Username:

Password:

Fargot Password? / Help

BlogThe latest stuff, all categories together.

0

My AAG 2014 Talk: Quantum Geographies: Applying Einsteinian Space-Time, Metaphysics and Multiverse Theory to Four-Dimensional Interpretation of Places Memorializing Tragedy

This is my AAG talk, given this past Thursday afternoon. I'm only posting the slides because I did not write a full narrative for this talk. I think readers can generally follow from the slides below, though. It was probably too ambitious for 15 minutes, and I don't know if I'll ever revisit this idea again, but it was still a fun talk to give.












































2.3/53votes
Voting statistics:
RatePercentageVotes
533%1
40%0
30%0
20%0
167%2
0

My alt.conf talk: The Age of Cartographic Impressionism

I actually did finish this around six hours ago, but... I can't sleep. So, I'm going to go ahead and post my first AAG talk here, a lightning session for the GeoWeb and Big Data alt.conf I helped to organize. Read more
0.0/50votes
Voting statistics:
RatePercentageVotes
50%0
40%0
30%0
20%0
10%0
0

Re-Constructing the Map, Revisited: NBC's Geographic Imagination in the 2014 Winter Olympics Opening Ceremony

A couple of years ago, during the Opening Ceremony of the 2012 Summer Olympics in London, I got the crazy idea to map seconds of coverage of each delegation when I saw NBC constantly cut away from lesser known countries after just a few seconds as compression editing for the tape-delayed broadcast.

My friend and colleague, Emily Fekete at the University of Kansas, prodded me to explore it further in a published collaboration.

Now, with the beginning of the 2014 Winter Olympic Games in Sochi, Russia, we've joined with Don Colley III of San Diego State to begin working on analyzing various geographic aspects of the game, starting first with the coverage provided by NBC of the Opening Ceremony. We're hoping this will result in a multifaceted analysis of various geographies found in the Olympic Games.


Remember When? NBC's 2012 Opening Ceremony, Mapped

In our forthcoming paper in Sociological Research Online, we analyzed the 2012 Opening Ceremony broadcast by American network NBC, remapping the countries based on the number of seconds each delegation was shown during the ceremony's "Parade of Nations." We argued that NBC's editing of the tape-delayed broadcast constructed a worldview for the viewing audience, which we called "NBC's Geographic Imagination," and called for needed further exploration of NBC's otherwise unmapped "map."

To support the paper, we "re-constructed" two different maps based on the times NBC displayed each delegation. For each, the white-to-black color ramp was used so that countries appearing less on the broadcast faded into the background, just as they theoretically would in the larger American consciousness thanks to NBC's editing. The first map displayed the number of seconds each delegation during the NBC broadcast, showing the raw number of seconds that NBC exposed the American viewing audience to each country:



The second map normalized this data with the number of athletes in each delegation, accounting for parade logistics by which more people take longer to march past a given point.



Ultimately, I found the second map map less interesting because so many smaller delegations, and hence smaller denominators in the calculations, "spiked" the data, even if the athletes were on-screen for only a few seconds. We didn't intend this map to speak to the "awareness" angle, only to answer the most common question that came after readers saw the first map.

Of course, creating maps for Sochi's ceremony came with some other challenges.


Re-Constructing the Map, Again: NBC's 2014 Opening Ceremony, Mapped

Creating the same maps for the 2014 Winter Olympics Opening Ceremony was easy enough from this point. Emily worked hard to record times for each delegation appeared on-screen, which showed some key differences.

In looking at the raw numbers, we noticed a few key differences. For one, the overall distribution of time between the delegations was more equitable. Unlike the 2012 NBC broadcast, when preemption for commercial breaks resulted in nearly dozen delegations receiving fewer than five seconds on screen, the shortest-featured delegation in the 2014 NBC coverage (Belarus) received just over 11 seconds of screen time. The difference in this equity was most noticeable in the second of two maps we constructed to mirror our 2012 analysis.

