Friday, April 21, 2017

3-D Maps on Display at Ball State University Libraries

Celebrating Earth Day with Maps at Ball State University Libraries

Tomorrow is Earth Day, and what better way to celebrate than with maps of beautiful places around the world!  The Ball State University Libraries’ GIS Research and Map Collection (GRMC) is exhibiting maps created by students from Dr. Jody Rosenblatt-Naderi’s Landscape Architecture 602 class. 

The models depict places around the world, including the rain forest of Costa Rica, a canoe race in Bora Bora, and rice terraces in China.  The students created the maps using paper maps and GIS data from the GRMC.

The maps are located on the front cabinets in the GRMC on the second floor of Bracken Library.  The display will run through the month of April.

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

Interactive Map of Queen Elizabeth II's Travels

Mapping the Travels of Queen Elizabeth II

Today is the 91st birthday of Queen Elizabeth II.  Last September, Queen Elizabeth II officially became the longest-reigning monarch, overtaking Queen Victoria.  But while Victoria ruled over a larger British Empire, Queen Elizabeth II has definitely logged more travel miles.

The Telegraph created this interactive map using ESRI GIS software to show all of the places Queen Elizabeth II traveled during her reign.  She visited 116 countries during 265 official visits.  (Queen Victoria never traveled beyond Europe).  Queen Elizabeth’s first official visit was to Bermuda in 1953.  Canada leads in the number of visits by the Queen, with Australia second and New Zealand in third.  Queen Elizabeth II has visited the United States five times.

There are also restrictions on the travel of the Queen.  She is not allowed to visit Israel for political reasons.  And Greece exiled the Duke of Edinburgh (Prince Philip) and his family, so the Queen is not allowed to travel to the country.

The Ball State University Libraries GIS Research and Map Collection (GRMC) consolidates one-on-one research assistance from the GIS Specialist with the GIS Research Area, which offers access to ESRI GIS software, online tutorials, datasets, online mapping applications, and in-house GIS data.  GIS software is also available on computers throughout Bracken Library, the Architecture Library, and the Science-Health Science Library.

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

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Tracking U.S. Navy Ships

Places in the News:  Mapping the Locations of Naval Ships

The United States Naval Update Map shows the approximate current locations of U.S. Carrier Strike Groups and other ships based on available open-source data.  A Carrier Strike Group (CSG) is centered on an aircraft carrier, which projects U.S. naval and air power and includes significant offensive strike capability. 

One particular CSG is the USS Carl Vinson based out of San Diego, California.  The location of this ship has been in the news in relation to the situation in North Korea.  According to the map, the USS Carl Vinson CSG was on a scheduled port visit to Singapore on April 6.  An update from the commander of the ship announced that the ship’s “deployment has been extended 30 days to provide a persistent presence in the Waters off the Korean Peninsula.”

Culture Event this Friday at Ball State University

International Sip and Chat at Ball State University

The Rinker Center for International Programs is hosting an event this Friday, April 21, to teach about the culture of India.  “International Sip and Chat” will be held from 3:00 to 4:30 pm in the Yuhas Room in the Student Center.  The event provides American students, international students, faculty, and others a place to relax and chat while enjoying Masala tea and snacks.  The event will include cultural activities and name translations.

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Maps Reveal the Disappearance of Wild Bees

University of Vermont

BBC News

Cheerios "Bring Back the Bees" map

Cartography of the Disappearing Honeybee

Each year $3 billion of the United States economy depends on pollination from native pollinators such as wild bees.  A recent study proves the fear that wild bees are disappearing, which could lead to decreased U.S. crop production.

Ironically, the disappearance of the wild bees is related to increased crop production.  According to Bee, “the decline of bees may be caused by the conversion of bee habitat into cropland.  In 11 key states where the map shows bees in decline, the amount of land tilled to grow corn spiked by 200% in five years, replacing grasslands and pastures that once supported bee populations.”

A University of Vermont study of wild bees indicated a mismatch between a diminishing supply of bees and a rising demand on crop pollination.  The study estimates that wild bee abundance declined in 23% of the contiguous United States from 2008 to 2013.  Commercial honeybee keepers and pollination services have faced increased demand, so wild bees are even more important.

Nearly 40% of the croplands in the country depend on pollinators.  Globally 66% of the most important crops either benefit from or require pollinators, including coffee, cacao, and many fruits and vegetables.

The University of Vermont study’s map above identifies 139 counties in critical regions for agriculture:  California’s Central Valley, the Pacific Northwest, the corn belt of the Midwest and Great Plains, west Texas, and the Mississippi River valley.  Even less pollinator-dependent crops like soybeans and cotton are grown in large quantities in these areas.  The most pollinator-dependent crops are threatened in these areas—pumpkins, peaches, apples, blueberries, watermelons, plums, and almonds.

