especially have a weakness for classic British cars, particularly the roadsters. I can talk for hours about the average MGB roadster (heaven help you if you get around ESRI’s Elvin Slavik and myself when the subject of MG’s come up). I’d almost give a toe for the chance to own an old Mini at a decent price. That doesn’t keep me from loving other cars from other countries. The Camaro is clearly a thing of beauty. The People’s Car, despite it’s questionable heritage, is a marvel of engineering. Honestly, how can you not be impressed by a car you can remove the engine in under 2 minutes with no power tools? For that matter, I’ll always lust after a VW GTI Mk1, the originator of the ‘hot hatchback’. If there’s someone that isn’t just blown away by the sheer beauty of the Ferrari California GT Spyder, I’m not sure I want to meet them. The ‘49 Shoebox Ford is just such the definition of classic it practically screams to be in a parade or at least on a long Sunday drive. Is there anything more American than the classic Ford F100 truck? Or anything more British than the Land Rover Series I, II, and II (except, of course, the sexist car that ever existed)?
Howdy everyone! We’re beginning the hard planning push for A Very Spatial Road Trip: Across the US! Barb and I are excited to take our road trip across the US on our way to the ESRI User’s Conference. We’ve got our big virtual paper map with our big virtual ‘paper’ pins and we’re ready to stick’em in the board. We’ll be taking videos, photos, and journal logs along the way and updating the road trip as we go so you can chart our progress. We’ll want to hit exciting and interesting stops along the way and we want you, dear listeners/readers, to give us suggestions. We’ve already been invited to visit a GIS shop in Oklahoma City! If you have any good ideas for places we should see, whether it be a natural wonder, a local point of interest, a decent bar-bq joint (shhhh! don’t tell Barb, but the sub-subtitle to our journey is a Bar-BQ Bash Across America) or your GIS shop, then either email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or post a comment to any posts titled: A Very Spatial Road Trip.
We’re off in just under a month, so get those suggestions in. We look forward to seeing you America!
Image courtesy of the Library of Congress Photo Collection