Month: April 2011


iTunes highlights learning Geography

In my regular trip to the iTunes App Store today I saw an exciting feature labeled Apps for Learning Geography. The sections featured include Maps, World Facts, People & Cultures, Earth Science, and Games. Some of the apps include the NGS World Atlas, ArcGIS, Geographia, Britannica Kids: Aztec Empire, Dinosaurs iPad, and National Geographic GeoBee Challenge among many others.

I know it is a little sad that I feel excited in my choice of disciplines by seeing it featured on iTunes…but that is just how much of an Apple geek I am.

The Royal Wedding and Neogeography

One of the most fascinating aspects of how the media is covering the upcoming U.K. Royal Wedding, is the use of geospatial tools, social media, and almost every bell and whistle they can think up to build interest and momentum in the event. It is a good contrast to the way huge media coverage was done for previous royal weddings and shows how much geospatial technologies and public participation have become embedded in the media. I can’t think of a recent news story that has used so many multiple sources of new geospatial technology to cover one event. Although I suspect the next presidential election might come close.

CNN’s press room states that “CNN’s global coverage of the Royal Wedding of Prince William and Kate Middleton will uniquely incorporate Facebook, Twitter and iReport, the network’s global participatory news community, into its television programming. These on-air integrations will enable consumers to share in the experience with their family and friends in real-time, as well as contribute first-person perspectives on the day’s events – all while witnessing the biggest royal wedding event since Charles married Diana.” While the Royal Channel, the official channel of the British Monarchy provides an interactive procession route map and live video among other coverage. According to, several official royal wedding tweeters will include Prince Harry and royal staffers.

On The Line

I’ve been fortunate enough to look over the shoulders of  a project funded by the National Endowment for the Humanities and featured in the Chronicle of Higher Education.  The project titled “On The Line” is an online, interactive history of schooling, housing and civil rights in the city of Hartford, Connecticut that was created by Jack Dougherty of Trinity College.  What makes this online text ‘spatial’ is the series of interactive Google Maps linked to historical redlining documents, as well as view historical photos in Historypin,  and examine historical data in linked map viewers.

The site also provides a series of excellent lesson plans ready for educators to use in the classroom.

oh, so wrong

This is one of Threadless’s new designs for the week…entitled ‘Pop It‘. Of course if you like globe oriented t-shirts you may want to check out Threadless’s back catalog.

For this particular design, I am not sure whether to laugh hysterically or just shake my head in that “it’s just not right” kind of way. Does that mean I am getting to old for the hip t-shirt?

Also…could this be why Mt Etna erupted earlier this year?

A VerySpatial Podcast – Episode 301

A VerySpatial Podcast
Shownotes – Episode 301
April 17, 2011

Main Topic: Kyle Schmackpfeffer of ITT Geospatial

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    Game of Thrones opening

    HBO’s new Game of Thrones has an awesome opening that ties cartography, 3D, and steam punk in a great way.

    iPhone Tracker

    There have been a number of posts today about the fact that the iPhone is storing cell tower connections in its backups and that you can get access to that data using the iPhone Tracker app (for Mac). The image here shows my trip last week to Seattle. Since I am generally streaming my location on Latitude or checking on Whrrl (though that is another issue with their purchase by Groupon), the fact that phone is saving tower data is not terribly bothersome to me. The fact that someone would have to have access to my computer to get to my phones backup data means it is more secure than any of the cloud services that we use (as long as I stay away from the hackers. I, for one, plan to take advantage of this security flaw for my own entertainment purposes.

    Where on Earth?

    I just played a fun online game called, “Where on Earth” by Point 2 which was developed for educational museums and science centers. It shows landmarks from across the globe using NASA satellite photos and a player has three guesses of the location. If you have ever attended any geo-spatial related conferences, it is a computer version of the raffles they often hold to see who can guess the location of printed satellite imagery.

    Other fun remote sensing games online include several from NASA such as the adventures of Amelia the Pigeon and Echo the Bat and an older short one called “LandSat Game” from an extensive remote sensing tutorial.

    “Local Information is The Final Frontier”

    That’s a great quote from Google Maps product manager Manik Gupta! What led him to say such a thing is that Google is now opening their map to user input. Users will be able to edit the map to make it better. They’ve already launched the tool in 183 countries who do not have an adequate abundance of “official” data. It’s like the world’s largest Participatory GIS project! If you want to get started editing, head over to Google’s Mapmaker tool and start adding information to Google Maps.

    And if you’re curious who’s doing what, you can watch edits in real-ish time via their new Mapmaker Pulse tool. I gotta say, it’s fascinating to watch people digitize in real time around the globe!

    Understanding Risk and Resilience to Natural Hazards

    In this week’s podcast we talked to USGS Geographer Dr Nathan Wood. Located at the USGS Western Geographic Science Center, Nate discussed an array of research locations in the interview that revolved around helping communities understand their vulnerability or risk to natural hazards such as volcanoes, tsunamis and other hazards. In the interview he highlighted a recent informational publication titled Understanding Risk and Resilience to Natural Hazards available on the USGS website.

    The document talks about the process of working with communities to make them aware of potential natural hazards risks in their area and provides examples from each of the west coast states, Hawai’i, and Florida.

    Check it out to get more great information about Nate’s work at the USGS.

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