Saturday, December 20, 2008

HD Google Earth Fly-in to Sal Creek Restoration, Tongass National Forest Alaska

YouTube has recently provided a way to upload High Definition Videos.  I have embedded one of my recent uploads to this page below.  However, to see a larger High Definition window size you have to go to my You Tube page.  An option to see this YouTube video in "High Definition" quality will become visible (after you hit the > Play arrow) by moving your cursor over the ^ arrow on the right side bottom of the video window.  The window size stays the same on this page, but the quality is improved dramatically.

This video contains a fly in from space to Sal Creek on Prince of Wales, Island in Alaska, where we are photographing the changes that take place over time as restoration work is done.  A Google Earth KML file linking to a Google EArth 3D view, several full screen, High Definition 360 degree panoramas and videos can be found on our Mountain Visions Google Earth Tour Gallery page.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Falling, Surging, Plunging, Soaring - Paul Krugman

My last post could be changed to "54 Days - Change We Must Participate in!"

Paul Krugman, 2008 Nobel Prize Award in Economics, used these interesting words juxtaposed in his November 21 article published in the New York Times titled "The Lame-Duck Economy"

Stock Market falling, employment surging, manufacturing plunging, interest rates (corporate bonds) soaring.

Krugman asks, "How much can go wrong in the two months before Mr. Obama takes the oath of office? The answer, unfortunately, is: a lot. Consider how much darker the economic picture has grown since the failure of Lehman Brothers, which took place just over two months ago. And the pace of deterioration seems to be accelerating."

He concludes by stating, "But nothing is happening on the policy front that is remotely commensurate with the scale of the economic crisis. And it’s scary to think how much more can go wrong before Inauguration Day."

A few days after I read Krugman's article came across a web page of the Natural Capital Institute - "Helping society towards a socially just and environmentally restorative existence" and read the quote below by Bill Moyers.

"An unconscious people, an indoctrinated people, a people fed only partisan information and opinion that confirm their own bias, a people made morbidly obese in mind and spirit by the junk food of propaganda, is less inclined to put up a fight and ask questions and be skeptical. That kind of orthodoxy can kill a democracy or worse."

Paul Hawken is the founder and executive director of The Natural Capital Institute.(NCI) I wrote about him and his new book titled "Blessed Unrest" in my post on August 20, 2007.

Hawken and NCI launched the Wiser Earth project on Earth Day, April 2007. "Since its release, WiserEarth's functionality and tools have co-evolved with its users. Starting out as a directory, WiserEarth now offers social networking tools and groupware for people to connect and collaborate around issue areas.

Interestingly, at the same time Wiser Earth was starting, myself and some local friends started the Idaho Common Adventure Network to "Share Place Based and Environmental Interests." I have also joined Wiser Earth and several other organizations trying to learn more about how to encourage citizens to become more involved in local, regional and global environmental issues they care about.

There are a lot of new Geospatial and networking tools that are available to encourage individuals and groups to start projects and become more involved in decisions that affect their lives. Last week I prepared an online presentation related to GeoWeb Common Adventure Networking that I also presented to the 2008 Idaho Environmental Summit. I plan to write another post examining my two plus year involvement with that organization in a few days.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

4 -100 Years & 7 Generations - Change We Must Participate In!

On this blog for the past two years I have been suggesting that new interactive Internet tools are now available to help citizens become more substantially involved in local, regional and global environmental and ecosystem related issues. During President-Elect Obama's recent acceptance speech he told a story that made me want to emphasize that we must start now, and in the next four years, more actively participate in the complex decisions that will affect everybody in the next 100 years and at least 7 generations into the future.

During the campaign Obama met a 106 year old woman who voted in the recent election and gave him a brief recounting of the changes she had witnessed during this long lifetime. Then he wondered what changes his young daughters would see if they were fortunate to have equally long lives. Most of us know elders who have shared similar stories and some of us have already accumulated several decades of our own experiences we can now share with younger generations.

