31 December 2012

Top Ten lists

As landscape architecture and environmental planning have increasingly acknowledged an important and central role for climate and weather, this list of Top 10 weather events of 2012 seems interesting for our few year-end readers. Might as well throw in Slate's list of Top new species too.

26 December 2012

The 1st Amendment and the 2nd Amendment

The Journal-News, out of White Plains, NY, has published a very detailed interactive map of every resident in their area that is registered to own a gun.  On the surface it is an interesting map. Depending on your expectations, it may show that there are more legal guns (or legal gun owners, to be precise) than you expected in a small neighborhood in Yonkers. Here is a small close-up of the map of pistol owners in Southern Westchester County:

Pretty detailed, right? It might be interesting to make a map of the streets without guns. Or compare a density map of guns with a density map of population or crime. Add schools and you have a different map.

While the website does not give the details of the gun, it does list the name and address of each license holder. Some pro-gun advocates see this, not as a thoughtful mapping of a timely issue, but as intimidation of citizens simply exercising their 2nd Amendment rights. Instapundit's Glenn Reynolds writes, " I guess nobody could object to people putting the newspaper staff’s addresses on the Web now, right?."

The interesting distinction here is that the gun licenses are public records. They have been all along. In theory, anyone could have gone to the courthouse or ATF or whomever, and gotten these seem records themselves. So why is improved access and heightened visibility off public records such an issue? Mappers should be aware of this response because it also happens when someone makes a map of long-public property tax records. Suddenly, this public display of public records feels like a violation of privacy to many. And, yet, mapmakers rarely seem prepared for this backlash (whether it is justified or not).

While geographers have long been aware of mapping as a political act (even unintentional), seom neogeographers are just relearning the lessons of the literature.

01 December 2012

Word of the day: Geotag

Eariler this week the OED chose Geotag as their word of the day. We've really made it.

I was surprised to see them tracing the word back to 1996.

(Direct links to the OED online may not work for all readers, but on-campus users at Rutgers should use the OED as much as possible.)

30 November 2012

Transcontinental Motor Convoy

I ran into Frank Popper the other day and he told me about an old article in American Heritage called Through Darkest America. The article, definitely worth the read, tells the story of a young, bored Army Capt. D. D. Eisenhower who led an Army convoy across the US. Along the way they broke and repaired dozens of bridges. Eisenhower, recognizing that they were on mostly dirt roads from Illinois to Nevada, realized how hard the Army would be to mobilize if the continental US were attacked. The article describes this as simulated was:
This convoy was no small undertaking, for it was to operate under “wartime conditions” and assumed that “railroad facilities, bridges, tunnels, etc., had been damaged or destroyed by agents of an Asiatic enemy.”
The above photo from the Eisenhower Library collection captures how easily these relatively new Army vehicles could easily damage the nation's fragile infrastructure. But the "wartime" conditions with troops reliant on their supply train were undermined by locals who tried to fatten up the troops, as seen in this old photo from the National Archives. In Ohio, Harvey Firestone treated the troops to a picnic.

In the end it sounds like a successful convoy. "Despite all the hazards, the convoy lost only two vehicles to accidents, and one that rolled down a mountain beyond reach, in the thirty-two-hundred-mile trek."

It is fascinating to think how responsible this little excursion is for today's Interstate highways and the sprawl that they enabled.

(h/t The Frank Popper)

20 November 2012

Hikers alert: Marble Hill

Regular readers will know that Places and Spaces is closely linked with the annual tip-to-tip hike of Manhattan. Even if you don't join us for that pointless spectacle, you can check out the unsung neighborhood where we start: Marble Hill. But today, Marble Hill is a little less unsung, as it has been featured in the NY Times Metro section and gotten a Times slideshow.

19 November 2012

Rutgers schedule reminder

Tuesday, November 20, 2012 – follow Thursday class schedule Wednesday, November 21, 2012 – follow Friday class schedule

Jail the planners?

