Wednesday, June 30, 2010

From the Inbox: Save a mile of ocean

Dear Friend,

People need the ocean to survive. Healthy oceans regulate our climate, feed billions of people and provide a home for a vast array of marine life from sharks to sea turtles.

Now our oceans need us. Extreme threats including overfishing, pollution, development and climate change are wreaking havoc on ocean ecosystems.

You can help. Save a mile of ocean today and help CI protect the life it contains and people it supports for generations to come.

Conservation International has a revolutionary four-point plan to protect our oceans. Your gift now can help us expand our work creating vast seascapes and protecting the life they support—from people to animals like endangered leatherback sea turtles, hammerhead sharks and humpback whales. You will also help support our work protecting other habitats, including forests that provide incredible benefits for us all.

Join us and save a mile today.

Thank you for your continued support.


Beth Wallace signature

Beth Wallace
VP, Marketing Communications and Membership

Fishing boats © Olivier Langrand
Fish © CI/photo by Haroldo Castro

An Artistic View On the World

Extra! Extra! Google News redesigned to be more customizable and shareable

Kun engelsk ...

Why mention Google News on a GIS blog? Well, the introductory lines are true in many ways and if you change the word news with the word GIS you may get even more truth ...

There’s an old saying that all GIS is local. But all GIS is personal too—we connect with it in different ways depending on our interests, where we live, what we do and a lot of other factors.


There’s an old saying that all news is local. But all news is personal too—we connect with it in different ways depending on our interests, where we live, what we do and a lot of other factors. Today we’re revamping the Google News homepage with several changes designed to make the news that you see more relevant to you. We’re also trying to better highlight interesting stories you didn’t know existed and to make it easier for you to share stories through social networks.



The new heart of the homepage is something we call “News for you”: a stream of headlines automatically tailored to your interests. You can help us get it right by using the “Edit personalization” box to specify how much you’re interested in Business, Health, Entertainment, Sports or any subject you want to add (whether it’s the Supreme Court, the World Cup or synthetic biology). You can choose to view the stories by Section view or List view, and reveal more headlines by hovering over the headline with your mouse. We’ll remember your preferences each time you log in. If you don’t want customized Google News, hit “Reset personalization" to clear all personalization preferences. If you haven't previously customized and would prefer not to, simply save and close the “Edit personalization” box. You can always go back and change it later.

To give you more control over the news that you see, we’re now allowing you to choose which news sources you’d like to see more or less often. You can do so in News Settings. These sources will rank higher or lower for you (but not for anyone else) in Google News search results and story clusters. We’ve also added keyboard shortcuts for easier navigation, like in Gmail or Google Reader. When you’re in Google News, hit the question mark key to pop up a full list of shortcuts.

There are the subjects that interest you and then there’s the major news of the day. To make it easy for you to find the big stories like Hurricane Alex, we’re adding links to topics that many outlets are covering. You’ll find these topics in the Top Stories section on the left side of the homepage as well as in linked keywords above headlines. Clicking on a topic link takes you to a list of related coverage that you can add to your news stream. You can change your preferences any time in “Edit personalization.”

We’re also more prominently displaying the Spotlight section, which features stories of more lasting interest than breaking news and has been one of our most popular sections since we introduced it last fall. And then there’s local news; we’re now highlighting weather and headlines about your city or neighborhood in their own section, which you can edit with whichever location you want to follow.

Finally, you can now easily share story clusters with other people via Buzz, Reader, Facebook or Twitter. Just select the drop-down menu marked by an arrow on the top-right of each story cluster. In the drop-down, you can also choose to see more or less of the first news source.

The redesigned Google News homepage is rolling out today in the English-language edition in the U.S., and we plan to expand it to all editions in the coming months. We’re making the ability to choose which sources you’ll see more or less often available in all English-language editions worldwide and plan to expand it soon.

Read more:

Beat the Traffic 3D® Broadcast Traffic Reporting

Fremtidens trafik vil bestå af enheder som kæmper for at beregne den bedste rute fra A til B via bedste punkter C og D og ...

Cool graphics, cool animations, and cool visulizations ... What would traffic be like if all had all information?

