Cherry Blossom Season 2014

japanese_cherryblossomsOne of the heralds of spring in our region is the arrival of the cherry blossoms in Washington D.C.  In the past, it was difficult to time visits just right in time to see them in bloom. The Washington Post has made a crowd sourced map for Cherry Blossom Season 2014 all around the DC area.

The Washington Post make it easy to post geotagged #DCblooms photos via Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest.  Phoebe Connelly, one of the map creators, created easy to follow instructions on “How to geotag Cherry Blossom Festival photos and videos on Twitter, Instagram“.  A nice service that many media sites leave out of their crowd sourcing events, which makes crowd sourcing more accessible to the general population and useful as a collaborative learning tool.

The Technical Services Department at Casey Trees, a tree preservation non-profit in Washington D.C. created a  “Mapping the Blossoms” tool which identifies each individual cherry tree in the D.C. Tidal Basin along with its background information who it was planted by and its geographic coordinates. 

Japan’s National Tourism Site has a beautiful “The Bloom of Cherry Blossoms 2014” interactive map which combines usefulness with beautiful cartography. The most amazing Cherry Blossom Season map is Google Street View Guide to Japan: Sakura Edition.

 

Conserving the Night Sky

Is your portion of the night sky polluted by artificial light?  Check out this really slick Google Map interface I found on the International Dark-Sky Association (IDA) web site .  For over 22 years, the IDA has been advocating to keep our night sky clean of light pollution.  Their reasons go beyond astronomy purposes and have provided resources for legislation that would both reduce night sky lighting and provide very large amounts of energy savings to the global economy.

Find A Dark Spot Tonight
Click on the image to go directly to map viewer

Data for the map comes from the NGDC, where you can find some links to more interactive maps and other imagery services.

 

ESRI EDuc Plenary Session – ArcGIS Online Improvements

At the ESRI Education User Conference Plenary this morning a few things struck me as significant for GIS use in the classroom.  Bern Szukalski reviewed some of the ArcGIS.com revisions that occurred last Wednesday and these are what I thought could enhance the use of GIS in the classroom:

Intelligent Mapping – Essentially pop ups that display data in graphical formats about the feature selected ( fun stuff like pie, bar and line charts).

Time enabled mapping – The ability to connect to time aware services and bring them into the ArcGIS.com mapping environment and have a time slider available.

And what I feel is the most significant advance, “Drag & Drop Mapping” where a text or Excel file can be dragged directly into the mapping environment to add features and their associated data.  Remember creating an Excel sheet with Latitude and Longitude fields, displaying events, and then exporting that event as a layer?  Not anymore, just drag that excel file over the map and drop it!

While the emphasis of the plenary was to enable GIS education, the undertone was that of increasing the capabilities of web mapping and the continued integration of cloud services.  The Pennsylvania State University also announced today for the first time publicly that it will be offering an open course tentatively titled “GEOG 8xx – Cloud/Server GIS“.  Enrollment for this course will be open on November 7th 2011.