Thursday, January 28, 2016

Maps of the Kennedy Space Center Available from Ball State University Libraries

This Day in History:  Space Shuttle Challenger Disaster

Thirty years ago today on January 28, 1986, Space Shuttle Challenger exploded 73 seconds after launch.  The space shuttle missions launched from the Kennedy Space Center at Cape Canaveral, Florida.  

The space shuttle program began using Launch Pad 39A with the launch of Columbia in 1981.  The Challenger used Launch Pad 39B, which is now a historical landmark.  

The top map above is from the Ball State University Libraries’ GIS Research and Map Collection (GRMC) and is part of the National Park Service map, Canaveral and Merritt Island, which was published in 1993.  The Kennedy Space Center neighbors the Canaveral National Seashore and Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge on the east coast of Florida between Daytona Beach and Melbourne.

The GRMC also includes dozens of tourist maps of Merritt Island and Florida.  The collection also includes topographic maps, ortho-photography, and nautical charts of the area.

The Google satellite map of the area shows the details of the Launch Complex 39.  The complex includes the launch pads and a vehicle assembly building.  A third launch pad was constructed and opened in July 2015. (Private companies now utilize the complex to fly missions for the commercial market).

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

Mapping the Zika Virus

Places in the News:  Mapping the Zika Virus

The World Health Organization announced that it would hold an emergency meeting on Monday to decide whether to declare a public health emergency due to the Zika virus “spreading explosively” across the Americas.  The first confirmed Zika virus in the Americas occurred in Brazil in the spring of 2015.  The virus has now found its way to 17 other countries in the Americas.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the Zika virus is spread to people through mosquito bites and commonly results in fever, rash, joint pain, and red eyes.  However, the outbreak in Brazil resulted in Guillain-Barre syndrome and pregnant women giving birth to babies with birth defects and poor pregnancy outcomes.  According to The Economist, El Salvador, Colombia, and Ecuador have recommended that women delay pregnancy until 2018. 

The Economist published the above map showing where the Zika virus could become endemic based on a research paper published in the Lancet.  The map indicated cities with over 1,000 travelers from Brazil with red dots.  The turquoise bubbles show the number of travelers from Brazil by country between September 2014 and August 2015.  The United States had nearly three million visitors from Brazil during that time.  And the pink and red shading shows where the risk is seasonal (with mosquitoes) and where the risk is year-round.

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Mapping Lead Contamination in the United States

(Click to enlarge GIS map of Flint)

“It’s Not Just Flint:” Lead Emitters and Contamination Maps

A state of emergency has been declared by Mayor Karen Weaver in Flint, Michigan, due to the dangerous levels of lead found in the water since the city switched from the Detroit water system to the Flint River as its water source in 2014.  According to a Flint medical study, the proportion of infants and children with above-average levels of lead in their blood has nearly doubled during this time.

While the situation in Flint is making news, the Natural Resources Defense Council reports that “more than 16,000 lead polluters exist in communities across the country, and their harmful emissions are found in every U.S. county."  The Council created an online interactive Google mapping tool so users can locate lead polluters nearby.

Vox reports that the soil of urban areas has been contaminated by lead for decades, sometimes at dangerous levels.  “…The biggest problem is inner-city soil contaminated by decades-old gasoline.  Gas went unleaded in the mid-1970’s, but all the old lead burned in the past was dumped into the air and then fell back to earth.”  And unfortunately “the tiny lead particles don’t biodegrade.”  Maps included in the article show the lead contamination in New Orleans, the District of Columbia, and New York City—especially Brooklyn.

For more information about these online cartographic resources, please contact the Ball State University Libraries’ GIS Research and Map Collection (GRMC) at 765-285-1097.

Friday, January 22, 2016

Culture Exchange Programs at Ball State University

Around the World in One Semester: Ball State University Culture Exchange Program

The Ball State University Rinker Center for International Programs will be presenting another semester of international speakers for their Culture Exchange program.  Presenters from around the world 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).

The Ball State University Libraries’ GIS Research and Map Collection (GRMC) provides maps and photographs from atlases to create exhibits to serve as a backdrop and visual aid for the program.  Some of the poster exhibits from past speakers are available for use in other displays and programs from the Libraries’ Cardinal Scholar repository.

