Thursday, August 31, 2017

Commemorative Map of the Life of Princess Diana at Ball State University Libraries

Queen of Hearts: Princess Diana Map of London

Today marks the 20th anniversary since the death of Princess Diana.  Diana is remembered for her charity work and her beautiful fashions.  In fact, throughout her life, Princess Diana donated many of her popular gowns for auctions in support of her favorite charities.  Diana was able to link her stylish fashions with the causes for which she cared, so the GIS Research and Map Collection (GRMC) created a special map of London (excerpt above—click to enlarge) that also combines fashion and charity events. 

The map, Diana’s London: Important Places in the Life of a Princess, includes sketches of some of Diana’s most popular gowns matched with the locations and events where they were worn.  The commemorative map is on display as the “Map of the Month” in the front windows of the GRMC on the second floor balcony of Bracken Library through Labor Day.

For more information about creating custom cartographic resources, please contact the GRMC at 765-285-1097.

(View or download the complete map here).

Animated Map of Hurricane Harvey Rescue Calls

Animated Map of Hurricane Harvey Rescue Calls

The New York Times created an animated map showing rescue requests coming from residents around the city of Houston from Sunday to Wednesday during the Hurricane Harvey flooding.  The rescue requests were submitted to several online databases, and various local rescue groups dispatched boats.  “Though not every account could be confirmed, in aggregate, the animated map offers a glimpse into the geography of the disaster.”

Users can watch the requests begin circling the city of Houston.  Then on Wednesday the requests start to light up near Beaumont and Port Arthur as the hurricane moved to the east.

Energy Transportation Maps Available from Ball State University Libraries

Hurricane Harvey Aftermath: Where Are Oil Refineries?

The destructive force of Hurricane Harvey has shut down the largest oil refinery in the United States, the Motiva refinery in Port Arthur, Texas. And, as of August 30, 18 refineries have been closed or partially closed according to Business Insider.

Oil Change International publishes an online map showing the locations of oil refineries in the United States and Canada.  The site rates the refineries by color according to the amount of tar sands crude oil processed:  Red refineries receive significant quantities of tar sands crude (greater than 5,000 barrels per day); orange refineries receive smaller amounts of tar sands crude; yellow refineries process negligible amounts of tar sands crude; and gray refineries do not process tar sands crude.

The Ball State University Libraries GIS Research and Map Collection (GRMC) has a large collection of United States depository maps related to energy production and transportation.  Maps in the collection identify pipeline transportation systems, crude oil movement by pipeline, nuclear fuel materials movement by highways, and commodity movement maps.

The GRMC provided energy-related maps for a special collection available from the Libraries’ Digital Media Repository.  The collection, United States Commodities Maps, includes maps of waterways, energy resources and production, and the location of oil and gas pipelines (above—click to enlarge).  The maps are available for download for research and learning projects.

For more information about using cartographic resources related to energy, please contact the GRMC at 765-285-1097.   

Friday, August 25, 2017

Gulf of Mexico Offshore Oil Map Available from Ball State University Libraries

Mapping Offshore Oil in the Gulf of Mexico

With Hurricane Harvey headed toward the coast of Texas, local officials and residents are preparing for the emergency.  But another “waterborne city of oil rigs rises off the coasts of Texas, Louisiana, Alabama, and Mississippi” in the Gulf of Mexico is also bracing during the storm.

 National Geographic published a map of the Gulf of Mexico (excerpt above—click to enlarge) following the BP Deepwater Horizon explosion, fire, and oil spill.  The map, Gulf of Mexico: A Geography of Offshore Oil was published in 2010 following the disaster that year in April.  “The explosion and fire sank the 58,000-ton mobile rig, killing 11 workers.  An estimated 4.9 million barrels of oil flowed from the well, creating the worst accidental marine oil spill in history.” 

The map identifies the locations of the more than 50,000 wells and 43,000 miles of pipeline located in the Gulf of Mexico. The darker brown points identify oil or gas offshore platforms.  The lighter brown points are oil or gas wells.  The brown lines represent oil- or gas-related pipelines.  The darker the small squares, the deeper the water.  According to the map, the maximum depth of the Gulf of Mexico is unknown, but estimates range to 14,000 feet. 

The Perdido floating production platform, southeast of Padre Island, operates in 8,000 feet of water—a world record.  The Tiber well is the world’s deepest offshore well.  Petronius in the eastern part of the Gulf of Mexico is the world’s tallest fixed platform.  The Macondo well, just south of Biloxi, Mississippi, was the site of the Deepwater Horizon disaster.

The map is available for circulation for research and learning projects from the Ball State University Libraries GIS Research and Map Collection (GRMC) on the second floor of Bracken Library.  Digital copies of the map are available for educational or personal purposes upon request.

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

Teaching Geography with Hurricane Harvey

Flooding in Texas in an area the size of New Jersey

Hurricane Harvey:  Teaching Geography Via the Weather

Social studies teachers looking for innovative methods for teaching geography and developing geographic literacy may consider using live weather events to familiarize students with places around the United States and the world.  Hurricane Harvey in the Gulf of Mexico is threatening the coast of Texas, and teachers could monitor conditions of the storm while teaching students geography in an interesting and timely way.

