Teaching with Visualizations

Presenter: Kate Elswit, lecturer from the Drama Department and Mellon Fellow
When: Wednesday, April 27, at 4 p.m.
Where: Room 123 Humanities Center

This is an advance meeting for the Visualizing Complexity and Uncertainty: Exploring Humanistic Approaches to Graphical Representation workshop.

The topic for discussion will be visualizations as teaching tools. Kate Elswit, lecturer from the Drama Department and Mellon Fellow, will talk about how she has used William Forsythe’s Synchronous Objects for One Flat Thing, reproduced in teaching. The floor (and the big screen) will be open for others to share examples of visualizations used in teaching.

Synchronous Objects is a visualization project created at The Ohio State University based on choreographer William Forsythe’s work, One Flat Thing, reproduced. The project was a collaboration between Forsythe; Associate Professor from OSU’s Department of Dance, Norah Zuniga Shaw; and Maria Palazzi, Director of the Advanced Computing Center for the Arts and Design. The project is widely recognized as an important example of how data visualization can be helpful in understanding human expression.

You can preview Synchronous Objects here.

Stanford Spatial/GISSIG workshop Feb 10: Google Fusion Tables

Kathryn Brisbin-Hurley, Google Developer Programs Engineer:
“A Hands-On Workshop on Google Fusion Tables”

WHEN: Thursday, February 10, 1-2 p.m.
WHERE: Stanford Humanities Center, Board Room

Session Description
Google Fusion Tables offers a unique and easy way to upload, store, share, visualize, and manage your geospatial data. This hands-on workshop will walk you through all the steps to use Fusion Tables in your own spatial data applications. You will learn how to upload data to Fusion Tables, share this data with others, and create an interactive geographical visualization of your data. No programming experience required!

Kathryn Brisbin-Hurley recently joined Google as a Developer Programs Engineer for Fusion Tables. In this role, she helps spread the word about Fusion Tables by presenting at conferences and developer events. She recently worked on Google’s 2010 U.S. Election Ratings gadget. She received an MS in Web Science from the University of San Francisco and a BS in Genetics from the University of California, Davis. Prior work experience includes research in mobile and peer-to-peer computing.

GISSIG Meeting Dec. 9: Complexity, Uncertainty and Ambiguity in Digital History

Jeanette Zerneke, Technical Director for the Electronic Cultural Atlas Initiative:

“(ECAI)Early California Cultural Atlas: Complexity, Uncertainty, and Ambiguity
 in Digital History”

The Early California Cultural Atlas (ECCA) is a collaborative research project led by Professor Steven Hackel at UC Riverside in collaboration with Jeanette Zerneke of ECAI. ECCA is developing a digital atlas of historical data related to the colonization and settlement of early California. European settlement in North America and the establishment of missions to Indians initiated dramatic demographic, environmental, religious, and social change. In the first phase of the project we constructed a website of historical change in the region of Monterey, California. Embedded Google Earth visualizations show changes by year and allow the user to interact with the data layers and time bar. The project has chosen to intentionally address ambiguity, developed an ambiguity characterization methodology, and experimented with methods to visualize characteristic land use patterns. In the process, we encountered significant new historical questions.

ECCA integrates multiple types of data such as: California Mission records from the Early California Population Project based at the Huntington Library in Pasadena; Historical maps from the Library of Congress and David Rumsey Collection; and Hand drawn maps, images, and texts from the Online Archive of California. For further information see: ecai.org/nehecca.

Jeanette Zerneke is the Technical Director for the Electronic Cultural Atlas Initiative (ECAI). In that role Jeanette works with a diverse groups of technology experts to develop tools and methodologies that support ECAI’s mission. ECAI is a global collaboration among humanities scholars, librarians, cultural heritage managers, and information technology researchers. ECAI’s mission is to enhance scholarship by promoting greater attention to time and place. Jeanette’s work involves developing infrastructure, programs, methodologies, working groups, and training workshops to support ECAI affiliates in project development and integration. Jeanette works directly with project teams to develop web sites and ePublications highlighting the growing use of new technologies to present cultural information in innovative ways.

Previously the Director of Information Systems and Services of the International and Area Studies, UC Berkeley, Jeanette provided leadership in administrative systems, database, and WEB system development and management of computer support services. She has had more than thirty years experience as a programmer, information systems developer, and manager of computing services.

WHEN: Thursday, December 9, 1 p.m. – 2 p.m.
WHERE: Stanford Humanities Center, Baker Room

GISSIG Talk Nov 2: Counter-Mapping Guantánamo Bay: Quantifying Prison Expansion using Free Satellite Imagery

Adrian Myers, Stanford Archaeology Center and Department of Anthropology: “Counter-Mapping Guantánamo Bay: Quantifying Prison Expansion using Free Satellite Imagery”

Since January 2002 the Guantanamo Bay Detention Camp has held suspected terrorists captured in the Global War on Terror. The physical, mental and legal abuses of the prisoners held there have led to controversy and outrage. Despite intense public and media interest, GITMO remains a secretive place. The prisoners that remain at the camp are held in extralegal limbo, barred behind both tangible and intangible walls. Security clearance levels necessary to gain access to the prisoners mirror the tangible barbed-wire fences that ring the camp. Since government documents are mostly classified and physical sites are off limits, this project aims to contribute in a small way to the documentation of GITMO through analysis of publically available satellite imagery. The project assesses the state of the camp and compares current with historic imagery to quantify changes at the camp over time.