The program begins on January 27 with Raheleh Ravanfar presenting about Iran.  The complete program schedule:
  • ·        February 3: Germany with Lisa Tuech and Nadja Rottman
  • ·        February 10: Belarus with Maryia Skarakhod
  • ·        February 17: Mongolia with Oyunzul Ariunbold
  • ·        February 24: Kazakhstan with Dinara Shadyarova
  • ·        March 2: India with Ramkrishna Apsingekar
  • ·        March 16: Japan with Yuki Kurita
  • ·        March 23: England with Matt Woolridge and Sam Grubb
  • ·        March 30: Rwanda with Ines Dushime
  • ·        April 6: Spain with Lucia Escolano and Carmen Pardo
  • ·        April 13: Turkey with Ceren Dincel

Attendees are welcome to bring their lunch to the program.

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Places in the News: Winslow, Arizona

Winslow, Arizona
U.S. Geological Survey topographic map, 1986
Ball State University GIS Research and Map Collection

Places in the News:  Winslow, Arizona

Glenn Frey of the rock group the Eagles passed away on Monday.  One of the group’s most popular songs, “Take It Easy,” has an opening line that was originally written by Jackson Browne.  Browne wrote the lyrics, “…standing on a corner in Winslow, Arizona,” but was stuck with those words.  So according to the Showtime History of the Eagles documentary, Glenn Frey finished the line “…such a fine sight to see—a girl, my Lord, in a flatbed Ford…”

The song made Winslow, Arizona (east of Flagstaff) in Navajo County famous.  Today visitors can actually stand on a corner that commemorates the song with a statue of a guitarist and a red flatbed Ford truck.  The corner is now a popular tourist destination on the famous Route 66 highway.

Thursday, January 14, 2016

GIS Maps of Midwest Flooding Available

Before and After:  ESRI and NOAA Aerial Photography Reveal Midwest Flooding

ESRI, the world’s leading producer of GIS software, and its ESRI Disaster Response Program provides software, data, imagery, project services, and technical support to organizations dealing with the recent flooding in the Midwest.  Aerial photography from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) of these affected sites is online.

Supporting organizations dealing with the flooding disasters can request assistance from ESRI.  Users can view continuously updated flooding information from the National Weather Service on the Public Information Map.  The map details the levels of flooding from near flood stage to major flooding, and the site includes photographs and YouTube videos.  Users can type in a specific address to see the conditions on a map or via satellite imagery.

The 2016 Midwest Flooding Swipe Map provides a view of aerial photography from NOAA that was collected after the flooding—January 2-4.  Users can swipe the map to show aerial imagery from the ESRI ArcGIS Online World Imagery (before the flooding) and then view the post-event satellite imagery.

The site also provides flooding support resources.  Maps, data, images, general information, and volunteer opportunities are given.

The Ball State University Libraries’ GIS Research and Map Collection (GRMC) on the second floor of Bracken Library provides access to the latest GIS software from ESRI and assistance from the GIS Specialist.  Computers throughout Bracken Library also offer access to GIS software.  

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

Martin Luther King, Junior Holiday Hours

The Ball State University Libraries' GIS Research and Map Collection (GRMC) will be closed on Monday, January 18 for the Martin Luther King, Jr. holiday.  The GRMC will reopen on Tuesday, January 19 at 8:00 am.

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Mapping Indiana Exhibit in Indianapolis

Mapping Indiana Exhibit at the Indiana Historical Society

Mapping Indiana: Five Centuries of Treasures is a new exhibit of maps from the Indiana Historical Society.  The exhibit will be featured in the Rosemary McKee Lanham Gallery at the Eugene and Marilyn Glick Indiana History Center (450 West Ohio Street) in Indianapolis from January 16 through April 2.

This exhibit includes several original maps from the Society collection.  “Mapping Indiana explores the ways we think about maps, how we use them, and how they have helped shape Indiana.”  The exhibit includes maps from the early exploration of the state through the mid-20th century and also features maps created by Hoosiers.

Maps in the News: Istanbul and Syria

Places in the News:  Istanbul and Madaya, Syria

The Ball State University Libraries’ GIS Research and Map Collection (GRMC) has a significant collection of maps of Syria, Turkey, and the Middle East.  The maps include both historic maps of the countries—including the Ottoman Empire—and new, updated maps.

The top map (click to enlarge) is from a historic pictorial map of Syria from 1943 called Illustrated Syria available in the GRMCThe map depicts the country’s agricultural and industrial products and places of interest before the current civil war. 

