Event: Illinois GIS Day

  • What: A celebration of GIS Day, an “annual salute to geospatial technology and its power to transform and improve our lives.” The event is free, and includes a keynote address, presentations, lightning talk sessions, a map/poster competition, and a career connection session.
  • Where: iHotel and Conference Center, 1900 S 1st St, Champaign, IL 61820
  • When: November 15, 2016 from 8:00 AM – 4:15 PM; registration open now
  • Why: To spend a day with other GIS enthusiasts, to make important connections, and to learn new and important information about what is going on in the field, including a keynote address by Keith A. Searles, Chief Executive Officer, Urban GIS, Inc.

GIS Spotlight: What3words

What3words is an addressing system that works as an alternative to using latitude and longitude. The system consists of a grid of three meter by three meter squares laid over the globe with a three word code randomly assigned to each square. Their system is based on the idea that three words are much easier to remember, as well as record and relay, than multi-digit latitude and longitude coordinates.

This new addressing system is extremely useful for countries where there are inconsistent or nonexistent addresses or street names.  The Mongol Post has adopted what3words as their addressing system because of the considerable nomadic population in Mongolia and the lack of road names over much of the country.

Even in countries with functional postal systems what3words can be used to identify places that have no address. For instance, the Alma Mater of The University of Illinois has no street address, but in what3words its address is stores.basin.frame.

14251424459_4b27cbbd25_bI think that what3words is a really interesting idea, and since I love maps I find it enjoyable just looking around their website. It’s fun to find a what3words that’s very apt for its location (despite the random distribution of words), or… one that’s not.  For example, worlds.largest.ocean is located just outside of Marshfield, Wisconsin.


There are some limitations, however. What3words only gives information about the surface of the Earth. It does not give any reference to where things are vertically. Addressing in urban areas would not be able to rely solely on what3words for this reason; an apartment number or floor would have to be added. What3words has said that it’s possible they could incorporate a height dimension in the future.

What3words can be used with ArcGIS, a mapping software that the Scholarly Commons has available on all PCs in our lab. Since the Scholarly Commons is located on the third floor of the library, I can’t direct you here solely through what3words. I can however, specify the best library entrance for getting here.

Enter at and go up the stairs.

Come visit us!

MapLab, new Wired magazine blog about maps

Maplab screenshot

The popular technology & culture magazine Wired recently launched a new blog entitled MapLab to feature resources and ideas about maps.  MapLab’s scope includes learning about, using, making, and enjoying both analog and digital maps.

As staff commented in the initial post:

We’ll be exploring mapping software, hunting for data, and figuring out, step-by-step, how to make digital maps. We hope to make maps that tell interesting stories, answer important questions, reveal hidden relationships, and enhance the reporting we do at Wired.

Early posts have featured:

  • The Urban Observatory, a web application that provides geo-spatial comparisons between cities over multiple variables, including demographics, land use, and transportation.
  • A recent California Supreme Court ruling that local governments must release digital mapping files under the state’s public records law.
  • MapBox Satellite Live, a future service of MapBox.com that plans to provide immediate access to near real-time satellite imagery of anywhere in the world, in a standard format.
  • Maps and the Geospatial Revolution, a new MOOC (massive open online course) about digital mapping.

The blog is authored in part by GIS professionals and encourages feedback from readers.

blog: http://www.wired.com/wiredscience/maplab
RSS: http://www.wired.com/wiredscience/category/map-lab/feed/
Twitter: http://twitter.com/wiredsciblogs

GeoChallenge 2010 !!

GeoChallenge 2010 has arrived.

     • Are you interested in a Treasure Hunt?
     • Do you want to play with GPS?
     • Do you want a chance to win an iPod Touch or 100’s of dollars of gift certificates?

The campus is celebrating GIS day (Geographical Information Sciences) on November 19 with displays and lightning talks by people actively involved in geographic sciences. During the 2 weeks before GIS day, you can try your hand at a GPS rally. There are fun clues to various locations around campus. You go to each one, and answer questions about what you find there. The answers give you directions to the next clue. On the way you will help collect geographical information that will be presented at GIS day. When you are done, you will be entered in a drawing for some pretty cool prizes.

http://www.library.illinois.edu/sc/geochallenge_2010.html has the instructions and starting clue.

For information on GIS day go to http://webstore.illinois.edu/gisfair/

GeoChallenge 2010 - 1st clue