Internet Bird Collection

If you like birds, the Internet Bird Collection (IBC) is an excellent place to spend some time.  The IBC is an online audiovisual library of videos, photos, and sound recordings of the world’s birds created with the ultimate goal of disseminating knowledge about the world’s avifauna.  You can explore multimedia materials and recordings of thousands of bird species crowdsourced by birdwatchers around the world, with their species identifications cross-checked by trained ornithologists.  This vast collection can be searched and filtered by family name (common or scientific), country, keyword, date, and more, and each media entry includes a location map and shows other media recorded nearby.  Those interested can create a free account and contribute their own bird photos, videos, and sound recordings.  Check it out!


Atlas of Endangered Alphabets

The Atlas of Endangered Alphabets is a fascinating project that anyone curious about written languages can enjoy and learn from. Visitors to the atlas can browse dozens of writing systems by their place of origin via the interactive map. While many of the languages represented in the atlas are spoken today, their written forms may have declined in use or have only recently been developed. Each language has its own page with images, profile, and links to additional resources. Check it out!


Whale Mapping

Most of us using GIS today do not get to do much mapping of whales, but back in the mid 19th century the American whaling trade was big business and you needed to know where the whales were.

Check out this innovative map from 1851 showing the distribution of several different species of whales, identifying each with a combination of color and pictorial symbols.  The map shows at that time that the Pacific Ocean was the primary habitat for whales.  The Atlantic Ocean was not because the whale resources there had been terribly depleted.  Check it out!


Giant 1940 Wooden Model Joined Together Digitally

Found this interesting digital map of San Francisco in the David Rumsey Map Collection.  It was a massive wooden model of San Francisco that has not been on display in one piece since 1942.  The 158 pieces that create a 42×38 foot model of the city were digitally photographed and pieced together to create one big mosaic image.  The model represented the city as it was in 1940.  Check it out!


Unintended Consequences with Data

Many of us that create GIS data and share with others have no idea of the unintended consequences that the data might produce.  Using data and ignoring the scale, resolution, accuracy, and where it came from might produce very wrong results.

Click below to read this rather long story about how location data married with IP addresses is causing a horror show for a couple in South Africa, and this is not the only case.