To close out our Hurricane Week, ABC has posted some truly amazing before and after shots from NOAA and Google satellites. Check out these shots that use a slider bad to reveal the ferocity and tragedy of Superstorm Sandy. Pictures are truly worth a thousand words
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Every week Laura Brandkamp takes the latest Geography in the News articles and translates them into Spanish for use in ESL and Language Arts teachings. We receive such positive feedback about the articles from subscribers that we worried that this week might disappoint. That's because Laura works out of her office in Fresh Meadows, NY, a short distance from Long Island Sound, Manhattan and the JFK Airport.
Today’s entry in our Hurricane Week series comes from our Classified Concepts blog. Check it out.
What does the Coriolis Effect have to do with Hurricanes?
According to About.com, The Coriolis Effect is defined as “result(ing) from the earth’s rotation causing freely moving objects to veer toward the right in the Northern Hemisphere and to the left in the Southern Hemisphere. It effects things like wind, ocean currents, airplanes, missiles, but does not effect toilets or sinks.” (In case you were wondering, that would be better referred to as “ambient swishing.”)
In our brief series on hurricanes this week, we’re sharing Hurricanes and the Coriolis Effect straight from the Geography In The News archives. Read on to learn more…
The devastation of the U.S. Gulf Coast by hurricanes Katrina and Rita has captured the media’s attention for weeks. Even as New Orleans and the impacted Gulf Coasts of Alabama, Louisiana, Mississippi and Texas begin to recover, questions are being asked about the characteristics of hurricanes and similar storms.
A reader of Geography in the News recently wrote asking about the rotation of storms. He said he knew that winds around low pressure cells in the Northern Hemisphere rotate counterclockwise, but did not understand how the Coriolis effect was involved in all wind circulations.
Sailors have long recognized that wind directions are deflected, seemingly by some invisible force. In 1835, however, French mathematician Gaspard G. Coriolis first described the phenomenon. Originally, it was called the Coriolis force, but the more recent and more accurate name is the Coriolis effect.
The result of the Coriolis effect is that wind directions in the Northern Hemisphere are deflected to the right, while those in the Southern Hemisphere are deflected to the left. The cause of the Coriolis effect is the earth’s rotation.
As a simple example, a hypothetical airplane leaves the North Pole on a 12-hour trip flying directly south toward Quito, Equador, located on the equator (80 degrees west longitude). During this 12-hour trip, the earth would rotate half way around and the plane would arrive in Sumartra, Indonesia (100 degrees east longitude). Clearly, from the ground, the plane’s direction was due south, but the earth’s rotation beneath the plane’s flight path created the illusion of the plane flying southwestward—a deflection to the right (from the plane’s origin at the Pole). No matter which direction air moves in the Northern Hemisphere, the earth’s rotation causes it also to be deflected to the right for the same reason.
A simple experiment used by geography teachers is to cut a circle of cardboard, punch a hole in its center and place it on a pencil. While spinning the cardboard disk counterclockwise to simulate the rotation of the Northern Hemisphere, the demonstrator can attempt to quickly mark a straight line on the disk with a marker. Regardless of the direction attempted, the mark will always turn to the right. Turn the disk over, rotate it clockwise to simulate the Southern Hemisphere and the mark will always turn to the left.
Winds blow from high to low pressure. These winds attempt to move in a straight line, but are always deflected by the Coriolis effect. For example, as wind moves toward a low pressure center, as with a hurricane, its direction is altered so that as wind crosses each isobar surrounding the low, it must cross to the right of a right angle. The cumulative effect causes the hurricane to circulate counterclockwise.
Although this counterclockwise motion may seem counter intuitive, it makes perfect sense by standing at the wind’s origin and realizing that the deflection is causing the wind to cross each isobar to the right, rather than at a 90 degree angle. If it were not for the Coriolis effect, the wind would blow straight into the eye of a hurricane and there would be no circulation.
Conversely, as wind blows out of a high pressure cell, it also must cross isobars at right angles. Putting one’s self at the origin, or the center of the high pressure, it is easy to realize that high pressure cells circulate clockwise in the Northern Hemisphere.
