32 Maps that Explain the World


GREAT post from Business Insider.  For those of you who love maps, current events, politics, social media, pretty much any hot topic, you’ll find at least one of these 32 maps hitting on key point of interest.  Definitely worth your time to look through and see the visual representations of the world around us!

32 Maps that Explain the Entire World

Maps That Explain The World – Business Insider.

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Mapping Severe Weather Probabilities


Have you ever wondered if there are patterns to where and when severe weather occurs in the United States?  There are days where we see tornado watches, severe thunderstorm warnings, reports of high wind, hail and even tornadoes.  But, what if you could see these patterns visually – say for example on a map of the country.  Well, University of Oklahoma Ph.D. candidate Patrick Marsh has just created an incredible set of animations hosted on Youtube depicting daily severe weather probabilities over a 30 year period.

You can read more on Patrick’s most recent posts at the links below:

Hurricane Storm Surge Scales – What Does the National Hurricane Center Think?


Link: NHC Views on Storm Surge Scales
Released September 10, 2010

There are scales for tornadoes, hurricanes, earthquakes, and other natural hazards.  In the aftermath of Hurricane Isaac, there were numerous calls for the National Hurricane Center to add back in a storm surge scale into the hurricane scale.  In an August 31st article from the New York Times, “Climatologists like Kerry Emanuel of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology have said that any classification should include both wind speed and surge. Otherwise, he argues, coastal residents can be easily misled.”

In 2010, the National Hurricane Center removed verbage in the Saffir-Simpson Scale that referred to storm surge in hurricanes.  In a one-page document posted on the National Hurricane Center (NHC) website earlier this week, the NHC Public Affairs staff shared the reason why storm surge was removed from that scale.  Additionally, they elaborated on why: Continue reading

Radar-Based Maps of the Henryville, IN Storm Tracks


NWS Louisville Statement on the Challenges in Damage Assessment for the Henryville, IN Tornado.

UPDATE: MARCH 6 – The National Weather Service in Louisville has published their initial findings including descriptions of the areas impacted.  That information is available at: NWS Louisville Damage Surveys – March 2, 2012.

Also, I have put together an initial version of an interactive web-map at ArcGIS.com that combines information from the second map below with the damage path information from the NWS in the link above.  The map is accessible at: Web Map of the Henrysville damage path and radar based-storm tracks at ArcGIS.com

ORIGINAL POST: March 4, 2012 – 630pm ET:

The past two days have been full of media reports, tweets and information being shared on the tornado outbreak that occurred on March 2nd, 2012 affecting towns like Henryville, IN.  As you can see from the statement below from the NWS Louisville Forecast Office, there were two supercell storms that impacted the area, with the first one producing the tornado that most people are talking about.  There was in fact a second storm behind the first one that also produced tornadoes and tornadic damage.  To make things more complicated for damage assessment teams, the paths essentially paralleled one another, and even crossed in places, making it difficult to attribute the damage to one storm versus the other.

I’ve put together the following the following map based on the NWS Radar information from the March 2nd tornado outbreak.  The map shows the paths of the two storms and paint the clear challenge that the NWS professionals have in identifying and differentiating between the two damage paths. Continue reading

Storytelling with Weather



I love how maps can be used to tell a story.  This fact just became easier with a recent addition to ESRI’s ArcGIS Online tools.  When you create a web map in ArcGIS Online, you can make it into a web application using a number of templates.  One of the most recent additions is the Tabbed Storytelling template.  There are still a few bugs that need to be worked out (like customizing the “Add Title Here” area), but all in all, it’s a great addition to the templates used by ArcGIS Online.  It took me 45 minutes to an hour to put together the map at the following link.

http://www.arcgis.com/apps/Compare/storytelling_tabbed/index.html?appid=86756c43ae9147ca8baf3581764d0c8f

What’s even more amazing about this is that you can create separate maps that can paint different parts of the puzzle, but it allows you as a user or your customers to view the comparison between the maps.  This is great because it allows individuals to make the logical connections between the maps which ends up in having more people ask additional questions.  These questions drive curiosity but they also tend to stick in people’s minds. Continue reading

Mapping the Zombie Apocalypse


What would you do???

When we think of mapping using GIS for disasters and emergencies, we think of tornadoes, floods, hurricanes, earthquakes and the like.  When we think of education, we often think of the same old off-the-shelf material from a book that we just take and share thinking we’re teaching.  However in both cases, we miss out on one of the joys of education.  Applying knowledge from one discipline or area to other areas of life…

Many of my followers on Twitter (Follow @emgis on Twitter) and this blog know of the CDC’s preparedness campaign from earlier this year on Zombie Preparedness – “Preparedness 101: Zombie Apocalypse“.  However most people who are familiar with the preparedness campaign are from the Social Media for Emergency Management (#SMEM hashtag on Twitter) community.  Most of them are not GIS people and haven’t seen how Geographic Information Systems (#GIS hashtag on Twitter) can improve our preparedness for Zombies (and for other disasters…)  Additionally, the Connected Principals Chat community (#cpchat hashtag on Twitter) could benefit from this post because it provides another way to engage students and parents on a number of levels.  You may not use zombies for important information to share, but please take a look at these examples and think of how you can apply this to your discipline and the content that you find important to share with others.

Enter the Zombie Apocalypse… Continue reading

Maps in the Classroom – Free Resources & Training


Are you looking for ways to share information on music, history, science, the arts, or many other disciplines in new ways?  Are you looking for a way to “connect the dots” to present material to your students?  Are you in a profession where information silos are prevalent and you’re looking for opportunities to explore and integrate previously disconnected resources?

If you have answered “yes” to any of these questions, you need to take a look at this free webinar from ESRI called “Teaching with GIS: Introduction to Using GIS in the Classroom“.  You may be thinking, “I’m not a geographer” or even “maps don’t really relate to my subject area”.  Here are some ideas for maps and how they can be used: Continue reading

Innovative Ways to Teach the 3 M’s – Math, Maps & Measurements


Across the country, K-12 educators are teaching students about maps, math, units of measurement and trying to find new ways to present these lessons to their students.  Likewise, Geographic Information Systems (GIS) Professionals, Meteorologists & Emergency Managers are using these same themes on a daily basis to protect their communities from weather related events.  Many schools have explored adding weather stations to their schools, but sometimes this equipment can start to get expensive as the costs add up.  How can we use some innovative real-world methods and examples to teach our K-12 students these critical skills while we’re continually losing funds due to budget cuts? Continue reading