FlightRadar 24 is a live flight tracker that shows air traffic around the world in real time.  Radar data and flight schedules and status data from airlines and airports combine to offer a unique way of looking at a map.  Users can click on individual aircraft to view flight information.

Teachers can zoom in to a region, like the Gulf of Mexico, to see how flight paths have been affected by Hurricane Harvey.  Aircraft are avoiding the eastern coast of Texas and the western part of the Gulf of Mexico.  Petroleum company helicopters can be viewed traveling to rigs located in the Gulf (CVR above).  And often a “hurricane hunter” plane deployed by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) can be seen flying in zigzag formations through the hurricane to gather important weather data (above, click to enlarge).

Live cameras provide another interesting view of events like Hurricane Harvey.  Teachers can access live cameras of cities in the path of the hurricane using traffic cameras or Weather Bug, and then access live weather radar to discuss the conditions and direction of the storm.  This is a good opportunity for teachers to discuss other geographic factors like time zones, topography, wind currents, flood plains, and beach erosion.  And teachers could return to the live cameras at a later date to show students any damages or just to view the area in normal conditions.  (Note: Storms can cause the live cameras to shut down).

The National Hurricane Center is another useful resource for teachers.  The site includes live weather radar and maps of wind speeds, wind history, rainfall potential, and storm surge inundation.  The site also provides information, satellite images, and damage costs of historic storms like Katrina and Andrew.

And the Weather Channel is another excellent resource.  Meteorologists describe how hurricanes are formed in the warm waters of the Caribbean and Gulf of Mexico and explain the eye and eye wall, storm surges, and other factors.  And live coverage allows viewers to see the effects of the storm.

The Dartmouth Flood Observatory also provides access to updated maps related to flooding events around the world.  The two bottom maps above depict the scale of the flooding caused from Hurricane Harvey.  Teachers can access maps on the site to discuss the record-breaking flood events of August 2017.

For more information about using unique cartographic resources in the classroom, please contact the GIS Research and Map Collection at 765-285-1097.

Thursday, August 24, 2017

Maps of Ancient Pompeii Available from Ball State University Libraries

Using Maps to Study Ancient History:  Pompeii

It was on this day in 79 A.D. that the Mt. Vesuvius volcano in Italy erupted, burying with tons of ash the ancient cities of Pompeii and Herculaneum.  The Ball State University Libraries Atlas Collection provides useful cartographic resources for studying historic events like the destruction of these Roman Empire cities.

The Penguin Historical Atlas of Ancient Rome by Chris Scarre is available from the Atlas Collection on the second floor of Bracken Library.  This atlas includes detailed maps of important places in the history of the Roman Empire, including this map (above, click to enlarge) of Pompeii.  The map identifies the locations of streets, temples, brothels, and a large ampitheatre where gladiators competed.  The Palaestra on the map was a gymnasium typically used for wrestling.  And several baths are identified on the map.

Great Empires: An Illustrated Atlas by Stephen G. Hyslop was published in 2011 and includes maps about empires around the world, including Alexander’s, the Gupta Empire, and Aztecs.  This atlas includes the illustration above of a typical villa in Pompeii.  Pompeii was a popular resort city, and visitors to this heritage site today can view the remains of the lost city.

Atlases can be an excellent resource for research and learning projects.  The Atlas Collection includes over 3,000 volumes depicting numerous eras of history, social topics, environmental issues, and unique places around the world.  And the atlases can be circulated for 28 days or longer, or the pages can be scanned for inclusion in papers and presentations.

For more information about using atlases to study history, please contact the GIS Research and Map Collection at 765-285-1097.

Thursday, August 17, 2017

Map of the Life of Margaret Hamilton Available from Ball State University Libraries

Excerpt from GRMC map of the life of Margaret Hamilton

Moonshot: Celebrating an (Overlooked) Apollo Legend on a Map

On this day in 1936, Margaret Heafield was born in Paoli, Indiana.  By 1963, Margaret Heafield Hamilton worked as the Director of the Software Engineering Division at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT).  She led a team credited with developing the onboard guidance and navigation software for the Apollo space program.  In fact, Hamilton actually coined the term “software engineering.” 

Hamilton’s achievement was essentially overlooked by the history books.  However, in 2016 President Barack Obama awarded Hamilton the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the highest civilian honor in the United States. Also in 2016, the Lego Group announced the creation of a set of toy figures called “The Women of NASA” that features Margaret Hamilton.

The Ball State University Libraries GIS Research and Map Collection (GRMC) created a set of custom maps celebrating various topics in Indiana history for the state’s bicentennial anniversary in 2016.  The set includes maps about the lives of Indiana heroes like Hamilton, Gus Grissom, and Marshall “Major” Taylor.  The map featuring events in Hamilton’s life is called Moonshot: The Margaret Hamilton Story.  The maps are available for use in classroom teaching or educational exhibits.