Wind direction, then, can indicate many things to those who closely monitor the weather, even novice weather forecasters. A conclusion called Ballot’s Law says that if you face directly downwind in the Northern Hemisphere, the center of a low pressure cell should be located somewhere to your left. This accounts for the counterclockwise rotation of storms, such as hurricanes and other low pressure cells.
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On the topic of Hurricanes this week, here is another great Geography in the News article from our archives called Hurricanes and the Caribbean from Dr. Neal Lineback, reposted from the team at the Maps101 blog:
The 2008 hurricane season has arrived. The tropical vacation destinations known as the Antilles are particularly vulnerable to these tropical storms and often bear the brunt of hurricanes that enter the Caribbean Sea.
The Caribbean islands contain some of the Western Hemisphere’s most expensive vacation destinations. The region also has some of the world’s worst poverty. Hurricanes are a threat to all who live and vacation there from June through December.
The Caribbean region consists of the islands and mainland surrounding the Caribbean geologic plate and the Caribbean Sea. This is one of the earth’s most active tectonic and volcanic regions. It formed more than 7,000 islands and islets in the Caribbean archipelago arc known as the Greater and Lesser Antilles.
Hurricanes and the Caribbean
The Greater Antilles include Cuba, Hispaniola (Haiti and the Dominican Republic), Jamaica and Puerto Rico on the northern margins of the Caribbean. The Lesser Antilles consist of the smaller islands located along the eastern side of the Caribbean Sea and are further divided into the Windward and Leeward Islands.
The topography of the islands varies greatly, from volcanic peaks on St. Kitts and Montserrat to relatively flat terrain on Aruba. There are 13 sovereign states, 12 dependent territories and two overseas departments (similar to states) in the Antilles.
All of the Antilles are tropical, situated at latitudes where the trade winds blow almost continuously from the northeast, bringing warm, moist air to the windward sides of the islands. Mountainous terrain regularly experiences high rainfall amounts, providing fresh water and resulting in tropical rainforests growing on steep windward slopes.
The name Caribbean derives from the Amerindian ethnic group called Caribs that occupied the Lesser Antilles and parts of the coastal mainland when the Europeans first arrived in 1492. The initial European explorers tried to force the Caribs to work in fields and mines. However, the original islanders were too independent and the majority of population was wiped out as European settlers seized their islands and brought African slaves to provide labor and grow sugarcane.
The Spanish were the first Europeans to conquer and settle the Antilles. The French and British alternatively fought for control of the land. Even the Netherlands and United States vied for some of the islands. Today, the islands’ cultures are a polyglot of different languages, diets, house types, political systems, economies, laws and money.
Hurricanes can bring exceedingly high precipitation, high winds and storm surges anywhere around the Caribbean region, particularly to Antilles. Large resort properties may sustain massive damage from a direct hurricane hit. Most islanders’ houses, however, are more fragile and can’t withstand hurricane-force winds.
Nearly all of the Caribbean islands have hurricane evacuation plans and shelters. Tourists are evacuated and local residents, particularly those from coastal villages, are moved to reinforced hurricane shelters. Schools and public buildings serve as shelters and buildings designed specifically for hurricane events are being constructed.
Most tropical storms that are or are destined to become hurricanes enter the Caribbean Sea from the northeast, riding in on the northeast trade winds. Consequently, the northeast sides of the islands are the first to experience the damaging effects.
One example is Hurricane Georges, which pummeled St. Kitts and Nevis in 1998. Georges was one of the strongest hurricanes ever to strike St. Kitts. It damaged 85 percent of the local structures and totally destroyed 30 percent. Half of the island’s population of more than 30,000 was without shelter, food or water. Georges made more landfalls than any other hurricane in recent times: Antigua and Barbuda, St. Kitts and Nevis, Haiti, Dominican Republic, Cuba and the United States (twice).
With the hurricane season here, Caribbean islanders will keep a wary eye to the northeast. Nobody wants another Hurricane Georges.
For weekly Geography in the News analysis and thousands of maps, activities, lesson plans, videos and more register for a free trial on maps101.com.
