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Saturday, April 01, 2006

World Language Maps

Dr. Stephen Huffman has produced a series of language maps that show the distribution of the world's nearly 7000 ethno-linguistic peoples. The maps show, through colored poloygons, the geographic extent of language homelands. I never realized that there were so many languages and it is very interesting to see how the world is divided into areas of homogeneity (such as the United States) and extreme diversity (such as areas in Africa and Asia).

The maps are important works for the field of language study but they are also important examples of great cartography distributed via the web. In addition to display maps, ArcMap Project files, pdf documents and other GIS data can be downloaded from the site.

Image by Dr. Stephen Huffman
Read more about the World Language Maps at

Monday, March 27, 2006

Hawaii Images and Maps at PanoramicEarth

Panoramic Earth contains interactive maps linked to panoramic images of cities and travel destinations around the world. The tours run in Java, with an indicator on the map to show where you are, and which direction you are facing as you view the images. Most of the current collection covers European destinations, including a tour of London with over 100 images. The technique has also been applied to entire islands, like Mallorca, and a number of Alpine ski resorts.

Outside of Europe, Hawaii Island is also well featured with another 100+ image tour, providing very comprehensive coverage around the island. Being Hawaii Island, the Volcanoes National Park was not left out. Many of the lava flows and craters within the Park and along Chain of Craters Road can be seen, right down to the coastline where lava was entering the sea at the time.

Screenshot from
Take a tour at PanoramicEarth.

Saturday, March 18, 2006

Mars Topography Images Now on Google Maps

Google has posted an interactive topographic map of Mars that you can use to explore the planet's surface. With it you can zoom and pan the Martian surface to view craters, volcanoes, mountains, plains and canyons. The map also has over 100 features marked with pushpins. Clicking on a pushpin gives you more detailed information to help you learn about the Red Planet.

Image by USGS
Take a trip to observe the Topography of Mars.

Thursday, March 09, 2006

Marine Phytoplankton

From NASA is this image of a marine phytoplankton bloom showing as a blue-green swirl off the coast of Argentina. These colors are created by light reflecting from the chlorophyll and other pigments contained within billions of tiny plants (phytoplankton) growing in the surface waters. This bloom is sustained by nutrients brought to the ocean by freshwater rivers carrying agricultural run-off and other nutriends into the ocean.

Image by NASA
Read more about this Marine Phytoplankton image at the Earth Observatory website.

Friday, March 03, 2006

Google Night Map

Peter Pesti of the Georgia Institute of Technology has created a Google Map that merges a nighttime map of the world with the Google Maps data. The result is an interactive map that allows the user to zoom in on regions of the world and see how they would look from above at night. Cities stand out as patches of bright light. It clearly shows economic and population patterns.

Screenshot of Peter Pesti's site
Check out the Night Map

Friday, February 24, 2006

Discovering Mayan Ruins from Space

A team of scientists from NASA and the University of New Hampshire hope to discover Mayan ruins using remote sensing technology. They will be working with the Guatemalan Institute of Anthropology and History along with the Department of Pre-Hispanic Monuments.

Their goal is to use satellite images and data to look for chemical signatures of the Mayan civilization's ancient building materials. NASA’s Airborne Synthetic Aperture Radar, an instrument flown aboard a high-altitude weather plane, can penetrate clouds and forest canopies to survey the earth below.
Read more about Discovering Mayan Ruins at the Internal Information Programs website.

Monday, February 13, 2006

GIS in K-12 Education

Northwestern University is developing MyWorld, a GIS program specifically designed for interactive learning in middle school through college classrooms. Using this software students can access data bases and plot information atop of their maps. The easy-to-use interface and simple design allow students to begin making maps and exploring data with minimal training. Now students can spend their time visualizing data, composing maps and analyzing geographic patterns.

Image by USGS
Read more about GIS in K-12 Education at the website.

Wednesday, February 08, 2006

Maps for Students

The Kentucky Transportation Cabinet had thousands of surplus highway maps when a new version was being printed. Instead of destroying the maps they decided to donate them to schools. This is great but it would be even better if a few lesson plans were distributed with the maps.

Sunday, January 29, 2006

How Accurate Are Online Mapping Services?

An article in the Pittsburgh Post Gazette lets citizen speak their mind on the accuracy of online mapping services such as MapQuest, Google Local and Yahoo Local and Maps. These sites are among the top destinations on the internet and a reported 87 percent of internet users have consulted at least one of the online mapping services. Some of those interviewed enjoy the services and report great success but others cite incorrect directions that land users in confusing situations, on incorrect routes and making illegal turns.

MapQuest Screenshot (the #1 mapping destination on the web!
Read more about Accuracy of Online Map Sites at the Post Gazette.

Wednesday, January 25, 2006

Ancient Maps of Siam, Burma, Cambodia and China

Seventeen hand-drawn and hand-colored maps dating from the King Rama I to King Rama III period (1782 - 1851) were discovered in the Grand Palace. These maps, on cotton cloth cover areas of Siam, Burma, Cambodia and China. They are richly in detailed and show terrain studded with hilltop temples, trees, forts, lakes, rivers, and Chinese junks. The offer a unique view of both geography and culture.

Read more about Ancient maps of Siam, Burma, Cambodia and China at IHT ThaiDay.

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