Thursday, October 12, 2017

Art of Cartography Presentation at Cornerstone Center for the Arts

Libby Vanderploeg


Burris Elementary School map of Muncie


Hannah Barnes 2015 art exhibit at University Libraries







First Thursday Arts Walk at Twin Archer, December 2016




Getting Carto-GRAPHIC: Art Maps Program in Downtown Muncie

The Ball State University Libraries GIS Research and Map Collection (GRMC) will provide a workshop featuring maps created as works of art.  The program will be in the Colonnade Room at the Cornerstone Center for the Arts (520 East Main Street) on Tuesday, October 17 from 6:30 to 7:30.

The program will include maps created by artists who specialize in creating cartographic works, including Martin Haake, Lucy Letherland, and Libby Vanderploeg (above).  And maps submitted to the Instagram “They Draw and Travel” account and books series will also be presented.  Books detailing the art of cartography from the Libraries’ collection will also be available.

Art students from Burris School created hand-drawn maps (above, click to enlarge) that will be presented in the program.  In December 2016, the GRMC coordinated a First Thursday Arts Walk maps exhibit called “Home.”  Students from Ball State University professors Hannah Barnes’ watercolor and Jorn Seemann’s cartography class created maps for the special show.  (The watercolor maps are included in a special collection in the Libraries’ DigitalMedia Repository).  These maps will be presented at the program, and attendees will get a sneak peek at some of the maps being created for another First Thursday exhibit on November 2.

The program will also include information about how to create maps using online resources and design software.  And attendees can learn about creating their own cartographic works that can be donated to the Libraries’ collection of maps or displayed as art.

Admission to the program is free and open to the public, and free parking is also available.  For more information, please contact the GRMC at 765-285-1097.

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

International Day of the Girl Celebrated with Maps



ESRI Map of Women with Debit Cards




Girl Power in Maps:  Celebrating International Day of the Girl 

The International Day of the Girl was created by the United Nations in 2011 to celebrate the potential of girls across the world in the face of discrimination and other threats to their well-being.  The mission is to empower girls worldwide and bring awareness to issues like education, healthcare, and protection from discrimination, child marriage, and sexual assault.

The theme for this year is “EmPOWER Girls: Before, during, and after Conflict.”  According to the United Nations, girls in conflict zones or humanitarian crises are 90% more likely to be out of school and more likely to be subjected to violence and exploitation.

The Ball State University Libraries GIS Research and Map Collection (GRMC) has a collection of maps and atlases that detail issues affecting girls around the world.  Cartographic resources like maps are an innovative format for depicting problems like access to contraception and healthcare, education, and clean water.  These maps can be used as informative visual aids for research and education projects, exhibits, and papers. 

The GRMC creates new maps related to international girls each year in celebration of Women’s History Month and other special events and exhibits.  Biographical maps about significant women in history are also included in the collection.

For more information about using maps for research and learning, contact the GRMC at 765-285-1097.

Monday, October 02, 2017

World Breast Cancer Rates Map from Ball State University Libraries


Mapping Breast Cancer around the World

The Ball State University Libraries GIS Research and Map Collection (GRMC) features one of the unique maps from the Collection as the “Map of the Month.”  The October “Map of the Month” is a map depicting the countries with the highest rates of breast cancer in the world.

October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month, and the map (above, click to enlarge) identifies the countries with the highest breast cancer incidence per 100,000 women—all the countries have 75 cases and over based on 2002-2007 world age standardized rates.  (The United States has the highest rate with 101 per 100,000).

All of the countries are industrialized.  Women in industrialized countries are more likely to get breast cancer.  One in eight women in industrialized countries will develop breast cancer over an 85-year lifespan. 

The map was created using data from the Penguin Atlas of Women in the World by Joni Seager.  The atlas was published in 2009 and includes maps related to social topics like disease, marriage, birthrights, environmental resources, employment, and power.  The atlas is an excellent cartographic resource for visual aids for creative writing projects or presentations and is available in the Atlas Collection or the GRMC.

The GRMC provides access to online cartographic resources for educational projects and learning.  Contact the GRMC for more information about using maps in education and learning.

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Fall 2017 Ball State University Culture Exchange Program



Around the World with the Ball State University Culture Exchange Program

The Ball State University Rinker Center for International Programs will be presenting international speakers for the Culture Exchange program. Presenters from around the world (mostly students) will highlight the culture and lifestyles of their home countries every Wednesday at noon in the L.A. Pittenger Student Center Phyllis Yuhas Room (Student Center 102, unless otherwise noted).

The Ball State University Libraries GIS Research and Map Collection (GRMC) provides maps and photographs from atlases to create exhibits for the program. Some of the poster exhibits from past speakers are available for use in other displays or classroom exhibits.

This year the program begins with Kris Molloy discussing New Zealand on September 27.  The complete program schedule:

·        October 4: Martina Schiavo, Italy
·        October 11: Daniel Tuyisenge, Rwanda (Room 303)
·        October 18: Ekaterina Romanova, Russia
·        October 25: Ramona Whittaker, Bolivia
·        November 1: Max Blakeley, England
·        November 8: Svitlana Dorda, Ukraine
·        November 15, Esau Martinez, Mexico
·        November 29: TBA
·        December 6: TBA


Attendees are invited to bring their lunch to the program.

New York Times Country of the Week Builds Geography Skills




Building Geography Skills with The New York Times

Yesterday, September 18, The New York Times published its first “Country of the Week,” South Africa.  This new feature will make use of the paper’s 30 international news bureaus around the world with activities and quizzes to build students’ geography skills.

The quiz for South Africa first asks responders to find the country on a map of Africa. Then responders are asked about the country’s three capital cities, the two oceans along its coasts. IsiZulu is the most widely spoken home language in South Africa, and a video features the unique language.  Users can also watch a 360 video “to catch a glimpse of life in South Africa.” And The Times will publish a new “Country of the Week” quiz every Monday throughout the school year.

This new urgency to teach geography skills is the result of a New York Times Upshot article reporting about an experiment where researchers asked Americans to locate North Korea on the map. Only 36% of respondents could correctly identify the country, but the interesting part was the second question asking opinions regarding foreign policy: Those who could correctly identify North Korea favored diplomatic and nonmilitary strategies and were opposed to direct military engagement. Those who could not correctly identify North Korea on a map actually favored direct military engagement with the country.

The article continued: Harm de Blij in “Why Geography Matters” wrote that “geography is a superb antidote to isolationism and provincialism.”  Geographic literacy of a country’s citizens provides an excellent “check and balances” review for foreign policy actions of their government.

The Ball State University Libraries GIS Research and Map Collection (GRMC) provides access to online educational resources that can be used in the classroom—or at home—to promote geographic literacy.  The GRMC creates custom maps, tutorials, games, lessons, and exhibits for use in educational research and learning. Teachers and other users can download the files for use in the classroom or other learning.

For more information about using cartographic resources from the GRMC, please call 765-285-1097 Monday through Friday from 8:00 to 5:00 pm.

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Program Provides Biographical Histories Via Maps




People and Their Places: Biography Maps Class from the Ball State University Libraries

The Ball State University Libraries GIS Research and Map Collection (GRMC) will provide a workshop featuring biographical maps on Wednesday, September 20 from 6:30 to 7:30 at the Cornerstone Center for the Arts in downtown Muncie. Geography Biographies: Mapping Historic Lives will include custom maps created by the GRMC that identify important places in the lives of historic figures from around the world.

The maps include well known subjects like President John F. Kennedy, Martin Luther King, Jr., Amelia Earhart, Princess Diana, and famed Indiana outlaw John Dillinger.  Compilation maps include Indiana Governors, Indiana Vice Presidents, and Indiana authors that feature interesting stories about some of the persons.

But many of the maps were created to commemorate lesser known heroes of history:  A map about Margaret Hamilton tells the story of the Indiana-born NASA Apollo space program software engineer. Ann Cole Lowe, the first African American haute couture fashion designer, is featured on a custom map. Gus Grissom, one of the pioneering Mercury astronauts, is also the subject of a special commemorative map. And many of the compilation maps include interesting figures from Negro League Baseball, Suffragettes, World War II correspondents, and activists from the civil rights movement. And maps about local Muncie figures will also be featured.

A new map about the life of Billie Jean King will be included in the program and is the “Map of the Month” for September on display in the front windows of the GRMC on the second floor of Bracken Library. This map identifies the locations of her hometown and university, the Grand Slam and Virginia Slims tennis tournaments won by King, and the locations of organizations honoring King. The map also includes the location of the epic “Battle of the Sexes” tennis match—the Houston Astrodome—that is depicted in the upcoming movie of the same name.

The program will be presented in the Colonnade Room at the Center (520 East Main Street), and free parking is available. The program is free of charge and open to the public.


For more information, please contact the GRMC at 765-285-1097.   

Thursday, August 31, 2017

Commemorative Map of the Life of Princess Diana at Ball State University Libraries


Queen of Hearts: Princess Diana Map of London

Today marks the 20th anniversary since the death of Princess Diana.  Diana is remembered for her charity work and her beautiful fashions.  In fact, throughout her life, Princess Diana donated many of her popular gowns for auctions in support of her favorite charities.  Diana was able to link her stylish fashions with the causes for which she cared, so the GIS Research and Map Collection (GRMC) created a special map of London (excerpt above—click to enlarge) that also combines fashion and charity events. 

The map, Diana’s London: Important Places in the Life of a Princess, includes sketches of some of Diana’s most popular gowns matched with the locations and events where they were worn.  The commemorative map is on display as the “Map of the Month” in the front windows of the GRMC on the second floor balcony of Bracken Library through Labor Day.

For more information about creating custom cartographic resources, please contact the GRMC at 765-285-1097.

(View or download the complete map here).

Animated Map of Hurricane Harvey Rescue Calls



Animated Map of Hurricane Harvey Rescue Calls

The New York Times created an animated map showing rescue requests coming from residents around the city of Houston from Sunday to Wednesday during the Hurricane Harvey flooding.  The rescue requests were submitted to several online databases, and various local rescue groups dispatched boats.  “Though not every account could be confirmed, in aggregate, the animated map offers a glimpse into the geography of the disaster.”


Users can watch the requests begin circling the city of Houston.  Then on Wednesday the requests start to light up near Beaumont and Port Arthur as the hurricane moved to the east.

Energy Transportation Maps Available from Ball State University Libraries







Hurricane Harvey Aftermath: Where Are Oil Refineries?

The destructive force of Hurricane Harvey has shut down the largest oil refinery in the United States, the Motiva refinery in Port Arthur, Texas. And, as of August 30, 18 refineries have been closed or partially closed according to Business Insider.

Oil Change International publishes an online map showing the locations of oil refineries in the United States and Canada.  The site rates the refineries by color according to the amount of tar sands crude oil processed:  Red refineries receive significant quantities of tar sands crude (greater than 5,000 barrels per day); orange refineries receive smaller amounts of tar sands crude; yellow refineries process negligible amounts of tar sands crude; and gray refineries do not process tar sands crude.

The Ball State University Libraries GIS Research and Map Collection (GRMC) has a large collection of United States depository maps related to energy production and transportation.  Maps in the collection identify pipeline transportation systems, crude oil movement by pipeline, nuclear fuel materials movement by highways, and commodity movement maps.

The GRMC provided energy-related maps for a special collection available from the Libraries’ Digital Media Repository.  The collection, United States Commodities Maps, includes maps of waterways, energy resources and production, and the location of oil and gas pipelines (above—click to enlarge).  The maps are available for download for research and learning projects.

For more information about using cartographic resources related to energy, please contact the GRMC at 765-285-1097.   

Friday, August 25, 2017

Gulf of Mexico Offshore Oil Map Available from Ball State University Libraries



Mapping Offshore Oil in the Gulf of Mexico

With Hurricane Harvey headed toward the coast of Texas, local officials and residents are preparing for the emergency.  But another “waterborne city of oil rigs rises off the coasts of Texas, Louisiana, Alabama, and Mississippi” in the Gulf of Mexico is also bracing during the storm.

 National Geographic published a map of the Gulf of Mexico (excerpt above—click to enlarge) following the BP Deepwater Horizon explosion, fire, and oil spill.  The map, Gulf of Mexico: A Geography of Offshore Oil was published in 2010 following the disaster that year in April.  “The explosion and fire sank the 58,000-ton mobile rig, killing 11 workers.  An estimated 4.9 million barrels of oil flowed from the well, creating the worst accidental marine oil spill in history.” 

The map identifies the locations of the more than 50,000 wells and 43,000 miles of pipeline located in the Gulf of Mexico. The darker brown points identify oil or gas offshore platforms.  The lighter brown points are oil or gas wells.  The brown lines represent oil- or gas-related pipelines.  The darker the small squares, the deeper the water.  According to the map, the maximum depth of the Gulf of Mexico is unknown, but estimates range to 14,000 feet. 

The Perdido floating production platform, southeast of Padre Island, operates in 8,000 feet of water—a world record.  The Tiber well is the world’s deepest offshore well.  Petronius in the eastern part of the Gulf of Mexico is the world’s tallest fixed platform.  The Macondo well, just south of Biloxi, Mississippi, was the site of the Deepwater Horizon disaster.

The map is available for circulation for research and learning projects from the Ball State University Libraries GIS Research and Map Collection (GRMC) on the second floor of Bracken Library.  Digital copies of the map are available for educational or personal purposes upon request.


For more information, please contact the GRMC at 765-285-1097.

Teaching Geography with Hurricane Harvey











Flooding in Texas in an area the size of New Jersey




Hurricane Harvey:  Teaching Geography Via the Weather

Social studies teachers looking for innovative methods for teaching geography and developing geographic literacy may consider using live weather events to familiarize students with places around the United States and the world.  Hurricane Harvey in the Gulf of Mexico is threatening the coast of Texas, and teachers could monitor conditions of the storm while teaching students geography in an interesting and timely way.

FlightRadar 24 is a live flight tracker that shows air traffic around the world in real time.  Radar data and flight schedules and status data from airlines and airports combine to offer a unique way of looking at a map.  Users can click on individual aircraft to view flight information.

Teachers can zoom in to a region, like the Gulf of Mexico, to see how flight paths have been affected by Hurricane Harvey.  Aircraft are avoiding the eastern coast of Texas and the western part of the Gulf of Mexico.  Petroleum company helicopters can be viewed traveling to rigs located in the Gulf (CVR above).  And often a “hurricane hunter” plane deployed by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) can be seen flying in zigzag formations through the hurricane to gather important weather data (above, click to enlarge).

Live cameras provide another interesting view of events like Hurricane Harvey.  Teachers can access live cameras of cities in the path of the hurricane using traffic cameras or Weather Bug, and then access live weather radar to discuss the conditions and direction of the storm.  This is a good opportunity for teachers to discuss other geographic factors like time zones, topography, wind currents, flood plains, and beach erosion.  And teachers could return to the live cameras at a later date to show students any damages or just to view the area in normal conditions.  (Note: Storms can cause the live cameras to shut down).

The National Hurricane Center is another useful resource for teachers.  The site includes live weather radar and maps of wind speeds, wind history, rainfall potential, and storm surge inundation.  The site also provides information, satellite images, and damage costs of historic storms like Katrina and Andrew.

And the Weather Channel is another excellent resource.  Meteorologists describe how hurricanes are formed in the warm waters of the Caribbean and Gulf of Mexico and explain the eye and eye wall, storm surges, and other factors.  And live coverage allows viewers to see the effects of the storm.

The Dartmouth Flood Observatory also provides access to updated maps related to flooding events around the world.  The two bottom maps above depict the scale of the flooding caused from Hurricane Harvey.  Teachers can access maps on the site to discuss the record-breaking flood events of August 2017.

For more information about using unique cartographic resources in the classroom, please contact the GIS Research and Map Collection at 765-285-1097.