Archive for September, 2012

Professor Bati Makes Presentation to U.S. State Department

Lencho Bati, visiting instructor of geography, delivered a presentation to the U. S.  State Department in Washington, D.C. on September 24, 2012. Mr. Bati gave his talk to the staff of the African Bureau of the State Department. He urged the United States to take an active role in stabilizing Ethiopia and promoting democracy in […]

Open Farms in the News

The work of Ben Penner, a frequent guest lecturer in geography and environmental studies courses at Gustavus, was featured in a recent StarTribune article. Ben directs the Open Arms farm at the Prairie Institute in Belle Plaine, MN. The farm produces organic produce for free distribution to persons living with life-threatening illnesses.Volunteers work on the […]

The Google vs. Apple Map Wars

Google’s treasure house of geographic data, maps, and images is incredibly valuable and has driven a great deal of internet traffic to their site since they launched Google Maps in 2005. Google employs 7,000 employees to accumulate and update their map data including the streetview photo crews who drive or bicycle down streets around the […]

Film screening tonight: The Wilderness Idea

Please join me this evening for popcorn and a screening of the documentary The Wilderness Idea. This 1989 film is an “exploration of the first national controversy about America’s wilderness: Should Hetch Hetchy, a valley within Yosemite National Park, be dammed and flooded to form a reservoir for San Francisco? On one side, utilitarians argued […]

Visualizing the Human Imprint

One of the most valuable tools in GIS is the ability to overlay two images of the same location and then compare before and after images. ESRI has a website that allows the user to go back and forth between Landsat Satellite images using a simple slider bar. You can see the dramatic transformation of […]

Food Deserts

Food deserts are areas where affordable, healthy food is scarce. Supermarkets are non-existent in many small towns and low-income inner-city neighborhoods. That leaves residents with few options other than paying high prices in convenience stores. The problem is particularly acute when residents lack access to a car. Urban geographer Adam Pine of UMD has highlighted […]

New and Improved with Dual-Pol!

I inherited weather mania from my father, and unless you also suffer from weather mania, you may not have noticed that on August 6th, the National Weather Service Doppler radar site in the Twin Cities was upgraded.  As part of their “Weather-Ready Nation Program”, a NWS initiative to build community resilience, the existing WSR-88D Doppler […]

How Geography Fuels Innovation

Some commentators say the world is flat, but a map of innovation suggests otherwise. Patent registrations come from a select group of highly innovative places. Leading the pack in the United States is the San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara, California metropolitan area–Silicon Valley. In Silicon Valley, a culture of innovation, infrastructure such as research universities and venture […]

Matthew Claypool (’12) working for Midcontinent Communications

Matthew Claypool (class of 2012) writes that his internship as a GIS coordinator with Midcontinent Communications in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, has been extended until the end of October: “It’s all really interesting and I am so glad I ended up here!” Matt says of his work. Midcontinent is a “leading provider of data, video, […]

Emery Ellingson (’12) working in Montevideo, Uruguay

Congratulations to Emery Ellingson (Gustavus class of 2012) who has just began a new adventure working at La Obra, a community center in Montevideo, Uruguay. Emery is working through the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America’s Young Adults in Global Mission program. You can read more about Emery’s work and see photos at his blog, It’s […]