Gizmodo has a really cool article about NASA’s attempts to map the moon’s odd gravity down to the micron. Two orbiters around the moon are part of the GRAIL program have been tasked with measuring the moon’s micro gravity in an attempt to understand the moon’s interior structure. The two orbiters have been collecting data since New Year’s day, 2012, so they’re about to hit their one year mark (and thus potentially get to sign up for medical insurance …. is this thing on?) One of the neater aspects of this program is that the orbiters are fitted with remote cameras. Middle school kids actually get to control the cameras remotely for science projects at school. It’s all part of NASA’s MoonKAM (Moon Knowledge Acquired by Middle school students). Man, I wish there had been stuff like this when I was in middle school….
We are looking for one or two interns to support blog and podcast activities on VerySpatial.com for the Spring 2013 semester. Any undergraduate or graduate student in Geography or a related field can apply. Activities for the internship will include:
To apply, please send a short writing sample and a resume to *podcast at veryspatial.com*. We will begin review of applications as they arrive, including setting up potential Skype or Google+ interviews, and make a decision by January 12th, 2013.
Onion News – thinking of solutions before even Apple can.
I was told by my local Hallmark Store that this is the last year that Hallmark will be making the Barbie series of ornaments including the Geography Teacher Barbie Ornament. It is called the Student Teacher Barbie Ornament but she is carrying a geography textbook, has a map pointer, and it comes with a globe background (circa 1965).
If you are more of a do it yourself ornament maker, Maps.com has directions for an origami globe ornament,which would be good as a project any time of the year. If anyone has used the smashed orange to teach map projections, as recommended in many geographical literacy toolkits, this would be another good activity.
NPR’s Pam Kessler has an interesting story about a study done on the geography of charitable giving in the United States by the Chronicle of Philanthropy. She provides an audio story, text, and the Chronicle of Philanthropy’s interactive map. The finding that is highlighted by the study will be one that is common to geospatial analysts, people with more money tend to give more if they live in an economically diverse neighborhood. To paraphrase Tobler’s First Law of Geography, the First Law of U.S. Philanthropy is that anyone can give to any charity, but charity tends to begin at home and moves out from there.
The study itself was compiled using data from the U.S. Internal Revenue Service, the U.S. Census by zip code, and data from the Urban Institute’s National Center for Charitable Statistics among others. The National Center for Charitable Statistics also created the Community Platform, a crowd-sourcing interactive map application designed to help communities and nonprofit organizations match community resources and needs.
The Telegraph UK has an article on England’s Green Belt which provides an interactive Google map for residents to determine if they are in an area classified as green belt land. The most interesting part of the article is that it makes the data available to the public and states that in the past the data would have cost thousands of bounds despite the fact that it is funded using taxpayer money. It then provides a link to the downloadable data provided by The Department for Communities and Local Government. This is a common debate among the GIS community, but not one that is normally brought up in popular media. It will be interesting to see the comments left by the public about the article and if the topic of available data comes up.
The Wall Street Journal today has an article on map auctions coming up in December titled, “Here be Dragons – and Map Lovers“. The maps, globes, and other cartographic items they list sell for several thousand to several million dollars. One collector says that he spends up to 10% of his income on map collecting. According to the Barry Lawrence Ruderman Antique Maps Inc. most map collectors start out by collecting themed maps such as a specific geographic region, historical time period, or even type of cartographic style. Geographaphicus, an antique map blog, says that one of the most frequent questions they get asked is how to determine if a map is authentic or a fake. This is a problem for collectors and also a staple plot device for literary novels and movies.
Antique maps have always made GIS users whistful and there are many requests on-line for how-tos on making a GIS map have more of the cartographic effect of an antique one, such as this post by James Fee from 2006 on creating historic map effects. The Yale Map Library has a dated but thorough document on how to do Classic Cartographic Techniques in ArcMap. The real question is though, how will online and interactive maps stand up to antiquity? Will collectors be bidding on printed out versions of the maps we make today?