Do Geographers Need More Sleep?

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Here’s an interesting article about the effects of sleep deprivation. The interesting note is that sleep deprivation appears to most aversely affect spatial learning and spatial tasks! So if you’re having trouble with any of your GIS projects, maybe you need more sleep….?

The full article.

Want to do your part for science?

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on Sunday at approximately 1:56am Pacific Standard Time, the Stardust capsule will be re-entering the Earth’s atmosphere on its way back from space with its precious load of comet dust collected from the comet Wild 2. Researchers need volunteers to observe the Stardust capsule’s re-entry (although obviously you would be to be in the western US to actually see it) on its way to a landing in Utah.

In addition, researchers from UC-Berkeley are asking for 30,000 volunteers to use web-based ‘virtual microscopes’ on their own PCs to look for particles in images taken of the samples. You will have to pass a test before being allowed to participate.
So, if you want to be a part of science history, check out the Starsdust@Home website for information.


The changing US commercial remote sensing industry

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According to an article in yesterday’s Rocky Mountain News, 2006 is going to be a year of change for the US commercial remote sensing imagery, as new high-resolution satellite are launched to meet the needs of both government and, increasingly, private customers. In addition, Orbimage’s $58.5 million purchase of Space Imaging, Inc. may have an impact on competitors such as DigitalGlobe, which is also restructuring. One interesting point in the article is that both companies are now relying on leaders who are trained in business, instead of people trained in aerospace-related fields as in the past.

AVSP in AAG Newsletter take 2

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AAG NewsletterI know I mentioned this the other day, but I have been busy working on a file server in Sue’s lab so that they can get to their data and haven’t had a chance to find anything else to blog. I received my hard copy today so I thought I might share an image of the text. It is basically from a press release WVU put out when they learned of our goings on.

Keep an ear out for this weekend’s 26th episode. I will probably post it early since we are going to do a press release at the end of the week.

Landsat 8?

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One of our listeners, Michelle, emailed us with a link to an article in the Sioux Falls, SD Argus Leader online newspaper, which states that an announcement was made quietly just before Christmas that there will be a new satellite, hopefully launching in 2010, to continue the Landsat mission. The article only provides a few general details, and I haven’t found anywhere else really reporting more on this, but I will try to post more information when I can.

VerySpatial in the AAG Newsletter

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We were mentioned in an article on Geography Awareness Week events (on p9 for those of you who receive the newsletter).  Nothing big but it gets our name out to an audience we haven’t had a chance to push ourselves on yet 🙂

As for those of you visiting from the AAG, welcome and we will see you in Chicago in March!

Book Review – Making Maps (Krygier and Wood, 2005)

Posted on Posted in Cartography, Reviews

One of the main issues in geospatial technologies today is the quality of the output whether it be for a presentation, map in a document or a poster. The underlying issue is the lack of training in digital cartographic concepts, the art that enables the user to convey the science. In Making Maps: A Visual Guide to Map Design for GIS, John Krygier and Denis Wood, both well published Geographers and Cartographers, are cognizant of this duality and have presented a unique mix of visual example and explanatory text that introduces readers to the basic concepts of creating effective maps.

The first impression, before you even begin to read this book, as you are leafing through, is that the authors had a specific objective: to introduce the reader to map design. This is conveyed in the text of course, but the layout of the book is as much an exercise in, and example of, design as the content inside. From chapter headers to the figure layout and captioning, the content works to blend form with function in a way that makes it obvious that this book is separate from most of the current texts on map making. This is definitely an example of practice what you preach.

The actual text may seem overly simplistic at first, especially if you are familiar with cartography texts by MacEachren, Kraak, and others; however, this is deceptive as the format and organization the authors chose allow the reader to get to the heart of the information in an informal yet effective style. In all honesty I was quite critical when I began the book but quickly came to enjoy the book because of its minimal text and graphical approach to the subject matter.

Overall, Making Maps will make a strong textbook for digital cartography classes and a useful text for those of us who have been struggling with map design for representing our analyses. Even seasoned GIS professionals and cartographers will find useful information and design tips in the book. It is almost worth picking up for the glowing cover blurb that Anne Knowles provides alone. The one wish that I have is that it would be great to have a companion CD or website for the book, which could present interactive examples and more examples in color.