29 February 2012

RU Biking?

RU Students: Get out and make some biking maps on Friday.The weather will be dry and in the 50s.  Perfect!

Happy Leap Day

Hard to figure out how to celebrate one of the most irregular holidays out there.

Gasland: Film Screening and Panel Discussion

Gasland: Film Screening and Panel Discussion

March 5 at 7 p.m

The Rutgers Centers for Global Advancement and International Affairs is sponsoring a screening of the documentary Gasland on March 5 at 7 p.m. in the Multipurpose Room at the Rutgers Student Center, Rutgers–New Brunswick. This screening is part of the 2011–2013 Technologies Without Borders: Technologies Across Borders theme and will be followed by a panel discussion. Learn more here.

27 February 2012

Film and panel

The 2011-2012 Biennial Theme - Technologies Without Borders: Technologies Across Borders

Cordially invites you to a panel discussion and film screening of:
GASLAND, A film by Josh Fox

Monday, March 5, 2012 at 7:00 p.m.
Rutgers Student Center, Multipurpose Room A (College Ave Campus)

(Details after the break)

25 February 2012

How important are soils in National Parks?

Soils are important enough that the NPS has a special set of soils objectives and guidelines.

Internship at Montclair State

Possible Internship at Montclair State

The position requires an intelligent, hard-working, creative/artistic and   intuitive student for part-time work up to 20 hours a week thru the   summer and maybe into the fall semester.  Preference would be   someone who lives local to the Montclair area and is either a   sophomore becoming a junior or a junior becoming a senior
-Updating our AutoCAD architectural and site plan base maps   
-Development of 3D-models with either sketch-up or a comparable   program
-Ability to work on GIS and incorporate building floor plans into our geodatabase
-Drawing of some landscape planting plans for a variety of campus locations
-Review campus circulation patterns and developing solutions to some challenging ped/veh conflicts
-General office work such as renderings for presentation drawings, printing, burning CD's, campus deliveries, changing roles of paper in the plotter, misc filing etc. 

If interested, please contact:
  Michael J. Zanko  Director of Campus Planning  Montclair State University  University Facilities  855 Valley Road-Suite 107  Clifton, NJ  07013  office: 973-655-7706  fax: 973-655-6976

Benton MacKaye quote

This problem is basic for the regional planner-indeed it is for him the basic problem, the problem of minimizing existence, or concern with the means of life, and maximizing living, or fulfillment of the ends.


24 February 2012

Energy Internships

PSE&G Internships
Rutgers Energy Institute Internships

The deadlines are coming quick.

Ryan Perkl's ecological design tools

Here is a great 11 minute video from the Geodesign Summit showing how GIS and landscape ecology can be combined to create new automated ecological design tools. The presentation is by Arizona's Ryan Perkl who is clearly one of the rising stars of the geodesign game.

For those of you interested in building your professional background, Rutgers' Environment and Public Health (EPH) summer course might be interesting to you. If you have an interest environmental health, it will help with some broad technical skills, ranging from epidemiology to environmental inspections to emergency response.  The seven-week course and accompanying five-week internship provide expertise and experience helping prepare you for the state licensing exam.  It sounds more fun than working at UPS. (SLYT)

Spring 2012 Environmental Geomatics Lecture

Please join us for the
Spring 2012 Environmental Geomatics Lecture

"Esri's Emerging Natural and Ocean Science Agenda"
Dawn Wright, Chief Scientist, Esri

4pm, Cook Douglass Lecture Hall, Room 110
Wednesday February 29th

Increasingly, GIS is included as part of the growing collaboration between computer scientists, information scientists, and domain scientists to solve complex scientific questions. As we know, Earth system science is based upon the recognition that the Earth functions as a complex system of inter- related components that must be understood as a whole. Examples range from understanding the complex interactions at seafloor spreading centers systems, to exploring the structure and evolution of continental earthquakes and volcanoes, to informing regional decision- and policy-making across several themes in coastal zone management and marine spatial planning. Successfully addressing these scientific problems requires integrative and innovative approaches to analyzing, modeling, and developing extensive and diverse data sets. The current chaotic distribution of available data sets, lack of documentation about them, and lack of easy-to-use access tools and computer modeling and analysis codes are still major obstacles for scientists and educators alike. Contributing solutions to these problems is part of an emerging science agenda for oceanography and related natural sciences that will be discussed. Esri has also recently launched a major ocean GIS initiative, and the talk will highlight some recent projects in progress, including a new ocean basemap, a new ocean geodesign platform for coastal and marine spatial planning, developing contributions to the new Ocean Health Index project, and more.

