The GeoChristian

The Earth. Christianity. They go together.

Google Crisis Map — Moore, Oklahoma tornado

Google has a crisis map showing the extent and severity of the damage from the May 20, 2013 tornado that struck Moore, Oklahoma. This demonstrates the tremendous power not only of the tornado, but also of geospatial technologies.

mooreOK_crisismap

 

Grace and Peace

May 23, 2013 Posted by | Geographic Information Systems, Maps, Natural Disasters | , , , , | Leave a comment

Maps showing every country, state, and county I have ever been in

Every few years, I have posted maps of every country, U.S. state, and U.S. county I have ever been in. It is time for an update.

Since I last posted, in August 2009, I have added one country (South Korea), zero states, and thirty-one counties (in Kansas, Nebraska, Maryland, Pennsylvania, Washington, and Arizona). I do not have any airport-only countries or states, but I do have one airport-only county (Queens, New York), and one port-only county (Norfolk, Virginia).

World map — 11 countries:

U.S. map (states) — 46 states:

U.S. map (counties) — 931 out of 3109 counties (excluding Alaska and Hawaii):

Created with ArcGIS 10.1

Created with ArcGIS 10.1 — Click for larger image

I believe that this is pretty accurate, especially after about age ten. I can remember, for example, the route my family took for family vacation from Montana to California and back in 1973 when I was twelve years old. I also remember the routes of some long bus rides: Billings, Montana to New Orleans for a national Lutheran youth gathering in 1976 (?), and Bozeman, Montana to Daytona Beach, Florida for a Campus Crusade for Christ conference in 1982.

I have lived in Montana, Utah, Montana again, Washington, Missouri, Romania, Colorado, Missouri again, and Montana again.

Since I was in my early twenties, I have kept track of my travels with a highlighter in Rand McNally road atlases. I’m on my second highlighted atlas, and it is getting rather worn.

RandMcnally3

Page from my Rand McNally “every place I’ve ever been” atlas

I was able to create the “Counties I’ve Been In” map by looking at which counties had highlighted roads in the the atlas.

Grace and Peace, from a map nerd.

January 20, 2013 Posted by | Geography, Maps | , , , | 1 Comment

Around the web 1/5/2013

EARTH IS JUST ONE PLANET OUT OF 100 BILLION — From Astrobiology.com: 100 Billion Planets May Populate the Galaxy. Not only could there be 1011 planets in the Milky Way galaxy alone, there are an estimated 1021 stars in the universe. This seems to make Earth, and the humans who inhabit it, seem rather insignificant. But consider this quote from John Piper:

Sometimes people stumble over this vastness in relation to the apparent insignificance of man. It does seem to make us infinitesimally small. But the meaning of this magnitude is not mainly about us. It’s about God… The reason for ‘wasting’ so much space on a universe to house a speck of humanity is to make a point about our maker, not us.” –John Piper, Seeing and Savoring Jesus Christ.

YOU ARE JUST ONE DOT OUT OF 341,817,095 — An online map showing over 340 million dots, one for each person in the 2010 United States and 2011 Canadian censuses.

Census_dots

Zoom in and individual dots can be resolved. My dot is somewhere in the middle of here:

Census_dots_zoomed

Does being just one dot out of 340,000,000 (or one dot out of roughly 7,000,000,000 on Earth today) make the individual dots insignificant? Not at all. The same God who created the universe with its 1021 stars, or the galaxy with its 100 billion planets, has this to say about you as an individual:

For God so loved the world,that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.” — John 3:16 ESV

DANGEROUS SCIENCE?7 scientists killed by their experiments — Marie Curie, and six others.

COLDER THAN COLD? — According to one report (Science gets colder than absolute zero), temperatures colder than absolute zero are possible.

Absolute zero is often thought to be the coldest temperature possible. But now researchers show they can achieve even lower temperatures for a strange realm of “negative temperatures.”

Oddly, another way to look at these negative temperatures is to consider them hotter than infinity, researchers added.

This unusual advance could lead to new engines that could technically be more than 100 percent efficient, and shed light on mysteries such as dark energy, the mysterious substance that is apparently pulling our universe apart.