Beat the Traffic's award-winning, high-definition traffic system provides an easy-to-use, 3D mapping environment designed to highlight traffic information for viewers.
The Beat the Traffic 3D mapping application produces clear, customizable, information-rich animations.
Inspired from flight simulation technology, the Beat the Traffic-3D live-to-air system produces clear, customizable, information-rich animations. There is no pre-rendering involved yet the fluidity of the animation is not compromised. Traffic flow and incidents are visualized using intuitive animations, incorporating familiar three-dimensional icons. An intuitive, easy to use web-based control panel allows you to customize and override the automated data. [...]

Read more:

Cool iPhone app gives lowdown on any neighborhood

Kun amerikansk ...

iSpy ... Get to know your neighboors ;-)



The iPhone app, called Business Analyst Online, or BAO, links back to a wealth of geocoded demographic data stored in ESRI's geographic information system databases. Best of all, you can tap it for free.

"We think it’s really cool, because unlike any other app it will allow you to really check out a location, find out what it’s like and what kind of people live there," says Lead product manager James Killick.

Killick says ESRI is providing more than just rehashed Census data. "It’s updated demographics created by ESRI’s team of demographers, statisticians and economists who have been involved with building these kind of data sets for over 35 years," he says.

BAO was created with the needs of the real estate industry in mind, Killick says, but a search function will allow anyone to find locations that meet specific demographic criteria. [...]

Zoom to Location The Neigborhood Compare

Read more:

World Cup Mashup combines twitter posts to show the public's predictions of World Cup scores

Kan man vinde noget?

What can I win?

Where Will the Next Volcano Erupt?

Det er en farlig verden vi lever i ...

Booom ...

The April 14 eruption of Iceland's Eyjafjallajökull volcano disrupted air traffic over much of Europe and stranded thousands of passengers across the world. The total cost is estimated to be $5 billion in lost GDP through May 24, 2010. But now that dust has cleared, we can see that the eruption was small by historical standards, and there is always the chance of a bigger one: At any given time there are roughly 20 active volcanoes around the world, and there are 16 volcanoes—called "Decade Volcanoes"—that are currently noted to have a history of large eruptions and a proximity to populated areas. Imagine the cost if one of those erupts.

A Transparency

Read more:

Polar bear overseer: few tools to stop melting ice

Polar bear policy in America can be summed up succinctly: The iconic bears are threatened with extinction, and so far nothing much is being done.

Two years after they were listed under the Endangered Species Act, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has taken no major action in response to their principal threat, the loss of sea ice habitat due to climate change.

Federal officials have declared that the Endangered Species Act will not be
used in the attempt to regulate greenhouse gases, which contribute to global warming and melting ice in the Arctic Ocean.

That leaves Rosa Meehan, the Fish and Wildlife Service marine mammals manager in Alaska, with few tools to protect the great bears of the Arctic. She hangs on to the hope that the scientists are wrong about the bears' future.

"Our crystal ball is not perfect," Meehan said last week.

She spoke between public hearings on whether the federal government
should designate critical habitat for polar bears. Her agency has proposed designating 187,166 square miles of U.S. territory — 95 percent of it in the Beaufort and Chukchi seas — as polar bear critical habitat.

And that has drawn objections from the energy industry and other business interests. It would mean, for example, that before granting permits for offshore drilling, federal agencies would have to review whether the action would adversely modify the habitat.

More than one person has asked Meehan whether designating critical habitat — which, after all, would also be subject to warming — wouldn't be like rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic.

"I'm one of the people who really hopes, you know, hopefully we didn't get this completely right," she said. "Maybe bears will be able to hang on. And if they are, then we want to make sure we give them as easy a chance as possible to hang on in a marginal environment. And so that means addressing all the other potential effects on bears."

Interior Department Secretary Dirk Kempthorne, under threat of lawsuits, reluctantly listed polar bears in May 2008. He said the alarming
loss in recent decades of summer sea ice in the Arctic, and climate models indicating the trend will continue, forced the decision.

The announcement came eight months after summer sea ice levels melted to their lowest recorded level ever: 1.65 million square miles, or nearly 40 percent below average since satellite monitoring began in 1979.

