DigitalGlobe, a commercial high-resolution earth imagery company, launched its aptly named e-magazine, PERSPECTIVES, today. The trade magazine provides 52 pages of stunning imagery and detailed information on the satellite imagery and remote sensing industry. Although it focuses on DigitalGlobe technologies, the magazine provides insight into a broad swath of topic areas from mineral exploration to infrastructure to penguin migration. PERSPECTIVES will provide articles, case studies, and technical papers in their upcoming issues.
The Washington Post’s Wonkblog article, “10 Maps that show how much time Americans spend grooming, eating, thinking, and praying” presents some crisp maps using data from the United States Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics American Time Use Survey. The article is an interesting introduction to regional geography, but it is sometimes jarring to find a website presenting spatial information that lends itself to interactive mapping as analog maps. After spending a few seconds clicking and rolling over states before realizing the data I wanted was presented in a table at the end of the article, the analog maps raised the important cartographic question of when to use an interactive map.
Interactive maps have become such an ubiquitous method for visualizing complex spatial information that geospatial professionals sometimes don’t ask if an interactive maps is always the best one. An article in a 2013 Journal of Spatial Information Science by Robert E. Roth explores the question of “Interactive maps: What we know and what we need to know“. According to Roth, “Cartographic interaction is defined as the dialog between a human and map,mediated through a computing device, and is essential to the research into interactive cartography, geovisualization, and geovisual analytics”.
An article in Scientific America, “The Reading Brain in the Digital Age: The Science of Paper versus Screens” asks How exactly does the technology we use to read change the way we read? but it could also explain why we sometimes expect a static, analog map to be interactive.
The Cornell Lab of Ornithology has introduced some very exciting backyard citizen science applications that utilize remote sensing data. One of them is The YardMap citizen science project funded by the National Science Foundation Information Education Program or advancing informal STEM Learning (AISL), as it is known now. YardMap is designed to cultivate a richer understanding of bird habitat, for both professional scientists and people concerned with their local environments. It is also a great way to make your yard bird friendly. So far they have had 8098 YardMaps drawn using the YardMap Tool.
The June 2 deadline for the Esri Climate Resilience App Challenge is fast approaching. The challenge is open to geospatial developers, of all ages from the from the private sector and the general public, to create an app using the Esri ArcGIS Platform that conveys data on climate change risks and impacts in compelling and useful ways that help citizens, businesses, and communities make smart choices in the face of climate change.
The challenge is based on Climate Data Initiative needs outlined in the Climate Action Plan developed by the Obama Administration in June 2013. A new initiative in 2014, Climate.Data.gov provides resiliency data and tools on topics such as the vulnerability of the food supply and the threats to human health from climate change. Geographic map data for climate preparedness from different agencies has been collected and is made available via the geoplatform.gov and cliamate.data.gov. Several examples of existing flood and other tools are available for developers planning to enter the challenge.
One 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.
The National Archives Blog, Transforming Classification: Blog of the Public Interest Declassification Board recently asked different listservs – “What records should the US Government prioritize for declassification?” They took suggestions from historians and the public in five categories: older records (25+ years), newer records (less than 25 years old), records relating to nuclear weapons policies (also called “FRD information”), records of general interest, and records from the various US Presidential Libraries. Read More
As you shiver in the cold today during what The Weather Channel is predicting could be the coldest winter on record for decades in North America, reflect on the 1780 snowstorm that hit George Washington’s army at Jockey Hollow in Morristown, NJ, now a National Park that commemorates the Continental Army’s winter encampment (December 1779 – June 1780). Here the soldiers survived the tail end of what historians and paleoclimatologists dub, “the little ice age”. Read More
On December 26, 1917, President Woodrow Wilson nationalized the U.S railroads from 1917 – 1920 in response to the infrastructure demands of WWI. While it only lasted four years, the nationalization and standardization needed for the war effort led to innovations in railway infrastructure and planning. Railways have always been closely tied with advances in cartography, mapping, and infrastructure.
Once upon a time there was a services division at a company…they liked and saw potential in location. They decided to save some licensing $$ and acquired a data company. After a few years, as hardware moved forward and operating systems changed, there seemed to be a disconnect between the hardware and services divisions of the company. Part of the disconnect was that the services division was keeping the hardware division afloat, or so it seemed to me. Don’t get me wrong, the hardware is top notch (don’t tell Sue, but I have even thought about switching phones a couple of times). However, while the hardware was good, the services are great.
Now the big M has said it will purchase the hardware division (so much to hope for and fear in that one) leaving behind the services division. On the data side of things I think this is a good thing, on the app and services side of things I think this is phenomenal for iOS and Android users. It seems a bit like the Erdas/Leica/Erdas/Intergraph roller coaster in terms of Navteq/Nokia/Here set of transitions, but at the core is the potential, both proven and future, of location technologies. And at the heart of that potential is data, data, data.
When we talked to the folks from Here at the Esri UC (coming in episode 425) you could tell that they are as excited as ever about the data and products they bring to market. Their partnerships with software and hardware companies make it clear that all is well and good for the portion of Nokia that will be left to the name after the hardware division (and a bundle of patents) is claimed by its Redmond overlords. I do question what kind of tomfoolery can go on at the larger corporate level in the next few months as the transition occurs, but the results should be a strong services and data company come the end of the transition period.
(and a true Microsoft phone to boot, given the Surface Pro, this is a good thing…I think)