At the same time, participation in the Winter Olympics was even more strongly divided on a global scale, with countries and athletes from the "Global North" far outnumbering those in the "Global South." On each map, the divide is evident, with more countries in the "North" showing more seconds on screen, though fewer per athlete, and countries from the "South" largely receiving less screen time, but more time per athlete. (Click any map below for a larger version.)

The first, a map displaying the number of seconds each country was featured in the 2014 NBC broadcast:



Second, the number of seconds each delegation was shown in the 2014 NBC broadcast, divided by the number of athletes in each delegation:



Though some patterns emerge in terms of which countries received more or less time than they might have expected, an important consideration when examining these maps is the difference between the Winter and Summer Olympics. Generally, the Winter Olympics are a smaller event with fewer competitions and far fewer athletes participating than in the Summer Olympics. This is at least partially owed to the fact that the Winter Olympics include a number of sports thus far left largely unadopted by countries situated outside climate zones with cold winters.


Comparing 2012 to 2014, and Summer to Winter

To compare participation in the two "seasons" of Olympic Games, we created several maps. The first map shows the number of participants per country in the 2012 London Summer Games; the second shows the number of participants per country in the 2014 Sochi Winter Games.





Though these maps work to display the differing arrangement of participating delegations and do show a far more northward orientation for Winter Games participation, the color ramps aren't the same on the two maps and so true comparison is somewhat difficult.

To aid with that, we created a third map showing the change in delegation size from the 2012 Summer Games to the 2014 Winter Games.



Notice here, only a few smaller northern delegations actually grew in size (Austria, Norway) while most countries, including Sochi's largest delegations (Russia, United States) shrunk considerably.

To further highlight the smaller -- or in many cases, non-existent -- delegations at the Winter Games, we created a map showing the difference in size, by percentage, of each country's athlete contingent compared to the larger Summer events in 2012. In this case, the countries which did participate in London but are not competing in Sochi show up as the darkest red color.



Because our paper about the 2012 NBC Opening Ceremony broadcast argued the impact of limited exposure of the American audience to certain groups at such global events was unknown, screen time is an important consideration. Certainly, the world presented by all broadcasters at the Winter Olympics ceremony is different than the Summer Games because of the difference of participation by competing countries. But, how did this, combined with NBC's editing of the ceremony, impact the amount of time each delegation was shown on screen?




While the coverage from NBC was more equitable in terms of raw number of seconds between delegations, a pattern with a different cause emerges here. For the Winter Games, it will be more difficult to understand NBC's "map" of the world because the "map" presented by the Winter Games and its participants is radically different than that of the Summer Games.
0.0/50votes
Voting statistics:
RatePercentageVotes
50%0
40%0
30%0
20%0
10%0
0

Local to National and Back Again: Beer, Wisconsin & Scale

Brewing has been an important part of Wisconsin’s culture and economy since the first settlers arrived in the early 1800s. Like much of the country, Wisconsin brewers experienced a spatial shift in accordance with the industry’s technology. Starting with many brewers each serving local markets, developments in beer preservation, packaging and transport allowed certain Wisconsin brewers to seize opportunities for expanded market areas. The enlarged economies of scale achieved by these larger brewers provided a competitive advantage that slowly put smaller operations out of business. By the mid-20th Century, brewing had largely become a national enterprise with fewer local or regional players. Though its market share remained limited, the craft brewing movement represented a reversal of this trend, both nationally and in Wisconsin. Like the early brewers who had settled the state, these new Wisconsin breweries were focused on achieving an economy of scale by developing a local market of consumers. Read more
5.0/51vote
Voting statistics:
RatePercentageVotes
5100%1
40%0
30%0
20%0
10%0
0

Re-Constructing the Map: NBC’s Geographic Imagination and the Opening Ceremony for the 2012 London Olympics