Superstorm Sandy may have calmed down, but New York and the East Coast are just beginning to recover from the aftermath of the Hurricane.
Check out this article on Lineback World View on How Irene Prepared us for Sandy. Read how Hurricane Irene was reported by Geography in the News’ Dr. Neal Lineback at the end of last year and consider how the lessons learned in 2011 have saved lives during the devastating events of the last few days.
For our subscribers, we also just added a new article to the NEWS network on Maps101: Sandy Deals New York City Flooding, Fire and Blackouts. There is also a collection of Hurricane related videos showing footage of Hurricanes Ivan and Charley and related Hurricane maps available.
Please feel free to share and comment on How Irene Prepared Us for Sandy on the Lineback World View Blog.
Apple’s submission process made a strike of its own as it rejected the app Drone+ for the third time.
On two previous occasions they rejected for functionality reasons and then suggested it was ‘not useful’. The app notifies users when a drone strike takes place overseas using a public database provided by the UK’s Bureau of Investigative Journalism. Strikes are also plotted on a map with details of each strike including location and numbers killed in areas such as Afghanistan, Yemen and Somalia.
The creator, NYU student Josh Begley has admitted he is at a loss to explain the real reason behind the rejection of an app that simply aggregates freely available news in this report from Wired.com.
While the worlds’ eyes have been focused on the public divorce of Apple and Google, it appears that a very different kind of love triangle has been developing in the mapping arena.
The European cell phone manufacturer Nokia, who recently improved the traffic data and added geo-coded addresses to Microsoft’s Bing Maps, now look set to provide Amazon’s Kindle Fire 2 with it’s built-in mapping features. What is perhaps most interesting in this development is that the new Kindle is expected to use the Android platform, for which Google has continued to invest in its own mapping software in a kind of Gloria Gaynor “I will survive” gesticulation to Apple. The idea of the new device using mapping different from Google would come as a significant snub to the search giant. It would also be the most public display of affection so far between mobile’s newest celebrity couple, Microsoft and Nokia, who have so far only flirted through Bing and the apps they have developed for the new Windows 8 powered phones. A further shift in the balance of power could also be in progress as Amazon and Microsoft become ‘close’.
No official announcement has been made but the technical press is alive with the rumors. Nokia has continued to develop and market devices in Europe despite assuming a lower profile in the US. Earlier this year Nokia CEO Stephen Elop announced his intention to make the company the go-to provider of location based services. Distribution through Amazon and Microsoft could be the fast lane to at least becoming a third major player in online mapping.
If the Samsung vs Apple battle creates more competition in the smart phone arena, the arrival of Nokia as a force in mapping could open up a wealth of opportunity for developers and end users in digital mapping. It’s an exciting time to be in digital cartography and mobile applications.
- Nokia + Microsoft Kick Off $23M AppCampus Incubator: Over $1M Going To 36 Startups (techcrunch.com)
- Amazon taps Nokia for Kindle Fire maps, report says (news.cnet.com)
- Nokia CEO makes the case for Microsoft deal (reviews.cnet.com)
- Reuters: Amazon picking Nokia Maps over Google for its new Kindle Fire (intomobile.com)
Ever since the iPad burst onto the scene, tablets have been the darlings of consumers and educators alike, with hundreds of millions of units sold. But is the US market indicative of the Worldwide trend in mobile platform adoption?
This past week on the NPR/KQED MindShift education blog, Frank Catalano examines the trends in the global market and finds that while Apple has a majority of the market share in tablet adoption by both consumers and educators in the US, it is Google’s Android that is leading the way with multiple sub-$150 devices being created in several countries and large scale adoption on a national level. Read Frank’s post here: “Which device will win the tablet battle?”
The question for publishers and content developers then becomes how to create content and curriculum as platform-agnostic as possible in order to capitalize on the adoption of as many of these devices as possible worldwide. At the moment, there are no easy answers, especially when publishers have to reach schools that are on the front lines in adopting the newest technology as well as those that lag behind, having to make do with years-old hardware and software.