Adrian Myers is a historical archaeologist primarily studying the twentieth and twenty-first centuries, with a particular focus on military conflict, internment, and surveillance. His interests include the First and Second World Wars, the Global War on Terror, Prisoners of War, criminal incarceration, archaeological ethics, and satellite remote sensing. His central PhD research project is on the Whitewater PoW Camp, a Second World War internment camp that held German soldiers in Manitoba, Canada. More at http://stanford.academia.edu/AdrianMyers/About.

WHEN: Tuesday Nov 2, 2010 at 12noon
WHERE: Anthropology Department, Building 50, Room 51A (Main Quad)

GISSIG Talk Oct 12: How to Make Beautiful Maps of Your Data with Drupal

“How to Make Beautiful Maps of Your Data with Drupal”

Drupal is a usually known as a content management system in which to store your information, but did you know it can also help you visualize that data on a geocoded map? By using such technologies as MapBox, OpenLayers, GeoTaxonomy, and KML it is possible to use Drupal to make powerful and interactive representations of your data without writing any code. Learn from Matt Cheney of Chapter Three how he uses Drupal to do mapping with examples from the United Nations and People’s Vegan Donuts in Berkeley.

Matt Cheney is Managing Partner and Drupal Strategist at Chapter 3,  a San Francisco based Web development company specializing in Drupal and open source software. Matt served as a political consultant for campaigns and causes, developed online information systems to help connect attorneys in the California Death Penalty defense community, and worked as a researcher at the National Center for SuperComputing Applications, developing communities for online learning. He holds a B.A. in Philosophy, History, Religious Studies, and Political Science and a M.S. in Library and Information Science from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

WHEN: Tuesday Oct 12, 2010 at 12noon
WHERE: Anthropology Department, Building 50, Room 51A (Main Quad)

GISSIG Talk May 6: Visualizing the Growth of America’s Newspapers

“Black and White and Read All Over: Visualizing the Growth of America’s Newspapers”
Knight Journalism Fellows Krissy Clark and Geoff McGhee worked with Stanford’s Lane Center for the American West to create an interactive map of every newspaper published in America from 1609 to today. They will talk about the lessons they learned– about GIS, the challenges of data gathering and cleaning, designing interactive visualizations–and perhaps most of all, the foundational role played by a raucous and quintessentially American industry: the press.
Krissy Clark is contributing producer for American RadioWorks, American Public Media, San Francisco. During her fellowship at Stanford Krissy focuses on geographically aware journalism, especially by creating and sharing tools that journalists can use to harness geospatial mapping technology to provide a greater sense of place. Geoff McGhee is multimedia editor for Le Monde Interactif in Paris, France.  During his fellowship at Stanford Geoff researches and develops data visualization tools for online journalists.
WHEN: Thursday May 6, 2010 at 2pm
WHERE: Anthropology Department, Building 50, Room 51A (Main Quad)

GISSIG Lunch Meeting Mar 18: Geodatabases for historical research

Elijah Meeks, Digital Humanities Specialist, Stanford Academic Computing: “Geodatabases for historical research”

Databases used to track historical political geography require a more nuanced representation of place than that found in traditional geodatabases. Not only do they need to record ambiguous geo-locations and change over time, but also the possibly complete reformulation of a historical place such that it might have a different name, jurisdiction, area or even location (or even a lack of existence in the case of temporary abolition) while maintaining some kind of continuous conceptual identity.  The creation of a new digital gazetteer for use by the Mapping the Republic of Letters project builds on lessons learned in the creation of the Digital Gazetteer of the Song Dynasty (the release notes of which are attached).  This new gazetteer allows for the representation of change over time as well as tracking not only the physical location of an entity but also its existence within any of a set of containers, allowing for the implementation of what is known as a tripartite model of space, which creates a suitable dataset not only for traditional historical GIS but also for other spatial but not necessarily physical questions to be addressed.

WHEN: Thursday, March 18 at noon  (Bring your lunch. We will provide coffee, tea, and chocolate.)
WHERE: Humanities Center, Board Room

GISSIG Lunch Meeting Feb 19: Measuring spatial segregation

Prof. Sean F. Reardon,  Associate Professor of Education and (by courtesy) Sociology

“Measuring spatial segregation: residential patterns in the U.S.”

The talk will briefly describe a set of methods of measuring spatial segregation, including an ArcGIS tool, developed by Prof. Reardon and his colleagues, to implement these methods. The methods will be illustrated using data on residential racial and income segregation patterns in the U.S.

Sean Reardon is Faculty at the School of Education at Stanford. His research focuses on the causes and consequences of social and educational inequality. In particular, he studies the causes and consequences of residential and school segregation and the sources of racial/ethnic achievement gaps. In addition, he is interested in methods of measurement and causal inference in educational and social science research.

