Thursday, March 25, 2010

Know Your U.S.A.

I've been tweeting a Census history series lately, reporting on one decennial census each day through census day (April 1). I got to 1940 today and found three promotional films posted on YouTube. They encourage 1940s USians to be counted as a civic and patriotic duty.

Let me recommend the Census Bureau's Through the Decades web site, it makes fascinating reading. I particularly enjoy the scanned historic Census publications they offer.

And I've been posting a decade-by-decade record of state and county Census counts for Delaware. I'm including links to the scanned publications that cover Delaware.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Golf in 2010: Game 1

Originally uploaded by mmahaffie
With the weather on the warm, it was time to head out and play golf again. Andy and I went to Old Landing Golf Course to play this afternoon.

The course was still quite wet. In some places, any ball descending at all would plug into the ground, limiting bounce and roll.

I didn't play particularly well, though I should bear in mind that it was the first game of the year. I scored a 116.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Thank You, Alex Chilton

Alex Chilton passed away today. His first hit, The Letter, was a perfect pop tune. And his later work has always appealed to me. For some reason, though, this song has always been a favorite.

Sounds of spring

early peepers, late woods
Originally uploaded by mmahaffie
Yesterday evening, i did some driving around on small roads north of Georgetown while daughter #2 was at her dance class. I found myself on a winding road through a very wet woodland and listening to many many peeping frogs.

It's one way we know that springs is on the way.

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Here's Something I Think You Should Do

Take a moment and go to the FCC's broadband web site and use their broadband testing widget. That will help them build a map of broadband access around the country.

A part of the overall stimulus package is funding to improve Americans' access to the internet via broadband -- to ensure access to rich content, audio, video, and really fast data transfer. To spend that money wisely, the feds need to have a clear picture of where there is strong broadband and where there is not. They need a detailed map of broadband access. They need geospatial data about it.

Think for a moment about the pissing match between ATT and Verizon in those annoying cell-phone commercials. It comes down to dueling versions of maps of  "3G" access. Which one is right? Can we really take ATT's word, or Verizon's word? Not really.

That's why we need independent information on what is the true broadband picture. Where is wired access? Where is wireless?

Many of the states (including Delaware, over at DTI) are working on broadband mapping using federal grants to gather data from providers and work with the public. In support of this, the FCC has created, and this week released, a widget that combines collection of "where" information (the geospatial part) with existing broadband speed testers (the data part).

I heard an announcement of the new widget at this week's mid-year conference of the National States Geographic Information Council (NSGIC), in Annapolis. The new Geospatial Information Officer (GIO) at the FCC is the former GIS coordinator of California, Mike Byrne, long a respected NGSIC member. He announced plans for the widget on Monday and sent word on Thursday that it was live.

I've written different versions of this post on the NSGIC blog and on my State of Delaware GIS coordination blog. But this widget isn't just meant for GIS geeks, it's meant for all of us.

So take a minute or two and test your speed. Help the feds use actual data to spend our money wisely.

Friday, March 12, 2010

Stickers, Stickers, Everywhere

You may have noticed a small red sticker has started turning up in my flickr photo stream lately. You may be wondering, "why?"

Well, here's why.

My friend Learon Dalby works in the Arkansas Geographic Information Office (AGIO). They developed a logo for their office a few years ago and recently had it printed onto stickers that they have started handing out to friends and fans and folks in general.

The logo, and the sticker, of course, include the motto "Putting Arkansas on the Map!" That led Learon to ask whether it might be possible to get Arkansas on the map in some other states too.
Discussion ensued which resulted in my firm stance AGIO could get pictures of the logo taken in all 50 states using various social media outlets and personal connections. I am also hoping to get a few from the territories.
So Learon has been handing out stickers to friends in other states and we are dutifully posing them with landmarks in our states and sharing the photos, and locations, back with Learon.

Expect them to appear on a map sometime soon. We're GIS geeks, this is what we do.

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Going... Going...

It's been a month since the Blizzards of 2010 in southern Delaware. Starting on February 5, we had two rounds of heavy snow.

The storms left us shoveling out driveways and piling the snow along the sides.

I piled most of our driveway's snow on the side of the driveway that is usually downwind in our neighborhood. My theory was that that would reduce drifting. It mostly worked. It also meant that we had a large long ridge of snow down one side of the driveway.

It stuck around for a while. This shot is from March 4. Even after a warm-up and lots of rain, there was still a small snow bank.

By this morning (March 6) the end was in sight.

Finally, this afternoon, we saw the very last of the snowbank.

I like snow, but I'm glad to see the last of it for this year. I hope.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

OK Go? Go, OK?

This has been all over the web today. It's really very cool. So I thought I'd post it too! OK Go, who did such a cool dance on treadmills a while back, have now topped themselves.