Along with the listing, Kempthorne created a "special rule" stating that the Endangered Species Act would not be used to set climate policy or limit
greenhouse gas emissions.

The group that petitioned to list polar bears, the Center for Biological Diversity, calls the Kempthorne rule illegal and has sued to overturn it.

"The service itself has determined that loss of sea ice, which is a direct result of human-induced climate change, is the primary threat to polar bears' survival," said Alaska director Rebecca Noblin. "It defies logic to omit from consideration the single most important factor in listing the polar bear in the first place."

Alaskans on the other side of the issue are bewildered over why the agency is bothering to designate critical habitat for polar bears. The proposal covers an area larger than California.

Richard Glenn of Barrow, a geologist and vice president of Arctic Slope Regional Corp., told federal officials there's a breach in logic by creating regulatory hardships for Alaska companies while providing so little additional benefit for polar bears.

"If the creation of critical habitat is not going to result in any additional protection for the polar bear, then why create it?" he asked. People in
Barrow, he said, already feel the effects of living near endangered species.Portman.

Meehan said she's playing the cards she's dealt. The Fish and Wildlife Service, she said, will do all it can to ensure polar bear survival. The agency's models indicate that if summer sea ice disappears in the Arctic Ocean, a remnant of polar bears could survive in the Canadian Arctic. Maybe there will be a global
addressing of greenhouse gases, Meehan said.

"We'll have a place for bears to come back to," she said.

The threatened bears, she said, are important to public understanding.

"They clearly underscore the impacts of changes, and it's something people can relate to. That's a really important conservation contribution that this whole situation gives.

Google News, "Polar bear overseer: few tools to stop melting ice", accessed June 28, 2010

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

From the Inbox: Help Sea Turtles TODAY!

Save Sea Turtles - Defenders of Wildlife

Sea Turtles in the Frying Pan

Kemp's ridley sea turtle (Photo: NPS)

Oiled sea turtles like just this one may have been burned alive last week during attempts to contain the current Gulf oil disaster.

Send an email. Tell U.S. Interior Secretary Ken Salazar and officials in the Obama administration that you oppose their 5-year offshore leasing plan that would encourage even MORE dangerous drilling off our coasts.

Save Sea Turtles -- Donate Now!

Dear Friend,

It’s a horrifying story: Last week, a Gulf ship captain reported seeing sea turtles burned alive in an attempt to keep oil off the Gulf coast. [2]

BP – the company responsible for the Deepwater Horizon blowout and subsequent Gulf oil disaster – was trying to contain and prevent the oil from reaching coastal beaches and marshes by burning it at sea.

Sadly, no one told the sea turtles – and it now appears that the lives of some threatened and endangered sea turtles (already hurt by the oil) may have been lost. Areas of oiled ocean are now being surveyed for sea turtles before burning, but that is only a stopgap measure.

Help prevent the next drilling disaster. Tell the Obama administration that you oppose their 5-year offshore leasing proposal – a proposal that would encourage more dangerous drilling off the coasts of Florida, Alaska, North Carolina and other Gulf and Atlantic coastal states.

The deadline for public comments is today (June 30th), soplease take action right now.

So far, at least 429 threatened and endangered sea turtles have been confirmed dead since oil first began spewing into the Gulf of Mexico from the BP Deepwater Horizon blowout. . However, many more sea turtles have likely been lost from the oil spill but not found… and many more would certainly die when baby turtles begin to hatch in the coming weeks. That is why agencies are collecting the eggs from the nests they know of for transfer to Atlantic Florida beaches that are free from oil.

Sea turtles will die from ingesting too much oil. And like us, they can drown. Sea turtles need to surface to breathe, which is hard to do when the ocean’s surface is coated with toxic oil.

The survival of sea turtles is precarious, and the human-caused loss of even one turtle is too much. We need to act now to help protect the beaches of North Carolina (another important nesting ground for sea turtles) and other states where dolphins, whales and birds rely on healthy coastal ecosystems to survive.

Send your message now, and let the Obama administration know that you oppose dangerous new offshore drilling.

