Monday, April 28, 2008

Everything can be mapped

Spatial Worlds website
Left image: The old amongst the new in the streets of Valencia, Spain.
Right image: Tributaries seen flying over the Ganges delta, India.

Everything can be mapped is the catchcry of the spatially literate. It is very difficult to find anything which cannot be mapped. Such visualisation of data is at the centre of the use of spatial technology. The following websites provides resources, applications and ideas towards the production of data specific maps.

Maps of the world:
A site which shows maps of various features around the world i.e. volcanoes, mountains as well as political, social and historical maps. A great resource for enhancing spatial literacy across the curriculum.

Map anything
Google has launched a new service called My Maps that allows users to
mark map locations using icons, draw lines and shapes, add text, photos,
YouTube and Google videos. Maps can be marked for private use and sent
via email or made publicly accessible. Imagine spatially mapping

The earths crust is constantly moving
This is an excellent website for tracking of earthquakes around the world in real time.

Mapping world statistics
These maps show OECD regions at a glance. There are some interesting maps comparing Australia with Japan, Europe and North America. Distribution of elderly, GDP, regional disparity, crime, vehicle ownership and accessibilty to an urban centre, to name a few.

Country topic mapping according to size

Mapping cancer
A site to show the spatial variation of cancer and cancer types.

Humanity relief mapping
An excellent site providing up-to-date maps on relief operations around the world

World Atlas
A site that provides hundreds of maps of the areas of the world and their features.

National Atlas: World wide maps and imagery

Geography network
Maps galore on this map search site

Mapping trails
A typical community application of Google maps with the mapping of trails by individuals and groups

Local area mapping example
A British website, which, given a postcode, and maps information on house prices, crime rates, schools, tradesmen, public transport and government services.

National Atlas of the US
Although just for the US this site is a great example of dynamic mapping

Interactive mapping site
This site allows the user to interact with the site by choosing any city in the world, and look at photos taken at the site. Your own photos can be hotlinked to a point.

Up My Street
A British website, which when given a postcode maps information on house prices, crime rates, schools, tradesmen, public transport and government services.

A lots happening in Oz re: Spatial Education

Spatial Worlds website
Pictures showing the reclamation of Hong Kong harbour.

There is plenty of activity happening around Australia in relation to spatial education in schools. Just go to any of the Australian and New Zealand sites below to get an idea of how individuals and organisations are pushing the GIS in schools push forward. Please send any other links to me to add to this blog entry.

Australian based Spatial Education in schools linkages

Tasmania Spatial education site from David Llewellyn, a Geography teacher of GIS in Tasmania

GTAQ links on spatial technology

Spatial Technology in Schools from Education Queensland

GIS resources from Brett Dascombe

GIS in New Zealand from Ann Ollsen

Ausgeography from Malcolm McInerney

GIS resources from ESRI Australia

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Measuring space is worth billions to Australia

Spatial Worlds website
Canberra, Australia: S: 35º 15' E: 149º 08'
Picture descriptions:
Left image: The Canberra Carillon, a gift from the British in 1970.
Right image: A calm day in Canberra, looking up to Parliament House.

Much is written and spoken of the Spatial Industry. As an industry it is very hard to delineate and much discussion is had regarding whom should we include in the industry. In short, due to the all-pervasive and ubiquitous nature of spatial technology today almost everyone has exposure to the industry. One group which is working on this clarification of the industry in terms of education is the Spatial Science Institutes (SSI) Spatial Education Advisory Committee (SEAC). Since 2004 I have been AGTA's delegate to SEAC and have attended meetings in Canberra to push forward the spatial education agenda, in particular in schools. SEAC is comprised of representatives from the Australian New Zealand Land Information Commission (ANZLIC), Commonwealth Government Departments such as GeoScience Australia, employer organisations such as ASIBA, the Cooperative Research Centre for Spatial Information (CRC SI), RCSI, GITA and the PSMA to name just a few. On April 10th, SEAC conducted a National Summit in Canberra of the key spatial education stakeholders in Australia to review and work on the recently released Workforce Development Plan for the advancement of employment access and opportunities in the Spatial Industry.
The workforce plan (can be downloaded from ) has been developed based on the knowledge that there is high demand for spatially trained personnel and surprisingly significant shortages in filling vacancies. It is forecast that there will be 700+ unfilled vacancies in the Spatial Industry over the next 5 years. Such a skills and supply gap is of enormous concern to this rapidly expanding industry. However such shortages in human resources for the industry is not isolated to Australia, with the US and European Spatial Industry being forced over recent years to be pro-active to meet the demand for workers. Naturally the industry turns to schools as the area to work in to increase the awareness of the industry and to develop industry relevant courses in the future. Hence the industries interest in the teaching of spatial technology in schools and particularly in geography and science.
If you need to be convinced on the strength of the industry the following quotes from the March ‘Position’ magazine should convince you. A report from the economic consultants, ACIL Tasman considers that:
** A lack of skilled manpower is the biggest threat to the future health of the Spatial Industry.
* The Spatial Information and technology Industry has increased Australia's GDP by somewhere between $6 and $12 Billion.
* The importance of the Spatial Information and technology Industry will grow as the mining boom expands and the importance of providing infrastructure in the resources sector increases.
* The movement of goods and services, transport systems management (safe and efficient air and sea travel) urban planning and community infrastructure all depends on the health of the Spatial Information and Technology Industry.
* The worth of the Industry in 2006-7 is between $6.43 billion and $12.57 billion.
* The impact of spatial information on trade has increased exports by $1.26 billion and imports by $1.18 billion.
The report concluded that "Australia's progress towards being a modern spatially enabled economy has been hampered by a coherent national focus and a lack of a process for developing and executing whole of government solutions" and that the success of the Spatial Information and technology Industry is likely to be critical to maintaining international competitiveness in most sectors."
The Position magazine is an excellent source of Industry applications and information. Go to for more information on the magazine. Article summaries are available to be downloaded from the site. For example the article above at