Other maps of Syria in the collection include tourist maps, maps of archaeological sites, road maps with images of sites of interest, economic activity maps, and land use and population maps.  A unique tectonic sketch map in the Collection showing oil wells and petroleum exploration from 1978 was produced by the Foreign Scouting Service.  Four sets of topographic maps of Syria at varying scales are also available.

Newer maps showing administrative divisions and relief reveal the changing borders of the region, and many of the maps include the Golan Heights.  City maps of Syria are also featured in the Collection, including a reproduction of a bird’s eye view map of Damascus from 1575.

The second map was published by BBC News using data from the United Nations.  The map depicts the towns of Syria that are besieged by government forces, rebel fighters, Hezbollah, and the Islamic State.  A United Nations aid convoy was able to bring food to the city of Madaya yesterday.  Madaya has been under siege from government forces for months.  The city of 40,000 has not food rations since November, and reports of starvation are widespread.  The cities of Foah and Kefraya in the north are also desperate.

BBC News published the map of the Sultanahmet area of Istanbul showing the location of a suicide bombing today.  This area of Istanbul is popular with tourists with the nearby locations of the Blue Mosque and Hagia Sophia.

The last map is a detailed tourist map of the effected part of Istanbul from a road map of Turkey available in the GRMC.  The map is published in English and Turkish and also includes maps of Ankara and Izmir.  The map was published by the Turkish Ministry of Tourism and Information in 1980.

The GRMC includes a large collection of historic and modern maps of Turkey, including original maps of the Ottoman Empire from 1867 and 1877.  (These maps are also available in the Digital Media Repository).  A unique historical reproduction map of then Constantinople from 1635 is also available.  City, provincial, and strategic maps of Turkey published by the Army Map Service and the Central Intelligence Agency are also included in the Collection.

Maps from the GRMC circulate for two weeks or longer.  The maps can be used for research and learning or travel planning.  Contact the GRMC for more information at 765-285-1097.

Wednesday, January 06, 2016

Maps in the News: North Korea, Saudi Arabia, and Firearms

Maps in the News: North Korea, Sunnis and Shiites, and American Gun Violence

North Korea has reported a successful testing of a hydrogen bomb, and the U.S. Geological Survey detected a 5.1 magnitude earthquake in the vicinity of a known Pyongyang nuclear site.  National Geographic published this map of the Korean Peninsula in 2006 (above, click to enlarge) showing the locations of nuclear sites.  This map is an inset on a larger comprehensive map of the two Koreas and is available for circulation from the Ball State University Libraries’ GIS Research and Map Collection (GRMC).

The Middle East continues to be in the news with the two branches of Islam aligning with different countries in various conflicts.  Sunni-led allies of Saudi Arabia have cut diplomatic ties with Shiite Iran, but this map from The New York Times demonstrates that most of the Middle East is made up of mixed populations of Sunni and Shia Muslims.  (Note: Non-Muslims and other Islamic sects are not shown on the map).

The Second Amendment and the right to bear arms is also making the news.  For perspective, The Guardian published this map of private firearms ownership around the world from 2012 data.

The GRMC provides access to cartographic resources that can be used in research and learning.  Maps offer a unique format for conveying messages and make excellent visual aids for papers or presentations.  For more information about using maps to learn about current events or social topics, call the GRMC at 765-285-1097.

ESRI Online MOOC Information

ESRI Offers Online GeoApps Course

ESRI, the world’s leading GIS software producer, is offering a free online course teaching how to create custom Web apps on the ArcGIS platform.  The course, Do-It-Yourself Geo Apps, will demonstrate how to combine location and narrative to build valuable geo-enabled apps to make communities and businesses smarter and more successful.

Users can learn about the GeoDev community and the spectrum of resources ESRI provides for software developers.  Discover the collection of application templates that can be configured as custom geo apps for storytelling and more.

The four-week course includes seven sections with 1-2 hours of study per section.  It includes hands-on exercises, short video lectures, quizzes, polls, and discussion.  A certificate of completion and awards are also given.  Registration for the course is open through February 17.

The Ball State University Libraries’ GIS Research and Map Collection (GRMC) is a vital resource that provides comprehensive GIS support to the entire Ball State University community.  The GRMC offers access to the leading GIS software and online GIS tutorials, datasets, online mapping applications, in-house GIS data, and one-on-one assistance from the GIS Specialist.