Climate Change…on Mars

nasa-large…from NASA…

“One way or another, scientists believe, Mars must have lost its most precious asset: its thick atmosphere of carbon dioxide. CO2 in Mars’s atmosphere is a greenhouse gas, just as it is in our own atmosphere. A thick blanket of CO2 and other greenhouse gases would have provided the warmer temperatures and greater atmospheric pressure required to keep liquid water from freezing solid or boiling away.

“Over the last four billion years, Mars somehow lost most of that blanket. Scientists have proposed various theories for how that loss happened. Perhaps an asteroid impact blew most of the atmosphere into space in one catastrophic event. Or maybe erosion by the solar wind — a stream of charged particles emanating from the sun — could have slowly stripped the atmosphere away over eons. The planet’s surface might also have absorbed the CO2 and locked it up in minerals such as carbonate.”

$1.7 Million National Science Foundation Grant to Idaho State University: Revolutionary Historical Research Project

…from Idaho State University…

“The Idaho State University history department is engaged in a revolutionary, interdisciplinary historical study that has attracted $1.7 million in funding from the National Science Foundation.

“It isn’t often the National Science Foundation funds a project from a humanities discipline with a history professor as a principal investigator, but that is exactly what happened earlier this fall when ISU history professor J.B. “Jack” Owens received an award for a project titled “Understanding social networks within complex, nonlinear systems: geographically-integrated history and dynamics GIS.” About $1.3 million of the four-year grant will go to ISU, with about $471,000 to go to the University of Oklahoma and co-principal investigator May Yuan.”

Nick Chrisman talks about the Harvard Laboratory for Computer Graphics and Spatial Analysis

Nick Chrisman talks about the Harvard Laboratory for Computer Graphics and Spatial Analysis for his 2006 ESRI Press book “Charting the Unknown: How Computer Mapping at Harvard Became GIS.”

Part 1:

Part 2:

Nicholas Chrisman was a research associate at the Harvard Laboratory for Computer Graphics and Spatial Analysis from 1972 to 1982, and is now peofessor of geomatic sciences at Universite Laval, Quebec, Canada, and scientific director of the GEOIDE (Geomatics for Informed Decisions) Network.

U.S. Antimicrobial Resistance Map

…from Science News

“Drug-resistant infections kill tens of thousands of people in the United States each year. Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) alone infects more than 94,000 people and kills nearly 19,000 Americans every year, more deaths than caused by emphysema, HIV/AIDS, Parkinson’s disease, and homicide. A new interactive map on IDSA’s website describes in detail the local impact of these and other resistant infections across the nation with detailed U.S. state-specific information. The map is available at”

The Future of Environmental Law Mapping

…from World Changing

“GIS applications have been evolving in many directions, well beyond geography. Many fields such as environmental economics, social science, health science and administration are now aggregated with scientific representations. The methods for environmental and social mapping are now participatory too. Together, these tools offer new, integrated visions of our territories (or anthromes) and could greatly assist environmental lawyers and policy makers.

“Maps and plans have been considered legal tools in urban and planning law for a long time here in France. The “Plan Local d’Urbanismes” (formerly “POS” ) with its “graphical documents” are both legally binding. Sectoral environmental legislation also offers legally binding spatial representations, such as boundaries in protected areas, water catchments or industrial zones. In international law, the Counsil of Europe developed guidelines on coastal management that include “legal mapping” as a relevant tool (art. 26).”

Map of the Day: Automated Scar Extraction and Kernal Density Analysis

…from the ESRI Map Book, Volume 24


“Seagrass beds are an important nursery habitat for many fish and shrimp species in Texas’ coastal waters. Boaters often cause damage in these shallow areas by scarring seagrass beds with their propellers, leaving long “scars” or bare areas.

“Due to the sensitive nature of this precious resource, the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department (TPWD) monitors seagrass health carefully. In 2005, the Texas Parks and Wildlife Commission passed a law prohibiting the uprooting of seagrass in Redfish Bay, and TPWD Coastal Fisheries staff began an intensive study of seagrass scarring trends. To observe scarring behavior, TPWD acquired high-resolution imagery (0.1m) in 2007 intending to make comparisons with imagery in 2008 and 2009.

“This map represents phase 1 of the assessment in which automated feature detection software was employed to quickly identify scarred areas. A data mining tool was then used to remove commission errors from the Feature Analyst output. (This methodology was developed by Kass Green, Mark Tukman, and Mark Finkbeiner in the 2008 Redfish Bay Texas Airborne Sensor Comparison and Propeller Scar Mapping Final Report.) Parameters were changed to suit the needs of this project.

“Using the ArcGIS Spatial Analyst extension, kernal densities were created from the centroids of the scar polygons. The resulting map identifies areas of high-, moderate-, and low-scarring intensities.

“Courtesy of Texas Parks and Wildlife Department.”