Map Morsels III

February 24, 2011

Jonathan Fristick, GIS/GPS Mapping

Earthquake in Christchurch, New Zealand

From NASA’s Earth Observatory:

“At 12:51 p.m. local time on February 22, 2011 (11:51 p.m. February 21 UTC), a 6.3-magnitude earthquake struck the South Island of New Zealand, the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) reported. Several smaller aftershocks followed. The quake occurred near the city of Christchurch, a community of some 400,000 residents on the east coast. The initial death toll was 65, according to news reports, and authorities warned that the toll could rise sharply as search-and-rescue efforts continued.” Also see the associated image.

Resources for the Latest Christchurch Earthquake

From the Google Earth Blog.

A survey of sources for information.

Shields Up: Why Last Week’s Solar Storm Was a Dud

From Wired Science.

An explanation of why last weeks’ solar storm did not affect your GPS unit. Includes a wicked cool animated image of the Sun.

Blizzard Watch with ArcGIS Online

Do you stay up at night a little too late because you are keeping a sharp eye on the impending snow storm which never really lives up to expectations? Do you constantly scan NOAA, NWS, AccuWeather, and The Weather Channel?  If you answered yes, then take a look at this ArcGIS Online Blog entry:

“You can keep an eye on the storm and current weather conditions and make your own maps using ArcGIS Online. Here’s some of the real-time weather resources that you’ll find. At click gallery to view featured maps. You’ll find a map showing the current snow forecast among those listed.”

Use ArcGIS Online Basemaps For Free

From the ArcGIS Online Blog:

“As of the end of January, ArcGIS Online basemaps published and hosted by Esri are now available at no cost, regardless of use.  This is true regardless of whether your use is commercial, noncommercial, internal, or external use.”

Color Tools For Map Makers

From the ESRI Mapping Center Blog.  Tools to use to improve color selection.

After iPad’s Head Start, Rival Tablets Are Poised to Flood Offices

From the New York Times:

“Companies as diverse as General Electric, Wells Fargo, Mercedes-Benz and Medtronic are putting Apple’s iPad to work in their offices. And as a string of devices tailored for the office enters the market — from the likes of Motorola, Research In Motion, Samsung and Hewlett-Packard — tablets are all but certain to flood America’s workplaces.”

Are you using a tablet for GIS/GPS fieldwork? In the office? Do you have suggestions for other GIS professionals who may be in the market for one?  Write a comment below and tell us how it’s going.

Hydrogen Cartridges Fuel Laptops and Phones for Outdoor Enthusiasts

From: Science Daily:

“This week, SiGNa Chemistry Inc. unveiled its new hydrogen cartridges, which provide energy to fuel cells designed to recharge cell phones, laptops and GPS units. The green power source is geared toward outdoor enthusiasts as well as residents of the Third World, where electricity in homes is considered a luxury.”

The Winkle Tripel Projection,  An Alternative to Web Mercator Projection

From the ESRI Mapping Center Blog:

New York City 311 Map

From the Map Room:

New York City’s 311 service, which handles non-emergencies, has a map showing the number of service requests by community board district.

Google Opens Public Data Explorer to Your Data

What is the Google Public Data Explorer?

“The Google Public Data Explorer makes large datasets easy to explore, visualize and communicate. As the charts and maps animate over time, the changes in the world become easier to understand. You don’t have to be a data expert to navigate between different views, make your own comparisons, and share your findings.”


February 16, 2011

Jonathan Frishtick, GIS/GPS Mapping

Watson Dominates ‘Jeopardy’ but Stumbles Over Geography

From the New York Times:

By Anahad O’Conner

“The brilliant IBM supercomputer may need a refresher course on United States geography.

In its battle against two human champions on the Tuesday episode of “Jeopardy!,” Watson, the latest machine to take on mankind in a mental showdown, seemed at first to prove its worthiness. The computer mostly dominated its human opponents, beating them to the buzzer in 24 out of 30 Double Jeopardy questions and answering every question it fielded correctly — until it got to the final round.

The category was “U.S. Cities,” and the clue provided: “Its largest airport is named for a WWII hero. Its second largest for a WWII battle.

Watson’s answer?


The audience gasped. Viewers, particularly those in Chicago — the correct city — may well have gasped too.

