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Coming Soon! Earth Observation Day – Thursday, October 12, 2017

You are invited to the annual Earth Observation Day celebration in Durham 248 from 11am to 1pm on Thursday, October 12, 2017.

From 11am-12pm, we will be having a mapping event focused on humanitarian mapping projects in areas hit by recent natural disasters.  Bring your lunch and stay from 12-12:30, we will have a guest lecture from Daryl Herzmann about the Iowa Environmental Mesonet, a website which collects and displays environmental data for Iowa from various sources including Iowa Flood Center, Iowa Department of Transportation, National Weather Service, and Iowa State University – Agronomy. Read more about the Iowa Mesonet here: https://www.extension.iastate.edu/article/iowa-environmental-mesonet-data-used-thousands-every-day.

Please come and go as you are able. If you are interested in joining us, please fill out the RSVP form (https://goo.gl/forms/SVLH4qhWDqJvfPD03) so we can plan for computer space and chairs. Please spread the word. Thank you, I hope you can join us!  

Citizen Science during the Total Solar Eclipse

You might have heard by now that in just under two weeks there will be a total solar eclipse of the sun!    

2008 Solar Eclipse Diamond Ring, Credit : The Exporatorium, https://www.nasa.gov/topics/solarsystem/features/eclipse/eclipseimages.html

NASA is encouraging people to use this opportunity to join in a citizen science experiment to record the air temperature and surface temperatures as well as cloud cover and type at intervals before and after the totality of the eclipse. For more information about how to participate in this excellent experiment read these handouts: 1)GLOBE Solar Eclipse Instructions and Links sheet, 2)GLOBE Solar Eclipse Data Collection Worksheet, and 3)Citizen Science Solar Eclipse Handout.  Thank you to Kevin Czajkoski, from OhioView, for sharing these handouts.

Total Solar Eclipse Diagram
By Andrew Fraknoi and Dennis Schatz
From the National Science Teachers Assoication, http://static.nsta.org/extras/solarscience/SolarScienceInsert.pdf

Check out this map to see where you are located in relation to viewing the total eclipse.  Here in Ames, Iowa, we should see between 90-95% of the total eclipse.  

Another really cool video that I recommend checking out is from the PBS show, Steven Hawkings – Genius – in this clip the researchers are trying to create a model of the eclipse to understand how far the Earth and Moon are from the sun in the middle of the desert in Utah.  At the end of the video they use a computer model to extrapolate the whole solar system.  It is an amazing visual!  CHECK IT OUT!!!

Start Your Future Here – Part II

This post will describe the second workshop the ISU GIS Facility and IowaView hosted as part of the 2017 Iowa 4-H State Conference, “Start Your Future Here.”  The second workshop, “Start Your Open Street Map Adventure Here,” gave students a brief introduction to GIS and remote sensing as well as a short discussion of open street map and its interface. Then 4-Hers were asked to practice using the mapping interface through the TeachOSM application.  The group started by mapping a small northwest Iowa town, George.  As you will see from the screen shots, the 4-Hers made significant progress for this community, mapping over 400 buildings.  Comparing the before and after pictures, notice the large number of buildings added in the central and northeast parts of town.

George, Iowa – Before 4-H Workshop

George, Iowa – After 4-H workshop 6/29/2017

For the second activity, students worked on a project sponsored by the United States Geological Survey (USGS)’s Volcano Disaster Assistance Program (VDAP) to help map communities near active volcanoes.  the 4-Hers mapped roads, buildings, and rivers in several small communities near Mt. Galeras in Columbia as part of their emergency preparedness. According to project description, “Galeras is an active Andean stratovolcano that is located in the Narino department, near Pasto (population: 450,000 Colombians). Galeras is the most active volcano in Colombia and is known for regular eruptions, the most recent occurring in 2000, 2002, 2004, 2005, 2007, and 2010.” The students did a great job mapping with both projects. Between the two projects over 500 nodes were created and over 3,000 nodes were created. Hopefully these activities will lead to future mapping interest.

Start Your Future Here – Part I

Recently, the ISU GIS Facility, in partnership with AmericaView, hosted two workshops as part of the 2017 Iowa 4-H State Conference, “Start Your Future Here.”  This conference is a good opportunity for students to try something new.   This was the third year that IowaView has participated in the 4-H conference. For many 4-Hers, this was their first experience with mapping and GIS. We offered two different workshops this year. One workshop was focused on GIS and mapping using the ESRI platform and the other workshop was focused on learning to use Open Street Map for assisting with humanitarian projects.

The first workshop, “Start Your Mapping Adventure Here,” was an introduction to GIS and mapping.  During the session students were presented with the basics of GIS and creating a map.  Then 4-Hers were able to complete several hands-on project to illustrate various mapping products.  

Examples of Park Map Designs

Students used ArcGIS Online to interact with and make sense of a news article about the migration crisis from Tunisia to the Italian island of Lampedusa. They learned how to use tools in ArcGIS Online to answer question related to the article. Some of the tools they explored included the Find box to quickly navigate to places on the map, map notes to mark locations on the map, and how to change basemap imagery to reveal different facets of a place by examining topography and photography. This exercise was based on an exercise found in an ESRI teacher training: “Teaching with GIS: Introduction to Using GIS in the Classroom.”