When: Friday 2/19/2010 12 noon
Where: Anthropology Department, Building 50, Room 51A

GISSIG Talk Jan 8: Mumbai Freemap

Shekhar Krishnan, MIT: Mumbai Freemap: Mapping the Urban Environment in Colonial Bombay

When: Friday, January 8 at 3:00 p.m
Where: Baker Room at the Stanford Humanities Center

In social theory and ethnography, the “return of space” has foregrounded the environmental dimensions of urban power through a new critical geography. In the past ten years, a distinct “urban turn” the study of South Asian history has sought to rethink the role of cities such as Bombay, Delhi and Calcutta as more than just a physical container for colonial power, or discursive stage for nationalist politics. Between the narrative framework of nationalist history and the spatial history of cities in South Asia operate at different scales and periods.

My presentation will address this hiatus between narrative and spatial history in the context of my research on the urban environment in colonial Bombay and contemporary Mumbai in the twentieth century. I will discuss the challenges of tracing and archiving the historical geography of Bombay/Mumbai from 1914-2001, using layers of map imagery and geodata collected in my research on historical maps and contemporary plans, open source GIS and web mapping services.

SHEKHAR KRISHNAN is a doctoral candidate in the Program in Science Technology and Society (STS) at MIT (Massachusetts Institute of Technology) where he is researching the history of technology and the urban environment in Bombay and Western India from 1860-1950. For the past ten years he has been involved in urban research and community organizing in Mumbai as a founding coordinator then associate director of PUKAR (Partners for Urban Knowledge Action & Research) and currently as a founder member of CRIT (Collective Research Initiatives Trust). He is currently managing partner of Entropy Free LLC, a software consultancy which builds tools for digital humanities and the geospatial web. See his research blog at http://heptanesia.net and the MIT Urban South Asia workshop at http://bombayology.net

GISSIG Lunch Meeting May 11 – Michael Migurski

michal migurskiMichal Migurski, partner, technical architect and researcher for the award-winning Stamen Design in San Francisco will come to talk to us about online cartography and the design process behind Stamen’s recent mapping projects.
Reserve your space! (write to cnc@stanford.edu) Lunch will be served.

GISSIG Lunch meeting April 20: Open Street Map

The next GISSIG lunch meeting will be Monday, April 10 at the Humanities Center. Topic is Open Street Maps.

Feb. 25: Improving Malaria Understanding and Control with the Aid of Spatial Analytical Approaches

This is a reminder that t he Morrison Institute Winter Colloquium on Population Studies ( http://www.stanford.edu/group/morrinst/c.html ) continues on Wednesday, February 25 , 2009, when Marcia Castro of the Harvard University School of Public Health presents “Improving Malaria Understanding and Control with the Aid of Spatial Analytical Approaches.” Diverse types of malaria contexts can be observed based on local characteristics. Frontier malaria, such as observed in the Brazilian Amazon, is a biological, ecological, and sociodemographic phenomenon operating over time at three spatial scales (micro-individual, community, and state and national). Urban malaria, such as observed in many African cities, is characterized by focal transmission also determined by a myriad of factors. In both cases, improved understanding of the most important determinants of malaria risk and transmission requires spatially explicit analysis. The presentation will show applications for each type. First, an approach that combined spatial analysis, geostatistical tools, and fuzzy sets models revealed that the early stages of frontier settlement are dominated by environmental risks, consequential to ecosystem transformations that promote larval habitats of Anopheles darlingi. With the advance of forest clearance and the establishment of agriculture, ranching, and urban development, malaria transmission is substantially reduced, and risks of new infection are largely driven by human behavioral factors. Second, a methodological approach using spatial analysis and remote sensing applied to multiple data sources (entomological, household, and parasitological data) provides inputs for community based integrated vector control approaches in urban settings. 

Marcia Castro is Assistant Professor Of Demography in the Department of Global Health and Population at Harvard’s School of Public Health. She earned her PhD in Demography at Princeton, and has written extensively on malaria, mosquito control, and spatial demography. 

The Morrison Institute for Population and Resource Studies Winter Colloquium is a lecture series for students, the Stanford community, and the general public that presents the latest scientific findings in demography, epidemiology, genetics, and other areas in the field of population and resource studies. 

The Winter Colloquium is held on Wednesdays of the Winter Quarter, 4:15 p.m. in Herrin Hall T-175 (Biological Sciences building). 

Contact Jim Collins, (650)723-7518, or email morrisoninstitute@stanford.edu for more information. 

The remaining 2009 Colloquium schedule: 

Wed., 24 Feb. Marcia Castro 

Harvard University 

Improving Malaria Understanding and Control with the Aid of Spatial Analytical Approaches 

Wed., 4 Mar. Rebecca Bird 

Stanford University 

Fire-Stick ‘Farming’: Hunter-Gatherer Landscape Mosaics in the Western Desert of Australia

Lunch Meeting: The Use and Abuse of Spatial Analysis in Historical Research

The next GISSIG lunch meeting will be Monday, March 9 at the Humanities Center: The Use and Abuse of Spatial Analysis in Historical Research

Visiting Speaker: Peter Birch, Product Manager for Google Earth

Peter Birch, Product Manager for Google Earth, will visit us for an informal talk and Q&A, on Tuesday, February 10th, 2009 from 12:30-1:30pm.

Location TBD. Please RSVP Carlos Seligo (moth@stanford.edu) if you think you will come, so we can get some idea of the  space we will need for his visit.

Peter Birch joined Google in 2006.  He is responsible for the direction, growth, and success of the Google Earth product family including Google Earth Free, Plus, Pro, and Enterprise, the Google Earth API and browser plug-in, and Google Earth for the iPhone.  He has 17 years of professional experience in the computer graphics industry. Prior to joining Google, he was the Graphics Hardware Lead in Microsoft’s Xbox group, managing the architecture, implementation, and manufacturing for the Xbox360 graphics chipset. Before Xbox, Peter spent ten years at Silicon Graphics, Inc., working on both hardware and software projects, including the Personal Iris, Indigo, Indigo2, and Octane graphics workstations and the OpenGL and Inventor graphics library products.
Peter received a BS summa cum laude in Electronic Engineering from California Polytechnic State University- San Luis Obispo and an MBA from the University of California- Berkeley Haas School of Business.

Karin Tuxen-Bettman, GIS Specialist, Google Earth Outreach

Karin Tuxen-Bettman, GIS Specialist, Google Earth Outreach

Download Slide Presentation

Google Earth can improve your outreach and communication with the world, and can effectively impact policy and public understanding of science. But many wonder how to represent their data, and how to get started. Karin will show several compelling examples of visualizing different types of data and projects in Google Earth (30 min), and show you tips and tricks about different tools and methods to get you started (60 min). While this won’t be an in-depth hands-on training, feel free to bring your laptop with Google Earth installed to follow along.

This GISSIG event was organized by Branner Earth Sciences Library. GISSIG events are sponsored by IRiSS and the Stanford Humanities Center.

Knowledge Maps of Science

SAP Media X 2009 Winter Lecture Series
Wednesday, January 21. 9:00 – 10:00 AM
Y2E2 Room 292A Jerry Yang Akiko Yamazaki Environment & Energy Building

Communicating the Structure and Evolution of Science

Katy B ö rner
Indiana University


Cartographic maps of physical places have guided mankind’s explorations for centuries. They enabled the discovery of new worlds while also marking territories inhabited by unknown monsters. Domain maps of abstract semantic spaces, see scimaps.org , aim to serve today’s explorers’ understanding and navigating the world of science. The maps are generated through scientific analysis of large-scale scholarly datasets in an effort to connect and make sense of the bits and pieces of knowledge they contain. They can be used to objectively identify major research areas, experts, institutions, collections, grants, papers, journals, and ideas in a domain of interest. Local maps provide overviews of a specific area: its homogeneity, import-export factors, and relative speed. They allow one to track the emergence, evolution, and disappearance of topics and help to identify the most promising areas of research. Global maps show the overall structure and evolution of our collective scholarly knowledge.

This talk will present an overview of the techniques used to study science by scientific means together with sample science maps and their interpretations.

Katy Börner is the Victor H. Yngve Associate Professor of Information Science at the School of Library and Information Science, Adjunct Associate Professor in the School of Informatics, Core Faculty of Cognitive Science, Research Affiliate of the Biocomplexity Institute, Fellow of the Center for Research on Learning and Technology, Member of the Advanced Visualization Laboratory, and Founding Director of the Cyberinfrastructure for Network Science Center at Indiana University. She is a curator of the Places & Spaces: Mapping Science exhibit, http://scimaps.org/ .

Her research focuses on the development of data analysis and visualization techniques for information access, understanding, and management.

Attendance is open, subject to availability.

Lunch Meeting: Earth, Wind, and GRASS

Thursday Dec 4, 2008 12-1pm
Stanford Humanities Center, Board Room

Lunch will be provided. Please RSVP (cengel at stanford)

Mike Dvorak
Researcher, Civil and Environmental Engineering, Atmosphere/Energy Program

Continue Reading →

Lunch Meeting: Quantifying Looting – Hybrid Research Using Google Earth and ArcGIS

Thursday Nov 6, 2008 12-1pm
Stanford Humanities Center, Board Room

Lunch will be provided. Please RSVP (cengel at stanford)

Dan Contreras, Lecturer at the Dept. of Anthropology:
“Quantifying Looting – Hybrid Research Using Google Earth and ArcGIS”

International response to the problem of looting of archaeological sites has been hampered by the difficulty of reliably quantifying the damage done. The scarcity of reliable information about the scale of archaeological site looting hampers professional and public policy making, making consensus about the scale of damage from looting and the effectiveness of policy responses difficult to achieve. Dan Contreras and Neil Brodie have been exploring the use of publicly-available remotely-sensed imagery for quantifying damage done by looting of archaeological sites in Jordan, resulting in a GIS database of looted sites. The ease of use and affordability of such imagery as that provided by Google Earth make the identification, quantification, and monitoring of archaeological site looting possible at a level previously unimagined; however, Google Earth is most effective as a research tool if combined with true GIS software. This talk will focus on the process of using Google Earth and ArcGIS in tandem, highlighting our eventual successes as well as salient difficulties.

Daniel Contreras is currently a Lecturer in the Department of Anthropology and the Archaeology Center at Stanford. He received his PhD in 2007, with a dissertation entitled Sociopolitical and Geomorphologic Dynamics at Chavín de Huántar, Peru. He continues to carry out research on landscape change and human-environment interactions at Chavín, is also involved in research into the consumption and procurement of obsidian at that site and its primary obsidian source some 600 km away, and maintains a strong interest in the use of digital tools in archaeological research. In addition, he is investigating the use of publicly-available satellite imagery to monitor and quantify looting damage at archaeological sites.

