Monday, April 18, 2016

Boston Marathon Story Map from ESRI

Maps on the Run:  Boston Marathon Story Map and Tracker

Today marks the 120th running of the Boston Marathon, and the 50th anniversary of women running the race (informally).  The race brings elite and amateur runners from around the world and is one of the most popular road racing events.

The Boston Athletic Association Web site allows friends and family to track athletes running the race.  The Boston Marathon Tracker uses a searchable database to allow users to search for the name of a runner and see where on the course they are and what kind of time they are running.

ESRI, the world’s leading producer of GIS mapping software, has created a Story Map about the Boston Marathon. The map, 26 Boston Marathon Facts, provides facts about the race covering ground from Hopkinton to Boston.  For example, “It takes 397 school buses to shuttle the runners to the starting line.  This year there are 30,000 entrants.”

The map includes a photograph and location of a race official attempting to force Kathrine Switzer off the course in 1967.  Women were not allowed to run in the race until 1972, but Switzer entered the race in 1967 as “KV Switzer” and finished the race.  (So this year technically marks the 50th anniversary of women running the race).

The map includes statistics about runners from Kenya and Ethiopia:  “18 of the last 20 male winners were from Kenya or Ethiopia.”  And facts about elevation are provided:  “Most people think that at 263 feet above sea level, the top of Heartbeak Hill is the highest point of the Marathon.  Actually, the starting line is at 463 feet, and most of the marathon is run at a decline.”

The Ball State University Libraries’ GIS Research and map Collection (GRMC) on the second floor of Bracken Library provides access to the latest ESRI GIS software and assistance from the GIS Specialist Monday through Friday from 8:00 to 5:00 pm.  Students can also access GIS software on computers throughout Bracken Library on weekends and in the evening.  For more information, please contact the GRMC at 765-285-1097.

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