GIS Day 2014


Wednesday is GIS Day. It’s the one day of the year that GIS, geographic information systems, is front and center. But wait a minute. That really isn’t true. Every time you look for an address, get directions, allow your current location to be used for an app or want to find the nearest store, you use GIS. It’s all working behind the scenes in your favorite app, but it is there.

A geographic information system lets you store, organize, manipulate and analyze data that has a geographic component. Do you have a list of addresses you want to map?  GIS software lets you do that. Do you have census data by block group and you want to see to which groups your addresses belong? You can do that in GIS software. It lets you ask questions about your data and store the answers.  And best of all, you can make maps. That’s my favorite part of the software!



These are maps I created using the ArcGIS software. The first 2 are just in time for Thanksgiving and Christmas. The third map answers a frequent question we get in the Evans Map Room. The last map I made just because I like combining television and maps together.

Here is a map of different GIS Day events.

If you would like to see the maps in a larger format, you can visit the Berry Library Brickway across from the Baker-Berry circulation desk.

Geography Awareness Week

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On Sunday, Geography Awareness Week began. The National Geographic Society sponsors this week to make everyone aware how all of our decisions have a geographic or geo-spatial component. Each year’s week has a specific theme. This year’s theme is “The Future of Food.” Parts of the world have an overabundance of food while in other parts people eke out a subsistence living. How do we feed a growing world population on less available land? Do you really know where your food comes from? Does food in movies interest you more than the plot? You can click here to see to different activities and writings which incorporate food.

Remember, geography is at work in your lives every day.

Winter Outlook …

Next week is Halloween and my thoughts turn to … winter (ugh!). I am not a fan of winter but I tolerate it because I look forward to spring, summer and longer daylight hours. For all of you who are like me, here are a couple of maps to warn you or inform you.

Outlook_map_temp2014F_small Outlook_map_Precip_214F_small

In case you want to hear more news about winter, here is a video of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA) predictions for the upcoming winter. Have fun in the snow!

Images courtesy of NOAA


CV & Resume Writing Help for STEM Students

This series of events is brought to you by the Center for Professional Development and Kresge Library! All events will take place in the Kresge Library Conference Room.

STEM_Series CVs_Workshop

Applying to Graduate School Programs: CVs for Science Storytelling

Interested in applying for STEM-related positions or programs that ask for a CV instead of a resume? In this fast-paced workshop, Neukom Fellow and postdoc Kes Schroer will provide you with an overview of what to include and what to leave out — as well as tips for how to share your skills and experience in terms easily understood by scientists and non-scientists alike.

When: Thursday, October 23 at 12-1pm
Register by 10/23 at 10am! Click here.

Kresge Face Time

Chat with CPD advisor Chandlee Bryan and get all your questions answered!

When: Wednesday, October 29 at 5:30-8:30pm

Formatting Your CV/Resume in LaTeX

Join Physical Sciences Librarian Shirley Zhao for a hands-on workshop to format your CV or resume in LaTeX. Use what you learned in the previous events and come away with a working document.

When: Thursday, October 30 at 12-1pm

Sailing to…..

Before Mercator, pilots used charts that showed the location of ports and coastal features and provided directions on how to navigate between these points of reference. Details of the coast were critical as vessels often chose to sail closer to land to mitigate potential open sea and weather hazards. These earlier maps were known as portolan charts – a name derived from the Italian – and are often fantastically detailed and depict the coastlines of the major land masses with stunning accuracy.

Our portolan chart was made by Nicolas Comberford around 1657 in Redcliffe, England and depicts the Mediterranean and Black Sea. True to the style, numerous coastal towns and cities are pinpointed and the small islands of the area are numbered and listed in tables in the interior spaces of the adjoining countries. As with most portolan charts, the interior land masses are left largely blank since the focus of the chart was navigation on the water. Unlike most portolans, Comberford has not included the standard compass lines connecting major destinations, opting instead for a more open grid to demonstrate direction and relative distance.

The chart is constructed of vellum attached to hinged and folded oak boards. Despite its use on ship, the map shows very little water staining and is brilliantly colored with gold leaf accents. Though the map apparently belonged to a Captain John Smyth, this is, alas, not the Captain Smith of Virginia fame. That Captain Smith died before the creation of this chart.

Ask for Codex 657940 to see the chart.

More Than a Century of Sediment Data


USGS Sediment Data Portal

The USGS has just announced a new online, interactive sediment data portal that provides access to more than a century’s worth of data, representing the best available compendium of suspended sediment data for streams and rivers across the nation.

From the announcement:

Ever since sediment samples were first collected in 1889 by pioneering engineer Frederick Newell and 14 of his colleagues on the Rio Grande River at Embudo, N.M., the U.S. Geological Survey has continued to collect and record information on sediment transport in streams and rivers across the Nation.


Sediment Data Filters

Too much sediment can harm aquatic life and reduce the storage capacity of reservoirs affecting water supply and flood storage. In some instances, too little sediment can also be an issue.  For example, decreased amounts of sediment in the lower Mississippi Basin have been identified as the primary reason for the loss of thousands of square miles of wetlands off the Louisiana coast.

The portal provides easy access to valuable long-term data sets that can be useful in assessing how landscape modifications are affecting sediment transport in streams and rivers. Information on sediment concentrations and grain size can help identify appropriate and cost-effective sediment monitoring methods. Sediment data and ancillary data on streamflow condition, sediment grain size, sampling method, and landscape condition are also available for download within the portal.

(Read more … )

* Special thanks to Emily Wild, US Geological Survey Librarian, for sharing this announcement.

Also of Interest:

Filed under: Earth Sciences

Celebrate Geography in Your Life

key image In November you get to celebrate all the ways geography impacts your life. The week of November 17th through the 23rd is Geography Awareness Week. The National Geographic Society sponsors the week. It’s also the Society’s 125th birthday.


GISDay_logo Also during that week, on Wednesday, November 20th, is GIS Day. It gives everyone who works with anything geospatial a chance to talk about what they do. Did you ever wonder how a web site knows what store is closest to you or how your travel routes are created? That is GIS at work for you. Geographic information systems (GIS) is a way to store, analyze, manipulate, manage and show geographic data. Once you have the data within the system, you can ask questions about the data and see the results.

Stay tuned for more information about GIS and geography in your life every day.