If only Erioderma lichen used WiFi

The Washington Post featured an article about cameras with WiFi tracking. If only Erioderma lichen used WiFi, then we may have an easier time georeferencing our photos for our projects.

Atlas of climate change

This is pretty basic and lacking information on Canada but still a step in the right direction. Atlas of Climate Change

Ontario Vs. Manitoba Park Website

Ontario Parks has recently updated their website to incorporate Google Maps. After exploring the new “locate parks by region” function and associated Google Maps I checked out other provinces' park websites to see how they do things. I am comparing the Ontario Parks site vs. Manitoba Parks site in terms ease of use/type of use by end-users and the likely resource costs (hardware, software purchases, app development, employee training) in developing these sites.

Manitoba Parks uses a point and click mapping interface similar to the Google map associated with the Ontario parks website. The Manitoba site starts with an image map and after clicking an icon the link to that particular park's website is provided. Manitoba has each park map scanned and available on the website. It takes a bit of time to download a pdf file even after you have spent some time locating the document. The park map is helpful information once you have reached the park but I have no idea how to get to any of these parks from my house or how long it will take. For users with no familiarity with Manitoba, (eg. me) it is difficult to understand where to locate the map I'm currently looking at.

Users are likely to be more familiar with a Google map found on the Ontario Parks page. With a Google map you can zoom out until you find something familiar to contextualize what region of the world you are observing.

Developing these sites brings up other issues. Once a developer learns the basics of Google maps it is easy to manipulate the API to fit the needs of the site. Embedding a Google map into your website is free. The Manitoba site likely needed a cartographer or graphic designer to create the map using expensive software like Adobe Illustrator, then require a programmer to make the map clickable and maintain the data. At the simplest level, a site like Ontario's on the other hand only needs one neogeographer, an Internet connection and website host to be functional.

I know it sounds like I have definitely drank too much of the Google juice but I am relieved to see that some standardization practices are developing. End users and programmers alike have developed some practices that are becoming more widely used and ease manipulation and navigation. Ontario Parks offers multiple avenues of searching for the park that most closely fits the needs of the visitor. They may not do it in the most straightforward way but the user can search for a park by name, location or service offered by the park. Google Maps offers the icing on the cake on this site (if you can find the small map link) with door to park driving directions. GIScientists see the geoweb as having infinite possibilities for storing and distributing data, however most users continue to use it to find out how to get from point A (their house) to point B (summer vacation destination).

Gray and Humpback whale feeding grounds changing with the climate

Scientist Michelle Kinzel and Roberto Venegas from Oregon State University's College of Oceanic and Atmospheric Science hypothesize global climate change is altering food webs. Kinzel and Venegas are monitoring the number and distribution of gray and humpback whales from Baja California to British Columbia. They are using GIS to identify feeding grounds along with descriptive information about sites the whales frequent.
Satellite imagery from the Sea-Viewing Wide Field-of-view sensors (SeaWiFS) helps researchers to identify the location of chlorophyll and other plant pigments in the water. The intensity of green color in the ocean is a direct measurement of the amount of phytoplankton (whale food). Using this data, Kinzel and Venegas are able to study the correlation between the concentration of chlorophyll and whale distribution. Scientists track individual whales visually by their distinct markings. They have found that whale home ranges have expanded as they search for more food. Due to limited data points, they are unable to make a decisive correlation between chlorophyll and whale distributions. Read more about this study here http://www.esri.com/news/arcnews/spring08articles/grey-whales.html
While reading any study about monitoring changes in the environment, I immediately think of the participatory potential! If scientist identify the whales by markings, could we ask coastal high schools, fishermen, and other interested parties to document when and where they see Humpback Jorge pass by their local beach front? You know Jorge, with the two dots and the stripe on his back. This could increase data points and strengthen Kinzel and Venegas's study. There is always the argument of "can non-scientists identify whale markings?" But that is a different can of phytoplankton.

Back on the Attack

Hello All, 

The Mc Gill TA strike is over! Hooray! This means that I can officially help with coordinating efforts. I will be updating the glossary, bib, and blog.  Please contact me if you need anything. I am happy to be working with you all again. 

climate mapping plug-ins for digital earths

From Earth is Squared

Climate Mapper Plug-in for SERVIR Viz and WorldWind

IAGT (The Institute for the Applications of Geospatial Technology) has released a new plug-in for SERVIR Viz (a variation of WorldWind.net). Climate Mapper was developed for SERVIR Viz to give access to historical weather data as well as projections of climate change. Currently, the data is centered on Africa, but a global dataset is forthcoming.

You can download the plug-in here, it is a large download (108MB), that is because it includes the database of the data for offline viewing of the data. This plug-in is for SERVIR Viz, after talking to the developer there is now a WorldWind version but it needs approval for it to be released.

Edit: The WorldWind plug-in has been released.

The Socio-Economic Dimension of Neogeography ( A Framework to Evaluate VGI Initiatives)

Success of open-source software development as; Linux, consumer-driven business development E-Bay, and most recently user-developed production of knowledge base Wikipedia have inspired the specialist and the users of geospatial data and mapping.

Continuation of this success is leading the science of mapping towards new geospatial data creation and diffusion processes, like wikicarto, wikiGIS, geoblog and more generally Volunteered Geographic Information (VGI). VGI is considered the newest form of Public Participation Geographic Information System (PPGIS).

Relying only on GIS experts neglects the fact that involving interested users is an important step towards open and democratic approach for PGIS. Local
people have usually better knowledge about the area of interest, which is crucial for accurate decisions.

These new ways of providing geospatial information through the Web techniques are part of Geospatial components of the Web2.0 and an example of Neogeography. Neogeography is related to people using and creating their own maps, on their own terms, by combining elements of existing toolset.

Neogeography and the GeoWeb are going to be important contributory subject matter of future network society and becoming a major issue for GIScience. Society will be benefited both socially and economically. Nothing is really known about the potential benefits. It is essential to invent a methodology for the assessment of the benefits. Currently I am doing a PhD research which will try to give a dimension of socio-economic benefits. The main research will be carried out on the field of VGI and PPGIS, an emphasis on the socio-economic evaluation of those two fields in combination with Neogeography.

I am expecting your valuable opinion and suggestions for the successful completion of my PhD research.

Resources on the Geospatial Web and climate change

Arno Scharl is best known for his book on the geospatial web. He also runs a Web 2.0 content agregator called ecoresearch, which visualizes, in a variety of contexts, research, articles, etc. on climate change and on the geospatial web (although the former is a fantastic implementation, it does illustrate the hazards of not updating content; the latter site is mostly a plug for his book). His article, Media Watch on Climate Change: Building and Visualizing Contextualized Information Spaces, introduces the technology behind the climate change aggregator and does a nice job in describing the ontological and semantic underpinnings of the site.

Their knowledge planet infrastructure is really cool, if only I could figure out exactly what it was showing (maybe it's my browser).

(And they're running off of the same drupal theme--garland--in their content management system as us.)

MapWorld Forum and Sustainable Earth

This year's MapWorld Forum, in Hyderabad, India, takes place from February 10-13, 2009. The theme for this year's conference is Geospatial Technology for Sustainable Planet Earth.

MapTube Site

'Just came across Maptube in my travels and am passing this along in case people have not seen it yet

The "About" link gives a good idea of what is going on here in terms of map sharing and distributed processing.

While this offers display-only technology at this point, I think it is a neat step in extending Google Maps' native capabilities.

... Dave


Dr. David Coleman <dcoleman @ unb.ca>
Professor of Geodesy and Geomatics Engineering
University of New Brunswick

Syndicate content