Wednesday, June 30, 2010

New Cartographic Materials in Ball State University Libraries

What’s New in the GIS Research & Map Collection?

The GIS Research & Map Collection (GRMC) is constantly updating its collection of maps, atlases, computer software, and other cartographic resources. New materials are being added nearly every week this summer.

The GRMC has a special section of maps that are available for use in classroom displays or for speeches and other types of presentations. Staff of the GRMC have collected large maps of nearly every country in the world and encapsulated them in plastic so that they can be easily mounted to any surface. New display maps are now available of Panama, Switzerland, Mongolia, Korea, Kenya, South Africa, New Zealand, and the countries of Oceania.

The GRMC has also recently acquired a reconnaissance aerial photograph of Omaha Beach. This map shows the actual D-Day invasion from 1944.

The GRMC also has added new reference books to the collection: Children Map the World: Selections from the Barbara Petchenik Children’s Map Competition is a book featuring maps drawn by children ranging in age from 4 to 15 and representing 37 countries. This map competition is sponsored by the International Cartographic Association as a memorial to Barbara Petchenik, a cartographer who studied how children comprehend maps. The maps (shown above) represented are truly works of art, and the book presents an interesting study in cartography.

Another new interesting book featuring a different type of cartography is Off the Map: The Most Amazing Sights on Earth as Seen by Satellite. This book features images from the Google Earth satellite images. The book showcases manmade buildings, crop and sand dune formations, high-security areas, and other interesting sights from around the world.

Maps from the GRMC circulate for two weeks or longer. Books located in the GRMC are reference materials but may be used in the classroom and for other presentations.

For more information, please contact the GRMC at 765/285-1097 or visit Monday through Friday from 7:30 A.M. to 4:30 P.M.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Ball State University Storm Chasers Update

Ball State University Storm Chasers Hit the Road

Reprinted from the BSU Daily News, Kelly Dickey

After their first day chase across Kansas and finding a safe spot on a dirt road, David Call’s geography class found what they hoped to find throughout the summer: a tornado. Call, an associate professor of geography at Ball State University, led his class of storm chasers to the Colorado-Kansas state line to witness a tornado develop on their first day in the field on Tuesday, May 25. “The chances of seeing a tornado on the first day out on the field is less than 10 percent,” Call said. “The rule of thumb is a good chaser in the Great Plains will probably see about one tornado out of every 10 chase days,” he said. “Some days are better in terms of prospect tornados.”

Call said the storm leading up to the tornado was better than most of the storms last year’s group experienced. “Last year the weather pattern was very poor for storms,” he said. “This year we feel more confident and we have a decent shot at seeing another tornado.”

Call and geography professor Reuben Allen are leading a group of 10 Ball State University students to the Great Plains for a trip in search of severe weather. This group of students and faculty is part of the Geography 490 Field Observation of Severe Local Storms class. Unlike with the Ball State storm chasing team, this class gives students the opportunity to earn six credit hours while studying storms up close.

This is the third year Call has led a group of students to study storms. In the last two years, the groups have driven to South Dakota, Texas, Colorado and Missouri, with routes changing according to where they will find severe weather. The trip usually covers about 8,000 miles. The course starts with one week of training in which students learn the basics of how storms are formed; they study maps and atlases and learn how to use weather instruments. The day they depart, they make sure they have everything they need—laptops, maps, walkie talkies, a GPS, weather instruments and first aid kits.

Junior John Rarick said it was an exciting opportunity that he wouldn’t have been able to experience in the classroom. “In the classroom you have to identify parts of a storm structure, but that’s just a picture in a textbook,” he said. “No picture can compare. It was an amazing experience to see the whole thing as it evolved.”

Call said that the group picked a storm they thought would most likely produce a tornado. After 150 miles of traveling around Kansas, they saw the storm drop a tornado. “I’m proud of how the students worked together,” he said. “I help with things, but they did a lot of the work with the forecasting and planning. They did the things we needed to cover the distance and see the tornado.”

According to Call, some of the final decisions come down to luck, but a lot of it has to deal with how well the students work together. Rarick said it’s impossible to predict if they’ll see more tornados based on their one sighting. “We pretty much have no idea what will happen weeks from now,” he said. “It comes down to the people involved, not just the climate model at the time.”

Rarick believes the chase has been interesting, and he’s excited to see as many types of weather conditions as possible. “It’s definitely been exciting,” he said. “I’ve always been interested in severe weather. This was too good of an opportunity to pass up.”

The storm chasing group will remain on the road for about another week to ten days.

FIFA World Cup Map Exhibit at Ball State University Libraries

The World of Soccer: FIFA World Cup Map Exhibit at Ball State University

Opening festivities are beginning in South Africa for the FIFA World Cup soccer/football championship. The GIS Research & Map Collection (GRMC) in Bracken Library has created a special exhibit commemorating the competition.

Visitors can view the National Geographic Soccer Unites the World map, which features a map detailing World Cup participant nations, players, a historical timeline and statistics about the sport. The verso of this map is also displayed, showing the rules of the game.

The GRMC created a special map for the 2010 World Cup. This map identifies the 32 qualifying nations and marks the previous winning teams. The map displays photographs of players and fans from past competitions, including Pele’ of Brazil and Bobby Moore of England.

The map will be exhibited in the windows of the GRMC on the second floor of Bracken Library through the duration of the World Cup, ending on July 11.

For more information about special maps from the GRMC, please contact the staff at 765/285-1097.

Thursday, June 03, 2010

Maps of Gaza Strip Available from Ball State University Libraries GIS Research & Map Collection

Maps in the News: The Gaza Strip, Korea, South Africa

The GIS Research & Map Collection (GRMC) on the second floor of Bracken Library houses 140,000 maps that can be used for research and learning. Many of the maps can be used to interpret current events. For example, the GRMC includes a variety of maps of the Gaza Strip.

The current “Maps in the News” exhibit in the windows of the GRMC features an aerial photograph of the Gaza Strip from 2005. This view of the area identifies Israeli-developed areas, the Oslo-defined settlement zones and security perimeter, the United Nations Relief and Work Agency for Palestine Refugees camps, Palestinian-populated areas, border crossings, and roads.

The GRMC also includes maps of the Gaza Strip produced by the Central Intelligence Agency and nautical charts of the Mediterranean area. Maps of Israeli settlements in Gaza available from the GRMC date back to 1980.

The Atlas Collection, also located on the east side of the second floor of Bracken Library, includes an atlas called The Gaza Strip and West Bank: A Map Folio. This atlas features maps showing natural resources, economic activity and land use, selected water resources, Israeli-controlled land, transportation routes (shown) and other maps.

New materials are also available for places in the news: The GRMC has acquired a 2009 map of South Africa, host country of the World Cup Soccer. Two Koreas is a map published in 2007 by the National Geographic Society which features an ancillary map showing military and nuclear capacity and a fact box graphic showing military forces and spending.

Maps from the GRMC circulate for two weeks or longer. Atlases circulate for 28 days or longer.

For more information about these maps, please contact the GRMC Monday through Friday from 7:30 A.M. to 4:30 P.M. during the summer.