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Saturday, February 25, 2006

Is race real and should we use racial data in GIS analysis? Should the government stop collecting race data?

A lot of maps and GIS analyses use race data, collected from the census or other sources. The 2000 census form has two questions relating to ethnicity and race:

1. Is Person 1 Spanish/Hispanic/Latino/?
2. What is Person 1’s race?

Whenever we analyze spatial distributions using GIS we often throw this data in as an explanatory variable.

But many people are deeply disturbed by race data, and some professional organizations have issued warnings about using it, and have even called for the government to stop collecting it.

More on the flip.

Continue reading...

by Adena Schutzberg on 02/25 at 11:57 AM | Comments | Bookmark and Share

Friday, February 24, 2006

Must read is an overused topic, but if like me you write/think/talk about GPS, you must read Ron Bisio’s column in GeoWorld. It’s short, clear and will guide you in using the proper term for the soon to be three global navigation satellite systems, GNSSs.

by Adena Schutzberg on 02/24 at 02:19 PM | Comments | Bookmark and Share

I was struck again this morning by the power of blogs. I know if you’re reading this you probably already understand why blogs are important, but it’s still amazing what they can do:

—Get news out that the MSM (mainstream media) doesn’t care or won’t care about

—News aggregators like Planet Geospatial can gather together tons of GIS/cartography information that would otherwise be scattered (although there are so many it’s getting a bit unwieldy)

—Make an impact on the “real world” in so many ways

It’s probably this last one that may prove to make or break blogs. When the blogosphere first emerged in the early 2000s, it was colonized by mostly conservative blogs like Instapundit, but these have now been joined by popular liberal blogs such as Daily Kos (see Technorati listing here). There are now three identifiably political blogs in the top 10, eight in the top 30.

These blogs command amazing audiences—certainly many times bigger than most newspapers. Google Earth community for example has 375,000 members. Slashdot has over 900,000 registered members. These are not readers, these are people who’ve taken the time to register. Readership is no doubt in the millions per week. When the story came out about that soldier in Iraq who was billed $700 for his body army (which had been torn from his injured body but never receipted), a liberal blog raised $5,000 in two hours for him.

Blogs have widened the information available to us, and widened the political spectrum in ways the MSM is still vaguely grasping at (viz. the recent mishandling of comments on the Washington Post blog).

Newspapers/MSM don’t need to go away, any more than cartography has gone away now that GIS is here, but they will be transformed.

Continue reading...

by Adena Schutzberg on 02/24 at 08:51 AM | Comments | Bookmark and Share

The Red and Black, the school paper of the University (and also the name of my high school paper) reports on the formation of a geography club at the school. It’s still getting up and running but will involve “the community and common interests such as camping and academic bowls.”

Another perk: T-shirts emblazoned with “Better than the Math Club.”

Such organizations (grad or undergrad) foster community in geography departments. At Penn State, if I recall correctly, the grad students were the WizDogs (for Wilbur Ichabod Zelinsky, head when they were named) and the undergrads were proudly, the Underdogs.

by Adena Schutzberg on 02/24 at 07:31 AM | Comments | Bookmark and Share

A press release yesterday revealed that long time ESRI partner Miner and Miner, which had sold 70% of its ownership to Televent in December of 2004, has since sold its remaining shares. Televent describes itself as a “Global RealTime IT Company.”

Off the top of my head, it seems GIS companies (third party or otherwise) in utilities are the best bet for acquisition. I’m thinking of this one, Smallworld, and Vertical Mapper (communications).

by Adena Schutzberg on 02/24 at 07:22 AM | Comments | Bookmark and Share
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