September 6th, 2011

npr:

Map an installation by Aram Bartholl (via architizer)

It’s happening. — Wright

First of all, I think this is one of the coolest things I’ve ever seen! Secondly, I’m proud to share that I’m finally making some progress on my Google Earth file for the Academy of Natural Sciences. I went through a bit of a lull, with summer camps and my part-time job munching through much of my free time this summer. Now that school is back in full swing, I have dedicated more time to the Academy and my thesis.

(Reminder: I’m creating a KML file for ANSP in honor of their upcoming 200th anniversary! The file will be an exploration for the institution’s supporters, documenting the Academy’s global reach in scientific research.)

I’ve been spending a few hours a week at the Academy in an effort to make some progress on the KML file. I’ve finally played around with Google’s Spreadsheet Mapper, a program that makes it easier to plot several locations in Google Earth with a streamlined layout, and it’s been just the impetus I need to get moving on my project! 

I can’t wait to share more with you all, but for now, visit the ANSP Bicentennial page on the Academy’s website. In honor of the upcoming celebration, the Academy is posting a series of 200 stories about the institution, for the 200 days leading up to the big day: March 21, 2012!

Keep questioning,
Sara 

(via poptech)

November 21st, 2010

For me, Chris Fastie’s presentation was the most poignant. The idea of creating maps based on GigaPans and math has completely inspired me.

Finding a Forest With the Trees

Chris Fastie, a forest ecologist at Middlebury College in Vermont, put GigaPan to work in thick birch stands at the Bonanza Creek ecological-research site near Fairbanks, Alaska. Fastie measured data valuable to forest ecologists, such as stand basal area, a 2-D measure of the cross-sectional area of trees in a given stand.

For some 60 years, foresters have calculated this by the Bitterlich method: standing in place, holding a thumb at arm’s length, turning 360 degrees, and counting the number of trees as big or bigger than a thumb. The method produces accurate estimates of forest composition—and Fastie found out that it can be replicated with GigaPan. This could allow ecologists to share data and look at plots from anywhere in the world. In rare cases, it could also help them to recreate historic forests.

"There is the potential to find old photos of forests, taken in places where we know nothing of the condition of basal area, and we might be able to figure it out," he said. Fastie noted, however, that he’d have to know the exact spot from which such an image was taken to make such a "before and after" comparison.

Perhaps even more promising, Fastie found GigaPan to be an excellent mapping tool because of the stitching software and ready-made data gathered in the images themselves. “From the GigaPans I took, I was able to map the locations of 150 birch trees without measuring anything in the field,” he said. 

"The mapping technology I think has great potential. There is very rich information in 360-degree views of anything, from forests to cities, that can be turned into 2-D maps quite easily. You could even make a topographic map of the surfaces depicted in a GigaPan." 
November 17th, 2010

Check out this entry on the Grassroots Mapping site for a sneak peek at the impromptu recess we took during lunch one day to test out Jeffrey Warren’s homemade aerial photography kit! This MIT student is probably the smartest, most creative guy I’ve ever met. He held a session on his do-it-yourself aerial photography mapping kit, which he’s used in several other countries with different groups of people! 

It’s such a simple idea, but it’s very innovative. This guy’s gonna go far!

More to come on Grassroots Mapping & the rest of the conference…
Keep questioning,
Sara