One of the primary campaign slogans Barack Obama campaign used was "Change We Can Believe In." Now that the election is over I see signs that a new slogan championed by many is becoming "Change We Must Participate In." Interactive participatory tools and opportunities have become available to all age and interest groups. Now individuals, groups and communities must learn how to use these to become much more involved in local, political, economic and environmental decisions that affect themselves, their children, their grandchildren and future generations. The history of America since the U.S. constitution contains a wealth of stories barely more than 7 generations old. In 2008-2009 we are experiencing the problems related to ecosystem decisions made during this time. What will the world be like 200 years in the future will depend in large part on global decisions made - starting now! What can we all start to do now and in the next 4 years?

In recent years with the overwhelming scientific evidence of negative human impact on the worlds ecosystems and the more recent news of the global economic crises it seems imminently logical that forward thinking people in America and worldwide have to see that these problems are irreversibly interconnected. Indeed throughout time this connection has been stressed often, but has unfortunately been ignored by our modern economic and political leaders, leading to the worldwide crises we are experiencing today. Examples of an appreciation and reverence for "mother earth" and "mother nature." are included in the familiar stories and legends passed on by globally diverse prehistoric, and native cultures including American Indian tribes. These concepts can also be traced back to ancient Greece and to the Middle ages.

More recently, during the 1960's and 70's after men first landed on the moon and also photographed the incredible image of earth from space for the first time, NASA scientists proposed an ecological hypotheses that the biosphere and the physical components of Earth form a complex interacting system that defined the Earth as a single living organism. Originally called the Gaia Hypothesis this is now regarded as a scientific theory, not merely a hypothesis, since it has passed many predictive tests. A new terminology, Earth System Science. has also emerged to define this field of ecological science. Gaia conferences have been held in 1988, 2000 and in 2006 where discussions centered on understanding how to address 21st century issues such as climate change and ongoing environmental destruction. Research carried out over the past decade by four different international global change programs recognise that, in addition to the threat of significant climate change, there is growing concern over the ever-increasing human modification of other aspects of the global environment and the consequent implications for human well-being. (Condensed from Wikipedia)

For citizens who want to become more actively involved the question is how? I believe a good starting point is for each of us and small groups to choose a geographic location or place that can be identified as a "Common" - a specific land (lithosphere), water (hydrosphere) or air (atmosphere) space that is publicly owned. (Wikipedia) Already there are government agencies, environmental groups and community organizations that might have a vested interest in any of our chosen "common" projects. We can become involved by joining these groups, gathering historical data and information available on the Internet and other public sources, and by insisting that we and other individual citizens have a strong participatory voice in decisions that are made. It will also be important to involve other citizens and organizations that are involved in similar commons projects also connected to the larger ecosystem. For example, one "common" project might be focused on a specific water location in a watershed. Related to those water issues are land, wildlife, habitat and myriad other topics upstream and downstream and and forming more complex interacting ecosystems. Yes this effort will demand an unpracticed level of individual participation from all of us, but the evidence is clear now that we have no choice but to try our best.

Most of us know that in our structured hierarchical society is is sometimes difficult for individual citizens of different interests, experiences and backgrounds to be fully accepted or even admitted as equal - horizontal- partners in existing government, environmental, or community groups. However, today, more than any other time in history, the Internet and the World Wide Web offers all of us the opportunity to create Common Adventure projects of the type that I have often written about in this blog. I will also include a link to a presentation I made at the 2004 PlaNetwork Conference titled "InterActive InterNetworking for Ecological Commons" where I anticipated s0me of the same concerns noted in this blog post.

Today, using the growing proliferation of available online discussion forums, blogs, social and interest networks any one person has infinite opportunities to suggest or join a new public service project proposed to take place in a public common area. Meetups, cleanups, monitoring studies, town hall meetings, and community presentations where people physically and socially interact are equally important. A lot of new participatory energy from citizen and community groups should add significantly and positively to the decision making process our elected leaders have been engaged in for generations.