The BBC map of bee abundance was created by combining a number of databases with expert opinion.  The map shows bee abundance in 2013 with a darker blue color.

Conservation of bee habitats is the best solution, including incentives for farmers to grow more pollinator-dependent crops and decreased production of crops produced for biofuels.  The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service encourages Americans everywhere to plant pollinator gardens of wildflowers, even in window boxes in urban environments.

Companies that are consumers of bee-related products are also getting involved with the conservation of wild bees.  Burt’s Bees is a popular lip balm and beauty products company.  The founder was actually a beekeeper.  The company has supported pollinator health through research, education, conservation, and grants and supports of community projects.  In 2016, the company launched the “Bring Back the Bees” campaign, which created more than 10,000 acres of healthy honeybee forage.

General Mills, maker of Honey Nut Cheerios, exceeded its goal of giving away 100 million seeds this year.  The company gave away 1.5 billion wildflower seeds through a successful social media “Bring Back the Bees” campaign.  The map above shows the locations of customers receiving the seeds.

Friday, April 14, 2017

Coachella Festival Maps

2008 Coachella map

2014 Coachella map

2017 Coachella map

Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival Maps

The Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival begins this weekend, running April 14-16 and April 21-23.  Lady Gaga is the headliner act, with dozens of other acts from various genres performing during the event.  The popular festival is also becoming an important celebration of the culinary arts with celebrity chefs replacing the typical carnival food.  And Coachella organizers create an artistic, colorful map of the festival grounds each year, similar to concert posters as unique works of art.

Friday, April 07, 2017

Muncie History Class at the Cornerstone Center for the Arts

What’s the Story?  Muncie History Class at Cornerstone Center for the Arts

What’s the story behind those statues by the City-County Government Building?  What’s the story behind those beautiful columns at Minnetrista?  Who lived in that beautiful mansion next to Hazelwood Christian Church?  Is Elliott Hall at Ball State University haunted?  And what’s the story with that giant lumberjack?  The Ball State University Libraries GIS Research and Map Collection (GRMC) is sponsoring a presentation, The Story Behind…, that answers the background questions behind some of Muncie’s most iconic people, buildings, and other points of interest.  

The presentation will be a panel discussion at the Cornerstone Center for the Arts on Thursday, April 13 from 6:00 to 7:00 pm in the Legacy Room on the third floor.  The program will feature historic maps, photographs, and diary entries of some of the city founders.  Panelists will provide interesting, little-known stories behind the historic architecture and colorful characters in Muncie history.

Panelists include Karen Vincent, Director of Collections at the Minnetrista Cultural Center; Jeff Koenker, Ball State University Libraries and administrator of the Lost Muncie Facebook page; Paul Stout, retired map librarian from the Ball State University Libraries; Bob Good, historic preservationist and Delaware County Historical Society; and Brandon Pieczko, Digital Archivist at the Ball State University Libraries Archives and Special Collections.  Attendees are encouraged to participate in the discussion.

This event is free and appropriate for all ages.  The Cornerstone Center for the Arts is located at 520 East Main Street in downtown Muncie.  Free parking is available.

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

Wednesday, April 05, 2017

World War I Exhibit at Ball State University Libraries

Centennial Anniversary of the War to End All Wars

Tomorrow, April 6, is the 100th anniversary of the United States’ entry into World War I.  Europe erupted into war in 1914, but President Woodrow Wilson pledged neutrality for the United States.  But following a number of German attacks on civilian ships—killing American citizens, Congress voted to declare war on Germany.  The U.S. officially entered the war on April 6, 1917.

The Ball State University Libraries GIS Research and Map Collection (GRMC) created this exhibit (above, click to enlarge) to commemorate this date in history.  “America Over There:  April 6, 1917” includes maps showing the country borders of Europe before and after the war.  Photographs from atlases in the Atlas Collection and from the Digital Media Repository (DMR) are also included in the display.  And patriotic posters from the Elisabeth Ball Collection are also shown.  The exhibit is in the windows of the GRMC on the east side of the second floor in Bracken Library.

The GRMC also provided World War I-era maps for a collection in the DMR.  The New York Times World War I Maps includes a set of five maps that connect to create a larger map of the Western Front in France, the Netherlands, Germany, and Belgium.  A rare historic map of Hungary created for use at the Treaty of Trianon at the end of the war is also available for viewing in the Archives and Special Collections in Bracken Library.  