The 2012 Olympic Games was an event watched on television by billions of viewers worldwide. In the United States, approximately 40 million people viewed a tape-delayed opening ceremony of the games on the NBC network. With such a high viewership, NBC was in a position of power to influence and educate their audience on the various countries across the globe who participated in the Olympic Games and opening ceremony. Drawing on Gregory’s notion of a ‘geographic imagination,’ we suggest NBC editors put their version of the world on display to the American audience, thus influencing the way in which American viewers may understand the world. In this paper, we have constructed a map to provide a visual representation of NBC’s geographic imagination. We find this map, based on total screen time the countries received during the ‘Parade of Nations’ segment of the opening ceremony, to suggest a unique geographic imagination worthy of further study because of its potential wide influence. Read more
0.0/50votes
Voting statistics:
RatePercentageVotes
50%0
40%0
30%0
20%0
10%0
0

Coming Soon - MU Mapping Drone

On October 15, the Student Government Association & Committee on Finance at Mansfield University voted to fund our proposal to purchase a mapping drone octocopter. We believe that we are the first geography or geology department in the United States to have access to this kind of technology, and certainly are the first where students will be front-and-center using it to map. Read more
0.0/50votes
Voting statistics:
RatePercentageVotes
50%0
40%0
30%0
20%0
10%0
0

Launch M-01 - September 14, 2013

This past Saturday, Mansfield University hosted its first night football game since 1892, back when it hosted the first ever night football game. Some 121 years later, the university finally installed lights at its ("sprint") football stadium and had a big party with it. To kick off the balloon mapping program at Mansfield, I planned to send up a balloon over the event to capture some aerial photos of the stadium and to do some mapping.

Luckily, I had a great crew of MU Geography & Geology students who took the reins so I could sit back and supervise.



Background

The athletics department was hoping to acquire some imagery of this special night, but had been rebuffed by the FAA in its attempts to get a flyover of an airplane or a manned hot air balloon. However, sending an unmanned balloon to an altitude less than 1000 feet avoids any interference with the FAA, so the athletics department was very gracious to cooperate when I brought this idea to them. Using balloons for aerial photography is about as old as photography itself, but the DIY context of GIS/Geoweb in the 2010s combined with a night launch brought some special considerations. After doing some looking, I couldn't find anyone who had used the Public Labs rig in this kind of a context before.

On Friday, September 13, the evening before the football game, we were lucky to run a brief test launch. During that launch, we discovered that:

  • The camera could be convinced to take night photography of the lighted football stadium while attached to a balloon.
  • Conditions, especially calm wind, would need to be about perfect to get high quality imagery in this kind of lighting context.
  • Imagery comes out better when there's not dew on (and in) the lens. Oops.

With these problems solved, and with forecasts calling for calm wind, we hoped that we could get the launch in the air and get the images we wanted without any trouble.





Launch

We left the helium in the balloon from the night before to conserve this (ever more scarce) resource. This also condensed our set-up time: after meeting at 6:00 and wading through crowds to get into the stadium, we were in the air and imaging at 6:50 pm. We specifically launched at this time so that we could 1) get aerial photography during daylight; 2) capture the lighting ceremony at 7:18 pm, and 3) keep the balloon in the air long enough to get night shots as well. Given the approximate 80 minute life of our battery, this was the prime time to achieve all of these objectives.

I had hacked the camera (a Canon Powershot A4000IS) with CHDK, and had programmed it to take photos every five seconds. This choice was representative of our battery limitations: shot-action seems more draining on the battery than simple on mode, shooting using around 1% for every ten to 15 shots. If allowed to simply shoot in continuous mode without the hack, the camera would have taken a shot every second and depleted the battery within 25 minutes. By programming it to shoot only once every five seconds, we extended battery life between three- and four-fold, allowing the temporal coverage we wanted.



Students were divided into teams of three members. One student was responsible for staffing the cord and steering the balloon, while a second student was responsible for holding and adjusting the cord on the reel. A third student accompanied the group to help navigate the other two through crowds and other obstacles. Each team ran the balloon for 10 minutes before trading off to another team. After five teams (all of the students who were interested in running the balloon), the first team got to run the show again and was a bit reluctant to give it up.

