29 April 2015

Assistant/Associate Research Professor

There is an assistant/associate research professor position posted down at Drexel University. It is close enough to our area that some of our regular readers might find it worth sharing or applying.

The Center for Spatial Analytics and Geocomputation at Drexel University is seeking outstanding candidates for openings as Assistant/Associate Research Professor. Preferred applicants will have a Ph.D. in Geographic Information Science, Computer Science, Remote Sensing, Mathematics, Statistics, Physics, or related engineering disciplines.

The College of Computing & Informatics (CCI) is highly interdisciplinary, focusing on basic and applied research spanning information technologies, intelligent systems, visualization, simulation and data analytics. We are seeking candidates with research, development and/or programmatic experience in spatial analytics, geocomputation, remote sensing, spatial decision support systems, open-source geocomputation, high performance and cloud computing. 

28 April 2015

Salk Institute

An interesting review was linked by PlaNetizen: Howard Blackson III revisits Louis I. Kahn's design of the Salk institute in La Jolla, CA and asks about its qualities as a public space. Or, more properly, clarifies why it isn't public space. Blackson writes:
"I agree with Witold Rybczynski that modernist architecture sits best in nature and this is such a place looking in one direction (but, don’t turn around). Adding the sound of the plaza’s water rubicon/falls, and scent from its formal rows of orange trees, the experience can be sublime… then you get back in your car and drive through suburban office park hell to go home."
Here are some photos I took years ago that capture a few qualities of the materials and the space but say little about the surroundings.

27 April 2015

Erosion problem in Florence

Down in Florence Township there is an erosion problem beyond much of what we talked about in class this semester. Check it out: Combine this with the story (below) about the hidden surprise in Raritan Center and you might just want to re-read those sections on landscape inventory a few times.

A hidden surprise

We spent the fall 2014 semester studying the Lower Raritan Watershed and couldn't keep our eyes of the properties around the Raritan Center. They seemed so central to everything that happens in the LRW. But this site, populated with busy warehouses, a major hotel, and some fascinating wetlands also contained some hidden surprises we were told. As a former WWII Army arsenal, there are some unexploded ordinance here and there. Ha! Is that really a thing today?


24 April 2015

150th anniversary

150 years ago today, the funeral train carrying the body of assassinated President Lincoln rolled through New Brunswick where it was greeted by mourners before continuing on to Illinois by way of New York City. I can only imagine what if must have felt like; days before they were celebrating the end of what seemed to be the most dreadful possible war, now they were shocked by the tragic assassination of the man many credited with ending the war.

Always the outlier, just months before New Jersey went to McLellan instead of Lincoln in the 1864 election. On April 24, I doubt there was any sign that New Brunswick remembered.

22 April 2015

Academic writing tips

Since some of our students are struggling with writing (we all are, right?), I thought this might be a great time to share this post from the London School of Economics on 30 tips for better academic writing.

Happy Earth Day

You could celebrate by looking through vast swaths of Landsat imagery on ArcGIS Online running on the Amazon Web Services Cloud.

20 April 2015

Sketch Out Loud at Rutgers Day

On Rutgers Day, Richard Alomar will be at the main entrance to Blake Hall on Red Oak Lane to talk about and lead the “Sketch Rutgers” Sketch Walk. The walks are scheduled to be 30 to 45 minutes long and start at 10:00 and 2:00.

Each person will receive a sketch pad and pencil. Participants are welcome to sketch all through the day. There will be short breaks to discuss and collect impressions on the walk. (http://sketchoutloud.blogspot.com/)

ED in AC

The Piano Man of Atlantic City made a lot of news regarding his eminent domain case. We'll talk a little more about the Supreme Court's perspective today in class.

19 April 2015

Digital archives

Keeping old data and programs is a challenging problem that many in GIS are just beginning to face. But at MoMA, they've developed a complex system to keeping old digital art. Their digital archivist has written a little about how they make sure that they have the proper software to go with the art (video, image, whatever).

So that it all still makes sens in 100 years they use the same thing as in GIS: metadata. But, instead of calling it that, they call it the archival information package. And, when their system is fully up and running, it willl not just be a stack of old floppies:
As MoMA acquires more digital artworks, and as the image resolutions used by artists and filmmakers increase, we project the digital collection to grow to approximately 1.2 petabytes (1.2 million gigabytes) by 2025.
 The new system will be dynamic and there is a video from IBM to show you how it works. But the overall story is one that should be fascinating to GIS thinkers who are looking forward to looking back someday.

17 April 2015

Gaudi in NYC

There is an exciting exhibit in NYC right now on Gaudi's work at Sagrada Familia. If you can't join our studio abroad, which will visit the cathedral, you can visit this exhibit for the next best thing. Make your trip to Harlem pretty soon, the exhibit ends May 8th.

16 April 2015

Stake in the Sand

Shortly before the Supreme Court issued its decision in Stop the Beach Renourishment v. Florida DEP, the NYTimes Sunday Magazine sent Andrew Rice down to Destin to talk to some of the impacted residents. Stake in the Sand is his look at the conflict without the knowledge of the resolution.

Cool map from Wisconsin

The WEDC has a map to help Wisconsin businesses tap into faster Internet connections.  Pretty cool use of mapping technology to promote technology. Will local planners see a difference in local businesses in 5 years? Hard to say. But this certainly represents a new realm of possibility.