As part of the work of SEAC a report on The Spatial Information Industry in Australia: profile, education and training and skill demand was commissioned in 2006. You can view the report at It certainly gives an insight into the industry, its nature and potential and has provided the basis of the workforce plan discussed at this week’s summit in Canberra.
The following websites are also of use when looking at the global dimensions of the Spatial Industry and the jobs available:

The summit discussed the workforce report and developed some action plans to move forward the agenda. In particular those present considered that schools were critical to the future of the industry and time, funds and effort are required to raise the awareness of the industry amongst teachers and students. The Cooperative Research Centre for Information (CRC SI) website at will be used to enhance community and school awareness of the industry and job opportunities. More on the outcomes of the meeting later in the year.

Whilst on the matter of SEAC I was pleased that the concerns of SEAC were highlighted on page 42 of the Erebus International ’Teaching of Geography from Years 3-10’ report. The report can be downloaded from
In short, SEAC in the report stated that “the use of spatial technologies in geography teaching is underutilised in schools and does not reflect the pervasive and extensive use of technology in the community”. After reading the workforce demand report of SEAC and attending the summit it seems the challenge is ahead of us all to spread the word to the education community about the potential of the industry for young people in our schools.

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Hazard sites to consider

Spatial Worlds website
Picture descriptions:
Left image: Coastline around Dingle Bay, Southern Ireland.
Right image: Suburban Athens from the Acropolis.

Hurricane Katrina
This link is worth a look to see how digital media is being used to do virtual tours:
Microsoft Research's Interactive Visual Media Group have devised a 360-degree video camera that helped MSNBC provide unique Web coverage in the wake of last year's devastating Hurricane Katrina.

Bushfire monitoring
CSIRO Sentinel Bushfire mapper is a site geared to emergency service personnel and provides up-to-the-minute hot-spot information for Australia. The satellite information is regularly updated and hotspots can be viewed from the last 12 hours up to 72 hours ago. However data can also be viewed for specific dates in the past, for instance the Canberra bushfires in January 2003.

New Zealand disaster sites and links
This website from New Zealand Civil Defence and Emergency Management is full of great natural hazards links and information as well as some simple mapping of disaster sites in New Zealand. Certainly student friendly and a good example of using spatial technology to inform.

The Geography of Terrorism'
This article in the 'Directions' Magazine looks at the importance of geography and the Spatial Sciences (GIS etc) when managing terrorist events.... An interesting read and a good way to promote Geography!

Global change
This website provides links to a wide range of data sets related to global change. For example data on ice and snow, hydrology, ecology, atmospheres, agriculture etc.

World health
This site gives maps and data on topics related to environmental health i.e. atmosphere contaminants, disease, water pollution etc

Floods Maps
This site is an interesting site to simulate sea level rise around the world. Select the part of the world you wish to see the impact of sea level change and then select the sea level rise in metres. Check out the satellite image of Adelaide with a 14 metre rise in sea level!

Asian Tsunami
The University of Singapore CRISP has produced a website of remotely sensed images. While not an online GIS, this site is worthy of mention. It contains many before and after satellite images and aerial photographs covering the extent of the Boxing Day Tsunami. An excellent resource that students will enjoy using.

Geoscience Australia’s Community Risk
This link goes to the interactive online mapping system for Geoscience Australia's Community Risk in Cairns project. The mapping system on the site allows you to zoom in and out, pan around the map, and also access risk information for individual suburbs.

Population clock
The population of the world and Australia grows by the second. This page of the Australian Bureau of Staistics site provides quite an insight into change over time.