Ed Blakely suggests that it is time to think about jailing the planners who have facilitated the recklessly dangerous development that Sandy ripped through. But he also aims directly for the planners elsewhere who have contributed to climate change, which will continue to threaten the coast. Most importantly, this expert on Hurricane Katrina offers concrete steps that communities should take to more towards responsible resiliency.

13 November 2012

09 November 2012

Step up and volunteer!

If you saw my earlier post on Wansoo Im's IMSOCIO group mapping gas, you already know that the HS students' hard work has become important to both drivers and agencies.
But now that their school has reopened, they need volunteers to fill the gaps so these guys can study a bit more. I know Central NJ seems to be better, but Long Island and the Shore still have major problems.

Here is Dr. Im's request for volunteers:
The Mappler Team by IMSOCIO has been updating our http://www.mappler.net/gasstation site to provide invaluable information to people who are in need and to government agencies during the response to Hurricane Sandy.

It is about time that IMSOCIO members (high school students in Franklin Township,NJ) refocus their energy on their studies. They built a foundation for the volunteer system on this project. While we have more volunteers from Rutgers University, and other universities and colleges, we are still short on volunteers to update gas station status data. We are trying to launch “Adopt a Gas Station”; each individual adopts a gas station and updates a status report via web or smart phone. It would take maximum 3-4 phone calls per day, and we will have a complete database with your help. Clear instruction will be provided. Anyone interested? With 4-5 minutes of your time daily for next week, we can make a difference together. Please share this and click like button. Instruction will be provided via http://www.facebook.com/groups/findgasstations site. Thanks.

Please email if you have any questions.
This photo show the DOE Gas Station Information Collection Call Center. And what is that on the screen? The IM SOCIO map.

06 November 2012

More of Sandy's wrath

Hope springs eternal

Hope springs eternal in the human breast;
Man never Is, but always To be blest:
The soul, uneasy and confin'd from home,
Rests and expatiates in a life to come.

 – Alexander Pope, An Essay on Man

03 November 2012

More Sandy

A few more Sandy links...

IM Socio response

This summer I got the chance to meet the students in IM Socio, a high school group at Franklin High School. We walked the High Line and mapped it for their interactive map exploring design. It was an energetic group that was equipped for community mapping and just needed the right problem. Here it is: gas lines.

I just got back from IM Socio's emergency project: headquarters. Fielding calls from around NJ and NY, the students are creating an actively changing database of gas stations that have gas and others that don't. There isn't enough space for them to work, so they are sprawled out all over the floor.

Their web site, Got Gas? is getting lots of well-deserved attention from HuffPo, and NBC4. FEMA has converted their data into a Hurricane Sandy ArcGIS map. Oh, and they've been getting kudos from the White House.
View Larger Map

It is a great example of how quickly community mapping can be mobilized. But there is more to it. Dr. Wansoo Im has been preparing this group for months, he just didn't know that this is what he was preparing them for. For much of the data, the students are making calls instead of relying heavily on the public to collect the data with Mappler Mobile. Fortunately, Dr. Im has some software, space and equipment that has served as the infrastructure, but this emergency response requires some of that infrastructure. But it thrives on IM Socio's youthful energy (and pizza).

01 November 2012

Catching up

Got a few minutes of Internet and here's what I can offer:
You can find pictures of devastation on your own.

29 October 2012

Hurricane Sandy

Before the power goes out, there are some resources that you can tap into.

Aside from the usual storm tracking from NOAA is the list of USGS streamgages in the path of the storm. Most allow real-time tracking, as seen above.

Live cameras of the waterfronts at Battery Park City, Hoboken, and a Cape May beach may also be interesting as long as they are still working. In New Brunswick you can see the Rt 27 bridge and Rt 18 just a little too far from where the Raritan usually takes ownership.

For news, Bill McKibben is maintaining a fascinating Twitter feed.

Expect good local coverage from the Cape May County Herald and the Press of Atlantic City.

Also, Hurricane Sandy Speaks.

26 October 2012

Street View in the Grand Canyon

Google Maps is now taking Street View down into the Grand Canyon so you don't have to. Very cool photos.

