Category Archives: humor

ArcGIS and Jerry Garcia

Who remembers that fun Easter egg that light-hearted Esri programmers slipped into ArcMap back in the early-mid 2000s, back in the ArcGIS 8x days?  Add a new shapefile to a new map, start editing, then type J-E-R-R-Y.  Would never get past the marketing folks these days. Sigh. Can’t a mapper have any fun anymore?

GIS makes the xkcd comics

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?

use geography to add fun meaning to meetings

Sometimes after a long day, especially at the end of a long week, one’s mind turns to geographic amusement, or geo-musings.  Here’s mine for the day – courtesy of Emily.  Use a digital map to help you find the middle ground to meet a friend. This brings veracity to meeting in the middle! Two guys played with this idea as an art project and first met somewhere in the Czech Republic, then later up a tree in Westchester County. Emotionally appealing idea of making the commitment and then trusting each other to follow through, come hell, high water, traffic delays, or GPS errors.

I like this definition of art works by Roy Ascott, as a “trigger of experiences” rather than an “object.”

Wanted to play with different approaches for calculating exactly what “the middle” is?  Of course, it’s a geospatial question!  Try this Geographic Midpoint app.

Thanks, Emily!

Using spatial analysis to find Waldo

I like the way that this guy thought systematically about finding Waldo, a classic spatial skill of disembedding or finding hidden figures!  Since he suggests that there is a specific section of the whole page where Waldo is more likely to be found than elsewhere, we shall test this hypothesis in our advanced GIS class next semester, with a few spatial statistical tests. Just to confirm that his horizontal rectangular swatch does indeed capture the most frequent placements of Waldo.

Thanks for publishing such important stories, Slate.

Musical swings in Montreal

This sidewalk swing-set music-making escapade seems like a wonderful diversion.  I can imagine the challenge of coordinating with friends may be even as fun as playing with strangers.  VDMN = volunteered dynamic musical notes.

via The Atlantic Cities

spatial, social engineering at the dinner table

It’s all about location, location, location.  Thinking in space here, as you choose a seat at a restaurant dinner table.


via Nag on the Lake

mega-size xkcd cartoon finds a navigational platform with Esri

I love the cartoons on xkcd.  This week one was larger-than-life, requiring its own “overview” map to find one’s way around.  Frankly, after the first few moments of panning in its native environment, the amusement factor quickly faded and I lost interest.  I know I *should* enjoy taking the time just to pan,  wandering across digital space until I tumbled upon something pleasurable, but my Protestant work ethic (and spirit of capitalism?) keeps kicking in!

I wasn’t the only one who thought about how useful an overview map would be!  What a great surprise to find that this one was built and hosted on Esri’s map services!  Thank you, the zooming is just what we needed. I love it when we use our conventionally-geographic mapping interfaces for non-geographic topics, and I’ve written before about them.  This is the first time I’ve seen an Esri-built one, quickly and reactively and in good humor, and I’m glad.

Wish I had the h/t for the blog that directed me to the Esri site. Will share it when I uncover it again.

Matt and his dancing antics, back again

These videos  of Matt dancing around the world, in 20052006 and especially the 2008 one, have made me smile, laugh, and yearn to hold on to that sense of feeling at one with humanity. The imagery, the music from the 2008 one, the  vicarious and jealous thrill I felt at someone having the carefree opportunity to visit such places. If we only saw 2 or 3 seconds of a trip to a country, surely there were more than 2 or 3 days that we didn’t?

The 2012 version is now out, and I’m enjoying it as much as the rest.

I learned from Neatorama about the mini-history that Ethan Zuckerman had written for Matt’s videos. Intriguing was the story of the 2008 score which I’ve always adored. I shall purchase a (legal) copy of it, once my sleeping teenagers and their friends vacate the family room and allow me access to the computer with its master music library.

maps, mapping, humor

I wandered across a fun mapping and GIS blog recently, Blue Sky GIS.  They’ve collected (and generated) some fine ones, like this:


alternative ways of grouping and describing Americans

A post from somewhere recently (the Atlantic?) keyed me into the work done by John Nelson at IDV User Experience, such as Thiessen polygons of Craig’s Lists boundaries.  Then I wandered onto a similar approach for Massachusett’s Dunkin Donuts regions by PasteInPlace.   Soon the indefatigable Seth Dixon had pointed me towards the US Personality map. Next thing I knew, I was back to John Nelson’s production of the US according to its Google Autocompletes.  (Which reminded me of the Google Making us Dumber site, which I see has become stale, or maybe it was this Oddee list I was remembering.)

Just a few bookmarks after a Sunday night hour of procrastination…