Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Studying Soils and the Landscape with GIS and Tablet PCs

In the current issue of ArcUser (Summer 2009) Purdue University is featured for their innovative use of tablet PCs for teaching soil science in the article called "Improving the Study of Soil and Landscapes." I mentioned their program before and I'm glad to see that ESRI is picking up on this great use of tablet PC technology for teaching field-based concepts with GIS.

Here is the PDF of the article.

Real-Time Web Monitoring

I haven't seen this network visualization site by Akamai before and I think it looks cool. They also measure attack traffic and latency/speed.

From the site on network traffic: "Akamai monitors the amount of data being requested and delivered - by geography at any given moment in time. Displayed in this interface are the top ten regions with the current highest traffic volumes.

Values are measured as percentage of global network traffic. Regions are displayed as countries or states. "

Use the slightly hard to find drop-down menu to display the map above which shows broadband adoption trend for North America, at 61 percent.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Iranian Maps After the Election

A web map site called is the confluence of the Iranian post-election demonstrations with Twitter and other social media and geoaware devices. Really amazing information based in place, showing breaking news, tweet locations, rallies, and other information.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Tablet PC vs. Whiteboard

HP's Jim Vanides posted a great list of the "11 Reasons Why a Tablet PC is Better" on his blog. Better than what? That would be an overhead project or a whiteboard or "sometimes smarter than a Smartboard. " I agree. The Wired Campus of the Chronicle of Higher Education picked up on Jim's post and got some comments. In typical Chronicle commenter fashion, they are all over the map on what they like and don't like about tablet PCs. I notice with this academic crowd there's the typical grumble from Mac fanatics. As a tablet PC user since 2004, folks around here have long said how tablets would be great 'if only Apple would make one!' I say 'isn't it nice to have choices?' A professor can choose between all manner of implements to deliver a lecture. Thank goodness for progress!

And of course there's more than 11 plausible reasons to go with a tablet PC for lecturing or other classroom uses. Jim's commenter's have plenty to say, as well.

I love tablet PC buzz.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Stick With GIS - You Might Get a Job

This piece is a little old but I doubt the information has changed much, nor is it all that surprising. Here is an article from a December 2008
US New and World Report on "Best Careers 2009: Urban Regional Planner" with the subtitle of "A multi-faceted job for a multi-talented person" Here is what they say:

Now, the real work begins. Today, you're reviewing geographic information system maps and other computer-based data to predict how many city services will be needed, from lampposts to libraries to fire hydrants. What mix of parking garages, additional bus service, and other transportation should be required?

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Call for Presentations: Geospatial Technologies in the Liberal Arts

We are very pleased to announce a Call for Presentations for the upcoming conference "Geospatial Technologies in the Liberal Arts" to be held September 25-27, 2009, at Skidmore College in Saratoga Springs, NY.

This event is a community effort organized by GIS professionals in the liberal arts, with logistical support from NITLE (see below for planning members and contact information). Our goal is to create and participate in a geospatial conference focusing on issues common to smaller educational institutions, such as GIS management and support, and to consider how we can adapt to rapid advances in the mapping industry and research. We also seek to sustain the progress that NITLE institutions have made in GIS development and promote educational innovation for digital mapping in the liberal arts.

We are now looking to those of you who have been innovators in areas of geospatial visualization, support, teaching, and data management to offer presentations, panels, or workshops at this event.

In this spirit, we invite your ideas for sessions in the following areas:

* Interactive map visualizations and web-mapping applications in teaching and learning
* Virtual earths in the classroom: examples, methods, and implications for GIS in higher education
* Best practices for geospatial data collection, documentation, delivery, and protection
* The use of GPS-enabled technologies and similar mobile technologies to support spatial studies and research
* Mapping/Cartography to support critical thinking, numeracy, and spatial competency
* Effective assessment of maps: rubrics for projects/presentations by students and professionals alike
* Open-source map-serving solutions - MapServer / GeoServer / Postgres+PostGIS. How have these geospatial tools been implemented on campus? What are their benefits and drawbacks? How do they compare to the commercial options, such as ArcGIS Server?

If you are interested in contributing to this effort, please review the Call for Presentations - (.pdf, 30.7 KB) and then submit your proposal(s) at - Additional conference information, including instructions for registration is available at -

Proposals must be submitted by July 31, 2009. Notification(s) of acceptance will be returned by August 14th, 2009. The conference registration deadline is August 28th, 2009. As with other NITLE events, speakers and participants will be responsible for registration and travel related costs.

Questions or suggestions can be addressed to myself,
Alex Chaucer, or any of the other conference organizers:

Andy Anderson, Amherst College

Jon Caris, Smith College 

Jenni Lund, Wheaton College
Sharron Macklin, Williams College 
Meg Stewart, Vassar College 

David Tatem, Trinity College 

If you have questions related to NITLE, please contact Sean Connin

We look forward to hearing from you!