February was Black History Month and March is Iowa History Month (as well as Women’s History Month).
We are highlighting a map that celebrates Black Iowans in Dubuque, Iowa. Last fall, the City of Dubuque produced an ArcGIS Story Map called Finding Dubuque: Uncovering Dubuque’s Black Heritage. This Story Map shares stories of some of Dubuque’s early black residents and their contributions to the community as well as those of today. The Story Map also includes challenging parts of Dubuque’s past including redlining of insurance maps, real estate covenants restricting the tenure of black residents to certain land parcels and stories of the Ku Klux Klan in Dubuque.
Take time to learn more about the history of Black Iowans in Dubuque.
The Iowa Orthoserver (also known as the Iowa Geographic Map Server) has a variety of resources available to enhance and serve users. Today we are highlighting the Aerial Photo Dates layer. This layer allows users to determine the date of a particular image.
Open the Iowa Geographic Map Server ArcGIS Web App.
Select the first icon – Choose Map Layers (looks like 3 stacked sheets of paper.)
Scroll down to the Iowa – Aerial Photo Dates layer and then check the box to turn it on.
Expand the menu by clicking the tiny gray arrow to the left of the check box.
Now turn on whichever year of flight date you wish to use (the orange areas symbolize the flight paths and within them will appear the flight dates.)
*Please note* for some of the older imagery years (example 1930s, 1950s, etc.), you need to be zoomed in for the flight dates to appear. Zoom into an area of interest, the flight patterns and dates will be shown.
The statewide 2021 NAIP flight date layer is not yet available. This will be released when the layer is available. If you would like information regarding specific areas for the 2021 flight, please contact Amy Logan.
This week marks 40 years since the Mount St. Helens eruption. The image above is from the USGS Earthshots trading card series. The images are displayed in color infrared which is useful for showing living vegetation in red. The mountains surrounding Mount St. Helens are primarily forest. Notice the extreme change in the landscape from the 1973 image to the post eruption image in 1983. The damage was extensive and ash covered much of the surrounding forest land.
Today we celebrate 30 years since the Hubble Space Telescope began it’s orbit above Earth. In these thirty years, NASA has been able to discover and photograph so many new areas of our universe.
The Hubble Space Telescope was the first major optical telescope to be placed in space. This placement in space allows the telescope to get beyond the distortion of our atmosphere with it clouds and light pollution to make unobstructed observation of the universe. The Hubble telescope has allowed scientists to view the planets of our solar system as well as other galaxies.
The USGS has produced an amazing collection of images (also available as trading cards!) that show Earth’s change over time. The Earthshot collection has a wide variety of examples of change over time including: – natural phenomena changes (glaciers, deserts,) – social change (city growth,) – human interaction with the natural world (mining, deforestation, agriculture,) – natural disasters (hurricanes, tornado damage, flooding.)
Below are two examples of the trading cards, Mount St. Helens pre/post volcanic explosion and Las Vegas, Nevada population growth over time.
If you view a location on through the browser you will get about 5 images you can review as well as context about the images.
A couple weeks ago Bloomberg News posted an interesting article (click here to read the article) showing how the stay at home orders are effecting areas around the world using high resolution satellite imagery. Below is an example showing Venice, Italy on October 20, 2019 compared to March 18, 2020 after the residents were asked to stay at home. It is interesting to compare the water clarity and traffic.
The article highlights numerous sites around the globe including: Wuhan, China (before shutdown / after shutdown); Mecca in Saudia Arabia; Venice, Italy; Epcot Center in Florida, USA; Tianjin, China; and Miami Beach, Florida, USA.
As you look out your window you may be noticing that grass is beginning to green up, the lilac bushes are growing new leaves, and a robin is gathering material for a nest. These observations are scientifically termed phenology– the study of cyclic and seasonal natural phenomena relating to climate, plant, and animal life.
As spring begins with many of us social distancing it is a good time to turn our attention towards nature and consider joining the National Phenology Network USA’s Nature’s Notebook program. Nature’s Notebook is a group of volunteer observers (students and citizen scientists) from around the USA who pick an observation site and commit to regularly recording data about it throughout a season. This data can then be used by scientists around the world to better understand changes in climate and plant/animal life around the country.
The Nature’s Notebook website has many useful resources for establishing your observation site as well as ideas for which species to observe. The website also has activities and lesson planning ideas for children and young people. Participating in Nature’s Notebook might be a good adventure during the weeks that school is closed and the days are getting nicer.
Here are several more maps that are helpful for understanding the COVID-19 spread in Iowa.
The State of Iowa has a COVID-19 page: https://coronavirus.iowa.gov/. There is a map of the the confirmed cases statewide. This page has demographic breakdown of the cases by male/female, age cohorts, as well as hospitalization and recovery information.
– University of Washington has a more detailed map showing the “infection cases” in the United States. This map has descriptive information about the cases which I have found helpful in understanding more about how the virus and transmission. https://hgis.uw.edu/virus/
– Another map that I have found helpful was produced by 1point3acres, it provides details about each individual case and includes case number, date confirmed, county, and other case notes. https://coronavirus.1point3acres.com/en
The Iowa Department of Public Health also produces a weekly Flu report (Iowa Influenza Surveillance Network) which gives very detailed information about the state of influenza-like illnesses across the state throughout the flu season. https://idph.iowa.gov/influenza/reports