For more information about using historic resources from the University Libraries collections, please contact the Archives and Special Collections at 765-285-5078 or the GRMC at 765-285-1097.

Tuesday, April 04, 2017

Live Map of World Conflicts

Mapping World Conflict Zones

Liveuamap is an open data-driven site that identifies conflicts happening in key places around the world.  Users can select a language, a list of events connected to social media, a time, or zoom in to a specific place on the map to learn about conflicts.

The categories for the maps are: Ukraine, Syria, Isis, the Middle East, Europe, the Americas, Asia, and the world.  The conflicts are also divided by color—for example, on the map of the Ukraine (top above), blue represents the Ukrainian government, NATO, or other Western forces while red represents Russia or Russian militants.

On the map of Syria above, green represents the areas of rebel forces, and the red zones are controlled by the Syrian government, Russia, Iran, the Hezbollah, and Shiite groups from Iraq.  Users can view photographs, watch press conferences, and read tweets and other reports posted from social media.  And the conflicts also include natural disasters and incidents involving wildlife—the key for the maps is extensive.

World Atlas of Golf Available from Ball State University Libraries

Amen to That:  Golf Course Maps at Ball State University Libraries

The Masters Tournament, better known as "The Masters," begins this week at the Augusta National Golf Club.  The Ball State University Libraries has unique cartographic resources for research and learning, and one such resource is the World Atlas of Golf available from the Atlas Collection on the second floor of Bracken Library.

The atlas was created by Mark Rowlinson and published in 2008.  It features computer-generated maps of golf courses around the world—from St. Andrews in Scotland to Casa De Campo in the Dominican Republic.  An entire section of the atlas is dedicated to maps of the Augusta National Golf Course.  The famous feature, “Amen Corner,” is featured (above, click to enlarge).

Atlases may be circulated for 28 days or longer.  For more information, please contact the GIS Research and Map Collection in Bracken Library at 765-285-1097.

GIS Map of World Terrorist Attacks

Mapping Terror in the World with GIS

ESRI, the world’s leading publisher of GIS software, in conjunction with PeaceTechLab, has created an online map of the 2017 terrorist attacks.  The map uses crowdsourced data to present a chronological timeline of terrorist attacks around the world—so far the site has identified 333 attacks with 2,043 fatalities.  Only the continents of Australia and Antarctica have not recorded an incident.

The administrators of the map note that crowdsourced data can include inaccuracies and that even the definition of terrorism is subjective.  Users are encouraged to submit corrections to the map.

Users can zoom in to to learn about a specific incident on the map.  The incident information includes the specific location, the terrorist group responsible, and the number of fatalities.  Users can also choose to view the number of incidents perpetrated by individual terrorist groups like the Islamic State, Boko Haram, or the Taliban (above, click to enlarge).  And the groups are color-coded on the map.

The Ball State University Libraries GIS Research and Map Collection (GRMC) consolidates one-on-one research assistance from the GIS Specialist with the GIS Research Area, which offers access to ESRI GIS software, online tutorials, datasets, online mapping applications, and in-house GIS data.  GIS software is also available on computers throughout Bracken Library, the Architecture Library, and the Science-Health Science Library.

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

Monday, April 03, 2017

St. Petersburg Metro Maps Available from Ball State University Libraries






Maps in the News:  St. Petersburg, Russia

The Ball State University Libraries’ GIS Research and Map Collection (GRMC) includes over 140,000 maps, over 3,000 atlases from around the world, and other cartographic resources available for research and learning.  One of the unique cartographic resources is the is the book, Transit Maps of the World, by Mark Ovenden.

The book was published in 2003 and includes public transit maps from 97 cities around the world.  “This book celebrates the diversity of rail-based transit systems in urban environments by collecting…their cartographic evolution.”  One of the transit systems included in the book is the St. Petersburg Metro.

According to the book, in 2003 St. Petersburg had an urban population of 4.7 million people.  The length of the route is 64.7 miles.  There are 54 stations, and the first section was opened in 1955.  Nearly 58% of the system is underground.  The Metro claims some of the world’s longest escalators due to the depth of the tunnels.

The stations in the St. Petersburg system are ostentatiously decorated (second only to Moscow).  “Metro Line 1 was as much an art and architecture exhibition” when it opened in 1955 “as a public transit system.”

“Lines 1 to 3 were mostly completed by the early 1970’s, as seen on a commemorative poster from 1975 (4, above—click to enlarge).  There were a few extensions afterward (1), but the first part of the orange Line 4 only opened in 1985 (2) and was extended at either end in the 1990’s (3), when signs of the current diagram can be detected.  The current diagram shows the popular “M” logo that can be seen all over the city (5).

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