29 May 2015

Old Spanish Themes

During our last summer studio in Spain, I asked the students to each select a theme and collect 30 photographs on that theme over the course of the trip. The themes were common elements of the urban landscape: Steps, tiles, masonry, water, columns, trees, lamps, doors, windows, sculpture, etc.

I tried to follow along with my own and discovered that it quickly reduced many to a generic contribution. Even relatively nice tilework could seem less impressive when lost among30 other examples. On the other hand, one outstanding window seemed all the more dramatic when contrasted with the others. And patterns that emerged were fun to look at. 

Unlike the students, I jumped from theme to theme, but here are a few of my old thematic photos...

27 May 2015

Oakland's Oaks and foods

Remember when the City of Oakland was known for its oaks? Well, thank goodness a few people still remember. The NYTimes featured some area residents, including landscape architect Walter Hood, who are trying to make sure that Oakland really has some oaks.

Nearby, UC-Berkeley professor Darin Jensen is mapping the area through an approach called Guerrilla Cartography.

Lots seems to be happening in Oakland.

26 May 2015

Barcelona's La Segrera

8 years ago I taught a class in Barcelona that explored future design alternatives for the very large train yard called La Segrera. As I prepare to return I was looking over the remarkable vision that West 8 has for the area. It is going to be exciting to if work has begun. The photos below area all from 2007.

22 May 2015

GIS Conservation job in Virginia

GIS Lab Manager/Spatial Ecology and Conservation Specialist
Agency:  Smithsonian Institution
Salary Range:  63,722/year & benefits
Grade:  IS-11
Position Information:  Full-time, one-year with the potential to renew, Trust Fund

This position is located at the Conservation GIS Lab of the Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute (SCBI) in Front Royal, Virginia. We are seeking a skilled, dynamic analyst that enjoys working with people on different conservation projects and likes teaching.  The employee provides technical expertise, support, and training in GIS and remote sensing analysis to Lab scientists, postdocs, and students working on species conservation projects.  The employee also manages the lab’s formal and informal training program in GIS and RS, and day-to-day operations (e.g. basic hardware and software administration). 

The position requires some national and international travel (5-20% of the time) to assist with conservation projects, offer training and capacity building workshops, and visit field sites for data collection. This may include travel to remote areas involving hiking and carrying of light-medium weight loads and other moderate physical activities. Fieldwork frequently requires longer than 8-hour days.
Pass Pre-employment Background Investigation
May need to complete a Probationary Period
Maintain a Bank Account for Direct Deposit/Electronic Transfer
1.                 Provides technical assistance in GIS and remote sensing to lab members working on conservation issues.  This may include but is not limited to:
o                  Acquiring, managing, and maintaining geospatial data;
o                  Using satellite and time series data to document land cover changes and habitat decline for endangered species;
o                  Integrating field survey and expedition data on species distribution with broad scale satellite mapping efforts to better understand the spatial ecology and conservation geography of habitat-species relationships;
o                  Conservation mapping and priority setting exercises for critically endangered species;
o                  Mapping animal movement trajectories.
2.                 Manages the lab’s formal and informal training program in GIS and RS
o                  Coordinates logistics, planning, and computer lab preparation for formal training courses;
o                  Translates lessons-learned from existing conservation GIS/RS projects into hands-on training materials for formal classroom training;
o                  Provides instruction and assists participants in training courses.
3.                 Supervises and manages day-to-day Lab operation in Front Royal, including supervision of 2-4 undergraduate interns.
4.                 Conducts capacity needs assessment at SCBI field sites.
1.                 Advanced knowledge of GIS and remote sensing, preferably also some experience with R, Python, and open source software.
2.                 Strong background in integrating environmental data with species information from surveys, tracking, etc.
3.                 Knowledge of geospatial analysis for conservation/ecology, such as species distribution modeling, species-habitat models, habitat fragmentation, change detection, etc.
4.                 Experience in working with students and/or capacity building.
5.                 International conservation experience is not required but is advantageous in competing for this position.

Please send letter of interest explaining your qualifications, a CV, and three references to SCBIGIS@gmail.com by 19 June 2015

19 May 2015

NJ DEP Map Contest results

The results from the 2015 NJ DEP Map Contest are out and Rutgers did well again. CRSSA's Eden Buenaventura took 1st Place in Best Data Integration and 1st Place in Best Cartographic Design for her outstanding map of the Impact of Watercraft to Environmentally Sensitive Areas in Barnegat Bay.

Some of the other entries were great looking as well. Take a peek at the whole set.

11 May 2015

Map company madness

There is lots of talk about the street data companies HERE and TomTom. Maybe they are for sale and will rock the market, or maybe there is something more going on here

One blog speculates on what it could look like in a very active geodata year. Whether or not the sales succeed, this could be a great year for geospatial companies because investors and companies will suddenly have a heightened appreciation for everything from live-mapping of transit to firms that can quickly create crowdsourced maps.

08 May 2015

Sunny with money?

"And in some ways, shadows even turn light into another medium of inequality — a resource that can be bought by the wealthy, eclipsed from the poor." It sounds like something Mr. Burns tried back in Season 6 but, as the Washington Post writes, the newest higher buildings are raising new questions about sunlight and wealth.

07 May 2015

Keping up with Blake

There is so much going on in Blake Hall that it is hard to keep up with all of the activity that the landscape architecture program is producing these days. Fortunately, our new newsletter is out to help with that. Check out the online version of Contours

06 May 2015

Eminent domain today

The “necessity and wisdom of using eminent domain” are “matters of legitimate public debate.”
— Justice John Paul Stevens, Kelo v. City of New London (2005)
Think eminent domain disputes are a thing of the past?

In North Carolina a small town is using eminent domain to move ahead with a greenway project. One of the acquisitions will cost just $250.

In Iowa, a reservoir project has stirred up opposition with it eminent domain plans, but the courts say it is OK. Meanwhile the Iowa legislature is voting on whether to allow eminent domain for energy projects.

In family in Virginia Beach is suing their state DOT over land condemned for highway ramps: "I think they're bullies," Jim said. "They're out of control."

Nearby, when the City of Norfolk tried to take a building, the owners hung a banner protesting the condemnation. They thought it was free speech but the City thought it was a violation of local sign ordinances and ordered the sign taken down. Critics hope the sign case makes it to the Supreme Court.

04 May 2015

Photographer routes

Walking up the High Line, I first took a photo at 21st St, then I saw some cool grasses around 24th, and that cool use of the old train structure at 26th, and then the view across the city at 28th.  When I did that, the geotagged photos that I posted on Flickr contained enough information (time and space) for Eric Fischer to see where I took the photos and infer where I walked.  Fischer's Geotaggers Atlas tracks the paths of Flickr photographers so you can see where they went, the Maps Mania blog explains.

Look how much the HighLine stands out...

The patterns in Barcelona might help us find a new stop that we would have otherwise missed.

And it even includes place that are a little out of way, like Sandy Hook, NJ. You can see the main areas where people take pictures.
Plus, it look like one beach is more photographed than the others. I wonder what could make it so different.

03 May 2015

Geomatics volunteers

When you need a break from studying, our GIS readers might want to look at Open Source Mapping and consider spending a few hours as an OSM volunteer working on some urgent projects in Nepal.