Next participants were divided into small groups and tasked with using ArcMap desktop to create a map of a new city park which they were asked to design. Through this exercise students learned how to navigate desktop, edit and remove features and then create a map and map properties (legend, north arrow, title.)  See examples of their maps to the right. The idea for this exercise came from materials put out by the National 4-H Council as part of a 2013 National Youth Science Day: Maps and Apps Activities.  The exercise suggested having students manually create layers on paper but we wanted to infuse the activity with technology and introduce 4-Hers to ArcMap.  

Finally, we explored several Story Maps from a very basic map to a multi-media interactive map. Here are two other great Story Maps examples showing to additional styles: the spyglass and cascade.   This gave the 4-Hers exposure to another mapping medium and possibly a way to display data for school projects or 4-H projects.

To learn more about the 4-H conference, check out this link to an article from the Alliance for Iowa State: State 4-H Conference Offers Teens a Complete Iowa State Experience, 6/28/2017.    

Earth Week 2017: Story Maps

Another way to connect with our world this Earth Week is to experience an ESRI Story Map.  Story maps use maps, map animations, photographs, sounds, and video to tell compelling stories on all sorts of topics.  The lastest maps on the Story Map website are beautiful and interactive applications for storytelling.  

This month’s featured Story Map is called Embattled Borderlands.  It begins by asking the question, “Will the border wall strike a fatal blow to one of the most imperiled wild regions in North America?”  It tells the story of the US-Mexico border, taking participants to various locations along the border. The Story Map explains the unique ecosystems and creatures located along the border and how creating an intensified artificial barrier in this region could potentially impact these areas. There are also a series of vignettes about how human intervention has already had a negative impact on the land.  This Story Map is filled with brilliant photography.

To experience this Story Map for yourself visit: https://storymaps.esri.com/stories/2017/embattled-borderlands/index.html

 

 

Earth Week 2017: Adopt the Planet

Happy Earth Week! This year NASA has created unique opportunity just in time for Earth Day for interested participants to “Adopt the Planet.”  There are 64,000 locations available from adoption.    

Credit: NASA https://www.nasa.gov/feature/goddard/2017/nasa-celebrates-earth-day-by-letting-us-all-adopttheplanet

When you visit the website you can fill in your name and then receive a certificate with your adopted patch of Earth.  The adoption certificate gives you specific coordinates of your location on our globe as well as satellite data layers relevant to your piece of Earth.  You can use WorldView, NASA’s web-based satellite viewing application, to explore your adopted point over time and with different layers.   

I received a point on the coast of Antarctica.  It was cool to explore a part of our planet that I don’t normally think about on a daily basis. With the WorldView application I was able to see how it changes over the seasons from solid ice to open ocean. WorldView even has the ability to animate these observations.

This outreach event allows us the appreciate our planet from space and helps us learn about some of the space instruments that are continuously monitoring and circling our planet.

To adopt your piece of Earth, visit: https://climate.nasa.gov/adopt-the-planet/#/

Credit: NASA https://www.nasa.gov/feature/goddard/2017/nasa-celebrates-earth-day-by-letting-us-all-adopttheplanet

Iowa BMP Mapping Project data now available!

The ISU GIS Facility recently rolled out a new website (http://www.gis.iastate.edu/gisf/projects/conservation-practices) that allows users to download completed data sets from the Iowa BMP Mapping Project. Each file geodatabase contains 6 mapped conservation practices: contour buffer strips, grassed waterways, stripcropping, pond dams, terraces, and WASCOB (water and sediment control basins.) The website also allows visitors to preview the data available in the file geodatabases by downloading a pdf.  Please use this valuable resource.


An example of the pdf output


 

Wrapping up Earth as Art!

Thanks to everyone who visited the Earth as Art exhibit. We hope you enjoyed it! It was so encouraging to have some many visitors! Over 275 people signed the guest book.  We had great walk-in traffic as well as visits from the Boy Scouts, 4-Hers, ISU’s Emerging Writers, members of the Ames Community Arts Council, and a workshop on climate change.

Thank you to Brent Yantis for putting together this exhibit from the Earth as Art collections. Thank you for making the drive from Louisiana to Iowa and helping us get it installed!

Thank you to Gloria Oyervides for your beautiful work on the poster and other promotional materials. Thank you for your hard work on the educational materials and for helping with the installation and opening night.

Thank you to Xingyi Zhang for creating the world map with locations of the images and for help with installation and opening night.

Thank you to the Design on Main gallery, Kyle Renell, and the interns for helping host our exhibit!

Don’t Miss the Last Weekend for Earth As Art!

Come one, come all – to the final weekend of the Earth as Art exhibit. 

Design on Main – 203 Main Street – Ames, Iowa

Hours:
Thursday 4-7pm
Friday 2-5pm
Saturday 11am-5pm
Sunday 2-5pm

Richat Structure – geological formation in the Maur Adrar Desert in the African country of Mauritania. Although it resembles an impact crater, the Richat Structure formed when a volcanic dome hardened and gradually eroded, exposing the onion-like layers of rock.