GIS Workshops at Berkeley

For anyone interested in learning more about GIS, UC Berkeley’s Geospatial Innovation Facility (GIF) is offering a series of workshops about geospatial technologies.

An Introduction to GIS workshop is being offered Wednesday, Oct 29 from 9am-noon. The cost is $153 for non-UC affiliates. A course outline is listed below:

Intro to Geographic Information Systems (GIS)

* Presentation
o What is GIS?
o Geospatial Data Considerations
o Geoprocessing and spatial analysis
o Data Sources
o Using ArcGIS 9.2
* Interactive
o Finding and downloading spatial data
o Creating a new shapefile
o Simple geoprocessing
o Creating a map for export

The GIF workshop schedule can be found at:

GISSIG Events for this academic year

Our next two lunch meetings are scheduled for:

Thurs Nov 6, 2008 12-1pm – Stanford Humanities Center, Board Room

Dan Contreras, Lecturer at the Dept. of Anthropology, will report on an archaeological project which combines Google Earth and ArgGIS to detect looting.

Thurs Dec 4, 2008, 12-1pm – Stanford Humanities Center, Board Room

Mike Dvorak, Researcher at the Dept. of Civil & Environmental Engineering will speak about developing and tailoring an using open source / free GIS infrastructure for research.

Upcoming in January 2009:

Yair Mintzker, Department of History and current Scholar at the Humanities Center, will present his work in progress on “”Visualizing the Defortificaction of the German City”.

Lecture: Spatial Reasoning at Sea and Ashore

“Spatial Reasoning at Sea and Ashore: Directions and Challenges in Ocean Informatics”

Dawn Wright, Professor of Geosciences, Oregon State University

Tuesday, May 27, 4-5:15pm
Y2E2 Room 299

Informatics is a term that has been used with increasing frequency to represent the growing collaboration between computer scientists, information scientists, and domain scientists to solve complex scientific questions. Earth system science is based upon the recognition that the Earth functions as a complex system of inter- related components that must be understood as a whole. Examples range from understanding the complex interactions at mid-ocean ridge systems, to exploring the structure and evolution of continental earthquakes and volcanoes, to informing regional decision- and policy- making across several themes in coastal zone management and marine spatial planning. Successfully addressing these scientific problems requires integrative and innovative approaches to analyzing, modeling, and developing extensive and diverse data sets. Continue Reading →

Urban & Environmental Modeler’s Datakit

The Urban & Environmental Footprint 2050 Project at the Institute of Urban and Regional Development (IURD) at UC, Berkeley have constructed a GIS toolkit consisting of a series of ESRI shapefiles and grids describing, “many of the physical, administrative, transportation, demographic, economic, land use and land cover, and environmental characteristics of the 48 contiguous United States.” The data were pulled together by the Penn Institute for Urban Research and and the IURD. Layers include boundary files, census block files and attributes, transportation networks, major employment center information, measures of job accessibility, boundaries of federal lands, elevation and slope data, location of water bodies, and location of wetlands. The data are free and can be used for any purpose with attribution. A great new, free resource!

GISSIG Lunch Meeting: Improving GIS Services at Stanford

Thursday May 8, 12 noon
Stanford Humanities Center, Baker Room
Lunch will be provided. Please RSVP.

Julie Sweetkind-Singer: Improving GIS Services at Stanford

Branner Library has been offering GIS data and support to the campus for the last 10 years. The GIS staff has begun an investigation into revamping the services offered to support the diverse and changing needs of the faculty and students utilizing spatial software, data, and methods. Topics of discussion will include the results of the recent user survey, expansion or changes to our existing service model, and ideas for areas of growth in the future. Please help us continue to keep our GIS services vibrant and useful!

Julie Sweetkind-Singer is Head Librarian, GIS and Map Librarian at the Branner Earth Sciences Library & Map Collections. She is currently Stanford’s project lead on a Library of Congress NDIIPP grant whose purpose is to archive digital geospatial data. In 1999, she worked jointly with David Rumsey on the Rumsey Map Collection Web site, which displays over 12,000 maps from the 18th and 19th century. She was the assistant editor of the book, “California 49: forty-nine maps of California from the sixteenth century to the present,” which was published by the California Map Society. She also was the President of the Western Association of Map Libraries from June 2004 – July 2005 and the Vice-President of the California Map Society, Northern Chapter in 2001 and 2002.

GISSIG Lecture “Space vs. Place: Population and Deforestation in Guatemala”

David L. Carr, Associate Professor, Department of Geography, University of California, Santa Barbara

Thursday, April 24, 3pm
Yang and Yamazaki Environment and Energy Building
(Woods Institute for the Environment)
Room 101

In explaining variability in tropical deforestation, land change scientists have focused almost exclusively on in situ (or “on-farm”) resource use, while population scholars have largely ignored rural-to-rural migration. The ways in which household responses to the human and physical environment in one place may affect land cover change in another place have been inadequately explored. This lecture investigates the primary proximate and underlying causes of deforestation in the humid tropics with a case study from Guatemala. To investigate the first cause of this phenomenon, farmer land use, I collected data from over 500 farmers in Guatemala’s Maya Biosphere Reserve (MBR). To address the second cause of deforestation in the MBR, migration, I conducted interviews with community leaders in twenty-eight communities of MBR settler origin. Evidence suggests that space and place remain essential heuristics to understanding the deforestation process in the tropics. Results from the MBR revealed several factors positively related to forest clearing at the farm level including family size, secure land title, duration on the farm, agricultural intensification, ethnicity, and farm size. Results from areas of origin of migrants to the MBR suggest that larger families, Q’eqchí Maya, landless households, families with small or environmentally degraded plots, households with poor access to labor and produce markets, the least educated, and the exceptionally poor run the greatest risk for migration to the frontier. Evidently, attention to both migration origin and destination areas enhances options for policy interventions aimed at sustainable rural development and forest conservation.

