GIS: From Kerbal to conservation

Conservation blog

Geographic Information Systems (GIS) technologies are used every day and everywhere and help us manage our world.

GIS creates maps, layer upon layer (pizza style!), showing relationships between people, places, and the environment. It can also help make some very cool games.

My children and their friends are mad on Terraria, WorldCraft and Kerbal Space Program—and they all use the GIS technology called GeoDesign.

I had been trying to think about how I could tap into that youthful enthusiasm for computer games and turn it into something meaningful for DOC. International GIS Day gave me the excuse I needed.

Celebrate International GIS Day

Together with the rest of the New Zealand Natural Resource GIS Group I set about creating an event for Wellington’s Year 5–10 students and their teachers.

It’s going to be held on Thursday 21 November 2013 (International GIS Day) and will give kids a chance to learn about GIS through an…

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Mapping Historical Places

Elizabeth Miron

Another week in Digital History and another new tool has been learned. This week we had a workshop with Don Lafreniere who taught us the basic of using ArcGIS and how this can be used for historical mapping. I have been familiar with GIS technology for a few years but honestly it never occurred to me that this could be used for anything other than contemporary maps and comparisons. However I learned this week that there is a whole field of historical GIS which opens up many new avenues of historical research!

Although the database of information had already been created for us (would have been way over my head for my first workshop), we did get to play around with the layering of maps on top of one another and georeferencing tools. I especially enjoyed latter, there was something oddly satisfying when you lined up your map perfectly in…

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Flower power

The Chennai Chapter

A handful of city floriculturists have made it big in the business. The writer visits some farms now waiting for the seasonal full bloom

Step out of Sanil KMP’s home in Perumbavoor and you step into a happy profusion of flowers and foliage. At his Ecofarms floriculture venture, bright red heliconias hang overhead amid teak and mahogany trees. From beneath rise wide leaves of alpinias, slender shoots of bamboo and bright pink flowers of torch ginger. Beside, under gentle shade, sit pretty anthuriums and potted orchids in neat rows, some with white petals, others more wild and exotic in yellow and purple.

September marks the close of lean months in the business, and the handful of long-time floriculturists in the city is gearing up for a season of full bloom.

For George Philip, his fancy for flowers began during his college days when he collected unusual varieties of roses on…

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Flower Power: Story of Nusrat Jehan

Ek Sparsh

Kashmir is  a paradise that has been lost in the clash of terrorism, and the callousness of our politicians. Kashmir’s youth have struggled to find a footing in their home state. Though educated, and resilient, the limited opportunities available in the ravaged state has not helped their cause. However, there appears to be an oasis of hope.

Take the example of Nusrat Jahan.  Nusrat  is from Dadoora village in south Kashmir’s Pulwama district. She graduated in computer applications in 1999. She worked as community organizer in Jammu Development Authority. Not satisfied with her job, she decided to quit and start her own business.

The cut-flower business attracted her. For Kashmiris, who suffered from militancy and resulting violence, purchasing flowers was the last thing on their minds. To start something where the returns are not assured required a lot of courage.

Nusrat’s persistence was paid off when she bagged her first…

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Flash Flooding

SEEing Miracles

English: Flash flood in the Gobi of Mongolia, 2004


We have had a lot of rain this last month.  A lot of rain for our area anyway, and with that has come multiple flash flood warnings, and many flash floods in our town.  Mostly it is just large amounts of water that wash through the waterways, overflow them and pull large quantities of topsoil downhill with it.  We have had some basements flooded, some driveways washed away, and many streets and parking lots under several inches of mud.  I am very grateful that despite flooding to both the east and west of us that we have been unaffected.



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Can GPS jammers bring down a plane?

Ham Radio Blog PD0AC

I always wondered if we’re putting to much faith in modern technology, but this article trumps all. A New Jersey man wanted to hide his movements from his employer by using a GPS jammer, but he ended up interfering with operations at a busy airport instead. He was tracked down, fired, and faces a fine of almost $32,000.

OK, the guy was doing something wrong, but there are a few things bothering me.

  1. The range of these devices generally won’t exceed 10 meters. How on earth could this interfere with airport operations?
  2. How did authorities track down such a marginal (and probably fast moving) signal?
  3. If these devices are so dangerous, does that mean that terrorists can bring down planes in the future by buying a truck load of these things?

I’m puzzled. Something doesn’t make sense here. If it does, it might be wise not to put too much…

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Goodness, Gracious Great Balls of Ice!

Wander Woman Thea

Large hailstone damage

Some things on our planet are so ridiculous that when you really think about them, it’s enough to make you go biblical. Frogs falling from the sky, crop circles, giant swirling hurricanes, belching volcanoes, sulphur-based life forms and Paris Hilton’s immense wealth (and equally as immense lack of IQ). And then there’s hail. The fact that the updrafts within a thunderstorm can be strong enough to hold grapefruit-sized hail in suspension is nothing but ridiculous and wholly impressive.

Great balls of ice!

How Hail is Made 

Falling hail thunderstorms

Hail consists of balls of ice shockingly called “hailstones”. You may even say that hail is frozen rain, but it deserves a slightly more complex explanation than that…

Hail is made within powerful thunderstorms or cold fronts. Cold fronts tend to produce smaller hail that might inconvenience your dog’s plans to go do his business outside (thereby inconveniencing your plans to keep your…

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