——————————————

Temperature is linked with pressure — the hotter something is, the more it expands outward, and the colder something is, the more it contracts inward. To make sure this gas had a negative temperature, the researchers had to give it a negative pressure as well, tinkering with the interactions between atoms until they attracted each other more than they repelled each other.

Or perhaps this is in the same category as last year’s report of particles going faster than the speed of light. Interesting, but not true.

Grace and Peace

January 6, 2013 Posted by | Around the Web, Astrobiology, Astronomy, Maps | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Best of the GeoChristian — updated

I have updated the “Best of the GeoChristian” link up at the top of the page.

There is a good variety: posts on Christianity, geology, creationism, the environment, atheism, apologetics, and more.

I would be interested to hear if there is a post that has been especially meaningful or helpful to you, or one that you think is the best of the best of The GeoChristian.

Thanks for reading,

Grace and Peace

January 2, 2013 Posted by | Age of the Earth, Apologetics, Christianity, Creation Care, Creation in the Bible, Environment, Evolution, Geology, Maps, Nature, Old-Earth creationism, Origin of Life, Origins, Theistic evolution, Young-Earth creationism | , | Leave a comment

Wow! — the USGS National Geologic Map Database — MapView

For a geologist/cartographer like me, this could be as mesmerizing as Google Earth!

The U.S. Geological Survey has done an absolutely wonderful job of presenting geological maps online with its National Geologic Map Database MapView. This site offers a seamless view of geologic maps produced by the USGS and state geological surveys. A good geologic map in itself is a thing of beauty, and the USGS has done just about everything right in making this page both a work of art and easy to use. MapView is a useful tool as well, and can be used to locate and download the PDF geologic maps that were used to create it.

The MapView page has a well-balanced, attractive layout.

The MapView page has a well-balanced, attractive layout.

Zoomed in on the Beartooth Mountains, south-central Montana, with map outlines turned on.

Zoomed in on the Beartooth Mountains and surrounding area, south-central Montana and northwest Wyoming, with map outlines turned on.

The Beartooth Mountains have it all -- Archean basement gneiss and felsic instrusives (Agr and Agn), the mafic layered Stillwater Complex (ssss), Paleozoic and Mesozoic sedimentary rocks (ssss), volcanic rocks (sssss), glacial deposits (Qg), and it shows up well on the National Geologic Map Database MapView site.

The Beartooth Mountains have it all — Archean basement gneiss and felsic instrusives (Agr and Agn), the mafic layered Stillwater Complex intrusion (Asw1 through Asw5), Paleozoic and Mesozoic sedimentary rocks (Cs, DOs, Mm, Kk, etc.), volcanic rocks (just off of this image), glacial deposits (Qg) — and it shows up well on the National Geologic Map Database MapView site.

The controls are easy to use.

The controls are easy to use.

The only significant shortcoming is that this map shows raster data (images, scanned maps), so one cannot do queries on individual map polygons. When one uses the “Identify” tool, the site provides information about the map that is being viewed rather than the geological unit. On the Beartooth Mountains map above, for example, the Identify tool will open a window that says that the map is the “Preliminary Geologic Map of the Red Lodge 30′ x 60′ Quadrangle,” but will not tell not inform one that Jm is the Jurassic Morrison Formation, or that Asw4 is the Lower Anorthosite Zone of the Stillwater Complex; one would need to download the PDF map or report for that information. Still, this site will prove to be a great tool for viewing and downloading geological maps.

Grace and Peace

December 26, 2012 Posted by | Geology, Maps | | 3 Comments

Sim City 5

Sim City 3000 was the greatest game ever created for a computer.

Sim City 4 was a disappointment.

Sim City 5 (or just SimCity on the official web site) is coming in 2013. Will it be the new “greatest game ever?” Or another dog?

P.S. “Sim City” is not the same as “The Sims.”

March 21, 2012 Posted by | Fun, Geography, Maps | , | 2 Comments

Lunar topography

From NASA: LRO Camera Team Releases High Resolution Global Topographic Map of Moon.