About the speaker:
In October of 2011 Dawn Wright was appointed as Chief Scientist of Esri. She maintains her appointment as Professor of Geography and Oceanography and Director of the Davey Jones Locker Marine GIS/Seafloor Mapping Laboratory at Oregon State University. Her current research interests include marine data models, benthic terrain and habitat characterization, and coastal/ocean informatics and cyberinfrastructure. She serves on the US National Academy of Sciences Ocean Studies Board, the NOAA Science Advisory Board, the Science Advisory Council of Conservation International, and many editorial boards, including the AAG Annals, IJGIS, and J. of Coastal Conservation. She is a fellow of Stanford's Aldo Leopold Leadership Program and of the AAAS.

Dawn holds an Individual Interdisciplinary Ph.D. in Physical Geography and Marine Geology from UCSB, an M.S. in Oceanography from Texas A&M, and a B.S. in Geology from Wheaton College (Illinois)

22 February 2012

Free GIS

You can pick from a variety of free GIS software at FreeGIS.org.  Of course, user beware, caveat emptor, etc.  But it gives you an idea of what some options would be for a cash strapped operation or just one interested in supporting this side of the software development community.  The opening screen only shows the 10 latest changes, but if you search the site, you'll find many more.

International border question

The NY Times explores the more-difficult-than-it-seems-it-should-be question of whether Russia borders North Korea.

21 February 2012

Urban wetlands park

The LA Times has a short story on a site that was a bus parking lot but has just opened as a wetland park. KCET has photos.  Worth a peek, since it seems like a trend. (Mapped)

Lecture: The Death and Life of Great American Landscapes

Alan Brake: The Death and Life of Great American Landscapes
4:00 pm _ CDL 110

Allen, who is the Midwest editor and landscape design correspondent for The Architects Newspaper, has written that among the design disciplines, it is widely argued that landscape architecture is ascendant, and that its practitioners are claiming new professional territory from architects and urban planners. Landscape architects now frequently lead competition teams for masterplans, public space improvements, streetscapes, environmental remediation projects, parks, and community development projects. The rising concern about sustainability and, in the face of a slowed global economy, the waning of the so-called architecture of spectacle, have also bolstered the role of landscape architects, whose skills fuse placemaking and aesthetics with practical ecological needs like stormwater management and reducing urban air pollution. As a discipline, however, landscape architecture is poorly understood by the public. It receives little coverage in general interest publications, and, in the US, only one professional journal serves its practitioners. This lecture will argue for the role of critical writing in embedding landscape-based practice in the cultural, civic, and ecological future of cities, and for continuing to expand the intellectual and professional territory of landscape architects.

A Sunday walk in HMF

Sunday afternoon looks to be sunny and 46 degrees. Sounds like a great time to stretch your legs and learn.

Hutcheson Memorial Forest Tour
Sunday, February 26 at 2:00 p.m.

Tour Leader: Peter Morin (Community Ecologist)

“Winter Botany at Hutcheson Memorial Forest.”

The Hutcheson Memorial Forest (HMF) is a unique area consisting of one of the last uncut forests in the Mid-Atlantic States, along with the surrounding lands devoted to protection of the old forest and research into ecological interactions necessary to understand the forest. The tract is administered and protected by Rutgers University.  It is apparently the only uncut upland forest in the Piedmont of New Jersey, and appears on the National Park Service Register of Natural Landmarks.

Tours leave from the entrance of the woods on Amwell Road (Rt. 514) in Somerset. From New Brunswick, follow Hamilton Street west past JFK Blvd, Cedar Grove Lane and Elizabeth St. HMF is on the left past Gardener’s Nook Nursery. The driveway is located just past the guardrail over the brook.

The trail may be muddy in places so come prepared.  The tour through the woods and fields takes between one and two hours.

18 February 2012

Changing the way you see old places

This fun and wonderful video will change you see a few old spaces and buildings. But it also shows how absurdist efforts could impact other efforts to conceptualize places.

Buenos Aires - Inception Park from Black Sheep Films on Vimeo.

