General

Where It’s At Podcast 2 available

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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 http://www.whereitsat.org.au or subscribed to via iTunes or the aggregator of your choice.

General

The Gigapxl Project

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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.

Human Geography

Virtual Hiking and the C5 Landscape Initiative

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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.

General

Send us your “Best of 2005” pick

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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.

Cartography

ColorBrewer Intro – Selecting Good Color Schemes for Maps

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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.

Cartography

World Population Cartogram

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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

WebMapping

New version of Yahoo Widgets

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The new version of Yahoo! Widgets (formerly Konfabulator) now includes quite a few Yahoo! centric tools including a Yahoo! Maps widget. After I heard about the new version on SpatiallyAdjusted I checked to make sure that the WebMap Widget we posted a couple of months ago still works, and all is well.

For those of you who weren’t reading back then, the WebMap Widget allows you to view OGC compliant WebMapServices and search by address. We included a couple of default sites but the real utility of the widget is for you to use your own WMS site (ie raid Mapdex).

To learn more and download the WebMap Widget

To download Yahoo! Widget Engine