We brought the balloon down at approximately 8:18pm, having been in the air for nearly 90 minutes. By some miracle, the battery was still powered on and taking photos; however, it did finally die during the walk back as we were reviewing the shots.

Results

We ended up with 822 pictures, of which 726 were of the balloon in the air. I suspect that the scripts I hacked caused some sort of delay with shooting, or there was a delay with shooting because of data backlog from continuous shooting mode being used for longer than designed, resulting in fewer than one picture for every five seconds. I've posted a Google Drive folder of all of the raw shots for the students (and anyone) to peruse. Unfortunately, these pictures ended up being only two megapixels resolution (1600x1200) when I had intended for them to be 16 megapixel. Our image quality obviously suffered because of that. I don't know if the hack, or my clumsy fingers, are the culprit.

We came up with several shots that I sent along to the athletic department that worked well enough for single-shots, but none really stunned. This was my favorite of that bunch, mostly for its clarity rather than its coverage (click on any picture for a larger one):



...which I Instagrammed as a preview the night of the game:


In those 700+ photos from the air, maybe all but two dozen were junk (unless you're strictly looking for trippy pictures). The main issue was the slightly longer exposure needed to capture the night shot combined with the instability of the camera in even the slightest gust. Even on a relatively calm night, at 1000' up, there is far less friction from the surface meaning a higher possibility for stronger wind. Combine that with the fact that we're in a valley that a 1000' flight probably emerges out of, and we're in a place where wind is going to be unpredictable.

We did, however, get enough shots to put together two mosaics, one during dusk:




...and one after dark:




Interactive Maps

Interactive frame at dusk, via Mapknitter.org:



Interactive frame after dark, via Mapknitter.org:

Summary

While we didn't get any real "money shot" from the camera for PR use, we did manage to get a couple of nice mosaics that I think did well to capture the evening. In a way, we engaged in a version of "impressionist" cartography, using the balloon mapping to capture one event or mood(s) of the landscape. And, the students (mostly) seemed to enjoy mapping this way.

Most of them even stuck around to watch the balloon land:



UPDATE!

Our photos made it to the top of the Mansfield University Facebook page. Awesome.



0.0/50votes
Voting statistics:
RatePercentageVotes
50%0
40%0
30%0
20%0
10%0
0

Launch M-01-T - September 13, 2013

Tomorrow evening, September 14, Mansfield University is hosting its first night football game since 1892, back when it hosted the first ever night football game. Some 121 years later, the university finally installed lights at its ("sprint") football stadium. As a way to kick off the balloon mapping program at Mansfield, I thought we would send up an imaging balloon over the stadium to capture the evening. Read more
0.0/50votes
Voting statistics:
RatePercentageVotes
50%0
40%0
30%0
20%0
10%0
0

CFP - Future Directions in Geoweb Research: an alt.conference of Big Data, Theory and Geography's Role

We'd like to call attention to the unique format we are able to facilitate. We're encouraging submissions for short lightning talk panels that do not interfere with your ability to present more substantial papers at the AAG.

The lightning talks are organized by theme and will then be discussed by panelists including Rob Kitchin, Nadine Schuurman, Matt Wilson, Matt Zook, Jeremy Crampton, Monica Stephens, Mark Graham, David O'Sullivan, Agnieszka Leszczynski, Renee Sieber, and others.

The purpose of the alt.conference is to give an opportunity for younger scholars to receive immediate feedback and begin discussions with more senior researchers. Contributions will then be solicited for potential inclusion in an edited volume.

Consider submitting a short talk and encouraging others to do so as well.