Using new and exciting web based and Semantic Search techniques and tools, it is becoming possible now to locate more useful historical and contemporary data and information about a specific location than ever before. Plus, it is now possible for all of us to contribute photographs, stories, and new data and information for places we care about and this adds to the search results the next person performs. Finally, exciting map tools like Google Maps, Google Earth and many others make it is possible to actually virtually visit almost any place on earth, even in 3 Dimensions. Over time, with a great increase in public participation, on the ground, in the meeting room, and online on the Internet, the wealth of valuable information that will become available for specific places and local, regional and global ecosystems hold the promise that in 4 years, 100 years and 7 generations, citizens worldwide will be moving toward a more sustainable local, regional and global earth ecosystem.

Along with the recent global economic crisis, the more important ecological crisis and the election of a new president in the U.S., new efforts to promote participation in local, regional and global issues are appearing. I will attempt to identify some of these as time permits in future blog posts.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Debt to Nature and the Global Economy Crisis

The current news for the past several weeks has been much about the serious global economic crisis that clearly appears now to have no short term solutions.

What we are not hearing much about is the huge "debt to nature" the global community has continued to accumulate in increasingly greater quanity during the "Industrial Revolution" starting more than 200 years ago. It does not take to much study of scientific information to understand that the natural environment and resource problems are much more severe than the global economic policies, which in turn, have also contributed heavily to the debt to nature.

On this blog I have been attempting to clarify that all citizens should become involved in starting and participating in networking efforts related to issues and places that they care about. As citizens we have a civic responsibility to be much more involved in decisions related to a sustainable environment and a sustainable economy. The past two years of "fair and balanced" news about the climate crisis and the past month of frightening news about the crisis in the global economy should be a wake up call to all of us. Clearly, elected representatives and businesses that value dollar profits at a much higher level than environmental sustainability, have to be held to a much higher level of accountability if similar environmental and economic crises are to be avoided in the future. We, as citizens have to immediately become much more engaged in the public dialogue that precedes the decision and law making process, not only in America, but worldwide as well.

High Country News editor, Jonathan Thompson, wrote an "editors Note" in the October 13, 2008 issue titled, "Forget Wall Street, focus on the real crisis." His first two paragraphs clarify what the real crisis is:

"We are approaching a crisis that stems in part from irresponsible behavior and is aggravated by our insatiable consumer culture. A lack of government oversight has let the problem grow to catastrophic levels. Now it could devastate entire economies and societies.

No, I'm not talking about Wall Street. I'm talking about the crisis we seem to forget whenever our credit limits are threatened: climate change. Today, the environment is once again taking a backseat to other problems. We're fascinated by the jagged line depicting the stock market's abstract ups and downs, even as we ignore the much more frightening -- and far from abstract -- upward surge in global temperatures."

Another article dated October 22, 2008 and written by Ben Block was found on the Worldwatch Instutute web site. Titled IPCC Chair: Severity Under-reported. He wrote:

"The chair of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change said the news media are not sufficiently addressing the severity of climate change at a meeting of U.S. environmental journalists earlier this week.

R.K. Pachauri, head of the 2,500-member IPCC, said that unless policies are enacted soon to mitigate greenhouse gas emissions, the global perils from shifting weather patterns and sea level rise will become worse in the coming years."

"In the last year and a half, there has been a massive explosion of awareness; however, the media has not reported enough about the emergency and depth of action," said Pachauri, who has led the United Nations panel since 2002."

One single clarifying example representing a 136 year time span, close to home, was mentioned by Ralph Nader at his recent appearance in Boise. On public land in the West, mining companies can still purchase lands that promise mineral wealth for $5.00 an acre, the same as the cost when the General Mining Law was passed in 1872. The company can, even today, extract valuable minerals for the marketplace, but do not pay any royalties to the public for the use of this publicly owned resource. Plus, Congress has granted miners an $800 million tax break still in effect. And even worse, when the mine is no longer profitable, the toxic waste and destruction is way too often abandoned in place with the expectation that the public will pay the recovery costs, if there is any demand for this. Rivers, fish and wildlife, habitat and people downstream from these mines continue to pay in health and other costs for decades after a mine is closed. Only a few of these sites have been rehabilitated using taxpayer Environmental Protection Agency Superfund monies.

