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?
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.
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.
I was a total newbie to R before spring 2014. Then it was a little trial by fire, trying to learn just enough to keep up with grad students in a class I was co-teaching. Thank goodness for the “co-” part, as my partner was an expert in the topic, and I could contribute in my own areas of expertise, which were/are not R! But I finished the semester with a new-found respect and, frankly, awe for what is possible with R. I have much to learn, and maybe, someday, the time.
Fast forward a few months and the topic keeps cropping up. I shared a beer in Salzburg with Lex Comber and learned about one of his forthcoming publications, an Intro to R for Spatial Analysis and Mapping. Haven’t got my own copy yet, but if it’s what it seems to be, it’ll be one of my assigned texts in the future. In one of our webinars, Trisalyn Nelson spoke about her use of R with her graduate students. And today, I silently scanned through Alex Singleton‘s recent presentation on the Changed Face of GIS, in which R figures prominently for him. There’s something going on here that some smart people have figured out.
Experimenting with reblogging some worthwhile posts.
on translation, spatial thinking, data visualization
Since its inception, Stories of the Susquehanna has been a collaborative, interdisciplinary digital project that has at its core a geospatial interface. What started out as historical/cultural mapping of the Native American landscapes of the Susquehanna in ArcMap Desktop with maps published in static image format (as discussed in the interviews of me and Emily Bitely) has evolved through the iterations of ESRI’s software development.
About a week ago, one of our Digital Scholarship Coordinators and SSV project manager, Diane Jakacki pointed to to the fact that ESRI was now publishing apps. At first skeptical, I proceeded to delve further into the Collector app and battled my way through tutorials designed for insurance adjusters gathering data in the field (no, I don’t need fields labeled “Habitable” or “Partially Destroyed”) to create a feature layer that could be added to any map in ArcMap online. This feature layer was supposed to be…
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