Online Map Tracks LRA Incidents in Central Africa

GIS has developed into a critical technology for crisis management. The ability to synthesize spatial and non-spatial information quickly and accurately is invaluable in responding to everything from criminal incidents to natural disasters. One product that exemplifies this is the LRA Crisis Tracker, which is a real-time mapping platform that tracks incidents related to the Lord’s Resistance Army in Central Africa. Such incidents include kidnapping, killings and more. The LRA tracker website includes a methodology, that among other things, notes the methods used in verifying incidents; those incidents that are reasonably verifiable are mapped. This application is a product of Invisible Children, an organization that strives to use “…film, creativity, and social action to end the use of child soldiers in Joseph Kony’s rebel war and restore LRA-affected communities in Central Africa to peace and prosperity.”

2010 ACS 1 Year Estimates Released – 9/22/2011

The 2010 American Community Survey (ACS) 1 year estimates were released today (9/22/2011). These estimates provide detailed social, economic and housing estimates (e.g. education, langauge, income, poverty, housing value, etc.) for geographic areas with a population of at least 65,000.

The 2010 American Community Survey (ACS) 1 year estimates include data for the state of Connecticut, Connecticut Counties, and Bridgeport, Danbury, Hartford, New Britain, New Haven, Norwalk, Stamford, and Waterbury.
For additional information on the release visit:

The 2010 ACS 1yr Estimates are accessible through the NEW American Factfinder located here:

The Times Atlas of the World Controversy

Last week I wrote a post regarding the publication of the Times Atlas of the World. Since then, controversy has erupted over the amount of ice loss conveyed in Greenland. Glaciologists and climatologist around the world are are disputing the publisher’s claim that 15% of Greenland’s permanent ice cover has been lost since 1999. One hypothesis for the error is a misinterpretation of a contour lines on a 1999 map. Click here for more.

USGS Historical Topographic Maps

Nearly 90,000 high resolution scans of the more than 200,000 historical USGS topographic maps, some dating as far back as 1884, are now available on-line from the US Geological Survey. The Historical Topographic Map Collection includes published U.S. topographic maps of  all scales and editions, and are offered as a georeferenced digital download or as a printed copy from the USGS Store.

Additional states (including Connecticut) will be added soon! For additional details and to access these maps visit:

History of Cartography Fellowship at U of Wisconsin-Madison

The University of Wisconsin-Madison (UW) Institute for Research in the Humanities and the History of Cartography Project are now accepting applications for the David Woodward Memorial Fellowship in the History of Cartography. The annual fellowship, generously sponsored by Art and Jan Holzheimer, gives scholars an opportunity to further their research in the history of cartography in a stimulating academic environment and with access to all campus libraries and facilities. A stipend of $7,000 supports travel and a two-month residency at the university.
For the 2012-2013 fellowship, we are especially interested in receiving proposals to support a visiting curator who will plan and design a map exhibition of about forty items to be installed at the UW’s Chazen Museum of Art. This will provide an excellent opportunity for a scholar in the arts or museum studies to engage with maps as works of art or for a map historian to learn the process of exhibition design. Proposals for general research on subjects related to the history of cartography are also welcome.

Complete information and application instructions are available at

GPS…One Billion Seconds Old!

On September 14, the atomic clocks that enable the Global Positioning System (GPS) struck 1,000,000,000 seconds. GPS was pioneered by the Department of Defense who set the beginning of GPS time on January 6, 1980. It wasn’t until the early 2000’s that GPS became widely available commercially. Before this, the DoD guarded this technology closely and did not allow the system to give civilians precise and accurate readings. This changed when, in 1996, then-President Bill Clinton signed an executive order to turn off Selective Availability (which became effective in 2000). GPS is now used for a wide variety of purposes including military, car navigation, recreation (see: Geocaching) as well as scientific research.

The Times Comprehensive Atlas of the World Released

The Times Comprehensive Atlas of the World was published this month. Although some political lines have been redrawn in the last four years since the previous edition (i.e. South Sudan), the most glaring differences, according to Ben Jarvey of Onearth, are the results of climate change. Jarvey cites differences in Greenland’s coastline because of receding ice (including a new island), receding seas in the Middle East (Aral and Dead Seas), and the collapsing of ice shelves in Antarctica as the major changes. For more climate related content, visit the Climate Resource Exchange Blog.