I am sure we will all be talking and reading more about the economic and nature debts now than ever before. The question is how can we become more involved in those issues that concern us most? I will try to post some more ideas that make sense to me.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

The GeoWeb -Trends and benefits

The concept of the GeoWeb, a short form for Geospatial Web, has really exploded into the consciousness of many Internet users who find that they can not only "find" interesting information and photos for places all over the world on 2D and 3D maps, they can also easily "contribute" their own locations and detailed data and information about places they know and care about.

While I have been posting to this Blog I have come to believe that the trends and benefits that are accruing from GeoWeb activities will result in a logically standard Geo-Search interface to the growing body of knowledge available on the Internet. In future posts I will try to clarify what I am learning about this exciting process.

For example, recently I saw a reference to a new O'Reilly Report entitled: "Radar Report on Where 2.0: The State of the Geospatial Web." Brady Forrest and Andrew Turner, two of the authors have posted blog information describing the report. The link to the report on Brady Forrest's post provides a readable Scribd file for the first 15 of the 55 page report. (The full report is available from O'Reilly Radar Reports for $399.)

Andrew Turner is also scheduled to present a free live "O'Reilly Webcast on Friday October 24, 10 AM PDT. Titled "Trends and Technologies in Where 2.0," this O'Reilly web page provides an online Registration Form and more descriptive information.

I was reminded to look at the Radar Report again a few days ago by an IBM blog post by Rob Wunderlich who wrote this additional brief summary:

"The main point of the report is the unexpected benefits of the Web 2.0 phenomonen is the staggering amount of geographic data that has become available and freely disseminated. We're all familiar with some of the sites: Google Maps, MapQuest and WikiMapia, to name a couple examples. But this report digs far deeper into what they call the "GeoWeb" - and they mention sites like GeoEye and DigitalGlobe."

Below is a brief summary of the report provided by Brady Forrest:

"In the 55 page report we examine:
  • How Web 2.0 is empowering millions to publish and contribute geocontent to open services
  • How both community and public geodata are becoming available and freely disseminated
  • How mobile devices (like the iPhone and soon via Android) are becoming location-aware and leading to new privacy and data access concerns.
  • Open formats are leading the way for open data
  • How the net has caused the rise of immersive imagery and the use of
  • How crowdsourcing is being used to build up mapping data and imagery
  • How location-based gaming platforms are on the rise, but are still looking for the category-killing game"
As I noted in my blog post on September 1, 08, there are several related Web initiatives that are creating opportunities for more citizens to become involved in environmental and ecological issues. The way the GeoWeb is developing seems to me to embrace all of these and will provide opportunities for more logical decision making as we move forward in time.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

GeoCommons Maker - Now anyone can build data-rich maps

On October 1, 2008 I received an e-mail announcement from FortiusOne announcing the launch of Maker!, the second application of their next generation GeoCommons products. Here is a link to a press release, the Maker web site, and a post on their blog titled Off the Map.

We are developing some GeoWeb concepts with several Mountain Visions projects and the GeoCommons tools will be extremely useful for community networking groups to create some of their own analytical and informational maps. One of these projects is the Jamaica Protected Areas Trust web site that already contains some interesting GeoWeb information.

A few highlights:
“Maker! is an easy-to-use browser-based application enabling you to create cartographically accurate maps using your own data or GeoCommons open data.”

“Create Actionable Maps In 5 Minutes
Maker streamlines the best of GIS into a quick and easy workflow.”

“No Experience Required
Maker! makes the tough statistical and cartographic decisions for you.
Anyone can build complex, data-rich maps.”

“Professional Cartography
Style your map with shaded thematics, proportional symbols, graduated
icons, points, lines and polygons.”

Monday, September 01, 2008

Mobilizing Community against Ecological Decline

On this blog I have posited the concept that new and powerful Internet tools like the GeoWeb, SemanticWeb, SocialWeb, MobileWeb, ImageWeb, and OpenSourceWeb have become available and are being refined to allow individuals, small groups with common interests, and larger communities to become more involved in environmental issues. Consequently more people than ever before should now begin to become more effective in making better decisions that are critically related to the local and global ecosystems we all depend upon. The sooner this involvement becomes standard practice the better chance we have for sustained ecological balance for the future when humans might be friendly rather than toxic to the natural world around us that we depend on for our own survival.