16 February 2012

Discussion of Readings 3

Goldberg, Wilson and Knoblock, 2007, "The current state of geocoding" URISA Journal


Internship in Philly

POSITION: Landscape Design Summer Intern, Green Infrastructure Program

DUTIES/JOB DESCRIPTION: Intern will work closely with Office of Watersheds landscape designers and environmental engineers in the planning and implementation of the green stormwater infrastructure programs, analysis and prioritization of sites, design of green infrastructure projects on public lands, and research of best management practices and materials.
• Assist in identification of green infrastructure opportunities for parks, schools, and vacant lands
• Visit sites, analyze conditions and potential for green stormwater management
• Collaborate on concept development and landscape design for green infrastructure projects
• Research precedents, new techniques, materials, vegetation, soils for infiltration

Details below the fold...

How much damage could one invasive species do?

How much damage could one invasive species do?  A lot.  In Florida, introduced Burmese pythons are wiping out some mammalian populations.  How much? A recent study found that "populations of raccoons dropped 99.3 percent, opossums 98.9 percent and bobcats 87.5 percent.  Marsh and cottontail rabbits, as well as foxes, were not seen at all."

15 February 2012

A planning board meeting that sounds exciting

Princeton has a planning board meeting tomorrow night that sounds pretty exciting. The Philadelphia Enquirer says it pits history versus housing, Einstein's home against one of Washington's proudest moments.  (Here is an earlier report from NJ.com

Movie voice: Thursday night, the battlefield moves into the hearing room.

Playing around with colors

In class today I will be talking some about the use of colors in map design.  Some interesting, free, online tools that we'll mention are:

We'll also briefly mention 2 blogs worth more of your time and attention:
ESRI Mapping Center
Digital Urban

We will also watch a little of this great video from Columbia's always impressive group:

New York City Taxi Activity / Origins vs. Destinations from Juan Francisco Saldarriaga on Vimeo.

14 February 2012

Planning board meeting cheat sheet

Here is an incomplete and unverified list  of potential planning board meetings on different nights.  No warranty is implied by the provision of this information:

  New Brunswick 
  South River

   East Brunswick
   North Brunswick (and a Tuesday in March)
   South Brunswick  (Feb 15th)
   Piscataway - Second Wednesday of each Month – 7:30 pm
   Franklin - 1st and 3rd Wednesday of each month at 7:30 p.m.

   Highland Park
   Metuchen  1st and 3rd Thursdays of the month at 7:30 PM
   South Brunswick (March 1)
   Princeton - first and third Thursday of each month at 7:30 p.m.
   Bound Brook - the second and fourth Thursdays of each month at 7:30 PM
   Monroe - 4th Thursday of every month
   Plainsboro - every 1st and 3rd Monday at 7:30 p.m.

Why does Congress hate bikes and buses?

Maybe they don't, but this week they have been moving on transportation legislation that dramatically cuts or eliminates funding for safe routes to school and alternative modes of transportation. Salon describes it as "The Tea Party's War on Mass Transit" but that doesn't fully explain the other members of Congress who have voted for these changes.

The ASLA is making it a major lobbying push.  The Episcopal Church is opposed. Now, on the eve of debate, the bill is temporarily stopped.  Because these groups successfully fought it?  No.  Rand Paul is holding it hostage because, as reported by Politco, he is upset that no one wants to debate over aid to Egypt.

13 February 2012

Bimal Mendis and Joyce Hsiang on Territorial Practices

Please join us at 4:00 pm on Wednesday, February 15 in CDL110 for when Bimal Mendis and Joyce Hsiang will present the lecture Territorial Practices.

Joyce Hsiang and Bimal Mendis conduct research on urbanism and global development. Their work applies architectural thinking, analysis and cartographic methods to strategize and reconfigure social economic, cultural and political infrastructures. Their approach independently originates and generates research as a self-curated entrepreneurial process. Through a critical examination of collective issues, and an identification of sites and methods for intervention, their methodology is operatively embedded within research and development. Their work emerges from the indeterminacy of contemporary global practice, where they are as much a part of the formulation of the project and its framework, as the design itself.

