Friday, April 28, 2006


Okay, thanks to the expertise and aid of my friend doza, here is the last map.

Land Use Posted by Picasa

Delaware Maps

 Posted by Picasa

Capstone Project

Unfortuntaely, I had to make a few modifications to my capstone project. And, I really should have anticipated the problems I ran into. First of all, I am some what savy with GIS and have been using ArcMap and manipulating data for over a year and a half. Having said that, I am WELL aware of the problems you can run into with data availability, data manipulation and data clean up. This project was no exception...So, although my maps were not what I originally set out to do and show, I think that the amount of problems and cleanup and lack of data availability were all part of the project.

One thing about GIS, especially if you are unfamiliar, is that it is difficult to realize all the time and frustration that goes into one lonely map...For data to display in ArcMap it has to be in a particular format...okay, this is easy enough--convert it from excel to a readable format. Usually this is a seemless process. But, sometimes, if the cells are not formatted the appropriate way, they are unreadable in ArcMap. It really becomes a mystery, trying to find what went wrong from one click to the next. And another caveat, problems are typically unique. Or they happen once or twice and by the time the second time rolls around--you have no idea how in the heck you rectified the problem before.

Okay, so the data is in the correct can it join to existing data in ArcMap? Do they have similar fields? For example, joining data and shapefiles by tract is a common method. But in one file a tract (census divisions) is depicted as "000501" and your outside data is "501" or "501.12". In that current state there is no way to join the one file to the other. What next? Data cleanup--let the fun begin...

Once this is done, typically, the data is ready to join. And then the real fun of map creation happens. Unfortunately, you have to work with what you have. Unless you have an unlimited amount of time to order or create your own data files, you are usually limited to what is available over governement sites and usually this is limited to the past two decades of census collection.

Maybe this somewhat explains the arduous nature of mapping...and, I think I even simplified it a bit.

Tuesday, February 28, 2006

Any thoughts?

The below is an another idea from my father regarding my capstone. This could also be an interesting topic. But, is this conquerable? I am wondering if this may be a better idea than my idea of comparing two US and two European post-industrial cities. Not sure. But I need to make up my mind quickly...

"Is there a way of comparing the development of Miami and its suburbs (say 30 - 40 years ago) with what is going on in lower Delaware today? This would be a pretty deep study which is way beyond your present assignment. I am thinking that the politics of land development lets things proceed in an underhanded manner until there is a disaster. For example, the endangering of the Everglades, etc. or the need for major infrastructure after there has been a large commitment by many people (maybe as will be in Rehoboth). Would the use of GIS be able to show whether there are impending crises ahead that are not being considered today? I have to think that there are not many like Bringham Young who set the standards for the development of the Mormon cities. It might be a perspective on "ad hoc" community developments that are the way of the current US culture."

Monday, February 20, 2006

Things we take for granted...

like the ability to post entries in Wikipedia and engage in discourse with others anomysly via the internet. As we all know, but sometimes may not actively think about, not all of us are this lucky...

And for those of you who are interested in online discussion on the Washington Post, which are frankly pretty good, check out these today:

Live Discussions


Tuesday, 11 a.m. ET

The Post's Phil Pan discusses his series, The Great Firewall of China. Submit your questions.

Tuesday, 2 p.m. ET

Harvard fellow and blogger Rebecca MacKinnon discusses China's digital revolution. Submit your questions.

Thursday, February 16, 2006

A Fluency Milestone within HUD

Housing and Urban Development (HUD) is taking a lesson on some of the cost and time saving benefits of e-government and paper reduction...If they can do it, it seems that most everyone can...

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

Taxation without Representation...but clean water?

"My water bill comes with a nifty little newsletter called "What's on Tap." (Get it? It's a pun.)

Anyway, this month's lead story: "District Drinking Water Meets Federal Requirements for Lead Levels."

The fact that this is newsworthy (which it definitely is) frightens me. Luckily, most of my friends own a Brita filter, which does a great job of keeping the poison lead water cold."
-Johnny Shades,

Oh the days of living in the District and paying 10% taxes and receiving very little...I have to comment on my friends posting because I lived with him during one of the initial (or was it...) lead scares. At the time, not too long ago, there was fear of lead in the drinking water. The funny part (not funny, ha ha, funny what the heck?) was that they did not have adequate maps to tell where the lead pipes were located. In other words, the auspice was on the consumer to contact the water authority and get this "kit". Being paranoid by nature, I called for this kit. We waited in peril. In the mean time, awaiting our results of leaded water or no leaded water, we got a water cooler...turns out, we were fine. Just an interesting commentary on the Nation's capital. Maybe sometime I will tell you about car inspections and what a horse and pony show that is...

Monday, February 13, 2006


Okay. After hoping for a bit of input via my blog from some outsiders, I have received input via other means from outsiders. I am pretty set on the post-industrial cities idea and GIS. I am thinking of looking at a few cities in the US and a few in Europe. Maybe...Pittsburgh, Cleveland, Buffalo, K.C., Dortmund, Wales (yes, realize this is not a city), Manchester.... maybe looking at population variables, occupations, economic development activities, etc. Also, doing this on various time periods.

I thought it was bad when...

one of my past employers (in the private sector)tracked us through our key cards. I know that this is not an uncommon thing to use to track when employees get to work and to keep things "secure", however, my former place of employment took it to a different level. You needed your key card to enter stairways, other parts of floors, and to enter off the elevator. But let's be honest here...when you work in a billable hour environment, the tracking becomes more of a financial issue than a security issue. For instance, "piggy-backing" was not allowed. And on our billable hours records we had to enter when we entered work. If you put a time that seemed a bit out of the ordinary, the security personal would check the camera footage and see when you really came in...creepy, huh?

Well, not as creepy as this.

Sunday, February 12, 2006

environmental consciousness

Hmmm…is there censorship in the government regarding climate flipping and irreversibilities of environmental use? With an administration that has been quoted with a “not on my watch” mentality, then why would they want to highlight the grim future and fate of our environment?

Post Industrial Thoughts

An article in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette forwarded to me by a friend (really in hopes of inspiring and fine-tuning my capstone project) speaks of US Steel’s involvement in steel production in Eastern Europe. I found this article especially interesting because of my interest in post-industrial cities and also my interest in Croatian Innovation Systems. In my opinion, the article downplayed and oversimplified the downfall of the US steel industry. Although, Serbia was the industrial dominant of the Former Jugoslavia, and arguably may have a tougher road ahead of them than other Jugoslavian countries, the article seems to brush over a lot of the issues associated with why a US company is over there. Many MNC locate in Non-EU countries because of the proximity to the market and the proximity to inputs. I think it is an important concept to mention future and current agglomerations and cluster economies (which was somewhat mentioned, just not in those words). Also, are these steel mills that our country and other post-industrial countries are familiar or are these the “mini-mills” that are mostly used today? And for countries that are trying to compete on a global level, is heavy industry investment a good idea for them in the long run? Just some thoughts.