For your commentary on the Geospatial Revolution, leave a comment on this post.
Filed under Geographical Perspectives
GSR Episode III Chapter IV
This chapter of the Geospatial Revolution series focuses on the potential dangers of having mapping technology embedded in nearly all of our technological devices and the “surveillance society” that is slowly developing.
The first half gives the spotlight to GPS tracking devices. A GPS can be an excellent tool when trying to travel through countries you are not familiar with, to keep an eye on family members, or to be used by law enforcement if you go missing. However, tracking devices can be abused and easily set up by anyone… like a jealous spouse or stalker, the episode suggests. Making sure we understand the language of “policy plans” for GPS systems laid out by technology companies is important in monitoring personal safety.
The second part of the video focuses on how the Geospatial Revolution is shaping our world. With mapping technology available at the snap of a finger, we are now able to pinpoint problems in geographic regions through means of observation prior to a crisis — such as in Muslim-Croat and Serb territories. This also enables us to understand where, what, and why these problems exist.
A surveillance society, one of the speakers claims, is both inevitable and irreversible. “It’s not what the government is doing to us, it’s us doing it to ourselves.” For us students of SHS, we are going to eventually live in a world where all virtually all data is public, and understanding and adapting to these developments will be necessary.
My assigned chapter is the introduction to the Geospatial Revolution. When I first started the video I thought it would not have much to analyze but I was wrong. They bring up important topics of later chapters and the Geospatial Revolution overall, so this is an overall analysis. First, an expert says what, it actually is; an explosion of technology changing how we view the world forever. The internet allows us to see anything that has pictures uploaded of, and GPS tells us where to go. There is software letting us see the very streets from digital imagery and based off of satellite imagery. We have a massive connected web of maps and tools that allow us to see the Earth better than ever before. People have phones that can bring up a map of a place and pictures others have taken or comments people have made will come up creating an entire ecosystem of information that anyone can access and anyone can help build through geospatial tags showing all of these things. That is what powers this Geospatial Revolution; the ability to observe, see the world through imagery from technology, and make decisions based off of this newly-acquired information.
Episode 1, Chapter 3 of the Geospatial Revolution outlined some of the history of mapping and development of geospatial information systems, and then provided information about the importance of today’s GIS (geographic information system). Visual representations of geography (maps) have been around forever, but intensely accurate and information-based mapmaking and documentation has developed largely in the last 200 years. During World War II, extensive use of aerial surveys began to provide highly accurate measures of the earth and its features, which then became the domain of satellites. Geographic Information Systems formally developed about 50 years ago, to map out demographics, population, transportation and physical land features, among other types of information, and to put them all in the same data set; to combine, essentially, different geographic and demographic information sets into one geospatial system. Topologically Integrated Geographic Encoding and Referencing (TIGER) developed during the popularization of computers, and a version of this program later became what we now know as Google Earth, one of the most popular GIS’s in the world. Using Google Earth and other GIS systems, as well as GPS systems, a geospatial revolution is occurring in which smartphones and other mobile devices contain integrated information sets to place their users on a comprehensive map, making the user the center of the map’s focus. Instead of carrying around a map and finding where you are on it, it’s now possible to carry a smartphone and place the things around you in context; this paradigm shift is a large part of how the geospatial revolution has changed information accessibility, and has provided a compressed and relative sense of distance and accessibility to physical places and things. ~A.P.
Geospatial Revolution, Episode 3, Chapter 3.
Geographic Information Systems, and geospatial technology in a whole, are vital to the inner mechanisms of law enforcement. As people call 911, digital mapping puts police officers where they need to go, when they need to go. An example of this would be in there was some type of burglary at a bank, or other financial building. Criminal analysts can enter the address of the incident, and the map will display a perimeter of the infiltrated area, one minute, three minutes, and five minutes out of the scene. Once this has been done, the police officers can effectively surround the perimeter and apprehend the suspect at large. GIS also go with long term investigations, whether it be drug dealing, or sexual offences. Digital mapping helps officers keep track of sex-offenders that happen to be on parole in their jurisdiction, in order to make sure that they don’t violate their parole and commit another crime.