But preventing new offshore drilling isn’t just about protecting threatened and endangered sea turtles. As the Gulf oil disaster clearly demonstrates, entire economies are at risk. Clean-up workers can become sick. And an entire marine and coastal wildlife system is at risk of being lost to Big Oil’s hubris.

To send a loud, clear message to the Obama administration, we need just 800 more people from Alabama to take action before tomorrow, so please send your message right away, and then forward this message and/or share this action on Facebook and Twitter.

For the Wild Ones,

Jamie Rappaport Clark, Defenders of Wildlife

Jamie Rappaport ClarkExecutive Vice President
Defenders of Wildlife

P.S. As a former head of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, a career biologist and a mother, I can’t stress enough how important it is that we prevent more dangerous drilling off our coasts and that you send your message today.

GearScape is a Geographic Information System platform dedicated to geoprocessing

En kort definition af GP: Geoproccessering går grundlæggende ud på at automatisere GIS opgaverne. Næsten alle former for GIS arbejde indebærer en stor del af gentagelser af de samme trin igen og igen. Dette skriger efter en eller anden form for maskineri til at definere og replikere disse processer. Geoprocessering er lige netop dette og indbefatter også dette at kunne kombinere flere af disse i serier af operationer. Denne process defineres vha. modeller og scripts ...

The fundamental purpose of geoprocessing is to allow you to automate your GIS tasks. Almost all uses of GIS involve the repetition of work, and this creates the need for methods to automate, document, and share multiple-step procedures known as workflows. Geoprocessing supports the automation of workflows by providing a rich set of tools and a mechanism to combine a series of tools in a sequence of operations using models and scripts. [See more]

Greenland wins back right to kill humpback whales

Greenland has won back the right to hunt humpback whales for the first time in a quarter-century after it threatened to leave the world's top whaling body if other nations reject its ancestral traditions.

"We cannot wait any longer," Ane Hansen, Greenland's Minister for Fisheries, Hunting and Agriculture, said just before the consensus vote by the 88 nations of the International Whaling Commission (IWC) meeting in Morocco on Friday.

"Greenlanders are whale eaters but our subsistence needs have been cut
down and cut down," Hansen said.

Greenland's Inuit hunted humpbacks for 4,000 years until Europeans killing the giant mammals for their oil pushed the animals to the brink of extinction in the last century.

The Inuit now hunt limited numbers of fin and bowhead whales for local consumption under controlled licenses. The government says the meat is sold in local open air markets and the proceeds distributed among the boat crews.

It says the revenue is vital to the population of the world's biggest island,
which has few sources of income besides seafood exports and a subsidy from former colonizer Denmark and is blanketed in ice for most of the year.

Some IWC delegates said the argument that Greenlanders needs to hunt whales to survive was spurious as they enjoy one of the highest average household incomes in the world.

Whaling opponents say Greenland's whale hunt is big business, the meat sold in supermarkets for ten times the price in traditional markets and whale steaks served in luxury hotels.

"Greenland must withdraw its humpback quota request until it can demonstrate that all currently available whale meat is used to meet genuine subsistence needs," the Whale and Dolphin Conservation Society said in a statement before the vote.

IWC scientists say that catching 9 humpback whales per year, as Greenland was allowed, would not affect a population that has recovered since a moratorium on commercial whaling began in 1986.

But some Latin American states objected to Greenland's request, saying their income from whale watching for tourists would suffer if fewer humpbacks return to their waters after their annual Arctic migration.

They also want pro-whaling nations to stop blocking a plan for a
whaling-free zone in the south Atlantic.

Greenland's request went through thanks to a last-minute compromise proposal by the European Union to curb Greenland's quota for hunting fin whales.

Reuters, "Greenland wins back right to kill humpback whales", accessed June 28, 2010

Monday, June 28, 2010

From the Inbox: Help save sea turtles

Save Sea Turtles - Defenders of Wildlife

Take Action to Stop More Drilling Disasters

Oiled Pelican (Photo: Schyler / Defenders of Wildlife)

The Obama administration has proposed a 5-year plan for offshore oil and gas drilling that would open up huge swaths of our coasts to dangerous drilling – risking the lives of countless sea turtles, endangered whales, sea birds, polar bears and other wildlife.

