17 December 2019

Another brilliant XKCD

The accompanying website, Explain XKCD, offers some background. The explanation includes details like the map projection, so this is safe for Geomatics students, too.

16 December 2019

Rooftop agriculture

A rooftop agriculture project at Thammasat University in Bangkok is getting lots of attention. The garden is designed to produce food across 7,000-square-meters of campus rooftops. And the landscape architect responsible for the project, Landprocess' Kotchakorn Voraakhom, has balanced art and science to create a remarkable experience.

"We tend to make a distinction between buildings and green spaces but green spaces can be part of building design in cities like Bangkok, which has few green spaces," said Ms Kotchakorn. If you haven't heard of Landprocess already, you will after this project.

11 December 2019


Jason Kottke has a fascinating post about harbingers, "people who are out of sync with the rest of society." Since the paper is from B-school professors, it is focused on people who are out of sync with their purchases. There is a predictability in the people who embrace new products that will eventually fail. When marketers find out that these people like the new product, it is a bad harbinger for that product.

The part that really caught my attention was the geographic phenomenon of harbinger zip codes. These are places where doomed products (like Crystal Pepsi) thrive. What else could could harbinger zip codes tell us? What made them that way? Could they help us identify development patterns to avoid?

While the research paper does not single out Harbinger, NC, but it would be amazing if it were in a harbinger zip code.

01 December 2019

Get better at studying

December 1.
It is time to get serious about studying.
The semester will be over in days.

Instead of dreading the final push, maybe you should take the advice from this author and learn how to enjoy studying.
The A you get in organic chemistry will just be icing on the cake.

22 November 2019

Fastest Warming Heat Island City

A while back, Georgia Tech found that Louisville was the fastest-warming urban heat island in the US. But the Louisville that came to mind for me was one with Olmsted parks and tree-lined streets. This story in the Guardian clarifies that the city's urban forest is not the same for all Louisvillians. And in a city where rising temps could kill, that is a serious policy concern.

14 November 2019

Notes from Staten Island

I've been honored with the opportunity to speak at St John's University about environmental policy.

Some follow-up linkages include:

CRSSA's work in the Highlands

Home Rule in NJ

Lower Raritan Watershed Partnership

Landscape Change

And make your own maps of New JErsey land use and municipal boundaries with the NJ GeoWeb app from the NJDEP.

13 November 2019

GIS Day talk at Temple U

I am spending GIS Day with the good folks at Temple University. As part of my visit, I will be referencing papers that include a few different topics.

Charles Killpack column by Niemann and Niemann
Laurie Jordan et al. column by Niemann and Niemann
Nick Chrisman column by Niemann and Niemann

Data sharing papers



Most importantly, I expect that I will need to update this after the visit. So check back.

06 November 2019

GIS Day at Temple

GIS Day is coming, so bush up on your holiday songs. After all, it is the biggest holiday of the GIS calendar.

If you are in the Philadelphia area, check out the schedule for GIS Day at Temple University. I will be talking about "Landscape lessons: Tales of GIScience shaping public policy and public policy shaping GIScience." But there will be good talks too.

04 November 2019

Mapathon for Humanitarian Relief

Rutgers Libraries will celebrate GIS Day (a day late) with a November 14th Mapathon.
Help people in need by participating in a crowd-sourced, humanitarian mapping project. Together with students, staff, and faculty, you will contribute geospatial data to OpenStreetMap, a free and editable map of the world that is used by communities, organizations and governments worldwide to address local development challenges and aid disaster response. The exact project will be determined closer to the event. In past years, participants have worked on projects to assist relief operations in the Democratic Republic of the Congo and in Puerto Rico after Hurricane Maria. No mapping experience or knowledge is necessary. Training will be provided. Come at any time during the afternoon. Please bring a laptop. Sponsored by the New Brunswick Libraries and the Department of Geography.
Location: Pane Room, Alexander Library
Fun and helpful!

Free Maya Lin talk

Maya Lin is speaking Tuesday night at Princeton. The talk, in Richardson Auditorium, is free and open to the public. However, it does require tickets. which you can get online.

24 October 2019

MLA Open House November 2nd

If you know someone thinking about graduate school in landscape architecture, the Rutgers Open House on November 2 is a must. It is a chance to meet faculty and students, see the facilities and hear about the classes and experiences. Current undergraduates and working professionals are welcome.

The poster below has details.

23 October 2019

Geospatial Asset Management

GIS pros will be interested in the following event. And it is a great opportunity for students to network (which means, meet people who might be your employer at some later time).

2019 Fall Meeting

When: 01 Nov 2019 8:30 AM, EDT
Where: Rutgers EcoComplex - Bordentown, NJ

Geospatial Asset Management: Straightforward Solutions
for Real World Data
Asset Management and GIS have a complicated relationship with a long history and a bright future. Please join us as we welcome back MAGTUG for a full day of presentations on real world examples using GIS to better collect, track, and manage asset data. We will have an afternoon workshop available for attendees, Maintenance Management Systems (MMS) and Best Practices for Local Agencies (limit 30).
Registration fee is $30 and includes a light breakfast and networking lunch. Register by Wednesday, October 30th, 2019. Walk-ins will be subject to an additional $15 fee.
Rutgers EcoComplex
1200 Florence-Columbus Rd
Bordentown, NJ 08505


Purchase orders are an accepted method of payment. Please email info@macurisa.org (preferred method) or mail to Mid-Atlantic Chapter of URISA, P.O. Box 486, Glassboro, NJ 08028. If you bring your purchase order for signature on the day of the event, it will be signed and returned via email or postal mail.
MAC URISA is hosting a Mappy Hour immediately following the Fall Meeting. We will be at the Old Town Pub, which is a 10 minute drive from the Rutgers EcoComplex (directions). Join us for a pint of brew or two!
*Must be 18 or over to register and attend this event.

11 October 2019

Friday Photos: Urban hikes

At this point I have led countless urban hikes or field trips. Picking only a few photos from those hikes, without rhyme or reason, is absurd. They are from across multiple years, hence different sun positions for the same places.

AC Flooding

The Press of Atlantic City has posted photos of flooding from the recent storm out in the Atlantic. Molly Bilinski has posted a video showing this morning's flooding, bathed in the sunshine of a beautiful day.

Flooding during a hurricane is one thing - everyone stays in, or evacuates. Businesses are already closed, so maybe access isn't a big issue. But sunny day flooding is become an increasingly common problem that hurts businesses and strands schoolkids. Today's closures are somewhere in between, but a reminder of a trend.

08 October 2019


As part of my sabbatical I have been reading a little about the remarkable group of geographers that David Simonett assembled at UC-Santa Barabra. It ended up as a pretty big list, but includes Waldo Tobler, Reg Golledge, Mike Goodchild, and Bill Warntz. The links aren't great (I can't share the sources I am reading) but if you don't know these GIS pioneers, they will still be a good start.

27 September 2019

Take a walk

With a great weekend coming up, maybe you should head to a city for a chance to stretch your legs and explore.

Urban walking has certain benefits, as these comments from readers of the Guardian remind us.

25 September 2019

North Central NJ GIS jobs

For those in New Jersey,  I was recently sent this set of job opportunities in Morris County:

SCE's GIS Department is expanding! If you are a current or aspiring GIS professional and are looking to work in a team oriented dynamic GIS Department that works on innovative GIS projects throughout the Country; please feel free to check out and apply to the positions below. Reach out to me if you have any questions or are looking for more information!