Learner-Shaped Technology

May 8, 2012

Elevation Profle and Google Earth

Filed under: gis,google earth,mapping — Mike W @ 7:29 pm

I took a field trip with a colleague who is headed to Guatemala in a couple of days in order to test the elevation accuracy of the iPhone, iPad, and Trimble Nomad.  I’ll post the results shortly.  I discovered a feature in Google Earth that I didn’t know existed–the elevation profile.  After adding a track we recorded of our hike back using MotionX HD on the iPad to Google Earth, it was easy to create an interactive elevation profile of the short trip.  The yellow arrows show the point-of-interest on the path and the corresponding location on the elevation profile.  Pretty cool!


June 15, 2009

Visualizing the World – Wow!

Filed under: data visualization,education,general,gis,mapping,technology — Mike W @ 12:36 pm

This is a really powerful tool for viewing global statistics that might be useful for class.  The visualizations in Hans Rosling’s presentation  are pretty amazing.

Motion Map

The tool Rosling uses in the presentation is available online (along with his blog).  It took me a little while to figure it out how to use it, but experimentation with the maps and charts, along with the video tutorial, really helped me realize how much is here.

Indicators include health, economic, education, environmental, and more data from the UN.

The site also provides information about how you can use Google Spreadsheets to make your own motion charts.  I experimented, and the process is fairly straight-forward for charts but doesn’t include the mapping piece, which is available for the UN data on Rosling’s site.


Total Oil Consumption – Let’s get on those bikes or carpool America :-)

May 14, 2009

Geospatial Revolution Project

Filed under: education,gis,google earth,mapping,technology — Mike W @ 10:36 am

Now that spring semester is over, I’m hoping to pick up my blogging pace again. Penn State University announced the geospatial revolution project recently, which involves the creation of video episodes to explain the importance and role of geospatial technologies in our world. Check out the trailer below. This looks intriguing!

Whenever I try to articulate my excitement about the power of geospatial technologies for learning across the curriculum, I’m usually disappointed in my ability to convey the message. It looks like these episodes might do a much better job of highlighting that connection. I’m currently taking GIS courses through Penn State’s online program, so I recognize at least one of the interviewees in the clip!


August 2, 2008

Campus Technology Award

Filed under: data visualization,gis,google earth,history,mapping — Mike W @ 8:21 am

Our project using Google Earth to connect Boston, NY, and Greenville in Lloyd Benson’s Urban History class won an Annual Campus Technology Award. Check it out!

Here’s a little bit more info on the project that I put together for a NITLE conference this spring.


Project FAQs

It’s amazing how quickly things change. Picasa and Flickr now automatically put geocoded images on the map. For Flickr you have to make sure this is set to ‘yes’ in the privacy and permissions section of your profile.


Here’s an example of an image in Picasa that is automatically placed on the map. I took it with an iPAQ with built-in GPS. I almost walked right through the web when getting out of my car. That would have been interesting! It reminds me of the time I put my kayak on my head to carry it, and a big spider that had set up camp started falling towards my face. I closed my mouth just in time!


May 18, 2008

Costa Rica Day 6 and home

Filed under: costa rica,general,gis,mapping,science — Mike W @ 4:05 pm

See flickr for all the pics from the trip.

Got up early to go with a crew over to Firestone. They were casting nets to catch leaf litter for another study on the property. I caught up with some email and talked to Susannah briefly before heading back for more GIS instruction. I really learned a lot. Warren is a great teacher and very patient with all of us. We turned data we gathered with the clinometers and compasses into latitude and longitude using start and finish anchor points we took with the portable GPS devices and COMPASS software. Then we imported all the data from the surveys we had done to see the additional trail maps. It was way cool! All of the points help GIS interpolate elevation, slope, and aspect information, so we get a better handle on both the Hacienda Baru and Firestone property.

eric mapping

I took a quick walk by myself on the trail to the playa (beach). We ate a quick lunch, packed, and took a different route back to San Jose. This road was paved, but very curvy, with some drops that were pretty impressive. I was happy for dramamine and decided it wasn’t worth watching all the crazy passing we were doing on hair-pin turns.

Carol on steep cliff

We stopped at a little over 8,000 ft on the way up and climbed a peak for some great views (see flickr). On the way back into the bus, we ran into a young guy from Japan who had biked from Calgary Canada!! He was looking for a place to pitch a tent for the night. He seemed to be in great spirits for such a long uphill ride with crazy traffic all around.

Mike and Jose Luis

We went out for dinner in San Jose, which is hopping in the evening. Jose-Luis and I (picture above) crossed a street and got stuck in the middle of the road. No one let us go and just honked and whizzed past. I later asked Eric to teach me how to curse in Spanish. I have a couple of phrases in my back pocket that might serve me well in the future 😉 I’m on the plane home to Atlanta, then I drive back to Greenville. Can’t wait to be home, but it was a great trip!

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