We all followed the crisis that unfolded following the 2010 Haiti earthquake, many of us chose to donate money, a few were flown out and deployed as part of the relief effort. But what practical impact can many have without being there in Haiti itself? Well, during this crisis a remarkable story unfolded; of how people around the world could virtually collaborate and contribute to the on-the-ground operations. Read more
Geography is about examining spatial variables and relationships, often to weed out answers to complex problems. America 2050‘s latest report, “Where High Speed Rail Works Best” (pdf) is a clear example of applied geography as it summaries the methodology used in planning a phased high speed rail network for the United States. Defining the corridors in America that are most appropriate for high-speed rail service is critical to the long-term success of America’s high-speed rail program. This paper offers one mechanism for assessing which potential high-speed rail corridors will have the greatest ridership demand based on population size, economic activity, transit connections, existing travel markets and urban spatial form and density.
The authors evaluate 27,000 city pairs in the nation to create an index of city pairs with the greatest demand for high-speed rail service. The paper provides a list of the top 50 city pairs, which are primarily concentrated in the Northeast, California, and the Midwest, and provides recommendations for phasing corridor development in the nation’s megaregions.
As if there was any doubt, you know you’re a geogeek when your friends are too. Thanks Neil (of The Polis Center) and Matt (of Raidious.com) for being “Top Contributors” to Indy’s G-Maps (and for making the geogeek grade)!
RMI (Rocky Mountain Institute) provides a timeline-based interactive map depicting the U.S.’s historical imports of oil since 1973. Map controls can slide to specific dates and highlight five periods by major oil crises, including history briefs in the sideline. Map units can be displayed in oil or U.S. dollars. Map can also be put on auto-play. This is a well-done interactive map and interesting visualization of the flow of resources over time.
Rocky Mountain Institute is an independent, entrepreneurial nonprofit think-and-do tank™ that drives the efficient and restorative use of resources (from the RMI website).
In their Dec. 30, 2009 post, Slate poises the question “When Did Your County’s Jobs Disappear?” with a nicely done interactive map and timeline. Besides painting a dismal picture of the ongoing state of U.S. unemployment, this map does an equally fine job of integrating space, time, and demographic data.
A while back I reported on virtual digital holograms, wondering when they would make their way into the mapping arena. Over the past year ARSights, a project by Inglobe Technologies, an italian company specialized in the development of Virtual and Augmented Reality applications, has been building a community-based collection of 3-d virtual models of landmarks all over the world. This fascinating use of the technology is focused on education. Imagine… your students fly to Europe, glide around Italy – looking at the topography of the country as they zoom into to Rome. Now they pick up the Colosseum to really examine it, turning it round and round to really examine what’s there. Requires Google Earth, a web cam, and the ARSights download.
According to the ARSights, there are over 400 contributors now who have started “to share interesting content from many parts of the world. You can take a look at new models mainly in the USA, South America and Europe. Among others, you will find many important landmarks, like for example the Lincoln Memorial, the Washington Memorial, the “Fiscal Island” in Rio de Janeiro, the University City in Buenos Aires and il Ponte di Rialto in Venice.”
National and statewide GIS coordinating bodies have sought for some time to build statewide and nation-wide cadastre, or parcel, frameworks. The Mapping Science Committee – National Research Council cite the many benefits of having a national parcel database in its report, “National Land Parcel Data: A Vision for the Future.” In Indiana, a statewide parcel database may be used for such things as quickly identifying affected property during large natural disasters, such as flooding and tornados. A national (as well as statewide) fabric of land data has been elusive as it inherently relies on the most local of sources of those data – counties, parishes, cities, and towns. Reasons technical, political, financial, and institutional can all be cited as reasons why we don’t already have a national cadastre. While there is still a long row to hoe, Indiana appears to be slowly overcoming those hurdles with the IndianaMap.
Land Parcels in the IndianaMap
With quiet announcement this week, the IndianaMap partners released the first view of a multi-county parcel database. The counties and the State have entered into IndianaMap partnership agreements, in which the counties provide parcels (limited attributes), address points, street centerlines, and administrative boundaries delivered through web map feature services (WFS), and the state provides a bit of seed funds to help establish the WFS, aggregate the data statewide, and channel it out through the IndianaMap to agencies, the original providers, and the public. It is important to note the state also provides a couple hundred statewide data layers available to local governments through the IndianaMap. This week’s view is the very first in what promises to still be a lengthy process, and I’m told it is provided “warts and all.” No matter how humble, it demonstrates a complete flow-through of the data in this process and proves the concept that a statewide (and I’d extend, national) public land parcel fabric is indeed accomplishable. This view shows parcels extending across Kosciusko and Wabash counties. In all, more than 70 (of 92) Indiana counties have agreed to participate.
“To know by heart a whole gazetteer full of them would not, in itself, constitute anyone a geographer. Geography has higher aims than this: it seeks to classify phenomena (alike of the natural and of the political world, in so far as it treats of the latter), to compare, to generalize, to ascend from effects to causes, and, in doing so, to trace out the great laws of nature and to mark their influences upon man. This is ‘a description of the world’—that is Geography. In a word Geography is a Science—a thing not of mere names but of argument and reason, of cause and effect.”