727 Best Colleges

Looking for a college?  Though GIS programs were not used as a factor, check out this listing of colleges based on graduation rates, tuition charges, family borrowing, and alumni earnings (plus 22 other data points) to find the country’s top values.

Top ranked in the SoCal area:

#2 University of California – San Diego
#3 University of California – Irvine
#4 University of California – Los Angeles
#12 California Institute of Technology – Pasadena
#22 California State University – Long Beach
#32 University of California – Riverside
#45 California State University – Dominguez Hills
#47 California State Polytechnic University – Pomona

And if you are looking for colleges in the area that have GIS programs, check out the Education section on the resources page.

California Place Names

Ever wonder where that place name came from?  I found a scanned copy of a 1916 journal article “California Place Names of Indian Origin” on the UC Berkeley Library website.  Check out this entry for Azusa:



Ha!  I like footnote #6, and I paraphrase: some guy living in Azusa quotes some other guy who’s godfather said it means “skunk hill” because of the skunks, the small polecat variety, on the hill named “Azuncsabit” by the Indians, east of the town where the ranch house of the grant stood.

And here I thought Azusa got it’s name from the phrase “the best city from A to Z in the USA!”

You can download the PDF of the journal article here.

I also bought this book many years ago and it’s pretty interesting if you are into the etymology of place names:


US State Dept International Boundary Studies

Florida State University has placed the US State Department’s International Boundary Studies online.  They are really useful for getting a high-level description of the history and delimitation of international boundaries around the world.  Most often the studies will not have any maps, but the text will have a description of the boundaries.  Check it out!