GIS Day 2011 – Call for Presenters

Connecticut’s GIS Day will be held on Thursday, November 17, at the Legislative Office Building in Hartford, Connecticut.  GIS Day in Connecticut is a great opportunity to network and share your ideas with GIS professionals from across the state. There is still time to submit topics for GIS Day presentations!

Do you have an idea for a 20 minute presentation on a topic related to GIS and/or geospatial technology for GIS Day? If so contact Thad Dymkowski and include your contact information and a brief abstract or description of your proposed presentation. 

Want to stay current on the latest GIS related news and events in Connecticut? Join the Connecticut GIS User to User Network Listserv at:

The 34th Americas Cup

The America’s Cup World Series is already underway and the competition has already met in Cascais, Portugal and will meet again at Plymouth, United Kingdom September 10th – 18th.  Below is the course map and the venue map, should you be lucky enough to attend:

Map of Plymouth Course via Americas Cup
Plymouth Venue Map via Americas Cup

If you’re not so lucky but still want to follow races and some great footage check out the Americas Cup YouTube Channel.  Watch the below clip showcasing  the new cataraman style of boats:

More to come on the Americas Cup as it progresses!

UConn CLEAR Fall Geospatial Training Course Schedule

Are you interested in learning more about GIS, map mash-ups and other geospatial technologies? If so then be sure to check out UConn CLEAR’s Fall Geospatial Training Schedule All trainings are taught at the Middlesex County Extension Center in Haddam, CT and additional details are available at CLEAR’s training website at
UConn CLEAR Fall Geospatial Training Courses:
Mashup Madness: Using Google Tools to Create Maps on the Web:  September 22, 2011
This one-day training covers the basics of Google Maps and Google Earth. Topics covered include methods for creating customized maps using Google My Maps, Google Earth, KML and Google Fusion Tables. Participants will also learn methods for collaborative mapping and techniques for embedding interactive maps on a website. No prior GIS experience is necessary.
Geospatial Technologies at Work: An Introduction to GIS: October 18-20, 2011 (almost full!) and January 18-20, 2012
A three-day intensive training covering introductory topics for desktop GIS. Teaching software is ArcGIS10. Topics covered include: data management strategies, connecting to geospatial data over the internet, working with geodatabases, understanding tabular data, symbolizing and classifying data, creating maps for printing and production, performing spatial data queries, and basic editing techniques. No prior GIS experience is necessary.
Pictures, Points and Places: An Introduction to GPS: October 27-28, 2011
This two-day training covers the basics of GPS technology. Participants will learn how to use handheld GPS receivers in the field to collect geospatial data and georeferenced photographs. The training also covers methods for integrating GPS data and geolocated photographs into a GIS (MapWindow) and Google Earth. No prior GIS experience is necessary.
Creating and Using Geospatial Models: Introduction to ModelBuilder for ArcGIS10:  November 7
This one-day course introducing ArcGIS users to the capabilities ModelBuilder in ArcGIS10. This course is designed to explore how ModelBuilder works and how models can be created, edited and used to automate repetitive tasks or run complex analyses. This is an introductory course but some familiarity with desktop GIS is recommended.
Developing Custom Geoprocessing Tools: An Introduction to Python Scripting:  November 21-22, 2011
This two-day course introduces ArcGIS users to the capabilities and benefits of using Python scripts to automate GIS tasks in ArcGIS10. The course will provide students with a basic scripting foundation and the resources necessary to develop proficiency with automating geoprocessing tasks with Python scripts. No prior scripting experience is necessary, however it is not intended for students with limited or no background in desktop GIS.  
Learn more about these course offerings and download registration information on the CLEAR training page:
Also, check out UConn CLEAR’s free webinars:
Free Google Tools for Creating Interactive Mapping Mashups  
Introduction to Global Positioning System (GPS) Technology & Smartphone Mapping “Apps 
View these and other CLEAR webinars here: