Archive for March 2012 | Monthly archive page

Mar 30

Apps We Love: AutoStitch Panorama

Have you ever wanted to capture a wider view in a photo? Do you sometimes wish you had a better camera on your iPhone or iPod Touch? With AutoStitch, you can:

– Combine multiple photos to produce wide-angle panoramas with no visible seams – Create beautiful high-resolution images of up to 18 megapixels

AutoStitch is the only panorama app that can stitch camera images in any order or arrangement, including vertical, horizontal, or mixed arrangements. It achieves unmatched quality by using full resolution camera images rather than lower-resolution video input.

Use the camera in AutoStitch or any other camera app to snap overlapping photos taken from the same location. AutoStitch uses state-of-the-art technology that automatically recognizes and smoothly combines overlapping images, making panorama creation on the iPhone easy, fast and fun.

Features: – A simple and intuitive interface. Just snap overlapping images in any order and touch “Stitch” – Works with any arrangement of images – Stitch any number from 2 to 40 or more images – Crop the result with automatic or manual cropping – Share your creations by email or upload to Facebook or Twitter

Mar 29

GeoFun: LEGO Science!

There may be no better way to engage kids of all ages in learning about science than with a Lego-based DNA molecule, robot or rocket.

WIRED SCIENCE scoured the internet for the best, quirkiest, most innovative examples of science-inspired Lego creations. They’ve featured some of their favorites in an online album, along with an explanation of the science behind them, including a space shuttle, MRI machine, particle collider and mushroom cloud.

Mar 28

Time Lapse Star Scape Video

The night sky seems unchanging to the naked eye, but beauty is hidden beyond the limits of unaided human perception.

As Earth rotates, the sky moves, revealing astronomical events that only time-lapse photography – a series of exposures lasting for minutes apiece – can truly capture.

“There are so many things you don’t normally see that you can with time-lapse,” said photographer Randy Halverson, who created the video above.

Halverson’s work even attracted the attention of Bear McCreary, a composer who wrote the music for TV shows Battlestar Galactica, Eureka and The Walking Dead. He scored Halverson’s for fun. Dim the lights, crank up the volume and watch this video to watch the world go round!

Mar 27

Ten Years of Images from Space

Ten years ago this March, the European Space Agency launched an 8-ton satellite called Envisat that would deliver back to Earth some of the most beautiful images of our planet taken from space. Since then, Envisat has orbited Earth more than 50,000 times and has lived twice as long as planned.

The satellite has more than seven instruments on board that can use radar to see through clouds, capture ocean color and land cover, monitor the ozone layer and atmospheric pollutants, measure thermal-infrared radiation, and register surface topography.

To celebrate the satellite’s 10th anniversary this month, Wired has selected a few of its most beautiful images for a stunning online gallery. Good luck deciding which one is your favorite!

Mar 26

LiDAR Mapping and Archaeology

“Just like the advent of radiocarbon dating, LiDAR will have the same impact” proclaimed archaeologist Chris Fisher.

LiDAR, or “light detection and ranging,” acts as a sort of radar with light, painting the target area with lasers and recording the time it takes to reflect back to the instruments.

In the once tech-resistant area of anthropology, high-tech tools are enabling new discoveries on an almost daily basis. Several years ago, Fisher started out with rugged handheld computers and a few GPS receivers to map the recently discovered city Sacapu Angamuco in western Mexico, occupied from about 1,000 to 1,350 C.E. The Purepechan or Tarascan people had proven more difficult to pinpoint archeologically than had their contemporaries and rivals, the Aztecs. But initial data gathering and geo-referencing allowed Fisher to identify the city at an important moment on the crux of empire, and to do so in a fraction of the time it would have taken with tape measures and grid-plotting. Still, there was more to be done.

Pure science is not the only rationale for the use of LiDAR and other technologies. In a tight economic time, academic funds are sparser that usual, so anything that can save money is welcome. “LiDAR technology (helps) map not only ancient architecture,” Fisher wrote, “but the underlying landscape in a more cost-effective manner than would a traditional archaeological survey.” Additionally, the quality of the data is better than any method that has come before.

“LiDAR has been around for a while (since the ’80s), used extensively for archaeology in the U.K., and other places in Europe,” Fisher said. “But it has only been recently that the resolution is high enough to see individual archaeological features. Each point that we have has a plus/minus range of 2.5cm – roughly the size of a Rubik’s Cube. So we can now use it to investigate not only ancient cities but the broader landscape, and connections between these features on the landscape. For the first time we are able to record the world in the same way that we experience it – in three dimensions.”

Mar 23

Apps We Love: Tornado Chaser

Learn how to track and read a storm like the pros! Be an (armchair) storm chasing meteorologist! TORNADO CHASER features:

-Pics, videos, and descriptions of the clues you can watch for when a tornado is imminent -Complete cloud chart, w/pictures and names -Detailed explanations and descriptions -Interactive Supercell Storm Diagram -Live Storm/Tornado Tracking -US, UK, Canada, Europe, Australia, and more! -Live storm reports from across the US -SPC hourly tornado forecasts

Mar 22

A Link Between Tornadoes and Seismic Activity

An Indiana University geophysical experiment detected unusual seismic signals associated with tornadoes that recently struck regions across the Midwest – information that may have value for meteorologists studying the atmospheric activity that precedes tornado disasters.

According to Michael Hamburger, professor in the department of geological sciences at IU Bloomington and one of the researchers conducting the experiment, “The seismograms show a strong, low-frequency pulse beginning around 4:45 a.m. on Feb. 29. Our preliminary interpretation, based on other seismic records of tornadoes, suggests that we were recording not the tornado itself, but a large atmospheric pressure transient related to the large thunderstorms that spawned the tornadoes.” The seismographs that detected the pulse are near Harrisburg, Ill., a town of 9,000 where a pre-dawn twister caused extensive damage, killed six people and injured about 100 more.

While seismographs have been known to detect seismic activity related to tornadoes, it is highly unusual to have state-of-the-art digital instruments recording information in such close proximity to a tornado, the researchers say.

For more of the research on this event, visit Science Daily.

Mar 21

GIS Analyst Gets Listed as a “Low Stress Career Option”

Recently Yahoo wrote an article touting the top five low stress careers, and geographic information systems analyst made the list. Obviously, this article was written by someone who WAS NOT a GIS analyst! So, kick on back with your box of bon bons and enjoy a good chuckle, read their version of our “complete” job description:

“If you’re good at reading maps and navigating the road, you might want to consider a career as a geographic information systems analyst. These analysts gather and present geographic data used to inform higher-ups about issues from improving local traffic flow to evacuating major cities.“

Mar 20

STEM Curriculum

Here is a link to an amazing collection of over a dozen of free lessons from STEM: the National Center for Rural Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics Education Outreach! These resources are so rich, we hope you explore each and every lesson.

The units were designed to introduce and use GIS as a tool for middle school science and mathematics.  These classroom-tested activities combine fundamental content with cutting-edge technology and help students see the power of spatial thinking in analysis and decision-making.  The collection is authored by Ms. Barbaree Ash Duke and edited by Dr. Bob Kolvoord.

Mar 19

Tornadoes: Spring 2012

It’s a common early-spring phenomenon: Cold, dry air from Canada meets warm, moist air from the Gulf of Mexico. The result: massive, tornado-spawning storms. Visit the map story of the 2012 Spring tornado season, which aggregates geographic information with eyewitness videos shared via social media.

The millions of Americans own smart phones and digital cameras have transformed the way we experience disaster. These are among the many clips uploaded to YouTube by witnesses to the tornadoes that tore through the central U.S. in late February and early March 2012.