Going 24 for 25 is far from shabby, especially considering that Watson finished the second day of the three-day challenge with more than $35,000 in winnings, far ahead of Brad Rutter, with $10,400, and Ken Jennings, who had $4,800. Both men are former champions who set records on the show.

But Toronto an American city?”

To continue reading this story, go to:

Add Local Food Banks To The Map

From the OpenGeoData blog:

NASA Earth Observatory

Subscribe to NASA’s Earth Observatory Image of the Day.

Until then, take a look at these images, available as JPEG, TIFF or KMZ.

Heavy Snow on the Korean Peninsula

Winter Cloud Streets, North Atlantic

Snow in Southern U.S.

Cash Prizes for Conservation Mapping

From Spatial Sustain:

by Matt Ball on February 11, 2011

Esri and the Society for Conservation GIS (SCGIS) have teamed to hold the first International Conservation Mapping Competition. The contest is open to nonprofit conservation groups and individuals that support these groups with $10,000 in prize money for the best maps that address conservation issues.

The deadline for entries is March 15, 2011. Winners will be displayed in a special exhibition at the Esri International User Conference in July, and will also be highlighted in the summer issue of Conservation Magazine. Visit this webpage for more details.

Patent Infringement Alleged in New Law Suit for Store Location Mapping Functionality

From Directions Magazine:

“In effect, the lawsuits allege that, every time a PC user searches online for the closest bricks-and-mortar location of a retailer, …[a] … Patent is infringed.”

Natural Earth: A Free World Basemap

From the ESRI Mapping Center Blog:

Natural Earth is a free, public domain map dataset available at 1:10, 1:50, and 1:110- million scales and includes new vector and updated raster themes. The goal is to give cartographers and GIS users an off-the-shelf solution for creating small scale world, regional, and country maps.

Fourth Circuit Decides First Amendment Trumps Social Security Number Privacy

From the GeoData Policy blog

“By KASHMIR HILL, Above the Law Blog, 27 Jul 2010 at 4:59 PM 4TH

Court clerks in Virginia may be shaking their fists at the Fourth Circuit today. In an interesting ruling on free speech, privacy, and public records, the court ruled that an angry blogger has the right to publish public officials’ and court clerks’ Social Security numbers in order to protest the fact that Virginia puts records online that publish citizens’ social security numbers. We skimmed the opinion, but didn’t see a citation to Hammurabi.

B.J. Ostergren has been writing since 2003 to bring attention to the fact that state governments play fast and loose with people’s Social Security numbers when putting land records online. Her advocacy got many of them to actually start attempting to redact SSNs from the documents before putting them online, but the system was still imperfect.

For full text of the article, visit Fourth Circuit Decides First Amendment Trumps Social Security Number Privacy « Above the Law: A Legal Tabloid – News, Gossip, and Colorful Commentary on Law Firms and the Legal Profession.”

Aerial Imagery of the Protests in Egypt

From the Google Earth Blog:

“GeoEye has just released some high-resolution imagery of the protests in Egypt, taken over Tahrir Square in Cairo on January 29.

GeoEye does a great job of capturing fresh imagery from a variety of noteworthy events throughout the world. In the past, they’ve provided imagery from Burning Man 2010, the volcano in Iceland last April and President Obama’s inauguration two years ago.

I’ve taken this latest image and added it to Google Earth as an overlay, so you can download this KML file to see it for yourself.”


Special Gifts for that Special Geo Person In Your Life:

The U.S. Census Bureau Launches Interactive Map

From the Spatial Sustain Blog:

“The U.S. Census Bureau has just launched an interactive online map widget that lets you explore both local data as well as 10 decades of population growth at the country level.”

