Geography Matters

Human & Physical Geography.

Devastated by an earthquake, followed by hurricanes, people in Haiti lead some of the most desperate lives in the world.  Aid agencies are trying to help, but getting the right supplies to the right place is hard when there are no accurate maps detailing the roads.  This is where Geography and technology step in:

This means maps, of people and buildings and roads, but of course there are no maps that are kept up to date frequently enough to be of much use.

So geographers have turned to drones and mapping software to correct the deficiencies.

 The drones are fully autonomous; you tell them what area you want them to image using Google Maps, turn them on, chuck them into the air, and then kick back as they fly around snapping pictures for you, guided by GPS.

Clever software from a company called Pix4D does all the hard work of stitching images together and georeferencing and orthorectifying everything, to the point where it can all just be dropped straight into a system like OpenStreetMap for aid agencies and local people alike to use almost immediately.

In a matter of hours the work is done, and supplies, medicine, and food can be delivered to the places most in need.

pretty cool, and very helpful.  Geography Matters.

GPS, Your Smartphone, and Your Brain

Though the data can only be extrapolated so far, Lerch’s mouse studies suggest that human brains begin to reorganize very quickly in response to the way we use them. The implications of this concern Bohbot. She fears that overreliance on gps, which demands a hyper-pure form of stimulus-response behaviour, will result in our using the spatial capabilities of the hippocampus less, and that it will in turn get smaller. Other studies have tied atrophy of the hippocampus to increased risk of dementia. “We can only draw an inference,” Bohbot acknowledges. “But there’s a logical conclusion that people could increase their risk of atrophy if they stop paying attention to where they are and where they go.”

via “Global Impositioning Systems” by Alex Hutchinson | November 2009 | The Walrus.

Long, but really informative article on the implications of reliance on GPS and its affect on our brain.


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