It seems fitting that the Grand Canyon still serves as a site of innovation. In 1882, Dutton published his Tertiary History of the Grand Cañon District as a Monograph of the U.S.G.S. that included this quote:

“Great innovations, whether in art or literature, in science or in nature, seldom take the world by storm. They must be understood before they can be estimated, and must be cultivated before they can be understood.”
That quote, from Clarence Dutton, was not inspired by computers or light bulbs, but instead by the Grand Canyon. Weaving together geology and eloquent descriptions of unparalleled scenery, he argues that the Grand Canyon, as an idea not as a physical reality, is a great innovation. “As with all great innovations it is not to be comprehended, in a day or a week, nor even in a month. It must be dwelt upon and studied,” he explained.

25 October 2012

Tanner Springs Park

I posted photos of Tanner Springs several years ago, so it seemed worth an update. On my latest visit to one of Portland's great urban parks, I noticed some details that didn't stand out the first time. One detail was the rusty, wavy wall made of old railroad ties.

The park also includes references to the natural spring on the site.

And the last detail that I enjoyed rediscovering was the small rainwater recovery device. 

The whole thing is meant to make the park a place where visitors are forced into contact with natural processes.

24 October 2012

Green Team blog

The Metropolis Green Team has a great blog post from RU LA alum Zeina Zahalan. She critiques instant landscapes and talks about alternative approaches.

(I'd like to think that the absurd amount of writing that the climate change studio required was part of what propelled her into high visibility writing. But talent and hard work are probably more to blame.)

3d GIS models

If you look up 3d GIS models in a textbook, you will get something different than the 3d GIS models currently on display at the Tate Modern.

22 October 2012

TPM on Open Source Map

When political reporters cover mapping news, you know it is getting big. Talking Points Memo sent a reporter to the Open Source Map conference in Portland, OR and reported back to their rather large non-mapping audience that this was the next big thing. This is an effort to map the entire world through crowdsourcing, not leave it to the experts. Reporter Carl Franzen quotes on of those experts:
“Mapmakers were always these people who were very lauded,” said Eric Wolf, a geographer with the United States Geological Survey (USGS), in a presentation at the State of the Map USA conference in Portland on Saturday. “We make fantastic drawings about these people, we name companies after them, we put them on stamps.”

But now that OSM is trying to democratize mapping, will it remain a noble and honorable profession? Or be reduced to something that anyone can do themselves? You can look at the official materials online and decide for yourself,

20 October 2012

Steve Strom Memorial Lecture

Thursday, October 25 @ 6:30 p.m.
Trayes Hall @ Douglass Campus Center

Black Bottom: 
Restoring Urban Nature and Rebuilding Community - The West Philadelphia Project

Anne Whiston Spirn

Anne Spirn will discuss the West Philadelphia Landscape Project, an action research program linking environmental action and community development. For over twenty years, she has worked with residents, organizations, and students on the Mill Creek watershed, documenting cultural history, providing analysis of environmental and social conditions, and producing site designs for parks and community gardens.

To learn more see: http://www.annewhistonspirn.com/

15 October 2012

Best use of a Delauney tessalation this year?

If We Assume has an incredible post looking at the distribution of Starbucks across the US, using Delauney Tessalations as a tool for assessing the distribution. Then, he adds census data, and Wow!

Aesthetics of Irrigation in Islamic Cordoba

L.A. Lecture
Wednesday, October 17 @ 4:00 p.m.
Cook Campus Center Rm. 110

Between Landscape and Architecture: The Aesthetics of Irrigation in Islamic Cordoba (Spain) 
Professor D. Fairchild Ruggles 

Irrigation is a practical strategy to mitigate the lack of water. But in much of the Islamic Middle East, it also became an integral part of the garden’s form. In Islamic Spain—home to some of the most important historic Islamic gardens—both gardens and buildings were made with water management in mind. These were so successful that a thousand years later, even with the availability of modern water supplies, the traditional catchment systems still produce water and their sustainable logic can be observed.