David Carr, Assoc. Professor, University of California, Santa Barbara, has served as PI on grants from NASA, NIH, and NSF, enjoyed collaborations with the IHDP, USAID, WWF, TNC, CI, and the IPCC, and has authored over fifty publications on land use/cover change, protected areas, migration, fertility, and health in the tropics.

Lunch Meeting

Thursday April 3, 12 noon
Stanford Humanities Center, Baker Room
Lunch will be provided.

Claudia Engel
Academic Technology Specialist and Lecturer – Department of Anthropology

“Open Source GIS for Anthropological Research”
Open source software tools for GIS and spatial analysis are increasingly being adopted by the research community. This presentation will provide an overview of such tools currently available and provide examples from anthropological research.

Tools mentioned in this presentation.

Matt Jockers
Academic Technology Specialist and Consulting Assistant Professor – Department of English
“Mapping Literature with Google Earth”
In literary studies researchers typically focus on the “close-reading” of individual texts. By linking texts to geographic information, however, we open up a whole new realm of analysis, a macroanalytic realm where “close” is replaced by “distant.” In his talk Matt explores how he utilized Google Earth to debunk several critical misconceptions about the evolution and history of Irish-American literature.

GISSIG Events for Spring Quarter 2008

Mark your calendars for the following events:

* April 3, 12 noon – Lunchtime meeting at the Stanford Humanities Center: Free and Open Source GIS Tools for Research

* April 24, 3pm – Invited Lecture at the Woods Institute for the Environment by Prof. David Carr, Department of Geography, UC Santa Barbara

* May 8, 12 noon – Lunchtime meeting at the Stanford Humanities Center: Improving GIS Services at Stanford

(Details to follow.)

Student mapping competition begins!

It’s time for the 2nd annual Bay Area Automated Mapping Association (BAAMA) Education award and mapping challenge.  The competition is designed to support students in higher education using GIS both as a major field of study and in support of their own research fields.  The top prize is $2,500 with a one-year membership in BAAMA, and a complementary entry to CalGIS in April, 2008 where you’ll present your work.  Entries are due February 15, 2008.  More information can be found at the <a href=”www.baama.org”>BAAMA website</a>.  It would be great to have a Stanford student win this year!

Berkeley GIS Workshops

The Geospatial Imaging and Informatics Facility at UC Berkeley offers a series of workshops on geospatial tools and applications, including GPS, GIS, remote sensing, webGIS, and more. See here: http://giif.cnr.berkeley.edu/workshops.html

GIS for Research

Friday, November 9, 2007, 3:15 – 5:05 PM
Bldg. 50 – 51A, Main Quad

Claudia A. Engel, Department of Anthropology
and Mindy M. Syfert, Branner Earth Sciences Library

High computer processing power increasingly allow us to integrate large sets of spatial information into social science research. Mobile global positioning system devices raise the prospect of collecting location-specific information quickly and to a lower cost. The quality of remote sensing and satellite imagery is significantly improving and ongoing standardization efforts make it easier to access and exchange spatial data. Similarly, web mapping is rapidly gaining popularity as convenient tool to integrate and view spatial information from a wide range of sectors.

This talk will provide an introduction to geographical information systems (GIS) resources available for doing spatial research as well as outline examples for how those can be applied, particularly in anthropological research. Among the questions addressed are: How and where can spatially relevant information be discovered, accessed and collected? What kind of tools and processes can help to visualize and analyze space and place and how?

Mapping the Du Bois Philadelphia Negro

Mapping the Du Bois Philadelphia Negro (http://www.mappingdubois.com/) is a research, teaching, and outreach project aimed at recreating the survey W.E.B. Du Bois conducted in 1896 that served as the basis for his 1899 classic, The Philadelphia Negro.

Prof. Hillier is the project director for Mapping the Du Bois Philadelphia Negro. She is an Assistant Professor in the Department of City and Regional Planning in the School of Design at the University of Pennsylvania and teaches for the Urban Studies Program, Master of Urban Spatial Analytics, and the School of Social Policy and Practice.

She will be joining us from the University of Pennsylvania via videoconference.

When: Tuesday, Oct 30th – 9AM
Where: Wallenberg Hall, Building 160 – Room 120

Geovisualization: Finding Patterns and Relations in Information

October 4th, 3:30-5
Stanford Humanities Center

Alan M. MacEachren, Director, GeoVISTA Center
Department of Geography, Pennsylvania State University

Dr. MacEachren’s presentation will provide an overview of geovisualization as a method of knowledge construction. Examples of methods and tools applied to multiple analytical questions will be presented.

