Saturday, March 18, 2006

GIS and Archaeology Conferences

Although not the ESRI developers Summit, here a few upcoming conferences of interest:

Computer Applications and Quantitative Methods in Archaeology (CAA 2006):
  • The international CAA 2006 is being held for the first time in the United States. Way up in frosty Fargo, North Dakota, this looks to be a killer conference. Sessions range from the use of Google Earth and Wikipedia as archaeological tools, to modeling, 3D visualization, Digital libraries, simulation, and theory to name a few.
Pennsylvania GIS Conference 2006 (PAGIS 2006):
  • Following current trends, the PAGIS 2006 conference, held in Camp Hill, PA, is entitled, "Earth, Arc, Google, and Beyond: The Mass Commercialization of Geospatial Technology, Where Can It Take Us?" I will certainly attend this showing. Although, not CRM related, I'm sure I can work it in there somewhere.
Delaware GIS 2006: Patterns of Change:
  • Last year this was a great regional conference and I anticipate the same this year. Focusing on the use of Geospatial technologies to study and react to the way in which people have changed the landscape, there should be some good papers on ecology, landscape studies, transportation, and cultural resources. If any one is in the area of Newark, Delaware, stop on by.
Okay, so it's not the Dev summit, but they're a heck of a lot cheaper! If your stuck somewhere cold and windy, like myself, read about the on going fun at the ESRI Developers Summit at Very Spatial or Spatially Adjusted. IF you plan on attending any of these conferences, let me know.

Friday, March 17, 2006

Philadelphia GeoHistory Network

New updates to the Philadelphia city wide Historical GIS project…

The Greater Philadelphia GeoHistory Network (GPGN) is an initiative to create a web-based portal of the full range of geographic and document data concerning the history culture and architecture of the city and surrounding area. The idealized product is a free resource that anyone can use for researching Philly’s history.

The GPGN site, has recently been updated with transcripts of the December planning meeting’s working groups and PowerPoint presentations. Also, there are links to some of the already digitized cartographic base data.

If you are interested in Historic GIS, check out the presentations link on the GPGN page. There are some cool presentations by Anne Kelly Knowles (Middlebury College), Lex Berman (China Historical GIS), and Amy Hillier (UPenn) to name a few.

Getting into the Mood...

Often times I am tasked with creating a seemingly endless number of indexed maps, atlas style. Since ESRI has not yet to hold my hand through the post "multiple layouts" of the ArcView 3.X days, I have *.mxd files coming out the ears. I have tried the Map Book developer sample in the past, but lost then when I upgraded to Arc9. I know, I know, I have to understand that it is a change in work flow, not a change in application design. There needs to be a middle ground between endless layouts and endless bookmarks or *.mxd files.

Anyway... The point is, in order to get into the mood of doing this repetitive task, I like to put on some good map making music. What is good map making music? Good question.

To me it is something I’m familiar with, but that is not drilled into my head. It's like hearing new thing and going on a musical adventure, but not having to pay attention to the point of screwing up the scale bar. I think good map making music has a solid tempo, but not too fast or two slow. Speed Metal makes me rush through maps and make mistakes, Dream Pop or Show Gaze makes me fall asleep. I like something mid-tempo with a few punches of drama and energy.

I would discourage politically and socially charged lyrical bands for map making music, especially if you are working with non-environmental maps. Thinking about "the MAN" while confining your mapping art to arbitrary and political boundaries can just send you over the edge. You might even start to tweak boundaries as your way of "bringing the system down from the inside."

The following albums are on the short list of what I consider good map making music. One of these lucky bands will make it into my Foobar 2000 playlist before I take flight into cartographic bliss.

In no particular order:

  • Arctic Monkeys - Whatever People Say I Am, That's What I'm Not
    • good for maps of social interaction
  • Bloc Party - Silent Alarm
    • good for maps of dark corners
  • The Decemberists - Picaresque
    • good for maps of the high seas and treasure maps
  • Iron & Wine - Women King
    • good for low relief maps
  • numbers - Death
    • good for mapping information networks/systems
  • Sufjan Stevens - Illinois
    • well, good for mapping the upper Midwest I suppose.
  • Clap Your Hands Say Yeah - Self Tilted
    • good for mapping your inner David Byrne

Well, something there should strike my fancy. If anyone of you have suggestion for dealing with multiple layouts or, more importantly, good map making music, let me know!

Thursday, March 16, 2006

Bits in the Wind...

I was working this morning on quickly putting together a visual for a wind turbine project. Here are two captures of "progress". These images are form google earth with imports of data from ArcGIS and Sketchup 5. I could write all day about how incredible SketchUp is. Interestingly, the makers of Sketchup, @Last, were just bought by Google..

Since I am not a big fan at all of the use of the term "Mash-up", I'm going to call my Google, ESRI, Sketchup project, a "Smack-down". I'll have to use that one again!

Check out this great post/tutorial at Juicy Geography to see where I "borrowed" some indspiration from.

First Post

Well, I guess "Hello World" will have to do.

My intention: to create a home for GIS/Geo Spatial/Spatial Tech ideas and general ramblings.

Focus: the general focus will be towards how GIS is used in archaeology and particularly the realm of Cultural Resource Management (CRM).

Goal: create an environment to foster discussion and distribute information.