National Geographic: Paul Salopek’s Out of Eden Walk

Paul Salopek, a slow journalist with National Geographic, is walking the world by foot over the span of a decade, specifically following the paths of our first ancestors who, during the Stone Age, walked out of Africa and into the rest of the world. He seeks the human experience in relation to our Earth. This website is his public journal. Every form of media is bundled up to best represent the human experience. Using ESRI to map his journey and publish dispatches regularly, Paul Salopek essentially connects raw geographic coordinates to stories of individual people and experiences.

https://www.nationalgeographic.org/projects/out-of-eden-walk/

USGS Earth Explorer

The USGS (United States Geological Survey) Earth Explorer website is a tool that allows you to find satellite imagery data for any given geographic coordinate. To get the data, you can either enter an address, a city, or a set of coordinates into the search criteria search bar, set the date range you would like to receive satellite imagery from, decide what dataset(s) you’d like to get satellite data from (such as Landsat, AVHRR, Sentinel, Radar, etc., these are all different types of satellites that have sensors which give data at different pixel and temporal resolutions. The one you use depends on the type of data you’re looking for.), and then click the “results” button to see the images. This is a tool that would be useful for a geographer because it could be used for various geography fields, such as Remote Sensing and GIS due to its geographic and spatial data.

Below is a picture of one of the houses I grew up in (blue point) located on a zoomed in map of Round Rock, Texas, which I accessed by typing the address into the USGS Earth Explorer search engine!

URL: https://earthexplorer.usgs.gov/

Incident Information System

The Incident Information System (inciweb.nwcg.gov) allows people to find information about wildfires and report new fire incidents. By searching a state, one can find any wildfires in the area and read about the situation’s status, coordinates, fire type and size, and view related news articles and photographs in a full report on the incident. The ability to file reports and have all relevant information in one place is valuable in an effort to prevent wildfires and inform the public on fires in the United States. It can also be useful to scientists conducting research on topics like climate change where abundant country-wide information on wildfires would be beneficial.

https://inciweb.nwcg.gov

Discover Life: A Global ID tool

Discover Life is a website which aims to map the distribution of species across the globe, as well as help biologists ID species that they find. You can use the search feature to search for plants or animals, finding a map of their distribution, identification pictures, ID guides, scientific name, references, and more for the species. One of my favorite features at the top of the website is the IDnature guides. If you click on IDnature guides, you can check select general traits of what you are trying to ID. Try clicking through the check boxes with a specific animal in mind, and then click “search” next to the trait. On the left side of the screen, an updated list of species with all the traits you’ve searched for are available. click “simplify” (towards the left of the screen, above the potential species) once you have a few traits selected, and the questions will become more specific to sift through the remaining animals. Eventually these questions will key out one species! If you are using this to ID something, it is incredibly helpful because it refines itself to only present relevant questions. A picture of this feature is attached to the bottom of this post.

 

https://www.discoverlife.org/

New Online Tool Highlights Landslide Risk

USGS has recently released a new online tool that highlights landslide risks across the country. This interactive map provides centralized access to information about landslide occurrence, and can be used as a good starting point for the public, city and emergency planners, as well as researchers interested in landslides, to go to for information. This tool marks the first attempt of a federal agency to systematically catalog all of the landslide data across the country into one centralized location, and will be incredibly useful to all interested parties. Each landslide recorded on the map can be selected, and additional information about the event will be provided, including the date of the event, and notes regarding the extent and aftermath of each event. One clear potential benefit of the tool is to show more at-risk areas of landslides, so individuals can either avoid those areas or prepare restraining walls, or other measures, to minimize landslide damage.

Article link: https://www.usgs.gov/news/landslide-risks-highlighted-new-online-tool

GEOLOUNGE

GEOLOUNGE is an informational and interesting website. It has information about physical geography, human geography, maps, and more. Under the physical geography tab, they have tabs for biogeography and climatology. After learning about both biogeography and climatology in our class, I was intrigued by the different articles that I found. I wanted to share this article, “These Wolves in Minnesota are Very Very Territorial” that is posted on their site because it relates to our class. The article discusses how researches have used GPA collars to track the movements of 7 wolves at Voyageurs National Park in Minnesota. The data that was collected on the wolves locations is being used to understand pack boundaries and for the Project’s predation research. The screenshots I have included below show the travel paths for each of the wolves. The travel paths show how each pack adheres to territories with little overlap with other packs in the area. I thought GPS tracking of the wolves is an interesting concept and could be used to track more animals and possibly provide insights about animals travel habits which could be used to make better protected conservation areas. 