Professor D. Fairchild Ruggles is an internationally known landscape historian who specializes in the Islamic Mediterranean and South Asia. She is the author of the award-winning books Islamic Gardens and Landscapes (2008) and Gardens, Landscape and Vision in the Palaces of Islamic Spain and has edited or co-edited five others. To learn more about Professor Ruggles see: http://www.landarch.illinois.edu/people/faculty/ruggles/ruggles.aspx

11 October 2012

MERC controversy at Salt River Bay

In a front page story, the Daily Targum reports that a proposed Caribbean research center in St. Croix that would include Rutgers as a partner has some local residents protesting.

It has been a while since we wrote about the beautiful Salt River Bay, so here are some of my photos to get you back in the mood.

You can get more complete photos and descriptions using the STX tag on this blog and the studio's website (which includes student work).

09 October 2012

More on the Map app flap

The NY Times asks digs a little deeper into the question of how Steve Jobs' death might be one reason Apple would lead the release of its new phone with such a flawed map app and whether they have waded into dangerously deep anti-trust waters. For those in geomatics, it is particularly interesting to note just how much is being invested in map technology.

08 October 2012

Quod natura non dat, Salmantica non praestat

I recently wrote a short position paper on spatial learning in a design school context. It asked a question about how much spatial ability is a talent and how much is a skill. We often see very intellectual individuals struggling with spatial basics. Especially where perception and judgement are required, the uncertainty of humans' ability to learn spatial lessons adds yet another challenge to design education.

Having that in mind, I was struck when I stumbled onto some information about Salamanca University. Founded in 900 AD, it is the oldest Spanish-language university in the world. But it was their motto that caught my eye:

Quod natura non dat, Salmantica non praestat 

For those not steeped in the dead language of Latin, it translates roughly as: 
What nature does not give, Salamanca does not offer

Skill or talent? Can we identify the difference?

05 October 2012

Looking forward

For Places and Spaces readers interested in the science of GIScience, reading about the future of GIS should be more than just ubiquitous computing and slicker interfaces. As such, I highly commend this paper by Blaske and Strobl on Geographic Information Science Developments from GIS Science. They question layers as a continuing means of thinking about our data. They also mention the possibility of "coordinate-free spatial theory which may culminate in 'global spatial analytics'. It is short, meaty, and readable, and yet it may take a while for you to unravel it and fully digest some of its 10 developments. Great stuff.

BLASCHKE, T. and STROBL, J. (2010): Geographic Information Science Developments. GIS.Science. Zeitschrift für Geoinformatik 23(1), 9-15.

01 October 2012

Auto-Carto 1

Here is another cool history gem online, the proceedings to AutoCarto I.

Campus RainWorks Challenge

The US EPA has a stormwater design competition for students with cash prizes. The Campus RainWorks Challenge has already begun, with entries due in December. So, if you are interested in green infrastrucutre and winning cash, check it out.

30 September 2012

MAC-URISA in AC: Betting on GIS!

OK, so "Betting on GIS!" is my own name for the meeting since it is in Atlantic City. Maybe "Ante up for geospatial" would have been better. In any case, you should go so you can convince them to find better bad names for next year.

On behalf of the Mid-Atlantic Chapter of URISA (MAC URISA) we invite you to attend our 16th regional GIS conference.  This year’s event, MAC URISA 2012, will take place on October 22, 23, and 24 in Atlantic City, New Jersey.  Ours is the largest GIS conference in the region and provides you opportunities to learn, network, and achieve continuing education credits.  Our exhibit hall will showcase the premier technologies and services available today.

Attached is a detailed list of speakers and topics we are offering at this year’s conference.  Our chapter has a long reputation of providing high quality continuing education at an affordable price.  As you review this year’s program you’ll see we continue this tradition by offering in depth sessions focused on parcel mapping, surveying, planning, asset management, natural resources, and technology.  In addition we will have hands on technology labs and showcases focused on the newest tools and applications available today.

