Google and the establishment of GIS As Media

For GeoWorld’s December 2005 issue, Matt Ball has written a short position article on the notion that the release of Google’s mapping-related applications in 2005, and their huge surge in popularity has demonstrated that GIS is, in fact, a form of media, as suggested by geographers Daniel Sui and Michael Goodchild in 2001.

There is a new kid(s) on the block! The ArcDeveloper Blog is up and running. They are still getting ramped up and giving the “hey how are ya’s” but the site looks promising. If you are a GIS developer or a student who will be going into the geospatial workforce this will probably be a site to keep an eye on.

Via SpatiallyAdjusted

Where It’s At Podcast 2 available

I am not sure why I sat on this information for a few days without posting it, but Paul and Renee have released their second great podcast for the land down under. It is great to listen to the cicadas in the background in Darwin while it is below freezing outside here in West Virginia :-). Where It’s At podcast 2 can be downloaded directly from their website or subscribed to via iTunes or the aggregator of your choice.

The Gigapxl Project

The Gigapxl Project is based on an amazing super-high resolution camera built by Graham Flint, which he has used to take amazing landscape pictures, including a panorama of Pittsburgh, which is not too far from us. One of the Project’s main goals is the Portrait of America, where the team travelled all across the US and parts of Canada. The Image Gallery has some nice examples of Gigapxl photographs.

Popular Science’s website has a great article about Graham Flint and Gigapxl, and the last page of the article also includes some interesting comments from Michael Jones, co-founder of Keyhole (now Google Earth) and his involvement as a supporter of the project.

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.

Send us your “Best of 2005” pick

Episode 23 will be a year end round up of 2005 and a pick into 2006. We would like to include your perspectives on any local or regional Geography or geospatial news that you think is worthy of being included that we may have missed. Please include a link to more information on the topic if possible.

If you have a topic email us at the podcast address or call and leave a message on our voice mail (304-756-8125 or Skype:jesse-veryspatial)or record a 1-2 minute overview in mp3 format and send it to us via email.

Deadline for content is Thursday, Dec 22.

ColorBrewer Intro – Selecting Good Color Schemes for Maps

One of our listeners, Jody, emailed us a link to ColorBrewer, an online tool to help people select color schemes for maps. It uses a flash-based map to demonstrate how changing colors affects the look of a map and how that impacts the information being represented. It’s a nice tool to give a user an introduction to choosing colors for maps, so they can immediately see the visual impact of their choices. Cynthia Brewer, the Penn State geographer who designed the ColorBrewer, has also written the book Designing Better Maps: a Guide for GIS users.

World Population Cartogram

A cartogram is a map that distorts geographic boundaries based on different values of a variable. So, if smaller areas have higher values, they will be deliberately distorted to look bigger. Here is an example of the world map distorted based on population. It was done by ODT, Inc. which produces alternate views of map, such as world maps with South on the top or the Pacific Ocean in the center.

Via BoingBoing