Death Valley’s Moving Rocks

For at least a century, the moving rocks of Death Valley have presented a puzzle, and researchers have been trying to solve it since 1948.  The rocks, some of them boulders weighing more than 600 pounds, show signs of movement across the desert floor by leaving long trails behind them.

Explanations including dust devils, flooding, hurricane-strength winds, and even UFOs have been offered, but the mystery was finally solved when researchers caught the rocks in the act!

Check out the National Geographic article and watch the video below.

Experimental Prototype Community Of Tomorrow

Most people do not realize that the original vision of Walt Disney World included a plan for an Experimental Prototype Community of Tomorrow (E.P.C.O.T.), known today as Epcot.

E.P.C.O.T. was Walt Disney’s one of a kind project composed of several elements which included a prototype community, an industrial park, an airport of the future, a Disneyland type theme park, transportation systems, and much much more.

All these elements were imagined by Walt Disney and his staff with new and advanced designs and technologies. The project was conceived between 1962 and 1966 and even if it did survive a couple of years it was stopped in the mid 70’s and never developed. Some elements did survive in the Walt Disney World resort as we know it today, but so much more was planned. Unfortunately, the project lost it’s main energy: Walt.  Walt Disney died just two weeks after filming the “E.P.C.O.T. film” in 1966, a promotional film created for the media and investors.  The film is a great Disney landmark since it’s the last movie of Walt Disney alive and since it’s content is Walt Disney’s last and unbuilt dream … E.P.C.O.T.

Check out the website and watch the film.  Walt Disney was very focused on transportation and how to move people and goods around.  If you are into urban planning and design or transportation, this piece of history will be very interesting to you!  Click below to check it out.

Almost looks like a GIS map!

USGS Earthquake 101

The U.S. Geological Survey will host an educational event for the news media focused on earthquakes on Wednesday September 24, 2014. The goal of the event is to provide the press an opportunity to work with USGS staff to build knowledge about and confidence in the information delivery systems and people to create more timely and accurate reporting of earthquakes.

At this event, USGS scientists and public affairs staff will lead sessions in which journalists can refresh knowledge about basic principles about earthquakes, how to improve scientific accuracy when reporting on earthquakes, and about USGS resources to make your job easier. Find out about USGS public domain maps, images, and graphics that can be quickly and freely downloaded and reused following an earthquake.

Who: USGS geologists, geophysicists, and public affairs. See list below.

What: 30-minute plenary session with presentations on reporting on earthquakes and relevant USGS resources, followed by concurrent small group discussions with USGS researchers on various aspects of earthquake science. Subjects will include:

  • Earthquake Early Warning vs. Earthquake Prediction, by Doug Given, Geophysicist
  • Natural vs. Induced Seismicity, by Justin Rubinstein, Geophysicist
  • Emerging New Technology: GPS, InSAR, LiDAR, by Ben Brooks, Geologist
  • Shaking Intensity versus Earthquake Magnitude, by Brad Aagaard, Geophysicist
  • Liquefaction, Landslides, & Fault Rupture, by Tom Holzer, Engineering Geologist
  • USGS Real-time Online Earthquake Products, by David Wald, Geophysicist
  • Is the Number of Large Earthquakes Increasing? by Jeanne Hardebeck, Geophysicist
  • Earthquake Resources on the Web, by Lisa Wald, Geophysicist/Web Content Manager, Webmaster
  • Foreshocks, Main Shocks, and Aftershocks, by Andrea Llenos, Geophysicist and Ruth Harris, Geophysicist
  • Who/how/when and where to go for an interview concerning an earthquake, by Leslie Gordon, Public Affairs Specialist and Susan Garcia, Outreach Coordinator

When: Wednesday, September 24, 2014, 10:00 a.m. – 11:30 a.m. PDT

Registration: Please register online to participate in the workshop.

Where: U.S. Geological Survey, Main Auditorium, Bldg. 3, 2nd floor, 345 Middlefield Road, Menlo Park, Calif.

Online: The first 30 minutes of the event will be live video-streamed over the web, and archived online for later viewing.

Changing Data Paths in MXD Files

So you moved your GIS data and now you need to update your MXD files with all those layers that point to the old data location.  What to do?  Use ArcCatalog to update them.  I’m using version 10.2 here.

First open ArcCatalog and navigate to the location of your MXD files.  Next, right click on one of the files and select “Set Data Source(s)…”


You can then edit your data paths by selecting the ones that need editing, then pressing the Replace button:


After you change the paths, make sure to enter a new MXD file name, then press the OK button.  That’s it!