Category Archives: Outreach

IowaView Rendezvous at Spirits in the Gardens

On November 1st, IowaView staff participated the “meet-a-scientist” at the annual Reiman Gardens Spirits in the Gardens event featuring a self guided pathway with hundreds of carved pumpkins as well as scientists to meet along the way. During our shift, there were over 250 visitors of all ages. We were able to share posters featuring remote sensing and GIS, which included aerial imagery of Ames and Reiman Gardens dating from the 1930s to 2019. Participants enjoyed seeing change over time as Ames has urbanize over the last ninety years. Staff gave out goodie bags with AmericaView poster, USGS trading cards, and Earth as Art bookmarks and booklets.

ISU Mapathon Greatest hits…show the highlights reel!

Over the past few years the ISU GIS Facility has hosted a number of mapathons. Most of our mapathons have a time set aside for mapping in Iowa and then a time where we focus on international projects.

It is amazing what even a small group of mappers can do to add to the OpenStreetMap basemap in a small town in Iowa. Below are three examples of demonstrating how a mapathon event can add to the OpenStreetMap.

1. George, Iowa
George, Iowa is a small town in Northwest Iowa. This series of screen shots below illustrates progress made over several mapathons.

George, Iowa – 6/30/2016
George, Iowa – 7/13/2016
George, Iowa – 6/28/2017

2. Ogden, Iowa
Another Iowa example is Ogden, Iowa. We starting mapping Ogden in 2015. This story map link shows progress made over several mapping events. As part of this effort we even marked the sidewalks as a collarborative project with Iowa State Extension. After our mapping efforts an individual continued on the IowaView efforts. Today, Ogden has a vivid and robust OSM basemap.

Ogden, Iowa – November 17, 2020

3. Wayland, Iowa
Most of our early efforts were not tied to a specific project but were mainly to teach people to use OpenStreetMap and continuing adding to the Iowa basemap. For our mapathon in 2019, we reached out to see if there were any communities that would like help with a mapping project. We were connected with a city clerk from Wayland, Iowa. Below are screenshots of the progress from that day of mapping.

Wayland, Iowa – 10/11/2019
Wayland, Iowa – 10/17/2019

And now for something weird: Joseph Kerski’s Weird Earth

Today we will be joining Joseph Kerski, a Geographer and GIS education enthusiast, exploring Weird Earth: Exploring the Earth with Interesting, Bizarre, and Odd Imagery. Joseph provides a narrated video on Youtube (primarily targeted at educators) but you can also explore these fascinating places on your own using this ArcGIS Online map. Thank you, Joseph, for taking us to new places and uncover hidden gems on our planet!

OpenStretMap And Humanitarian Mapping – Making A Difference For Others

OpenStreetMap is a publicly editable map of the world. It’s is often referred to as Wikipedia for maps. Anyone can sign up for an account and begin adding to the map. Edits to the map are reviewed and validated by other members of the community.

In 2010, OpenStreetMap was used as a humanitarian disaster relief tool after an earthquake in Haiti. Volunteers from across the world mapped buildings and roads from satellite imagery in areas that been damaged by the earthquake. Then teams on the ground were able to use that information to assess damage and begin recovery efforts.

Since that time the use of Humanitarian OpenStreetMap has spread around the globe helping in disaster response as well as disaster prevention and many other humanitarian efforts. We encourage you to take time during Geography Awareness Week to volunteer your time and talent to help with some of the following projects:

Suggested International Projects:

Public Lab Mongolia – https://tasks.hotosm.org/projects/9560/
Public Lab Mongolia (PLM), a local non-governmental organization in Mongolia, is leading the Mongolian chapter for volunteer mappers through the HOTmicrogrant COVID-19 project, as part of their mission to promote open data and disaster preparedness. This mapping will also help with COVID-19 response efforts. This project is to map Ulaanbaatar capital city of Mongolia, is organized by PLM in collaboration with the Mongolian Geo-spatial Association and local universities.

Hurricane Eta – Nicaragua – https://tasks.hotosm.org/projects/9765
Hurricane Eta brought wind, rain and storm surge to the coast of Nicaragua. This project is to finish the basemap of Bilwi (Puerto Cabezas) by digitizing buildings from MAXAR imagery. Available to beginners, there may be tricky tasks in this project as some areas have been partially mapped with older imagery and vegetation can often hide parts of structures. Maker sure to review the instructions for tips on how to overcome these challenges and provide high quality data.

