Archive for January, 2006

Blogging their way to freedom

Saturday, January 14th, 2006

The New York Times has a healthy 4-page article on the discursive history of democracy, transparency, and all of what’s good for the people as sourcing from blogs in a tiny Arabian state, Bahrain. read all about it.

Ice on the Internet

Tuesday, January 10th, 2006

Worried about reduction of the Earth’s cryosphere? At least you can see the coolest animation of it on the web. This video from NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center is an amazing combination of geo-visualization, temporal modeling, and 3-D modeling. All in a single shot of cruising over Antarctica (replete with roving annotations) to settling on sections of South and North America to moving to the Arctic and finally on to Greenland. It’s also a seamless blend of very different models (e.g., movements of glaciers and changes in mountain snow cover). The site mentions the importance of continued collection of data. I hope that viewers get a sense of the enormous quantity of spatial data needed to produce this seven minute animation.

No GIS is mentioned, however. Sigh.

Return of Friday Cat Blogging

Friday, January 6th, 2006

Mr Evil and Ms Clam wish you a Happy New Year.

Also, Happy Birthday Blog! It’s been one year.

A little more Space in Spatial Analysis

Thursday, January 5th, 2006

Missed this post from Stargazer on GIS in space.

If the options for geo-spatial analysis offered by this planet are not satisfying, there is an alternative. GIS is not just being used on Earth but is also being used to map planets across the solar system. The United States Geological Survey (USGS) Astrogeology Research Program using datasets provided by NASA has made several maps of space bodies.

After all of NASA’s missions over the years, there is a huge amount of planetary data lying around. That’s where Planetary Data System (PDS) comes into play. According to NASA’s site, PDS “archives and distributes digital data from past and present NASA planetary missions, astronomical observations, and laboratory measurements.” It is sponsored by NASA’s Office of Space Science to make this data available for research and analysis purposes.

PDS is composed of seven different “nodes” of research that analyze specific elements of the huge amount of data provided within PDS. One such node is the Imagining Node, run by the USGS and the Jet Propulsion Laboratory. This node “provides to the NASA planetary science community the digital image archives, necessary ancillary data sets, software tools, and technical expertise necessary to fully utilize the vast collection of digital planetary imagery.”

So when does GIS come in? USGS has something called Planetary Interactive G.I.S.-on-the-Web Analyzable Database. In addition to being a funny sounding acronym, PIGWAD allows spatial data layers for Venus, Mars, Mercury, the Moon and the Jovian satellites: Io, Ganymede, and Callisto to be downloaded as ESRI shapefiles. This means you can use the data on ArcView! Also available for download is the metadata for each layer, as well as a screenshot of the layer. If you don’t want to download but just take a peep, you can also look at layers and images online using ArcExplorer.

The USGS website also has an awesome program called Map-a-Planet. This allows you to make customized maps of several planets with a click of a mouse that are then available for download. This site uses cartographic software called MapMaker to make maps out of Planetary Data System layers and images. It has three levels of functionality, so GIS novices can use the easy version whereas GIS nerds (like us) can use the advanced version.

If you want to map not only individual planets but the whole sky, you can download a program called AV_STARS which is a Celestial Mapping Project for ArcView.

Happy Space Mapping!

More news from Google

Wednesday, January 4th, 2006

Google recently announced the beta version of Google Video. You can not only search for videos but you can play them directly in the search results.

For your videos to appear, you must sign up for Google’s program and, after an approval process, submit your videos to Google. You still retain the copyright, though. And of course you have to tag your videos with metadata. The more tags the greater the searchability.

Among the very first to catalog their videos is Greenpeace.

Update: I wonder if Google Video is a way for Google to prime itself for the mobile phone market?

Update 2: Doesn’t work on Firefox yet. Rats.

Good news for Google Earth

Wednesday, January 4th, 2006

You can now add shapefiles to Google Earth without having to pay $200 for the “premium” service.

If this is done for Google Maps then this will change the face of web GIS.

news about the news about the news

Sunday, January 1st, 2006

Need I say more?

Again, thanks a apologies to Mr. Eggers.

Also, Dec. 31 comments about what news is on-target.