Even though we in America represented by many powerful and popular environmental organizations who have been attempting to protecting ecosystem values over the past 30-40 years, clearly many more of us individual citizens have to become much more involved in new and innovative approaches to environmental decision making in the immediate future. A 2008 Forest Voice Newsletter presents a number of disturbing articles outlining different perspectives on how representative environmental organizations have too often compromised and collaborated with industry and government to soften ecological decisions. Rather than reversing ecological decline these compromises may just be slowing the process down, sometimes.

I personally believe the time is right, and it is critically important for everyone to immediately start learning about, and acting positively on, our human responsibilities to each other and to our natural environments and ecosystems, local, regional, and global.

I have also just seen a detailed excerpt from a very interesting book written by Roy Woodbridge in 2004. The title is The Next World War: Tribes, Cities, Nations, and Ecological Decline. In this book he focuses on actions the people of the world must take in the next 25 years.

In the preface Woodbridge notes that "I begin this book by talking about the fact that ecological decline is the enemy of all peoples - in fact, it is the only enemy that is common to all peoples."

"The book is a call for all societies to wage war against global ecological decline." He argues, that even though the word "War" is not a great metaphor it is important for people worldwide to understand that "anything less than mobilizing with the same intensity and commitment that we bring to all-out war will produce the kind of effort required."

Interestingly Al Gore has more recently stated in a speech titled "A Generational Challenge to Repower America" on July 17, 2008 -- "Today I challenge our nation to commit to producing 100 percent of our electricity from renewable energy and truly clean carbon-free sources within 10 years."

Environmental events caused by humans during my lifetime, and especially in the recent past, clearly indicate that we have a lot to do and we can't waste any more time. Is this a real global "war" that requires great sacrifices and mobilization from everyone? Or are each of us content to continue to believe that we witness tiny environmental skirmishes from time to time that are reported by the popular news services and that our elected leaders and will solve problems by passing meaningful legislation without much of our personal involvement? I am afraid the dramatic ecological degradation we are experiencing today is the result of the latter.

Any comments or suggestions or links to projects that can help us learn quickly how to effectively mobilize as individuals and communities against local, regional and global ecological decline are welcome.

Friday, August 22, 2008

Rico Simpkins, REI, - Web 2.0 Mapping and Social Networking

Today I saw a news release explaining Recreational Equipment Inc. initiative to encourage Web 2.0 mapping and Social Networking for their customers. I found a YouTube video with Rico Simpkins explaining the development of this program. YouTube provides an easy way to include this in my Blog, so I am sending this now.

I intend to find out more about this project. There are many ways I can think of that this program could be expanded to environmental, recreation, education and scientific groups in Idaho for example, but other places all over the country.

I will write more detail about how this can work soon. Meanwhile I intend to contact REI to find out more.

Monday, August 04, 2008

Place and Time Knowledge Networking

Over the past few months I have been somewhat inundated by information and news that I feel I should be writing about and sharing with people who read this blog. For awhile, I am going to try to narrow down future topics in an attempt to develop a more consolidated view of how I believe "Place and Time Knowledge Networking" should become more important to individuals, groups and communities who have an interest in the past present and future of special geographic "places" or locations they care about. I wrote an earlier blog post on this topic on September 07, 2007.

One excellent reference on these topics I noted in that post is the book titled, "The Geospatial Web" - How Geobrowsers, Social Software and the Web 2.0 are Shaping the Networked Society. This link goes to a web site where an Introduction, Table of Contents, Bibliography, Contributors and an Acknowledgment. A link to a "Sample Chapter" is also provided.

Another reference I made in that earlier post was to interesting presentations at the GeoWeb 2007 Conference and available on the web site.

Now. a year later the GeoWeb 2008 Conference has just concluded. Keynote and invited speaker podcasts will be available online and the entire proceedings are available for sale.

On his Blog on August 1, 2008, Ron Lake, CEO, of Galdos Systems, Inc., the GeoWeb conference organizer, wrote a post titled - "GeoWeb and the State of the World." I will quote a few sentences from this post and make some of my own interpretive comments below.

