Where are all the Birds?

As a follow up to the National Pollinator Week 2010 post, I found some very interesting bird atlas projects online that map the distribution of bird species.  What’s even better about these projects is that data collection is largely done by volunteers.  Why is that good news?  It means that if you are looking for a new hobby or to put your birding skills to the test your in luck.  Below are some links to some bird atlas projects.  The one I’m most familiar with is the Pennsylvania Breeding Bird Atlas, but you should really check out them all if you’re interested!  Anybody ask what you could do with a degree in geography?  Check out this dream job of a friend of mine to see what she does on a daily basis.  Jealous? I am. 

Atlases hosted by Cornell Lab of Ornithology

Bird Atlas of Britain and Ireland 2007-2011

Happy weekend to all the aspiring ornithologists and geographers!

National Pollinator Week 2010 – Extra from the White House!

Inside The White House – Bees! from The White House on Vimeo.
This beehive on the South Lawn is a first for the White House. The busy bees pollinate the kitchen garden, flora all over Washington and provide honey for the White House kitchen. Take a look at this year’s colony, estimated at about 70,000 bees, and listen to how the idea for a beehive on the South Lawn came about.

National Pollinator Week 2010

It’s National Pollinator Week 2010! We depend on many species to pollinate our crops so that we have a dependable food resource.  Unfortunately many species of pollinators are at risk including:

I first learned about National Pollinator Week from a USGS news post and found some interesting links.  A few of these include a few podcasts (Bees Are Not OptionalPollinators, Phenology, and Climate Change) that interview scientists who research pollinating species.  One of the most interesting was a link to Butterflies and Moths of North America.  This site has a distribution map that allows you to first find an area of interest, then see lists of species found in that area.  Below is an example of a species that is found in Connecticut.

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For more information on National Pollinator Week 2010 and to see what activities may be happening in your neighborhood please visit http://www.pollinator.org/

More on Climate

I’d like to introduce the readers of Outside the Neatline to another blog that is really well done in regards to covering climate change/global warming and weather in general. The name of the blog is Dr. Jeff Masters’ Wunderblog and is hosted at the Weather Underground website.  In his June 17, 2010 post, Dr. Jeff Masters reviews the most recent report from the National Climatic Data Center and features the figure below:

Additionaly, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), Working Group II has announced the names of the 831 authors of the Fifth Assessment Report (AR5).  This is a first of many steps towards the next large Assessment Report.  In line with the announcement I’ve included some links to presentations given by some of the working groups as they prepare for AR5.  The following presentations were given at the:

United Nations Climate Change Conference, COP 15 IPCC Side Event “IPCC Findings and Activities and their Relevance for the UNFCCC Process”Copenhagen, Denmark, 8th December 2009

Climate Change Mitigation: Main Findings of the Fourth Assessment Report (AR4) and Relevant Steps for the
      Fifth Assessment Report (AR5)
       – Mr Youba Sokona Co-Chair of WG III

IF you would like more information about climate change in the United States of America, check out the EPA’s Climate Change web page.

Geography in the News – Where am I?

So I came across this article in the NY Times today, albeit a little late (It was published over a year ago), and found it interesting.  The article is a review of the book “You are Here” by Colin Ellard.  The author examines our increasing dependence on GPS and associated mapping technology and whether it’s diminishing our ability to be spatially aware of where we are. 

Illustration by Lauren Simkin Berke

Examining spatial awareness is not a new concept.  For other interesting titles on the topic see below:

You Are Here :  Personal Geographies and Other Maps of the Imagination  

Katharine Harmon

Did you Know? #28 – Obesity in America

Obesity in America

I was watching a program on CNBC yesterday night entitled “One Nation Overweight“.  The program highlighted a few of the problems associated with Obesity but some of the most startling facts were those concerning our nations children.  Take this one for example; nearly one third of the our children are considered overweight and for the first time in the history of our nation some believe that our younger generation may have a shorter life span than their parents.

Here are some informative web links to better inform you on Americas weight problem:

For a quick overview of Obesity Trends in America with a spatial component, advance through the PowerPoint presentation created by the CDC below:

For photos and videos about Obesity around the world try National Geographic‘s Taboo show website here.

How in the World #6 – Summer Solstice and the Seasons

Today is the Summer Solstice of 2010!  What’s important about the summer solstice?  It’s the day of the year when the northern hemisphere of Earth is tilted at it’s maximum extent towards the sun.  It also means the longest day of the year for those in the northern hemisphere and the shortest day of the year for those in the southern hemisphere.  From this point forward in time the Earth will slowly begin tilting its axis away from the Sun until the northern hemisphere experiences the winter solstice on December 21, 2010.  The back and forth tilting of the Earth’s axis is what creates the seasons.  Watch the following video for a simple overview of the solstices, equinoxes and seasons below.

To learn more about the sun and earth relationships check out Dr. Jane R. Thorngren’s website.

Geography in the News – iPad GIS

GIS on the Apple iPad

I can’t believe I’m saying this, but… I might consider the purchase of an iPad now (anybody have $500 they can donate?) .  GISRoam allows the user to create, edit and perform attribute queries.  This app is currently FREE, so don’t wait too long to download and try it!  If any one gets the chance to review this application, please, PLEASE contact us and let us know what you think about it!

Happy Weekend!

Geography in the News – BP Oil Spill

So the BP Oil Spill is not breaking news, but as of this post it’s still happening.  The scale of the spill is still not easy to comprehend and today I found myself wondering “how large is it really?” The the following link “6 Ways to Visualize the BP Oil Spill” helps to put things in perspective. The page from makeuseof.com provides 6 other links from commercial, federal and private entities that are attempting to aid in the monitoring and public awareness of this crisis. Embedded below is an interesting Google Map mash-up that allows you to place the oil slick on different geographic extents:

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Check the following RSS Box for updated imagery from NASA’s Oil Spill Monitoring Page, this is where those hours of studying your remote sensing text books and labs come to life.