Call for Participants

Association of American Geographers Annual Meeting
8-12 April 2014 Tampa, FL USA

Organizers (alphabetical by last name)
Josef Eckert, University of Washington
Andrew Shears, Mansfield University
Jim Thatcher, Clark University

Specialty Group Sponsors
Geographic Information Systems and Science
Communication Geography
Urban Geography

Over the last two decades, widespread internet access integrated into daily life as a platform for information exchange, social networking, and commercial transactions. The expansive, rapidly changing data sets produced through these and other digital processes have come to be termed "Big Data." With an estimated 80% of these aggregated data sets containing spatial referent information, Geography as a discipline offers a "home field advantage" in the study of "Big Data" (Pozdnoukhov and Farmer 2012). The addition of "where" to information that records who is doing what, when, and with whom opens new avenues for knowledge and capital production (probably want a citation here). In the eyes of its boosters, the rapid aggregation and analysis of data destroys the need for social explanation as the numbers are able to "speak for themselves" (Anderson 2008).

While Big Data and the Geoweb are oft heralded as a veritable gold mine for private industry and a tantalizing new source of data for social research, the rapid development of these technologies in the face of the often personal nature of the derived data is of concern. Studies of the geoweb call our attention to the ways in which user-generated data come into the world and are complicit in its unfolding. Scholars have voiced caution regarding the use of spatial big data, citing issues of accuracy (Liu et. al 2013), heterogenous data and sources, (Goodchild 2012), surveillance (Crampton 2013), shifting privacies (Elwood & Leczynszki 2011), capital investment (Wilson 2012), and urban experience (Thatcher 2013). In spite of this, urban planners (Torrens 2010), politicians (Morozov 2011), marketers (LeValle et al., 2011), and even national funding agencies (NSF 2012) are embracing the modeling of this data as a primary tool by which to understand society.

This alt.conference will explore many of the broad implications of Big Data and the Geoweb and its study, including:

  • Big Data, the Geoweb, and the Critical GIS tradition
  • New methodologies for gathering and analyzing data
  • The epistemologies and ontologies of Big Data and the Geoweb
  • Big Data and the Geoweb as tools for education
  • Big Data and Geoweb for policy and spatial decision-making
  • Big Data and urban experience
  • Big Data and Geoweb as a tool for community planning
  • Amateur practitioners of Big Data analytics
  • Activist appropriation of Big Data platforms
  • Geographies of Big Data beyond GIS
  • Gendered Big Data
  • Big Data as Digital Humanities
  • Data mining vs. data exploration

As well as other related topics.


The alt.conference will feature a series of sessions of five-minute “lightning talks,” each followed by panel and workshop sessions that link the themes discussed to theory and praxis. These sessions will run consecutively on the first day of the AAG conference, and will be capped by an evening networking gathering.

Unlike the AAG‟s traditional 15-minute papers, a lightning talk is an engaging five-minute presentation that quickly examines intensive subject matter by heavy use of simple but arresting graphics and visuals. The goal is to provide the audience with an entertaining way to absorb information on a number of topics. Traditionally, the presenter spends roughly a minute on each slide. Because these talks do not fit into the AAG's traditional format, lightning talks do not preclude the presentation of a manuscript or poster elsewhere in the conference. In other words, a lightning talk does not preclude you from given a traditional talk elsewhere at the conference.

Scholars interested in giving a lightning talk as part of the alt.conference are asked to submit an abstract or position paper of no longer than 500 words, plus any preliminary graphics, to ashears@mansfield.edu by October 15 November 15, 2013. Submissions are particularly encouraged from scholars early in their career, from disadvantaged populations and from the developing world.

PDF of this Call for Papers    
0.0/50votes
Voting statistics:
RatePercentageVotes
50%0
40%0
30%0
20%0
10%0
0

Vernacular Region of "Up North," Wisconsin

This "Up North" area is important to Wisconsin's tourist economy and cultural identity. Many Wisconsin residents own property in the region, specifically to support their recreational pursuits. But where is "Up North"? As my GEO 106 students were becoming familiar with Google Earth this fall, I had them create a simple KMZ shape in the program to outline where they thought "Up North" was in the state. Read more
5.0/51vote
Voting statistics:
RatePercentageVotes
5100%1
40%0
30%0
20%0
10%0
Pages:12345678