"One of the most pressing issues facing our planet is of course climate change and its close sister ecological decline. In order to act on these issues we need to come (more or less globally) to an agreement on the “state” of the world....The important issue for me is simply that we are seeking in this discussion to express something akin to the “state” of a system, in this case the state of the world climate or world ecosystem, although many other system states are of interest."

I believe it is clear that these other system states Lake alludes to could include smaller areas or system states like a distinct ecosystem, a watershed, a wilderness area, and perhaps even man made boundaried systems like states, counties, and cities, or conservation areas like a wildlife refuge or wildlife corridors, a river restoration project, or even a precise geographic location where a a single remote sensor is gathering information.

Lake also notes that it is interesting to note that the use of the word "we" implies that “we need to come to an agreement on the state of the world.” In my mind the "we" word clearly implies that citizens should be involved in learning about system states that affect them, and also should be involved more in future decision making processes. This requires that all possible knowledge about a place or a system has to be made available and networking opportunities need to become more widespread for people to become involved in places and systems they care about.

Regarding knowledge, Lake's thinking is that the GeoWeb will evolve in a different way than the conventional web as we know it now. Instead of finding a large amount of data represented by web pages and documents when we do a search he believes the data we receive "must be organized with respect to space and time." I believe this means that we should be able to find all the available information about a place or system of interest that has taken place over time. An overview of discussions about the "Semantic Web" will help reveal how this is becoming possible now and will become even stronger in the next few years. (There is a lot of new information about the Semantic Web that I will try to add later, but I have written several posts about it in the past.)

Lake also mentions "what one might call “GeoPresence". Again I believe that this word can be used to indicate that potentially any identified geographic location will have associated space and time knowledge that could be made available via a Semantic Search to anyone interested in the past history, current status, or future decisions that might be made about that location. A major advantage that is promised by a Semantic Web Search is that the information about data and authors will become much more accurate, reliable, and dependable over time because everything will continually be rated by experts and by many Internet users.

Lake concludes the post with this thought. "GeoWeb is not just a fusion of the Web and Geo-technology. It is response to an unmet need in our society to know and express the state of the world. This part of the journey has hardly started."

In another post soon, I intend to give an example of the valuable Geographically local knowledge contained in community newspaper archives, especially those that have been in existence for many decades or a hundred or more years. Much of this knowledge could be made more openly available to the GeoWeb in the near future.

Sunday, May 25, 2008

GeoWeb, GIS & Neogeography notices

There has been a lot of very interesting "buzz" on the internet about the announcements made last week at the Where 2.0 Conference. Here is a link to the Where 2.0 Web site where you can find links to highlights from the show at the top of the page under the site menu and a very good short description of the conference.

John Henke, head of Google Maps and Google Earth and Jack Dangermond, founder and Chief Executive of ESRI announced the upcoming opportunity to merge GIS Map server information with other neogeographic services that are becoming popular. Here is a link to a video of this presentation.

I found this video on the May 13, Google Earth Blog--here the author Frank Taylor summarized the presentation as follows: "The other interesting thing that happened during John's talk was his strategy to get more GIS data into the Where 2.0 type applications world. John went and spoke to Jack Dangermond, CEO of ESRI, to see if he could convince him to work on ways to better enable access to GIS data. He invited Jack up to the stage and Jack quite enthusiastically described his shared vision with Google to get GIS data more accessible. Apparently ESRI will be intorducing new features in the applications to facilitate KML output of GIS data. Jack said the new features will start rolling out in about 4 weeks. The implication was that it would be possible to create mashups between GIS databases and neogeography databases and tools. They discussed a bit the issues that might crop up between crowdsourced data vs. professional GIS data, but that in the long run it could be for the best. Emergency situations like the California fires was given as an example where both data types proved useful."

