Perhaps the most obvious mark we’ve made to the planet is in land-use changes. For millennia, humans have chopped down forests and moved rock and soil for agriculture and pastureland—and more recently, for construction.
CREDIT: ERLE ELLIS, ADAPTED FROM E. ELLIS, PROCEEDINGS OF THE ROYAL SOCIETY A, 369:1010 (2011) From the Science article “A global perspective on the anthropocene” DOI: 10.1126/science.334.6052.34
The 8th ICA Mountain Cartography Workshop was held in Tongariro National Park, New Zealand (map) during 1-5 September 2012. A couple dozen participants gathered to talk about maps, mountains & enjoy outdoor recreation. Martin, Tom, and I joined from the United States and other participants ranged from Argentina to Norway and the usual contingent from Switzerland and Austria. We had wonderful hosts in New Zealand organizing committee.
I’ve gathered our presentations together here as a reference, enjoy.
We’d love to see these maps used around the web, so we’ve included some brief instructions to help you use them in the mapping system of your choice. These maps are available free of charge but with attribution. Details at any of the links above.
[Editor's note: Second of a pair of new satellites, now operational, will build higher resolution (with more vertical precision) view of Earth than prior SRTM efforts (90m free, 30m restricted). Graphic shows the same area in different DEM (DTM) resolutions. The 12 meter pixel size of the new commercial project is global, but inconsistent with the 10 meter DEMs available in the United States. Thanks Thierry_G!]
The TanDEM-X satellite has blasted into orbit on a mission to acquire the most precise 3D map of the Earth’s surface. The German radar spacecraft will fly in formation with an identical platform called TerraSAR-X launched in 2007. Together, the pair will measure the variation in height across the globe to an accuracy of better than two metres. Their digital elevation model will have myriad uses, from helping military jets fly ultra low to showing relief workers where an earthquake’s damage is worst.
“Our aim is to generate a model at a resolution and a quality that doesn’t exist today,” explained Dr Vark Helfritz, from satellite image-processing company Infoterra GmbH. “This will be a truly seamless global product – not a patchwork of datasets that have been fitted together,” he told BBC News. TanDEM-X was carried into space atop a converted intercontinental ballistic missile from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan.
We’re seeing the most detailed images of the moon’s surface ever captured from afar — thanks to NASA’s Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter, or LRO. The space probe carries a super-powerful camera, which photographs every bit of the moon’s surface for scientists to examine.
Only one problem: The LRO is doing such a good job that the scientists can’t keep up.
Enter Oxford astrophysicist Chris Lintott. He’s asking amateur astronomers to help review, measure and classify tens of thousands of moon photos streaming to Earth. He has set up the website MoonZoo.org, where anyone can log on, get trained and become a space explorer.
“We need anybody and everybody,” Lintott tells NPR’s Guy Raz on Weekend All Things Considered.
For example, “we ask people to count the craters that they can see … and that tells us all sorts of things about the history and the age of that bit of surface,” Lintott explains.
[Editor's note: I'm pleased to announce the immediate availability of version 1.1 of Natural Earth! Three months after our initial launch, the project reaches a major milestone. The download manager will be updated the next couple weeks. In the meantime, please check out the ZIP and release notes below.]
In addition to the Association of American Geographers conference here in DC this April, there are two conferences of note over in Europe in late summer (thanks Martin):
September 1 – Sept. 5:
ICA Commission Mountain Cartography will meet in Romania. Abstracts due by March 1. More info »
September 6 - Sept. 9:
FOSS4G in Barcelona. Abstracts need to be in by April 1. More info »
I’ve attended the mountain cartography conference before and highly recommend it. It’ll be a much smaller affair then the Barcelona conference and include many mountain outings.
The “Free and Open Source Software for GeoSpatial” conference is an:
international ‘gathering of tribes’ of open source geospatial communities, where developers and users show off their latest software and projects.
The spatial industry is undergoing rapid innovations and the open source spatial community is one of the forces driving the change. The FOSS4G conference is more than a melting pot of great ideas it is a catalyst and opportunity to unite behind the many successful geospatial products, standards and protocols.
Tom and I have been busy adding 4 times the rivers and 3 times the lakes we had for North America. This adds in many “missing” hydro features that one might normally find on a 1:10,000,000 hydrologic reference map.
Why were they missing from the first version of Natural Earth? It’s hard to wade thru 1:1,000,000 features to figure which to add and an even tougher job to attribute them with the correct name and scale ranks. There’s another factor: these extra features are great if you’re making a watershed map, but can be a little noisy when used as a background layer in say a political reference map.
Cody Rice, now of the EPA but formerly of the Commission for Environmental Cooperation (CEC) send along an amazing link last week. The CEC is a joint agency between the United States, Canada, and Mexico. Specifically: USGS, Natural Resources Canada, INEGI-Mexico. Each country contributed base data for a 1:10,000,000 digital atlas. The data is available in many popular formats and is in the public domain. Better yet, it includes GIS data attributes like river name!
We’ve compared with our existing Natural Earth linework and identified which features were missing. For those we’re adding, we’ve adjusted the new linework a nudge here and there so it lines up with SRTM relief and our existing linework. We’ve also gone thru and created lake centerlines and applied scale ranks to all in three new steps (10, 11, and 12). We have some final polishing but will be releasing, along with some slight adjustments to the original data, by the end of January.
Do you have time to donate? Unlike ranks 0 to 9 (the original data), this new data will NOT come tapered. We’d like it to be and can show you how.
Know of a similar, attributed with name, 1:10,000,000 regional dataset we could adapt into Natural Earth to build out our coverage? Please let me know at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Preview images below:
Red = new at rank 10. Blue = new at rank 11. Black = new at rank 12. Grey = old at ranks 0 to 9.
Scientists working on understanding the integration of space and time will gather in Redlands, California, February 22–23, 2010, to attend the Space-Time Modeling and Analysis Workshop. The workshop will be part of the first Redlands GIS Week—a gathering of thought leaders from academia, government, and industry to advance the science and application of geospatial technologies. The remainder of Redlands GIS Week 2010 will be dedicated to informal networking activities, demonstrations, and technical tours.
The Space-Time Modeling and Analysis Workshop will feature keynote presentations, lightning talks, and small group discussions, as well as opportunities for informal brainstorming with leading geospatial thinkers and implementers. Redlands GIS Week will be held at ESRI’s headquarters, as well as nearby sites in Redlands, California. The event is cosponsored by the Association of American Geographers (AAG), the University of Redlands, the University of Southern California, and ESRI. After the workshop, a publication will share the event’s results with a larger audience.