Alan M. MacEachren is the E. Willard and Ruby S. Miller Professor of Geography at the Pennsylvania State University and Director of the GeoVISTA Center. His Research and Teaching Interests include: cartography, visualization, geographic information analysis, geographic information systems, environmental cognition, and the APOALA Project. His most recent work is on integration of geographic visualization with other knowledge construction methods, natural interfaces to GIS, GeoVirtual environments, and geocollaboration (design and use of technologies to enable groups to work productively with geospatial information). He is the author of How Maps Work, Representation, Visualization and Design, New York: Guilford Press, 1995, and co-editor of  Exploring Geovisualization, London: Elsevier Science, 2005.

PNC/ECAI Conference coming up in Berkeley

The organizing committee for the Pacific Neighborhood Consortium and the Electronic Cultural Atlas Initiative invite your participation at their next meeting at UC Berkeley, October 18-20th. The conference’s topic is “Area Studies: Then and Now.” Session topics will include Cultural Atlases, Area Informatics, Digital Archives and e-Libraries, Map Collection – Then and Now, and Spatial and Temporal Visualization in the Humanities. Full information can be found at the PNC Web site.

ECAI and PNC meet in California infrequently and so this is a great chance to meet people working in the areas of digital mapping, data visualization, and cultural history. More information about ECAI can be found at their Web site as well.

June 7, 4:00 p.m.: Mapping Paris | Mapping Shanghai

Pinol Visit


Thursday June 7, 4:00 p.m.-5:30 p.m.
at the Stanford Humanities Center

Jean-Luc Pinol, a visiting historian from University of Lyon, will present his current work on an electronic atlas of Paris. Pinol makes extensive use of GIS, employing rare materials gathered from archives and urban planning institutions in his atlas project. He will discuss the effects of war and housing developments on the production of the atlas.

Christian Henriot, Fellow at the Stanford Humanities Center, will discuss his approach to Shanghai urban history and how he is using a specially developed web platform to present his work.

Comment (ce): here is the link to the China Historical Geographic Information System, a database of populated places and historical administrative units for the period of Chinese history between 222 BCE and 1911 CE.

May 31 GISSIG meeting: “American Civil War, Marriage, Widowhood”

Our next GISSIG event will be May 31, 12:00-1:00 p.m. at the Stanford Humanities Center. Historian Libra Hilde (San Jose State University) and Anthropologist James Holland Jones (Stanford University) will co-present on a cross-disciplinary analysis of The Impact of the American Civil War on Post-War Marriage and Subsequent Widowhood, with a focus on spatial methodologies, a paper co-authored with J. David Hacker (Binghamton University, State University of New York SUNY).

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Archaeology and ESRI

A day and a half of programs have been planned at the ESRI User Conference on different topics related to GIS and archaeology. The User Conference happens once a year in San Diego. This year the dates are June 18-22nd with the archaeology talks featured on Tuesday, June 19th and the morning of June 20th. Topics include integration and visualization of data, GIS analysis tools and methods, two sessions on geodatabases and data management, and the user group meeting. The ESRI conference is not cheap. The cost is $425 per day or $495 for all days as an educational participant. (Stanford gets a number of free passes to the UC each year because of our site license. These have already been distributed for 2007. Keep it in mind for 2008.) The conference papers, if submitted are posted online after each conference. I’ll keep an eye out for them.

Open source GIS

There’s been an interesting discussion on the GIS4LIB list over the last few days about good open source GIS and Web mapping applications. A number of resources were noted that are worth checking out as alternatives to ArcGIS or MapInfo.

Open Source GIS is a Web site dedicated to building a complete of Open Source/free GIS related software products.

GRASS GIS (Geographic Resource Analysis Support System) is used widely in governments and academic settings.

A white paper has been written by Refractions Research entitled, “The State of Open Source GIS.” It’s dated May 25, 2006. It gives a summary and then discusses the different applications and tools in current use.

Two books were mentioned as being helpful for those looking into Open Source web applications. Both are held in the libraries and the call numbers are given.

Mapping hacks : tips & tools for electronic cartography by Erle Schuyler. Held at Branner Library. Call number: GA139 .E75 2005.

Web mapping illustrated by Tyler Mitchell. Held at Branner Library. Call number: GA102.4 .E4 M58 2005.

As the discussion continues, I’ll post more resources here.

gCensus: a Google Earth/Census data mashup

Thanks to the eagle eye of the library’s development officer, I was alerted to gCensus, the work of a Stanford computer science graduate student. Imran Hague created gCensus after finding current mapping programs frustratingly hard to use or expensive. He has created a way to make maps online using Census 2000 data and then exporting the polygons to Google Earth. Right now he has Summary File 1 available as a proof of concept with more datasets to be added later. The Mercury News published an article on gCensus yesterday including a 15 minute streaming media interview. Perhaps an interesting person to invite to a future SIG event!

Ruth’s recommendations

Thanks to Ruth, Paul, and Ian for their interesting GIS talks yesterday. Ruth included a number of interesting references in her talk. Want to follow up on them?

“Learning to Think Spatially” by the National Research Council. The book was released to help educators integrate geographic information science into primary (K-12) schools. It’s held at the Education Library and electronically through Ebrary.

Anne Knowles edited a special issue of Social Science History entitled, “Historical GIS: The Spatial Turn in Social Science History.” The journal is held at Green Library and is available electronically through Project Muse. Included is an article by presenter Ian Gregory, “Longitudinal Analysis of Age- and Gender-Specific Migration Patterns in England and Wales: A GIS-Based Approach.”

