Geospatial Redux: Oakland Crimespotting, GISFish, Festival of Maps

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Oakland Crimespotting is a dazzling interactive mapping application built on Microsoft’s Virtual Earth.  Crime incidents for the City of Oakland in California can be viewed over a time period or by type.  Clicking on a particular crime location brings up a maptip with more detailed information on the crime.  What pushes this application over the edge is the interaction of the map with the user’s mouse.  Hovering the cursor over a particular crime symbolfades the rest of the map while similar crime incidents are highlighted.  This allows the user to easily see where a particular type of crime is occuring.  The sliding bar on the lower left of the map enables the user to expand or contract the time period over which the crimes are mapped.  Users can access more detailed information about crimes either by clicking a crime incident on the map or see a report of all crimes by that particular type over the time period selected.


The mapping application is the brainchild of Michal Migurski, Tom Carden, and Eric Rodenbeck from Stamen Design’s who explain on the web site:

We’ve found ourselves frustrated by the proprietary systems and long disclaimers that ultimately limit information available to the public. As citizens we have a right to public information. A clear understanding of our environment is essential to an informed citizenry.

Instead of simply knowing where a crime took place, we would like to investigate questions like: Is there more crime this week than last week? More this month than last? Do robberies tend to happen close to murders? We’re interested in everything from complex questions of patterns and trends, to the most local of concerns on a block-by-block basis.

gisfish.pngCreated by the Aquaculture Conservation and Management Service (FIMA) of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the UN (FAO) and a number of collaborating institutions, GISFish is a resource web site for spatial data relating to the Aquaculture and Inland Fisheries industries. The site hosts searchable databases of applications published in the mainstream and gray literature. Applications are in the form of case studies, abstracts, and often, downloadable full publications. Sharing of current experience is promoted through discussions and posting of on-going projects. Additionally, case studies, training opportunities, data sources, tools and freeware, news and events are featured. Material in GISFish is constantly updated and expanded. Near future improvements will include increased coverage of abstracts and of full papers. Additional links to Cultured Aquatic Species fact sheets will also be made available for each GISFish publication record in which scientific names of plants and animals are mentioned.

Web Urbanists has parts One and Two of their “7 Deserted Wonders of the (Post)Modern World”, detailing abadoned urban areas around the world.

Mercedes Benz has hopped on the in-car directions bandwagon by partnering with Google and Yahoo! to enable users to send map directions from their computer or web-enabled cell phone to their car.

Mercedes-Benz Search & Send is a new and convenient way to plan your trip destinations ahead of time. Using familiar Yahoo!® Local Maps and Google Maps web sites from the comfort of your home or office computer, you can search for a destination online, then send it right to your Mercedes-Benz.


Additionally, other uses can send directions to the car as well while the car is enroute.  This isn’t the first automobile maker to incorporate this type of technology.  This past March, BMW introduced a similar “Search and Send” technology although it was only available in Europe and only through Google Maps.

A new web site in reaction to the recent Miss South Carolina Teen USA’s garbled answer to a question about American’s inability to read maps has popped up.  A tongue-in-cheek blog, Maps for Us is reaching out to it’s readers:

The children of the US America are in deep trouble. Because some people out there don’t have maps. Such as South Africa.  Therefore, you must email us maps to make it better.

The blog was only launched today, but already there are some hilarious map posts.

Just to complete the jabs relating to Miss South Carolina Teen’s geography chops, here is a pop quiz available from hosted by Lauren Caitlin Upton.

Did you laugh at her geography gaffe on YouTube? Now, beauty queen Lauren Caitlin Upton challenges you to find the Queen Maud Mountains.

If you’re in the Chicago area around the beginning of November, be sure to check out the Festival of Maps.  Starting November 2nd, 2007 at the Field Museum and running through January 27th, 2008, 129 maps will be exhibited.  The earliest map dates from 1500 B.C and originates from Nippur, a town in present-day Iraq.  Also included are maps of imaginary worlds such as Gulliver’s Travels, J.R.R. Tolkien’s Middle-earth and Thomas More’s Utopia. 




George Shove, map of London on a glove created for the 1851 Great Exhibition Featured in Maps: Finding Our Place in the World.  Courtesy The National Archives of the United Kingdom

The service will be made available of S and CL class Mercedes starting September 5th.  In the meantime, while you’re waiting for the test drives to be available, you can watch some videos (link no longer available) demonstrating the “Search and Send” technology.

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