Month: October 2006
Here are some serious and some funny uses of GIS for Halloween.
According to a Texas news report a county in Texas has seen an increased use of a sex offender database by parents around Halloween. Brazos County has developed the Bryan Geographical Information System to keep track of registered sex offenders in the county. In conjunction with local authorities the “GIS allows users to select a marked home and view photos details of the offender, plus some basic details of the offense such as age and gender of the victim. GIS Coordinator, Todd Snelgrove says the information is undated every week to ensure accurate information.”
At Auburn University GIS professionals can meet and greet this evening at a Halloween Themed social – “Halloween costumes are optional, but welcome”.
And if your looking for a new area to do research on “Despite its increasing importance as both a cultural and an economic phenomenon in a growing number of countries, Halloween remains a surprisingly under-researched and under-theorised topic in academic writing.” Why not send in a paper to Hollowe’en: International Conference. For example: Wouldn’t you expect “Hallowe’en and Social Cohesion in Urban Scotland” to have some GIS involved?
Also, GIS has an alternative meaning today GIS (Ghost Investigators Society)
A to Z GIS: An Illustrated Dictionary of Geographic Information Systems by Sommer and Wade (Eds), ESRI Press, 2006
As we quickly covered in the Book Corner in Episode 65 of the podcast, ESRI is the first to market with a GIS specific dictionary of terms with their A to Z GIS. Overall, the text offers a quick introduction to the majority of GIS related terms and concepts. It is surprising the number of terms they include with very little oversight. As a text from ESRI Press, written by ESRI employees, however, it does seem to trend toward definitions that fit well with ESRI software. For example, the definition of topology includes a definition that is explicitly linked to ESRI’s Coverage format (admittedly a great format for handling topology).
Perhaps my only true issue with the text is that an industry specific dictionary such as A to Z GIS should be a ready reference for the neophyte, the unsure, and the person in need of a quick reference. However, the definitions in the book are primarily technical, pulled from their discipline of origin, often Math, Statistics, etc, and do not always offer a spatially specific definition that puts the terms in a GIS context. As I suggested in the podcast review, Johnston, et al offers a great model to follow in The Dictionary of Human Geography where leaders in each area were tapped to provide descriptions of each term, along with key references to help the reader build on the information provided. Admittedly most of the definitions in Johnston et al are more extensive than those needed for the terms in A to Z GIS, but it would be nice to see where the authors obtained their definitions.
That said, I do believe that A to Z GIS offers a good source for reference, especially for those who are just getting into GIS or who have been around long enough to begin to forget terms that they once knew. I think it is safe to say that I am not the target audience, but that my students are, although itÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s always nice to have a quick reference guide when you need it.
There is another podcast in the classroom space, and it is pretty interesting. Marion Mustoe of Eastern Oregon U worked with his class last spring to create audio responses to an assignment, which he then narrated and produced. His approach is a great way to show how different students will take different ideas away from the same assignment and still all be correct. If you get a chance head over and learn about the podcast (only 1 so far) and the mysterious bear on the dashboard (I guess PETA doesn’t get involved if they are of the teddy species [Ursus teddius])
BBC News is back at it with another column on geospatial technologies. This time they looks at the impact of geospatial technologies over the last couple years in response to disasters and how it is used everyday. They look at aerial imagery, Pictometry and some of the privacy issues that have been raised by the general public now that they know that we have access to this type of information.
Our apologies for the delay in the podcast release schedule. We had planned to meet up and finish the episode Sunday, but life intervened. We will have episode 67, our spooky ‘geography of death’ out before the goblins and ghouls take to the streets. In the meantime, the site might go down for a few minutes late tonight as I update to the new version of WordPress. Talk to you tomorrow.
This evening I am spending time setting up both BootCamp and Parallels on the new laptop (Core 2 Duo Macbook Pro). I plan to install ArcGIS tomorrow and will begin to work with it for a while to see how it goes. I will be grabbing screenshots as I go through. I will be posting the details on my sadly underused blog at scirl.com/blog with a wrap up in a couple of weeks here on VerySpatial.
We just got second hand word that 9.2 bulk shipments will start as early as Nov 14-17, with ArcGIS Explorer going online as a download on Nov 14. We hope to have a few discussions with ESRI Reps during the release week (AKA Geography Awareness Week…happy coincidence?) to cover the final release product.
I know that Dubai’s newest artificial islands ‘The World’ made a round of the blogs including a mention on the podcast a while ago, but I had not seen this GREAT promotional video until tonight. Take a minute to check the ingenuity/insanity that is The World in this WMV video.