Please visit our conference website www.macurisa.org/2012 and register.  To maximize your educational value, sign up for one of our six Pre-Conference Workshops.   The workshops offer eight hours of CEUs and are specifically geared to our region in the following areas:

                LiDAR:  Mid-Atlantic Availability, Useful Applications, and Hands-On Practice
                Cloud Based Mapping Applications
                Measuring NJ, People, Places, and our Economy (presented by the Census Bureau)
                Advanced GPS
                Land Record Intergration with GIS/CAMA
                An Overview of Open Source GIS Software (a URISA Certified Workshop)

Thank you and we look forward to seeing you at MAC URISA 2012!

28 September 2012

Google Drive for public participation

Google Docs has been a popular tool for collaboration among public participatory planning and GIS folks. But as it transitions into Google Drive, Google is going to end the functionality that allows users to save the files as .doc files or as .xls. For my PP readers out there, will that change your use of it? Does it matter?

Apple snafu

No two ways about. Apple's new maps app just wasn't ready for prime time. Here is yet another catalog of "Amazing iOS 6 Maps" that are incredibly flawed. It was so bad that the CEO has apologized.

But the real lesson here is that maps aren't as easy as they look.

27 September 2012



All resumes must be received no later than October 9, 2012


The Natural Areas Conservancy (NAC) is a new organization created to work in partnership with the NYC Department of Parks & Recreation to restore, protect and manage a network of green and blue space that promotes a healthy, livable and diverse New York City. The NAC is tasked with expanding and diversifying the protection, management and restoration of 10,000 acres of forests, wetlands and grasslands overseen by the Parks Department’s Natural Resources Group. This public/private partnership will unify the identity of NYC’s natural areas, increase public awareness and volunteerism and integrate advanced technology.

·         Under supervision, the GIS Specialist will assist in the creation and development of an ecological assessment database format and provide organization and maintenance of the database.
·         Assist in the development, organization, maintenance, enhancement and dissemination of the division’s data and ArcSDE database. Assist in the improvement and maintenance of the division's data catalog.
·         Perform data analyses and provide data collection and field computing support for ecological assessments of New York City's natural areas.
·         Utilize a range of geospatial and non-spatial data to perform spatial and tabular analyses, create data summaries, presentations, and reports and maps for field use.
·         Assist in the collection and management of field data using both standard and customized GPS applications to capture ecological monitoring data. Perform needs assessments with staff to determine data capture criteria, create user documentation and training materials, conduct trainings, and configure and deploy GPS units and field computers.
·         Provide GIS and GPS support for non-specialist staff.
·         Document all analytical and data management methodologies

1. A Bachelor’s degree from an accredited college, with major study in Geography, Geographic Information Systems, environmental sciences, ecology, forestry, computer science and other related disciplines such as horticulture, landscape architecture or city planning
2. A minimum of two years of professional experience
3. Extensive experience using GIS software, specifically ESRI ArcGIS suite, geoprocessing tools, and related computer systems (hardware and software) in particular ArcGIS desktop software, ArcGIS SDE and ArcGIS Mobile or Arc Pad.

1. A Master's degree with major study in Geography, Geographic Information Systems, environmental sciences, ecology, forestry, computer science and other related disciplines such as horticulture, landscape architecture or city planning.
3. Demonstrated experience with VBA, JavaScript, MS Access; familiarity with SQL, SQL Server, .NET, Python
4. Demonstrated experience with Trimble GPS devices and other field computing solutions.
5. Experience working with end users and technical staff to assess needs and implement technology solutions
6. Strong communication skills, especially with analytical products, as well as process documentation and sharing knowledge.
7. Driver license valid in New York State.

To apply, please submit a cover letter and resume with the position title to:
Helen Forgione, Senior Project Manager
Arsenal North
1234 Fifth Avenue, RM 200
New York, NY 10029

All resumes must be received no later than October 9, 2012

Fruit salad trees?

Is your backyard too crowded for all of the types of fruit you need? Well, you are in luck. A New Zealand company can sell you a fruit salad tree, with all of your fruit on one tree. The science of botany and horticulture has advanced enough that this company has been around since 1990. Grafting trees is just not as big a deal as it used to be.

