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?

Pentagon Memorial

The 9-11 Memorial at the Pentagon is open 24/7 which makes dusk an interesting time for a visit.

Regrettably, the last lines of Witold Rybczynski's Slate piece on the memorial rang very true. Some of trees are already failing and a few light bulbs were temporarily out. Hopefully these can be addressed, because this is an important memorial at an important place.

Shanksville Makeshift Memorial

Here are some reposted photos of the makeshift Flight 93 Memorial in Shanksville, PA

06 September 2012

Bringing back chestnuts

Talking about old chestnuts, Dr. Stephen Handel, ASLA Honorary, was recently on channel 4 describing his work reintroducing Castanea dentata out at Duke Farms.

But if you aren't into video, you can read about it here.

Boston: From Google's airborne perspective

Olmsted's World's End:

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Maritime Park and Ned's Park

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MVV's Children's Museum

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Peter Walker's Tanner Fuontain

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Public Garden and Boston Common

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Christopher Columbus Park

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Christian Science Plaza

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05 September 2012

Boston: Cambridge Campuses

As Rutgers LA prepares for yet another Fall Field Trip, we are continuing to look at some interesting and intriguing places. Even if you can't join in on the trip, you should stop and see some of these notable landscapes sometime soon.

For many students a real highlight is a trip across the Charles to see the campuses at Harvard and MIT. Of course, we spend much of the time dodging questions comparing Rutgers campuses with these.

Invasive species problem

Even when an invasive species experiences a significant die off, it can still be a problem. The latest example is from Louisiana where Hurricane has left piles of dead nutria (15-20 pounds each) on the beach. Students from my environmental planning will already be familiar with my stories about these very large rodents that have been wreaking havoc on the marshes of Louisiana since the earliest days of the Tobasco empire. NBCNews.com reports that the clean up isn't as easy as you might think:
"As they're picking them up, they're busting open," Hancock County Supervisor David Yarborough told the Biloxi-Gulfport Sun Herald. A federal contractor with experience in hazardous waste has been brought in, but even a handful of its workers had quit Sunday morning, the Sun Herald reported.
Welcome back.

04 September 2012

Camden gardens tour

NJCF is hosting a tour of the urban garden scene in Camden on September 12. They say that this morning tour will be "showcasing the Delaware Valley's fastest growing urban garden movement". Details from NJCF.

Boston: The Big Dig

As Rutgers LA prepares for yet another Fall Field Trip, we are continuing to look at some interesting and intriguing places. Even if you can't join in on the trip, you should stop and see some of these notable landscapes sometime soon.

Often called the most expensive highway project in US history, Boston's Big Dig created a serpentine swatch of greenness wrapping around downtown. Boston.com details the parcels that make up the project. Since my photos fail to capture the full array of spaces created, you might also want to check out this NY Times slideshow.

Like the High Line, the Big Dig has become an enduring landmark that is likely to be the subject of any number of graduate seminar papers and theses over the next decade. So it is good to see it now as background for future readings and revisits.