Another Blog (GeoScrum) written by Chris Spagnuolo also posted an article titled: "Where 2.0: Overall impressions and a Desparate Plea." Chris notes that "What I am excited about is the rise of numerous crowd sourced data projects. It has always been my contention that local geography and micro/personal geography was missing from most standard"geographies". These localized, micro-geographies can't be built by just anybody, they have to built by the people who live, work, and play in those locales if they are to have any meaning and relevance. So, I'm very psyched to see lots of local crowd sourced projects encouraging exactly this sort of behavior. I think in the past two decades, people have lost their sense of "place" and their connection with their own geographies and these efforts are breathing new life into communities by helping people reconnect with their local geography. I know this sounds very touchy-feelie, but it's important and I'm glad to see it happening.
Finally, I'm really excited about some of the Open Source platforms and frameworks being developed for "GeoWeb" applications. I think that the growth in this area will help fuel serious innovation and advancement in web-based mapping applications."

Another related Where 2.0 article was written on May 13, in the blog was titled "GIS exec works to unlock hidden geographic data." Stephan Shankland wrote this article and noted "The new version 9.3 of the dominant geographic information system (GIS) software, sold by a company called ESRI, now makes it a relatively simple matter to expose that data for easy consumption over the Internet." Jack Dangermond provided example projects in Portland Oregon and the recent San Diego Forest fires. "We are engineering it so it plugs in. It becomes effectively a support mechanism to the geoweb,"

Friday, April 25, 2008

Encyclopedia of Life - First Version

Last weekend, a friend, who is a "lichenologist" talked a little about the "Encyclopedia of Life" web site project that E.O. Wilson is involved in. I wrote about this project in my Blog almost a year ago, connecting it to efforts to create the Semantic Web and content contributions by interest groups via new social and interest networking efforts. The EOL is using a Wiki type format that is an advance form of the Wikipedia project which has become very popular on the web.

I looked at the EOL project again this week and want to report that it has progressed to become a "First version" work in progress that I thought my friend might interested in looking at and possibly contributing to in the future. The project is looking for species page Curators (authenticators) and "later in 2008 will set up a mechanism for anyone to contribute species-related content (photos, drawings, text, video, etc.). The curator(s) of the species will consider the submissions for incorporation into the authenticated species page."

The home page now has some detailed information about 25 exemplar species to show the rich and extensive information that will be possible with all species in the future.

Just for fun I decided to do a search on EOL for "Lichen" and found that almost all of the information is still to be contributed.

I also did a search for the Lichenologist, Roger Rosentreter, (resume to 1999) who is a Botonist for the Bureau of Land Management in Boise, Idaho. There were many search results and I will add one as an example that I found very interesting titled "Lichens and Wildlife."

Roger and his associates and many scientists, photographers and people with interest in individual species will have much to contribute to the Encyclopedia of Life as it develops in the next few years.

Saturday, April 05, 2008

Here Comes Everybody - a book by Clay Shirky

Clay Shirky is a well known educator and writer about social network topics. I have followed some of his work for the past few years. On Thursday April 3, he was interviewed on the Stephen Colbert Report and what he said sounded a lot like the "Common Adventure" group organizing process I have described earlier in this blog.

He has written a brand new and exciting book titled "Here Comes Everybody, The Power of Organizing Without Organizations." And he is providing a new Here Comes Everybody blog to "chronicle and extend the themes of the book."

I have not read the book yet, but I have looked at some of the web reviews and a video of Clay talking about the book. A book review by Elizabeth McKenna of Radar Reviews notes that Shirky "... offers an extremely readable sociological text on how communication technologies (cell phones, Internet, etc...) strengthen the world's ability to form social and political groups with ease and provide significant platforms for even the simplest of citizens."

The video was recorded at the Harvard Law School on March 4, 2008. Here is a link to the video and I will provide a summary of important concepts he talked about. Sharing, Conversation, Collaboration, and Collective Action.

I intend to purchase the book and keep reading the blog and will write more comments here in the future.

Saturday, March 29, 2008

Google Maps- Boise, Idaho Street View Embeddable panorama

The Google Lat long Blog posted a note on December 11, 2007 that any available Google Maps Street view panorama can be embedded on a web site or a blog. I decided to try this out and place a panorama of a street showing one of the downtown Boise buildings that provides a creative River artwork scene facing the street. You can move this panorama around in a 360 degree circle and you can also zoom up close to the artwork. If you click on the "View Larger Map" link on the bottom left of the panorama, Google Maps will open and you can navigate around the downtown area of Boise starting at this location. You can also choose to navigate to panorama views of most of the streets of Boise by selecting locations on the "Larger Map."