I am analyzing Episode 2 Chapter 1. This Chapter focuses on how to make a healthy future for people. Michelle Obama is featured in this video giving a speech to people in Philadelphia telling how this city suffers from obesity and not enough supermarkets selling fresh food for families. If someone wishes to go to a supermarket, they must go a long distance through town “navigating public transportation with large grocery bags.” A mother is interviewed and says that it would not be so much of a problem is families had cars, but many of them don’t because they cannot afford them. A $120 million dollar grant was given in order to build supermarkets where they are most needed. Geospatial means of or relating to the relative position of things on the earth’s surface, while revolution means breakthrough ideas relating to change. Geospatial Revolution comes into this situation because the leaders of this program to install more supermarkets decided where to build them based on the intersecting point of where supermarkets are not, where the people are, and where poverty is most common, as they depicted using a three-circle Venn Diagram on a map of the city. The areas of greatest need were given a supermarket using the grant that I mentioned previously. The tools of geography were especially used for geospatial revolution in this video. The geographers used maps, observations, and extensive research to gain the information they needed to help them create a better city and life for the citizens of Philadelphia, which I think is very world-changing! This video makes it obvious that everyone, including us students, are connected in some way to geospatial study. SeaMart and AC are spaced in a way that serves as many people as possible, which I am sure was a part of the original city-planning. The same goes for our tourist locations, which are placed in such a way that tourists visiting Sitka can walk along downtown by various shops and see the historical landmarks. Geospatial Revolution affects every person in every place around the world.
In chapter 2 of episode one it is explained that the Geospatial Revolution is a GPS receiver, collecting signals from 3 separate global positioning satellites to determine your exact position on the surface of the Earth. Using special cars, they collected millions of coordinates along every road and then digitizing them into a database of mapped roads that is downloaded into the receiver. Living in a small town like Sitka limits the need for a GPS, but I see how it could be used practically when down in the lower 48 states where there are more roads
Geospatial Revolution Episode 4 Chapter 1
This chapter focuses mainly on digitally mapping climate change. The basic reason for mapping is to show where things are, how they are put together, and how they are related. What this episode describes, is how they use all of those aspects and put it into digital mapping that represents change.
First, a research scientist describes how NASA uses satellite images to produce specific maps related to climate change. Researchers observe those images that have been taken and mark the difference between that past photo and the ones after that. For example, let’s say a satellite took a photo of Greenland. A photo of Greenland in 2000 compared to now would actually be very different. You could take several satellite images, one in 2000 and one in 2014, and mark it. There would be a very large difference in distance. However with digital mapping, it’s an actual modeling presenting how the size has change, where it has changed, and when it has changed.
As a Sitka High student this is essential information. At some point these models will be used in a larger number of schools and will possibly be more used than regular maps. Digital mapping shows a much higher level of displaying change which will ultimately result in a more thorough understanding for everyone.
I had the privilege of watching the third chapter of the fourth episode, titled “Tracking Disease”. As the name would suggest, the chapter was about different ways in which diseases are tracked in the modern world. They used the case of the 2009 Swine Flu outbreak to demonstrate how disease tracking may be accomplished in even a place as crowded and densely populated as Mecca during the Hajj (pilgrimage). The Saudi Arabian Government worked closely with the CDC to develop a real-time surveillance system geared towards tracking the escalation of the disease. Healthcare workers with cellphones could upload GPS coordinates and information on cases to a global network to help map out the situation. Having access to this technology can make a task even as daunting as tracking the advancement of disease through the immense crowds of the Hajj a relatively easy effort. Being able to document each individual case, monitor the movement of infected individuals, and create maps of the movement of the disease proved to be an immense help in finding ways to mitigate the spread of Swine Flu. This is one example of just how important access to modern tracking and mapping technology is in the world of disease tracking.
The chapter I was assigned explored how the geospatial revolution helped end the Yugoslav War in 1995. Experts used PowerScene to map areas and determine which were predominantly Serbian, Croatian, or Muslim.
The equipment, PowerScene, used terrain elevation data and overlayed it imagery to form the borders of the new countries. They navigated the maps with a joystick to move around the area shown and zoom in and out. With this technology they were able to lay out borders and roadways that would keep the feuding ethnicities away from each other to avoid further fighting and deaths. With PowerScene, the experts created three countries from Yugoslavia.
The geospatial revolution is important to us today because it helps us when situations arise in other countries that we don’t know the geography and lay out of as well as our own. It can aid us when we need to plan out attacks on other countries, or safe routes out of them.
After watching this chapter, I have gained more of an understanding as to what the geospatial revolution is and how it benefits us today.
Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:
You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. ( Log Out / Change )
You are commenting using your Twitter account. ( Log Out / Change )
You are commenting using your Facebook account. ( Log Out / Change )
You are commenting using your Google+ account. ( Log Out / Change )
Connecting to %s
Notify me of new comments via email.