The science team that oversees the imaging system on board NASA’s Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO) has released the highest resolution near-global topographic map of the moon ever created.

This new topographic map, from Arizona State University in Tempe, shows the surface shape and features over nearly the entire moon with a pixel scale close to 100 meters (328 feet). A single measure of elevation (one pixel) is about the size of two football fields placed side-by-side.

Although the moon is our closest neighbor, knowledge of its morphology is still limited. Due to instrumental limitations of previous missions, a global map of the moon’s topography at high resolution has not existed until now. With the LRO Wide Angle Camera and the Lunar Orbiter Laser Altimeter (LOLA) instrument, scientists can now accurately portray the shape of the entire moon at high resolution.

“Our new topographic view of the moon provides the dataset that lunar scientists have waited for since the Apollo era,” says Mark Robinson, Principal Investigator of the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter Camera (LROC) from Arizona State University in Tempe. “We can now determine slopes of all major geologic terrains on the moon at 100 meter scale. Determine how the crust has deformed, better understand impact crater mechanics, investigate the nature of volcanic features, and better plan future robotic and human missions to the moon.”

Called the Global Lunar DTM 100 m topographic model (GLD100), this map was created based on data acquired by LRO’s WAC, which is part of the LROC imaging system. The LROC imaging system consists of two Narrow Angle Cameras (NACs) to provide high-resolution images, and the WAC to provide 100-meter resolution images in seven color bands over a 57-kilometer (35-mile) swath.

The WAC is a relatively small instrument, easily fitting into the palm of one’s hand; however, despite its diminutive size it maps nearly the entire moon every month. Each month the moon’s lighting has changed so the WAC is continuously building up a record of how different rocks reflect light under different conditions, and adding to the LROC library of stereo observations.

Arizona State University has a pan- and zoomable version.

HT: Astronomy Picture of the Day 11/18/2011.

Grace and Peace

November 18, 2011 Posted by | Astronomy, Maps, Planetary Geology | , , | Leave a comment

Twitter Language Map

A portion of a world map of the languages of Twitter:

The colors represent languages: gray for English, purple for French, red for German…

It looks like a lot of people tweet while they drive. Or perhaps those lines are rail lines (the lines from Moscow to St. Petersburg looks like they follow both the highway and railroad).

From Eric Fischer on Flickr

HT: Strange Maps

November 14, 2011 Posted by | Maps | , | 2 Comments

Tharsis Tholus from Mars Express

Colored elevation image of Tharsis Tholus from directly overhead. Dark blue represents lower elevations, and white the higher elevations. The flanks of the volcano have collapsed in giant landslides at least twice, but interestingly there are no obvious debris piles at the foot of the volcano.

From the European Space Agency: Battered Tharsis Tholus volcano on Mars

The latest image released from Mars Express reveals a large extinct volcano that has been battered and deformed over the aeons.

By Earthly standards, Tharsis Tholus is a giant, towering 8 km above the surrounding terrain, with a base stretching over 155 x 125 km. Yet on Mars, it is just an average-sized volcano. What marks it out as unusual is its battered condition.

Shown here in images taken by the HRSC high-resolution stereo camera on ESA’s Mars Express spacecraft, the volcanic edifice has been marked by dramatic events.

At least two large sections have collapsed around its eastern and western flanks during its four-billion-year history and these catastrophes are now visible as scarps up to several kilometres high.

The main feature of Tharsis Tholus is, however, the caldera in its centre.

It has an almost circular outline, about 32 x 34 km, and is ringed by faults that have allowed the caldera floor to subside by as much as 2.7 km.

It is thought that the volcano emptied its magma chamber during eruptions and, as the lava ran out onto the surface, the chamber roof was no longer able to support its own weight.

So, the volcano collapsed, forming the large caldera.

The summit of Tharsis Tholus, showing its large caldera.

HT: Yahoo News

November 13, 2011 Posted by | Astronomy, Geology, Maps, Planetary Geology | , , , | Leave a comment

Snow day and snow maps

The mega-storm that has affected over 100,000,000 people in the United States turned out to be somewhat wimpy here in St. Louis. At our house we got lots of rain, then about 0.25 inches of ice, followed by two inches of sleet, topped by a few inches of snow (hard to tell exactly how much with the wind blowing it around).