Ongoing projects include the design of a Sustainability Index to measure and manage urban development, which was awarded a Hines Research Grant for Advanced Sustainability in Architecture in 2009 and an AIA Upjohn Research Grant in 2010; the WorldIndexer, which examines the scale of global development as a continuous and integrated domain; and The Maldives Spatial Plan, which repositions the archipelago of 1200 islands, linking and interconnecting their anomalous geospatial, environmental and infrastructural systems.

Award wining projects include the winning entry for an urban tidal park in Buzzard's Bay, USA and the 2011 Modern Atlanta Prize for an ecological masterplan for Gadeokdo Island in South Korea. Their research on urban development and strategies of indexing have been widely exhibited, most recently in the 2011 Chengdu Architecture Biennale in China and the 2011 Eye on Earth Summit in Abu Dhabi, UAE.

Ms. Hsiang and Mr. Mendis both teach at the Yale School of Architecture. Mr. Mendis is also the Assistant Dean and Director of Undergraduate Studies.

12 February 2012

Jobs in PA

The Delaware County (PA) Planning Department has two open positions right now, an entry level Associate Planner position in the Environmental Planning section, requiring a bachelor's degree; and a Transportation Planner position which requires either a master's degree or a bachelor's degree and some experience. Delaware County does have a residency requirement for employees, so a new hire would have to already live in the County or be willing to move into it at some point.

Full descriptions of the positions are available at the website here:

There are also some summer internships available:

Upcoming meetings

This week includes the 3rd Thursday, which is a busy time for planning boards.

South Brunswick's planning board meets on Wednesday, February 15.
North Brunswick has a planning board meeting on Wednesday.

Cranbury Township has a planning board meeting on Thursday, February 16.
Metuchen's planning board is also scheduled for a meeting.
Highland Park is scheduled for a planning board meeting.
Plainsboro is scheduled to meet every 1st and 3rd Monday at 7:30 p.m.

Don't say that there aren't plenty of opportunities for fun in this area.

10 February 2012

Cell phones around the world

Slate has started picking a Map of the Week and this week's global map of cell phones is fascinating.

McHarg on the despoilers

We cannot indulge the despoiler any longer. He must be identified for what he is, as one who destroys the inheritance of living and unborn Americans, an uglifier who is unworthy of the right to look his fellows in the eye be he who he is industrialist, merchant, developer, Christian, Jew or agnostic.  

Ian McHarg, 1965
White House Conference on Beauty for America

09 February 2012


Slate has a lengthy slideshow of the most gerrymandered districts.  But are they all really that bad?  For instance, one in NY hugs the shore of Lake Ontario.  Don't the shore towns share more with each other than with the Finger Lake towns?  Is that such a bad thing?

As usual, read the comments.  Slate's commenters span from the shallow political comments into some fairly thoughtful analysis.

08 February 2012

Protected advertising

An artist, Sean Click, made a set of McDonald's golden arches on the side of a California highway by planting poppy seeds. Once they came up, it seemed like something that the DOT should get rid of as some form of unauthorized advertising.  But, it turns out that they can't.  The poppies are a protected species in California and the agency is not allowed to kill or remove them.

Details on projections

WolframMathWorld has helpful pages explaining the mathematical side of a variety of Map Projections.

07 February 2012

Stanley White quote

Almost no field provides more startling opportunity for the display of handsome subject matter than ours.

Stanley White
Illinois Professor of Landscape Architecture

Ari Novy Dissertation Defense Seminar


Ari Novy
will present a seminar entitled
“Evolutionary and Demographic Processes in the Invasive Weed Microstegium vimineum”

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

9:00a.m. – 10:00 a.m.
Alampi Room, IMCS
Marine & Costal Sciences Building
Cook Campus