But now Scientific American reports that grafting of softer plants has become commonplace. For example, farmers in Kenya are now growing pomato plants that grow both potatoes and tomatoes on a single plant. And, since it is based on grafting, this all seems to come free of the concerns that are raised about GMOs.

Personally, I am holding out for a romaine salad with almonds plant. Or for someone to graft the carrots and potatoes right onto the cow.

BTW Plant propagation is taught at Rutgers under the number of 11:776:310. Look for it this spring.

26 September 2012

Spatial Statistics 2013 Conference

Spatial Statistics 2013:
Revealing intricacies in spatial and spatio-temporal data with statistics

You are cordially invited to attend the Spatial Statistics 2013 conference, which will be held in the Ohio Union at The Ohio State University, Columbus, OH, June 4-7, 2013. This conference provides state-of-the-art paper sessions in the field of spatial statistics, including the quantitative analysis of spatial data and the statistical modeling of spatial variability and uncertainty. Researchers participating in this conference come from various fields, including agriculture, geology, ecology, epidemiology, geography, hydrology, and spatial econometrics, and will present in paper, keynote and plenary sessions, participate in panel discussions, and contribute to poster presentation.

Keynote/Plenary speakers:
The keynote speakers are Robert Haining (University of Cambridge, UK), Pierre Legendre (University of Montreal, Canada), Jean Paelinck (George Mason University, USA), Lance A. Waller (Emory University, USA), and Jinfeng Wang (Chinese Academy of Science at Beijing, China).

The plenary speakers are Sudipto Banerjee (University of Minnesota, USA), Montserrat Fuentes (North Carolina State University, USA), Jorge Mateu (University of Navarra, Spain), Ronny Vallejos (Universidad Técnica Federico Santa María, Chile), and Tonglin Zhang (Purdue University, USA).

Submission of abstracts and session proposals:
Submissions of individual paper abstracts, session proposals, and workshop proposals are welcome. An abstract can be submitted through the conference web site until February 25th, 2013. Persons who are interested in organizing a session can submit a session proposal until January 31st, 2013. Persons who are interested in organizing a workshop (half- or full-day workshops will be held on June 4, immediately prior to the main meeting) can submit a session proposal until December 1st, 2012.

Selected papers from the conference will be eligible for publication in a special issue of Spatial Statistics, and, given sufficient interest and appropriate topics, special issues of Geographical Analysis and Computers & Geosciences.

For further information, please visit the conference web site: http://www.spatialstatisticsconference.com/

URISA = GIS history

How old is GIS? The answer can be tricky, with many different markers representing a variety of early dates. But one measure is the start of the Urban and Regional Information Systems Association (URISA). This week URISA is holding its 50th annual conference. Wow. One way to celebrate the first issue of the URISA Journal, published in 1989. The table of contents shows that the Journal started off with contributions from a remarkable list of GIS notables (although some only became notable later).

Notable academic contributors include Will Craig, Barry Wellar and a joint contribution from Clapp, McLaughlin, Vonderohe, and Sullivan. Public sector contributors include David Arbeit and Ed Crane.And, quite notably, the issue featured an in-depth interview with ESRI founder Jack Dangermond.

Good stuff. And, because URISA is all about outreach and impact, you can read the entire thing online for free.

24 September 2012

Frank Gallagher on Ecological Integrity and Urbanization

L.A. Lecture
Wednesday, September 26 @ 4:00 p.m.

Ecological Integrity and Urbanization
Dr. Frank Gallagher
CDLhttp://rumaps.rutgers.edu/location.jsp?id=C137735 110

A multitude of studies over the past several decades have described the impairment of ecological integrity associated with urbanization. However, few attempts have been made to clearly define and quantify the ecological function and services of urban green-space. As a result their perceived values are generally limited to aesthetics and recreation. However, novel assemblages, especially "urban wildlands" often function well in spite of the environmental stressors of the urban environment. This lecture will explore the unique patterns of species diversity/distribution; models of primary productivity, and non-traditional guild trajectories within urban green-space and consider the potential for including such functions in design scenarios.