It reveals patterns, not just points:
"When you look at southeast Wisconsin (on the map) you see a pretty big gaping hole," WEDC spokesman Mark Maley said.
Is this inverse e-Government?

Old fair, new park

Gustafson Guthrie Nichol's plans to turn San Antonio's old Hemisfair site into a new civic park are getting lots of attention. It is an important site (I have some fond memories of the place, years after the grand Exhibition). And it has great potential to expand the city's liveliest district as you can see in this plan:


"Indeed, the most somber speculation I can make about A.D. 2014 is that in a society of enforced leisure, the most glorious single word in the vocabulary will have become work!"

15 April 2015

Policy to watch

Will Rogers of the Trust for Public Land recently published an Op-Ed piece for the NY Times that provided a serious update about the current state of public land in the US. In response, the head of the Appalachian Mountain Club wrote a letter to the editor emphasizing that this is not a slow-motion process, but a timely conversation:
One of these battles is this year’s reauthorization of the Land and Water Conservation Fund, well known for protecting iconic natural treasures like the Appalachian Trail, but perhaps lesser known for its everyday impact through close-to-home urban parks like Gateway National Recreation Area in Staten Island, Jamaica Bay and Sandy Hook, N.J.

10 April 2015

Summer internship


What are you doing this summer? Do you like to help people and the environment, would you like to... -Build Trails -Design and Build a Farm -Empower Local Communities -Inspire Cultural and Political Change -Clean up Local Forests -Or Organize Volunteer Events In correlation with the New York New Jersey Trail Conference, MEVO a non-profit organization in Bergen County New Jersey is running two internship programs this summer.

The first, “Earth Crew” will work side by side with the New York-New Jersey Trail Conference to build trails, and restore forest ecology. On top of this the Earth Crew will be planning large-scale volunteer events, attending town meetings to pull for environmental justice, installing compost and recycling systems around local communities, and more. While Earth Crew is working on preserving and stewarding our local forest lands and communities, “Farm Crew” will be working with 2 acres of land in the Campgaw Mountain preserve designing and building a farm! You will work closely with professionals and young empowered youth to create a food producing farm that will feed our local communities. All at the same time you will be harvesting honey from our bee hives and teaching youth on the importance of organic food production and local farms.

Sound Interesting? Contact Ryan Martens at 201-414-4079, or ryan.martens@rutgers.edu for more information.

09 April 2015

Common Census Map Project

As a final follow-up to an earlier class conversation about social inventory data that includes opinions, I wanted to provide a link to the Common Census Map Project which offers a spatial representation of where people think their connection with their community ends. It also has neighborhoods in Manhattan and sports allegiance.

The neighborhood mapping has impressive potential for planning in areas where boundaries aren't clear. It certainly lets the Internet-accessing public send a clear message about their sense of identity and place.

08 April 2015

Late night reading

It is one thing to read about the 1909 Plan of Chicago it is another thing to read the actual plan. It is a fun distraction and an amazing look back at a document that transformed the city. The graphics in this digital version are impressive, too.

Earth Observation Day

Happy Earth Observation Day! Lose yourself in some imagery: https://eros.usgs.gov/satellite-imagery (Unless you are studying)

Tactile spatial experiences with augmented reality

It starts as a learning opportunity for kids

It can include simulation of water flowing

Adding some fire modelling makes it an easy to deploy emergency management tool

07 April 2015


You don't need to read the whole thing, but this might be an interesting time to spend a few minutes browsing the Municipal Land Use Law of New Jersey

Remotely sensed changes

It is fun to watch the popular press discover the technologies that are integral to our every day work at the Center for Remote Sensing and Spatial Analysis. Today Vox has posted a piece by a fairly spatial reporter, Brad Plumer, that shows 15 pairs of satellite images highlighting some amazing examples of landscape change. They would be more fun if the subject matter weren't so serious (e.g., the disappearance of the Aral Sea).

This is pretty much the intersection of geomatics and planning at Rutgers. And if that interests you, I highly recommend the Fall 2015 class, 11:216:371 Introductory Remote Sensing and Image Analysis (formerly known as Air Photo).

Endangered Places

Visit The National Trust for Historic Preservation to see their list of the 11 Most Endangered Places for 2014. The 2015 list should be out soon, so watch for that too.

06 April 2015

Surburban mass transit

Communities are trying to adjust to match the expectations and demands of Millennials.Suburban communities are finding themselves at a particular disadvantage, having designed themselves in ways that make retrofitting most difficult. Millennials who want to ditch their cars are particularly hard to lure to these communities.

The Washington Post looks at an important piece of this puzzle, transit for suburban communities. The Post says that companies are insisting on building near transit because they can't get the best young employees without it.
“Millennials are the gold standard of demographics today,” said Tom Clark, chief executive of the Metro Denver Economic Development Corp. “You chase them, and you entice them. They’re the most highly educated demographic the United States has ever had. . . . If you can get millennials to come to you, your long-term economic survivability is extraordinary.”

Demographics, transit, and retrofitting. 

Urban policies in NJ

In collaboration with NJ Spotlight, NextCity takes a fairly detailed look at New Jersey's urban policies.