Monday, May 02, 2016

Tracking the Illegal Ivory Trade






Maps in the News: Elephant Poaching

President Uhuru Kenyatta of Kenya burned more than $150 million worth of ivory tusks this weekend as a statement that the country is serious about ending the illegal ivory trade.  The tusks were recovered from poachers and seizures at airports and ports.  Poachers (heavily armed with military supplies) have wiped out tens of thousands of elephants across Africa in order to feed the illegal ivory pipeline to China and other countries.  Most countries around the world follow an international ban on ivory signed in 1989, but many Asian countries participate in a massive black market of ivory goods.

National Geographic created an online interactive map, Tracking the Illegal Tusk Trade.  The map details the tracking of smuggled ivory by investigative journalist Bryan Christy.  The September 2015 National Geographic Magazine cover story describes how Christy commissioned a taxidermist to create two fake ivory tusks.  The tusks were embedded with special GPS tracking devices.

Christy tracked the smugglers as the tusks were transported from the Garamba National Park in the Congo into the Central African Republic into South Sudan and then Sudan.  The tusks are smuggled in part to finance armies in Africa, including the Lord’s Resistance Army and other terror groups.  The price of the tusks increases with each stop along the supply chain until the ivory reaches its final destination, mostly in Asia.  (China is the largest market for the ivory).

National Geographic created the maps (above, click to enlarge) to depict the environmental crisis.  The graphs (red elephants) show the number of illegal kills in Africa in 2011.  The last chart shows the ten countries with the most ivory seized from 1989 to 2011.

Thursday, April 21, 2016

GIS Map of the Travels of Queen Elizabeth II



Happy Birthday Your Majesty:  Mapping the Travels of Queen Elizabeth II

Today is the 90th birthday of Queen Elizabeth II.  Last September when she became the longest reigning monarch of the United Kingdom, The Telegraph published an online map showing all of the countries Queen Elizabeth has visited.  (The map was created using ESRI GIS software).

Elizabeth has reigned since 1952, and during that time she has visited 116 countries.  The queen visited Commonwealth country Canada 24 times and Australia 16 times.  Elizabeth visited the United States five times.  Her first visit came during the presidency of Dwight Eisenhower in 1957, and her last visit was in 2010 with President George W. Bush.

The Ball State University Libraries’ GIS Research and Map Collection (GRMC) consolidates one-on-one research assistance from the GIS Specialist with the GIS Research Area, which offers access to ESRI GIS software and to online GIS tutorials, datasets, online mapping applications, and in-house GIS data.


For more information about using GIS software, please contact the GRMC at 765-285-1097.


Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Using Cartographic Resources as Visual Aids

















New York Times Republican votes

Maps in the News:  New York Elections, Etc.

The Ball State University Libraries’ GIS Research and Map Collection (GRMC) provides services to assist and enhance the specific needs of students, faculty, and other researchers.  The GRMC will provide individual and classroom research assistance and instruction, and one of the most popular instructional programs involves students learning to use maps as visual aids in creative writing assignments.

This semester the GRMC has provided instructional sessions to over 500 students in English composition and other classes learning to use maps and other cartographic resources as visual aids to add emphasis, credibility, and clarity to their research papers.  The GRMC offers students information about unique maps, atlases, GIS software, and other cartographic resources—including many Web pages that use the latest mapping technology to create maps about the most pressing news events.  One of the best online resources for maps is The New York Times.

The Times and its related analytical page, The Upshot, feature detailed maps (above, click to enlarge) that display statistics and data related to the latest news stories from around the world, and these maps can be used in students’ research papers.  The Times has featured numerous maps related to the refugee crisis in Africa and the Middle East, maps updating the situations in Iraq and Afghanistan, and Russian air space violations. 

Maps describing social issues like crime and healthcare have also been featured.  The maps range from lighthearted topics like where Thanksgiving dishes are more popular in the U.S. and how often Google users searched for the term “skinny jeans” to more serious issues like state gun laws.  And The New York Times did a comprehensive series related to drugs and created maps showing U.S. overdose deaths for 2014 and how heroin abuse in states like New Hampshire have become a campaign issue.

On today’s page, readers can view interactive maps showing the results of yesterday’s New York primary elections.  Users can zoom in to the maps to see how each block in all five New York boroughs voted, with maps showing the results of the Republican and Democratic presidential elections.  Users can click on maps showing how different demographic groups voted (race and socioeconomic status).

Researchers can use maps to convey a visual message for a seemingly endless variety of topics.  The GRMC can provide information about using and citing maps from online resources.  For more information about using cartographic resources for research and learning, please contact the GRMC at 765-285-1097.

Monday, April 18, 2016

Earthquake Maps Available from Ball State University




Maps in the News:  Earthquake Maps Available from Ball State University Libraries

Japan experienced two large earthquakes at the end of last week.  And Ecuador, almost 10,000 miles across the Pacific Ocean from Japan, experienced a deadly earthquake on Saturday night.  The two countries lie along the famed “Ring of Fire” where 90% of the world’s earthquakes occur according to the National Geographic Society.

