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Using cartograms as an alternative mapping solution

Monday, February 27th, 2012

Benjamin D. Hennig at the University of Sheffield will be doing a plenary session at the Population Specialty Group Session at the AAG Annual Meeting in New York this year. He is including a new map of New York City.

New York City: Mapping the melting pot


GRASS 6.4.2 announced by OsGeo

Tuesday, February 21st, 2012

A new stable version of GRASS GIS 6.4.2 has been announced by OsGeo. This release fixes bugs found in version 6.4.1 of the program and adds a number of new features. It also includes over 770 updates to the source code since 6.4.1. As a stable release series, the 6.4 line will include long-term support and incremental enhancements while preserving backwards-compatibility with the entire GRASS 6 line.

The new wxPython graphical user interface (wxGUI) has been updated with many new features and tools as Python is a fully supported scripting language, including an updated Python toolkit to simplify the authoring of personal scripts, support for NumPy based array calculations, and a Python application interface (API) for the GRASS C libraries. Additionally, Microsoft Windows support continues to mature. GRASS 6.4.2 debuts ten new modules, a new GUI cartographic composer tool, a new GUI object-oriented modeling environment, an interactive Python shell, and improved infrastructure for installing and managing community supplied add-on modules.


Darpa secures White House funding for technological innovation

Thursday, February 16th, 2012

It looks like while the U.S. Defense Department got $2 billion lopped off its R&D budget for next, Darpa is looking good as the White House sees it as putting  technological innovation as a key to America’s economic recovery.

“I wasn’t in on the end game negotiations, but I did advocate for preserving R&D/S&T department/government wide in a economic down turn,” says Gen. James Cartwright, the former vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff who now chairs the defense policy studies program at the Center for Strategic and International Studies. “The reasoning being we will need all the competitive advantage we can muster.  The Administration was on board with this and fairly explicit in their support of labs and innovation organizations, the best of which they [the Administration] believe is Darpa.”


There’s an app for that – citizen pothole reporting

Thursday, February 16th, 2012

This week,  a smartphone app will be made available to the citizens in Longview, Texas, where pictures and video can help the city address issues such as potholes that need repairing. Starting yesterday, citizens could log on to their smartphones, take a photo or video of a pothole or other problem in the city, note location and send it to the city.

Need to report a pothole – there’s an app for that

-KLTV News

Underwater volcanic eruption off El Hierro continues

Wednesday, February 15th, 2012

The underwater volcanic eruption off El Hierro Island continues four months after it began.

Collected on February 10, 2012, this natural color satellite image shows the site of the eruption, near the fishing village of La Restinga. The beautiful aquamarine water indicates high concentrations of volcanic material. Right above the vent a patch of brown water  can resemble a turbulent hot tub when the eruption is strongest.

This image was acquired by the Advanced Land Imager (ALI) aboard the Earth Observing-1 (EO-1) satellite. The eruption is just off the southern coast of El Hierro, the youngest of the Canary Islands. El Hierro is about 460 kilometers (290 miles) west of the coast of Morocco and Western Sahara.

According to El Hierro Digital measurements of the sea floor by the Instituto Oceanográfico Español showed that the volcano’s summit is now only 120 meters (390 feet) beneath the ocean surface—10 meters (30 feet) higher than it was in mid January. The height of the erupting cone is about 210 meters (690 feet) from the former ocean bottom, with a total volume over 145 million cubic meters (512 million cubic feet) of new material.

NASA Earth Observatory image by Jesse Allen and Robert Simmon, using EO-1 ALI data. Caption by Robert Simmon.

Alaska glaciers shed 46 billion tons of ice annually

Wednesday, February 15th, 2012

New estimates published this week in the online edition of the journal of Nature reports that Alaska glaciers have been shedding about 46 billion tons of ice each year, making America’s Arctic state the world’s single biggest contributor to glacier-fed sea level rise outside of Greenland or Antarctica. Still, Alaska remains a wee player in the global ice frappe, producing only about 8.5 percent of the world’s annual glacier shrinkage of 526 billion tons, according to the study, led by a team at the University of Colorado at Boulder.


Alaska glaciers are losing 46 billion tons of ice each year

– Alaska Dispatch

Drought mapping using measurements obtained from weather and research satellites

Monday, February 13th, 2012

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA) Center for Climate Prediction holds a monthly drought briefing by teleconference to identify the latest drought areas in North America, according to  Don Comis of the USDA Agricultural Research Service (ARS). ARS scientists, Martha Anderson and Bill Kustas, are hoping that in a year or so, data from their computer model/satellite package will give evapotranspiration (ET) maps a seat at that briefing.


GeoEye publishes images of the Sahara Desert, Eastern Algeria

Friday, February 10th, 2012

In GeoEye’s gallery are numerous high resolution images of locations across the globe. The Eastern Algerian portion of the Sahara is an otherworldly place, a region of great diversity with endless stretches of sand dunes and rocky platforms that can reach more than 2,000 meters. The Tassili n’Ajjer “Plateau of the Rivers” National Park is a vast plateau in southeast Algeria at the borders of Libya, Niger, and Mali, covering 72,000 square kilometers. Satellite Image Courtesy of GeoEye

John Snow’s 1854 Cholera Map comes to life with the CartoDB platform

Thursday, February 9th, 2012

John Snow created a map of a cholera outbreak in the district of Soho, London in 1854, which helped to convince authorities that the disease was caused by water ( in particular, it originated from one pump in Broad Street). The CartoDB platform allows you to map data and develop location aware applications very easily. This example of John Snow’s Cholera Map of London presented with CartoDB demonstrates how CartoDB can quickly combine different data types, then display them on a map.


President Obama praises young scientists at White House Science Fair

Tuesday, February 7th, 2012

President Obama’s closing words to young scientists at today’s Science Fair held at the White House: “I’m proud of you. Keep up the good work. And don’t let any of those robots wander too far.”

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