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London 3: Pink Floyd, Longitude, and City Life

This gallery contains 15 photos.

Chris said a sobering thought last night, that we’re already 20% of our time being here. A semester flies so quickly…  Some days we spend just in our little house in our corner of London, but most days we venture … Continue reading

geographically-informed decision making

I keep thinking about this article in the New York Times this week, with geographically-informed advice for Amazon to choose a second venue for its expansion. Such an obvious use of geography and information and systems. Couldn’t they have ended the piece with some reference to any of those things? Nah, better to have it just be obvious that this is the right way to make this type of decision?

London 2: Brighton, Kew, and around home

Last weekend we took the train southward to Hurstpierpoint, a quaint village just outside of Brighton. Our friends Sarah and Martin Williams live there with their almost-to and already-in university children, Emma and Joshua, and we enjoyed delicious food and drink with them in several places. Sarah Williams was Sarah Cooper when Chris and I first met her as a fellow student at Middlebury College circa 1984.

 

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London 1: New Surroundings

This gallery contains 12 photos.

We’re settling in to this place that is both familiar and exotic. Good weather, remembering to look right as we step off a curb, sipping tea and biscuits. Wifi works well everywhere which makes my livelihood continue uninterrupted, for the … Continue reading

NYC Streets in Chinese AND English

Yesterday I heard an intriguing and amusing story on This American Life about the multiple names and nick-names used by native Chinese speakers for NYC streets, all informed by cultural and linguistic know-how. My favorite bit was how Thaddeus Kosciusko Bridge is known by the dispatchers and customers to be “the Japanese Guy Bridge”  – because its numerous vowels and consonants are suggestive to them of a Japanese name.

The dispatchers – and their clients – are taking ownership of the geography in order to make it work for them.  I crack up trying to imagine how I would relish this same help when I’m spending time in places where I’m completely lost in the language. In Vietnam, Jordan, and China, I did my best to memorize the letters and shapes of words to help me find the (correct) bathroom.  These ad hoc strategies and solutions that people create on a larger scale are fascinating.

The story is only 6 minutes. Listen for yourself and enjoy.

Live ocean mapping in the South Pacific

Just today I learned about NOAA’s Okeanos Explorer current trip in the Pacific. Apart from the live (and previously recorded) narration that I’m finding mesmerizing, I can’t stop watching the “live” mapping taking place on one of the media feeds.  For someone who has spent her entire professional career accessing geospatial data to use in mapping projects, that fact that I’m watching new digital data being produced – LIVE – where there was no data before – is blowing my mind.  About 8 or 9 yrs ago, I actually watched people buy shoes from Zappos in real-time. We’ve come a long way, baby.

That time of the semester again

This week we’ll broach the topic of datums, coordinate systems, and map projections in the GIS class that I teach at Cornell. It’s week 5+ of the semester, just enough into this stuff so that there’s some sustained knowledge growing and they now have enough of a framework onto which to hang the obvious-but-abstract-and-necessary-but-confusing-and-powerful topic.  I used to be more GIS-traditional about this stuff and dive in during weeks 2 or 3. Not any more. Much more and deeper learning taking place now that students are more confident and competent at managing and manipulating spatial data. T

Just in time, XKCD has come up with another inspired projections example to share with the class.