I love winter, so I was a bit disappointed. But the kids don’t have school and my wife and I don’t have to go in to work, so we will be out playing in the snow sometime today.

Here are a few maps and images from around the internet, starting with a satellite image showing the size of this storm:

Credit: NOAA

The National Weather Service has a number of static and interactive maps about snow:

Interactive Snow Information map from the National Operational Hydrologic Remote Sensing Center -- http://www.nohrsc.noaa.gov/interactive/html/map.html

Scaled 24-hour Snow Precipitation (rainwater equivalent of snow) -- http://www.nohrsc.noaa.gov/nsa/

Non-Snow Precipitation (There was a lot more to this storm than snow) -- http://www.nohrsc.noaa.gov/nsa/

Current Northern Hemisphere snow cover -- http://www.nohrsc.noaa.gov/nh_snowcover/

Stay warm. Keep Safe. Have fun.

Grace and Peace

February 2, 2011 Posted by | Maps, Meteorology | | Leave a comment

New England under water

From the ESRI Map Book Online volume 25: What if all the polar ice melted?

Credit: Paul Jordan, University of Rhode Island

The description from the ESRI Map Book:

This map is a depiction of Rhode Island and southeastern Massachusetts/Cape Cod inundated by a 67-meter (73-yard) sea level rise resulting from a total melting of the polar ice caps. Although an unlikely scenario, the map was created as an attention grabber for display at the University of Rhode Island 2008 Honors Colloquium Lecture Series on Global Warming.

A good map can be artistic as well as informative; in fact the two often go together. The annual ESRI map books are available online or in book form (I am happy to own a couple editions).

Grace and Peace

February 1, 2011 Posted by | Art, Future, Geography, Geology, Maps | , | 7 Comments

Arthur C. Clarke and GPS

Science fiction author Arthur C. Clarke was not only one of the first persons to conceive of geostationary communications satellites, he may have also been the first to come up with the idea of the Global Positioning System (GPS). From the Winter 2010/2011 issue of ArcNews: Rendezvous with Reality — Arthur C. Clarke Sees the Future.

Author and futurist Arthur C. Clarke was known worldwide for his science fiction writings, such as 2001: A Space Odyssey and Rendezvous with Rama, but he was also one of the most important visionaries of the last century-most notably, he originated the concept of the geostationary communications satellite in 1945. In 1956, however, Clarke wrote a letter to Andrew G. Haley, president of the American Rocket Society, where he described one potential use for a geostationary communications satellite, to create a “position-finding grid whereby anyone on earth could locate himself by means of a couple of dials on an instrument about the size of a watch”-what we now know as GPS.

The print edition of ArcNews contains a copy of the origin letter along with a transcription. Here’s part of what Clarke wrote:

My general conclusions are that perhaps in 30 years the orbital relay system may take over all the functions of existing surface networks and provide others quite impossible today. For example, the three stations in the 24-hour orbit could provide not only an interference and censorship-free global TV service for the same power as a single modern transmitter, but could also make possible a position-finding grid whereby anyone on earth could locate himself by means of a couple of dials on an instrument about the size of a watch. (A development of Decca and transistorisation.) It might even make possible world-wide person-to-person radio with automatic dialling. Thus no-one on the planet need ever get lost or become out of touch with the community, unless he wanted to be. I’m still thinking about the social consequences of this!

I like that: “No-one on the planet need ever get lost… unless he wanted to be.”

For some reason, the PDF version of ArcNews has a couple of advertisements on page 27 in place of the article on Clarke.

Grace and Peace

P.S. Note that the link to Global Positioning System above takes you to a U.S. Government site written in Chinese. A sign of the times.

January 20, 2011 Posted by | Geography, Maps, Technology | , , | Leave a comment

Gulf Oil Spill map

ESRI has a nice map showing the current extent of the Gulf of Mexico oil spill, along with other themes such as wind and ocean currents.