Regular GPS Not Accurate enough? Try RTK-GPS

Wild LifeLines Offers a Tool for Mapping Wildlife Corridors in the West

From Spatial Sustain:

Find Streets With Your Name

Past and Future Events Reminder

February 10, 2011

Leslie Pelch, VCGI



Workshops and Conferences Scheduled for this Spring/Summer (see details here –

  • May 3 – VSDP Roundtable Conference, Rutland Holiday Inn – details forthcoming!
  • May 19 – Moving From ArcGIS 9 to 10, Hampton Inn, Colchester, 9 AM – 4 PM, $120
  • May 20 – Moving From ArcGIS 9 to 10, VTC, Randolph CTR, 9 AM – 4 PM, $120
  • June 7 – Making Maps the Google Way, Rutland Holiday Inn, 9 AM – Noon, $50
  • June 7 – Making Maps the Google Way: Reloaded, Rutland Holiday Inn, 1 PM – 4PM, $50
  • June 8 – Making Maps the Google Way, Hampton Inn, Colchester, 9 AM – Noon, $50
  • June 8 – Making Maps the Google Way: Reloaded, Hampton Inn, Colchester, 1 PM – 4PM, $50

Map Morsels

February 10, 2011

Jonathan Frishtick, GIS/GPS Mapping

Every now and then I’ll be posting what I hope are interesting gis/gps/mapping/geo/lbs/tech/ related news items and links.

If you particularly like one, please let me know.

Maps of River Systems


“Daniel Huffman’s latest project is a series of maps of river systems done in a transit map style, a highly appropriate and even somewhat useful design for what are, after all, linear networks. He began with the whole Mississippi River system and is expanding into smaller regional maps, having completed Michigan, Southern New England, and Northern California so far. The results are attractive and for sale to satisfy our bare walls.”

Land Use Cover – Global Initiative


Deputy Secretary of the Interior David J. Hayes, co-leading the U.S. delegation to the 2010 Group on Earth Observations (GEO) summit, announced that the United States is launching a new global initiative aimed at developing the first-ever comprehensive and up-to-date database of 30-meter satellite imagery that will show changes in land cover and land uses worldwide.”

Who Is Min Kao?

From: Min Kao recently bought a NYC condo for $40 million. Does Min’s name sound a little familiar? He is the “min” in Garmin. Along with Gary Burrell, the “gar” in Garmin, they started what is now Garmin way back in 1989.

Sign Up for Google Imagery Update Alert

With Google’s Follow Your World application, you can register locations on the globe and Google will send you an email update whenever the imagery is updated.

Soils Web Map Service

ESRI announces a beta version of a soils Web map service on

Compare Countries

From the Free Geography Tools website:

If It Were My Home plots the area of any world country of your choice on a Google Maps view centered around your current location (presumably determined by your IP address)…and gives a comparison of basic demographic characteristics between your country and the one you’ve chosen:”

Maps Made Entirely From Words

Electron Microscope Photos of Snowflakes


The Christmas Storm Satellite Image


Take a look at the Christmas snow storm and download the image as a jpeg, Geotiff or Google Earth file. While you are visiting this page, look at Semisopochnoi Island in Alaska, an important nesting area for maritime birds of the North Pacific.

Creating Custom Overlay Maps for (Some) Garmin GPS Units

From the Free Geography Tools website:

Scanned Old USGS Quad Maps

The U.S. Geological Survey, announced recently that they are scanning and georeferencing historical USGS quadrangles.

Public Record? Access or Not to GIS Data

An article evaluating the responses to a public records request made to all 351 Massachusetts municipalities. The author’s final recommendations to municipalities: publish GIS data for free online, and with minimal legal restrictions.

For full text of the article, which has not yet been peer-reviewed, click here.

Gmail Tip:

Your Gmail inbox says you have 6 unread emails but you can’t find them and you don’t want to look through your 20,000 old Gmail messages.

Unlike Yahoo, Gmail does not have an “unread” mail option.

Just type: “is:unread” in the Gmail search box.

Awesome-ifying Your Facebook Profile Page With Photos

Facebook changed layouts recently, adding a row of 5 images (the 5 images you were most recently tagged in) at the top of the profile page. Using Photoshop or other photo manipulation software, you can make mini-images to fill this space.

This may be particularly useful for a Facebook business page.

You have to deal with what happens when a photo of you or your company is newly tagged, resulting in the images changing without your consent. If you try this for your company’s Facebook page and find a work-around please let me know the results.

Jonathan Frishtick


Renewable Energy Atlas of Vermont – Update

February 8, 2011

Mike Brouillette, VCGI

The Renewable Energy Atlas of Vermont will be updated soon with two additional Solar-related layers:

  • Solar Hot Water (SHW) estimates
  • Ground Mounted Solar

Estimated release is the April time frame. Check it out here if you haven’t yet: