Tuesday, May 22, 2007

National Geographic Bee

It's Bee Time! National Geographic Bee Finals on Wednesday, May 23

Preliminary rounds of the 2007 National Geographic Bee begin today, Tuesday, May 22. The National Geography Bee returns for the nineteenth consecutive year, and the host will again be Alex Trebek. Nearly 5 million students in grades four through eight from all fifty states first compete in school and state level competitions with ten finalists in the championship round on Wednesday, May 23. The winner receives a $25,000 college scholarship and a lifetime membership in the National Geographic Society. Second-place wins a $15,000 scholarship, and third-place wins a $10,000 scholarship.

The national finals will air on the National Geographic Channel on Wednesday, May 23 at 5:00 P.M. (Eastern Time). Local public television stations will also air the competition. For a schedule of the air dates in all fifty states, check www.mpt.org/programsinterests/geobee.cfm Viewers in the Muncie, Indiana, area can view the broadcast on WIPB on Wednesday, May 30 at 5:30 P.M. This year viewers can also watch a half-hour special, “Road to the Geo Bee.” This program follows three state winners as they prepare for the national competition, and one of the students featured is from Indiana. This program will air locally on WIPB on May 29 at 5:30 P.M.

For more information about the National Geography Bee, visit the National Geographic website at http://www.nationalgeographic.com/geographybee/

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Google Maps Blog Debut

Google Maps Blog Debut

Google debuted a Blog dedicated to Google Earth, Maps, Local, and the mapping API last week. The Blog, Lat Long Blog, features "news and notes by the Google Earth and Maps team." The initial posting explained that "as web mapping matures..." there is "more to communicate about new developments in Earth, Maps, Local, and our API's." This new Blog is available at http://www.google-latlong.blospot.com

Map of Jamestown Colony in GRMC

Map of Jamestown Colony Available in GRMC

National Geographic has produced a map of the Jamestown colony that is a recent addition to the Geospatial Resources & Map Collection at Bracken Library. The map shows substantial Native American populations before and after European contact on one side with an inset map showing the Atlantic trade routes of the 1600's. The front of the map is titled 1607: When Cultures Collided. Images of the Jamestown colony and Werowocomoco, the capital of the Powhatan Indian chiefdom are shown.

The creation of the map coincides with the celebration in Jamestown of the 400th anniversary of the first permanent English colony in America. Queen Elizabeth II visited the site of the original colony during her state visit to the United States in early May. President Bush and first lady Laura Bush attended the anniversary festival on May 13 and walked the grounds of the original settlement.

The National Geographic Web site also celebrates the festivities with a Jamestown kids’ game. Players can follow Captain John Smith meeting Native Americans and exploring the Chesapeake Bay. The game even includes sword-fishing, shooting bows and arrows, and boat racing. Educators will also find lesson plans about the colony on the website. The lessons include information about the Chesapeake Bay watershed and history of the area. The Powhatan village can be explored, and users can even print off recipes of what the Native Americans ate.

Contact the GRMC to view the map of Jamestown or for any other information from 7:30 A.M. to 4:30 P.M. Monday through Friday during the summer.

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

May Window Displays

Planes, Trains, and Automobiles: May Map Display

Visit the newly renamed Geospatial Resources & Map Collection on the second floor of Bracken Library to view the map display in the windows. In honor of the Indianapolis 500 Race, the theme for the display is transportation--focusing on planes, trains, and automobiles. Two road maps from the Map Collection are featured in the display--a 1917 road map showing the Dixie Highway and a 1962 road map where Interstate 69 makes its first appearance. Art covers from other road maps in the Map Collection are featured on a poster in the display called "Crossroads of America: The Art of the Road Map." (Click on the photographs above for a detailed view of the displays).

The display also features maps from the World Mapper website. These world maps show the countries with the largest number of passenger cars and the countries with the longest commute times (Thailand has that unfortunate distinction).

Plan a road trip to a national park using the map of national parks in the Midwest also displayed in the window. There is also a map of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway and an image of the famed oval viewed from GoogleEarth.

The "Map of the Month" for May 2007 is a National Geographic map called "Years of Flight." This map celebrates the anniversary of Charles Lindbergh's solo trans-Atantic flight in May of 1927. The map also features other milestones of flight.

Other maps in the display are the East Central Indiana Rail Trails map, a street map of Baghdad, and a road map of Afghanistan.

Contact the Geospatial Resources & Map Collection for more information about these maps. The Collection is open Monday through Friday 7:30 to 4:30 for the summer.

Monday, May 07, 2007

IndianaMap on PBS

PBS Features IndianaMap on "Across Indiana"

This month PBS will be featuring information about the IndianaMap on its local award-winning show "Across Indiana." The IndianaMap is a project sponsored by the Indiana Geographic Information Council, the Indiana Geological Survey, Indiana University, and the State of Indiana. The project goal was to provide a single statewide map for Indiana to be used by GIS professionals and the general public. The IndianaMap allows users to view city and county boundaries, elevation and contours, rivers, and transportation systems. Users can view aerial photography and topographic maps of an area. The project will be featured on the "Across Indiana" broadcast on PBS the week of May 14. Tune in to learn more about the IndianaMap.

Friday, May 04, 2007

April 2007 Events in the GCMC

What's Happening in the GCMC? April 2007

A semester-long project came to completion in April 2007: 10 students studying at the Virginia Ball Center for Creative Inquiry finalized a project analyzing poverty in Muncie. The students were participating in "Voice and Vision: Poverty from the Inside Out," a seminar led by Eva Zygmunt-Fillwalk, assistant professor of elementary education. According the the Ball Center's webpage, the students are developing a radio series about individuals dealing with poverty in association with Indiana Public Radio and community partner TEAMwork for Quality Living. Angela Gibson, GIS Specialist, helped the class use GIS and census data to create maps for a special showcase of the project held on April 26 at the Cornerstone Center for the Arts.

Also in April, over 150 students from Geography 150 and Geography 101 classes visited the Geospatial Center & Map Collection for a class assignment called "Cities @ Work." The assignment was created by Carol Shears, assistant professor of geography, with assistance from Melissa Gentry of the GCMC. Each student analyzed maps about a U.S. city of their choice. The students used bird's-eye-view maps, historic and current street and topographic maps, and aerial photographs from the Map Collection to track urban development over time.

Over 200 students and staff also visited the GCMC during April to use the large-format plotter. Students from the College of Architecture & Planning were busy printing off their final drawings, and other students printed off posters assigned as a final project.

Students from many areas of study used the maps, atlases, GIS, and other resources of the GCMC during April: anthropology, natural resources and environmental management, geography, journalism, history, and geology. A researcher presenting for the Association for Lifelong Learners also used the GCMC, and Kent State University and Ohio University inquired about borrowing sets of maps from the Map Collection.

The GCMC also received large donations during the month of April and organized collections of World War II maps, Sidwell maps of South Bend, and historic nautical charts produced by the Nazis.

The GCMC is located on the second floor of Bracken Library, Ball State University.

Thursday, May 03, 2007

GCMC Summer hours

Summer Hours in the GCMC

Summer business hours in the Geospatial Center & Map Collection begin on Monday, May 7. The GCMC will be open from Monday through Friday from 7:30 A.M. to 4:30 P.M. during the summer. The GCMC will be closed for Memorial Day on Monday, May 28, and on Independence Day, Wednesday, July 4. Please contact the GCMC with any questions, and check the University Libraries webpage for other library hours.

Wednesday, May 02, 2007

GIS Conference Report

Report from the Indiana GIS Conference in Indianapolis

Angela Gibson, GIS Specialist, recently attended the Annual Indiana GIS Conference in Indianapolis, held at the Crowne Plaza Hotel and Conference Center on March 6-7, 2007. She presented this article for the University Libraries’ newsletter:

The Indiana GIS Conference included workshops centered on changes in the 2010 U.S. Census, the updated National Hydrology dataset, digital elevation and digital surface models, and the Public Land Survey System tie-card project. Shorter sessions were offered for a variety of subjects, such as the new oblique aerial photography, library-based interdisciplinary GIS, development of the GIS Atlas for Indiana, flood map modernization, and an assortment of other trends and projects occurring in Indiana. Particularly important sessions that correspond to services offered in the University Libraries’ Geospatial Center & Map Collection discussed oblique aerial photography.

So exactly what is oblique photography? Oblique is the technical term used to describe an aerial photograph that is taken at an angle. This means that a feature such as a house, a building or an overpass can be viewed in its entirety. This does not just mean the user can see one side of the building; rather, the image can be rotated to view the front door, back door, and both sides as well. This view is familiar to most users and provides for almost instant 3-D modeling. An oblique image can also be geo-referenced, so that GIS data such as streets, hydrology, and parcels can by layered over it.

Delaware County is in the process of obtaining a grant that will fund the purchase of new oblique aerial photography of the entire county. The Geospatial Center & Map Collection will obtain a copy of these aerials when they are available from Delaware County for use by the BSU and local community. Delaware County orthophotography is already the most requested dataset in the Center, and the new oblique photography holds the promise of being a valuable addition to the growing in-house GIS data. The Urban Planning, Architecture, and Landscape Architecture students and staff are likely to be the most interested in using the oblique imagery for site-plans, building designs, and urban planning projects.

As always, the Annual Indiana GIS Conference was a hotbed of new ideas with conversations about trends that are occurring in the GIS world. There was also exciting news about powerful new resources for GIS professionals and persons who use GIS media tools. This exciting new information about available GIS datasets and their applications will prove to be very useful for the students and faculty who use the Geospatial Center & Map Collection, located in Bracken Library on the second floor.