For more information on Frank Gallagher and his research see: http://www.gallaghergreen.com/

Remembering Stu Appel

It is with sadness that we begin the week remembering one of the area's great landscape architects, Stuart David Appel, FASLA. Rutgers students were blessed to have him as a teacher and guest critic.

When he was nominated by the NJ ASLA  to become an ASLA Fellow, the summary of their statement was this:

"Stuart Appel was nominated by the New Jersey Chapter for his design contributions to the profession and his commitment to teaching and mentoring. The senior principal of Wells Appel, he has created a body of work that reflects a profound understanding of context, culture, and natural systems. Concentrated in the mid-Atlantic region, his work has earned scores of national and regional design awards. His commitment to scholarship and mentorship has remained a stalwart of his practice, evidenced through his teaching at Temple University, the University of Pennsylvania, and Rutgers University. Appel earned his bachelor of environmental studies in 1978 and bachelor of landscape architecture in 1979 from the State University of New York–Syracuse and an MBA from LaSalle University in 1990."

Places and Spaces has written about Stu before. He offered us some great insight into work in Dubai and Qatar (not that our notes reflect on the quality of the lecture). And we recorded his answer when he was asked to name his 3 favorite examples of landscape architecture that he'd ever visited:

1) Piazza San Marco, Venice
2) Villa Montefiore in Tuscany
3) Yosemite Park

Most importantly he was loved and respected and just a great person to be around.

20 September 2012


Apple's new map app is getting reviews describing it as a mapocalypse due to errors all around the digital globe. CNET says that, so far, Europeans are complaining the loudest. HuffPo's list of funniest and oddest errors may only be funny to the Europeans. The BBC makes it sound like the scapegoating has already begun: "TomTom said it provided only data and was not responsible for how it worked." Do you now have to pay for transit directions? It seems to depend on where you look.

Oh, and WashDOT has already reassured drivers that the Tacoma Narrows bridged has not melted. Drive on.

14 September 2012

Millenial mysteries

Lots of mentions lately for the Millenials. Who are they? They are the generation in college right now.  Also known as the echo boom or Generation Y, they are a large group (unlike Gen X) who may really take the US in new directions. They may have already turned the last presidential election.

As members of the generation enter the planning and design workforce, do they have different expectations?
Does this generation need a change in how we plan and design landscapes for them?
If you are Gen Y, how will your approach to design be different than previous designers?

13 September 2012

Don't take this too seriously

Kiplingers has conducted an analysis of the "worse college majors for your career." Their list of 10 majors is developed based on pay comparisons and employment rates. But, for instance, when they tell you that Graphic Design is a lousy major, it is based on their criteria, not yours And studio arts students are notorious for not caring about the pay, so this article won't change their minds. If you really want to be a graphic designer even if it doesn't pay as well as finance, it may be a pretty appropriate major for you. The argument for English and Anthropology and Liberal Arts is a little different.

And, yet, if you are in high school and sorting out your future, you need to know what you are getting into. Right? So take a peek but take it for what it is worth.

12 September 2012

Rob Hewitt has posted an impressive analysis of social media for ASLA and related sites. As he (and the amazing graphics) explains, ASLA has a dense network that is very interconnected internally. As he points out, the graphs that were created allow "one can see just how different the various professional organizations and news sites are in terms of their numbers, their dispersal, how intensely they communicate, and their national and global reach." And you can clearly see a difference between ASLA, APA, and ArchRecord.

Inside the new Google Maps revolution

Everything you know about online maps is changing, again. Atlantic Monthly's Alexis Madrigal gets a peek behind the curtain.

11 September 2012

Woodbridge 9-11 Memorial

Wyckoff 9-11 Memorial

Allendale 9-11 Memorial

Bayonne 9-11 Memorial

Colts Neck 9-11 Memorial

A 9-11 Memorial from Chatham

Another 9-11 Memorial from Chatham

As an aside, these photos were all taken several years ago one of our students, Jenna Pauloski, who spent some time taking landscape photos for our NJ LA project. I have chosen to omit what I consider the very saddest of the memorials that she photographed (even though the competition for that title is stiff).

National September 11 Memorial

But what is it worth?