Friday, May 19, 2017

Environmental Maps Available from Ball State University Libraries

National Geographic "Africa Threatened"

National Geographic 2011


National Geographic poaching series

National Geographic poaching series

National Geographic poaching series


 World Wildlife Fund

University of Vermont Disappearing Bees

Vox Great Barrier Reef

World Atlas of Great Apes and Their Conservation
Ball State University Libraries Atlas Collection


Endangered Species Day on the Map

Today is recognized as “Endangered Species Day.”  The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service marks this day to recognize the national conservation efforts to protect our nation’s endangered species and their habitats. 

According to Time magazine, conservation efforts became popular in the 1970’s.  The U.S. Endangered Species Act was passed in 1972, and many species have been saved from extinction—including the bald eagle.  But as scientists document more plants and animals, the list of endangered species grows, doubling in the past two decades.

The risk facing some of the “most recognizable animals is growing in urgency.”  Poaching continues to be a problem in Africa with thousands of elephants and white rhinoceros killed every year.  According to National Geographic, in 2011 poaching hit the highest level in a decade, with the greatest impact in the central Africa region.  The illegal trade in ivory and the horns of the rhinoceros is a major threat.  (Click maps above to enlarge).

The World Wildlife Fund created a “Wildlife Crime Scorecard” that grades countries’ commitments to fighting illegal trade of rhino horn, ivory, and tiger parts.  India and Nepal have made “some progress in key aspects of compliance and enforcement.”  The Central African Republic and the Democratic Republic of the Congo received failing scores in “key aspects of compliance and enforcement” as countries of origin in the trade of ivory.  Myanmar and Thailand received failing scores as destination markets in the illegal trade.

The World Wildlife Fund and other conservation efforts have been successful in the protection and management of the southern white rhinoceros.  They are classified as “near threatened,” and over 20,000 exist throughout four countries in Africa.  However, the northern white rhinoceros had about 2,000 existing in 1960.  But due to widespread poaching, there are only three northern white rhinos left on earth.  All three live in captivity, and reproduction efforts have been unsuccessful.

According to the Time article, other smaller species are also threatened.  The rusty patched bumblebee was officially listed as an endangered species in March of this year.  The species has faced an 87% decline since the 1990’s.  Other honeybees are also threatened due mostly to loss of habitat and available pollination sources.

Coral reef in oceans around the world are also facing endangerment due to pollution and the warming of ocean waters.  These reefs are critical to the biodiversity of the oceans and play a key role in maintaining fisheries.

The Ball State University Libraries GIS Research and Map Collection (GRMC) provides access to dozens of maps and other cartographic resources for projects related to endangered species and the environment.  The Atlas Collection on the second floor of Bracken Library includes several updated atlases about the environment that include unique maps, photographs, charts, and data for research and learning projects.

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

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Instagram Map Exhibit at Ball State University Libraries



Hashtag Mapping, Hashtag Carte, Hashtag Mappe, Hashtag Cool Maps:  Instagram Map Exhibit in Bracken Library

As of April 2017, the popular photo-sharing application Instagram has a total of over 700 million registered users.  Colorful maps can be a fun and unique subject for sharing, so the GIS Research and Map Collection (GRMC) in Bracken Library has created a special exhibit dedicated to “Insta-worthy maps.”

The exhibit (above, click to enlarge) features 36 different cartographic images—all in the traditional square Instagram format.  Some of the maps are hand-drawn by Ball State University or Burris Elementary School students; some of the maps are from atlases or art books featuring maps; and some of the images feature objects made to look like maps or vice versa—like steak or bacon, a shark, the state of California as a cigarette, or a pile of laundry.


The exhibit will be featured in the front windows of the GRMC on the second floor of Bracken Library through the month of June.  Stop by to view these artistic maps or—better yet—visit the GRMC to snap some Instagram-worthy photos of some of the over 140,000 maps in the Collection.

Maps in the News: North Korea and the Ukraine















Maps in the News:  Where Is North Korea Anyway?

North Korea launched a ballistic missile on Sunday, and the nation has been a focus of foreign policy discussions.  The New York Times’ “The Upshot” published an experiment asking American adults to find North Korea on a map of Asia.  Then those same respondents were asked their opinions about military intervention in North Korea.

Of the 1,746 adults polled, only 36% were able to identify North Korea on the map (above, click to enlarge).  Some of the respondents even guessed that North Korea was located on a point in the ocean.  And of the respondents who could correctly identify North Korea, most tended to favor diplomatic or nonmilitary strategies of foreign policy.  Respondents who could not identify the correct location of North Korea favored direct military engagement, including sending ground troops.

A similar study was conducted in 2014 when Russia invaded Crimea in the Ukraine.  Americans were asked to find the Ukraine on a map of the world.  (On the map above, the guesses close to the location of the Ukraine are identified with redder dots).  And the researchers learned that the farther a respondent’s guess was from the Ukraine, the more likely that person would favor military intervention.