Ian Gregory’s book, “A Place in History: a Guide to Using GIS in Historical Research,” is held at Green Library and is also available online.

Tools and Methods for the Digital Historian

The AHRC Information and Communication Technology (ICT) Methods Network has created a forum, Tools and Methods for the Digital Historian, for open discussions related to digital history. The Methods Network is sponsored by the UK’s Arts and Humanities Research Council. Quoting from their Web site, the aims of the Network are twofold:

  • To promote, support and develop the use of advanced ICT methods in arts and humanities research and to support the cross-disciplinary network of practitioners from institutions around the UK.
  • To develop a programme of activites and publications on advanced ICT tools and methods and to ensure the broadest participation of the community by means of an open call for proposals for Methods Network activities.

Torsten Reimer, the Senior Project Coordinator, is requesting comments on a working paper by Neil Grindley entitled “Tools and Methods for Historical Research,” which they hope will become the basis of a community resource. The paper contains sections on Tools and Web Resources; Geographic Information Systems; Database Structures; Data Mining; Quantitative Methods; and Visualization.

NSF supported SPACE workshops — application deadline 23 April

SPACE workshops are intended for instructors of undergraduate students in the social sciences. They offer content knowledge in methods of spatial analysis, instructional resources, and professional development support for curriculum planning and learning assessment.

  • GIS and Spatial Modeling for the Undergraduate Social Science Curriculum
    18—23 June 2007, Columbus OH
  • Spatial analysis in the Social Science Curriculum: Enhancing Undergraduate Learning
    15-20 July– 2007, Santa Barbara CA

There are no fees associated with these workshops – participation is determined through a competitive application process. The deadline for applications is 23 April 2007. Participants in the program are eligible for scholarship support for travel and subsistence. More details and the application form.

Bio-Mapping Workshops, San Francisco

Data Map

London-based artist Christian Nold will be leading three weekly Saturday workshops in April as part of his project Bio-Mapping. Bio-Mapping is a social project exploring an individual’s uninhibited response to place by inviting people to go for a walk or bicycle ride using a “bio-mapping” device. This device measures the participants Galvanic Skin Response (GSR), a simple indicator of emotional arousal, as well as tracks their physical location using a Global Positioning System (GPS).
Workshop participants are invited go for a walk or bicycle ride using Nold’s bio-mapping device and return to Southern Exposure galley to engage in a conversation about their experiences. All data will be collected and published in a printed emotion map of San Francisco by the end of the project. Call 415-863-2141 to sign up.

To learn more about Christian’s work, visit http://biomapping.net/

Sat., Apr. 7 | Southern Exposure Gallery, 2901 Mission St at 25th St, call 415-863-2141 to sign up *

If you can’t make a Saturday workshop, Christian Nold will be working out of the gallery every Thursday and Friday and encourages visitors to stop by and use the bio-mapping devices.

April 18 – “GIS: Approaches and Exemplars”

Our next GISSIG event will be April 18, 3:00-5:00 p.m. at the Stanford Humanities Center. Our guests, Ruth Mostern (University of California, Merced), Paul S. Ell (Queen’s University, Belfast) and Ian Gregory (Lancaster University), will present exemplary GIS research agendas.

Ruth Mostern, Paul S. Ell, and Ian Gregory

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Virtual Shanghai

At our first GISSIG meeting, Christian Henriot gave us an overview of his Virtual Shanghai project. The project, which is only about 18 months old, grew out of Christian’s approach to, as he puts it, “writing history differently” by seeking out alternative sources. He began by combining historical photographs with visual narratives. Later, out of his work with the Electronic Cultural Atlas Initiative and TimeMap tools, he was able to combine his research data with historial maps and create new maps as well. The result is the development of a platform that brings historical documents, photographs, and maps together with historical narrative.

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Analyzing Spatial Data with R workshop in SF

There will be a workshop on: “Analyzing Spatial Data with R” at the 2007 meeting of the AAG (Association of American Geographers), April 17, 1p-4p, San Francisco, CA (USA). Details are to be found on the meeting website.

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GIS Special Interest Group Meeting – Thursday March 1

We have scheduled the first GIS Special Interest Group meeting for next Thursday at the Humanities Center. This meeting is to plan and discuss the formation of the group to focus on GIS technologies and their uses for teaching and research in the humanities and social sciences.

Thursday, March 1 at 12:00 p.m.
Baker Room, Stanford Humanities Center
424 Santa Teresa St.

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Visualizing Knowledge: David Rumsey and Kären Wigen, February 27, 2007

Tuesday, February 27, 2007 at 4:30pm, the Sawyer Seminar on Visualizing Knowledge: From Alberti’s Window to Digital Arrays presents a panel discussion between David Rumsey and Kären Wigen on “Visible Knowledge Systems.”

Spatial Thinking in the Social Sciences and Humanities

The National Center for Supercomputing Applications at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign held a workshop last December 2006. From their site:

The objective is to reflect on how spatial thinking affects substantive
findings and changes the way research questions are approached, and to
assess the role of computation. The goal is to end up with useful
insights and recommendations on the requirements for cyberenvironments
and cyberinfrastructure for the social sciences and humanities.

Here are the abstracts of the participant speakers, listing a variety of example projects.

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