After reading this article, I clicked on a related link: “Using Remote Sensing for Mapping and Counting Animals.” This took me to GISLOUNGE, which is also another interesting and informational site, related to GOELOUNGE. 

 RealClimate: Climate Science

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  The website I found is called RealClimate: Climate science from climate scientists, and it includes a few interesting sections. There are published research papers, new articles pertaining to climate science, and an open thread where people can post on climate science topics. They also have a bimonthly thread where people discuss responses and solutions to climate change. I looked through a few of the posts and discovered several interesting suggestions for solutions to climate change, including the Renewable Revolution and Regenerative Agriculture. The Renewable Revolution refers to making a transition to renewable energy, including technology like solar panels and wind turbines. Regenerative Agriculture is an approach to farming that does not use pesticides and also helps regenerate topsoil and increase biodiversity. There are also some really good graphs and tables on global temperature and other data pertinent to climate. The website is really interesting, especially the commentary made by professionals in the field of climate science.

http://www.realclimate.org/

The new ocean heat content estimate (posted by Dr. James Annan)

Tools of the Geographer: Mashups: Map Your List Mashup

Mashups use mapping services or photo services to produce visualizations of data. Combined with GIS, a mashup allows for the combining of multiple sources of data into one integrated spatial display. It allows for the extracting of spatial data from a non-spatial source and displaying it on a map. The MapYourList mashup converts lists into maps and annotations, and share or export maps in a variety of formats. MapYourList is great for thematic mapping. MapYourList.com will determine if a data set contains values that can be thematically mapped and offers the option to create a thematic map.

MapYourList.com makes it easy to convert your list of addresses into map locations as well as allow you to copy and paste data. Once the data is copied and pasted you will also want to set what each column is. MapYourList.com will also allow you to customize and set what each column is and it can also do it automatically. The web application requires you to specify title, description, and password to your map to allow for later editing and for secure viewing of the map. The application also has a variety of options for map sharing such as widget/embed codes (for websites and blogs), image saving, emailing, and KML file saving.

The Living Land

ArcGIS Online has a public database of professional Storymaps on a variety of environmental and global issues. You can explore one series of storymaps titled “The Living Land,” on the distribution of human activities on the surface of the Earth. Chapter Two of this resource takes a special look at the distribution and impact of agriculture, animal husbandry, and farm land on the Earth.

Cropland mapThis storymap takes the user through the distribution as percentage of land, by regions of the world, density, and areas of highest production. It also describes how crops change the land and how each of humanities major crops (corn soy, rice, etc.) and major livestock (cows, chickens, goats, etc.) are grown around the world using aerial imagery. This storymap relies heavily on maps, as it should, to demonstrate these environmental and social issues. This includes simplified dot representation of the predominant crop in one area, to spinning globes with particular crops highlighted. This web application is a useful tool to demonstrate spatial distributions in a way that is easy to understand. It takes you through a whole system of human behavior around the world and its impacts on land (impact on pedosphere) depending on different practices.globe

NASA’s Scientific Visualization Studio

NASA’s Scientific Visualization Studio (SVS) showcases a wide variety of NASA programs using striking images, animations, videos, and other visuals. By synthesizing complex scientific research and data with visual elements, the Scientific Visualization Studio creates a largely accessible platform to promote education and a broader scientific understanding of earth and space processes. The website has curated various galleries tied to specific NASA projects. These collections range from Air Quality to Astrophysics to Carbon and Climate projects. One of the featured collections is of ICESat-2, or the Ice, Cloud, and land Elevation Satellite-2, which launched on September 15th, 2018. ICESat-2 is NASA’s most advanced laser satellite instrument (ATLAS) and will be used to monitor changes in height, depth, and mass of ice sheets and glaciers with extreme levels of precision to better understand and predict sea-level rise. ICESat-2 will also provide essential information about forest vegetation, ocean surfaces, and urbanization, among other applications. To explain what the ICESat-2 project is hoping to accomplish and how they have gotten to this point, the SVS with Goddard Media Studios has produced many videos that explore the importance of ice sheets, how the laster altimeter technology works, and even documenting the 470-mile research expedition in Antarctica that accompanied this project. This website, with its galleries of scientific information and mapping related to climate change, glacial melt and sea level rise, hurricane and storm impacts, stratospheric ozone depletion, and forest fire intensity and prevalence are all topics we have discussed in our class. Additionally, projects like ICESat-2 demonstrate how different remote sensing technologies are being implemented for environmental and geographic research purposes.