Thursday, May 22, 2008

Dear New York Times, Please Mention GIS

A marvelously illuminating article appeared in the New York Times today about that fact that the five boroughs of New York City are actually, measurably 17 square miles smaller than the planners previously calculated. That's a lot of hectares! How did the current city planners find out that geographic information, you might ask? "Using aerial photographs and advanced technology, including software that that enabled geographers to compensate for inaccuracies created by the pitch and yaw of camera-equipped planes." Sounds like they used Google Earth. But we know that they couldn't have used Google Earth because Google Earth can be highly inaccurate precisely because of "pitch and yaw" thing.

Anyway, it's an article worth reading. Republican Mayor Mike Bloomberg kept a lot of GIS professionals in business for this project because of his "yen to precisely measure everything from poverty to traffic congestion." Really?

The New York Times historically skips over the fact that cool mapping application are done all on account of GIS. I'm happy the Times reports on geographical projects, but I always wish they'd just kind of mention how the maps got made.

Remember the Times article on human impacts on the oceans?

Or the Times article about wildfires and the cool computer modeling that can track those fires?

And when the NYCMap came out a couple of years ago, the Times actually used the acronym when referring to “Cogis (Computerized Geographic Information System),” but how the wonderful layers of New York City geographic data where assembled, analyzed, and obviously, according to this new article, mis-measured, remained a mystery. Here's my response to the Times' article (before I was blogging, now I rarely send in letters to the NY Times).

So it’s all the GIS consultant’s fault anyway. Maybe it’s best if the Times doesn’t refer to our profession by acronym after all.

Saturday, May 17, 2008

Imagery Data Following the Sichuan Earthquake

A network link featuring data following the May 12, M7.9 earthquake in Sichuan, China has been made available. Currently, there are Formosat2 imagery taken May 14 and 15.

Like the link for the Myanmar kml layer, update the KML to the Sichuan layer to find newly added features as they are made available.

Data from Myanmar Showing Cyclone Nargis

From the Google Lat Long blog, there is a very detailed KML available for the areas devastated by the cyclone. The data available are extensive: flood analysis, storm tracking animations, pre- and post-cyclone imagery from a variety of sources. This is what I'm trying to show in the screen shot above.

Here is the KML for Myanmar.

This network link will contain updated data as they are made available, just refresh the link or restart Google Earth.

Thursday, May 08, 2008

Eye-catching Cartography on U.S. Inflation at the New York Times

In "All of Inflation's Little Parts," the New York Times has done it again with a very appealing, interactive proportional map. Click on cell on the 'map' and not only do you zoom in, you get information about the other cells. From the page:
Each shape below represents how much the average American spends in different categories. Larger shapes make up a larger part of spending.
Thanks, Diana.

Tuesday, May 06, 2008

Sitting By a Babbling Brook and Jotting on a Tablet PC

Paul Krugman, only the best Op-Ed writer at the New York Times, muses in his blog in "A technology I wish I had" about the need for something to write upon whilst sitting outside, pondering the world's economic woes and other pressing matters. Something he could see in the sunlight, humm, something like an HP 2710P, perhaps? Or waterproof, like the Panasonic Toughbook? Professor Krugman, read all about the virtues of tablet PCs in nature.

Thanks, JK on the Run.

Mapwing - Walking tours

I just saw the link to this at a conference. It wasn't demonstrated, but I liked the name...Mapwing. Seems easy to use, like Powerpoint® combined with Google Maps. Here's what they say about themselves:

"Mapwing makes it easy to build, share, and explore virtual tours. Use Mapwing to turn your digital photos into virtual tours that include interactive maps, images, and comments. Then, share your virtual tours with friends, clients, or the entire world. Begin creating your own virtual tours for Free - Just Sign Up or Learn More."

Coral Reefs


Monday, May 05, 2008