National Geographic sponsored a geography survey in 2006.  Nearly 90% of the respondents in that test could not locate Afghanistan on a map, 63% could not find Iraq on a map of the Middle East, and half could not find the state of New York on a map.

Even news media get geography wrong.  CNN used the map above in a story related to elections in the Ukraine.  But the location of the Ukraine is covered by the Ukrainian flag.  The map appears to be pointing to the region of Pakistan or Afghanistan.  For equal time:  Fox News identified the country of Iraq as Egypt, and MSNBC used a graphic of West Virginia for a story about Virginia elections.

The Ball State University Libraries GIS Research and Map Collection (GRMC) promotes geographic literacy and awareness by providing access to the latest cartographic resources for education and learning.  And the GRMC provides the latest maps of countries around the world for use in classroom lessons, exhibits, or other learning projects.  The GRMC even creates original geographic lessons, including one using some of the map “bloopers” shown.  And the GRMC provides custom instructional sessions, community presentations, and cartographic workshops to enhance geography skills.


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

Monday, May 15, 2017

Original Watercolor Maps Available from Ball State University Libraries








The Art of CARTography

The Ball State University Libraries’ Digital Media Repository (DMR) provides online access to a range of digitized primary source materials, including historic films and video, oral histories, diaries, photographs, cartographic resources, and artwork.  The GIS Research and Map Collection (GRMC) has provided access to hundreds of historic maps from its collection via this repository.  But the newest DMR collection from the GRMC is a set of hand-drawn maps created by students.

The name of the latest cartographic collection in the Digital Media Repository is “Home:  Artistic Watercolor Maps.”  The maps were painted by students in the fall semester 2016 watercolor class.  Hannah Barnes, Associate Professor in the Ball State University School of Art, created a project for her students:  After visiting the GRMC in Bracken Library and reviewing hundreds of maps, create an artistic map that represents the meaning of “home.”  (This is actually the second cartographic project and exhibit that Professor Barnes has coordinated with the GRMC).

Some of the students created maps representing more abstract meanings of “home,” while other students created more literal maps of their homes.  For example, Emily Dykstra created a map of her hometown neighborhood (above, click to enlarge) made to look like an ancient artistic manuscript style.  And Sean Chen created “Bridge” that included a view of Monument Circle in downtown Indianapolis overlain on a map of his homeland of China.  Finn Norris created a beautiful compass rose of Indiana cicadas on her map called “Unforgotten Memories.”

The original art was exhibited at the Muncie DWNTWN First Thursday Arts Walk in December of 2016 at the Twin Archer Brew Pub as part of the Indiana Bicentennial Celebration.  The artistic maps were included with maps created by students in Dr. Jorn Seemann’s geography class and Indiana history maps created by the GRMC.

For more information about creating cartographic art using the resources of the GRMC, please contact Melissa Gentry at 765-285-1097.


Tuesday, May 09, 2017

Teacher Resources from Ball State University Libraries










Teacher Resources from the Ball State University Libraries

Today is National Teachers Day, and as the school year ends, what better time than to plan new activities for next year?  The Ball State University Libraries’ GIS Research and Map Collection (GRMC) provides cartographic resources and lesson plans for use by K-12 teachers. 

The GRMC has created lesson plan guides that describe maps and lessons for teachers of social studies (including cultures and gender studies), science, art, English/literature, foreign language, and economics.  The lessons range in scope and including using topographic maps, understanding time zones, latitude and longitude, and using historic maps and online diaries to teach American history.

The GRMC has also created custom maps for use in classroom research projects or for bulletin board exhibits.  The GRMC published a collection of custom Indiana history maps in celebration of the state’s bicentennial in 2016.  And the GRMC creates custom map posters for the Ball State University International Center weekly culture exchange program that can be reused in the classroom or other exhibits.  Students in social studies methods classes at Ball State have also worked with the GRMC to create maps based on children’s books.

The GRMC has also created scores of classroom games, worksheets, cartographic tutorials, and other lesson plans for use by the K-12 teacher.  Some of the lessons are made to use with the historic collections in the Libraries’ Digital Media Repository.  These resources are all available for download for educational purposes, so teachers around the world with access to the Internet can use these cartographic resources.

For more information about using these classroom materials or to request a custom map for the classroom, please contact the GRMC at 765-285-1097.


Summer Hours in Map Collection



The Ball State University Libraries GIS Research and Map Collection will be open Monday through Friday from 7:30 am to 4:30 pm during the summer.

Mapping Flooding with GIS



Maps in the News:  Midwest Flooding

ESRI, the world’s leading producer of GIS software, and its ESRI Disaster Response Program provides software, data, imagery, project services, and technical support to organizations dealing with recent flooding in the Midwest.  Aerial photography from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) of these affected sites is online.