ADVISOR: Jean Marie Hartman

Stacy Bonos
Jean Marie Hartman
Peter Smouse
Lena Struwe


Microstegium vimineum (Trin.) A. Camus (Japanese stiltgrass; Poaceae) is considered among the most invasive plants in the eastern United States. There has been considerable study of this species’ ecology and management though far less attention has been paid to its molecular ecology and the evolutionary processes which may influence its invasion success. Here, I describe a newly developed molecular marker system (microsatellite) which I used to examine M. vimineum’s genetic population structure and diversity in both its native and introduced ranges. I found clear signals that M. vimineum’s mating system is the most important determinant of the species’ population structure and variability. The invasive range had lower genetic diversity overall, probably due to founder effects. Also, as is often observed in invasive organisms, population and regional genetic differentiation appeared to be ‘in process’ in the invasive range. Genetic divergence and differentiation in the invasive range are likely to continue as the species expands its range. Furthermore, M. vimineum’s mixed cleistogamous/chasmogamous mating system allows for the near fixation of microsatellite genotypes in a given population by high rates of selfing, while still permitting the persistence of allelic diversity and generation of new genotypes at low frequency via occasional outcrossing. Thus, this mating system may confer adaptive advantage to the species as it settles upon ‘fit’ genotypes in a given area while retaining evolutionary potential for range expansion into new habitats. I also attempted to discern adaptively significant phenotypes in M. vimineum through the measurement of phenological variation of plants originating from across the species’ invasive range under manipulated light treatments. Flowering time and biomass were both strongly correlated with the latitude of population origin such that populations collected from more northern latitudes flowered significantly earlier at lower biomass than populations from southern locations. This pattern suggests rapid adaptive evolution of phenology over a period of less than one hundred years, and such changes have likely promoted the northward range expansion of this species. Interestingly, barriers to gene flow, including bottlenecks and inbreeding, have apparently not forestalled adaptive processes for this plant. Based on literature review and this new data, I hypothesize that adaptive evolution of phenology may be widespread in many invasive plant species and an essential process during range expansion.

06 February 2012

Discussion of Readings 2

Let's talk:

Planning column by Barry Chalofsky

One of our planning instructors, Barry Chalofsky, has written a opinion piece called "Shift Environmental Focus Back to the Future", in the Trenton Times.  He says we need to shift in how we approach environmental planning in New Jersey because this is a unique time:  "I believe that this truly represents the best opportunity we have had since the early 1970s to really make a difference in the future of our environment and our state."

Planning board meeting excitement

Here is a different reason to postpone a planning board meeting. And it gives you a hint of where you might look for an upcoming meeting that could last longer than one hour.

04 February 2012

Rutgers Alum in the news

One of our RU LA alums, Nina Zinn, is in the RVA news. The story describes how Nina has been working in Richmond to promote growing healthier food, “You can have a very pleasing landscape and still be able to harvest from it.” It is a hot trend and nice to see yet another one of ours doing well.

03 February 2012

The Regional Student Forum

The other day when I posted a link to internships at DVRPV, I didn't realize just how student friendly they were.  It turns out that they also maintain a Regional Student Forum that is a great place for learning about a variety of opportunities, including networking events and other internships, for students in the Philadelphia region.

Roberto Rovira's Azimuth Studio

Speaking of Florida International University, check out the Azimuth Studio website by FIU Prof. Roberto Rovira.

02 February 2012

The Barrett Foundation Prize

The Barrett Foundation Prize has been established to create an incentive for fresh, creative ideas regarding public land stewardship. It challenges academic teams to work together to formulate innovative solutions to the escalating problems of natural resource management in the context of an economic slowdown, demographic changes, changing American values, and increasing anthropogenic impacts on natural systems.

Through a pre-proposal selection process, ten teams will be selected as finalists and invited to submit complete business plans for the challenge. Each final team will be eligible for reimbursement of start-up expenses of up to $1,000. From the ten final teams, a first prize winning team will be selected and will receive a $50,000 cash award. Four runners up will each receive a $10,000 cash award.

Look at the detailed announcement soon: The deadline is March 16, 2012.

01 February 2012

A crisp looking Yosemite

We talked recently in class about the 17-gigapixel image of Yosemite Park.  But this timelapse video is pretty cool too.


For Intro to Geomatics , it turns out that we just don't have enough class time to discuss all of the readings.  So, we are going to try discussing them here.  The comments are open to all, including readers who are not part of the class. 

Z. Aslıgül Göçmen and Stephen J. Ventura "Barriers to GIS Use in Planning" (JAPA)
Mapping Solar (ArcUser)
Mapping Transportation and Health (PlaNetizen)

GIS Designing our Future (ArcNews)

Since we were just dipping our toes into GIS this week, these articles were meant to highlight the different ways that GIS can be used by different groups. But the planning piece also showed that there are some fairly mundane issues that still loom large on the GIS horizon.

Spatial autocorrelation game

Talk about fun!  No, let's talk about the spatial autocorrelation game instead.  We may not have time to play it in class, but you can follow the link