Explore your own project: https://tasks.hotosm.org/explore

Discover the Mappy Halloween Treasure Hunt and More

ESRI has put together a fun Halloween themed Geography Treasure Hunt that uses their story map technology to test your halloween trivia and world geography knowledge. Good luck.

Another exciting Halloween opportunity for those in the Ames area is Reiman Gardens Spirits in the Gardens event. Participants will enjoy walking through a garden path of hundreds of beautifully carved pumpkins. It is a ticketed event, registration information here. IowaView staff member, Amy Logan, will be at the event on Sunday, November 1st from 5-7pm, discussing remote sensing and GIS and handing out goodie bags of Earthshot trading cards while supplies last.

Mappy Halloween!

Iowa Absentee Voter Return Map

Happy Wednesday! Here is a map from the Iowa State University Extension Community and Economic Development showing the percent of absentee ballots returned in Iowa by county. There is also a layer that shows percentage of absentee ballots returned by party. This map will be updated regularly as we move towards the election.

https://isugisf.maps.arcgis.com/apps/View/index.html?appid=10a34b747f0f409a8c613ff869c933c9

Earth Science Week – Day 7: International Archaeology Day

Today we finishing out Earth Science Week by celebrating International Archaeology Day.

Consider exploring with archaeologists in field by touring at their dig sites at locations such as Pompeii, Italy or Achill Island, Ireland.

Participate in the ArchaeoDoodles Contest by choosing one of 15 archaeological terms and create a graphic or doodle based on the term

Visit the Earth Science Week website for additional activities and resources.

Earth Science Week – Day 6: Geologic Map Day

Today we are celebrating Geologic Map Day, to promote awareness of geologic mapping and its importance to society.

Here is a map of the Bedrock Geologic Map of Iowa created by a team at the Iowa Geological and Water Survey. For details about each of the geologic regions click here to read the report.

To view map details click on the map.

Which landform region are you living in?
Find your place on the map and learn more about each of the Iowa Landforms.


Visit the Iowa Landforms Revealed by Gregg Hadish. These images were featured in a series of blog posts on the IowaView website last fall.

Visit the official Geologic Map Day site for learning activities and resources.

Earth Science Week – Day 5: Geoscience for Everyone Day

Today we celebrate that the geosciences are for everyone.

Below are links to organizations focused on encouraging all people to get involved in the geosciences.

American Indian Science and Engineering Society (AISES)

Association for Women Geoscientists (AWG)

Earth Science Women’s Network (ESWN)

International Association for Geoscience Diversity (IAGD)

National Association of Black Geoscientists (NABG)

National Organization of Gay and Lesbian Scientists and Technical Professionals (NOGLSTP)

Society for Advancement of Chicanos/Hispanics and Native Americans in Science (SACNAS)

Women in Coastal Geoscience & Engineering

Women in GIS

Earth Science Week – Day 4: National Fossil Day

Today we are celebrating National Fossil Day!

Check out this cool coloring book as well as bonus pages. Learn about ancient plants and creatures as you color your way through this booklet. What is your favorite creature?

Geologic Resources Division
Edrioasteroid
“Foerstediscus splendens” is an extinct echinoderm (a member of the group including sea stars, sea urchins, and sea lilies) known as an edrioasteroid (seated star) that lived during the Ordovician. Fossils of “Foerstediscus” have been found at Mississippi National River and Recreation Area, Minnesota.

Have you ever been fossil hunting? If you are interested in collecting fossils, you should plan an adventure to the Fossil and Prairie Park Preserve in Rockford, Iowa. It gives you a chance to find your own fossils.

Did you know that Iowa is only one of a handful of state’s that doesn’t have a state fossil? There is currently a proposal for the Crinoid to become Iowa’s State Fossil. Crinoids are a class of animals called echinoderms that first appears on the earth about 500 million years ago. They have two form, sea lilies (stalked form attached to the sea floor) and feather stars (free-living.) Learn more about the Crinoid at the Cedar Valley Rocks and Mineral Society website.

Check out the National Park Service – National Fossil Day website for more activities and information about fossils.