Supporting organizations dealing with the flooding disaster can request assistance from ESRI.  Users can view continuously updated flooding information from the National Weather Service on the Public Information MapThe map details the levels of flooding from near flood stage to major flooding, and the site includes photographs and YouTube videos.  Users can type in a specific address to see the conditions on a map or via satellite imagery.

The Ball State University Libraries GIS Research and Map Collection (GRMC) on the second floor of Bracken Library provides access to the latest GIS software from ESRI and assistance from the GIS Specialist.  Computers throughout Bracken Library and the Architecture Library also offer access to GIS software.


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

Tuesday, May 02, 2017

Teachers Using Maps from Ball State University Libraries






Geography Students Learn about the Effects of Flooding Using Maps from Ball State University Libraries

Dr. David Call, Associate Professor in the Department of Geography at Ball State University, teaches a class called “Earth, Sea, and Sky: A Geographic View.”  In the class, students learn about selected aspects of the physical environment and their relationship to human occupancy of the earth.

Each year, the final project for the students in the class involves learning about the effects of flooding on various environments around the United States.  Dr. Call uses U.S. Geological Survey topographic maps from the Libraries’ GIS Research and Map Collection (GRMC) to show students how these environmental factors are depicted graphically on the maps.

Students use maps of New Orleans and Laplace, Louisiana, Chester, Illinois, and Natchez and Valley, Mississippi to study how the changing course of rivers affect state boundaries and land claims.  Students examine how New Orleans’ low elevation affects different parts of the city and how river deltas can be an excellent resource for fossil fuels.  Dr. Call also uses topographic maps from the GRMC for an assignment about cities in relation to rivers and mountains and the evolution of transportation.

The GRMC provides maps for professors, teachers, and students for presentations, classroom projects, and other learning activities.  Maps from the GRMC can be used for these special projects for the entire semester if necessary.  And maps from the GRMC can be provided in digital format for teachers and professors around the world. 

Please contact the GRMC at 765-285-1097 Monday through Friday to find out more about using maps in the classroom.


Friday, April 21, 2017

3-D Maps on Display at Ball State University Libraries






Celebrating Earth Day with Maps at Ball State University Libraries

Tomorrow is Earth Day, and what better way to celebrate than with maps of beautiful places around the world!  The Ball State University Libraries’ GIS Research and Map Collection (GRMC) is exhibiting maps created by students from Dr. Jody Rosenblatt-Naderi’s Landscape Architecture 602 class. 

The models depict places around the world, including the rain forest of Costa Rica, a canoe race in Bora Bora, and rice terraces in China.  The students created the maps using paper maps and GIS data from the GRMC.

The maps are located on the front cabinets in the GRMC on the second floor of Bracken Library.  The display will run through the month of April.

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

Interactive Map of Queen Elizabeth II's Travels



Mapping the Travels of Queen Elizabeth II

Today is the 91st birthday of Queen Elizabeth II.  Last September, Queen Elizabeth II officially became the longest-reigning monarch, overtaking Queen Victoria.  But while Victoria ruled over a larger British Empire, Queen Elizabeth II has definitely logged more travel miles.

The Telegraph created this interactive map using ESRI GIS software to show all of the places Queen Elizabeth II traveled during her reign.  She visited 116 countries during 265 official visits.  (Queen Victoria never traveled beyond Europe).  Queen Elizabeth’s first official visit was to Bermuda in 1953.  Canada leads in the number of visits by the Queen, with Australia second and New Zealand in third.  Queen Elizabeth II has visited the United States five times.

There are also restrictions on the travel of the Queen.  She is not allowed to visit Israel for political reasons.  And Greece exiled the Duke of Edinburgh (Prince Philip) and his family, so the Queen is not allowed to travel to the country.

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, online tutorials, datasets, online mapping applications, and in-house GIS data.  GIS software is also available on computers throughout Bracken Library, the Architecture Library, and the Science-Health Science Library.


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

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Tracking U.S. Navy Ships



Places in the News:  Mapping the Locations of Naval Ships

The United States Naval Update Map shows the approximate current locations of U.S. Carrier Strike Groups and other ships based on available open-source data.  A Carrier Strike Group (CSG) is centered on an aircraft carrier, which projects U.S. naval and air power and includes significant offensive strike capability. 


One particular CSG is the USS Carl Vinson based out of San Diego, California.  The location of this ship has been in the news in relation to the situation in North Korea.  According to the map, the USS Carl Vinson CSG was on a scheduled port visit to Singapore on April 6.  An update from the commander of the ship announced that the ship’s “deployment has been extended 30 days to provide a persistent presence in the Waters off the Korean Peninsula.”

Culture Event this Friday at Ball State University



International Sip and Chat at Ball State University


The Rinker Center for International Programs is hosting an event this Friday, April 21, to teach about the culture of India.  “International Sip and Chat” will be held from 3:00 to 4:30 pm in the Yuhas Room in the Student Center.  The event provides American students, international students, faculty, and others a place to relax and chat while enjoying Masala tea and snacks.  The event will include cultural activities and name translations.