At Maps.com, we are creating content and applications both specific to iOS and Android operating systems as well as cross-platform applications – primarily with HTML5. For instance, in our Maps101 Web service, we have long had a collection of hundreds of outline maps and a Flash-based MapKit drawing tool for users to create and modify their own maps. This month we released a new tool called MapSketch that adds to all of our maps an HTML5-based drawing tool that is cross-platform compatible. MapSketch will also be made available to add the same drawing tools to third party sites and applications such as Interactive White Board Activities. Contact us to find out how.
“Networks: A social studies learning system” is a complete Social Studies resource incorporating print and digital solutions. The system is designed to bring abstract concepts to life through hands-on, interactive activities such as interactive maps and games, graphic organizers and engaging multimedia.
The publisher included comprehensive teacher resources, worksheets, training videos, lesson plans and assessment tools.
Over 600 maps were produced for the project by Maps.com Cartographers, while the company’s programming team developed a presentation platform for the digital content that included timeline animations, voice narration and editing tools for a truly interactive classroom experience.
“The success of this project was the result of a huge effort by the McGraw-Hill team and we congratulate them on this significant recognition.” Revealed Bennett Moe, who coordinated the digital and cartographic elements delivered by Maps.com. “We are proud to have played a key role in such a high profile and challenging project and delivered exactly what was required.”
The CODiE awards are annually presented by the Software and Information Industry Association – the principal trade association for the software and digital content industries. Initial reviews are carried out by tech-savvy educators, with a shortlist of 128 finalists reviewed by a panel of SIIA members.
Maps.com has more than 20 years of experience in the mapping industry and serves a variety of markets including education and news media. They have an in house development team producing location based applications including online store locators and smart phone apps and ebooks. Maps.com is also home to the world’s biggest map and map related online retail store which receives almost 1 million visitors each month.
- McGraw-Hill School Education’s Proven Digital Solutions Selected as Finalists for 2012 CODiE Awards (prnewswire.com)
- McGraw-Hill Networks press release - http://mheducation.com/releases/20120508.shtml
Taken from our educational blog for K-12 Schools, Maps101:
A significant breakthrough has been made in a long running search for the first colony established in North America by British explorer Sir Walter Raleigh, according to London’s Independent Newspaper.
Raleigh’s 1587 expedition landed a group of around 100 settlers on Roanoke Island in modern day North Carolina, but they experienced serious hardship when supplies ran out, and they had arrived too late to grow crops before winter.
John White, destined to be the governor of the newly established “Cittie of Raleigh” returned home to bring back supplies, but on his return the whole colony had disappeared without trace. The journey back was delayed significantly by Atlantic Blockades by the Spanish, who were at the time at war with England, and it is not known if the colonists were massacred by local tribes or Spanish colonials, starved to death or met some other fate.
White created a map of the region, but the actual location of the colony has only now been revealed after tests were carried out on the map. It appears that an ‘invisible ink’ – which could have been lemon juice or even urine, was used to draw the outline of the colony and also the location of a fort. A tiny, almost invisible piece of paper was also added over the fort location – a contemporary way of editing maps.
Historians believe he may have kept the location hidden due to fears of what spies looking to depose then Queen Elizabeth I may have done with the information.
Research has been carried out by the British Museum – where the map currently resides – at the request of University of North Carolina professor and Director of the First Colony Foundation Brent Lane.
The foundation is looking to excavate at the site shown in the map, in an effort to uncover the original colony and fort following its 400+ year disappearance. The location is today the site of a golf course.
1. Would you be averse to new bunkers on your favorite PGA course if they revealed a 420 year old colony? What would Arnold Palmer, who designed the course, have to say?
2. Should cartographers revisit the idea of ‘hidden print’ on modern-day maps? Would you pay extra for a map partially drawn in lemon juice or Urine?
Let us know in the comments below.
- Ancient map gives clue to fate of ‘Lost Colony’ (mytechnologyworld9.blogspot.com)
- North Carolina, British researchers find clue to location of Lost Colony (newsobserver.com)
- New clue emerges in search for Lost Colony (thehimalayantimes.com)
- Researchers say they have new clue to Lost Colony in U.S. (ctv.ca)