Archive for 2012

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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 […]


Mark your calendars: Climate talk at MSU

Dr. Mark Seeley to speak at Minnesota State University next month The Environmental Committee at Minnesota State University, Mankato, is pleased to announce that Dr. Mark Seeley, University of Minnesota climatologist and weekly commentator on Minnesota Public Radio’s “Morning Edition,” will speak at MSU on Thursday, October 4, in Ostrander Auditorium from 5:00 to 6:30 […]


The Geography of Political Donations

MinnPost, a fabulous non-profit online journalism project aimed at raising the level of public discourse in Minnesota, has done some excellent work in visualizing spatial data. In preparation for election season, they’ve created an interactive map of political donations to presidential campaigns. If you zoom in and hover with your mouse you can get valuable […]


Google Street View Goes to Nunavut

Google is using a tricycle-based camera and gps system to capture images of the remote Inuit village of Cambridge Bay in Nunavut. The town is only accessible by airplane or by barge during the couple weeks of summer when the bay is ice-free. The program is part of Google Earth’s outreach program. One of the […]


The Distinctive Look of a City

A fascinating article in Atlantic Cities explains how data mining of Google Street View images can identify the distinctive visual elements of a city. For Paris the computer identified the distinctive elements as street signs, ornate 19th Century windows, cast iron balconies, and decorative street lamps. You can’t see the rooflines on a Google Street […]


The Visual Image of a City

Thomas Sigler, a former visiting assistant professor of geography at Gustavus, has authored a fun piece in Atlantic Cities entitled, “What Your Skyline Says About Your City.” Thomas points out the difference in skylines for cities featuring urban living, the dominance of a few key industries, proximity to the beach, and so forth. Where does […]