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.
One of my favorite cartoonists – Randall Munroe – has made a call out to GIS for its ability to identify whether items or objects fall within certain “enclosures” of space based on their coordinate locations. Will there be a day when the public can read a cartoon panel like this one and know what is being referenced?
It’s that time of year again, July in San Diego with a whole lot of other people, all talking about GIS. Plus ça change, plus c’est la même chose. This year I’ll be in two sessions, the first on our ROGTAL project, Research on Geospatial Technologies and Learning, a group effort in which I’m honored to be a member. You’ll hear about our proposed research agenda and recommendations for this field. Saturday afternoon, in the 3:15-4:30pm session titled Meeting Education Mandates, La Costa Room.
Then on Sunday morning (early!, before the Plenary! Set your alarms and bring your coffee!) I’ll be leading a session on Cultivating Spatial Thinking & Problem Solving with SpatiaLABS. 8:30am, Leucadia Room. Don’t know about Esri’s SpatiaLABS yet? This is your chance to get all the insider information on this FREE resource, get a sneak preview at a new search-and-sort website, get your questions answered by the series editor, and find out how you too could become a (paid) contributor! Don’t snooze, come schmooze instead.
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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Since the summer, I have been working for UCGIS, the University Consortium for Geographic Information Science, as their Executive Director. Translation: I manage the business-related operations of a small non-profit that’s focused on advancing and supporting the research and education ideas of the GIS-teaching faculty at its 50+ member institutions. Today, Directions Magazine printed an interview I did with them about UCGIS and some of its upcoming activities. And, it’s International GIS Day! Woo-hoo!
Temple University’s Nora Newcombe is well-versed at writing about spatial thinking in a way that makes the topic accessible to lay audiences. New to me: a piece called Seeing Relationships (pdf) in the Spring 2013 American Educator. Now she can share the results of the large meta-analysis recently completed, that documents our mind’s capacity to become more skilled at spatial tasks. She’s still firmly grounded in her own disciplinary perspective, cognitive psychology, but here she ventures into examples involving geographic space and geospatial technologies, not only mental rotation in abstract space. This piece includes call-outs to the Geospatial Semester program at James Madison University and Stanford’s Orbis project.
Nora’s oft-cited, oft-shared 2010 American Educator piece, Picture This, is still available too.
In the College of Arts & Sciences at the University of Vermont, faculty are involved with a year-long initiative to learn more about maps and mapping. I had a chance to be part of their August 2013 workshop and share ideas about teaching and learning supported with geospatial technologies. Members of the department of geography are leading this effort, and though they’re disciplinary experts in this field, they themselves are learning from the new perspectives and novel projects being designed and developed. A way to spread opportunities for spatial analysis and geographical inquiry.
A great story this morning on NPR about mapping projects in urban slum areas of Kenya, both involving collecting data on roads, housing, community structures, open spaces, and where people are conducting their activities of daily life. One project using GPS, the other traced over a satellite image to make a draft map. I liked how he referred to the “rectangles” of houses; as he said that, my mind instantly translated to “polygons.” Like those instantaneous translators working at the United Nations.
The story made for a driveway moment for me. So great to have these mapping stories becoming more common.
I’ve been following the various projects that research the Holocaust through its geography, often using GIS. I’m most familiar with the work of Anne Knowles (video), connected in one part to the Spatial History project at Stanford. The US Holocaust Memorial Museum also maintains a collection of geographically-based exhibits.
Today I learned about a new site, Exploring the Vilnius Ghetto. The map interface is the standard organization framework to arrange geotagged media. Nicely designed.
H/t to Heather King.
A team at DePauw University used SketchUp to recreate what they believe their campus to have looked like historically, building-wise. Apparently a challenge because whole buildings have come and gone with little archival imagery captured? Seems like a good way to involve staff and students in a project that can engage alumni and highlight the fun of flying (Google Earth-wise) around. Mental images of Harry Potter on his broomstick whizzing past Hogwarts’ buildings.
Nice work, Beth!
H/t to All Points Blog.