For more information about using maps for research, visual aids, or exhibits, please contact the GRMC at765-285-1097. 

Monday, August 14, 2017

Maps of Confederate Monuments around the United States

Slate map of Civil War memorials

Mapping Confederate Monuments in the United States

Protests related to Confederate statues and monuments dominated the news over the weekend.  Two Web pages are excellent resources for learning about the locations of these monuments around the country.

In 2015, Slate created an animated map that identifies memorials to the Civil War.  This map uses the Historical Marker Database, which identifies more than 13,000 locations related to the Civil War—both the Union and Confederate sides.  Users can view the animated map to watch how and where Union and Confederate markers were built over time.  Then users can zoom in to explore individual markers on the map and read the inscriptions of the monuments.

The Southern Poverty Law Center launched a campaign to catalog and map Confederate place names and other symbols across the nation.  An interactive OpenStreetMap identifies monuments, schools, parks, mountains, roads and other public places named for Confederate figures. 

The Center has identified 1,503 symbols:  718 monuments and statues; 109 public schools; 80 counties and cities; nine official Confederate holidays celebrated in six states; and 10 military bases.  Virginia, North Carolina, and Georgia are the states with the most places, but Confederate place names are found in 31 states and the District of Columbia.

For more information about using current events maps for research and learning projects, please contact the Ball State University Libraries GIS Research and Map Collection.

Thursday, August 10, 2017

Maps of Lion Habitats Available from Ball State University Libraries

2009 Lion Habitats and Historic Range

2012 Lion Statistics

#WorldLionDay Mapping Where Lion Is King

The World Wildlife Fund (WWF) is celebrating “World Lion Day” today.  According to the WWF, “lions play a crucial role in keeping a healthy balance of numbers among other animals and have no natural predators."  Unfortunately, the lion habitats are shrinking. 

These maps from conservation groups show the historic scope of lion habitats stretching across southern Europe over to parts of southern Asia and most of the non-desert areas of Africa.  Now lions live only in parts of central and southern Africa and a very small area of India.

For more information about using maps for environmental research or learning projects, please contact the Ball State University Libraries GIS Research and Map Collection at 765-285-1097.

Wednesday, August 09, 2017

Maps of Guam Available from Ball State University Libraries

Central Intelligence Agency, Guam

1943 Army Map Service, northern Guam

1943 Army Map Service, Apra Harbor, Guam

1975 USGS northwest Guam

1975 USGS northeast Guam

1975 USGS Apra Harbor

2006 nautical chart of northern Guam

2006 nautical chart of Apra Harbor, Guam

Google Earth current satellite image of northern Guam

Google Earth current satellite image of Andersen Air Force Base

Google Earth current satellite image of Apra Harbor

 Maps in the News: Guam

Guam is an island in the Pacific Ocean that is a United States territory—about the size of Chicago.  The population is just over 160,000 people, who are American citizens by birth.  The main industry for the island is tourism, with the U.S. military in a close second place.

Guam was captured by the Japanese just after the attack on Pearl Harbor during World War II.  It has been a critical location for the U.S. Armed Forces ever since: Andersen Air Force Base on the island played a major role during the Vietnam War, and the U.S. keeps a Naval base and Coast Guard station on the island.  In fact, the American military takes up 30% of Guam’s land (See CIA map).

According to the Pacific Air Forces report, two U.S. Air Force B-1B Lancers flew from Andersen Air Force Base for a 10-hour training mission with Japanese and Republic of Korea planes over the East China Sea, Kyushu, Japan, and the Korean peninsula on Monday.  On Tuesday, the North Korean army announced that it is examining operational plans for attacking the island of Guam.

The Ball State University Libraries GIS Research and Map Collection (GRMC) includes a set of maps of the island of Guam.  The Army Map Service published a map of Guam in 1943 (above, click to enlarge) in preparation of recapturing the island during World War II.  Palm trees mark the beaches along the northern part of the island where the Andersen Air Force Base is now located.  And the area around Apra Harbor is completely undeveloped with just a few streets near the historic Spanish fort.  An unmarked airfield is shown on the map, just below “Botadero,” and seaplane landing sites are identified.

The GRMC also includes a complete set of U.S. Geological Survey topographic maps of Guam that were published in 1975.  These maps detail the development of Andersen Air Force Base.  And the map of Apra Harbor—now marked “Apra Harbor Naval Reservation”—shows the development of power plants, a sewage disposal plant, and a fire station.  The airfield is identified as abandoned, and the map marks the location of a Japanese cemetery and caves from World War II.

The topographic maps of the Andersen Air Force Base provide details about the military buildup near the end of the Vietnam War.  Airfields had been built on the northwest and northeast areas of Guam.  The green on the map denotes wooded areas.

A 2006 nautical chart from the GRMC provides information about water depths around the island.  The street patterns have remained largely unchanged.  Nautical charts also identify the locations of wreckage, as seen near Apra Harbor.

For more information about using historic maps and charts to study development and urban planning, please contact the GRMC at 765-285-1097.