The Ball State University Libraries’ GIS Research and Map Collection (GRMC) has a unique collection of maps related to seismic activity around the world.  Maps identifying the seismic potential around the world, global seismicity of world cities, and seismic hazard maps for specific regions in the United States are included in the collection. 

One of the unique maps (above, click to enlarge) depicts tsunami-generating earthquakes of the Pacific Rim.  The map was created by Robert P. Masse’ and James W. Dewey in 1994.

A set of these maps is also available in digital format via the Digital Media Repository (DMR).  This collection, Earthquake and Seismic Hazard Maps, provides online access to maps showing the locations of fault lines, historic earthquakes, active volcanoes, and plate tectonics from around the world, including the New Madrid fault line in the Midwest.

For more information about using maps for research and learning, please contact the GRMC at 765-285-1097.

Boston Marathon Story Map from ESRI



Maps on the Run:  Boston Marathon Story Map and Tracker

Today marks the 120th running of the Boston Marathon, and the 50th anniversary of women running the race (informally).  The race brings elite and amateur runners from around the world and is one of the most popular road racing events.

The Boston Athletic Association Web site allows friends and family to track athletes running the race.  The Boston Marathon Tracker uses a searchable database to allow users to search for the name of a runner and see where on the course they are and what kind of time they are running.

ESRI, the world’s leading producer of GIS mapping software, has created a Story Map about the Boston Marathon. The map, 26 Boston Marathon Facts, provides facts about the race covering ground from Hopkinton to Boston.  For example, “It takes 397 school buses to shuttle the runners to the starting line.  This year there are 30,000 entrants.”

The map includes a photograph and location of a race official attempting to force Kathrine Switzer off the course in 1967.  Women were not allowed to run in the race until 1972, but Switzer entered the race in 1967 as “KV Switzer” and finished the race.  (So this year technically marks the 50th anniversary of women running the race).

The map includes statistics about runners from Kenya and Ethiopia:  “18 of the last 20 male winners were from Kenya or Ethiopia.”  And facts about elevation are provided:  “Most people think that at 263 feet above sea level, the top of Heartbeak Hill is the highest point of the Marathon.  Actually, the starting line is at 463 feet, and most of the marathon is run at a decline.”


The Ball State University Libraries’ GIS Research and map Collection (GRMC) on the second floor of Bracken Library provides access to the latest ESRI GIS software and assistance from the GIS Specialist Monday through Friday from 8:00 to 5:00 pm.  Students can also access GIS software on computers throughout Bracken Library on weekends and in the evening.  For more information, please contact the GRMC at 765-285-1097.

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Online Interactive Map of Coachella Artists



This Map Rocks:  Map of the Coachella Music Festival Performers

The Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival is a popular annual event presented at a polo club in Indio, California in the Colorado Desert.  The festival kicks off on April 15 with over 160 artists from all over the world including Calvin Harris, Chris Stapleton, Ellie Goulding, Ice Cube, and Guns ‘N’ Roses.  But where in the world—specifically—are the bands located?  There’s a map for that.

Vanessa Franko is the Assistant Managing Editor/Features, Sports, Local Music Columnist for The Press Enterprise in California.  Franko created an interactive GIS map showing the home locations for the artists performing at Coachella this year. 

The map legend organizes the artists by genre, including electronic, rock, rap/hip-hop, and reggae.  Users can zoom in to the highly-populated areas like Los Angeles and Europe to identify specific bands.  Click on the marker to see the name of the artist, their home location, genre, background information, and the date of their performance at Coachella.  A link to artists’ Web page is also provided where available.

Six continents are represented at Coachella this year.  The lineup features a DJ from Irkutsk, Russia, a band from the Congo, and rap/hip-hop artists from Seoul, South Korea and Edinburgh, Scotland.  Most of the artists’ hometowns are depicted, although Indiana front-man Axl Rose is identified with Guns ‘N’ Roses in Los Angeles.

The Ball State University Libraries’ GIS Research and Map Collection (GRMC) on the second floor of Bracken Library provides access to the latest ESRI GIS software and assistance from the GIS Specialist.  The computer lab in the GRMC houses 28 high-end Lenovo ThinkCentre N58p computers available Monday through Friday from 8:00 to 5:00.  Computers throughout Bracken Library also offer access to the GIS software and are available during the evening and on weekends.


For more information, please contact the GRMC at 765-285-1097.

Friday, April 08, 2016

Golf Maps Available from Ball State University Libraries


Mapping the Masters:  World Atlas of Golf Available at Ball State University Libraries

The Ball State University Libraries provides unique cartographic resources for research and learning.  World Atlas of Golf  is available from the Atlas Collection on the second floor of Bracken Library.  

The atlas by Mark Rowlinson was published in 2008 and features computer-generated maps of golf courses around the world—from St. Andrews in Scotland to Casa De Campo in the Dominican Republic.  An entire section of maps is devoted to the Augusta National Golf Course, site of the Masters Championship this weekend.  The famous feature, “Amen Corner,” is featured (above, click to enlarge).

Atlases may be circulated for 28 days or longer.  For more information, please contact the GIS Research and Map Collection in Bracken Library at 765-285-1097.