Gulf of Mexico Oil Spill Situational Awareness Viewer

Grace and Peace

June 22, 2010 Posted by | Energy, Environment, Maps | Leave a comment

New York City — A Montana Native’s Perception

Being that the dreaded Yankees won the World Series, here is my map of New York City, as originally posted in December 2007.

A couple days ago I commented (click here) on a map of Montana printed by The New Yorker Magazine. (I got the map from Strange Maps). Those Easterners know that Montana has everything from militia groups to radical environmentalists, but they didn’t know what part of the state to put them in.

I was thinking to myself: “Hey, you worked as a cartographer for eleven years. You can certainly make just as good of a map of New York City as they made of Montana.” So, here it is:

ny.jpg

I was at JFK airport in 1980, so it isn’t like I haven’t been there.

November 9, 2009 Posted by | Blog Recycling, Fun, Maps, Montana | | Leave a comment

Help for the geographically impaired

From The Onion: World Map Rearranged To Accommodate Poor Geography Skills Of Americans—Nations Ordered Alphabetically

This is really going to help me with all of those little island countries in the Caribbean and South Pacific.

HT: The Map Room

Grace and Peace

November 2, 2009 Posted by | Fun, Maps | 2 Comments

Where I’ve been — updated world, US state, and US county maps

This summer, I’ve added a new state (New Mexico) and at least nine new counties, so here are some updated maps.

World map — 10 countries — nothing new:

U.S. map (states) — 46 states — up from 45:

U.S. map (counties) — 900 out of 3109 counties (excluding Alaska and Hawaii):

WhereIveBeen2009-07

Created with ArcGIS 9.3

I believe that this is pretty accurate, especially after about age ten. I can remember, for example, the route my family took for family vacation from Montana to California and back in 1973 when I was twelve years old. I also remember the routes of some long bus rides: Billings, Montana to New Orleans for a national Lutheran youth gathering in 1976 (?), and Bozeman, Montana to Daytona Beach, Florida for a Campus Crusade for Christ conference in 1982.

Since I was in my early twenties, I have kept track of my travels with a highlighter in Rand McNally road atlases. I’m on my second highlighted atlas, and it is getting rather worn.

RandMcnally3

Page from my Rand McNally "every place I've ever been" atlas

I was able to create the “Counties I’ve Been In” map by looking at which counties had highlighted roads in the the atlas.

Grace and Peace, from a map nerd.

August 3, 2009 Posted by | Maps | , , | 2 Comments

Melting glaciers, changing borders

Video from BBC News: Glacier melt changes Italian border. I can’t embed it, so you will have to go to the link.

This reflects a different view of borders than what we have in the United States. In the US, if a river that marks a boundary changes course (e.g. the Mississippi), then the border stays where it was. In Europe, it seems that if a glacier melts, then the international border can move 100 meters or so.

Grace and Peace

June 20, 2009 Posted by | Climate Change, Geography, Maps | Leave a comment

Geological map of the Arctic

From Natural Resources Canada: Geological map of the Arctic. As I’ve said before, a good geologic map is a work of art.

GeologicMapArctic2

GeologicMapArctic

According to the US Geological Survey, up to 25% of Earth’s remaining oil and gas reserves could be in the Arctic region.

Grace and Peace

June 13, 2009 Posted by | Geology, Maps | | Leave a comment

The Map Room

The Map Room blog just put in a plug for me, so I’ll return the favor. I do have a maps category over in the first column on the right.

Thanks for visiting The GeoChristian.

Grace and Peace

May 4, 2009 Posted by | Blogs, Maps | , | 1 Comment

Job search

I’m still looking for a job as a geologist or GIS professional, and just updated my Ten Reasons Why You Should Hire Me post.

When I picked up one of my daughters from school a few weeks ago, she asked, “Dad, did you find a job today?” I replied, “I’ve found lots of jobs; they just haven’t found me yet.”

I have more strong possibilities now than I did a few weeks ago, and had two good interviews in St. Louis last week. I’m hopeful that something will come up soon.

Thanks for reading The GeoChristian, and for any openings you can point me to.

Kevin

April 29, 2009 Posted by | Employment, Geology, Maps | Leave a comment