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.