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Celebrate Earth Day 2020!

Earthrise by Apollo 8 Astronaut William Anders/NASA

This Wednesday (April 22, 2020) will mark the 50th anniversary of Earth Day. While many of the large scale celebrations will have to be postponed; here are some ideas for ways to celebrate in your home or neighborhood.

#EarthDayAtHome with NASA – this website has a great collection of activities to explore our world. Here are a few that you might want check out: Terrestrial Tournament (vote for your favorite Earth images), Hit the Bricks (instructions for creating LEGO models Model 1 and Model 2), NEMO-NET (mapping coral reefs), download the ebook “Earth at Night” to view amazing images of our planet at night.

Water Rocks!, an Iowa based water education campaign, has two exciting Earth Week art contests.
1) Create a sidewalk chalk masterpiece showing your love for natural resources or ways to help protect planet Earth.
2) Gather interesting objects you find outside to create art from nature!
Check out the Water Rocks website for full details: https://www.waterrocks.org/earth-week-chalk-challenge

ISU’s Live Green Monthly Newsletter is also another resource to find ideas for celebrating Earth Day. It is filled with practical tips for living more sustainably, fun DYI Green activities, opportunities for living green as well as other interesting articles.

Have a happy Earth Day!

USGS Earthshots: Satellite Images of Environmental Change

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.

Other Resources: Tracking Change Over Time (teacher guide): https://pubs.usgs.gov/gip/133/pdf/tracking-packet_web.pdf
Lesson Plan – Investigating Deforestation Throught An Earth Systems View Using Landsat: https://mynasadata.larc.nasa.gov/lesson-plans/investigating-deforestation-through-earth-systems-view-using-landsat

IowaView has trading cards available. Please contact Amy Logan for more information.

Iowa Map Contest 2020 – Entries due 5/13/2020

Just wanted to put out a reminder that the Iowa Map Contest is still going on. It’s a great opportunity for students in grades 4-12 to learn how to tell a story about Iowa’s special places using a story map. Also there are great prizes – $100 and a chance to go to the national map contest.

If you need help getting started, visit the official website and please read the earlier post for more details or send us an email.

What does social distancing look like? – A View from Space

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.

Venice, Italy: Notice the change in water traffic and water clarity after the Italy began ordering residents to stay at home. Source: Bloomberg.com

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.

Resource: What It Looks Like From Space When Everything Stops, Eric Roston, March 24, 2020, Bloomberg.com

Spring is coming! Time for Nature’s Notebook

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.

Resources:
Phenology Activity Book for Children
Nature’s Notebook – Join a Regional Campaign
Getting Started – Nature’s Notebook in the classroom
Search Plants and Animals to Observe
Learn How to Observe

Additional COVID-19 GIS Mapping Resources for Iowa

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.

The Iowa Department of Public Health has a similar page: https://idph.iowa.gov/Emerging-Health-Issues/Novel-Coronavirus. One thing I like about the IDPH page is that they have the number of negative COVID-19 tests as well as the positive cases.


An interesting infographic site that is put out by ESRI called Impact Planning for COVID-19: https://business.maps.arcgis.com/apps/opsdashboard/index.html#/dc74772707d94db9a7d24d30ffdcf36c. This site pulls together demographic data, hospital data, insurance data to give a snap shot of each county around the country.

AmericaView Educational Resources – College-Level

AmericaView College-Level Remote Sensing Resources

GeorgeView – AmericaView University
Website: http://gaview.org/moodle30f/

IowaView – GIS and Mapping Task Sheets
Website: https://www.extension.iastate.edu/communities/gis/quicktasksheets

MinnesotaView – Remote Sensing 101
Website: https://minnesotaview.rs.umn.edu/education

MontanaView – Python and R
Website: http://www.montana.edu/montanaview/

NewHampshireView – Remote Sensing Webinars
Website: http://www.nhview.unh.edu/educations_webinars.html

VirginiaView – Remote Sensing Tutorials
Website: https://www.virginiaview.cnre.vt.edu/education.html

WestVirginiaView – Intro to GIS and R Courses
Website: http://www.wvview.org/course_directory.html

VermontView – Youtube Videos – Intro to GIS and Remote Sensing
Website: https://www.youtube.com/user/joneildunne/videos

AmericaView – Google Earth Engine Tutorials
Website: https://americaview.org/program-areas/education/google-earth-engine-tutorials/

AmericaView – Educational Resource Portal
Website: https://americaview.org/program-areas/education/resources/

COVID-19 GIS Map Resources

The geospatial community has been doing a good job of mapping known COVID-19 cases. Having data in a map can often help us with decision making and help keep things in perspective.

ESRI has a COVID-19 GIS Hub which has a lot of great maps, data and applications.

Below are links to three maps that I have found useful:

– John Hopkins University has a map of global cases of the Coronavirus COVID-19 including data about confirmed cases, deaths, recovered, and active cases: https://www.arcgis.com/apps/opsdashboard/index.html#/bda7594740fd40299423467b48e9ecf6

– 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

Consider Presenting at ITAG 2020

Interested in presenting?
The ITAG planning committee invites the submission of abstracts from professionals, educators, students and others participating in the latest developments in information technology and GIS.

SUBMIT NOW

Example topics might include:
• ArcGIS Pro
• GIS Web Applications
• Drones
• Next Gen 911
• Python
• SQL Server
• VMware
• Windows Server 2019
• Project Management

Presentation types:
• General Session – (Select 60, 45, 30, or 15 minute time-slots)
• Lightning Round – (15 minutes)
• Round-Table or Collaborative Session

Abstract Guidelines:
• Abstracts cannot exceed 1,500 characters
• Abstract submission is online only
• Please fill out separate forms for each presentation submittal
• Presentations should be informative and educational and not sales oriented

Gift Cards for Presenters:
• Will receive $50 gift card for 60 minute talk, $25 for 30 minute talk
• If a presentation has multiple presenters, they will only receive one gift card for the group
• If presenter is presenting two or more times, they will only receive one card
• Not valid for exhibitor or student presentations
• Must submit presentation by April 15 and must register for conference before May 8
• Only applied if presentation is accepted for the conference
• Card will be given at the conference

Iowa Map Contest 2020

The 2020 Map Competition for Iowa middle and high school students is open.

Students in grades 4-12 are invited, with their teachers, to participate in this year’s mapping contest sponsored by Esri, the Iowa Geographic Information Council (IGIC), and William Penn University. This year’s theme is Mapping Iowa’s Tourist Attractions.

Contest Website: https://sites.google.com/site/iowamapcontest/home

Story Maps Website: https://www.esri.com/en-us/arcgis/products/arcgis-storymaps/overview

How to participate: Use the Story Map application to tell a story about an Iowa tourism site using a map and pictures.

Students submitting the five top middle school map entries (grades 4-8) and the five top high school map entries (grades 9-12) will receive a $100 cash prize and certificate. The top entry from each state will be submitted to the national competition hosted by Esri.

Schools must submit their winners to the state for judging by 4 p.m. on Wednesday, May 13, 2020. Iowa GIS professionals will judge the entries so Iowa awards may be announced, and send winning entries on to Esri for the national competition. Esri will announce the national winners on June 1, 2020. National winners will receive a travel grant to the Esri Education GIS Conference held in San Diego in July.