View Larger Map

Monday, March 24, 2008

Phase 3 - The Internet and World Wide Web

I believe Web site projects can now begin to create interactive social networking interfaces, semantic links, and cross referenced data aggregation opportunities to aid future environmental networking decision making processes at a local, regional, national, and global level. The brief outline below provides a general summary of the important components that are already providing impetus for this developing third new phase of the Internet. Our next web site projects with Mountain Visions will attempt to incorporate these features and I will attempt to explain this process on this blog as time allows.

Geospatial Web
Online maps loaded with Place &TIme Based data about the physical world.
Google Earth/maps, Virtual Earth, NASA World Wind, etc.
Virtual Communities

The World Wide Web as accessed from mobile devices such as cell phones, PDAs, and other portable gadgets connected to a public network. Access does not require a desktop computer.

DataWeb (Semantic Web)
Expert and Knowledge based Content and Concepts,
Semantic Searching - Much more defined, reputable and reliable search results.
Related to Geospatial place and time all data sources noted below:
Scientific papers, reports, studies, etc.
Environmental Impact Statements, Planning documents, etc.
GIS Data bases from many sources - local regional, national and global.
Other Databases - Government, environmental, knowledge, economic, visual, etc.

Open Source software, public domain knowledge, etc.
Online web applications, public domain imagery etc.
Shared GIS data and GITechnology

ImageWeb (Images are unique forms of data. See DataWEb)
A proliferation of shared GIS maps, historical maps, paintings, graphics, photos,
video, audio, animation, etc. related to the Geospatial and Data Web.
3D Simulations, Virtualization, and future scenarios and models based on existing data.
Virtual Environmental game scenarios.

Social Networking 2.0 and 3.0
Education - K-12, Community and College Networking.
Citizen participation, volunteers, public input.
Pubic tagging and rating tools for data, photos, knowledge, etc.
Posting photos, citizen monitoring data, blogs, wikis, and much more public involvement in planning decisions.

Tuesday, February 05, 2008

Democratic Caucus -Boise, Idaho- Too Full!!

Images below are loaded from last on top to the first on the bottom. I will post this now and come back and organize it better later. Thousands of people were in lines snaking around buildings trying to get into the Arena. We made it into the lobby, but they told us the Fire Marshall said the Arena was completely full. They would take our ballot, and our vote would count. We left and thought we would get a cup of coffee, but the cafe was full too. A half hour later there were still people waiting outside the door. (Top Photo)

Barack Obama - Boise, Idaho - Community and Environmental Service

Senator Barack Obama visited Idaho and gave a campaign speech in Boise, to about 14,000 people on February 2, 2008. (Notice in the photo to the right, taken by Katy Flanagan on a cell phone, that only a few seats are empty and these are located directly behind a curtain and a crowd of standing people hiding a view of Obama) This was an absolutely amazing turnout for a Democrat in possibly the most conservative Republican State in the U.S. The media and conversations on the street indicate that there will probably be a record number of participants in the Idaho Democratic Caucus being held tonight, February 5. Katy and I plan to participate.

Obama's campaign speech was inspiring and full of good ideas of hope and action for our country in the near future. One of the action themes both Obama and Senator Hillary Clinton (and possibly some Republicans) are developing will provide more opportunities for citizens to perform some significant community/public service contribution. This will apply especially to college students who have had to borrow money for their education, and the service will reduce this debt.

I would expect that many of these community/public service action opportunities could be oriented to environmental and ecosystem restoration and recovery efforts. In addition, I assume that people of all ages, including younger students, families, older citizens, and community groups will also be encouraged to initiate or become involved in the same public service projects.

Advancements in Social Networking software, including new ways to explore, create and share geospatial maps, semantic data, photographs and animated visualizations that I have discussed in this Blog are tools that should help make the next generation of participation in environmental social service a lot of short run productive fun. Collectively, this effort should also provide much better and needed long range environmental and ecosystem decisions.