Take action! Tell Interior Secretary Ken Salazar and the Obama administration that you oppose dangerous new offshore drilling off our coasts.

Save Marine and Coastal Wildlife

Gulf of Mexico Oil Diaster - Oiled Wildlife: *The numbers above  reflect only wildlife that has been recovered dead; actual numbers of  dead wildlife are likely to be much higher.

Help us send 60,000 messages by Wednesday's deadline for public comments. Take action now and forward this message to at least 3 friends.

Forward this message

Dear Friend,

At a time when millions of gallons of oil are still spewing into the Gulf of Mexico, wreaking havoc on sea turtles, brown pelicans, sperm whales and irreplaceable coastal and marine ecosystems, it seems inconceivable that the Obama administration would consider more dirty, dangerous offshore drilling.

Yet, incredibly, that’s exactly what’s happening.

Take a stand for imperiled sea turtles and other marine wildlife. Urge the Obama administration to reject calls for offshore drilling off the coasts of Florida, Alaska, Virginia, North Carolina and other coastal states.

As of yesterday, more than 1,000 birds, 400 sea turtles and 40 marine mammals are already confirmed dead due to the Gulf oil disaster. Far more birds, sea turtles, whales, dolphins and other wildlife are likely dead or dying as a result of the ongoing oil leak in the Gulf.

The scale of this ecological catastrophe is massive. Yet drilling proponents persist in their calls to industrialize our coasts and sacrifice our marine wildlife at the altar of Big Oil’s profit margins.

The Obama administration had announced a six-month moratorium on new deepwater drilling, temporarily blocked planned drilling in the fragile Chukchi Sea and deployed thousands of federal workers to respond to the disaster in Gulf.

On Tuesday, however, a federal judge in Houston – with a history of significant financial investment in oil companies drilling the Gulf -- overturned the six-month ban on deepwater offshore drilling. The Obama administration plans to appeal the ruling and take administrative action to uphold the ban.

Ironically, the administration itself is also considering a 5-year leasing plan for offshore drilling that would approve new oil and gas drilling along the Mid-Atlantic and South-Atlantic coasts, on Florida’s Gulf Coast, and in the Arctic Ocean – risking the lives of countless sea turtles, endangered whales, sea birds, polar bears and other wildlife.

Speak out for our coastal wildlife and communities. Send your comments to the Obama Administration now.

In the face of the tragedy in the Gulf, we must make our voices heard. All comments are due by Wednesday (June 30th), so please take action now, forward this message and help us reach our 60,000-message goal.

With Gratitude,

Richard Charter, California Team Member at Defenders of Wildlife

Richard Charter
Senior Policy Advisor, Marine Programs
Defenders of Wildlife

Defending Wildlife

Hands Across the Sand

Tomorrow, Defenders of Wildlife will join groups from across America, participating in Hands Across the Sand events to oppose dangerous new drilling. To find an event near you, visit

Deepwater Horizon Fire (Photo: Coast Guard)

This week, Defenders of Wildlife’s legal team moved to stop Big Oil’s attempt to block a temporary moratorium on deepwater offshore drilling, opposing the oil industry in federal court in Houston. Incredibly, a judge who has had significant financial ties to the oil industry ruled to lift the ban. However, the Obama administration plans to appeal the decision – a move supported by Defenders.

Loggerhead Sea Turtle (NOAA)

So far, Defenders has mobilized more than 61,000 caring people like you in support of additional protections for loggerhead sea turtles. Loggerheads – already in trouble before the Gulf oil disaster – are particularly vulnerable to oil and can drown or be poisoned when they become oiled.

Defenders has also mobilized to prevent threatened and endangered sea turtles from being burned to death as part of the controlled oil burns occurring in the desperate attempt to reduce oil from the ongoing Deepwater Horizon oil leak in the Gulf.

Polar Bears (copyright Norbert Rosing, NGS)

Last week, more than 31,000 Defenders supporters urged Senate Democrats to pass comprehensive legislation to reduce America’s dependence on fossil fuels and address the impacts of climate change without opening additional coastal areas to offshore drilling.